From the Scarlet Letterbox

My blog friend Natalie of The Smallest Forest, whose amazing art and creatings I’ve written about before wanted to start a new “thing” this year and came up with the idea of offering her readers, fans and all interested a letter subscription.

Love getting hand written letters each month

In her letter subscription you get one handwritten beautiful letter once a month, in the most amazingly illustrated and personalized envelope in your mail box. I don’t know if it’s because I “kind of know” Natalie Uhing (through reading her blog for many years, last year while she and her man was sailing to different countries away from their boat house home in Australia) that these letters feel so very personal, or if she is just a very skilled writer…

Three of the letters Ive gotten so far

They feel like someone’s exotic adventures taken straight out of a very exciting novel, sent home to a gray, old, and rather boring aunt (me) to tell about life and anecdotes of travels abroad. Stories that often tie into a small, or bigger, lesson at the end. So yes, she is a skilled writer. She writes the kind of English sentences that I wish I could whip up for this blog… With flow, elegance and romance in all of the words. I understand it all at once, but I can never write like that. English is not my first language, and I am doomed to always write clumsily and in haste, to say my meaning and end with a sigh…

I for one is rooting that Natalie’s letters, or some of her many other stories, one day will get published in a beautiful book. I know she is a skilled writer, because from the start, I loved her stories and words, so it’s not because I’ve read her so long that I want more. They’re just great letters!

A handwritten letter for me

Anyway, that is what the subscription is all about. A real existing person that will be your pen pal without you having to compose a reply. Doesn’t that sound like a dream? A pen pal that writes you faithfully and wonderfully rich letters (on cream colored paper) without you having to reply even once.

I love getting letters, but I’m not very good (these days) at replying I think.

Blue Nautic Seal from Natalie
The text and illustrations are hand-made by the artist, but are of course copied for all the many subscribers – but the elements of real, like a wax seal in blue and silver, the beautiful stamps adorning the envelope, the gifts inside, is what makes this a handmade work of art, a keepsake.

Well, I used to write tons of letters when I was young and in my 20s, to pen pals, friends that had moved away or lived over seas for a while, or when I myself lived abroad I wrote home to friends, family and grandparents. But these days, I find I write blog posts and hardly take the time to answer my e-mails, not even when I really want to write to my dear friends far away. I so want to keep the contact, but I often find myself procrastinating it. Maybe I should take up real letter writing, at least to do a few here and there?

Illustrated hand-written letter

But right now I really enjoy getting Natalie’s letters, illustrated with her beautiful watercolor drawings of real life things around her, and sometimes even with a little gift tucked inside. Like the tiny envelope filled with faux stamps, made from her own paintings.

I have always loved the idea of faux stamps, and have some ideas of my own of what I want to create, so of course I loved getting these stamps in the mail. I might keep them tucked into this envelope like a little treasures for a long time.

A small envelope inside the envelope

I hopes these photos makes you curious, and longing to know more about this particular subscription.

To get the last six months of the year of the letter subscription visit The Scarlet Letterbox and read more about it and sign up there.

Faux stamps as a gift

When I first read about Natalie’s idea of a letter subscription, I thought it was a grand idea and wrote and e-mail to her to give some marketing advice and cheer her on. She wrote me back instantly and asked if I would be interested to receive her hand-written letters for a whole year and help her promote it in some small way. Like could I mention it on social media (which I’ve done on Pinterest, Twitter, in Instagram Stories each time I’ve gotten a new letter and opened it, and in a few Facebook groups I am part of).

Just look at all the cute Australian stamps and you’ll understand one reason I’m charmed by this idea. I love everything postal!

Pretty Australian stamps

I wanted to write about this subscription here too, but also mention that my subscription to what she is calling The Scarlet Letterbox Subscription is free! Because while I adore it, I couldn’t afford it right now. It is not for struggling artists or people making art but with empty etsy shops… But: If you’ve got extra money left and love subscription services like monthly Scrapbook Boxes or stationary loots, then this might be another thing you will want to look into and gift yourself with (or a dear friend you want to write to, but don’t have the time to write), because if you do, you will not regret it one minute. Instead you’ll do a little happy dance once every month for a long time.

Beautiful mail for sale - get a subscription now

3 Responses

  1. What a fun idea! I was much more consistent with my letter writing, and even kept a travel blog for a while, when we lived in Japan. Those things have fallen by the wayside a bit in the past couple years, but I do so enjoy when I make the time to write to a friend or family!
    Thanks for introducing us to The Scarlett Letterbox!

  2. This is a lovely idea! Before the days of email, texting etc I used to write a lot of letters, as I’d moved far away from family and friends. I took part in an internationally-based letter-writing project in February and really enjoyed it. I admit it was time-consuming though.

    But what I really wanted to say, Hanna, is that your English is fine! Truthfully, I am always amazed by how well you write and understand it! I am ashamed by how poorly educated in general we Americans are when it comes to foreign languages. I know some Spanish and that’s it.

    I can understand your comparing your writing to someone whose writing is in her native language, but that is not fair to yourself. Be proud of how well you write in English. I’m sure that took years of study and practice, so you have a right to be proud of your fluency!

    Okay, enough of the “lecture”; I hope you didn’t mind it. :) As always, love your blog.

  3. Oh my gosh, I haven’t been doing much internet reading lately (I have to write letters! I’m late! ha ha ha) so I had no idea you’d posted this! Hanna, thank you for the kind words and the precious time you spent on a post about the letter subscription. I love seeing the letters in other people’s photos, the different surroundings, the familiar objects in someone else’s hand, it’s sort of magical (like, Hey! That was HERE and now it’s THERE! Magic!)

    And hey, I agree with Aimee in that you are unfairly harsh on yourself! Your blog is entertaining and interesting and your English has never seemed to me as anything other than perfectly competent. I even forget that it is your second language, you seem so comfortable with it.
    To clear things up, I not only spoke English as a first language at home, I STUDIED it. I’m an English major. I did Literature and Creative Writing for 4 years. So I use it the way a craftsman uses a complicated tool. If my writing seems good, well, it is to be expected (considering what my parents paid for my education!) I didn’t “pick up” the language from my family, nor from talking to friends, nor from the ordinary things people say in everyday situations. I read a thousand books during high school and uni, paying particular attention to the way the language was put together. It’s what writers do, yeah? (Except that I never did do much with my education, until now. These letters are really pushing me…the challenge to tell a story that others can “see”, but still fits the 950 words limit of my letter paper, has been the big one. It’s easy to tell a story in 3,000…but then to cut that down to one-third without losing its essence…writing takes the longest time of these letters.)
    Thank you so much, I hope you will continue to enjoy my letters (we’ve a way to go, yet) and the experimentation/innovation that I have been planning for each one. I love knowing that you’re at the receiving end, and should you ever wish to comment, one on one, on anything I’ve written you, well, you have my e-mail address ;)
    Much love and xx, Nat

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