Stamp news

There’s still time to buy Forever stamps at 2013 prices. USPS has announced new postage prices going into effect January 26, 2014. Sending a first class letter (to 3.5 oz) will cost you 49 cents.

Upcycled handmade envelope

To mail a postcard within the US, a one-cent increase brings the rate to 34 cents. The maximum size for the domestic postcard rate is 6 by 4.2 5 inches. Any larger and you have to use the letter rate.

Postcard back

For my friends on Postcrossing, international stamps are jumping from $1.10 to $1.15. Unlike domestic postcard rates, the international price for a postcard and the lowest-priced letter size and weight is the same – so I use my large postcards on Postcrossers overseas.

Postcrossing map

Can’t get out to the post office for stamps, or want to browse the entire current selection? You can order stamps online, and they’ll be delivered for $1.25 per order.

Did you know that you can design your own legal postage? Unfortunately, you can’t have your own postage printed on Forever stamps, so as the prices hike you’ll need to add makeup stamps, but it’s incredibly cool to use your own designs and images on postage!

Zazzle stamp hen

I design my stamps through Zazzle.

zazzle stamps

Other options include PictureItPostage and PhotoStamps. I haven’t compared the pricing among the three, but for any self-design options you pay more than face value for the stamps. The printer will also evaluate your designs to make sure they comport with USPS regulations.

Are you a stamp addict like me? What’s your favorite stamp these days?

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New Zazzle Dazzle

I haven’t written about Zazzle in a while. I told you back in 2008 that I was an instant convert to the new print-on-demand site when I heard that I could have sneakers made from my own artwork and designs. Sadly, they stopped making sneakers, though they recently added flip-flops to the lineup. So far I’ve only designed one flip-flop (they call them sandals) out of my Peacock Feather kaleidoscope design.

Peacock kaleidoscope flip-flops

For about a year I wasn’t paying much attention to my Zazzle shop, beyond adding a few items here and there when I’d create a photo that called out to be used in a design on one of Zazzle’s products.

But I got really excited when they added clocks to the lineup! They don’t offer a template with numbers on it, so you either have to go number-less, design your own, buy a template, or find a free one to download. For George’s birthday I ordered a clock that I designed with my photo of our hen Maureen, and was really impressed with the quality. (My watermark doesn’t appear on the products.)

Hen clock

The image is sharp and bright, completely true to my photo file, and the clock itself is sturdy and well-made.

And for more Zazzle dazzle, they just started making wrist watches! One of my favorite photos of a hummingbird hovering works great on this watch, don’t you think?

Hummingbird hovering wristwatch

Some of the watch styles have numbers on the dials, but for the ones that don’t, I discovered that my clock template works for the watches as well, which makes it more worthwhile to invest in buying a good template from an expert if you’ll be designing clocks and watches.

You know me, I’m incredibly happy when I can use my artwork to adorn useful things, so I’ve been going crazy designing watches. Here’s one of my favorite new photos, a monarch butterfly on a zinnia flower, on a wristwatch.

Monarch butterfly on flower on Zazzle

Click here to go to my Zazzle shop to see all of the products I’ve adorned with my artwork. Do you have a Zazzle shop? I’d love to check it out, please leave a link in the comments. And if you’re an artist and haven’t tried designing on Zazzle, it’s really fun (but addictive! )