freebie: digital download

Freebies

I have been obsessed with making patterns in Photoshop lately. I would really love to be able to make my own patterned paper sometime soon! I wanted to share two fairly simple patterns with you guys.

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You can download the line pattern here and the polka dot pattern 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.

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to do: how to track your life

Personal

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You guys, my bullet journal has changed my life. I started the journal at the beginning of the year, after obsessively watching videos on YouTube about them. One of the things that really made me decide to start one was the habit tracker that Boho Berry included in hers. It seemed like the best way to keep track of your life; a constant little reminder of something that you needed to do each day.

My habit tracker isn’t much for habits but more for things that I want to make sure to do often, not necessarily daily. I never remember to post to my Dactyl Life Facebook (and I’m still terrible at it) but have that little square to fill in each day really motivates me to do so. I just love being able to look at the tracker and see where I’m exceeding and failing.

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In addition to the habit tracker, I set up the blog tracker in my journal. The only way that I am able to consistently stay on top of this blog is to have this tracker. It changed everything. It’s so great to have an overview of my posts, what is complete or needs to be completed, and if I’ve started to work on the next month’s posts.

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Do you have a bullet journal? How do you keep track of your habits?

dactyl facts

Personal

At the end of last year, December 30th to be exact, I fell on my bike. That sounds innocent enough, huh? It’s bound to happen and it certainly wasn’t the first time I fell while riding my bike. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a simple fall.

That morning, I hopped on my bike to head to work. It was a chilly morning, similar to the other days, with a little frost on the car windows. I coasted down the hill from my apartment building, slowing down to make my first left turn. The second I started to turn my bike, it slipped out from under me; the road was iced over. The next thing I remember is getting up off of the ground. Immediately I knew something was not right. I wasn’t in pain but my tongue found its way over my front teeth and pieces were missing. Yikes! I didn’t know what to do. I picked up my bike and starting walking back up the hill to my apartment building.

I got inside, woke up my boyfriend and we examined my teeth. Sure enough, they were cracked. My front teeth! One tooth was completely cracked in half, one had the side chipped off, and another had a little chip at the bottom. I honestly didn’t know what to do. My boyfriend thought we should go out and try to collect the pieces off the ground. So we spent some time searching the road in the early hours of the morning, using our phones as flashlights. We managed to find them all!

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After that adventure, my boyfriend went online to search for a dentist that was open. Most were closed for the new year holiday but we managed to find one that was open. They had a full schedule but graciously fit me in. The dentist fixed me right up with temporary fillings to make my teeth look like teeth again.

Unfortunately, the saga didn’t end there. The fillings were just temporary after all! I couldn’t use my front teeth at all, due to pain as well as dentist’s orders. Eventually I was to get crowns for all the broken teeth. The dentist warned that I might need a root canal for the one that broke in half but only time would tell.

Well, time told. After about two weeks, my tooth started to change colors and become incredibly sensitive. At my next dentist appointment, I had a surprise root canal instead of the initial crown prep. After the root canal, I had two rounds of internal bleaching on the tooth to restore it to it’s original color. Then, crown prep!

Last week I went in for the crown prep. The dentist made molds of my teeth, shaved them down, and fitted me with a temporary crown and temporary veneers. My teeth are feeling much better but I’m still eating everything with a knife and fork.

Today (!!) I go to the dentist and get my permanent “teeth”. I’m so excited for this whole process to be over with but I’m mostly excited about taking a big ol’ bite into a sandwich, when everything is said and done. The procedures have all been very pleasant, thank god for anesthesia.

oregon coast

Uncategorized

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Recently I took a trip out to the coast with my boyfriend. It was a little extended weekend trip but it was really nice to get away. We didn’t really plan out anything besides the hotel. We were just winging it!

The Oregon coast is so beautiful. It’s unlike any other beach area I’ve ever been to. The forest basically comes right up to the beach and it’s breathtaking. And the fog! I love the fog.

We tried to check out Thor’s Well but the tide was low so it was basically a hole in the ground with some water at the bottom. Nothing like the photos I had seen of it! We also tried to go to the sea lion caves but the sea lions were out in the ocean. Boo! This is why you should plan things, guys.

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Before we left, we went to a little pond area to do some fishing. I spent the time taking photos of the area and the sunset. I loved the cotton candy clouds!

On our way home, we stopped by a little aquarium and had a fun time. We weren’t planning on stopping in but I saw a sign from the highway and thought it would be a nice to check out. They have a part where you walk through a tunnel that is surrounded by water and sharks swimming overhead. I wasn’t too excited about that bit!

I really love taking short trips to explore areas outside of Portland. I hope to take more trips in 2016!

mail art diaries: storing supplies

Advice, Mail Art Diaries

There are so many ways that you can organize your mail art supplies. I have so many illustrations, stickers, papers, etc. I’ve always struggled with finding a great way to organize everything, especially in a way that would make me use it often.

