Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97- Pastimes

Over the past few months, it’s been a great comfort to be able to stay in touch with the outside world through the medium of the internet and more especially through the auspices of the WordPress community, so to say that I was thrilled, not to mention highly honored, to be asked to host this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge would be an understatement.

With so much time being spent at home, many of us have been looking for new pastimes or taking up old ones in order stay occupied or even sane. So that is my theme for this challenge – Pastimes. It could be something that you are trying for the first time or a hobby or interest that you have enjoyed for many years. Feel free to dig into the archives or take a picture to illustrate a current pastime.

If you had told me, a year or two ago, that I would be spending much of my time poring over thousands upon thousands of postage stamps, I would have laughed. But here I am, doing just that. We recently inherited my father-in-law’s stamp collection. That was his pastime; fifty years of squirreling away every stamp that ever came through the door and then some.


We had originally thought to sell the collection (6 large Rubbermaid containers) and split the proceeds between five siblings but after calling dealers and doing some research, we quickly learned that stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Nearly every member of our local stamp-collectors club is there because they inherited a collection and many stamp dealers are not interested in buying because they can’t get rid of what they’ve got. So, I offered to go through the collection and make everyone in the family, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren, a commemorative album as a tribute to someone who spent so many industrious hours soaking and sorting stamps on every possible subject and from every corner of the world.


Photography has taken rather a back-seat so far this year because of travel restrictions but I love gardening, so when the weather is fine and I’m not sorting stamps, that’s where you’ll find me most days, out in the garden among the flowers. There are stamps for that!

Another pastime I’ve always enjoyed is nature spotting. For several years, I even made a note of all the birds and animals that we observed in the garden or on our walks around the various nature centers and parks. There are stamps for that too!


It’s never too late to take up a new hobby. One of the pastimes that gave me the most pleasure was one in which I never actually participated, at least not at the time. A year or so before my mother passed away at the age of 96, she became frustrated by her inability to continue her favorite pastimes of knitting and embroidery, due to macular degeneration. I persuaded her to try painting and, even though her eyesight was so bad that she could hardly recognize people in the room, she gave it her best shot and had a thoroughly good time while gaining a much-needed sense of achievement.


My problem is that I can never seem to finish any of the projects that I start. The house is filled with half-written novels, partially refurbished doll houses, never-ending family history research files and incomplete photo albums. I hope I can stay the course with the stamps and accomplish the task but new hobbies and pastimes always seem to keep popping up.


I look forward to seeing your interpretation of the Pastime theme. Please be sure to link your response to this post (use the original post link, NOT the one from the WP reader) and use the Lens-Artists TAG so we can all find you.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to give a big shout-out to our three girls, all of whom are working at hospitals in various parts of the country. A most heart-felt thank you to all those who are concerned with our well-being and are helping to keep things running during these troubled times. Stay safe everyone!

Sue.

175 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #97- Pastimes

    • It used to be such a popular hobby years ago, when people sent mail through the post. I’m glad your dad still enjoys collecting stamps. I’m only now beginning to appreciate the beautiful artwork on some of these pieces.

  1. I collect stamps.🙂 The post offices here have a separate accounts for philatelists. All we have to do is pay some money and they would send all the latest stamps once in a month or so. I have a couple of special stamps too: Mahatma Gandhi on Khadi(cloth), a coin stamp from Bhutan and some 3D stamps from Bhutan.

    • I think that’s how my father-in law obtained a lot of his stamps, directly from the post office. I’ve seen some Mahatma Gandhi stamps in his collection. I remember my father telling me about how he received a visit from the Mahatma when he was in hospital in India, so they are rather special to me.

  2. Great theme, Sue. Beautiful photos of the stamps and nature. Thank you for sharing your mother’s paintings, they are special.
    Would you please tag “Lens Artists” onto your post, Sue? Thanks.

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  5. A great theme idea, Sue. Once again, so glad to see you are a guest host. I have always loved your nature photography and this was a nice way to bring it along with your “new” pastime. Thanks. My thoughts are also with your three girls during this crazy time. Donna

  6. This is a wonderful idea, Sue–to honor your father-in-law and share his passion with others. I admire people who have hobbies that become passions. I’m looking forward to seeing the posts on this theme. Maybe I can find some new ideas for hobbies! I’m also delighted that you’re our guest host this week. Thanks again.

    • Thanks, Patti! My father-in-law tried very hard to get the younger generation interested in his hobby and although none of them really got into the whole stamp-collecting thing, they all remember him showing them his prize collection. I think he would approve of my efforts to re-introduce them to his passion. Hopefully, now that they are a little older and have children of their own, they will be more receptive.

