Sunday, June 18, 2017

Moscow Metro

Novokuznetskaya opened in 1943 (in spite of the war!) 
and won a state prize for its design. It has seven octagonal ceiling mosaics on the theme of wartime industry. The marble benches were rescued from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour before it was demolished.

Taganskaya opened in 1950
It has majolica panels with floral patterns on each of the 48 curved pylons. Within each panel is also a bas relief of various WWII Red Army and Navy servicemen

Kropotkinskaya opened in 1935 after only 180 days
it has flared columns of white marble with lighting concealed in the top.

Belorusskaya opened in 1952
it has 12 octagonal mosaics on the curved ceiling and the floor is patterned to resemble a Belrussian quilt.

Novoslobodskaya opened in 1952
its most striking feature are the 32 stained glass panels in the pylons

The city I grew up in has a subway system, but its stations were mostly renowned for its bland 'subway tiles' (which I actually kind of liked for its minimalism and clean design) There were four trim colours and three - later five - colours of tile. The gentle repetition was soothing to me. I later found out that many people didn't even notice the pattern.
I cannot imaagine anyone not noticing the designs in these Moscow Metro Stations

for Maria's postcards for the weekend

Sunday, April 23, 2017

the state of windmills

This is a nice series of old windmills the USPS put out in 1980

the one in Virginia is located in Williamsburg, known as the Robertson Windmill. 
the one in Illinois is in Batavia and known as a Dutch windmill 
the Massachusetts one is a Cape Cod windmill in Eastham
the Rhode Island one is based on an Old Windmill in Portsmouth
and the Texas one shows windmills typical of the southwest
I was sure I had a couple more s, but alas I can't find them. At least I have the complete set of stamps.

and then there is this sample from Kansas, issued in 2011 and also showing the more recent wind turbines.

wind your way to Sunday Stamps for windmills or lighthouses

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Machin Green

I quite like these Machin stamps and am always excited to add one more colour to my collection. There are so many colours and shades
Machins first appeared in 1967, so this will be the 50th anniversary in June.

find more green stamps at Sunday Stamps II

Sunday, April 2, 2017

de fokker spin

Had this plane arrived in time it would have made a nice addition to last week's flying post.
It shows a 1911 Fokker Spin with Anthony Fokker sitting in the pilot's seat. It's a bit hard to see clearly, so below is a better resolution of the plane on the ground and in flight. 
It is a funny looking contraption, rather like a giant moth caught in a spider's web. The landing gear is a bit odd looking with what looks like both wheels and skis! and all those wires...

This was Anthony de Fokker's third version, the previous two having been destroyed beyond repair by his business partner. The first one was finished in December 1910, but because of the weather Fokker decided it was best to wait to fly. He went off to celebrate Christmas with his family and when he returned to Germany where the plane had been built, found out that his partner had flown it right into a tree. Fokker built his second plane and taught himself how to fly and obtained his pilot's licence. But again, his business partner flew the plane and crashed the thing. Just like a determined spider, (spin means spider and the plane was so named because all the cables and steel wires resembled a web) Fokker built a third plane and did not allow his partner in the air.
On Queen Wilhelmina's birthday on August 31st, 1911, he gave a demonstration by flying over Haarlem and around the St Bavo Church. In 2011, the Spin was brought back to the church for a special exhibition.
Here is a video of the plane being brought into the church.

for more odd and/or humorous stamps, fly over to Sunday Stamps II

Sunday, March 26, 2017

air mail blue

First issued in 1952, this Canada Goose flying over water (possibly a Great Lake) on its way to the USA.  The airborne goose design was meant to suggest that it be used for air mail.
After 163,000,000 flights over 12 years, the blue goose was retired and replaced by this new jet. The aircraft is a composite of short and long range jets and doesn't represent any specific model. The airport buildings used the new Ottawa International Airport Terminal at Uplands which opened in 1960 as a model. 
The air mail rate to the States was 7 cents until July 1964 when it was increased to 8 cents. The 7 cent stamp was issued in March and in July the new rate increased was announced, so the remainder were overprinted until stock ran out and a new (identical) stamp for 8 cents was issued in November.

fly on over to Sunday Stamps for more flights of fancy

Sunday, March 19, 2017

spring flowers

I am quite fond of this series of Wildflowers of Canada that came out in 1977 and try to collect as many as I can from my stamp dealer to use for Postcrossing

all were designed by Heather Cooper
first up, the  on far left is the Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii), a perennial herb that grows from one to two feet high. It is a rare flower and only found in damp meadows in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba.

the 2¢ is an Western Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) is found in western Alberta and British Columbia. It is also a perennial herb found in damp meadows and woodland clearings. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

on the 3¢ is the Canada Lily (Lilium canadense), another damp meadow lover that blooms in eastern Canada. It usually grows between two and five feet high and can have up to twenty flowers.

on the bottom row, we have the 4¢ Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba), sometimes known as the liverleaf, because it was once thought to be useful for healing liver ailments. It is fond of limy soil from the Maritimes to Manitoba.

the  shows a Shooting Star (Dodecatheon hendersonii) which grows from five to eighteen inches tall in woods, mountains and prairies in western Canada.

and, finally there is the Sparrow's Egg Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium passerinum) on the 10¢ stamp. This is one of the few orchids that blooms in the Arctic and can be found from Quebec to Yukon.

