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Robot watching gear fireworksTada!  It’s the first postcard I’ve made…in about a year, it seems.  For the same person.  For approximately the same reason.

So, I think I’ve said before that I’m not participating in Lettermo this year because I just can’t get my act together.  You wouldn’t think it’d be that difficult to send out one piece of mail each USPS business day, especially when you’re only sending out postcards, but surprisingly it can be.  So anyway, I opted not to join Lettermo this year and give myself an ulcer.  Not that I’m predisposed to getting ulcers.

But, just because I’m not participating in Lettermo doesn’t mean that other people aren’t.  I’ve kept up semi-regular contact with one challengee from last year.  Semi-regular in that, now and then, he will send me his steampunk related cards and postcards that he makes…and I may or may not send him something back.  Well, I try and send something in return, but it may not always be handmade.  I think I may have sent a robot-themed Where’s Waldo postcard once…

ANYWAY!  Mr. Challengee sent me a steampunk holiday card at the end of last year.  I thought that was very nice of him.  I don’t celebrate those varioius end of the year holidays, so I didn’t really think it was appropriate to send a holiday card back to him.  But then I thought of New Year’s and how fireworks might be appropriate for something like that.  And how gears and cogs look a bit like firework…uh…blooms.  And the idea for a postcard about a robot watching gear fireworks was born.  I had every intention of sending it out in time for New Year’s too.  But…I was really busy at the end of the year and didn’t have time to make it.  Sugh…

Well, just recently I received his postcard for Lettermo 2013 and he mentioned how he really liked my robot/gear themed postcard from last year.  I figured I really ought to send him something back, even though I’m not participating in Lettermo this year.  I really wanted to do the fireworks postcard still, even if it wasn’t really season appropriate.  BUT THEN!  I remembered it’s Chinese New Year (or at least it was when I made the card and still kind of was when I finally mailed it)!  Fireworks are still appropriate!  And thus, here’s is the postcard.

Details:

  • The postcard is 4″x6″.
  • All shapes were cut out using my Silhouette.
  • The gears and cogs were…uh…coughmumble.  I would tell you, but then I’m afraid it would make more difficult to do what I did.  I’ll just say that they were semi-hand drawn and some old Cricut software was involved.
  • The robot there was hand drawn.  I mocked on out on paper first and then drew it in Sketchbook with the mirror function on.  Makes it easier to draw symmetrical things.  Then I imported that into Silhouette Studio to resize and cut.  Erm…he did have legs, but then I got lazy and didn’t draw them in Sketchbook, so of course the final robot didn’t have legs.  The other thing I ended up doing with the robot was to cut his head off and paste it back on at a jaunty angle.  I drew it that way on paper, but not digitally.  Then I regretted it, so I just cut off his head and glued it back on the way I liked.  I meant to detail his arms before laminating, but it looks like I forgot.
  • The buildings were just a bunch of rectangles I welded together before cutting.  I meant to draw in some windows, but it looks like I forgot to do this too.  Sugh…
  • The rest of it is cardstock of various colors and a strip of vellum.  I am terribly pleased to note that I was able to use scrap pieces of cardstock for just about everything for this postcard.  I also like the messier torn edges of my supposed gradient to a black sky.  The yellow part was edged with those Fiskers paper edgers (Deckle, I think).
  • And finally, there was a liberal dose of glitter glue.  It wasn’t supposed to be as liberal as it turned out to be.  But I didn’t check the tip size of the bottles beforehand and some of it came out in a big glob.  Sugh.  You’d think I would have learned the first time, but no…it seems like I do this every time I have to squeeze some liquidy substance out of a bottle.  I did what I could to spread it out.
  • I used a glue stick to glue everything because I didn’t want any wrinkling and the final product would be laminated, so I didn’t have to worry about anything falling off.
  • The postcard ended up being kind of thick even though I tried to minimize the amount of layering.  In retrospect, I didn’t have to use a black 4″x6″ base and should have built everything on the index card instead.  Oh well.
  • Because the postcard is thicker than a normal postcard (it ended up being 0.054″ at the thickest part), I used first-class postage.  I am reasonably certain that it will hold up to the sorting machinery the USPS uses.
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You remember that I really like the US Postal Service, right?  Because I do.  And there have been some changes of late that I thought I might comment on…

1) USPS has increased postage prices.

This was inevitable and it isn’t really big news.  What I did want to comment on is the fact that the USPS has finally come out with an international forever stamp.  I like this a lot.  As you may know, I am a member of postcrossing…partly because I like postcards and partly because I like used stamps, although I do not consider myself a deltiologist or a philatelist.

Anyway, it has been rather annoying with the increase in postage rates because I would forever be trying to cram more stamps onto a postcard.  Postcards do not have much real estate for stamps.  I mean, you have to fit a short message, an address, and stamps all into a space generally about 4″x6″.  But you can’t use all of that space because normally there’s some description of the front side of the postcard printed in that same space and the USPS needs some room to affix those bar code things to help with sorting, etc etc.

