By DEB SAINE
Sept. 2, 2018
Trying to come up with an art project last summer, I stumbled across a couple of long-forgotten pads of blank watercolor postcards. The find sparked an idea.
I decided that it would be fun to secretly create personalized postcards to mail to some of my friends as a surprise. After making an initial list, I tried tracking down addresses. Now, you'd think by doing some investigoogling, the task would have been easy and cheap, right?
Maybe a few years ago, the answer would've been, "You bet!" The same companies that once provided free telephone books to local residents began to provide the same information free of charge on the World Wide Web. But gradually, those companies and others like them figured out ways to cash in online. Information that once was readily available on the Internet at no charge to users suddenly required a credit card number to obtain. And turning to that once reliable resource known as a telephone book has become a waste of time.
So after making my way through an old-fashioned address book, I returned to the Internet. But this time, I used Facebook. Here's what I wrote on my status:
"hey, friends! i'm having a tough time tracking down addresses for an on-going art project, and was hoping you all could help me out — if we're fb friends and you're interested, send me an im with your address and you might just get a surprise in the mail ...! :0)"
That posted on June 29. And the response was amazing and so rewarding! So amazing that I spent almost every day during the next two months working on postcard-sized watercolors and then mailing them out. On Aug. 24 that same summer, I finally was able to write: "i am so excited to announce that postcard project 2017 has come to its conclusion!! i finished the final one this morning and then put sealant on the last 17 postcards and let them dry — once i put a coat of modge podge on each one, i'll be putting them in the mailbox!!"
I had the final tally at one point, but misplaced the list months ago. Fortunately, I kept track of the majority of the postcards as I went along by taking photographs of the finished products. I was able to create collages of the various postcards using an app on my iPhone: