Sunday, 29 July 2012

Queen Nefertiti and the Brunswick Lion: Sunday Stamps

The week before last I had a very lovely surprise waiting for me in my postbox; a postcard from Budapest, written twenty years ago that my lovely friend Johanna found for me in an antique store. She sent it to me not so much for the card (which itself is cool), but for the very awesome Deutsche Bundespost stamps.

The stamp that especially caught Joh's eye was the one depicting Nefertiti's bust. The bust portraying the Egyptian Queen dates to around 1340BC. It was uncovered in 1912 by a German archaeological team and now resides in Berlin.
I love the Nefertiti bust - it exemplifies all the glamour and mystery and artistry of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation. I would love to see it for real one day. Berlin is definitely on my wanderlust list.

I also really liked the stamp beneath Nefertiti on the postcard, but I didn't know what it depicted and so had to turn to google. It turns out that the Braunschweiger Löwe is the Brunswick Lion, which dates to around 1166, from the reign of Henry the Lion. There you go. Thanks Wikipedia.

I don't know what the technical term is, but I really love the simple block prints of these designs, using only two (or three on the 100 stamp) colours. They are just such bold, striking designs. I have decided I am officially a big fan of Deutsche Bundespost. Another reason to go to Germany, I suppose!!

Thanks so much for the postcard Johanna!

This has been my entry into Viridian's Sunday stamps, which this week was a free theme. 
Check out other entries here:

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Lovely Package Exchange

Oh, hello friends!!
Recently, following my new resolution to adhere to the motto of the Letter Writers Alliance, "plura scriptum epistola", I decided to sign up to participate in the Lovely Package Exchange organised by Danni at her Oh, Hello Friend: You Are Loved blog.

The lovely package I sent off. It was slightly more lovely once I added the full postage value with more nice stamps!
And on the flip side :)
My swap partner was collage artist and zine connoisseur Kelly who conveniently also lives in Melbourne. It was a very fun thing to do - to put together a lovely package, and then receive one in return. And funnily enough, we must have very similar tastes, because some of the things I included in my package to her, I received in return - namely, some lovely airmail envelopes and some stamps (ah, yes, Kelly must be a girl after my own heart).

So - this is what I sent Kelly. First off, I have been experimenting with collage myself a little lately. And since Kelly is into collage, I made her a card:
What do you think? I made it using some vintage National Geographics. And I was pretty pleased with the result. I quite like the three odd-bods at the beach.

Inside the package I included a variety of things, which I do hope she likes: some earrings, some stamps, some vintage postcards, some vintage buttons, some lovely material from the 1920s for crafting, and my favourite thing: a 1949 Atlas full of lovely colour maps and some pretty great black-and-white photos.

Then, in return, I had a tasty treat waiting in my mailbox tonight...

...And it was full of lots of goodies!

Gypsy the Cat was pretty interested in my little haul! 
Kelly sent my some very fun mt washi tape, a cute bird stamp, some vintage postcards, a notebook, some pencils in a cute pencil case, and my favourite of the lot, a gorgeous vintage knitting pattern:

It is full of lovely gloves, scarves and hats to knit! How fun!

Thanks so much to Danni for organising, and to Kelly for being a great swap partner. I am a big fan of a lovely package!!! Thanks ladies!

And if people are interested, another blogger I follow, Rin from Papered Thoughts has also blogged about her Lovely Package Exchange experience. Check it out!

Oh, there is so much fun to be had in the blogosphere - and I am even more excited when the blogosphere merges with actual reality in my mailbox!!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Games of the Olympiad: Sunday Stamps

I think the word "Olympiad" is sadly under-utilised these days.
The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games are just around the corner: 5 days, 9 hours and 51 minutes away, to be precise. This week through Viridian's Sunday Stamps, we are very-fittingly sharing Olympic themed stamps.

I have chosen to share this lovely set of four stamps issued when my own home city hosted the Games of the XVIth Olympiad in 1956. The two coloured stamps present two fairly iconic images of Melbourne. The 1s stamp shows Melbourne's green and yellow trams, which still trundle through our streets today; and the 2s stamp shows the Yarra River, with Flinders Street station in the background. Both scenes have changed somewhat in the intervening 56 years, but both remain identifiable.

A large part of the reason cities choose to host the Games is to showcase the city's appeal to a worldwide audience, and I think the above two stamps would have been issued with that objective in mind. The last stamp in the series is a monochromatic red stamp that features Melbourne's Coat of Arms.

