mail art diaries: how i make digital collages

Mail Art Diaries, Personal

Envelope---Hand

I started making digital collages when I started designing stationery. Although I have been making “real” collages for over 10 years now, I have only been doing things digitally for over a year. I always wanted to sell my mail art but it would be so time consuming to create each unique piece by hand; I wouldn’t have time to actually write letters! To make things easier on myself, I scanned in my collection of images, ephemera and whatever paper bits I had, and started creating collages through Photoshop. Well, Photoshop Elements, because I’m cheap.

Watching people create things is seriously one of my favorite things to do. I think that is probably my favorite thing about the internet. I love watching people do things I can’t (or am too lazy to learn). I love watching people paint, draw, write calligraphy, you name it. I even like watching people do things I can do (like mail art!). I think I’ve watched almost every YouTube video there is of people making mail art. I finally found a free program to capture my computer screen by video so now I get to contribute to the world of creative process videos. Check it out below!

To celebrate my first computer-screen video, I am sharing the file for the envelope I created in the video. Check it out! It is a PDF file, you can print it on a regular 8.5×11 piece of paper. You will have to cut it out and fold it!

Advertisements

outgoing: emilie s

Mail, Outgoing

IMG_6334

This was dino-themed envelope for my pal, Emilie. She loves dinosaurs and, since I’m a pterodactyl, I have a lot of dino things. Emilie and I have been pals for a long time now and I absolutely love exchanging mail with her. Although it can be hard to try and find new things to include in my letters. I’m sure she has received her fair share of duplicate items from me!

IMG_6332

IMG_6333

what i’m working on: ephemera packs

Personal

IMG_7387

Over the weekend I put together a few ephemera packs to list in my shop! I really enjoy putting these together. I love searching through my stash of papers, stickers, and images. All of the items I put into these packs are stuff that I would use in my own collages. And, if you’re my pen pal, you’ve probably received some of these items in my letters!

IMG_7415

In addition to putting together these packs, I am also (slowly but surely) going through my hoard of books. I have A LOT of books just hanging out for possible use. I’m going through each one and tearing out the images that I would use. I hope to become a bit more organized with my collage images because, right now, I’m just not. I saw Esther’s collage binders and thought that was amazing. I hope to pick up some binders soon to stick my images in. For now, I’m just going to keep them in my filed away by image type. I’m thinking categories like people, floral, objects, anatomy, animals, landscapes, backgrounds, and “I don’t even”. How do you store your paper bits?

IMG_7429

You can check out the ephemera packs in my shop! Just click on over to Dactyl Life. ❤

snail mail tips: storing washi tape

Advice, Snail Mail Tips

IMG_7286

Most of my great ideas come to me right as I am falling asleep. I sit in bed and think of all the things I would rather be doing instead of sleeping. Half of the time I can’t remember most of these thoughts or ideas when I wake in the morning because I can’t be bothered to actually write them down.

This is one idea I remembered! I was in bed thinking of all the washi tape I have and how I needed to come up with a new way of storing them. I thought of those washi tape holders you can buy and realized they were basically just a rectangular box. I started thinking about the items I had in my house that I could convert into storage for washi tape and, ding!, what better than the boxes that rolls of wax paper or aluminum foil come in?

IMG_7274

Although it’s not the best option out there, this is an incredibly easy and cheap way to store your washi. Let’s get started!

To convert your box, you really just need a few simple supplies:
► The box (duh)
► Washi tape (duh duh)
► Scissors
► (optional) Pretty paper to cover the ugly box
► (optional) Double-sided tape or glue

IMG_7275

First things first, cut off the little flaps on the side of the box and the cover flap. I considered leaving the top flap on but it’s likely your washi tape are going to stick out a bit so the top flap just becomes pointless. That’s basically all you have to do to make this into a washi tape holder. It’s really that simple. Cut off the flaps and stick your washi inside! Done.

IMG_7288

IMG_7290

I recommended covering the box with something pretty or color-coded. I decided to cover my boxes with scrapbooking paper that matched the colors of washi tape I was going to put inside. It’s super simple to cover the box! I just stuck on a bunch of double-side tape on each side and basically wrapped it like a present. I didn’t cover the bottom, just the front back and sides. You can also cover the inside if you’re feelin’ fancy. I think it might be kind of annoying to use glue to complete this step but, if that’s all you have, I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it work!

IMG_7294

IMG_7296

IMG_7297

IMG_7302

With this storage, you do have to take out the washi tape each time you want to use it. That can be kind of annoying! I’m trying to think of something I can put in, like a empty paper towel roll, to have the washi tape on. I feel like the washi tape holes vary in size though that could just be my imagination. I’ll have to give it a go the next time I run out of paper towels.

