Saturday, July 26, 2008

Altered Book Letterbox

Under Construction

Still practicing Coptic Binding, this time using 2 playing cards sewn together as the covers. The idea came to me after my trip to Goodwill and Salvation Army stores in search of Nancy Drew books to alter. I came across a couple of other books I thought had potential.

One is an Agatha Christie book with a padded hardcover. Very classy looking with a gold leaf image on front. Title is "Cards On The Table" - thus the playing card theme took hold.

My 1st Letterbox to plant in a library is being attempted.
Still have no earthly idea what to carve as the stamp. Leaning towards an image of the library it would be planted in.
Could you start sketching Steph?

Our order of the "Pink Stuff" from Stampeaz will be here next week.
Sorry, local scrapbook store.
Even with $5 shipping, buying 4 is like getting one free.
(or maybe it's more like buy 3, get one half price...math not my strong suit and Sara is asleep.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

1st efforts at Coptic Binding

That went pretty well

I searched and found both written & video tutorials for Coptic Binding.
It took a combination of the two for me to grasp the way this sewed binding was worked. Diagrams from several written tutorials helped make videos easier to follow.

Some of the videos I found were hard to listen to or had no sound.

It'll take a little more practice for me to get these to come out...
((oh, what's the word I'm looking for?))

Better. Okay...Perfect?
By perfect I mean using the correct techniques.
I'm still a little fuzzy on the kettle stitch that makes a crochet-like chain.

1st one is a little wonky.
(too loose even though I thought at the time I was really pulling the thread tight.)
2nd one is better, but still missing some of the chained columns.

Our Library is looking for a book I requested, but was not listed in the database we use. Non Adhesive Binding, Vol. 3: Exposed Spine Sewings
. I hope they buy it! Looks very interesting.
(And that Lazy Susan in the photos was purchased at Goodwill for a $1. Thought it would help organize "things" on the table.
Turns out it just elevates the mess 2 inches higher :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Letterboxing Logbooks

Exploring book binding

Letterboxing enthusiasm continues.
Still going off fishing in directions where Letterboxes are NOT, though. Need to work on that.

Couldn't even convince Steph to go look for the newest locally hidden treasure in Stillwater on Sunday morning.
Could have had something to do with a 15 hour round trip adventure to Quebec, I suppose.

Something about lack of proper shoes.
Signature stamp not yet hand carved.
(hey, I got mine. It may not be hand carved but it was specially ordered!*)
Uncertainty where Franklin Street was.
Um...too tired?

You drove to Quebec and back all in one day?
Are you out of your freaking minds?
I mean... Glad you're back safe and sound.
Sure. I'll drive to Orono at 8 am to pick you up.

Where was I?
Bookmaking techniques for Letterboxing logs have kept my attention diverted from our lack of actual trips looking for more Letterboxes this week.

Coming at this process from a Fabric Postcard/ Fabric ATC background, I'm using the same process for book covers for log books.

Now I want to explore different techniques.
I must say I'm totally amused by this recycled elastic from supermarket asparagus bunches idea. You can use any found object such as the tree branch to secure the elastic in place.
But you can easily take it apart and add or subtract pages.
Good for screwing up a stamp entry.
(video tutorial)
So cool.
((easily amused!))
Next experiment will be Coptic Binding.

First books I made were blank journals, to be stamped in & journaled upon successfully finding a Letterbox.
I've been printing out clues in sheets of possible locations for any given direction a trip might take one of us past.
Sheets of paper fresh from the printer are easily ruined.
((Or rolled up and used as a fan when clue has been deemed useless.))

This weekend I decided to try incorporating the clues in the logbook, leaving a place to stamp the image found on the same page. We'll see how it works out!

Dream Catcher tutorial I wrote for Fabric Postcards here!
And I wrote the current one, here :)

Someone is very bossy

Good thing we love her!

Because it needs to be said again

Oh. My. God.

Even my mother?
Uttering an Obama smear
over Sunday Scrabble.

"I heard it on the news..."

(I will not repeat actual insult.)

I am totally printing this picture designed for my brother after our Mother's Day ((doozie)) fight.

Postcard size so I can hand it out to stupid people. Or people who say stupid things.
Like it was truth.
When they should know better.

Our country may be beyond help.
I'm afraid for us all some days.

Just when I was thinking of giving up on the Kindergarten Letter People project.
How on earth will I make it through November (and beyond) without a mindless distraction?

Home Grown


All organically grown.
All picked fresh Sunday morning.

Woodchucks: -3
Deer: absent
Fingers crossed it stays that way... OR ELSE*
(*see woodchucks fate, mister)
Potato bugs, Japanese beetles, etc: Manual squashing continues

involving orange unbelievably gross, yucky fingers.
(okay...losing ground here. But determined to resist chemically dusting our food.)

Let there be zucchini bread.
Home made ravioli!

