This started out being a post about a great idea, some very appealing art, and a lovely gift that my mother would have loved. But the more I read about Janice MacLeod, the more interested I became in her story. Janice is an artist, writer, and Etsy seller who had a really brilliant idea. Every month, she paints a watercolor of Paris, where she resides. Then she writes a charming and personable letter over the painting, makes a few limited-edition high-quality copies, personalizes each one, and mails them to her subscribers. This may not sound like much, but these letters are really very special. And often, the letters include a little bonus:
“I’m conscious to add personal touches,” Janice says. “Sometimes I add an interesting sugar packet, vintage postcard, or a beautiful label I find in my explorations through Paris.”
Here’s a video about the subscription:
She’s also written a bestselling book about how she managed to ditch her day job writing junk mail and turn living in, writing about, and painting Paris into the life she wanted! (Oh, and she met a great guy, Christophe the Polish butcher, too.) It looks like a very entertaining read. In an interview about the book, she was asked the three best lessons the experience taught her. I love them all, so here they are:
1. Live beneath your means
2. If you don’t have it, you don’t need it
3. Write to learn what you know
I find her story inspiring, and I think there’s a lesson in there for everyone who is less than enchanted with their work life. There’s always time to reinvent yourself if you want to badly enough. Don’t worry, I’m not going to run away and join the circus, but it’s fun to think that someday, maybe I’ll get to retire and make a life as a creative person again.
Here’s more of Janice’s beautiful letters, followed by one of my favorite French songs by Madeleine Peyroux.