incoming: postcards

Incoming, Mail

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You guys, Portland is getting hot and I can’t stand it. I long for an A/C and wait for the sun to go down each day. I lose what little motivation I had when it’s warm. Go away, summer!

In other news, here are some fun postcards I’ve received lately. I don’t send, or receive, postcards that often anymore. I used to be pretty active on Postcrossing, Swap-bot and Sendsomething, sending postcards to randos across the world. They are easy and don’t require much effort. Why do I stop?

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The below postcard is from a super talented mail artist, Allison Anne. I love everything about the postcard she sent, her handwriting, the drawing, the collage, the postage placement. It’s so lovely!

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One of my favorite things about the mail I receive is that almost everyone addresses their mail to me as “TARAdactyl”. It’s so great. I love seeing my nickname written in all different handwriting and colors.

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Postcards can be challenging for me because I love to include a variety of postage, stickers, doodles, and whatever I can fit on the card. That usually isn’t a lot. I need space! In addition to decorating the card, I love to include a long message as well. Usually I have to sacrifice one for the other! Do you like decorating the postcards you send?

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mail art diaries: how i make digital collages

Mail Art Diaries, Personal

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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!

outgoing: emilie s

Mail, Outgoing

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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!

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mail artist spotlight: rhiannon s

Mail, Mail Artist Spotlight

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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incoming from chewy tulip

Incoming, Mail

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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.

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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.

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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 ❤

Outgoing

Mail, Outgoing

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This is a letter I sent to another person I met at the Portland Correspondence Co-op, Leslie. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her for too long but she gave me one of her artistamps. In return, she received some mail art from me!

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I wasn’t too sure of her mail art style so I included some staples of mine in the envelope. I feel like she was more into the rubber stamping mail art style, and not so big on collage so I didn’t want to send too many images!

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Snail Mail Tips: What To Write

Advice, Snail Mail Tips

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If you’re not new to the letter writing game, it should probably come pretty naturally what to write about in letters. If you are new to the writing game, you might find it difficult to start a letter. Shoot, sometimes I struggle with things to write about! I don’t lead a very exciting life; I work, hang out at home, and don’t go on many adventures. If you don’t really do a lot, what are you supposed to write about? Here are a few tips to help!

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Yourself

Duh! One of the best things about letters is that we have the opportunity to share a part of ourselves with someone we may never meet. It’s so great to learn things about people you don’t know or might not be friends with in the first place. We are all unique, why not share your quirks, likes and dislikes with someone? Write about your hobbies, your life, your past, your love or your favorite foods. Share yourself!

Emotions

It’s one thing to share facts about yourself with someone in a letter but it’s a whole different ballgame to share your feelings behind those facts. One of my favorite things about writing letters to strangers is that there isn’t any fear of being judged. I could write the weirdest shit in a letter to some random person and the worst thing that might happen is that they write back. It’s helpful to tell people what you are feeling. Don’t bottle it up!

Tell Stories

I’m really bad at this. Like, really bad. In general, I’m just not a story teller but those are my favorite kinds of people. I’ll start telling more stories if you do!

Weather

Okay, this is actually something I don’t want you talking about. I’m incredibly guilty of bringing up the weather. A lot. But, can we stop? I think it’s totally acceptable to bring up the weather when it relates to you or your life but quit asking, “How’s the weather?”. It’s boring! I tend to bring up the weather a lot in relation to how I’m feeling. If winter makes you depressed, bring it up! If you’re super unproductive during the summer, let’s talk about it!

Be Nice

If you truly value a pen pal’s friendship, don’t make it your goal to offend them. If you know the person you are writing to might find something offensive, try your best not to bring it up. Unless, of course, if that person is a bigot. By all means, offend a bigot. My views on having children are less than favorable but I’m not going to rain on someone’s parade if they have, or want to have, kids. Just be nice!

Mail Artist Spotlight: Supa’flous

Mail, Mail Artist Spotlight

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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.

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I’m super excited to introduce you to Samantha, aka Supa’flous. I met her, in person, at the Portland Correspondence Co-op. We just happened to sit at the same table, and she was there with no prior knowledge of mail art but with a love for sending mail. After the event started, we ended up talking a bit and exchanged stories of how we started sending mail. I told her about mail art and the kinds of things I sent and received in the mail. We ended up exchanging addresses (because that’s what you do!). I sent her the first letter, and I went all out to introduce her to mail art.

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She sent me two lovely envelopes in return! Quickly, too. Don’t you just love her little characters? She drew some at the event, and they are so cute! She also sent me that super cool necklace she made. What a generous person!

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You should definitely check out Samantha’s website! She also has an Etsy, but it looks like she is on vacation at the moment. I’m sure there will be some super cool things for sale soon!

Incoming

Incoming, Mail

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Phew! I received a lot of mail within the last week. I tackled all but 1 of the replies on Friday night. Now I just have to put them in envelopes.

In this batch of incoming mail, I received mail from 3 new people! One of them I exchanged mail with a few years ago, but it didn’t stick. She is doing LetterMo this month and decided to send me a postcard. It’s so fun to reconnect with mail friends. The other are from two people I met at PDXCC. I sent them both mail first but this is my first time receiving mail from them!

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Outgoing

Mail, Mail Art, Outgoing

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Here is a little something I put together for a new mail friend, Samantha. This seems to be the year of me sending out mail to new folks. I’m diggin’ it! I haven’t had much of a chance to look for any new pen pals for awhile. Mostly due to my own lack of motivation, but I also thought I’d hit my max pen pal limit. Turns out, if you respond to all of your letters in a fairly timely matter, you are able to write to more people! I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune once I get bogged down by replies.

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I met Samantha at the PDXCC. Although she regularly sent letters to her friends and family, she was new to the mail art world. We talked for most of the meeting, and I shared my experience in the snail mail community with her. She seemed super intrigued by receiving mail that was more than just a letter so I wanted to send her something special; a nice introduction to the world of mail art.

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I hope she enjoyed receiving this!