Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The "Jolly Postman" Stories

Have you ever read the "Jolly Postman" children's books? I discovered them through Swap-bot last year because I read about a swap where envelope books would be created to mimic the "Jolly Postman" books. I went to to see what these books looked like and eventually requested them from my library's Interlibrary loan system. Very cute concept is all I can say! You have to look at these books!

Basically "The Jolly Postman", by Allan and Janet Ahlberg, is a book about a postman traveling through a fairytale kingdom to deliver mail to various storybook characters (i.e. Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Bears, Humpty Dumpty, etc.) Each page features part of the postman's story with the facing page being the "mail" that the postman is delivering. The facing page is actually an envelope addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Bear", for instance, from Goldilocks. Inside this envelope is a letter which Goldilocks has written. She apologizes for her disrupting presence in their house and invites Baby Bear to her party. The pages continue in this manner, following the travels of the jolly postman as he delivers mail to storybook characters.

Besides "The Jolly Postman", there is also "The Jolly Christmas Postman" and the "The Pocket Postman". I have not bought "The Pocket Postman" yet, but I'm sure it is just as delightful as the other two.

The swap over at Swap-bot seemed like such a wonderful idea, so I joined it back in October and following are the pictures of the envelope book I had made for my partner in New Zealand for the "Book of Letters & Envelope Goodies Swap".

This is the "cover" of my book. Lime green and orange were two colors mentioned as being favorites of my partner, so I used them.

This is the first envelope of my book, which mimics an actual piece of mail, addressed to Dallas in New Zealand with my return address. For privacy purposes, I did edit out the address in my pictures. However, the envelopes in her book were fully addressed as any letter would appear. I added a real unused stamp and though this picture doesn't show it, I also had my post office put an actual cancellation mark on the stamps, the postmark indicating our town of Metter.

In my book, each envelope had a "theme", this first one being about me and my town here in the USA. Inside the envelope, I included a handwritten note on a lacey notecard and a postcard of Guido Gardens, an inspirational garden, which though located in our small southern town, is visited by travelers worldwide.

This envelope was about "family" and I included stickers of a cat and a fish to represent the pets that my partner has in her "family" besides her real children. The back of the envelope includes three heart embellishments, one reading "boy" and one "girl" (the middle one reading "love") to represent the two children she has.

Inside this envelope, again I wrote a handwritten note about family and included some quotes on vellum paper which my partner could use in her paper and scrapbooking crafts. (Oh, and ignore that date stamp on my photo. Not only is it unsightly, but it is grotesquely misdated! Chalk it up to a new digital camera.)

This envelope represented her love of knitting, including an actual USA stamp featuring knitting. Last year's Christmas stamps featured images of traditional Norwegian sweaters and knitted Christmas stockings. You can find these stamps for sale at There is also a press release about the United States Postal Service staging a knit-in! You can find it here. Who would have imagined our postal service staging a "knit-in".

Inside this envelope I included an older knitting pattern book, a blank notecard for my swap partner's use featuring a girl knitting on the front, and then another knitting notecard on which I wrote a personal note.

This envelope represented the "girly-girl" side of her. I just used pinks and flowers and her lime green color again.

Inside this envelope I included some colorful heart stickers because she likes "hearts", a small note, another vellum quote about laughter this time, and a smiley face pin, which I pinned to the envelope flap.

This envelope is the last in the "book". I began this book with a note and postcard about where I live. This ending envelope is about where my swap partner Dallas lives...New Zealand. I found some pretty New Zealand stamps in my used stamp collection and affixed them to the front of the envelope. The butterflies on this final envelope represent a nearby butterfly haven in New Zealand (that piece of information compliments of an internet search about the town she lives in).

Inside, I slipped a "goodbye" note and a postcard from my postcard collection of a New Zealand bird. This postcard had an older New Zealand stamp on it and an actual letter someone once wrote to a loved one. (Again, disregard that date stamp. I did not travel through time while creating this book, I promise.)

This is a photograph of the inside back cover on which I affixed a heart-in-an-envelope embellishment and a "Made Especially for you by" sticker with my name and date on it. Hopefully, my partner will enjoy this enough to keep it for a long while and later on she can look back on it and remember my name and when I created this just for her.

This is the back of my entire book.

And finally, this is my book closed and ready for presentation. I created a tag for my book title and called my book of envelopes...."The Dallas Letters". I wrapped my book in ribbon with a tie closure so that the book would remain closed for display, strung the title tag on it, and shipped it off to Dallas in New Zealand.

She loved it, btw. :)

And I loved that swap!

After my 6 year old daughter saw the book I'd created, looking at all the goodies in the envelope, she wanted me to make her one. I haven't made THAT one yet, but I definitely want to make one just with her and her personality in mind. :)

Now if you're still reading and interested to see what I received from my partner for this same exchange, below are pictures of her book. I can't tell you how much I just adored what she created. She made this not having seen the "Postman" books and though it wasn't exactly like the books, the idea was still grasped, and I love this book she created. I could tell that she took a lot of time and made this creation JUST FOR ME! The butterflies, dragonflies, beads, yarn, purples and pinks...I could go on, but the list would be long. She really made a beautiful effort to tailor this book to represent me and I just love it. Even months later, I still take this book out and look at it, touching all the textures and loving all the colors and details. She is "caresalot" over at Swap-bot, and I think her name represents her well.

Without further ado, here is her beautiful creation.

This is the book cover, titled what else but "Karla". :)

When I opened the book, I was greeted by a green frog man) beads, buttons, yarn clippings in royal blue and pink (two of my favorite colors, dragonflies and the first two lines to a poem..."Karla runs and Karla plays. Karla's crafting all her days..."

The next pages feature butterflies and hearts everywhere! The envelopes held little tuck-ins of scrapbooking embellishments, stickers, charms and buttons. And the next two lines of the poem..."Butterflies flit and soon take flight. Karla watches into the night..." Oh yeah, I'm a night owl and can often be found up late at night!

And the last pages are full of flowers and more pink and purple hues. The embellishments are awesome on these final pages. And the poem is complete with these final lines..."Flowers bloom and flowers grow. Karla loves them all, you know!"

This book was just awesome! Not to be missed is the cute little silver ladybug bead she strung onto the binding...I love ladybugs! This whole creation was perfect. I really enjoyed receiving this swap.

Thank you again, caresalot! I really can't tell you how much I have enjoyed this book, but I hope this post helps to express my delight at your handiwork! :)


Lucy said...

I love the book....I'm really into scrapping now and cards...I got thru crafty stages!!! Great job!

Tina said...

What a neat idea. I will have to look for the Jolly Postman books in my library. They sound really neat. said...

Thanks for sharing all these scrapbook embellishment ideas! :)