Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Nerd alert: I was a teenage stamp collector

Okay... it is possible that this blog is helping to turn me into an even bigger nerd than the guy in this clip.

That is all I am going to say on the matter this week. I am tired after a few days in the field, and the prospect of moving house next weekend is making me want to scrunch into the foetal position. So, basically all I am capable of doing is listening to strangely compelling 80s pop about stamp nerds. (You would never have guessed, but I have a soft spot for teenage stamp collectors). I can't believe this song even exists, but, my lord it makes me happy. So wrong, yet so right.

With thanks to this guy for putting me onto the song. And meanwhile, if you are looking for some techni-colour escapism, check out his other blog, which is super cool, all  about awesome postcards like the two below, that, well...  totally float my boat.



Happy Wednesday folks. Have a great week. 

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Geek is Chic: Sunday Stamps

Once again, when turning to a favourite set of stamps, I find myself drawn to an issue from the '70s. I know that words like "vintage" and "retro" are catch-cries of the hipster-generation, and as such are a little over-used at the moment. And lets face it, I mock hipsters, but I myself have, shall we say, "hipster tendencies," (if a pair of ray-bans count as a tendency). Anyhow, I digress. What I am trying to say is that I am more than happy to go with the retro-loving crowd on this one: 1970s design is wicked.

New word for the week: SPECTROPHOTOMETRY!
So. This classic set of stamps was released in May 1975 and celebrates Australian achievements in science. I don't know if science has ever looked so funky. 

This one makes me think of  the movie "The Day After Tomorrow"

Grandma Nellie kept the original packaging (thanks Grandma!), so I have the designer's notes for the release. The notes read:
The challenge was to convey the significant contributions made by Australia in certain scientific fields. faced with such unfamiliar subject matter, the limited language of graphic design proved inadequate, and it was necessary to resort to written explanations which then became major design elements.
These presented their own peculiar problems, since the words had to satisfy the scientists participating in the chosen fields, and at the same time satisfy the rigorous formal demands of space within each design.
 Well, I think it is safe to say that the designers nailed it. These stamps are brilliant. And I think all the hipsters would agree: Geek is Chic. Hooray for science nerds!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Plura Scriptum Epistola

Hello Friends!
I am feeling the love at the moment, or more precisely my mailbox is feeling the love, and I just wanted to say thank-you to all the wonderful people who have sent me mail lately.

Postcard from Rohan, my semi-retired jungle-explorer friend (for real!)
This blog is not really supposed to be about the mail I receive, but the thing of it is, stamps and mail go hand in hand.

I love stamps, and I love post. Part of what makes stamps so special though, is that they adorn envelopes, which in turn promise to hold gems of  correspondence. Hand-written personal notes. Ah, the warm and fuzzy feelings I get when I receive hand-written personal notes in my mailbox!

And I certainly felt very warm and fuzzy the other night, when I went to my special "I heart post" post box and found the following amazing card waiting for me, from Carla at 365 Letters; not least of all because this was my first piece of post directly from the blogosphere.

There are so many things that I love about the card, that I feel it warrants a list:
1) Check out the awesome vintage-ness of the colours, the rounded corners and the image. BRILLIANT.
2) This came from Carla's holiday in June 1980... and she labellled the back of the card with that information when she bought it. Swoon. I love a bit of historical record-keeping.
3) THE STAMPS ARE AMAZING (and worthy of an exclamation in capitals). Click on the image above to check them out properly. They are worth it.
4) Did I mention it was the first piece of mail from a random fellow blogger?? 

Yep, I am feeling all warm and fuzzy just looking over it again. Thank-you Carla, you made my day (slash week)!

My parents are travelling at the moment, and they sent me the above lovely postcard from Austria featuring a Gustav Klimt painting... and the Wiener Werkstätte logo on the reverse, with a very nice stamp indeed. And they also sent me a Swedish map postcard. Thank-you parents! Three of my favourite things!