I never did boast about my new found cooking adventure?
(Self confessed non cook)

I bought a Pasta Machine last year.
(hand crank kind)
And then Steph went off to Vermont to house sit before we tried it.
So it got shoved into the out of site...out of mind
too high to reach, let alone see into
cabinet over the fridge.

Because I was a little afraid of the thing.
And Steph wasn't here to assist.

Turns out she has ZERO patience for filling/folding raviolis.
But she willingly makes the fillings.
When asked.
When limited attention span can be channeled properly.

And also turns out I LOVE THE PROCESS.
Very relaxing & satisfying.
VERY time consuming meal.
BUT oh so good.
I am NEVER buying boxed pasta.
Ever again.

I don't care how long it takes to prepare a meal.
Or that an hour of "cooking" takes -10 minutes to eat.
Eventually I hope to actually time all the steps so things go smoother.
Or grow another set of hands?

compliment overheard: mmmm...
"restaurant quality"

Gee. I'm hungry.

And the little tree with it's growing pile of
(oh, pretty!) rocks collected from fishing excursions this summer is my feeble attempt to start a bonsai from the wild. Tiny tree was growing in abandoned gravel pit/parking lot and carried home wrapped in wet fishing socks.

**Failed attempts: 4

**I'm still watering 1st efforts, but outlook is grim.
All the bonsai
know-it-all authors can say I told you so.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Seeking shelter from the rain


It started raining at about the same time we reached the river, so we took shelter in a cave and waited it out.

After awhile Tom decided to give the fishing a try.
I decided to wait a little longer.

Pulled out the camera to try capturing an image of how hard it was actually raining. Doesn't really do it justice!

As I tried different angles, this Old Man Of The River was captured on screen. I think you can find him in the picture, although the camera viewer captured it best. The "smart box" kept zeroing in on the mouth but you couldn't see it from the cave without looking through the camera.

Unless you squinted.

Updated to add:
No one here can see my Old Man of the River.
Not Sara.
Or Steph. Until I pointed it out.
((Sure, mom.))
Tom said he could but I suspect now I was being humored.

What is the matter with you people?
Maybe it's like one of those optical illusion pictures that you have to stare at cross-eyed and then when you finally see it, it's so obvious you can't believe you didn't see it before.

Or maybe their imagi-vison needs adjusting?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Screw Auger Falls

The REAL one, that is

There are at least 2 Screw Auger Falls in Maine.

When Sara was an infant we tried hiking in to the Kathadin Iron Works version, off the Appalachian Trail to Gulf Hagas.

We took turns carrying her but after half a mile she seemed to weigh a ton and it was just too much walking without the baby backpack - which had been left home on this spur of the moment adventure.

Not well thought out adventures are still a part of our family history, it seems.

25 years later and I've finally made it in, using the official trail. There's a short cut to the falls at Gulf Hagas by driving much closer, along the back roads further in. Years ago the paper company clear cut a huge section of the land that the shortcut went through and so they "closed" it.

For our safety.

Well, they put rocks across the opening and took down the signs. Anyone with a memory still knew where it was.

The trail had been worn deep by a hundred thousand feet and would take an age to disappear completely back to the wild.
It's a much easier walk, with no river crossings and so was a much safer trek for children or the elderly. We took mom that route a few years ago for an autumn leaf peeping expedition and she was quite thrilled to make it in, at her age and with limited vision.

The Appalachian Mountain Club purchased much of surrounding land and has put up restrictions for vehicle use, but Tom tells me you can get as far as the bridge to park near the shortcut, which is being maintained again. Big locked gates shut out all but the wealthy who can afford to pay membership dues & fees to much of the fishing in the area, but the trail is open once again.

They own it, that's their right.

But don't tout conservation as noble cause, if what you really mean is "let's keep the land pristine so rich people from out of state can continue to enjoy exclusive Maine
Vactionland playgrounds." (i.e. Moosehead lake/Plum Creek controversy)

But I digress!

I made it to the falls. Tom even convinced me to climb down into the gorge and wade cross the freaking falls so we could eat our lunch in
the most beautiful spot on earth.

I admit I never really relaxed completely until we were both safely back on top. But it was worth the effort, if only for the photo shoot. And the reminder not to be such a chicken, as it was not really as difficult as my fear imagined it would be.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Hiking, Fishing and lost Letterboxes

Tom has Fridays off as vacation days for most of the summer, so of course I checked on possible hidden Letterbox sites that might be along the way, once he stated his intentions of going to Blanchard for the day.
Most of Maine's Letterboxes seem to be in the southern part of the state and not much was listed past Bangor, north to Monson.
I did find one jpeg clue in Brownville Junction listed on a Yahoo
group site that we thought we recognized. Pretty sure it's on the Appalachian Trail to Gulf Hagas.
(picture contains the clue.)

"Almost There" picture found us almost at Screw Auger Falls in the Katahdin Iron Works region.

Tom decided to go to Brownville fishing instead.

On the off chance we could multitask.

