Thursday, July 28, 2011

Completed LTC

This is the final outcome of the LTC I've been working on.

Trying to photograph the glitter effect in the angel's wings didn't really work too well, and resulted in a slightly blurry image--sorry about that!

This card will be given to folks who are giving $$ to help out another letterboxing family in need of assistance. People are sending $$ for raffle tickets to win an album full of LTCs made by some very talented carvers. Everyone who contributes, but doesn't win the big prize will get one of my LTCs (or that of two other volunteers) as a consolation prize.

I enjoyed this carve! It is, I believe, my most detailed to date. I hope those who receive them will like them too!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Creative Spark

a.k.a. the "Bag-O-Goodies!"

Never let me near the local artsy/craftsy place when I have half-baked projects lying around the house and I'm seeking inspiration.

That is precisely what happened to me this morning. I went to my weekly sit-n-knit with friends at the local coffee shop where I am also a barista some days. Although I did manage to have a muffin (Berry-berry, with whole wheat flour, three kinds of berries and a delicious oat streusel on top) and an iced coffee, I got pulled away from there before any knitting could be accomplished. (Awww, man!)

I did manage to get my DS some food and drink in him before delivering him to his very first day of work at his very first job (and hopefully calmed a few nerves as well!) On the way home I thought I would make a "quick" stop at the above mentioned craftsy place for a source of glue with which to adhere some fine glitter onto some Letterboxer Trading Cards (LTCs) I am donating to a good cause.

[At this point ask yourself this: does the bag in the photo above appear to only be holding glue?]

Now am I the only person who feels it is almost a moral imperative to visit the clearance areas of stores? Because if there's one thing I am, it's thrifty! And I often find, upon perusing said sale racks, that I have indeed forgetten one or twenty things I surely need--if not now, then in the next couple of months. (Again, am I alone in this?)

Well, after putting several things in my basket which were at least 50% of their original price (and usually much less!), I did make my way to the glue and paper products.

These are the purchases from the "Bag-O-Goodies" above which I'd like to reveal today:

I did find a precision glue pen which should work just right for applying the fine glitter I purchased at the dollar store right where I need it on the area of the carved image. (Product on the left.)

Just in case, I picked up two items for "back up." The first is at the top of the photo. It's glitter glue. Initial tests show that this give a nice effect, but it may blur the ink I used to stamp the image.

Plan "C" comes in the form of metallic gel pens. It won't have the same glittery effect, but I remembered another upcoming card I have in the works which is going to need a shiny spot of I felt I could justify this purchase because I already have at least two uses for the pens.

By the time I made it to the check-out counter, my quick stop for glue had lasted nearly thirty minutes. (In my defense, I avoided the area where they keep the publications! or I'm guessing I'd have been there longer.....)

I will fill you in on more items from the Bag-O-Goodies as I take them out to use them.

Right now, I'm off to work on my LTC project. I will post a completed image when I get one done!

What was your last inspired purchase? What items help you acheive your creative passions?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's A Jungle Out There!

The sun finally got far enough west that the tall, old silver maple in our backyard had cast its cooling shadow over our yard long enough that I thought I could bear the heat long enough to go out and shoot a photo of my tomatoes to share with you today.

I liked the fact that this little grouping of four was at a point where each tomato was in a different phase of ripening. I like the ways the colors vary and I'm not sure how much longer that lovely one on the left will be on the vine.

I was so encouraged while shooting tomato photos that I decided to wander over to the other side of the house and see the day lilies blooming under the bedroom window.

Lovely, right?

Well, here's where the squeemish of heart as far as creepy-crawlies might like to stop reading for today.

Because upon closer inspection of the flowers ... (or rather when I was trying to zoom in and get a great close-up of some of the other blossoms) ... this is what I discovered:

and . . .

Yeah, that last one made me shiver with the heebie-jeebies! (Bear in mind, it's MY bedroom window this wonderfully creative weaver is skillfully catching and killing its prey beneath. If it attempts to move inside in a couple of months, I will likely die of heart failure if I encounter it indoors!)

Needless to say, I backed away (after capturing the image!) and headed right back inside to the air-conditioning.

It's a jungle out there!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday, Monday

Today was a typical Monday.

I didn't sleep well last night because my mind was racing with all the things on my "to-do" list for work. You know the list. It's the one made up of things you either didn't get done at the end of last week or the things you put off doing last week until the moment when you realize you've hit the wall on procrastination. Because I was worrying about my lack of ability to complete one project, I found myself mindlessly staring at this computer screen until after 1 a.m. this morning.

(And no, I was not going to jump in and actually do the work stuff at that time of day. What I might have written in that indigo haze would most likely have had to have been scrapped and started over anyway. I played Solitaire and Mahjong.)

I roused myself from slumber *promptly* at 8:15 and sat to write. Amazingly, the words came and two hours later I took a break for coffee after completing two thirds of my task.

I do not know how this next part is actually possible, now that I am writing it out, but after the coffee break progress on work items actually slowed. (Isn't coffee supposed to rev you up? get you going? energize you?) That's how it seems in retrospect anyway.

By 1:30 p.m. I had actually completed and emailed all first drafts to the proper destinations. I had arranged for a 3 p.m. photo shoot. By 2 p.m. I had collected and processed the mail, including a postal letterbox, an LTC tracker envelope with 15 cards, two postcards and a hitchhiker. I had packaged and collected all outgoing mail to take to the post as well.

