mail artist spotlight: marrisa f

Mail, Mail Artist Spotlight

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I recently sent mail to a lady named Marissa. I met her through Twitter when she was looking for someone in Portland to go on a top secret postal mission. I quickly volunteered and sent her a little package with my findings. I never heard from her whether she got the package and assumed it got lost in the mail. Well, I recently found out she did get my package because she sent the most lovely mail in return.

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Look at that package! I mean, it has everything you could want to receive in the mail. A beautiful words, zines, something handmade, and something unique. If there was such a thing as mail art bingo, I would’ve definitely called bingo with this package. I was really excited to receive something back from Marissa and super, duper excited to receive something so wonderful.

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freebie: digital download

Freebies

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I’ve been doing so much digital work lately that I thought it would be fun to share a freebie here and there. I like to make brushes to use in my digital collages instead of having to make a new shape every time I want it. This set of brushes come in handy all the time for me. You can never use enough banner shapes!

You can download this set here. I hope you enjoy them! If you have any requests for freebies, please feel welcome to let me know! I’d love to hear what people find most useful or fun. I imagine I’ll be sharing some stationery with you folks here soon.

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to do

Personal

I’ve never been a goal oriented person. I have no desire to create a bucket list or any other list of things I want to do or see. If I need to do something, I do it. Maybe that thing doesn’t get completed in a timely matter but it will get done! Lately I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed with things I want to do or create. Half the time I think of these right before I go to sleep and I don’t right them down, swearing that I’ll remember in the morning. Of course, I never remember! So, I bought myself a journal specifically for bullet journaling. For a long time, I was using Google Calendar to mark tasks and keep track of my life but I slowly realized that does not work for me. I love looking at my day, week, or month and having that reminder that I need to get something done but, at the end of the day, it was easy to ignore or push off to the side. I realized that I need to write things down and have a place to jot down notes.

I don’t think I’ll become one of those super creative journal/planner people, mostly because that is a lot of time and effort. I like to make things pretty for other people, not myself! The physical act of writing something down makes me remember it, which is where Google Calendar failed me. In my journal, I write down a few things each day that I want to accomplish and, hopefully, I’ll do it. I also love the bullet journal idea to keep lists or collections of things. Writing down stuff like books I want to check out or music I want to buy is so great. This month I am focusing on my blog by writing posts, brainstorming ideas, and taking pictures. I’m trying to take it in teeny tiny steps so I don’t burn myself out. So far, so good!

Do you like making goals? How do you keep track of your life?

dactyl facts

Personal

9 - About Tara - Friday

I’ve always wanted to share more things about myself on this blog but I never really know how to approach it without it seeming forced or appropriate. I’ve always had an incredibly hard time talking about myself. I’m just not that interesting, you know? I go to work, I go to the gym, I take walks, sometimes I hang out with friends, I watch a lot of Netflix, and I write letters. That’s me! Well, of course there is more to it than that, but how do you bring it up? I’ve never figured it out. So, I thought, why not dedicate an entire post to me. Things that I’m thinking about or doing. It’s going to be random.

Now that it is summer is long gone, I feel like I’m turning back into a person. Although I grew up in the desert of Las Vegas, I’ve never been a fan of summer. I think I hate summer more than most because of Las Vegas. I can’t function in the heat, especially if there isn’t an escape from it. In Las Vegas, we had A/C. In Portland, we don’t. My apartment was, at minimum, a stifling 90 degrees all summer long. I looked forward to going to work every day because it was an escape from the heat. When I came home from work, I would sit on the couch with 3 fans pointed at me and didn’t move until I had to go to bed. I couldn’t get anything done! My energy was drained and my creativity went with it.

