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    > Meet Leafcutter Designs: Paper, Art and Whimsy

    Meet Leafcutter Designs: Paper, Art and Whimsy

    Dear child… Photo by Frog Mom

    If the tooth fairy or the spider in the kitchen wrote a letter to your child, this is what it might look like: an inch wide envelope with your child’s address in ant-size script and an equally small sender address in the top left corner. Turn it over, break the red wax seal, open it and slowly pull out a tiny letter. Coming from a fairy, it’ll reveal a page of text and a shower of minuscule glitter stars. Unfold the magnifier and start reading. Now, what child won’t be in total awe when receiving this letter?

    Lea Redmond. Photo by Frog Mom

    The World’s Smallest Postal Service is the brainchild of Lea Redmond. A self-taught artist who runs Leafcutter Designs, Lea is the very impersonation of the “maker” spirit with her right brain and crafty fingers. I had the honor to visit her workshop in Oakland and behind the scenes, I also discovered that she offers other fascinating paper creations that I’d love to share with my readers.

    First a few words about the World’s Smallest Postal Service, a spark of whimsy in a cookie-cutter world. Today, anybody can send a tiny letter to someone special. Just get on Leafcutter Designs‘ website, let your creative juices flow, type your text and order online. It couldn’t be any easier.

    In December, Lea mails letters from Santa whose envelope is adorned with a little blue snowflake. Throughout the year she can personalize your letters with various shapes that symbolize the occasion – pacifier for baby, kite for father’s day, and more.

    In the past, Lea has mailed letters to whole classes, wedding invitations with urls for online details, corporate donor thank you’s and love letters – even wedding proposals! “People get very creative,” says Lea. Using vintage metal type fonts, she turns any message into something special that will be remembered – beats the email anytime.

    Tiny packages. Photo by Frog Mom

     A 3-D corollary to tiny letters, Lea sends tiny packages with symbolic objects wrapped in tiny print newspaper – The Small Times – featuring a working crossword. Yet another opportunity to whip out the magnifier.

    What’s inside? Think a Christmas package with a spinning top, a love package with a compass (where would I be without you?) or a package with a tiny bouquet. The idea is not to send an expensive or a big bulky item to show you care but rather your message pared down to a symbol wrapped in a box. How powerful is that? Plus, the tiny twine wins my heart.

    Wooden tokens. Photo by Frog Mom

    You guessed it, Lea loves to conceptualize and her wooden tokens are another product in the same vein. By coincidence, I first came across them in the drawers of The Curiosity Shoppe in the Mission. I was hanging out with my girls and told them they could spend $2 each. They frantically opened drawers and found little knick-knacks including these wooden tokens which we started to decipher.

    They can be redeemed for a song, for a hug, for a poem, for a pep talk, for a game to play or for a story read out loud. Any parent should have a few of those to spend quality time with their kids.

    Matchbox Theater. Photo by Frog Mom

    For older kids or your theater-loving friends, the Matchbox Theater is a ticket to a great time that ends with a live performance and 14 matchbox puppets. Unlike Lea’s other creations, the matchbox theater comes as a kit that you assemble at home and I like it that way.

    Any child who’s 2nd grader and older (even younger if they’re particularly crafty) could make the stage, glue the puppets on matches and read the script. Or guess what? You can make up your own storyline but I like Lea’s selection of stories, some of which include haikus from Kobayashi Issa, an 18th century Japanese poet and Buddhist priest. Yes, we’re far from goldilocks and the three bears!

    Dicy games. Photo by Frog Mom

    Lea’s other creations are total brain teasers like the recipe dice – roll the dice and pick the ingredients for tonight’s dinner, the wiggly eye dice – we like anything wiggly, the kit for hand stitching a letter, the dinner fortune teller napkins – have your guests fold the napkins and open them to read their fortune or the absurdly Dada paper umbrellas – to hand out to strangers on the street on a rainy day. How’s that for creative fun?

    Much like Elmo, Lea likes to share her ideas and on her website, you can even download and print templates for free projects to do at home on rainy days.

    Now, one last thing before I leave you to ponder the many uses of paper. If you think the World’s Smallest Postal Service is as great as I think it is, consider the World’s Smallest Postal Service kit as a gift to your child or a friend on their next birthday. It’ll be a riot and you might even receive a tiny letter in the mail – from a secret admirer. The invisible man perhaps?
    World’s Smallest Post Service Kit – An Introduction from Leafcutter Designs on Vimeo.

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