Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mysterious Places

Mexico | Chichen Itza

I am late today and after seeing Sheila's blog I decided to also feature an ancient site - however a lot more is known about the ancient civilizations of South America than will probably ever be known about those of Africa.

Chichen Itza is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World although it is in fact really old - having been built around 600 CE (Common Era).

Our Wonderful World Tuesday

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Rebirth

Rusia | Omsk | Uspensky Cathedral

More than 2000 km south east of Moscow, where the Irtysh and Om rivers meet, is the amazing and beautiful city of Omsk. When Tanya contacted me about a trade I was astonished at the number of beautiful postcards she had and it was difficult to choose only three. However this postcard was definitely my first choice.

This is the info on the back of the card:
Omsk. The rebirth of the Uspensky Cathedral. 2007. It was built in 1891-1898. The Cathedral was demolished in 1935. Is in 2007 recovered.

I wondered why such a beautiful building was destroyed. Wikipedia added the info that it was 'blown up' but not why. In an article at the OmskTime website I found this (it is tranlated from Russian so please excuse Google ^_~):

The Cathedral is a unique historical monument, as during the Civil War, he was the main cathedral of White Russia, the Bolsheviks were therefore considered it their duty to destroy this holy Orthodox Russian people, as happened in 1935. Now the restoration of the cathedral was an act of repentance.

So only 37 years after completion the Cathedral was destroyed and then 72 years later it is rebuilt to the original design. Amazing! Despite everything that humans do to each other, we resiliently wait until we can rebuild.

Our Wonderful World Tuesday

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Dog's Life

This is from the same set of stamps that Viridian showcased on her blog. The set, entitled 'Ukrainian Homestead' or 'Ukrainian Farmstead' (depending on the source of the info) is super cute!

Ukrainian Homestead

So the theme this week at Sunday Stamps is 'cats and dogs, and other pets on stamps'. I am a cat lover for sure - I think every single cat is beautiful and I love them all. But my life has been taken over by dogs. I own two; a Pekingese named Tasha and an Australian Cattle Dog named Dexy and I love them both very much.

Many stamps have been issued (some from very unlikely countries) featuring the Pekingese. I own the following three stamps and they have pride of place in my dog album.

Transkei Peke

This stamp was issued by the Bantustan of Transkei in 1993 in a set of four that also included the Chihuahua, the Papillon and the Dachshund. The following year the Transkei was incorporated back into South Africa. I particularly like this stamp because of the cheeky expression on the dogs face.

Panama Peke

This stamp was issued by Panama, in central America in 1967. The set is lovely and includes a cat, two roosters, two breeds of cattle, a pig and a horse so perhaps the theme was domestic animals of Panama. This is my favourite stamp because it looks most like my own dog.

Cambodge Peke

This stamp was issued by the southeast Asian country of Cambodia in 1997. It is in a set with many other breeds of dog, all of them Asian in origin. This stamp shows off the mane that makes Pekes the true 'Lion Dog'.


Sadly I do not have any stamps of Australian Cattle Dogs. The breed is relatively new but already there have been a number of issues featuring them including this set released by Australia in 1980.

Dogs of Australia

Here is the Maxicard for the ACD stamp.

Australian Cattle Dog Maxicard

I do believe that ACD puppies must be the cutest of all the dog breeds ^_~

This is the stamp from the 2008 issue entitled 'Working Dogs' and featuring other breeds of dogs that work in Australia including the Border Collie and German Shepherd.


I absolutely love this stamp. It also has a Maxicard but I haven't managed to get one yet. :(

Here are some Zazzle stamps I made with photos of my ACD Dexy.

Australian Cattle Dog Rules

Australian Cattle Dog

Pet Poll

Are you a dog or a cat person?
pollcode.com free polls 

Well that's all for dogs today. Next weeks theme is 'anything you wish'.

Sunday Stamps

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Delicious Day

France | Gâteau Breton | Brittany Butter Cake

This wonderful postcard above from Stéphanie in France via the France X Other Countries RR was just one of the 18 postcards and 1 folding card that I received in the mail today. What a Red Letter Day for me! Every postcard was beautiful but no less than 4 of these items were a complete and fantastic surprise - but more about that later.

Today I want to concentrate on this lovely cake. I was never much interested in recipe cards until I came across the Austrian recipe cards while surfing on postcrossing. Now one of them is mine and I like it very much so when I saw this in Stéphanie's selection for trade I knew I had to have it!

Brittany, also known as Little Britain, is a region on the west coast of France. To the north is the English Channel and Great Britain and as far as I know the Lesser and the Great were closely allied at one time. Breton, the language spoken in Brittany is a Celtic language similar to Welsh and Cornish.

