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?

Mail Art pen pal

In a recent post I told you about Postcrossing, a website for people around the world to send and receive postcards. In a scant four months I’ve sent 47 and received 37 cards! My postcards have travelled 395,996 km (246,061 miles) and those I’ve received have gone 298,069 km (185,211 miles). Here’s my Postcrossing map:

Postcrossing map

In their profiles (click the link to see mine), people tell a bit about themselves and can say what kind of cards they’d like to get. A wonderful Postcrosser from back East who was chosen at random to send me a card saw that I collect vintage embossed holiday cards and mailed me two fabulous old postcards. She used a triangle stamp on the envelope, because I mentioned in my profile that I collect those. Talk about a Happy Mail Day!

DSC_6715 small

Emailing through Postcrossing, we realized that we have many similar interests, and she proposed corresponding by mail. I couldn’t say yes fast enough! She also loves photography, and sent me a greeting card she made from her wonderful photo of a Fall garden, along with two more precious vintage embossed holiday cards from her collection.

For my first offering, I decided to send one of my accordion cards, which I made by printing four of my native flower kaleidoscope designs onto a sheet, and folding it. I wrote on the back.

Native flowers kaleidoscope accordion card

I’ve started making upcycled envelopes from paper that would otherwise be thrown away or recycled. I chose one that I made from an old calendar of botanical drawings.  The stamp in the right corner is one I designed from my photo of a masdevallia orchid. I had the stamps made through my Zazzle gallery.

Upcycled handmade envelope

Have you had a Happy Mail Day recently? If so please tell!

Here are my other blog posts about handmade postcards:

Passion for Postcards

Handmade Fabric Postcards

Printing on Wood Veneer