Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Receiving and sending happy mail

Thanks, my friends, for all your gorgeous, supportive and helpful comments about our new house. I can see it’s going to be such a fun journey making our mark on the place, transforming it into our home. And I’m so delighted you’ll be sharing the ride with us! Now, back to other matters Planet Baby . In this age of instant communication, I’m still one of those old-fashioned girls who revels in the delights of sending and receiving handwritten mail. I posted about it here early on. Lately, as relaxation, I have been crafting some handmade cards and popping them in the post to bloggy friends all over the world, just so they can have a tangible reminder of their friend in far-flung Tasmania. I love focusing on my friends as I write to them, just *being in the moment* and imagining their responses when they read them. It’s a thrill (and skill) I’m eager to pass onto the pixies and lately we’ve had a ball with it through two different projects.

Flat Stanley

A few months ago, my dear friend Jeanne of Collage of Life sent us over an intriguing packet. It contained a colourful little laminated fellow called ‘Flat Stanley’. Here he is.
We were unfamiliar with him but understand he’s quite an enigmatic and popular chap all around the world. Jeanne sent him to us as part of ‘The Official Flat Stanley Project’.  The idea is for schools all over the world to create their own ‘Flat Stanley’ and then post him to children in faraway spots in the world. They have to take photos of him with them in their hometown, write about their adventures with him and then send him onto another destination until finally his passport expires and he’s returned to the original school.

I adore the concept as it really made the pixies feel part of a world community and encouraged their literacy skills. Here’s their excitement at receiving Jeanne’s parcel “all the way from the other side of the world”. Thanks, Jeanne – you made two little children very happy. And Jeanne was sweet enough to also send one of her son's 'Flat Stanley' books for the pixies to keep.
Here’s Jeanne’s delightful card explaining all the exotic climes he had already visited.
Here are the pixies posing with him in front of the Stanley Street sign with Mt Wellington in the background.
And the man of the moment, up to his high jinks.
Well, Stanley recently decided he’d spent enough time on Planet Baby and headed over ‘The Ditch’ to my old friend Ann of My Villa Life in Auckland, New Zealand. I know her two young boys are excited about having Flat Stanley to stay. The pixies are looking forward to what he gets up to over there before returning to his school in the US.

International Postcard Swap for Families

I stumbled across this little project somewhere in Blogland the other day. Clever Zoe Toft of Playing by the Book came up with this nifty idea which you can read about here. According to Zoe, “The idea is simple – you sign up, you agree to send 5 postcards overseas, including a children’s book recommendation and in return you will be sent 5 postcards from overseas each containing a children’s book recommendation.”

Well, that suggestion was right up the pixies’ alley.

Here are the goodies we posted off today. The pixies loved counting up the value of the stamps required for each different country and affixing the distinctive Australian airmail sticker with its Southern Cross. They added lots of kisses and hugs and Joshie wrote their names.
Here’s a close-up of the card of our island state, Tasmania, by the talented local artist, Littleandbigk.
Now these beauties are winging their way over to India, the United Kingdom, country New South Wales in Australia, the USA and Poland. The pixies just can’t wait to receive their postcards – every day for the next fortnight or so, there will be a daily and noisy race to the letterbox to see if any postcards await them! Then we’ll haul out our atlas and find where the postcards came from  - hopefully, they’ll become mad about maps, just like me!

I’d love to hear if you’ve done anything similar with your children. Do you share my passion for introducing them to the big wide world out there?!


  1. Hi Jane,
    No, I don't know any of these things, so it's great to read it and to have a great idea to do with the girls. Thanks for the tips!
    Maureen x

  2. Oh Jane, I would know that face anywhere! When I saw Flat Stanley on my sidebar...I wondered how he managed to do that! I am so thrilled that your precious pixies enjoyed Stanley's visit. He is a regular in many American classrooms...they love watching him travel. Thanks so much for looking after him and I am delighted he made his way to Auckland. He has gone full circle and I am sure will be the envy of Flat Stanley's everywhere!!

    Your a sweetie! Thank you :)

    Jeanne xxx

  3. Ahhh Flat Stanley! I have seen this project in action before. A friend of mine with relatives in Ireland, took part in this for her niece. She even brought Flat Stanley along to our mother's group at the beach one day and we all posed with him, hehe! What a fab idea. I'm sure the Pixies will continue to have a ball with it.
    Must have missed your new house post... off to read it now!
    P.S. Love that Tassie map, so cute! I have an aunty who lives in St Mary's... uncle & aunty who live in Deloraine and cousins in Launceston. It's a magical part of the world :o)

  4. Yeah, we had Flat Stanley in our lives a couple of years ago when Lily was in year 5. Our version had a great day's adventures with Lily, Miles and their Uncle Pete at Parliament House, with lots of good photos in front of all kinds of landmarks. A marvellous thing. Lily's correspondent was in the Northern Territory, which was just fantastic.