see more flowers on this last few days of winter at Sunday Stamps

Sunday, February 5, 2017

birds and a turtle

Banaba is a raised coral island with less than 300 inhabitants on its 6 square kilometres. it is prone to drought as it has no natural streams and in the 1870's a three year drought decimated three quarters of the population. 
there was a legend that Banaba was perched on a great column of rock and supported by the turtle god. or that the turtle god, Tabakea, lived in the great darkness with several other gods including Auriaria the giant who pierced the heavens with his staff when he became lord of the darkness and the rock (Banaba means 'rock') fell into the sea, landing upside down trapping Tabakea the turtle underneath.

a tradition on Banaba was the capturing and taming of frigate birds. they like to perch in high trees which makes it impossible to catch them there, so the birds have to be caught while flying, which is quite challenging as they are very strong flyers, staying up high only coming down towards land when they see food. they usually fly in groups with some colonies being up to 1,000 birds.
there is a lot of skill involved in catching these birds - a weight made of stone or metal that is perhaps the size of a man's thumb is attached to a long string of coconut fibre and thrown like a lasso so that the weight is caught around and under the wing. you have to be careful not to hit the body of the bird or it might be injured or killed. the birds are then tethered to the village perch where they are tamed. these birds aren't caught for food and once tamed, they tend not to leave the island.

Kiribati is the only country that lies in all four hemispheres. Apart from Banaba, there are also 33 atolls and reef islands. The land mass is 800 sq km, but it is stretched but over 3.5 million sq km! The international date line swings out to the east so that all the the islands are in the same time zone, which is UTC +14 so, the first place to see the sunrise and the new year!

find more stamps from the southern hemisphere at Sunday Stamps

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

grave post - Marie-Anne Gaboury

At the Cathedral Cemetery in St Boniface is the grave site of the Lagimodière family - Jean-Baptiste and his wife Marie-Anne Gaboury. 
Jean-Baptiste was born in 1778 and would become a voyageur in the fur trade. He and Marie-Anne married in 1805 and moved to the Red River Settlement where he was a hunter and trapper and frequently acted as messenger for the Hudson's Bay Company. They had 11 children, one of whom, Julie, would marry one of their neighbours, Louis Riel Sr. In 1844, she gave birth to Louis, who would grow up to be a celebrated and controversial Metis leader.
Marie-Anne Gaboury (born 1780) was known not only as the grandmother of Louis Riel, but also as grandmother of the Red River. Many Metis can trace their ancestry back to her. From a life in domestic service to the parish priest, she and her new husband embarked on an arduous journey through Quebec, Manitoba, North Dakota and the Northwest. She was said to be the first white woman to live in western Canada. The semi-nomadic life with other French Canadian fur traders and their native wives would have been challenging and dangerous yet she lived to an impressive 95 years of age.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

winter fun

If it is going to snow in winter, then one must learn to enjoy it,
 preferably starting at a young age.
In 2008, Canada Post issued these Christmas stamps featuring children playing at making a snow angel (domestic rate of .52), learning to ski (US rate .96) and tobogganing (international rate 1.60)

"To bring this traditional subject to life, we turned to traditional methods," designer Susan Scott explains. "The illustration process began with drawings that were later transferred onto lino blocks. The images were then carved out of the blocks and printed onto textured paper. Finally, the prints were filled in by hand with coloured pencils."
Once you're past the snow angel stage and you've learned how to ski
you might be tempted to defy gravity and try freestyle aerial skiing.
 Aerial ramps as high as four metres allow for jumps at angles of up to 70 degrees, dropping from a height of 9 to 12 metres.
or stay indoors and gravitate to curling - a very popular sport in Canada. (not to brag, but both the men's and women's teams have won a medal in every Olympic Games since 1998)                           

There are four players on a team: the Lead, the Second, and the Third (Vice Skip). The Fourth (Skip), is the captain, who directs the game and calls the shots. Curling is played on a constantly groomed ice surface, and the object of the game is to accumulate points by finishing with your stone or stones closer to the button (or centre) than your opponents.
These stamps are from 2002 for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  Not sure why they don't have the Olympic logo, but they do show the official team uniforms. Personally, the fun colours of the children's clothing is more to my taste and I wish we saw more of it in winter. Those colours were "inspired by Christmas decorations and conventional greeting cards"
find some more fun in the snow at Sunday Stamps II

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Sometimes, a work of art just leaves you speechless, in awe.
Mary Pratt's paintings do that to me.
I've been trying to write a description of why this is a favourite stamp, but am almost at a loss for words. I would obviously make a dreadful art critic.
This was part of the Art Canada series and issued in 2007.
A couple of years ago there was an exhibition of her art at the McMichael Gallery and I went back several times just to gaze at her paintings of domestic scenes and especially food, and wonder at the luminous light and feel as if I could reach out and touch the actual jars and smell the jelly inside.

This description is from the Canada Post website:

To achieve the effect of her photorealism pieces, such as "Jelly Shelf" shown in this Canada Post stamp issue, Pratt carefully eliminates any traces of brushstrokes through a painstaking process that involves using small sable brushes and painting cross-hatched strokes with a mix of turpentine and Liquin. Like other New Realist artists, she often works from slides.
Her subject matter, however, remains uniquely hers and is heavily focused on things found in the kitchen of her home in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. When asked by Canada Post whether she thought that she'd transformed the images of the domestic sphere into the subjects of serious art, Pratt replied: "They are serious art, the things women handle every day-the fruit, the jars, the jelly. [...] My role seems to have been to make people see things that are around them all the time that they never noticed before... to help them find the beauty of the simple things. I think that, in the past, people have not given enough weight to the images that women see. We have to eat. Food is important."
see other tiny pieces of art on stamps on this first Sunday Stamps of 2017