And did you know international addresses can be really long?  REALLY long.  Especially to China or Russia.  Those addresses are several lines long.  Sometimes also to the UK, because the addresses there tend to be descriptive and don’t involve our nice, standardized

building number street name
unit number where applicable
city, state zip code

format.  It’s more like

the green house three units down from the big hill at the end of the dirt road, it’s the one with the blue door and yellow trim not to be confused with the the one with the cyan door and the white trim
Yorkshireworchestershiresburg
maybe some numbers here
UK
or maybe some numbers here.

Do you know how hard that is to fit onto a postcard?  It is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.  It does not help when you also have to fit 23098923874 stamps into that same space, the last 29837192 of which are 1 and 2 cent stamps to make up the difference with the postage increase.

Welp, now I don’t have to.  Because I have purchased some of these newfangled forever stamps for international mail!  Huzzah!  And actually, what I like best about them is the fact that they’re circular, BUT STILL HAVE THE PERFORATION MARKS on the edges.  Think about that.  Think about if they were really released where you would have to tear out stamps from a sheet (or a roll).  It would be a sheet of all these perforated circles.  Think of how ridiculous that is.

pr13_011

As it is, I really like the design.  Complete with the perforation marks.

Also, it doesn’t bother me as much as I say it does to try and fit 129387192837 stamps and then an address on a postcard.  I was trying to be dramatic.  And did you know the Royal Mail serving the UK actually is pretty efficient despite those really strange addresses?  It’s kind of amazing.

2) The USPS recently declared that they will no longer deliver first-class mail on Saturdays starting in August.

This…I kind of also feel was inevitable.  Because Congress is stupid.  Yes, I truly believe that.  I mean, the people elected for Congress may be smart individuals (or may not be, which I also think is increasingly the case BUT I DIGRESS), but as a group they’re incredibly stupid.  Why are they making the USPS pre-fund their retiree health benefits?  No one else does it. And since Congress won’t back down on that, it was inevitable that something would have to go.  So the USPS opted to stop delivery of first class mail on Saturdays.  It’s supposed to save them about 2 billion a year.

Now then, I am disappoint that this is happening but, in the end, it’s not that big of a deal.  The USPS will still deliver packages on Saturday and that’s the important thing.  Some people get their meds via USPS and it’s important for them to still receive their packages.  Also, I shop online…almost exclusively.  If it’s a choice, I’ll almost always go for USPS delivery or the joint parcel carrier/USPS thing because I don’t have to pay extra for Saturday deliveries with the USPS.  Also because I like the USPS.  The the thing that affects me most and the thing that affects the elderly the most?  It’ll still be there.

Now as for first class mail, I would really like for the USPS to continue delivering it on Saturdays.  But if they don’t, it’s ok.  I do correspond, probably more than the average person, with others by written letters and the like.  I would like to get my letters on Saturday, if possible.  But if I can’t, well I still have FIVE OTHER DAYS to receive mail.  And I don’t always have the time to read my mail and respond to it on weekdays.  So now I can use the weekend to read and respond to mail and send it out on Monday.  It’s not a big change from before.

So this woman?  I have no idea why she’s so upset.  She doesn’t say anything in her argument that shows why Saturday delivery for first class mail is so important.  In fact, her argument seems to support stopping Saturday delivery for the very same reason I stated above.

Actually, most arguments that I’ve seen are to this effect.  Hallmark complains that now people will be sad because they won’t be able to get greetings cards on Saturdays.  Because…Monday is too much of a wait for the recipient?  Or the sender is too much of a slacker to mail the card in time for Friday delivery?  It’s not that hard people.  Just pop the card into the mail one day earlier.

Another argument I saw was that small businesses sending out flyers for sales and stuff would now also have to try and get their flyers in the mail earlier (I can’t find the link to this story, sorry).  Well, this argument doesn’t make sense to me either.  If the sale is on Saturday, and many sales are over the weekend when people have time to go shopping, you wouldn’t want your flyers to arrive in the mail that Saturday.  How would that be enough notice?  Friday might not even be enough notice.  I don’t see how ending Saturday delivery hurts said small business because no one knew about their sale.  If the sale is on Monday…well, who has sales only on Mondays?  Normally it’s a three-day affair over the weekend and into Monday.  This isn’t a good argument.

Same deal with magazine subscriptions.  Ending Saturday delivery doesn’t really hurt them.  If people get the magazine during the week and don’t have time to look through it, well now they have something to look forward to for the weekend.  Why do they keep whining?

3) This isn’t related to the USPS as much, but it kind of us.  Did you know that February is Lettermo?

I participated in it last year, but I’m not this year.  I haven’t really been able to get my act together for a long time now.  So many backed up projects and things to do.  Maybe next year…

I do have one postcard that is half made and needs to get sent out to a lettermo participant.  More on that later.

4) One more that’s somewhat related to the USPS.  Did you know Belgium is releasing chocolate-scented and chocolate-flavored stamps?

The USPS should definitely get on this.  I’m sure if they were to release chocolate-scented, chocolate-flavored stamps, nigh everyone would buy some and solve the funding crisis.  Totes.