  5. What a lovely idea re Flat Stanley.

    For your memory banks at Christmas time, there is a lovely postcard swap organised by Kids Craft Weekly over here....

    We participated in it a couple of years ago and got homemade Christmas cards from all over the world as well as Australia! Goose loved it.

  6. Flat Stanley has always been a favorite of mine that I'm always up to do. I saw a different spin on for slightly older children with a traveling journal. The journal would get passed around until a certain date. When a new person received the journal they would send a postcard to the student and the teacher would track all of the postcards on a classroom map.

  7. [Posted for Cate from an email sent to me]

    But here's what I wanted to say before Blogger said I couldn't:

    What gorgeous ideas! My girls have relatives in lots of other countries but we only really ever email them - it would be so nice to send proper mail with stamps and everthing - all kiddies love the excitement of going to check the letter box :-)

    xxx Cate

  8. A timely post Jane. My son's flat stanley is visiting family in Launceston I must call them and ask when they are sending him home. It is a great idea.

  9. I really love this idea of sending things across the world for the children to be able to learn a little more about other places and to get things in the mail too is always exciting. A little while ago the big girl participated in a mail swap which was fun, checking the letter box to see if anything arrived. When I was younger I always had fun writing to penpals. xo

  10. I did a Flat Stanley
    scrapbook for my little
    God Daughter a few years
    ago and my whole family
    really got into the project!
    Both of these projects
    look like fun and it's fun
    to see your cute pixie's smiles!
    xx Suzanne

  11. I have just read this post with fascination, their delight as you are guiding them through the process of these projects is classic! As a family we were always talking and connecting with other a result my eldest lives in Taipei and my second in Ontario, Canada. They have spent time in other nations including Japan, Phillipines, Italy and of course, NZ too!

  12. Flat Stanley is a great idea - hopefully you'll get to see some of the places that he's visited as well? Would be fun to know about all the different countries/cities that he ends up visiting. I still try to keep up with the odd letter here and there but it's tricky and embarrassingly I've lost a lot of friends addresses! (still have their email though)

  13. I love both of these projects! Reminds me of the old traveling gnome prank! x

  14. I love them! I like that postcard :)

    These are the cutest wee kiddlywinks ive ever even seen! I carried around DL sized popper pocket (plastic envelopes) thingys.. and collected ticket stubs, flyers, pictures ^_^ then made a journal when i got home.

  15. This is a fab idea Jane.I must admit that every time we went to France the girls collected addresses and emails to keep in touch with overseas friends but somehow they struggle to write a letter unless I almost do half of it myself! Sigh...
    Looks like your pixies are completely into the fun, well done!
    Sandrine x

  16. Hi Jane, sorry to be absent for so long - I've missed being caught up on you :) Can't wait to take a peek into your new house!

    I had a pen pal from Greece and one from Trinidad/Tobago through Big Blue Marble. Did you ever do that as a kid? I loved it. You've brought back great memories XOL

  17. Totally cool, what a great idea & for the children to have a real book character come to such life, albeit, flat & laminated!! Love Posie

  18. Ah, ladies, I'm so pleased these little ideas brought back happy childhood memories for you and/or inspired you to do something similar now. I had many penfriends as a child - nothing beats that excitement of opening foreign mail, does it?

    Thanks for that link, Emma -I've bookmarked it as it sounds just the ticket for the pixies.

    No, Laura, I've never heard of Big Blue Marble. I'd better consult Mr Google!

    J x

  19. We love Flat Stanley at our place! We do Flat Stanley projects at school sometimes, what fun for the children! So exciting to get things in the post, and so amazing for them to discover lots of new places! X

  20. Love Flat Stanley. I had not heard of him. Very cute.

  21. I couldn't agree more, Tiff. Now the postcards have started arriving from all over the world and the pixies are transfixed! J x

  22. Simone and I received your postcard this week, and immediately pulled out the globe to find Tasmania. I'm embarrassed to say that the only thing I knew about Tasmania was the Tasmanian Devil from the Looney Tunes cartoons! Now we're off to the library to find a book or two so both of us can learn more about it. We did this postcard swap last year, and loved it so much we participated again this year.


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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