The thing is, with this blog, I have been thinking alot about why I like post so much. The correspondence part is definitely an element. And with that in mind, I recently joined the Letter Writers Alliance, because, I feel like with all this banging on about post that I do, I really should be sending some!

Letter Writers Alliance 

And my membership card arrived in the mail last week... and the envelope was enough to make me happy (I am a girl of simple pleasures, it is true).

I can tell you that I do plan on using my "Letter Writers Alliance" membership/superpower for good and not evil. And they have a Latin motto: Plura Scriptum Epistola. I did a Latin major at university, and the only thing I really remember is "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus". Yep. That is the Hogwarts motto. Never disturb a sleeping dragon. In muggle idiom that would be, "let sleeping dogs lie".

Anyhow, I am all for Latin mottos, and I am very happy to be part of an organisation that has one. So, Plura Scriptum Epistola. I am going to take this on as a personal motto forthwith; and I shall, I shall, write more letters. They probably won't be in Latin.

Thankyou Laura!

Thankyou Sandra - a postcard AND stamps. Yippee!
Oh yes, my friends do know that I love a bit of royal kitsch!

Thankyou Sandy
Thankyou to all the lovely people that have sent me things in the post recently. I do so love post. xx

And last but not least, just in, vintage-post Post from Jaz!  Yay!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Brunei and Tongariro; Envelopes and Scale bars

Last time I went back home to my parents house and slept in my old bedroom, I found four envelopes that I had once sorted stamps into, labelled, and tucked away in the bookshelf above my old cast-iron bed.

This afternoon (after I clocked off work of course), I sorted out some of the stamps and tried to take some photos of them on the photography table at work. That is why, in the above photo, for my own great amusement, I have included a scale bar (hello archaeologist friends!).

Anyhow, in the envelopes, as you would plainly expect, there are lots of treasures.
There are a whole heap of stamps from Brunei, all with the Sultan's head on them. These came from my cousins who lived in Brunei in what must have been the late-eighties/early-nineties. This was about the time, I think, that my Dad thought it was hilarious if he got us to do salaams and call him Master. I think he fancied himself a Sultan. We didn't fall for it for a second.

 Anyhow, the stamps are all very beautiful, and I am not sure what I am going to do with them. Put them in an album? Make gift tags out of them? Leave them in their envelopes, so that in another twenty years when I am rifling through my stuff, I find them and get great pleasure out of tipping out the contents and discovering the delightful treasures anew? Hmmm... I am not sure. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

So many pretty pictures, so many lovely lovely treasures... but just as I was putting away the stamps, I found this one:

It shows the Tongariro National Park and Chateau. I had no idea that I had this stamp, but I totally totally LOVE it. Last year, my Mum and I went to NZ and hiked the Tongariro Crossing... and the next day went and had high tea at the chateau. So this completely wonderful little stamp epitomises a really fantastic holiday! YAY for cool stamps! Big-ups to New Zealand Post!

Mount Tongariro
High tea at the chateau with Mum
And one of the view from the top.. below the snow level. It totally made the 19km hike worthwhile!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Life, the Universe and Everything: Sunday Stamps.

This week saw Venus make its transit across the sun, an astronomical event which will not occur again until 2117. I didn't view the event, but I feel like this week there was all sorts of big things going on in my personal universe, so I feel like I felt it - if that makes sense. Basically the transit coincided with my housemate telling me she was moving out... and an old high school friend advertising a room for rent. In 24 hours I became effectively homeless, and then suddenly with a new postcode on the hipster side of town. I am very excited. Anyhow. Onto the topic at hand.

In honour of this twice-in-a-lifetime event (the transit cycle means it passes by twice in eight years, and then not again for another 105 or 121), the theme for Viridian's Sunday Stamps is astronomy. So from my stamp collection I dug out the above two really lovely stamps that were issued for "International Space Year 1992". Unfortunately I don't yet own the third stamp in the series, which depicts the Pleiades... but I think I will definitely have to add it to my collection:

Sitting in my album alongside the above really beautiful astronomical photographic stamps, I have the following stamps which depict milestones in space exploration.