As always, I have once again learnt something through choosing stamps to share. This week I learnt that the City of Melbourne has a Latin motto: Vires Acquirit Eundo. It is apparently a line taken from Virgil's Aeneid and means "We gather strength as we go". I have said it before, and I'll say it again: I love a good Latin motto. And I think perhaps the pomp of a Latin motto sits well with the pomp and ceremony of the Olympic Games, so I will just leave it at that, for today.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Archaeology / Gold Rush / Stamps / Yay!

On site at Burrumbeet. The big skies out there are amazing.
Howdy folks!
The past two weeks I have been away on fieldwork, hanging out with the archaeologists and digging up what was an old hotel on the busy road between two goldfields in the 1850s and 60s. It was a really great two weeks and we uncovered what is a really interesting site, which is indicative of a bustling little township in a place that is now the home to only a handful of people.

Text from my stamps presentation pack

Gold was officially discovered in 1851 - and then it was on like donkey kong. People poured into the colony. Men mostly, but from all corners of the globe. The gold-rush era transformed the fledgling colony of Victoria - only newly separated from New South Wales - and as a result of this new found wealth, roads were built; railways established; and not a few hotelkeepers made their fortunes rather cleverly, not by seeking gold, but by selling grog to those who were.

Of course, you will all be pleased to know, the gold rush, which had such a momentous and lasting impact on the colony and on the country, has been commemorated in a stamp issue (everything comes back to the stamps!)

The stamp designs are based on the drawings of artist ST Gill and depict life on the gold fields, which was a very hard slog that didn't necessarily result in a large payday.

The site that we were working on the past two weeks was about a days journey between two goldfields; and therefore a perfect resting place, so many hotels and grog shops sprung up. Judging by the misty mornings we encountered, it would have been damn cold on them goldfields sleeping under a canvas tent.

So, here are a few happy snaps from our time on site. It was such great fun.

Stringing up a new trench on a very misty morning.
Uncovering a bluestone wall: foundations of a pub?
Heads down, bums up: getting deeper into the trench

 Wendy & I on another very misty (cold) morning. We wouldn't have been able to see each other but for our hi-vis!
The hotel site is really intriguing, and we still have more work to do out there. The gold era catches my imagination and I love it! Yay for archaeology and history and post all coming together into my life! What a great couple of weeks!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Flags: Sunday Stamps

Wow! Due to the general business of life it has been more than two weeks without blogging - in fact I haven't blogged at all this month - and I am seriously suffering withdrawal symptoms!! (One of the symptoms included rocking up to small soiree with a bottle of wine in one hand, and my stamps in the other - and a polite request to use the host's scanner before the other guests arrived. Thanks Ben!)

Anyhow, needless to say I am very excited about participating in this week's Sunday Stamps. The theme is national flags; inspired partly by the fact that it was Bastille Day during the week. And within my collection, I found the perfect stamp for the theme, which has the French flag behind three figures of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity and commemorates the French Revolution, but is in fact an issue from the USA:

It is hard to tell from the scan of course, but part of the appeal of this stamp is its size - it is about double the size of a standard stamp. A nice stamp, yes?

Of course, there are plenty of stamps featuring the Australian flag in my collection, so I thought I better share one of them too. I like this one because it has a bit of a tech-y computer-chip thing going on, to make it more interesting.
The Australian flag features the Union Jack, the seven pointed star representing the Commonwealth, and the southern cross.

I also started pondering alternative Australian flags, and hoped that I would be able to share a stamp featuring the Aboriginal flag - but alas, there doesn't seem to be one in existence. This is a bit sad, in my view. I think Australia Post should rectify that, quick stat.

File:Australian Aboriginal Flag.svg

The other alternative flag I thought about was the Eureka flag. The Eureka Flag, which pre-dates our national flag, also features the southern cross, and was born out of a miners strike on the Ballarat goldfields in 1854. The flag is now used by the Workers Union movement. The Eureka flag has been chosen by Australia Post to feature on a stamp, and I have a mint pair. I really like that the image features a rippled fabric effect.

Peter Lalor, the rebel leader at the Eureka Stockade, standing beneath the Eureka flag, swore the first oath to a non-British flag on Australian soil. He said:
"We swear by the southern cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties."
The gold diggers at Ballarat were fighting their own revolution against an unjust licensing system and a corrupt administration. And in a way, Lalor's oath ties in nicely with the mantra of the French Revolution, taking us back to our starting point: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

Thanks for joining me once again for Sunday Stamps, please click on the link to find out what other bloggers have been pondering in relation to flags and stamps.