I’m writing letters and making things again, and I have all sorts of thoughts and ideas of things I want to be doing. I’m leaving my house more and the idea of taking a long bike ride doesn’t make me want to cry. It’s only going to get better! I’m pretty sure I need to bite the bullet and invest in an A/C for next summer. I can’t imagine feeling like this again.

colorado lightning

Personal

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This year I had the opportunity to meet up with my mom and brother in Colorado, where my grandparents live. Since moving away from home, I try to take a trip back to Las Vegas each year to see my mom and brother. Usually, I get out there around my brother’s birthday in July. This year, however, I wasn’t able to go! It was quite sad for me and I was pretty homesick/familysick. I missed them! Instead of hanging out with my mom and brother in Vegas, we decided to all met up in Colorado and hang out with the entire family. Even better since I haven’t seen my grandparents since moving to Oregon in 2013.

Colorado is simply gorgeous and probably one of my favorite places to be. Especially where my grandparents live! They are at, like, 10,000 feet elevation and the clouds are like nothing I’ve ever seen. My grandparents have the most amazing view of Pikes Peak from where they live. I really just love everything about being out there.

One of my favorite moments from our trip this year was this incredibly lightning storm. I’ve never seen anything like it! Lightning off in the distance, no thunder and no rain; simply a beautiful show. I had to take some photos! I can’t wait to get these printed out. The next morning, I guess the storm finally moved closer. I woke up around 6am to the loudest thunder clap I have ever heard. It shot me right out of bed! I looked out the window almost immediately and, as I was laying back down, I saw the bright flash of lightning I’ve ever seen and another crazy loud thunder clap. I’m pretty sure the lightning was right there in the backyard. Terrifying!

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mail art diaries: collage supplies

Advice, Mail Art Diaries

7 - Mail Art Diaries - Monday

Oh, mail art. In addition to sending lovely things in the post, you can spruce up your mail in so many different ways! I’ve been involved in mail art for, like, 10 years now at least. When I was a youngin’, I would simply try to copy the style of what was sent to me. Different shapes of paper, collages, stickers, doodles, you name it. It took a little time to find my own personal style!

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I incorporate so many different things in my mail but one thing that has been consistent over the years has been collage. Even before decorating envelopes, I loved making (terrible) collages, mostly in my journals. This evolved to collaging envelopes once I found out that you could actually do that! Needless to say, I’ve figured out some essentials in collaging from my journey.

If you’re just getting started, or even just curious what supplies I use, check out the barebone list below.

► Paper bits – First and foremost! You can’t make a collage without something to paste down. Use anything and everything you can glue down.
► Adhesive – I prefer plain, school glue sticks because they are easy to store and use. Mod Podge is great for covering large areas as well as reinforcing your completed collage. Some other handy adhesives are double-sided tape and glue runners. They all have their time and place! I’ve recently found out about a thing called a glue pen and, while I haven’t tried one yet, it sounds PERFECT.
► (optional) Paint brush – If you’re applying Mod Podge or other liquid-y glues, these will come in handy!
► Scissors or X-ACTO Knife – I’ve always, always preferred scissors over and X-ACTO Knife but the knife do comes in handy on occasion. I usually end up ripping papers to bits with the knife though. Probably just me.
► Old cards – These are one of my favorite tools. They are so useful when you need to smooth down something you just glued. In general, they do all the work and keep your hands clean!

Short list, huh? Just a few of the absolute essentials. I could do a whole post on paper bits (and I probably will) but all you really need to get started is glue, scissors, and ephemera.

What do you guys use when making collages?

traveling post

Mail, Outgoing

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I recently participated in a little ATC swap with Carolyn from Instagram. It was more of an ATC collab, as she sent me two ATCs that she had already started and I was to finish them. I’ve never done anything like that! I never thought I would be a fan of working with someone else to create a finished piece of art. Maybe I’m selfish? After I received Carolyn’s ATCs, I knew I was in for a treat! She is super talented!

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I sent her the ATCs back once I completed them. The completed ones are the two with faces on them. I also sent her two ATCs that I started and asked her to finish them. It certainly was a lot of fun and a great experience! I would totally do it again.

snail mail tips: sending surprises

Advice, Snail Mail Tips

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Who doesn’t love getting something special in the mail? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t find joy in opening up their mailbox and seeing that a letter is waiting for them. I also don’t know anyone that doesn’t associate checking the mail with spam (except for my pen pals, of course!) To make someone’s mail day, try including a surprise in your envelope!

