Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Alexander (aka puzzlel) from Germany says he started drawing as a little child, and never really stopped. Although he considers it just a hobby, his hand-drawn postcards are a work of beauty! We were enchanted by his talent and decided to ask him a few questions about them.

How did you discover Postcrossing? What made you stay?

One year ago my aunt Karin and her husband Meck introduced me to Postcrossing. I bought some postcards and started. Address No 8 was supposed to go to a postcrosser in America. She wrote in her profile: “Handmade cards are like a gift ~ I love them!” I thought about it and sent her my first handmade card DE-6864388. That – and her very positive reaction when she received the card – was the starting point. You can guess: I owe her a million thanks!

Puzzlel drawn postcards

I don’t know what makes me stay. Sometimes I think I got addicted to making postcards…

As I understand it, you find your inspiration for the postcards on the profiles assigned to you. Could you explain a bit the process of making these postcards?

I get the new address, read the profile and try to find something in the list I could draw or paint. It must be something I am happy with. Sometimes it is pretty easy, for example if the receiver is fond of pineapples or elephants I know what to do. Sometimes I have to think about it for quite a while. If I have no idea at all I read the text to my kids: they have enough ideas!

Next step: I need a reference. I cannot make a pineapple just out of my head without a photo or a real pineapple in front of me. I look in the internet for a proper photo; I check my sketch books for a drawing I could use as reference; I ask my kids “Guys! Does anyone of you have a photo of Darth Vader/a pig/a cat/Lucky Luke/an ice bear? Maybe in one of your books?” Or I ask “Would you mind borrowing me your teddy bear/Eifel tower/plastic scull/little locomotive for a while?”

Puzzlel drawn postcards

Then I start to paint or to draw.

There is an important post process as well. I send a photo of every postcard to my aunt Karin (the game does not work without her comments) and I show the card to my wife and my kids for quality check. Sometimes I have to do corrections.

When the card is about an animal or a plant I usually write the name of it in the language of the receiver and in German on the card. A Chinese and a Russian friend help me to check my writing. Once I made a funny mistake: for the animal “Seehund” I wrote the Chinese word “sealing”. It took a while to understand: google does not translate directly German to Chinese, but German to English and then English to Chinese. The English word for “Seehund” is seal.

Do you have a favourite postcard that you’ve made?

On very rare occasions I stood in front of the letterbox with the new postcard in my hand thinking: No! I would like to keep this one! … I remember that it happened with DE-6959811, DE-7169621 and lately DE-7761999 (still traveling). So I guess these are my favourite ones.

Puzzlel drawn postcards Puzzlel drawn postcards
How much time do you need for a postcard and where do you find the time to make them?

It depends. Usually it takes one or two hours. Not counting the time thinking about what to paint/draw.

Over the years my wife and I watched less and less TV. Last year we replaced it by a fireplace (much better program…). Think of all the free time you generate in the evenings when you stop watching TV and reduce internet surfing to a minimum!

On the weekend I wake up the same time as every day. While my lazy family stays in bed I have one or two hours just for me to do a little painting. And to listen to music they are not so very fond of, like Miles Davis.

Puzzlel drawn postcards

Thank you Alexander for this wonderful interview! You can see more of his postcards on his Sent gallery.

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

Happy New Year, everyone! May your mailboxes be filled to the brim with happy postcards this year!

This writing prompt came from Danny (aka WildernessCat), who suggests you start your January postcards like this:

“I will tell you three things about my country: two are true, and one is false. Try to guess which one I made up…”

And then, you should follow that introduction by writing 2 true facts about your country, and one false fact. Bonus points if you make the false fact believable and tricky to guess, to really test your recipient’s knowledge and make them want to discuss it with you on the registration message. Ok, I’ll go first then…

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I will tell you three things about Portugal, two are true and one is false. Try to guess which one I made up:

  • Portugal has the second longest bridge in Europe.
  • It never snows in Portugal.
  • Portuguese is an official language in 10 countries.

So, what do you think? Did you guess the fake fact there… or did you really believe that there is no snow in our little southern country? We do have a couple of big mountains, and it’s cold up there — you can even ski in one of them! And yes, we do have a 13km-long bridge and Portuguese is the 6th language with most native speakers in the world.

This was a surprisingly tricky prompt to write though, inviting some reflection on our own stereotypes and even a request for help from other Portuguese postcrossers. Which true and false facts will you mention on your postcards this month?

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🎉 Hurraaaaaay! 🎉 We did it everyone! We reached the big 50 million, and we couldn’t be prouder of all of you for delivering us to this milestone with your avalanche of postcards these past 13 years!

Did you know that if we put all these postcards together side by side (assuming they’re all regular size), we would get a line connecting New York to Moscow? Yup! And all the distance they’ve traveled would put us way beyond the Solar System at this point… though still very far from Alpha Centauri, the next big thing in space. Maybe by the time we reach it, they’ll have a post office there! 🤔

50million 600

Anyway, I know you’re all waiting to discover which postcard was the lucky one, so here it goes:

Postcard number 50,000,000 (IL-60207) was sent by nostase in Israel on 29 November 2018, and registered today at 19:13:01 (UTC) by RassDim in Russia!