      • I am sure he would approve, Sue. It’s a great idea. These things go in cycles….don’t you think? The next generation will be interested, I bet!

    • Thanks, Tom. I am really rather pleased that the collection remains in the family. I always got the impression that it was never about the monetary value of the stamps with my father-in-law. He just loved collecting them and I think he would be pleased that they are not moving so very far from home.

  7. A wonderful theme, Sue! I collected stamps too, when I was young and worked in a post-office. My husband also collected stamps when he was young.Your photos and paintings are lovely and so colourful – brightening up these gloomy days and making memories come up. Thank you for hosting, we are very excited about it, and looking forward to interesting answers!

    • Thank you, Ann-Christine! It seems like quite a few people remember collecting stamps when they were younger. I wonder what today’s youth will recall when they reach more mature years? Playing games on their Iphones possibly, but nothing really to show for it.

  8. Such a good theme. It opens up all sorts of possibilities. For me it is bird watching and this past week I have been taking photos of some of the birds at our feeder. I love your bunny photos!

    • Thanks, Anne! The bunny is a blessing and a curse but so far he has managed to refrain from eating my best flowers this spring so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He may be up to no good but he’s just so cute, it’s hard to get mad.

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    • Thanks, Indira! I have a closet full of untried crafts and hobbies so I have plenty to keep me busy, especially now with the stamps, but there are some things that I always return to, such as photography, gardening and collecting doll house miniatures.

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    • How right you are! They are tiny works of art, which is why I’m displaying them in scrapbook albums rather than tucking them into the usual stamp stock books. That way, I think we can get a better sense of just how interesting, colorful and creative they are. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

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  17. Thanks for a great challenge post! There are so many pastimes from my past that are no longer in vogue. You have a great idea in putting together a memorial for your family using the albums your father-in-law worked on so lovingly.

    • Thanks, John! It’s funny how these pastimes go out of fashion. I remember when I was a kid, the boys used to go train-spotting and write down the numbers of the trains they saw. The girls used to collect pretty beads and keep them in little boxes. Happy days! Now they need expensive electronic games and Iphones to pass the time.

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  19. What an honour to host the post and what a brilliant theme! I’ve really enjoyed looking through your post, seeing all your photos and reading about the personal side of your pastimes. Stamp collecting is such a super hobby as the stamps are miniature art works….I still have a few albums from my childhood…no monetary value but lots of wonderful memories.

    • Thank you, Marianne! I’m hoping to get some of the younger ones in our family interested in the stamps but of course it’s a bit more of a challenge when hardly anyone is sending anything by regular mail these days. Although, that being said, we’ve got enough here to keep them busy for years!

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  22. I’m with you, Sue in the unfinished projects department. I’m a great starter but then something new comes along …
    I love how you paired your images with the stamps, really adds to the post.

  23. Thanks for mention the stamp collecting in your post. It’s true, this hobby is a part of everybody’s pastime, but it remains as awesome today, even if it already has over 180 years. I hope people reconsider the stamp collecting, as it will never be a dying hobby. Best regards!

    • It’s good to meet a fellow stamp enthusiast! Thank you for stopping by. I’m hoping that by my efforts I can get one or two new recruits to take up the hobby. I am only now discovering that it’s a really fascinating pastime.

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  25. I’ve collected a few stamps over the years, but nothing as pretty as all those bird stamps! I’m going to start looking for those.

    My dollhouse is up on my entertainment center in the living room only partially furnished now. Since we moved I don’t want to have to dust all the little bits and bobs so I’ve only furnished the kitchen and all the rest of the stuff for the other rooms is still in boxes in the garage. I did decorate the living room at Christmas but took it all out after Christmas.

    Your Mom was a good artist! Her paintings are lovely.

    • Thank you! it was interesting to see how birds were a recurring theme on stamps from almost every country in the world. The dollhouse in the picture is one that I’m re-doing for my daughter. She buys them at estate and garage sales and sometimes brings them over to me to re-decorate. My own personal dollhouse is almost complete. All I need is somewhere large enough to display it. It weighs a ton so I don’t move it around very often.

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  27. Lovely post, Sue! I collect stamps but purely for their value to charities. I always notice a nice one though. I’ve been sorting a postcard collection going back to the 60s, in a desultory fashion. No real idea what I’m doing with them but they were my travel diary once. 🙂 🙂

    • Thanks, Jo! I too have a box filled with postcards and brochures from various vacations, that I was thinking of putting into some kind of scrapbook. I can’t decide whether to combine them with photos that I’ve taken or not. Another project for another day.