It was a genuine roll, and I was on it!

Left home shortly after 2 p.m. for an errand to the pharmacy and post office and made my photo shoot right on time.

Emailed work colleagues regarding the progress of my assignments for the day and awaited word from folks on those first drafts I had sent out.

For some reason, and I'm blaming the short night's sleep, I just haven't been able to get the creative mojo going. I don't know if it's because I used up that energy writing copy for advertorials. But as I looked at my carving supplies, my knitting basket, my journal and my camera....I just couldn't get fired up to take up any of them this evening.

I did watch a new episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. The sights, sounds, and imagined smells and tastes of Naples, Italy inspired me to get in here and blog.

So I edited a photo.

And I penned these words.

How was your day? What did you do? What did you create today?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Finale

I am starting a new Friday tradition for my blog: one of my photos paired with a quote. Welcome to the premiere of "Friday Finale."

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Summer is the season of growing. You should see the one tomato plant in the barrel just outside my back door! The lovely fruits are going to make the best BLT sandwiches, I just know it!

The gardens, fields, and grasses aren't the only things in the process of growing and changing . . .

. . . stay tuned!

(& feel free to leave a comment on growth/changes taking place in your own corner of the planet!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blatantly Trying to Drum Up Business

So my letterboxes which are exclusively letterboxes (and NOT geocaches) have not been found by anyone yet.

I thought I'd post the clues on here....just in case!

Like the gold rush, many people rush for caffeine in the morning. We have put out three boxes based on the need for a morning (or any time of day!) wake up call.

Box #1: Caffeine Rush: Mocha Latte
Start on the side of town where the sun rises. You are looking for the spot where drive-thru convenience makes getting to work or school quick and easy. No need to go inside, but you may want to sit a spell.

Box #2: Caffeine Rush: Cuppa Joe
For this box, head to the newest place in town to get a good cuppa joe. (If you need time to think about where that might be, you could go to a MOVIE while you figure it out.) Look for the java lava, have a seat, and SAMUEL CLEMENS will have what you seek!

Note: Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed on Sundays.

Box #3: Caffeine Rush: Java Jive
This is the eldest coffee house in town and located right downtown. Is it named for flowers or britches? Once inside, you'll notice a decor theme. One of these pots on the chest behind the sofa is not like the others and is the box you are after.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, excepting August 20 through Sept. 17 when she takes a summer break!

Bring some markers or an inkpad, a notebook or journal to collect images in and a stamp of your own to leave a picture in the boxs' journals!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spoilers Darling!

With respect to River Song (of Dr. Who), I want to warn any readers who may do letterboxing and who may potentially be getting any LTC's (Letterboxer Trading Cards) from me that images of some of my LTC's are posted below. (Although not all of them....some of them are so new I haven't gotten them mailed out, or even quite finished!)

Since my very first card is actually retired, all the copies that are going to be out there are already out I'll start with it.

The card is titled "For Nellie" and is an owl carved in memory of the owl that visited me on the day my grandmother passed away. For the background paper, I used a photo I had taken of bare trees a few winters ago.

Here are the others in no particular order:

American Pickers (this stamp now resides in the American Pickers box in Le Claire, IA. It was carved entirely by use of Exacto knife alone.)

Carved for a "newbie" swap...and sadly may be lost forever (the cards, not the stamp).

I carved these two Frank Lloyd Wright images just for fun. I also carved a chair he designed, but haven't done anything with that stamp yet.

A carve I did for a donation to someone's "rootbeer" series.

Here's one of the three stamps in my coffee houses series planted here in town. I made some LTC's with one stamp before putting it out in the wild!

A 'double wide' card done for an exchange involving favorite vacation memories. This one hasn't been distributed hopefully no spoilers!

Carved for an exchange that is still in progress. The stamp was sent to New Zealand and I will be interested to see what other images it leads to! (It is a carving of Pele, Hawaiian goddess of fire and dance who reigns over the Big Island where Kona coffee is grown!)

Drinks of Summer exchange. I received some really AWESOME cards back from others on this....many of which included recipes!

Finally, here's Max from Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Carved for an exchange of Dr. Seuss characters. I can't wait to see what I get in return!!

As I said, I have several other LTC's done and some more in the works. I will post more another time....but I suspect that's enough for now!

Happy boxing!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

In Knitting News - Primrose Socks

What I have been working on is Sarah Miller's pattern, Primrose from the Spring+Summer 2011 issue of

I'm using Knit Picks' Stroll Tonal yarn, which is a dream to work with. I'm doing the socks on Kollage Square needles, size U.S. #1.

The pattern was very tricky in the beginning. I found I had dropped a stitch and had to pull back the foot to where the toe shaping (stockinette stitch) ended and the pattern started four times. Finally, on the fifth try it clicked.

Then, I goofed up the heel shaping and simply had to improvise a combination heel of my choosing.

I think I discovered an error in the pattern on the round which sets up the leg pattern. I have emailed the designer to see, but forged ahead with what I believe is the correction.

One thing I have definitely learned. This is not a pattern I am readily able to work on at the coffee shop during sit-n-knit!

(Despite that, I love the sock and I'm glad for the challenge of something fun to knit!)

Friday, July 01, 2011

O Canada!

Happy Canada Day to our neighbors/friends to the north!

Scenes from Niagra-On-the Lake, Ontario.

(technically, this one is showing the U.S.--that's Fort Niagra in New York across the way!)