Perhaps I am incorrect but I have always thought of these three regions; Wales, Cornwall and Brittany as Roman and associated with King Arthur.

Anyway so back to the cake. Here is the recipe as it is on the postcard in French.

Gâteau Breton
Creuser une fontaine dans la farine et le sucre pour y mettre 5 jaunes d' oeufs. Travailler la préparation à la cuillère en bois puis frotter entre les paumes pour la rendre sableuse. Incorporer le beurre en petits morceaux et pétrir. Beurrer un moule pour y étaler la pâte. Badigeonner le gâteau de jaune d'oeuf. Mettre le moule dans le four chaud et laisser cuire environ 90 min. Servir ce gâteau breton accompagné de cidre doux.

350 g de farine
175g de sucre
6 jaunes d'oeufs
190g de beurre

Here it is translated by Google.

Digging a fountain into the flour and sugar to put 5 egg yolks. Work preparing for the wooden spoon and rub between your palms to make sand. Stir the butter into small pieces and knead. Butter a mold in order to roll out the dough. Brush the cake with egg yolk. Put the pan in the preheated oven and cook about 90 min. Serve this cake with Breton cider sweet.

350 g flour
175g sugar
6 egg yolks
190g butter

Sand? Okay thank-you very much Google but I think I will try this recipe I found at Bakespace. It is from Nigella Lawson's book 'How to Be a Domestic Goddess'.

Cake Poll
Which of the following is your favourite cake?
pollcode.com free polls 

On another topic completely, do you know that the Google translator has a nifty feature called the Virtual Keyboard?

Virtual Keyboard

Just choose your language at the top as normal and then use the virtual keyboard to type. Great for Russian!

Russian Keyboard

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Window With a View

Cat from the Ukraine

Right after I started being active on Postcrossing again in September last year I received a message from a wonderful girl (Ptawka) who offered to send me a card of hers that I had favourited. This is the card. It got a bit smudged by postal ink but I think that adds to the charm. Ptawka says she has a grey cat who never goes out because there are many stray dogs in Kiev so he loves to watch the birds from the windowsill. The picture, the stamps she used and her lovely message have made this one of my favourite received cards.

Postcard Friendship Friday

Monday, February 13, 2012

All Things Bright and Beautiful

7 Happy Kids

My mom sent me this postcard in 2000 when she was away on holiday. She wrote 'Happiness is these 7 kids". They are all adorable. Children are the future.

I am starting a new meme called Our Wonderful World Tuesday. Do you love our planet? Every Tuesday display a postcard from your collection which shows our world's natural beauty or the diversity of our many cultures or mankind's achievements. Anything that shows that this planet is worth caring for.

art by Melle TRALALA

I do not have any of these cute postcards published by 'Nouvelles Images' but they are on my wish list.


Mü & Me 183: Greetings From The Big Five

If you participate in this first ever 'Our Wonderful World Tuesday' you are eligible to win this Mü & Me postcard by South African artist Daley Muller. If you also leave a comment you will be entered into the draw twice.

Our Wonderful World Tuesday

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What's in a Name

A Postcard for a Swapbot Swap | www.zazzle.com/lisawilliamsgifts

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;

So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

Today is Get a Different Name Day, so if your name does not please you can just pretend for a day that it is something else. This is actually a copyrighted holiday! A couple of other funny holidays they have come up with are 'Northern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo-Day', 'For Pete's Sake Day' and 'What if Cats & Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day'. Hahaha, yes what if?!

Anyway names have always fascinated me.

Character names in novels can make or break a story I think (imagine if Harry Potter had been named David Jones? Or Romeo had been named Neville?). Anne from 'Anne of Green Gables' agreed with me; she was rather partial to romantic sounding names such as Cordelia and Geraldine. One of my favourite possessions as a kid was a small book of baby names and I loved to look up the meanings so that I could name the characters in the stories I wrote appropriately. If a name meant white (Gwen for example) then the character must be virtuous!

According to this book my own name, Jocelyn, means playful. If you are interested in the meaning of your name here is an interesting site.

Surely it must be easier to do great things if you have a suitable name. Stonewall Jackson or Ulysses S Grant for example! (I am sure the beards also helped.)

USA | Civil War Generals 1861 - 1865
A Postcard for a Private Swap

Famous people love to give their poor children silly names. Jason Lee of 'My Name is Earl' fame called his kid Pilot Inspektor. I think he should have stuck to Earl Jnr quite frankly!

