Meet a Blogger – Mariëlle, Magical Daydream
I’m kind of different when it comes to craft bloggers, but I do what I do and I don’t really care. It’s not like it’s a new thing, I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drummer and I don’t see why that would change now that I’m in my thirties. To be honest, it’s only getting more prevalent as every year I seem to I care less and less what other people think.
But craft blogging can be a lonely place when there’s so much burlap and washi tape, one of which I’ve never used and the other I’ve only used once and very recently. When I stumbled upon Magical Daydream I knew I’d found a kindred spirit and when she created an edible nacho hat, and, well I was smitten with her sweet blog. In fact I kept saying that I was going to make one, offer a bite to people and then say “NO! This is na-cho hat!” But enough about me, I’m so excited to share with you such an interesting, kind and talented blogger, Mariëlle from Magical Daydream!
What made you decide to start a blog, how long have you been blogging?
You know that feeling when days blend together, it’s the same routine day in day out and you are left feeling restless and powerless because of it? From such a feeling came a strong desire to search for my creative power within and to use it for the better. I had a vision of actively making a positive change in my direct surroundings when I started my blog in November 2010. My blog was about creating inspiring little projects that would brighten people’s day. I barely told anyone I even had a blog back then. I just wanted to make an impact and record my efforts. After a couple of months I realized that my interests go far beyond showing kindness to strangers: I wanted to show a broader range of subjects on my blog. My blog name was changed from ‘one girl revolution’ to ‘magical daydream’. The blog then started to include posts on art, sewing projects, DIY’s, travels and many fun, creative and silly projects.
Why did you choose the name Magical Daydream?
In daydreams ideas are born and I happen to daydream a lot. Daydreaming transports you to a place where your imagination isn’t limited by the real world as we know it. At the same time daydreaming is something very much embedded in our everyday lives. My blog is on the fine line between dreams and reality. I try to actively transform my daydreams into reality. There are so many beautiful, whimsical and funny ideas in your head. Why not make them real? When your daydreams are full of magic you will find that when you start to act on your dreams your real life becomes more magical as well.
I hope to inspire people from all over the world to live creatively and playfully. If only people would recognize the tremendous power they posses to make their life a big adventure! As a grown-up there are still plenty of ways to live playfully.
What is your favorite medium to craft with?
I like the variety. One moment I will design my own polka-dotted dress, the next I am baking colourful cookies, painting on canvas, making a project with an old light bulb or simply cutting up some coloured paper. To me it is more about the act and process of creating than it is about the medium necessarily.
What projects are you most proud of?
Some craft projects that I am fond of include my laundry monster Lars, my secret peanut messages DIY and my rainbow pencil necklace DIY. Folding 1000 paper cranes and designing an interactive fountain are probably projects I am more proud of, but I don’t really consider those as ‘craft’.
What projects have been the most successful on your blog?
Is crafting a big deal in The Netherlands (they say it is a revolution here in the U.S.)? Are craft materials easy or difficult to come by?
It is an uprising trend. There are not that many supply shops and I would say that most materials are overpriced. I often search for materials in toy stores and second hand stores rather than in a craft supply store. Crafting here is still mostly associated with housewives (how is that in the USA?). Although exceptions can be found and I have a couple of creative friends, I don’t know many people who craft. We have followed quite massively in the cupcake trend though, scrapbooking is still a ‘thing’ and knitting and crochet as well. But it is still a small niche rather than a big trend I would say. That will probably change over the next few years though, as with these kind of things we are normally a few years behind (as a point of reference: two years ago Starbucks was nowhere to be found still and now they are slowly taking over).
Do you see yourself as more of a crafter or an artist?
I guess I see myself more as an artist, even though I do make a lot of craft projects and my background is in design rather than art. To me the word artist implies living and breathing your art, finding inspiration in the small things around you and working from a personal vision. Crafter somehow feels like a more shallow label people stick on anything you can make with a glue gun, without real need for quality. Although I do make craft projects and love glitter, the things I create often come from a deeper core vision (although mostly subconsciously).
Would you like to say anything about the Big Bug Collection?
I would love to! The Big Bug Collection is an artist collective I co-founded. It consists of a couple of friends and me. We basically make art together just for fun: anything from wall paintings, to painting t-shirts at parties, and making street stain art.
I love seeing your street stain creatures but wonder, does no one give you any grief about painting the sidewalk? I envision police or even passerby getting really upset!
