With a little ingenuity many pleasing results in the shape of pictures, greeting cards, etc., can be obtained by utilising ordinary used postage stamps - the halfpenny and penny stamps torn from letters and parcels which arrive through the post.
The first idea to be discussed, like so much original and exquisite work, emanates from a convent, that of the Benedictines at Bayeux, in Normandy. On one of the cards designed by the nuns, three graceful figures are seen holding seven lanterns. The figures are cut from current stamps of the French Republic after they have gone through the post. The Japanese lanterns are bits of English stamps in the familiar red, blue, and yellow of the penny, twopence-halfpenny, and threepenny variety.
The idea is capable of great variety of treatment. Anyone with even an elementary knowledge of painting could make these cards. Many different kinds of stamps may be used; those, of course, which bear allegorical figures or similar designs, are most suitable for carrying out the idea of a greeting-card.
Those who are eager to embark upon this hobby should begin to collect carefully old and useless stamps in good condition. By working on the lines indicated, they will be surprised at the reduction in their bill of Christmas and greeting-cards generally, and by the appreciation of the recipients of their cards. Every variety of card for every possible occasion can be contrived by the ingenuity of the worker.
The English stamp in current use with the head of the late King Edward might successfully be used for interesting " In Memoriam " cards. Be careful, however, to use only stamps on which the King's head has not been defaced by the post-office stamp. Cut out carefully with the wreath and crown. Paint a pedestal, and on this fix the stamp thus cut out. Take two or three French figures, group them round the pedestal in the act of strewing flowers to the memory of our late King. The red penny stamp will be most effective, used with the pedestal in granite or brown colour.
Another novel use of the ordinary stamp is to cut out the King's head, and use the rest of the stamp as a frame for the photograph of a friend or relative. Who has not in their possession old-fashioned photographs of friends taken in positions which remind one of one's own childish torture at the photographer's?
By using old stamps, novel and ingenious frames can be made for old' fashioned photographs
These photographs, usually banished, can assume a real interest if we take the head, frame it in a stamp, and thus make a collection of dear and familiar faces. Each photograph represents a person, the sweetness of whose face has been brought out by obliterating the stilted pose and cutting away the ugly dress. The date indicated by the dress is also removed from the photograph so treated. Here also a variety of stamps may be used. The Austrian stamp in current use has a very large head of the Emperor Francis Joseph. This stamp could frame a bigger photograph than could the English stamp. Some of the stamps of the South American states are very big, some oblong in shape, and it will certainly add to the beauty of the collection to get stamps to suit the shape of different sized photographs.
Also illustrated is another ingenious design. In this case a parrot has been depicted in postage stamps. Water-colour paints must be used to lend finish to the effect. In this same way, also, may be depicted countless landscape scenes and even figures. All that can be done here, however, is to suggest the idea; the rest must be left to the taste and predilection of the individual, who, with patience and forethought, can work out many really attractive designs, and derive both pleasure and amusement from the work.
An ingenious design, a parrot and foliage depicted in used postage s:amps, with the aid of water-colour painting