Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Batty Labor of Love

LTC Spoiler Alert!!!
Our 9 yo daughter is crazy about bats. The foot of her bed is covered with stuffed bats and she knows more about them than anyone else I've ever met. And I'm pretty crazy about her. Moms have been known to do some crazy things for their kids. I figure that spending more than 12 hours carving stamps of bats ranks right up there. So without further ado, I give you Order Chiroptera: The Queensland Tube Nosed Fruit Bat
The Egyptian Fruit Bat on a Baobab flower

The Variegated Butterfly Bat

And the Old World (or Madagascar) Sucker-footed Bat
A couple of these were some pretty intense carves, but over all, I am pleased with how they turned out. The Egyptian Fruit bat is my favorite and the Variegated Butterfly bat is DoodlePaws' favorite.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

End of One Adventure

This post is about three months overdue! If you are not familiar with Teasel, our boxing buddy, now would be a good time to get acquainted. In August of last year, Teasel left us to begin an adventure that would take him far and wide. He returned to us over the summer with a burgeoning logbook and lots of stories to tell. Here is a brief summary of his travels.
He travelled to 9 different states, met at least 9 other boxing buddies, and got almost 200 stamp images of all kinds in his logbook! He went to parks and parties, bridges and churches, and one very special ultrasound!
These pictures are from his stay with Team Knorr.
Here he met Doyle and Toby, other BBs.
He hunted...
and examined.

Every one of his hosts did a fantastic job of writing notes in his logbook and including pictures to go along with the stamps. My favorite picture is of Teasel being carried by Shoebee (of HG and the Shoebee Crew fame) in a baby bjorn!
The girls have argued, quite emphatically, that Teasel is OUR boxing buddy and therefore he needs to stay home so that WE can take him letterboxing with US. It's hard to argue with that kind of logic, so our beloved Hedgie is ending his travels and will spend his free time honing his carving skills, helping with box maintenance, and foraging in the flower beds. He has confided to me that he is looking forward to more time in front of the fireplace and less time"scurrying about". Perhaps I will get him hooked on trading cards. I also have another surprise for him, but that will have to wait for another post.

Monday, October 6, 2008


The Walk is over and the cards are in the mail. If you are expecting these, you might not want to peek!

The four of us participated in the Community Interfaith CROP Hunger Walk in Southern Dekalb County (IL) yesterday. The girls walked one mile with Papa and I walked 5 miles. What started off as slightly drizzly turned into a spectacular Fall day and it was a lot of fun being part of something that will make a big difference in other people's lives. The group we walked with had 167 walkers from a number of different churches in the area and we raised over $18,000! And that doesn't include some of the online donations (not all of them had been verified yet) or any of the matching funds that were pledged. While this was the first year that our church took part, many in the group had been doing this for 15 years or better! I am already looking forward to next year.
The more trading cards I post, the more I am realizing how difficult it is to get accurate pictures of the little buggers. :) The first card, for the silver level donations, is embossed. I discovered some new embossing powder designed for detailed images. I love it! The grains are much finer than what I was using previously and it really made a huge difference.
The Gold Level card is a stamp layered over a printed computer graphic. I bought a T-shirt that looks just like it!
The Platinum level card is the one I had the most fun with. I'm a Farmer's Wife....why hadn't I carved corn yet??? The picture above is deceiving because the paper is textured. I bought it because it reminded me of corn husks. I plan on using this stamp lots!
By the way, everyone who donated received all three cards. I appreciate everyone who helped out with this more than I can say. I am continually floored by the generosity of the letterboxing community at large. Most of the people who sent money are ones that I only have a "virtual" relationship with, meaning that we have never met face to face. But I consider each and everyone of you true friends. Thank you so much!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bird LTCs--Spoiler Alert!

All three of these cards are still active. But I don't want to do dishes, so I'm posting them anyway! It's not my fault you peeked!
Percy the Penguin was just begging to be carved. I'm really disappointed in this photo though. He is standing on an embossed iceberg that turned out really cool and has wispy clouds around him~except you can't see those in the picture. For the iceberg, I used the "cracked ground" background stamp from the Rhino card in the Wild Kingdom series. I stamped it in the palest blue I have. Then I stamped it again with the clear embossing ink and used the pearl powder.
The Bluebird is the first card in the Songbird series. It's really a pretty straightforward card. I used two patterned papers for the background. The blue does have a pattern, but it is very subtle. I forgot to color the red breast on the first five cards that I mailed, so if you got one of them, you can either ignore it or color it like the bird above.
The Cactus Wren was just finished last night. Same approach as the Bluebird card. I don't the Cactus Wren really a songbird? There aren't too many of them in Illinois!!
I'd like to do some more bird cards. I love birds and could sit and watch them for hours. We get lots of them in our yard here in the country in spite of the fact that we don't have tree cover yet. The little Slate Juncoes that stay all winter and entertain us with their clown-like antics are among my favorites. I also love watching the goldfinches pin the dandelions to ground to keep them from getting away while they peck all the seeds out.
I was planting a box in Minnesota back in August and a little wren (Carolina?) gave me a scolding not to be forgotten. It seemed a rather brassy thing for such a tiny bird. They are so funny!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rainbow after the Storm