Place names are the best! When I was in Senior School my teacher had a big map of the United States on the back wall. There were other maps of course, including a Map of the World but I loved the USA one best because of all the cool names! The state names are awesome - Dakota, Wyoming, Montana for example. Then there were towns called 'Bowling Green' and 'Flag Pole' and ones named after more famous places like 'Paris, Iowa', 'Moscow, Arkansas' and 'Rome, Oregon'. Neat!

USA | Oklahoma
A Postcard for a Swapbot Swap

When I lived in London I heard about a flat available tn the tube stop of 'Angel'. I was very taken with the idea of living in 'Angel' because I imagined, rather whimsically, that my mail would be addressed to 'Jocelyn, Angel'. 'Angel' turned out to be a dump. I never lived there.

Now I know there are plenty of place names I wouldn't want my mail sent to including 'Lost Nation, Nevada' (depressing); 'Tick Bite, North Carolina' (no thanks!); 'Boring, Maryland' (snore).

Yugoslavia as was
A Postcard for a Private Swap from RenatoBG

Here's a country that apparently didn't like it's name and swapped it for 6 others!

Do you like your name and if you could have another name for the day what would it be?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All You Need is Love

This is my first time joining in with Sunday Stamps though I have often wanted to. The theme this week is love (or New Years Dragons but I have decided to stick with love).

In 2009 the South African Post Office released this lovely rose sheetlet entitled 'All You Need is Love' on the 13th of February, just in time for Valentines. The following information about the sheetlet appears on the SAPO website.

Artwork: Jeanlé Casarin
Stamp size: 35 x 35 mm round stamp
Stamp sheet size: 168 x 187 mm heart shaped
Paper: Self adhesive
Gum: PS1 adhesive
Quantity printed: 400,000 Sheet-lets
Colour: CMYK
Phosphor: 4 mm circular around outer edge of stamp.
Printing process: Offset Lithography, Southern Colour Print, New Zealand

The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.” As reflected in this quote from an unknown source, love and roses are often mentioned in the same breath. On Valentine's Day and on many other special occasions, love and appreciation are often conveyed through the language of roses. To celebrate the beauty of love and roses this Valentine's day and throughout the year, the South African Post Office will issue a set of self-adhesive stamps on 13 February depicting roses to convey the message, “All you need is love.”

For many people, the words “All you need is Love” bring back memories from the sixties when this Beatles' song was a number one hit. The song, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was meant to be a message to the world that love is everything. Given the importance of the message, it is arguably one of the world's greatest songs.

Like the song, the message that this stamp issue conveys is simple, yet powerful. And what better way to convey the message than with roses. Roses are among the world's most beautiful flowers and have been used to convey messages of love, gratitude and friendship throughout history. Roses as symbols of love, passion and appreciation are not only reflected in history books, but also across many cultures.

Fossil remains indicate that roses have been around since prehistoric times. It is believed that the first cultivated roses appeared in Asian gardens about 5 000 years ago. Introduced in Europe during the time of the Roman Empire, roses were mainly used decoratively. Cleopatra is said to have scattered rose petals before Mark Anthony's feet, and Nero ostensibly released roses from the ceiling during extravagant feasts and banquets.

In the Victorian era, people took the language of flowers quite seriously. Flowers became a way for lovers to communicate with each other, because they often conveyed messages and demonstrated feelings which people were hesitant to proclaim openly. Although the Victorian language of flowers has faded, a gift of roses in modern times still says more than words.

Through the ages and across cultures, different coloured roses have attained different symbolic meanings. Red roses, for example, are said to symbolise love, passion, desire, respect and courage; white roses symbolise innocence, reverence, humility and truth; and orange roses symbolise fascination and enthusiasm. In the Victorian era, pink roses, symbolised romantic love and were among the most popular flowers of the time.

Pink roses are found in paintings, on ornaments, jewellery, heirlooms, textiles and other objects from that period. They come in different shades, from pale pink, peach and blushing pink, to deep pink and crimson. However, literature on the symbolic meaning of roses indicates that pink roses also have various other meanings. Blushing pink roses, for example, are often associated with grace, innocence and happiness, while pale pink roses convey grace, admiration and sympathy. Peach roses symbolise modesty and deep pink roses are said to convey gratitude and appreciation.

Also depicted on our stamps are yellow roses. Among other things, yellow roses is said to symbolise friendship, caring, happiness, joy and freedom. They also mark a new beginning. Giving a yellow rose to somebody would mean that you want him or her to be your friend. When grouped together, pale pink and yellow roses traditionally signified sociability and friendship. A combination of red and yellow roses conveyed a message of fun and happiness, while yellow and white roses conveyed the message of harmony.

