Poinsettia Stamp Now Available

[From guest contributor Carol]

The Poinsettia Forever® stamp is available now! This morning, the stamp will be released officially at the ASDA National Postage Stamp Show in New York City.

The stamp art is so realistic that you can almost feel the texture of the leaves. There is a good reason for that—artist William Low used a live plant as his model. Low started with a lush, full poinsettia bought at its peak growth. He placed it in the perfect location in his studio to allow the light to accentuate the plant’s vivid color.

When he began by working from the live model, he took several photographs so that he would have a reference point for when the plant was past its prime. This was especially helpful with the flowers, which are not, as many people believe, the bright red leaves—called bracts—but rather the small, modest cup-shaped structures in the center.

For the Poinsettia stamp, Low used a pressure sensitive screen on which he “painted” his brushstrokes using a stylus, adding dabs of color and weaving layers of texture into the digital painting as he filled in the details. (If you’d like to learn more about Low’s artistic process, check out this fascinating video on his website.)

While painting a perfectly detailed poinsettia might be extremely difficult, you can still make your own poinsettia art. Design poinsettia place cards for your holiday parties or learn how to make felt poinsettias for decorations. If you are adept with a sewing machine, make beautiful embroidered organza poinsettias to embellish packages, candlesticks, wreaths. Kids love crafts, too, so help them make poinsettia ornaments for the tree, create beautiful paper poinsettias, or paint poinsettias using their own hand prints!

Don’t forget that the beautiful Poinsettia stamps will brighten and decorate all your cards and letters this holiday season. Buy the stamps at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

Celebrate the Holidays with New Stamps

It’s only October, but the holidays are right around the corner. The Postal Service has an exciting lineup of holiday stamps that will be available soon. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the things we have in store.

The Poinsettia Forever® stamp will be released this Thursday, October 10, at the ASDA National Postage Stamp Show in New York City. The vibrant issuance depicts the rich red and deep green leaves surrounding the flower.

poinsettiaOn Friday, October 11, two more holiday stamps will be released at the ASDA stamp show. One is the Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert Forever® stamp, which features Gossaert’s 1531 painting Virgin and Child.
VirginandChildStampThe other is the Holy Family Forever® stamp, which features an illustration showing Joseph leading a donkey that carries Mary and Jesus, guided by a star shining in the twilight of a desert sky.
Holy FamilyThe Global Forever®: Evergreen Wreath stamp will be released on October 24. This international rate stamp offers a single price for any First-Class Mail International® 1-ounce letter to any country in the world.
EvergreenWreath-Forever-Single-BGv1And that’s not all. New issuances slated to be released later this fall include new Hanukkah and Kwanzaa Forever® stamps, in addition to the awesome new Gingerbread Houses Forever® stamps. Check back soon for more details! GingerbreadHousesmaller

Holy Family Stamp to Be Reissued in 2013

HolyFamily2013-Forever-single-BGv1The Holy Family Forever® stamp, first issued in 2012, features an illustration of the Flight into Egypt, a traditional episode from the Nativity story that reminds us of the joys of the Christmas season: family, togetherness, and the birth of the baby Jesus.

Described in the second chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, the Holy Family’s journey has been an abiding subject for artists and musicians for centuries and continues to be an important part of the Christmas story.

We are delighted to announce today that the Holy Family stamp will be reissued in October 2013, just in time for the holiday season. Stay tuned for more details about the First Day of Issue event.

This Year, Let It Snow

Many of you may see a little snow in your mailbox this holiday season. For 2013, the U.S. Postal Service will issue five new Presorted Standard stamps featuring photographs of snowflakes taken by Kenneth Libbrecht, a professor at the California Institute of Technology.

Strip of 5The Snowflakes stamps will be issued in coil format and are intended for use by bulk mailers. A release date has not yet been set.

Announcing New Hanukkah & Kwanzaa Stamps for 2013

This year the U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa with two new Forever® stamps.

PairCelebrated by Jews around the world, Hanukkah, the joyous Festival of Lights, spans eight nights and days of remembrance and ritual. Observance begins on the 25th of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar, a date that falls in late November or December. In 2013, Hanukkah begins at sundown on November 27.

The annual nonreligious holiday of Kwanzaa takes place over seven days from December 26 to January 1, brings family, community, and culture together for many African Americans.

What do you think of the new stamps? Both will be released later this year; stay tuned for more details.