The series was released in 2007 and was titled "Blast Off! 50 years in Space". Although they kind of look like they have been drawn to illustrate a B-grade children's sci-fi show, upon much consideration I have decided that I do in fact quite like them (perhaps because I have a predilection for anything sci-fi).

For fun, here is the NASA video of the Transit of Venus, which is quite spectacular. Enjoy.

This has been an entry into Viridian's Sunday Stamps. Check out other entries here:

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Pretty things in the gutter

2008 Megafauna Stamp Issue
I haven't done a regular Wednesday post for two whole weeks due to life kinda getting in the way. I wasn't sure what to write about today, so I was flicking through my stamp album and decided to share these megafauna stamps. I thought I would share them because, basically, they are totally awesome.

The stamps were released in 2008 for 'stamp collecting month' and as such these stamps are clearly designed to appeal to the primary-school-aged demographic... so I am not sure what it says about me, that I think they are so cool!

My favourite megafauna stamp is the one with the giant goose-like thing; the genyornis. According to Melbourne Museum the Genyornis Newtoni lived between 1.8 million and 40,000 years ago (in the Pleistocene) and stood a decent two metres tall (now I feel like a primary school kid doing a school project, standing at the front of the class... "It was a very big bird, bigger than an emu, and was sometimes called a 'thunder bird'. The end.")

Perhaps the most famous of the animals included on the stamp set is the Thylacine, better known as the Tasmanian Tiger. I didn't know that the Tasmanian Tiger counted as a megafauna, but maybe it had bigger relatives that were megafauna? The poor old Tasmanian Tiger became officially extinct in 1936. It was extinct on the mainland prior to European contact, but had survived in Tasmania. However, growing up in Gippsland, in south-eastern Victoria, there were  rumours circulating about Thylacine sightings. I am not sure of the likelihood of the rumours proving true, but I certainly enjoy the idea of the Tasmanian Tiger surviving.

The thing that you will have noticed about these stamps is that they have bonus illustrations in the gutter! I love it when Australia Post has special "gutter strip" releases. I have two other gutter strips that are pretty cool... nothing at all to do with megafauna, and everything to do with just being pretty.

2010 Stamp Issue commemorating the Bicentenary of Governor Macquarie
2004 Issue featuring Landmark Bridges
I am not going to rabbit on too much about these last two sets - I will just let you admire how pretty they are!

I just love the images chosen for the gutters of all three sets... I love the fossils drawn on graph paper for the mega-fauna series; I love the panorama of Sydney Cove for the release about Governor Macquarie; and I love the design drawings for the bridges stamps.

How about that... there is just so much fun to be had in the gutter!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Wine, Women and Cheese: Sunday Stamps

Recently I went on a little sojourn to Adelaide with three friends to meet up with the awesome Justy and Pips who relocated there from Melbourne exactly one year ago. We had an absolutely delightful extended weekend that involved a whole lot of cheese, a whole lot of wine, and rather more fart jokes than I would have anticipated. It was brilliant fun.

This weekend I thought I would share wine related stamps, and remember the great little holiday we had. We spent one night in the Barossa Valley, (which is depicted on the above stamp) and over two jam-packed days we visited about  half-a-dozen wineries in the region. The Barossa Valley is known for its Shiraz and we certainly did a good job of sampling as many different examples as we could.

The Barossa Valley stamp was issued in 1992 as part of a release celebrating Australia's famous wine-producing regions. I haven't been to Margaret River or Coonawarra yet - but after such an enjoyable time taking in the spectacular vineyard views, relaxing by warm fireplaces, sipping on wine and tasting cheese - I think I am definitely going to add these destinations and some more wine-region-touring to my holiday wish-list.

Thanks to my lovely friends for such a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend away!! 
(When are we doing it again?)

This has been an entry into Viridian's Sunday Stamps.