the time has come

Uncategorized

I’m going to stop blogging. I’ve been back and forth over this decision in my head but it’s time. I don’t have the time or energy to keep up with this blog on top of all of my other responsibilities. It’s simply not my passion. I wish it was! I get super into blogging for about a month and then it just becomes tedious and I am unable to keep up with it.

Especially these days, I have my Etsy shop, YouTube channel, Instagram, pen pals, and a full-time job. My weekends are a flurry of taking blog photos, filming videos, writing letters, creating mail art, writing blog posts, editing videos, and creating products for my shop. It’s hectic, to say the least! I’m trying to cut down on the things that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing to continue doing the things that I love.

I’m going to be around on YouTube so I definitely suggest you keep an eye on my channel! I try to post videos every Friday but I’m hoping to be able to post more often now that I don’t have to worry about this blog. I want to turn my channel into more of a visual blog, which means that I will be filming videos about the topics I post here.

I’m also on Instagram! If you would like to get in touch with me, please feel welcome to shoot me an email at dactyllife@gmail.com or use the contact form on www.dactyllife.com.

Thank you!

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Bethany Lake

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Nathan and I have been hitting up the fishing spots in the area. Most spots are out in the suburbs but still prove to be really beautiful. This particular area was called Bethany Lake. It was more like a pond and likely man-made. It had a beautiful trail going along the water, though. It was a rather strange spot, literally a block away from a busy 4 lane road and across the water, opposite of the walking trail, was a little neighborhood. It felt secluded, for the most part. I caught my first fish there, a tiny little guy. Nathan took my picture while I stood as far away from the fish as possible. I really don’t like things that live in the water. Nathan had to do the honors to release it back into the water. I will not touch fish.

mail art diaries: what is mail art?

Advice, Mail Art Diaries

I’ve had some folks ask me what exactly mail art is and how it is different from other similar things like mixed media, art journaling, or collage. It’s a hard question to answer, only because art is so subjective. Art is interpreted and created in so many different ways. I also did not go to school for art so my knowledge of art is very limited and I’m “self-taught”.

So, what is mail art? In my view, mail art is when you send something different through the mail. It can be a decorated envelope, a decorated letter sent in a plain envelope, or something unusual, like a flip flop, sent by post. I’m not too keen on sending weird things by mail, mostly because I don’t see the point, but that is what makes mail art so unique. It can be, and is, interpreted in different ways. It’s up to the person creating or sending the mail!

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When I first started sending letters (fifteen years ago!!), I didn’t do much in terms of decorating as I wasn’t even aware it was a thing. I was young, not even a teenager, and had only been exposed to letters from my grandparents. I ended up exchanging letters with one of my AOL pals and she always decorated her envelopes and did different things to her letters. She would write every line of her letter in a different color ink or add doodles or pictures to her plain, notebook paper stationery. This inspired me as a kid and I tried to decorate my letters the same way. It all kind of snowballed from there. If you’re looking to start making mail art, I think the best thing to do is to find creative folks to exchange with and see how they decorate their mail. You can, of course, browse the internet for inspiration and ideas (hello 2016) but it’s more fun, I think, to see something in person.

There are so many ways to create mail art, as well. I used to only collage envelopes but I’ve since branched out to other techniques. These days I use paint, rubber stamps, collage, washi tape, die cuts, and more to decorate envelopes and make flipbooks or pretty stationery. In the simplest terms, mail art is created using other art techniques to send something unique through the mail. I know there is a whole history of mail art and mail artists but, to me, that doesn’t matter. That might be an unpopular opinion but I didn’t start creating mail art because of Ray Johnson. I started creating mail art because I appreciated how much fun it was to receive something colorful in the mail, something other than a plain envelope. I create mail art to brighten up someone’s mailbox!

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traveling post

Mail, Outgoing

6 - Traveling Post - Outgoing Friday

I recently sent a little package over to my mail art pal, Steph. I always try to pull out all the stops for this pal as we mainly exchange mail for the art. It’s actually kind of a relief, I know I don’t have to write a long letter if I want to send her some mail. It’s also fun to experiment with my techniques and mail art when I’m sending her a letter. I know that nothing is too weird for her, which is awesome! Steph is also incredibly creative and sends gorgeous mail so I have to keep up with her.

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For this piece of mail, I re-purposed a photo album sleeve. It was about an 8 1/2×11 plastic sleeve with 4 pockets. I decided to fold the plastic sleeve in half, so two pockets were on the front and two on the back. I created and decorated little cards to fit inside each pocket. I ended up with a red, blue, black, and white color combo and I’m seriously in love with it. I don’t exactly know how it happened as I definitely wasn’t planning on it!

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While I didn’t include much of a letter, I made sure to include some extras for Steph. I know she has an incredible stash of ephemera but it’s always fun to include some bits and bobs! For Steph, I always browse through my stash to find the unusual things.

