Friday 29 June 2012

In and out, last week of June

Earlier in the week, I received some great letters and postcards with nice stamps.
Just a selection of this weeks post in these two photos. Post from Qatar, the USA and Lithuania.
Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Netherlands stamps, and a 3D stamp from South Africa!
One letter was sealed with this wax seal! 
I wrote back but haven't perfected my sealing technique!
Oh well, it'll come with practice!

Postcrossing postcards

Last night, I scanned in a lot of postcards, then this morning, I put them in my postcard boxes. I am amazed at the wealth of variety, in both postcard and stamps. I decided to have a look at some of the ones from Finland.
Here are just a few postcards and stamps. I love the variety of themes, Moomins, Aurora Borealis, winter sports (these are lenticular).... Perhaps I'll do other countries, or perhaps themes some time. 
Time for lunch and some letter writing...

Tuesday 26 June 2012

More from Omegle

Omegle  is a site allowing you to talk (text or video) to a stranger. You can pose questions and watch the text conversation about it from two strangers. Here are some chats I watched.

The question I asked was, "When was the last time you wrote and posted a letter (not an email) to someone?"

Stranger 2: honestly
Stranger 2: never
Stranger 1: hmm
Stranger 1: tbh once?
Stranger 2: do holiday cards count ?
Stranger 1: sure
Stranger 2: then yes
Stranger 2: loads
Stranger 2: i thought like as a normal info letter
Stranger 2: you wouldnt give someone a birthday email unless you really hated them
Stranger 1: indeed if it's personal than you should write it
Stranger 1: right?
Stranger 2: true
Stranger 2: if its an email, it just says no effort whatsoever
Stranger 2: there is no love in elecronics
Stranger 2: lol
Stranger 1: but a post card from a foreign country, that's class
Stranger 2: When i was 9
Stranger 1: a year ago
Stranger 2: :(
Stranger 1: why sad face?
Stranger 2: Cause i lost contact after that.
Stranger 1: someone important?
Stranger 2: VERY.
Stranger 2: My best friend Jessica.
Stranger 1: ouch. why not email or facebook or something
Stranger 2: I dont really know...
Stranger 1: friendship never lasts
Stranger 1: yesterday.
Stranger 2: To the government about my vat and tax or something.
Stranger 2: Like, months ago.
Stranger 1: Wrote one and put it on my fathers grave.
Stranger 1: It's not exactly posting.
Stranger 2: You must be Forrest Gump's kid.
Stranger 1: Yes. Make fun of me and my deceased father.
Stranger 1: You're so funny
Stranger 1: You should be a comedian.
Stranger 1: Who writes your jokes for you?
Stranger 2: Woah man, That movie was the shit. It reminds me of it a lot.
I cut the end off the last conversation... It was sad to see someone take the mickey out of someone else who'd only just lost their father....
Stranger 1: 3 days ago :D
Stranger 1: I love snail mail
That's what I like to hear!

Friday 22 June 2012

Dickens miniature sheet

Yesterday, I popped into a little post office to see if they had any of the miniature sheets. I had forgotten to ask about it when I went on Tuesday for the other stamps in the issue. I was in luck, and purchased the 4-first class stamp miniature sheet, featuring illustrations from Nicholas Nickleby, Bleak House, Little Dorrit and A Tale of Two Cities. The quote beneath says, "No one who can read, ever looks as a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot."
Charles Dickens had visited my area of Wales. He watched trials at Beaumaris courthouse, on the Isle of Anglesey.  This photo is taken from Beaumaris Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
This is part of the castle.
Another view of the courthouse, which is now open as a museum. 

Tuesday 19 June 2012

What the Dickens is this post about?

Not a complete set, but that is because I didn't buy it all (miniature sheet, also £1.90 stamp).

Sunday 17 June 2012

How do you find penpals?

So, how did I find penpals?

Well, in school, I filled out a form for a youth penpal service, though I can't remember which organisation it was. I paid for some penpals and received some letters. However, as a teenager, I found myself busy with other things, such as homework and being with friends. So, unfortunately, penfriendship dwindled.

Then, as after leaving university, I wanted penpals again. I bought a free ads paper and saw that there was a form to place an ad internationally through their sister papers. I placed an ad in 10 international papers and received some letters. I still write to one of them.

Then, when I got my first computer, I wanted some penpals, but only found people who wanted email friendship. One even got worried if I did not write daily. I gave up for a few years.

Then, in 2008, I decided to try again for snailmail penpals. First port of call was PenPal International and had  found a few people to write to. However, the letters stopped (maybe lost in the post, or they stopped writing). I also tried Interpals and found more people that way. However, it was the same old story, the letters stopped. Also, some who said they would write the first letter, never did (or it was lost in the mail). One thing good about Interpals was that I discovered Postcrossing and this satisfied my hunger for nice mail, with postcards to and from all over the world. I discovered their forums (fora?) and found penpals through that, although not everyone continued their correspondence with me. I have tried other penpal websites but ...

Some penfriends started sending me Friendship Books (FBs). These are little booklets, sent with letters for people to write their name and address in, perhaps a bit about themselves and abbreviations such as NPW (new penpals welcome), NNSP (no new swap pals). I haven't received any letters via this route. I had started to make my own, first sending them around Spring 2009, but none have made their way back home.
These are ones I haven't sent on their way. I sew the paper into the cover, rather than using staples. I haven't sent many new ones recently, maybe I shall send some out this week or next when I reply to some letters.