For a long time, I collected books that I could cut up and use in collages. I would keep buying them from thrift stores and store them out of sight. Occasionally pulling them out, when I would remember, and sort through them to find the perfect image. That got old!

I wanted to have more space and get rid of the actual books I had. One day, I pulled all of my books out and went through them, one-by-one, page-by-page. I ripped out each page and cut out the bits that I thought I would use someday. I recycled the rest. Of course, this took me waaaaay longer than a day but I got it done.

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After I had everything I wanted to keep, I had to figure out a way to sort it all. I had a little filing cabinet that I picked up from the thrift store that I thought would work perfectly. I sorted through all the pages and images, coming up with different categories. I created a little file folder for each category and stuffed them into the cabinet.

This system is especially nice because I can simply pull out the folder of the images I want to sort through!

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In addition to my filing cabinet, I have two little IKEA boxes. One for embellishments and another for paper scraps.

In my embellishment box, I keep basically everything. All of my stickers, tags, journaling cards, mailing labels, doilies, alphabet stickers, die cuts, you name it! The paper scrap box is for all the little pieces of paper that are left over when I cut up big pieces of paper. I try to use these up as much as possible.

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How do you store your supplies?

traveling post

Mail, Outgoing

6 - Traveling Post - Outgoing Friday

I sent some first time mail to a new mail friend. I really enjoy putting together mail for new people. It’s so much fun to me to introduce myself to someone and share myself with them. It’s just the perfect opportunity! I kind of go all out for the introduction letters because I find that there is so much to share. I don’t know how to control myself!

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I really love the way the envelope turned out. The blue and green combination with a pop of white is so pretty to me! I end up using that color combination often.

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I made a little flipbook to send to Selin. When you first open it, there is a postcard of Portland with a sticker that says “my home”. I really love that detail and it’s a fun way to show a new mail friend your city. Postcards don’t always have to be mailed! On the opposite side, I made a little pocket with two different papers and stuffed a bunch of paper goodies into it. You have to send some goodies to your new pen pals! 🙂

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When the flipbook is fully open, it’s a little crowded! Ha. On the top left flap, I included a little list of my favorite bands. Music is super important to me and I love sharing music with folks. On the bottom left flap, I included some more goodies; a sample of some of my washi tape as well as some punch-outs. I used my hexagon and scallop punch for those! The top right flap is just a decorated page with a shaker pocket. Or, at least, my attempt at a shaker pocket! The bottom right flap is where I put my letter.

Do you like to go all out when sending first time mail to someone? What do you like to include and how do you introduce yourself?

snail mail tips: sending yourself

Advice, Snail Mail Tips

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It’s so great to include something nice for your recipient, in addition to a lovely letter. It can be hard to think of something to send so I wanted to make share some ideas with everyone!

There are so many things you can include in your envelopes. I recently posted about sending little surprises, mostly flat things that wouldn’t up the cost of postage. There are so many options!

Some of my favorite things to send out are things I love. It’s so fun to share yourself with a pen pal, new or old. I think that is something really special about snail mail; you are opening yourself up to this person you may have never met.

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Here are a few ideas of ways you can share with your pen pal to give them a better glimpse into your life and your personality.

► Zines that you have made
► Mix CDs or handwritten playlists that include your favorite songs
► Recommendations: your favorite books, movies, or songs
► Art you have made
► Photos you’ve taken
► A list of your favorite things
► Local goodies
► Descriptions of your favorite places or things about where you live
► A list of things you are currently enjoying (food, movies, etc)
► Your favorite drink (sending along a bag of tea or hot chocolate)

press play: what i’m watching

Personal

4 - Press Play - Movie Monday - Monday

My Netflix consumption has dropped! I’m actually kind of surprised. I haven’t been watching a lot of new programs or movies because I can’t find anything that really appeals to me. I finished watching new episodes of a bunch of TV shows I’ve already started; Parenthood, X-Files, Parks and Recreation. You know, the staples.

Netflix can be so frustrating. It’s so hard to search for quality shows. They give you all of these wacky lists on the main page and it’s kind of a pain to search for anything else. I just don’t have the motivation to go searching and searching for something! I don’t understand their algorithms, at all. Most of the movies or shows in the “Top Picks for Tara” are things they think I would rate one star. Huh!?!

