I got stacks of letters that I got when I was younger, maybe from my teens until I was 20 or so? I used to put a lot of effort into writing letters when I was at that age, maybe because it was the time before Internet and e-mail?

Letter, stamps and envelope from Sweden - all by iHanna

It makes me feel rather old when I think about the fact that I started my life before there were Internet. When I was a kid having a pen pal was obligatory, because communication was limited to that – there were no text messages, chats on the phone or even e-mail. But it wasn’t such a long time ago really, when you simply had to send real letters if you wanted to communicate with someone in another country, for instance. And when I myself lived abroad I excelled in letter writing, maybe it was the big crescendo before it all stopped and e-mail introduced itself into my life?

Anyway, writing a letter by hand is an art-form in of itself, and one worth exploring if you haven’t done it yet.

I know that for myself I love getting any hand-lettered thing, like a greeting card or a thank you from a reader of this blog. It is one of the reasons I host the DIY Postcard Swap here, to break up the never ending stream of extremely boring envelopes that drops down on my hall mat. Bills, doctor appointments, insurance papers and other papers that I almost never want or need to have (because most of the time I already know what’s on them). Having some happy mail coming through is a lot more energizing.

Doodle border on a letter with envelope - on painted paper - all by iHanna

So all of that said – I decided to write a letter to a friend that used to live in my town, but that moved abroad, to another continent. I have such mixed feelings about this, and every time I get an e-mail from her – I want to cry. I am very grateful that we became friends, but now I also miss her (and her whole family). It feels so unfair that we did connect and I found a true friend in someone who was interested in the same kind of things as I am. I have had such a hard time finding (close and like-minded) friends in my life, so it’s really sad when I (finally) find one who understands art, journaling and painting – that then has to move away. It’s not the same to send e-mails when you used to be able to hang out a lot and now you can’t anymore. I find it sweeter but also harder to write to someone who is a friend rather than to a “pen pal” that you might never have met, at least that’s my experience. But back to the letter…

Time to send out a letter with envelope - on painted paper - all by iHanna
Doodle border on a letter with envelope - on painted paper - all by iHanna

Doodles of a girl and a bird for a friend

I couldn’t just write an ordinary letter like I used to this time, so it took me a while to create it (because I’m slow). I painted a lot of papers from my letter writing pad, with watercolors. Just randomly splattering and painting them, and when they were dry, I continued the process of decorating. I used a black ink pen and doodled all around the borders of each paper that I wanted to use (and some extras because I couldn’t stop). And then I sat down to write it (that part was quick). And since I enjoy seeing other’s happy mail, I thought I’d write a blog post about it and share a few photos of the finished letter, now delivered to it’s final destination.

Did you write letters when you were a teen, and do you still?