Classic Flower Stamps Have a Special Story

 

The art featured on US stamps can come from anywhere, but it’s always special when the artist comes from your area. While listing sets of stamps for our eBay store, we came across a sheet of beautiful flower stamps, that were not only created by an artist from a nearby town, but also signed by that artist.

 

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Anacortes artist Karen Mallery had been painting for several years before she got a brilliant idea: her work should be on stamps! She sent a letter to the United States Postal Service with her proposal, and went back to the business of painting flowers.

 

 

 

 

aThree years after her original proposal, the Postal Service finally replied: they wanted to commission her to paint a block of four garden flower stamp designs. Mallary was thrilled, and decided to do a flower for each region of the United States. She chose Jacob’s ladder for the north, the California poppy for the west, waterlily for the south, and trillium for the east. When the review committee received her work, they loved it so much that the project was massively expanded.

 

 

s-l1600 (1)Mallary ended up painting 50 stamp designs, something completely unheard of for a first-time stamp artist. The flower paintings were also reproduced in a 64-page album, including details about each flower. There was one condition: Mallary couldn’t tell anyone about her big project. She was doing research at the Lady Bird Johnson National Wildflower Research Center at the time, and they assumed Mallery was producing a book. “I didn’t tell them otherwise,” the artist stated.

 

The designs were completed in 1991, and printed in 1992, after a delay caused by first-class postage rate uncertainties.

 

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Mallary’s personal favorite design? The cactus.

 

 

A signed commemorative sheet of these stamps is currently available in our eBay store.

Old Fashioned Remedies: DIY Rose Water Lotion

Nothing says nice weather like a dab of homemade rose water in your very own homemade recipe. Its light, fresh scent will make you feel refreshed.

Roses have been used for medicinal and nutritional uses since ancient times.

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The Rose Water

Making rose water is simple. All you need are fresh rose petals, preferably without pesticides, that have been rinsed off. It’s best to pluck your own, but make sure you aren’t doing anything that would anger your neighbors.

Also grab a pot, gauging the size by how much water you want.

Put the petals in the pot and fill with enough water to cover the petals (not too much!). Cover the pot and let it simmer until the petals lose their color. This is the simplest and most traditional method.

Drain the liquid into a container and you have your rose water!

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The Lotion

Now your rose water is ready to mix in with the lotion.

It’s a simple recipe: mix half rose water and half vegetable glycerin together.

Put the mixture in a nice bottle and voila! You have your old fashioned rose water lotion.

You’ve bottled the smell of spring!

 

The Symbolism of Flowers

Watch out: If you’re given a red geranium, the gift might not have good intentions.

Flowers, especially in the Victorian era, often have hidden (and sometimes not-so-hidden) symbolism. Red geraniums just happen to carry an insult: they mean “stupidity”.

But worry not, most popular flowers today have positive messages. And with spring just around the corner, it would be helpful to know these messages.

Floriography, the language of flowers, communicates messages through flower arrangements.

While France hit a floriography phase in the first half of the 19th century, the practice was most common in the Victorian era in Britain, at the time when lack of modesty was frowned upon and subtlety and tact had to go a long way for communication. Victorian men courting women used flowers to say to their beloved what they would not outright say in front of her parents or chaperones.

 

A vintage advertisement featuring chrysanthemums.

A vintage advertisement featuring chrysanthemums, symbols for optimism or joy.

Flowers can mean more than one thing, depending on the symbol guide you check. But usually it’s not hard to get to the bottom of their meaning.

Want to know what your flowers mean? Here’s a cheat sheet for some of the more common flowers:

Azalea – abundance
Crocus – youth
Daffodil – chivalry
Daisy – innocence
Freesia – spirited
Forget-Me-Not – remember me forever (as if that one wasn’t obvious)
Gardenia – joy
Hydrangea – perseverance
Jasmine – grace and elegance
Lavender – distrust
Lilac – first love
Rhododendron – beware
Pink Rose – friendship
Red Rose – passionate love
White Rose – purity
Yellow Rose – zealous or jealousy
Sunflower – adoration
Violet – faithfulness

Note the less savory symbols, like Lavender’s “distrust”. Other such insults include Amaryllis’s “haughtiness”, Peony’s “anger”, and Yellow Carnation’s “you have disappointed me.”

Flowers have been used as symbolism in art and literature as well. Authors including Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Emily Bronte used flower language in their works, and Pre-Raphaelites commonly used symbolic flowers in their pieces, like in John Everett Millais’s painting Ophelia.

Sources:

More extensive list of flower symbolism

Wikipedia