However, it was not only the colours of roses that expressed feelings. Fresh roses in a bouquet is said to have expressed deep gratitude, while a single rose said, “I still love you”. A bouquet of rosebuds is said to represent innocent love, saying, “You are forever young and beautiful.”

While this set of stamps are, therefore, aptly issued for messages conveyed on Valentine's Day, they are also most suitable for other special messages of love, gratitude or appreciation to a friend or loved one. Such occasions include Mother's Day (the 2nd Sunday in May), Children's Day (20 November), Grand Mom and Grand Dad Day (1 October), and Father's Day (2nd Sunday in June).

The roses depicted on the stamps are Beauty from Within (ORAmaucoq), Cotlands Rose (MICautumn), Rinahugo (DORfuri), Johannesburg Sun (KORdoubt), and Bewitched (1967 - No international code). Clearly, there is both a touch of our country and the magical aura of roses built into this stamp issue, rendering them “proudly South African.”

Jeanlé Casarin created the artwork for these stamps. She is a 3rd year Graphic Design student at The Open Window in Pretoria. These stamps are one of the practical projects that form part of the Graphic Design curriculum.

The captions on each stamp include the international variety names of the roses portrayed. These variety names are always written with the first three letters in capital indicating the breeder, i.e. KOR for Kordes, ORA for Orard, DOR for Dorieux, etc.

Regarding Love stamps Beyond the Perf has a slideshow of all 34 of the Love stamps released by USPS since 1973 and as you can see 8 of them feature roses.

Beyond the Perf

Sunday Stamps

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mountain Lion

USA | Mountain Lion (Felis concolor)

This postcard is from Susan in the USA, someone I love to swap with because she is just so considerate and also she loves South Africa. I love the card mostly because I love cats of all sorts but also because it reminds me of a poem by DH Lawrence which was one of my favourites in my teens.

The Mountain Lion
D.H. Lawrence (1885 -1930)

Climbing through the January snow, into the Lobo canyon
Dark grow the spruce-trees, blue is the balsam, water sounds
still unfrozen, and the trail is still evident.

Two men!
Men! The only animal in the world to fear!

They hesitate.
We hesitate.
They have a gun.
We have no gun.

Then we all advance, to meet.

Two Mexicans, strangers, emerging out of the dark and snow
and inwardness of the Lobo valley.
What are you doing here on this vanishing trail'?

What is he carrying?
Something yellow.
A deer?

Que tiene, amigo?
Leon -
He smiles, foolishly, as if he were caught doing wrong.
And we smile, foolishly, as if we didn't know.
He is quite gentle and dark-faced.

It is a mountain lion,
A long, long slim cat, yellow like a lioness.
He trapped her this morning, he says, smiling foolishly.

Lift up her face,
Her round, bright face, bright as frost.
Her round, fine-fashioned head, with two dead ears;
And stripes in the brilliant frost of her face, sharp, fine dark rays,
Dark, keen, fine eyes in the brilliant frost of her face.
Beautiful dead eyes.

Hermoso es!

They go out towards the open;
We go on into the gloom of Lobo.
And above the trees I found her lair,
A hole in the blood-orange brilliant rocks that stick up, a little cave,
And bones, and twigs, and a perilous ascent.

So, she will never leap up that way again, with the yellow
flash of a mountain lion's long shoot!
And her bright striped frost-face will never watch any more,
out of the shadow of the cave in the blood-orange rock,
Above the trees of the Lobo dark valley-mouth!

Instead, I look out.
And out to the dim of the desert, like a dream, never real;
To the snow of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, the ice of
the mountains of Picoris,
And near across at the opposite steep of snow, green trees
motionless standing in snow, like a Christmas toy.

And I think in this empty world there was room for me and
a mountain lion.
And I think in the world beyond, how easily we might spare
a million or two of humans
And never miss them.
Yet what a gap in the world, the missing white frost-face of
that slim yellow mountain lion!

Postcard Friendship Friday

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tintin and Snowy

Tintin and Snowy

I am so happy! Just this morning I was envious of Anna who had received a Tintin postcard. This afternoon I received my own, very first ever Tintin and Snowy card from the wonderful Andrea in Austria! Thank-you!

When I was about 11 or so I was crazy about Tintin and Asterix. Our school library had copies but they were very expensive and couldn't be issued so I spent a lot of breaks curled up in a big leather chair reading them. It was horrible when the bell rang and I had to go back to class, especially if it was in the middle of an exciting part!

