Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Tag: nature

Month of Letters: Day 28

Finally! The last day of this challenge. I think the intent was good, but it takes more time out of your day than what one might expect. I think this would be a great project for people who have more free time than I do. As I’ve mentioned before, after this I’m sticking to doing all my mail on the weekends. If I were to participate again next year, I may reduce it down to one postcard a day. Maybe two.

Anyways, this last batch. The first one is going to someone in Russia who likes local nature scenes–I think I got this one in a tiny convenience store I stopped in while driving around Marin County a while back. The second is going to Belgium to someone who like comics and food (hence the food stamps and decorations and the Superman postcard from the Vintage DC Comics postcard box set put out by Chronicle Books). The third is to an animal lover in France who particularly likes all the animals that I’ve managed to squeeze into this (the postcard is from a set called “The Art of Instruction”). And the fourth is to an old school postcard collector in Germany who had a, um, roundabout way of stating that they didn’t like anything but tourist postcards and no decorations at the back. I also took care to not place any of the stamps over the writing because they specifically didn’t want stickers over any writing. And, you know, all the US stamps are stickers now. They might still not like the stamps, though, because they don’t like art.

Month of Letters: Day 26

The first postcard today is going to someone in Germany who is having a postcard contest with their parent to see who will get the most cards with a specific theme. That theme is “mother and child” and fortunately, I had a gorilla postcard with a baby riding on its mother’s back. I knew that if I had any chance of finding a postcard matching that theme in my stash it would have to be animal related. The only reason I have any postcards with people on them are because those were on sale when I got them. (If I’m going to pay full price, it had better be something that I personally like a lot. And I’m not a fan of human baby pictures in general.) The second postcard is a special one I obtained when I had visited Yosemite; it’s going to another person in Germany, this time for a specialized amphibian “tag”. The third postcard is part of a book of postcards on Frank Lloyd Wright–it’s going to a Canadian for an architecture tag.

Month of Letters: Day 22

First up today is a cat postcard for a cat tag going to someone in Taiwan. And in a related feline tag is a postcard I had originally gotten at a rummage sale of a lynx in the middle of a leap–going to someone in France. And finally, a postcard of the de Young Museum since the German person this is going to had requested local attractions.

Month of Letters: Day 18

A couple years ago, I had found a box of marine life postcards on sale that was published by Phaidon which is more well known in my mind for art books. It might not seem like it in the scan below, but it’s actually an oversized card. This one, a closeup of a sea anemone, is going to someone in Canada who wanted a postcard with this topic. The second postcard going to Greece is another patterned one from the same set of other patterned postcards I posted earlier this month–this one is going to someone specifically requesting patterns. And the third is to a nature lover in Germany.

Month of Letters: Day 15

People talk a lot about popular postcard topics like planes and trains, city views, mountains, and cats. But the first postcard I have today is for someone in Japan who likes penguins. And interestingly enough, there are many people who like penguins and there’s even decorative stuff with penguins available in a lot of places. I honestly have a hard time keeping enough penguin postcards on stock. Too bad I don’t have any more of those additional ounce penguin stamps. I probably should have bought the 100 stamp rolls when they had been available. The second postcard is for a wild animal tag going to someone in French Guiana. And the third postcard is going to someone in Brazil who likes Harry Potter. (To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Harry Potter so I’m trying to get rid of these postcards as quickly as I can.)

Month of Letters: Day 14

First up today is a birthday postcard to someone in Russia. I honestly didn’t know the artist of this postcard (Lucia Mathews) until I obtained this postcard. Apparently you can see this at the Oakland Museum, but when I was last there, the exhibits were different so this must have been in storage. The second postcard of some trees in Yosemite is for a tree-themed “tag” going to someone in Japan. The third postcard is an Ed Hardy design going to someone in Germany who likes snakes. I find that an unusual request–many people specifically request no snakes due to phobias.

Month of Letters: Day 6

Today’s postcard examples are probably more typical of the postcards I end up sending because many people have very similar preferences, or rather, there are certain topics that are common or popular. The first one is a black and white photograph from the 1930s culled from the archives of UC Berkeley–this one will be sent to someone in Russia who specifically requested black and white photos with people in them. The second postcard is a scene from the Point Reyes National Shoreline (I actually got this at Point Reyes when I last visited) that will be sent to someone in the Netherlands who likes nature.

Month of Letters: Day 2

It’s three postcards this time. One for a nature lover, another for someone who specifically requested a Valentine’s theme, and the third for someone who I think will appreciate the cute stuff. One will go to Russia and the other two within the US.

Postcard Set Review #1: Wildflowers of California by A.R. Valentien

I’ve been thinking for a while about a series of reviews on postcard sets (books, boxes, or otherwise) that I’ve bought and personally used to send to other people. While these reviews will be more like “lightning” reviews and the frequency would be sporadic, it’s more for my own documentation and edification. Feel free to skip to the pictures below if you don’t feel like reading blather.

Several years ago, when I was still living in San Diego, I was browsing the gift shop of the San Diego Natural History Museum and came across this postcard book: Wildflowers of California. I was just beginning my postcard hobby at the time and this seemed like a pretty good deal, getting an entire book of postcards rather than purchasing them one at a time at a dollar a piece. I didn’t think too much about the artist or the subject matter at the time, only that I liked it because I like nature illustrations in general and flowers seemed like a fairly inocuous thing to mail to other random people without possibly offending any sensibilities.

This was also where I first encountered something that was published by Pomegranate–which I later learned also made a lot of other stationary and specialized in printing postcard books of fine art that could be found in a number of different museums. There’s definitely a certain style to postcards printed by Pomegranate. The card stock for postcard books is durable but slippery. I’m always afraid that any ink will smudge if it gets wet and the surface is not good for writing with ballpoint pens which require a rougher surface.
It was only later that I learned who Albert Robert Valentien was and why I was only able to find this postcard book at the San Diego Natural History Museum. It’s a shame that it’s too difficult to find a copy online and another shame that Valentien never saw his work (which took a decade to finish!) get published. His illustrations are really quite wonderful.

Postcard #427 – Faroe Islands

I sent this postcard to myself while I was on vacation in the Faroe Islands. I remember having a heck of a time trying to find where I could drop off the mail.

Anyways, it seems somewhat bittersweet revisiting this postcard right now when the entire world is pretty much on lockdown and no one can travel anywhere. One day, I’ll visit another faraway place and enjoy what the world has to offer.

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