Repurposing My Postcrossing Postcards

A Postcrossing postcard

Several years back, I discovered Postcrossing while researching vintage postage. I’ve always loved snail mail and for years kept up a correspondence with friends worldwide.

Postcrossing is the creation of Paulo Magalhães. Simply put, he started the project so he would receive more postcards in his mailbox. To date, 68 million postcards are in circulation.

“The goal of this project is to allow anyone to send and receive postcards from all over the world! For each postcard you send, you will receive one back from a random postcrosser.”

Paulo Maglhaes

I set up a Postcrossing profile in March of 2016. Over the years, I’ve sent and received 257 postcards from 40 countries.

Postcrossing profile

The organizer in me enjoyed sorting the cards by country, but as my collection grew, I started sorting by subject. As a result, my collection includes gorgeous cat photos and illustrations, botanical drawings, and clever garden illustrations.

Gorgeous cat postcard
This is one of my all-time favorite cards

It seemed a shame to keep these miniature works of art in a box, so I came up with the idea of laminating several cards to use as a cover for my garden bench.

First, I created a template using a piece of thick gift wrap, then arranged the cards within the parameters of the bench’s surface.

Our local teacher’s supply store has an oversized laminator. They charge by the inch, so it’s a bargain. I used the laminator to fuse the cards to the gift wrap, returning home with what looked like a large placemat.

I slid the sheet of laminated postcards below the clear acrylic top.

Garden bench with postcard topper

I’m pleased with the final results and reminded once again how a bit of creativity soothes the soul. It’s fun remembering when each of these cards arrived in the mail, and what a joy it is to send and receive cards around the world.

Postscript: May I send you a postcard? If you would like a card in your mailbox, please send me your name and address via my contact form. I’m happy to post your card anywhere in the world.

Thirty Days in the Garden: Projects

I enjoy a good garden project. I like refreshing things as needed, but I know my skill set. I don’t tackle the unmanageable.

I have two garden projects lined up. Now that I’ve committed them to my blog, I know I’ll see them through.

San Jose summers are getting hotter, so I’ve learned to tackle outdoor projects long before the summer solstice. If I wait, then it’s just too hot.

My first project is to replace the top of my potting bench. The bench doubles as a sideboard when we entertain (ha), and it also stores our emergency earthquake kit.

Our earthquake kit lives here

I sanded and repainted the entire bench a few years ago and it turned out well. I used chalk paint, a first for me. I stenciled a fern pattern on the lower half, a small detail that made me smile. It’s fun trying something new.

2018: The rest of the bench looks good, but the top is shot

Unfortunately, the surface of the bench didn’t last. The paint started to chip after just two years. Last year I decided to repaint the surface with house paint. House paint is made to stand up to weather, so it seemed like a safe bet. It was a production buying anything last year due to the pandemic, but we waited in line, got the paint, and came home. I sanded and repainted the surface and it looked ok.

This is what it looks like today.

2021: A year after house paint application

This time I plan to remove the boards and replace them with a solid piece of wood. I’m hoping the hardware store can cut a couple of notches for a snug fit, but if not, I’m happy to go with a rectangle. I’ll apply to coats of the house paint, and I might even buy a topper to extend the life of the bench.

The second project will come as a shock to my regular readers: I’ve decided to replace my garden swing with a glider.

2012: My first and most ambitious makeover

Mike and the boys bought me the swing for Mother’s Day in 2009. I’ve finally crossed over from sentimental to enough already. The challenge with this swing is that the cover and cushions are built-in to the structure. You can’t remove them during the off-season. Instead, I covered the entire swing with a clear drop-cloth. This protected it from the rain, but not the squirrels. Season after season I replaced the cover, re-stuffed the cushions, made new pillows, only to start over again in a year or two.

Mike will help me take apart the frame so we can move it through our narrow sideboard. Curbside recycling will haul and recycle the frame. Only the tattered cushion and mesh will go into the landfill.

I ordered the glider on-line, so it’s slowly making its way across the country. I hope it’s as pretty as it looked in the photo. Once the glider is set up, I’ll replace the half umbrella cover, and I might even paint the tables.

Once upon a time

I’ll let you know how it goes.