The postcard book: a book full of memories

As you may know, M and I have a fun tradition of sending ourselves – or each other when we are not traveling together – postcards from whatever destination we find worthy of a postcard. This can be just one card for a week in Barcelona, it can also be three during a daytrip in the south of Holland. One of each place we visited. We have a nice collection by now.

A book full of memories. Every postcard from our 2016 Mediterranean trip is in here. 64 minus 1
A book full of memories. All (64) postcards from our 2016 Mediterranean trip are in here, minus one that never made it to our home /photo by Annemarie Gorissen

We both write a few lines on the back. Little details you would forget if you don’t write them down. That a-bit-too-chatty-waiter at the restaurant in Ajaccio, the perfect baby swordfish dish in Vasto or the shoes that fell apart during a hike in Ireland (yep, that really happened). So these postcards are like little travel journals and together they make up a small part of our story together. You can imagine flipping through these cards is quite a trip down memory lane. I do it regularly and it always makes me smile.

You can imagine flipping through these cards is quite a trip down memory lane.

The tools I used to make this hand bound postcard book
The tools and materials I used (minus the glue) to make the hand bound postcard book / photo by Annemarie Gorissen
Our hand bound postcard book with a vintage Mediterranean map on the front
Our hand bound postcard book with a vintage Mediterranean map as the cover / photo by Annemarie Gorissen

In the spring of 2016 we had a mini sabbatical and we traveled the Mediterranean coast for a 100 days, by plane, train, bus and boat. We started in Valencia, took the boat to Ibiza, came back to the mainland of Spain and continued our trip along the coast, all the way down to Livorno, Italy. We took a boat to Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily before setting foot on the mainland again in Calabria. We traveled along the coast upwards – and down – to Slovenia. Took a plane to Greece (because of bad weather we decided not to travel by land all the way down the Balkan region – We’ll save it for another day) hopped a couple of Greek islands and celebrated our 100th day in Chania, Crete before returning home. That’s the very short version of our trip.

Only one of the 64 postcards didn't make it all the way to The Netherlands. 64 places, 63 postcards
Only one of the 64 postcards didn’t make it all the way to The Netherlands. 64 places, 63 postcards / photo by Annemarie Gorissen

After those 100 days we came home to a pile of postcards.

We had a few chores during those 100 days: Find a postcard in each place we stayed (or sometimes even only visited), find a stamp and find a mailbox. We managed it every time. And only one of the 64 postcards did not make it back home. That’s a good score, right!? After those 100 days we came home to a pile of postcards. While we were traveling I had already made some plans of what to do with it. I wanted to make a book out of it. A few years earlier I had done a book binding course, so I thought I could put that knowledge to good use. And I did.

It took some figuring out how to do this exaclty. Postcards are made out of thick paper that doesn’t bend well. Also I didn’t want a bit of the card to disappear in the spine. So if you ever plan on trying this yourself, these tips may be useful.

  • Use washi tape on the edges to bind the cards. This way you don’t ruin your postcard (you can even take it apart afterwards, if you want), the cards stay intact, the part that goes into the spine is flexible and thin. It closes nicely and flips easily. Colorful and super handy!
  • When writing the postcards, take into consideration how it will fit in the book. You don’t want to be turning your postcard book upside down all the time while reading it. So keep a strip of white where it will be bound and write each card in the same direction.
  • Make sure the size of all your postcards is about the same. We have a few smaller ones in there, but one bigger one would mean the whole book needed to be bigger. Yikes.
Writing the postcards we already took into consideration they were going to be bound together. So we thought about blank spaces and not writing 'upside down'
Writing the postcards we already took into consideration they were going to be bound together. So we thought about blank spaces and not writing ‘upside down’ / photo by Annemarie Gorissen
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