You know when you look at the clouds and see different shapes, objects and creatures? That’s how the idea for stain paintings was born, our rainbow creature being the first one. You find an ugly stain and transform it into something people can smile about. When I paint on the sidewalk, I only paint over stains that were already there, which to me is different than ‘real vandalism’. I am very open about what I do, and always make my paintings in broad daylight. Different people have different reactions. Every now and then I will get an ugly look or elderly couple mumbling something about how ‘that’s not acceptable’. In general though people are really positive and often make a little talk and tell me how they enjoy the art and love the idea.
What is your favorite art piece?
Aaah, that’s impossible to say! I recently challenged myself to make 7 paintings in 14 days. I liked my ukulele painting and monkey portrait that came out as a result in particular. Less recent work I am still fond about is a rainbow zebra unicorn wall painting. Although I mostly create art in the form of paintings, sometimes I surprise myself by making other random stuff, like an enormous ostrich together with my friend Tomas from the Big Bug Collection.
Your 1000 cranes project was inspiring. Why did you decide to make 1000 cranes and how long did it take?
Thank you! I once saw a video by Jimmy Daggett on how he folded paper cranes and handed them out to strangers to brighten their day. I felt so inspired by the kind gesture that I wanted to do something similar. In the video I made of the project it looks as if it was an afternoon of work, but in fact it took me a year to fold all my cranes. I would fold a few cranes every now and then. Then the project was somewhat neglected for about a year until I graduated and had some more time on my hands. Giving away my cranes was a whole lot faster. I did this over the course of a week or so.
What is the most important thing you learned when handing them out?
Good question. Let me think. I guess:
- To give without expecting anything in return.
- People generally appreciate a genuine attempt for connection.
- My fear is not always a good advisor (otherwise I would have never left the house).
- The fact that some people don’t understand my motivation doesn’t mean my work is worthless.
- I have the power to inspire others with my creations. Oops that is 5 things, not one.
Would you ever do this again? Would you suggest it to others?
Haha not anytime soon probably. Although I have to confess that I have been daydreaming about doing a Eurotrip and hand them out in all the major capitals (and from there onto world domination). But seriously, it is a real commitment. I am good at making promises with myself, but if you struggle with self-discipline 1000 is a lot. Anyone can fold a couple of cranes though. I think it is more about the gesture than about the large number. And that is something anybody can do and something I would highly recommend.
In your blog I often get so inspired and find a lot of kindness and hope, like when you gave food to the man that stole your bike. Can you tell us a little about that day?
Sure! The short version: I saw someone steal my bike and ran after him. I caught up with him and he turned out to be a hungry guy who wanted to trade in the metal for money to buy food. I went from feeling annoyed to feeling compassionate and I ended up giving him a banana. You can find the longer, illustrated version on my blog. Sometimes I feel like the most absurd things have a way of finding me. When I was in a shipwrecking accident last year (true story) some people responded with a ‘that only happens to you’. That’s not true, but I am fascinated by how these scenarios can seem too absurd to be real and simultaneously are very connecting on a human level. And of course they make good stories ;)
What is your favorite act of love that you’ve shared on the blog? What has been the most beneficial to you?
I believe the key to kindness is to expect nothing in return. Often I don’t get to see the real reaction of people, for example when I leave notes anonymously. I can only hope that they find their way to someone who appreciates the gesture. Other times I get surprised by people’s reactions. I once received a note back on some anonymous valentine cards I spread through town. Or when I spontaneously baked cookies for my neighbours (and was afraid they would think I was weird), I got enthusiastic shouts, lots of appreciation and even bear hugs. Although I don’t always get to see the result of my actions, I truly believe in their potential human impact. People want to feel loved and connected. Why not help them experience that?
Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting a blog?
If I would have known how much blogging would benefit my creativity and playfulness I would have started years earlier. But in general: you just learn as you go. Starting, continuously taking action and reflecting are more important than knowing everything before you begin.
Any advice you can give to aspiring bloggers?
Create original content, take good pictures and only blog about things you are passionate about. Create the type of blog that you can’t wait to read every day.
Anything else you’d like the readers of Dream a Little Bigger to know?
Dance to good music, go for a walk, make tiny steps towards gigantic dreams, embrace your fears, act on silly ideas, sleep well, laugh daily and create your own adventures.
Other than that, thank you so much Allison for hosting me on your blog. It was great to talk about the things I love to do and I love your interview series!
Thanks so much, Mariëlle, for taking the time to thoughtfully share yourself and what you do here at Dream a Little Bigger! If you haven’t already clicked over, be sure to visit Mariëlle at her amazingly artistic blog, Magical Daydream.