Postcards Postcrossing the World

Postcards are alive and well and received by countless friends, family and complete strangers around the world.  Complete strangers?  This is where Postcrossing comes into the picture.

I first learned about Postcrossing, a postcard exchange group, from a quarterly Stamp Bulletin and joined free-of-charge.  The five-step guidelines are easy to follow, the website makes it simple to set up a profile and tweak your settings.  Navigate around and check out the stunning and prolific cards received and uploaded by Postcrossing members.  Everyone abides by the rules so things flow smoothly between more than 69,000 members in over 200 countries.

Postcard 017SEND: There’s pleasure in finding and choosing suitable postcards and stamps uniquely representative of your own location.  Clever members can match a postcard to followers hobbies.  It took a couple of weeks for the first postcard to hit my letterbox but I could start mailing out straight away.

RECEIVE: The beauty, variety and quantity I received, often from places I’d never heard of, was impressive.  English is universal although you can specify countries and language.  Handwritten, never laser printed, it takes a certain skill to describe something about yourself and your town on the back of a small piece of cardboard!

Postcrossing Logo

The Postcrossing project was created in 2005 by Postcrossing Founder Paulo Magalhães as a side project when he was a student in Portugal.  From 2008 to 2017, 40 million postcards have been sent.  Naturally Paulo loves to receive postcards and finding one in his mailbox always makes his day!

Postcard 007Right down to the different shapes of the stamps, and in some cases, distinctly long addresses, I was hooked on the fun.

The Postcrossing website has stats and charts to follow the progress of your postcards and I only had one go missing in action.  I think the British postcards were the quickest to arrive and I’ll be diplomatic and not say which was the slowest.  Larger countries sometimes lagged, perhaps because of sheer volume – or misguided postal cuts.  In Australia, there’s an infinite variety of unique postage stamps and supply doesn’t look like declining any time soon.

This world-wide concept stands strong, despite the challenges of internet and social media.  Stamps are still stuck on postcards, timeless messages are still written on the back, and they are still physically mailed to a real address.

Postcard 016Postcrossing friendships are possible via their blog, forum and meet-ups.  Due to work commitments, I closed my Postcrossing account and gave many of my postcards to a collector.  I kept a few colourful ones to wistfully gaze at on a quiet day.

Post a postcard!

Gretchen Bernet-Ward

 

Want more? The Snail Mail mega toons postcard edition

Teatowel of Ignominy

Ever do something just for fun?  Sure you have.  From an impromptu picnic to cooking a lavish dinner.  Sporty things, family things, shopping expeditions or entering a competition in the name of fun.

Recently I designed a book-themed teatowel for fun.  There was a prize involved but I won’t dwell on that because I did not win.  However, it did spawn this blog piece…

Tea Towel Design 03
G-B-W©Book Lifecycle artwork (Australia)

For those born into a dishwasher world, I will elaborate.  A teatowel is used to dry crockery and cutlery.  It is made of an oblong piece of linen or cotton material, naturally absorbent, hemmed on all sides and printed with a design.  The design is printed on one side, in portrait position.  Teatowels can be any colour, any theme, but traditionally the same fabric and size.  They can also be displayed poster-like on a kitchen wall.  The following teatowels are not ignominious!

Tea Towel Design 04
Raspberry Thistles©Scott Inness (Scotland)

Tourist destinations sell souvenir teatowels, the most glorious ones are those in public art galleries.  Gift shops offer cute ones with flowers, teacups, recipes or cow designs.  Craft groups use them as fund-raisers, while cookware stores display matching sets of oven mitt, apron and teatowel with a trendy designer logo.

Tea Towel Design 06
Friesian Cows©Rodriquez (Australia)

I have a large proportion of Australian flora and fauna too well-laundered to show here.  The examples displayed are the best I could find in the kitchen drawer.  A lovely giraffe print from Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo NSW, was singed from a cooking incident.  My recently purchased Cecily teatowel (below) is part of a book-themed series from New Zealand.  It will not suffer the fate of another limited edition teatowel which, shock horror, was used to wipe the stove griller.

Tea Towel Design 08
Cecily©Moa Revival (New Zealand)

Teatowels sound old-fashioned and domesticated but they can become the focus of teenage washing-up disputes and used as a weapon to flick people.  Snap!

Tea Towel Design 05
Babushka Dolls©Ladelle (Australia)

Apparently teatowels originated in Victorian England and were used at teatime to keep the china in good condition.  Baked goods were often laid on a teatowel to cool or alternatively kept moist under a teatowel.  The name is different in different countries, in Australia a dishtowel/dishcloth is used for more heavy duty cleaning.

Teacup 001
Tidy teatowel (Unknown)

No doubt there is an online history of teatowels and teatowel aficionados around the world, but I am content in the knowledge that I have owned many useful hard-working ones over the years.  Lightly imbued with nostalgia and sentiment, some were gifts, most I have bought, and one I designed myself which is not destined to be printed.  That’s a good thing.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward


BONUS:
My blog post is laden with afternoon tea foodie photographs
https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/2018/03/11/afternoon-tea-and-fancy-food/
Extra teatowel image courtesy of The National Trust UK
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

IMG_20180403_120406
Made with care in UK for The National Trust 100% cotton.