The postcrosser with the most accurate aim was Isacle, whose guess was spot on! Well done, your new box of 100 photo postcards is on its way.

But we’re not done here yet — there are loads more prizes to give away! The other fourteen lucky postcrossers who came the closest to the right time were pele32, Admiral_Penguin, vasilcho, stokana, uintaterium, Mari-Pyon, makeuplover, ingunciks, Washisaur, RinClare, estromberg, Alexiel-chan, raraelli and starrynight1111 — great job! You will each receive a set of nice postcards as well.

And last but not least, the sender and the recipient of this special card will also receive a pack of 50 postcards, to celebrate their good luck. Hurray!

We encourage you to enjoy your contributions to this historical milestone by eating one celebratory cookie (or 50!) and sending some postcards on this very special day. Thank you so much to our team of volunteers, to all the supporters and ambassadors, and last but not least, to every single one of you, for believing in this project and keeping the world’s mailboxes filled with smiles. 😊 Onwards to Alpha Centauri!

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Earlier this year, we noticed a curious link on Terry’s (aka Terry5) profile… which triggered a few enthusiastic email exchanges, and eventually ended with the Little Mail Carriers jumping onto an envelope headed to Ohio to check out a very special place. Come discover the Postmark Collectors Club, and their wonderful museum!

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

Hi everyone! We traveled to the center of the USA to visit the National Postmark Museum, the premiere collection of the Postmark Collectors Club. Yes! There is a whole club devoted to the collecting, studying and enjoying the trusted postmark! The Club has been around since 1946 and a few years later some of the Club members formed a group collection of postmarks. When the collection began to grow, they actually put it into an old School Bus!

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

The club’s membership comes from all across the USA and many other countries. Each year they hold an annual convention somewhere around the USA, getting together to share postmarks, stories and good wishes. The Museum has continued to grow and preserve material important to the field of postmarks and postal history. The Museum has been in a few homes along the way typically moving to larger spaces to house the holdings. Then it moved to Bellevue, Ohio, USA, into the Historic Lyme Village, where it has been since 1978.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

One of the largest single holdings is the Willett-Thompson Collection, and today it is held in more than 300 blue binders.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

We checked out many of the special collections including postmarks from Military Camps and Bases. “First Day Cover” with postmarks that were only cancelled on the first day that a new stamp is issued by the Post Office.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

There are so many of these in this collection, covering many years. Some of the other special collections here in the Museum include postmarks with slogans, “Pray for Peace” cancels, and individual U.S. state collections. Being mail carriers, we moved over to our favorite part of the museum, a collection of Post Office photographs.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

The museum has drawers and drawers holding more than 55,000 pictures of Post Offices including new and old ones, from around the USA and around the World. They have thousands more pictures in their on-line internet collection.

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

Another cool stop on our journey was the assortment of memorabilia and artifacts from Post Offices, hand stamps, canceling devices, sorting windows, mailboxes… and even some model mail trucks! All of these tools helped move the mail. There is certainly a passion here for collecting and showing mail and postcards, especially those with interesting postmarks. Each letter and postcard has a story to tell and the cancel helps telling that story!

The Little Mail Carriers at the National Postmark Museum

PS – Thank you very much Terry and Ron for these wonderful photos and report! They were a nice distraction from the nail-biting wait for postcard number 50 million to be registered…

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Some of the most observant postcrossers might have noticed we’re getting really close to the remarkable milestone of 50 million postcards received. With less than 250 thousand postcards to go, it’s time to start guessing when postcard number 50,000,000 will be registered.

50! MILLION! POSTCARDS!

Our guessing game is really simple:

Every member has a chance to submit a bet for the day and time on which they think the postcard number 50 million will be registered. The bets need to be submitted on the contest page.

Whether you’re proficient in maths or divination, your bet need to be accurate to the minute… so run the numbers on a spreadsheet or ask your lucky stars, but don’t forget to place your bet soon! Pro tip: December is a usually a slower month in Postcrossing, so you might want to check our postcard statistics page to make a more accurate prediction.

What’s in it for you, you may ask? Well… see all those postcards sets behind the Little Mail Carriers? One of them could be yours if your calculations are correct and you pick the right time slot! There’s lots of them and something for everyone’s taste, from botany to bicycles, photography to Star Wars and beyond!

The postcrosser whose bet is the closest to the exact minute when postcard number 50 million is registered will win a box set of 100 postcards, and the 14 next best hunches (before or after the registering time) will receive a pack of 20–30 postcards each. It’s a postcard extravaganza up for grabs! 🎉

Some rules: each time slot can only be chosen by one single person, so the first person to pick that slot gets to keep it. You can change it at a later stage if you’d like, but only from the available time slots left. We will close the bets when there are 1000 postcards left to postcard 50,000,000. Check the contest page for more details.

So, give it your best shot… but be quick about it as the good slots usually run out quickly. Keep sending postcards, and good luck everyone!

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