Mail Art Happiness

My mailbox has been very happy lately! Here are a few of the wonders sent by pen pals and Postcrossing friends. First, a marvelous creation by mail artist Sally Wassink. On the outside: “Burn on completion” and “2016” stamped in red, and Sally’s “Wurlitzerworld January 1, 2016” postmark.Sally Wassink

Inside: a handy pocket calendar for 2016 and matches to burn it at year’s end (I won’t!)

Sally Wassink

With the bottom stapled, it folds and tucks just like a matchbook. Ingenious!

Sally Wassink

Judy Staroscik, a mail art pen pal I met through IOUMA (the International Union for Mail-Artists), sends me intricate handmade artist trading cards and other gems. Judy’s latest, a small card and ATC that she made on an art tour to England last year:Judy Staroscik

Carrie, a Postcrosser from Minnesota,made me a gorgeous stamp-art postcard with an inspiring message for the new year. The stalk / flowers on the right are embossed with gold ink.

Postcard

LadyOla, a Postcrosser from Belarus, was sweet to note from my profile that I adore triangle stamps! She used this one on my postcard — it looks like a fragment of a tapestry, doesn’t it?

Triangle stamp from Belarus

Ceejay, another treasured pen pal I met through Postcrossing, sends me her own beautiful photo cards with wonderful gifts tucked inside, often precious triangle stamps she finds for me!

Triangle stamps

And last but not least – a Postcrosser from the Netherlands made me this extra-special card with sequins, real lace, and a pop-up cuppa tea and flowers!

Handmade card

Curious about Postcrossing? Click this link. And this is my Postcrossing profile

Have you sent or received any mail art lately? I hope your mailbox has many happy days in 2016, both outgoing and incoming!

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?