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snail mail tips: mail art supplies

Advice, Snail Mail Tips

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I say it all the time, letter writing is so much fun. There are so many components that go into it and everyone does it differently. I’ve always been very fond of mail art. I just love the idea of making something as simple as a letter or an envelope pretty. It’s great to know that my time and effort to decorate letter will make someone’s day and mailbox a little brighter.

I’ve always had pen pals that also like to spruce up their mail. It’s always nice to include a little something for those folks to use in their mail art. I love receiving new things for my craft stash, especially stuff that I maybe wouldn’t pick up or be able to find myself.

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Here are a few ideas of things you can send off to those mail art pals!

► Die cuts
► Washi tape
► Doilies
► Magazine cut outs
► Scrap paper
► Stamped images
► Tags
► Stickers
► Used postage
► Airmail labels
► Labels

press play: what i’m watching

Personal

4 - Press Play - Movie Monday - Monday

March is here! March is here! I love checking Netflix when a new month rolls around as I can usually find some fun, new things to watch. I’ve actually only watched one thing since March rolled around. I’ve been so busy catching up on letters and I’ve switched to YouTube videos for background noise.

Anyway, here is what I’ve been watching lately.

TV Shows:
► Love – Ugh
I’m always really excited for Netflix original shows but this one was incredibly disappointing. The characters were way annoying to me and I had a very hard time relating to anything that was going on. Granted, I stuck it out and watched the entire season. The ending was so annoying!
► Degrassi: Next Class – Guilty Pleasure
Degrassi is my all-time favorite show in the world. I watched The Next Generation episodes when I was in high school. I have fond memories of sleepovers consisting of watching Degrassi and making Oreo milkshakes. The episodes are outrageous, always, and it’s such beautiful drama. I’m so happy Netflix picked this up! I’m waiting for the Degrassi YouTube channel to put up more episodes from the older seasons. I need it!!
► Mad Men – Meh
I absolutely hated this show when I first started it. Just a bunch of rich, terrible people. Somewhere along the line I fell in love with Peggy and Joan and continued watching. I finished out the season once they put the last few episodes on Netflix. The last season was probably my least favorite; the storytelling was all over the place.
► Better Call Saul – YUS!
I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this show but I love it! I loved Saul in Breaking Bad and it’s fun to watch a show that revolves around him.

Movies:
► Adult Beginnings – Meh
This wasn’t a terrible movie but it wasn’t anything special. There were some cute moments but it was hard for me to relate to anything that was going on.
► Dope – Awesome
This was such a good movie. I loved the aesthetic. I first thought it was set in the 90s but it was just about a bunch of kids who loved the 90s. Their style was on point!
► Like Sunday, Like Rain – Cute
I love Leighton Meester so I was excited to watch this movie. It’s definitely a cute movie!

If you have watched anything worthwhile on Netflix, please let me know! I would love some recommendations.

in my mailbox

Incoming, Mail

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I have received some really lovely mail recently. A pen pal friend of mine, Steph, added me to her cool mail art Swap-Bot group not too long ago. Against my better judgement, I signed up for some swaps through her group. The only reason it wasn’t a good idea is because I still have a ton of letters to reply to that aren’t swap related. Oops.

The first swap I signed up for was an anything goes mail art swap. It was basically a free-for-all for this swap. You could send whatever your heart desired. My partner’s heart desired to send an altered peanut container. I’m sure happy they did that! I had a huge smile on my face when I opened my mailbox and saw this little container sitting in it. I really love how they decorated it as well! My partner also sent some goodies for me inside of the container. Hooray!

In regular pen pal news, I received a beautiful envelope from Mermeg and a nice postcard from Stephanie. I really, really, really love the envelope Mermeg sent me. Like, love love love. The purple and gold is so pretty!! She is just so creative. I also enjoyed the nice surprise postcard from Stephanie. It’s always lovely to be thought of!

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what i’m working on: writing letters

Personal

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Holy mail! I’ve been drowning, in the best way possible, in letters. It’s been crazy! I’ve been getting mail from strangers or people I haven’t heard of, in addition to my regular pen pals. I don’t know where everyone came from! I blame Letter Writing Month 😉 It has been really hard to keep on top of everything and it certainly didn’t help that I basically took all of January off from writing letters. After my bike accident, I was in a super weird place and I had a really hard time putting pen to paper. Things are way better now and I’ve been slowly replying to everyone. As of this post, I only have about 7 replies left!

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One thing that has been incredibly helpful for me in staying on top of my replies is my bullet journal. For February, I created a little spread to keep track of all the letters I had to write. It was a little daunting at first! When I created the page, I had about 15 people to write back. Seeing that on paper was like, “whoaaa, how am I ever going to write everyone back!?” but it proved to be really motivating for me. I find that I am really motivated by crossing things off. Also in my bullet journal, I create a task in my daily spreads that is “write a letter”. Just having that task there, and knowing that I want to cross it off, will motivate me to write at least one letter.

I was really hoping to complete all of my replies by the end of February but last weekend kind of got away from me and I just couldn’t do it. I was so close! But it shouldn’t be long before I get all caught up. I really hope I can do it this weekend.