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When I first started sending mail, I had no idea that people would send me anything other than a letter. I believe my exact thought was, “You can put more than a letter in an envelope!?” It was such a treat to find a teabag or zine in my mail. I think my most favorite thing to send and receive are mix cds. Second would probably be zines. After I discovered that people were upping their mail game, I tended to copy what they did. I sent along the same type of items that I received. It’s sure to make a memorable impression!

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There are so many little things that you can include with in a letter that will put a smile on the recipient’s face. It can be difficult to think of what to send, especially if you don’t know the person that well or you are new to sending mail. Check out the list below for some fun ideas!

► Ribbon
► Zines
► Confetti
► Washi tape samples
► Post-its
Mail tags
► Stamped images
► Twine
► ATCs
► Buttons
► Stickers
► Seeds
► Paper Punches
► Tea
► Doilies
► Fortunes
► Pressed flowers
► Bookmarks

What do you like to include in your envelopes? What do you like to receive?

press play: what i’m watching

Personal

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It’s no secret that I spend most of my time watching everything on Netflix. Like, everything, you guys. I’m completely content with spending my downtime playing some random movie or TV show while working on mail or doing whatever. I once had a goal of watching everything on Netflix. An impossible goal, of course, and I immediately gave up on it when I realized they take things off on the regular. After that, I made it a point to finish whatever I started watching and rate it appropriately (I take my ratings very seriously). I gave up on that too. I’m not great at making goals or keeping them. I realized I don’t have to force myself to watch something awful. Who has time for that?

Since I watch a ton of things, I thought it might be fun to do a catalog of sorts. I don’t consider myself a movie critic by any means and I don’t actually enjoy reviewing anything but I thought it would be good to share whatever thoughts I might have about the things I watch!

TV Shows:
► It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – The best
This is not a new watch for me, by any means. I’ve been watching this show since it first aired and fell in love with it then. I marathon this show often and my boyfriend and I quote it constantly. It’s my favorite thing ever to watch and I’ll never get bored of it.
► The Walking Dead – Yesssssssssssssssssss
You guys. I love this show. Love, love, love, love. I stayed up til midnight for at least a week trying to watch as many episodes as I could.
► How to Get Away with Murder – Guilty pleasure
This show is so ridiculous but in the best way possible. I absolutely love super dramatic TV shows and this does not disappoint. Plus, Viola Davis is amazing. I’ll watch any show Shonda Rhimes puts out.
► Z Nation – Ugh
While I didn’t hate this show enough to quit watching, it’s really bad. I needed more zombies in my life after my Walking Dead binge so I quickly finished the few episodes they have on Netflix.

Movies:
► The Loft – Don’t do it
Seriously, don’t watch this movie. I don’t even know why I watched it.
► The Road Within – Awww
This movie was hilarious and incredibly charming. I love it! I didn’t realize it was a remake of a German film but now I really want to see the original. I now quote “it’s a behavioral exercise” on the regular.
► Philomena – Nothing special
I love Steve Coogan so I knew I had to watch this one! It had some funny bits and some serious bits but nothing too incredible and nothing that really stuck with me

in my mailbox

Incoming, Mail

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I have so much incoming mail to catch up on! The summertime is really the worst time for me, productivity-wise (and, well, everything-else-wise because I hate summer). Although I became a super hermit during the sunny months, I also did not get anything done while at home. I hung out in my living room with 3 fans pointed at me at all times.

I don’t really send a lot of postcards these days. I’m not active on Postcrossing anymore and I never think to pop a quick postcard in the mail to say hey. Sending mail is somewhat of a complicated process for me, though, so I think I like to reserve it for actual letters.

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People still send me postcards though. How nice of them! I really enjoy all of the little things you can do to spruce up a postcard. A stamp, sticker, or even some fun handwriting can go a long way. I am also really impressed by folks that can fit a lot of text on their postcards. I feel like I can write like 3 sentences and then it’s full. I probably need to write small but how do you even do that? Hah.

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