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  31. Sue, thanks for inviting me to your playground. Great topic, pastime and a lovely post. Collecting stamps requires patience, something I’m very short off *laughing Like you gallery showcases.

  32. excellent theme this week – tanks for hosting – and I will be joining in soon.
    In the meantime, I like the different shots of the stamp collection – the down views let us feel the totality of the collection and some of the closer shots give us rich details.
    Such an interesting pastime, or hobby, and one that younger generations might never experience fresh and first hand – well maybe they can collect amazon shipping labels but that is not fun – so art – lol

    • Thank you so much! It’s sad, in a way, to think how modern technology has brought about the demise of the postage stamp. As you say, Amazon shipping labels just don’t match up.

      • yes – and pouring over those artsy stamps was a warm share here.
        many years ago – we joined our chidden on a filed trip to the postal museum in DC and they gave all the children – for free – a started stamp collection. A little cardboard stamp holder with like four levels of a slit to hold the stamps – and students were able to pick out around five stamps from this huge container. It was a really fun experience and the children and adults bonded as we looked at stamps from years gone by

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  49. This post reminds me of the many “tidy-up” projects I have at home like your stamp collection organization and photography, even your mom’s paintings. I did accomplish a few things while quarantined, but oh, there’s more. Thanks for a good prompt. I’m thinking of what I can submit since we’re at the beach this week.

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  54. Good luck getting your albums made. Luckily my father who collected stamps had all his in albums and all got one and the rest were sold. Although the collection was probably not worth as much as my Dad had thought it would be stamps still had a value when he died. A great topic for the challenge. My contribution https://irenewaters19.com/2020/05/21/remembering-pastimes-lens-artists-photo-challenge-number-97/ . Thank you for the shout out to all those working and putting themselves at risk. I second your thanks.

    • Thank you, Irene! Many of my father-in-law’s stamps were in albums but there were also dozens of stock books, cigar boxes and cookie tins filled with stamps as well as shoe boxes containing first issue envelopes and postcards. It’s been an interesting experience, going through all of them and sorting them out.

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  56. I forgot to say that I’m a philatelist for 54 years. When my husband and I decided to move in together and commingle our lives, including finance, I took the U.S. LOVE stamps and created the word LOVE out of them, framed it, and gave it to him in celebration. That was 24 years ago. We’ve been boyfriends/common law married/domestic partnered/married for 26 years in 5 days.

    • That’s wonderful, Russel! The LOVE stamps have been a topic of conversation here over the past couple of weeks. I made a page for one of the albums featuring them and was then curious to see if any other countries dedicated stamps specifically to that theme. I was quite surprised when I couldn’t seem to locate any other similar stamps. Apparently the US is the only country that places such importance on that most celebrated of human emotions. As a philatelist, is there a particular subject on which you have concentrated?

      • My first collection was used U.S. stamps because used stamps were easy to get off of letters and were inexpensive at the hobby store. When I graduated from high school and had my own money to spend, I moved into unused U.S. stamps. They can be quite a bit more expensive, especially pre-World War II. After I graduated from college, I started collected Railroad Postal History envelopes. Granddad & dad both worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad in Texas, so I was able to combine two interests.

  57. Thank you Sue i enjoyed this, It reminded my of my primary school phase where I would attack all envelopes in the home and cut of the stamps to start my great collection. Even at school I impressed at least myself by doing an oral about the love of stamps – philately

    • I’m glad this brought back some happy memories for you. Apart from all the stamps in my father-in-law’s collection, there were several containers filled with stamps that were still affixed to envelopes, so that is a task I will have to face, eventually.

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  59. I remember stamp collecting…and coin collecting. My grandparents encouraged that. I have a plastic bag full of stamp books, but not as much as you have. It is so hard to decide what to do with those kinds of treasures. I also have half done projects. Mmm.. Maybe it is time to make a list 🙂
    Your photos show off the collections really well. The paintings are so sweet too.

    My contribution:
    http://oneletterup.com/2020/05/21/lens-artists-challenge-pastimes

    • Thank you so much! It really has been heartening to see how many people either used to collect stamps or still do. Maybe there remains a glimmer of hope for the old pastime. I’ve also been looking into crafts involving used stamps, on Pinterest, and it seems as though the possibilities are endless. In future, the family can expect bookmarks, greeting cards, trays, boxes and framed pictures liberally decorated with stamps for birthdays and Christmas.

      • You’re welcome. Now those are great ideas for using the stamps. I will keep that in mind. Mmm. That would also work for old photographs as well. 🙂

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