In other news .. I was mentioned by name on Gem's World Postcards so I am famous! Glen has the most fantastic collection of postcards from all sorts of places. It is brilliant to pick a place in the side bar and see how many cards he has! British Virgin Islands - check! Cocos ( Keeling ) Islands - check! Qatar - check!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Best of Times

Google's doodle

Today, 7th of February 2012 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the great Charles Dickens. Google's doodle commemorates this with illustrations of a few of his famous characters.

The British Postal Museum & Archive has an article about two prints by the artist Albert Ludovici Jr. in their collection. They show scenes featuring mail coaches from the novels 'David Copperfield' and 'Great Expectations'. They are absolutely fabulous and would make marvelous stamps (in my opinion anyway).

Later on this year (19th of June to be exact) Royal Mail will be releasing a set of stamps in Dickens honor but apparently they realeased a set of 4 stamps back in 1970 which was the centenary of his death. I read all about it at Bob Scotney's blog on Sunday. He has a Dickens themed post today as well, which is very interesting.

I have read a few of Dickens' novels such as 'Great Expectations' and 'Oliver Twist' a number of times but others I loathed within a few pages such as 'The Old Curiosity Shop'. Little Nell is the MOST irritating character!

A Month of Letters

A Month of Letters

Mary Robinette Kowal, an author, has started a challenge: 'A Month of Letters'. The aim is to write a piece of mail for every day in February that the USPS is open (not Sundays or Public Holidays). So only 24 items! Easy peasy! I mean I am already doing the February 50 RR at the Postcrossing Forum so I will complete the challenge anyway!

I first saw her button as an avatar at the Postcrossing Forum but now I am seeing it on lots of websites and Missive Maven even wrote about it on her blog.

You can register at the site and see a list of other participants and send friend requests. Here is my profile.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A New Year Dragon

A New Year Dragon

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar system 2012 starts on January 23rd and is the 4,709th Chinese year! There are 12 Animal Branches that fall in the following order: Rat, Ox/Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster/Chicken, Dog and Pig.

I was born in 1973, an Ox year and this is what I have read about it:

Those born under the influence of the Ox are fortunate to be stable and persevering. The typical Ox is a tolerant person with strong character. Not many people could equal the resolution and fearlessness the Ox exhibits when deciding to accomplish a task or an objective.

I have to tell you that is all completely untrue! I wish I had those characteristics.

This lovely pink Dragon came from Kotona in Japan via Choose a Country RR.

I received a great message this evening from an American Swapbot user who finally received the 'One Sentence Journal - October' that I made and posted on Nov 12, 2011! How amazing is that! It arrived in a plain white envelope. I sent it in a handmade envelope made from a calender but the Post Office must have taken exception to this and decided to put it in their own envelope and keep it for a bit before sending it on. Or perhaps it was delayed at this end?

My mother warned me about my handmade envelopes and the way I write the addresses on them (why shouldn't the address go up the giraffes leg I ask??) but I said "These are postal workers - they get the mail through rain or shin, snow or hail!" Well I was right ^_~ Thank-you USPS!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Great Buddha

Japan | Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple | Nara

This is the Great Buddha of Todaiji Temple in Nara, a major city in Japan. This is an Official card.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

First Bobcat

USA | Bobcat (Lynx rufus) | Order: Carnivora | Family: Felidae

My very first Bobcat has arrived from the USA thanks to Erin and the Choose a Country RR. Bobcats are from the genus Lynx and live in North America. Apparently there are a number of subspecies ranging geographically from the south of Canada to the north of Mexico. All Lynx have short tails, none live in Africa. :( I am exceedingly pleased to have received this very cute cat ^_~

Friday, February 3, 2012


Poland | Roztocze

More beauty. This is Roztocze, a range of hills in Poland and Ukraine threaded through with a river which I think is the Wieprz River. Part of the range in Poland is a National Park. There are many mammal species living there (all my favourites) as well as more than 190 species of bird as well as adorable little Polish ponies!

There are many reasons I love this card. First the white border; most South African postcards have white borders and I find them very attractive. Then the nice font; a quick way to ruin a good card is to use an inappropriate or ugly font. Thirdly the picture is just gorgeous for many reasons. Lastly it came from Poland, which must be one of my favourite European countries!

Postcard Friendship Friday

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Beautiful World

Poland | Masuria

I know the world is beautiful but somehow I am always astonished by just how wonderful it is. Isn't this picture amazing? This is Masuria in north eastern Poland, a place famed for it's 2000 lakes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Boldt Castle

USA | Boldt Castle | NY

This absolutely brilliant postcard came from Heather for the Hometown RR. Boldt Castle is situated on Hart Island, one of the many islands of a chain in the Saint Lawrence River. For me the best part of this picture are the statues of the stags. A stag is an adult male deer. Another word for an adult deer is hart.