But first we went fishing.
I caught the first fish!
We had our limit by lunch time and decided there was time to look for the treasure. And more hiking.

No Luck finding the box.
There's no updates on the site so it could be a very old clue and perhaps the letterbox has been long gone.

Too bad we have no clear idea what "11 paces at 40" means.
Wonder if it's a compass reading?
Wonder if I'm doing the compass thing right?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Letterboxing Adventure

Our first Letterbox find!

Last month Stephani wanted an idea for fun things to do close to home, what with the price of gas and a rainy forecast for later in the day. In the course of researching directions to Chick Hill she stumbled upon an interesting new hobby, thanks in part to one of the first sites that popped up in response.


Letterboxing combines artistic ability with "treasure-hunts" in parks, forests and cities around the world. Look for hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues found on the internet or by word-of-mouth. Items inside the box will vary, but must include a logbook and a rubber stamp - usually a unique, hand-carved creation.

(Purchased rubber stamps are allowed, but the creativity of carving your own is strongly encouraged :)

Letterboxers stamp their discoveries in a personal journal, then use their own rubber stamp, called a signature stamp, by stamping it into the logbook found with the letterbox, perhaps writing a note about the weather or their adventures in finding the letterbox.

The trek up Chick Hill found nothing. Except an exceptional view and a reminder that short little hikes up a hill when we were young can still be fun years later.

Searches at UMO's ornamental garden came up empty for her as well.
As did the two locations Tom and I checked out on the way to Bingham on the 4th. (The owner of the UMO box has promised to check on that one - just a muddy baggie was found on a nearby bench. An email from the last recorded finder of this one assures me it was there 2 weeks ago. We looked all around but perhaps the location was moved to higher ground. She said her very determined daughter found it farther up the hill.)

Today, Steph and I went to Bangor City Forest, walking the trails for miles and miles. (More like a heel-toe death march under the noon sun.)
88 degrees. Humidity at 90%.

Found: nothing.
(See 1st photo of where we think one might have been ;)

The clues were printed out in June when I first helped* Steph research more about this curious adventure of buried treasure, so perhaps they were outdated. This site seems more active and up-to-date.

*Okay: I became obsessed with Steph's new adventure and even made our log books, similar to my fabric postcard method for the covers. (And some help from this really cool kid bookmaking site I found!)

I tried weaving a tear drop/ tree of life "dream catcher" for the first time on Steph's log, per her suggestion and I like how it came out!
It'll be used in an upcoming fabric postcard swap as a tear.

Then we went to the Thomas Hill Standpipe: SUCCESS!

What fun to look through the logbook and see the stamps of those before us. A lot of "Our first find!" comments were noted in the log, ours included now. I left a fabric artist trading card as a gift with a dream catcher woven for the owner, to celebrate our first find.

Can't wait to go out looking for the next one.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The day after everything changed

My sister is Nola

I started the morning with a cup of coffee and my morning read of daily blogs.

A Modest Proposal for the 4th: Take back Old Glory caught my eye first.
(quoted in part below)

The porch flag that went up on Sept 12th belonged to my father-in-law and came home with us when we cleaned out his house after his passing on Memorial Day 1998. He was a 20 year Navy man and it seemed like a good way to honor him, as well as our country during a time of our national sorrow.

It came down in shame the day our leaders declared war on a country that had nothing to do with Sept. 11th.

I've been thinking of having a second flag raising ceremony when our next president takes office. A new beginning. (Which ever one it is, I HOPE they bring change.) Being a proud American doesn't mean we get to put on rose coloured glasses and think our leaders can do no wrong.

But perhaps it was wrong to give up our flag to those who would spit the word liberal at us like it was a four letter word and call us unpatriotic for not going along.
Barack Obama, who earlier took some flack for his empty lapel, is on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone with flag pin gleaming. We should follow his lead. Everyone who's voting for Obama -- and especially those who are public figures (i.e. Keith Olbermann, Jack Cafferty, Rachel Maddow) must immediately procure a flag pin and not be seen without it before November 5th. If you can't do it with pride, do it as an act of subversion.
And I like the idea of solidarity & a flag pin.
An act of subversion, starting now!

Next stop on my morning blog rounds was MOMocrats. :)

Then my heart soared for moment when I visited Steph's blog and saw how well she represents. I asked her to return the repaired angel to my sister's gravestone. I didn't have the heart for a visit to the cemetery on the 3rd. I got through the day with no tears and a just a little wistfulness of things that could have been. A little sewing combined with a bookmaking project I'll blog about on another day.

This morning is the anniversary of the day I told Dad and Mom about Nola's death.

That fast. There were tears. As fast as the flashback of a memory of daddy's embrace as I told them she was dead.
Sobbing. The gut wrenching kind saved for 4 in the morning when no consoling is needed. It's just the healing my soul needs to get through another year without my sister.

Happy birthday, Daddy.
Her memory will see you through this day too.