Another site I found for penpalling, well, is mainly a craft and swap site called Swap-Bot. Almost anyone, over the age of 18, can create a swap, people then join and when the deadline for joining is over, the host of the swap checks through the profiles of the people, and if all is well, tells the computer to assign partners. I have joined postcard, letter and Christmas card swaps. I haven't hosted my own swap (I would automatically join the swap). As I write this blog entry, popular swaps include various ones for Artistic Trading Cards (ATC), and new swaps for "Zentangle" (zen doodle) ATC, postcard swaps and a long letter swap.

Earlier this year, there was The Month of Letters Challenge for the month of February. The challenge was to send an item of post (postcard, letter, ...) every "postal" day, so this was 24 days for USA. I had mail ready to go out every day, but missed the last postal collection on one Saturday, so instead of letting the item be lonely in the postbox, I kept it at home until Monday. I wrote to new people who were doing this challenge, and have developed a penfriendship with some of them.

There are a few blogs out there that post penpal ads. One site I like is Penpal of the Week. I have found one penpal via this site so far. To place an ad with that site, you send via the post, your advert to Julie in Canada. She'll put the advert on the website.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Fallen Off

Today, I received an envelope missing the stamps. They had been on when the envelope went through the Canadian postal system (there are postmarks visible), but the stamps have come off between then and delivery to me.
It isn't the first time stamps have fallen off envelopes to me.  These two were sent from France, again the stamp cancellation marks are visible.
I think the problem has been that the envelope paper (maybe from a magazine) is too glossy/shiny for the stamps to stay put. I had this problem on one envelope I made, and it was returned to me due to "insufficient postage". I contacted Royal Mail, and they suggested affixing the stamp to a label/something not shiny and then sticking this to the envelope. 
These are two envelopes I have made. To seal, I use double-sided sticky tape though I am not convinced that all these tapes I have are of great quality. I'm not convinced of the stickiness of some cellotapes, they are easily peel-able, not ideal when you want something to be stuck permanently. 

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Just some postcards and stamps

Today's post is a selection of outgoing mail posted on Friday.
There were other postcards posted too.
There  is just enough room on some postcards (as long as the address isn't too big), to use 1st class stamps with 3 more stamps to make up the airmail postage. 
Some of the postcards have already reached their destinations. 

Thursday 7 June 2012

6-7 June post

I have decided to show pictures of outgoing mail, of the stamps. No addresses (mine or the recipient's) will be shown.
Yesterday, I posted just two letters, eager to travel after the long Diamond Jubilee and Spring Bank Holidays.
But today, I posted some Postcrossing postcards. I posted more than are shown in the picture. 
These are the stamps I received on incoming mail, a postcard from Denmark, letters from The Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom, ( but the London postcard was enclosed in a letter), and a very special Postcrossing postcard.
It has a special Postcrossing postmark cancellation. Woo hoo!

Wednesday 6 June 2012


Last week saw the release of special issue stamps commemorating Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, however, not may people knew about these stamps, and not all post offices had them for sale (other than presentation packs, not likely to be used to send mail).
Royal Mail issues stamps celebrating the best of British, such as various eminent Britons, and the British institution, The Royal Society (with members from around the world, including Benjamin Franklin, an American, featured on the stamp for his work on electricity).
And then there are the fun stamps, featuring characters from Harry Potter (I didn't get many of these stamps, and they are no longer available from Royal Mail), to Discworld characters, music legends, and great stories...
Stamps can evoke emotions. On one letter I sent, I used a train stamp (not Thomas the Tank Engine or his friends) and this reminded her of her father who worked on the railways.
Then, as well as reminiscing about reading stories from Roald Dahl, there are comics, and cartoons... The Gerry Anderson issue even had a lenticular miniature sheet.
Plenty of great stamps issued by Royal Mail!
The next issue is out on 19th June 2012, celebrating the bicentenary of Charles Dickens' birth.

Tuesday 5 June 2012


A Postcrossing acquaintance mentioned the site, Omegle, on her facebook status. I googled it of course. It is a site allowing you to talk (text or video) to a stranger. I gave it a go but was inundated with asl? Anyway, I noticed that you can ask a question and watch two strangers talk about it. I posed the question:

"When was the last time you wrote and posted a letter (not an email) to someone?"  

The first two to respond:
Stranger 1: oh wow
Stranger 2: uh...
Stranger 1: thats going back
Stranger 2: never...
Stranger 1: i dont think i never did
Stranger 2: same here
Not a very good start..
Stranger 2: a long time ago
Stranger 1: Whats a letter?
Stranger 2: lol
That is even worse....

New question: "When was the last time you sent a postcard?"
Stranger 2: Never
Stranger 1: I really need to
Stranger 1: thanks spy
Stranger 2: XD
There's hope!

Monday 4 June 2012

Long Bank Holidays

For the corrsepondence fan, long bank holidays are tough.  After Saturday's delivery, no post will come until Tuesday, or in this case for the Diamond Jubilee, Wednesday. This is particularly hard for me because now I  await letters to reply to. I still have a letter to finish but by not completing the letter, there is a chance I will have something else to say. I am also in the middle of a surprise letter to some who participated in A Month of Letters Challenge in February.

Perhaps I should be making the most of not having letters to reply to, and instead, spending quality time with my family, playing board game, having fun, making muffins and maybe even writing a blog entry or two. I am looking forward to Tuesday night, when I could request Postcrossing addresses and write the postcards ready for Wednesday's collection. And by lunchtime Wednesday, I may even have some letters to read and reply to.