Another thing you can do is put a piece of tape that you are storing on the outside of the box. You can easily see what tape you have and, once you take it out, you know where it should go when you have to put it back!

IMG_7305

mail artist spotlight: rhiannon s

Mail, Mail Artist Spotlight

IMG_7178

I receive a lot of amazing things in my mailbox almost daily. I thought it would be nice to feature some beautiful mail art here and there.

IMG_7181

Although I don’t want to play favorites, Rhiannon is definitely high on the list of people I love to receive letters from and people I love to write to. I thought we had met during my time in the League of Extraordinary Penpals but it turns out she actually wrote to me after reading my blog all the way back in 2012 (this is why I keep spreadsheets of incoming/outgoing mail, btw). I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long!

IMG_7177

Rhiannon is seriously cool. She shares her book/music/movie recommendations with me and doodles in her letters. She once sent me a mix cd that I listened to straight for months; her taste is exceptional! Lately she is doing the school thing so I don’t get to hear from her too often but it’s always a treat when I do!

IMG_7174

I suggest you check out her tumblr and see how cool she is!

IMG_7187

incoming from chewy tulip

Incoming, Mail

IMG_7131

A little bit of lovely mail from Cara, aka Chewy Tulip. I’ve blogged about her fun mail before in a Mail Artist Spotlight post. Her style is unique, crazy, and I completely love it.

IMG_7122

IMG_71242

I especially enjoy all the different ink scribbles and the sparkly bits. I’m not sure where Cara gets her inspiration but I’m thankful to receive bits of her creativity in my mailbox. Her style is so fun and bright! She always includes scribbles and doodles in her letters as well.

IMG_7129

In this letter she included bits of heart and circle shaped confetti. I ended up with a bunch of pink hearts all over my floor when I first opened the letter! Oops. I have a really amazing talent of dropping things on the floor and then, when trying to make it so nothing else drops on the floor, I end up dropping everything. This scenario applies to a lot of different situations in my life. My boyfriend calls it “Tara blows it”.

Thanks, Cara, for all the great mail ❤

returning to the fold

Personal

IMG_7316

I’m baaaaaack. I’m feeling super refreshed after over a month (yikes!) off. I took a crap-ton of photos over the weekend of all my incoming mail to show off. I haven’t taken the time to actually make the posts yet though so don’t hold your breath.

During my “time off” I thought a lot about the direction of this blog and what I want to get out of it. I feel like I never really let my personality shine in most of my posts and I think that is a big part of why I got overwhelmed with everything. Posting should be fun for me! I want to post about the things I love, not the things I think people will enjoy. It’s been rather strange to look back on my posts and realize there is not much of ME in them. I’m pretty awful at sharing myself with other people (except through mail) and I would really like to change that. I found that I ended up comparing myself to other bloggers and feeling pretty shitty about the things I don’t accomplish, the fashionable outfits I don’t have, the perfectly decorated apartment I’m not living in, or the adventures I don’t go on. But that isn’t me. I don’t leave my house except to go to work, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes or furniture, most of my money is spent on postage, and I spend my time inside making mail art and writing letters. And that’s okay because I love my life.

To kick off my return to blogging, here are some fun facts about me!

001

► I only take silly photos of myself.

► I don’t have any tattoos but I would really love to get a pterodactyl tattoo at some point.

► I lift weights! I started lifting about 3 years ago and work out 3x a week. I can deadlift 210lbs, squat 165lbs, bench 100lbs, and press 80lbs. My favorite thing about lifting weights is eating all of the food. Being strong doesn’t hurt either 😉

► I haven’t had a haircut in over 2 years and I have rocked the same hairstyle since high school. I really want to do something drastic when I finally break down and get a hair cut. Any suggestions?

► I sold my car within a month of moving to Portland. I grew up in Vegas, where having a car is an absolute necessity (if nothing else for the A/C!). I have always wanted to live somewhere that didn’t require a car to get around because I really hate driving and I’m terrible at parallel parking. I’ve been biking everywhere for the past year and walked/rode the bus before that! I absolutely love it.

004

► I’m awful at exploring/wandering around. I get pretty anxious being out in public if I’m by myself and I have no set destination. I need a reason to leave my apartment.

► I have 0 friends in Portland. I have plenty of acquaintances from work but I do not hang out with anyone except for my boyfriend (but we live together so that doesn’t count). I don’t really care to hang out with people so that’s probably why. I’d rather be at home writing a letter or watching something stupid on Netflix.

And, for your viewing pleasure…