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

TV Shows:
► Jane the Virgin – Guilty Pleasure
I was really hesitant to start watching this show but it is actually good. There is a ton of unrealistic drama and incredibly cheesy moments. It’s very entertaining though! I also love Gina Rodriguez, even if she supports Hillary Clinton…
► Making a Murderer – Infuriating
Where do I even begin? I watched the first episode of this series and was bored to tears; it was just so slow-going. I eventually started the second episode and became hooked. The main takeaway from this series is how awful the criminal justice system is.
► Laid – SO GOOD
I turned this on thinking it was a movie. I almost stopped watching once I realized it was actually a TV show because I didn’t have an interest to start yet another show. I’m so happy I continued watching. It’s such a funny show!
► Chelsea Does – Ugh
Seriously, not worth your time. I saw some folks praising this show so I gave it a go. All I can say is, Chelsea is insufferable.

Movies:
► The Ladykillers – Don’t do it
Oof, what is this movie!? I had it on as background noise and still thought it was horrible.
► The Overnight – Ugh
You guys, I’ve been having the worst luck with finding movies. Another awful, no good movie. This one is just about a bunch of hipster parents who get together for dinner. Once their kids go to bed, they get wasted and things happen. It’s bad.
► Safelight – Nothing special
I really love Evan Peters and Juno Temple so I was excited to watch this movie. It’s a cute little movie but nothing super memorable about it. My favorite part is when Juno’s character pulls a gun on some bullies.

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

in my mailbox

Incoming, Mail

3 - In My Mailbox - Incoming Friday

Do you have that one pen pal where you know, no matter what, it’s going to be a good mail day when a letter from them is sitting in your mailbox? The envelope doesn’t even have to have any extras; the letter alone is the treasure.

That’s how it is when I receive mail from Megan, or Mermeg. Although she always includes something extra for me, her letters are all I care about. We’ve know each other for so long and we’ve met on multiple occasions. She is truly a friend and I’m so happy that I can call her my friend.

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It’s great to get updates on her life and find out what she is up to. She always has something cool going on so her letters are incredibly entertaining. I love her mail art style as well. Nothing can be topped!

what i’m working on

Personal

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— Disclosure: I am a member of the Amazon Affiliate program and this post will contain affiliate links. I get commissions for purchases made through the links below. Thank you for your support!

For the new year, I started a bullet journal. In December, I found a video by Boho Berry, which was a flip through of her bullet journal and I immediately fell in love. I’ve never, ever been one for planning or making goals or anything like that but I have always been a list maker and a journaler. I would have multiple post-its notes floating around of things I wanted to do, stuff I wanted to check out or things I wanted to buy. The idea of putting all of this into one simple journal was incredibly appealing. It was also really appealing to start journaling again. I journaled a ton as a kid/teenager and sort of stopped in my early twenties. I love looking back on those times in my life!

In addition to the journal, I use a variety of pens in it. I love my Tombow Dual Brush Pens for headers and making the colored dots. I also use the Paper Mate Flair pens for the daily headers. This month, I’m going to start using my pack of Staedtler pens!

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The bullet journal is a super easy system and you basically customize it to work for you. As I mentioned, I’m not big on goals so I don’t have a lot of things I need to do each day, but there are things that I should get done so it’s nice to jot that down and have a reminder there. I’m much better at getting things done when I write down the task. I used Google Calendar for a long time but it’s so easy for me to forget about and ignore. I look at this journal at least once a day, usually more. It’s perfect.

The journal I use is the Leuchtturm 1917 with dots. I purchased the orange cover just because I couldn’t find a purple one with dots. Out the of the colors I could find with dots, orange was my favorite. I’m hoping I can snag a purple one to use when this one is full. I love the Leuchtturm journal as it already has numbered pages and an index. One of the big things about bullet journaling is indexing all of your spreads and collections.

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After the index, I jotted down my key. Mine is really simple because I honestly don’t do that much. Everything that I have as a “to do” is something that will get done that specific day. I don’t have a need to migrate tasks or anything like that. I also don’t have a lot of appointments (besides dentist appointments now…) so just having the open circle to differentiate an appointment versus task works for me!

I also have a brain dump as one of the first few pages. I like having a place where I can quickly jot down things that come to mind or things that I want to include in the journal at some point. It’s very helpful!

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After the key and brain dump, I began my January spread. I included the first three months of the year on the left side so I could easily do future planning, if needed. On the right, it breaks down January by day and it’s a great overview of things that I have done or want to do during the month. It’s a great way to keep track of appointments or days off since you don’t typically do the daily spreads in advance.

 

One of my favorite things about Boho Berry’s journal was her tracker. I think that was the reason I fell in love with this system. It’s so important for me to have a reminder of things that I want to do daily and it’s also motivating. I love being able to fill in each box when I complete a daily task. I also added a blog tracker so I could easily keep track of which blog posts I’ve done or need to do.

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I include a lot of collections in my journal. This is my “Music to Check Out”, which is my most important collection. I often hear songs that make me want to check out the band’s other music but I always forget. I love having this reminder!

You can also check out my bullet journal flip through video over on YouTube.

Do you bullet journal? Tell me what you love about it!