"Never Lost" is another of the Jigsaw Puzzle cards. The puzzle had 10 separate stamp images on it, most of them different kinds of navigational tools. The background script stamp is the only one that is not handcarved. The whole thing was rubbed with chalk to give it the look of a worn map.
Here is the front of the puzzle pocket.
And the inside of the puzzle pocket.
And finally! This was FlowerWind's first carve and LTC! She drew the picture herself and carved (under close supervision!) everything but the beak and eye, which she was too nervous to do. This is Icee the Penguin!

Slowing to a Drizzle

Only a couple more posts and I'll be caught up on trading card pictures!
This was MCE Sunflowers and no matter what I do to the photo, I can't get it the right color. This is too bright. The stamp was carved from an MC Escher design. I can't resist his stuff.
"Fractal" was a card that came from my rebellious side. If I remember correctly, 3 Blind Mice and I were having a discussion via email about adding the perspective of dimension to our cards and I got to wondering if I could create a card with no dimension at all. Something that looked invisible. After lots of trial and error, I ended up stamping with the lightest ice blue ink I could find and then embossing it with a pearl powder. And all of this was on a clear ink jet transparency. The result looks like frost on a window. The above picture was taken against a window at night so that the card would show up. In the end, my orneriness created a trading card with more dimension of any of my other cards. ;)
These last three pictures are of another of my Jigsaw Puzzle cards. This one is much clamoured for Blowball (another MC Escher design~I can't help myself.) Above is the complete stamp.
The outside of the puzzle pocket.
The inside of the puzzle pocket. The last of the completed puzzle pockets will be in the next post. I am still planning on making two more cards in this series. Maybe by the end of the year!

Get a Canoe!

New Arrival, for the Family Portraits ring. Carved from a photo of my new nephew.
Needled. This trading card was by far the most involved I've ever done. Each card took over an hour. The little embroidered piece is a sample of Norwegian Hardanger. The stamp is embossed white on white, like the traditional Hardanger.
Naptime was carved from a photo taken of my husband and our little preemie the day after we brought her home.
This card was for the My Hometown swap. I live in the first established Norwegian community in Illinois~hence the Viking.
This is another card that is a bit deceiving. The mermaid is stamped on vellum, so there is more depth to the card than appears here.

It's a Deluge!

If this card looks vaguely familiar, you're not imagining things. I took the image from the Lady Slipper Orchid and recarved the stamp. This time I carved a positive image instead of a negative one.
Slush in my Shoe was for the "Old Faces" swap. This is one of my favorite quotes.
Sister's Day was invented by my two girls because they figured that since Mothers, Fathers and Grandparents all get a day, so should Sisters! We made the card for the Create Your Own Holiday swap.
Purple Baby has a very personal story behind it. Those are stamps created from my oldest daughter's prints after birth. They are actual size. To read about it, go here. For a more detailed version, bring a box of kleenex and go Here.
I carved Pinky and the Brain just for fun!

Still Raining

This first card was made for the World Languages ring. You really should check out the clue page for this card. There is some really fun stuff about the Warao language there.
But how do you portray an entire language on one trading card? I couldn't do it, so my card opened up. This is the inside.

Not all who wander are looking for letterboxes. Some of the really are lost. Maybe my Treasure Map card could help?
Marshmallow World and it's companion card below, Sugar Date, were made in honor of a song. Read the whole story, and the words to the song HERE.
There has been much discussion on the AQ LTC board about whether or not you keep a copy of your own cards, and if so, which one? I should probably note that I keep one provided that I remember to, but I pick the worst one out of the bunch. So, if some of the cards that I post here look a little wonky or have boo-boos on them, it's because I'd rather keep those than send them to someone else. The Marshmallow World card above is a good example of embossing gone bad.

It's Raining Trading Cards!

Until I started posting all of these cards, I hadn't realized that I had made that many! It's not wonder the laundry never gets folded!
This is Kirby's (our crazy border collie) card. It's called Are You Ready? All we have to do is say the word ready, even whisper it in another room of the house, and Kirby is on the alert. This card was available to trade with people who sent me the story of the the worst thing their dog ever rolled in. Boy, did I ever get some great stories!
Kitty Love was my valentine card. My 9 yo saw the picture of this cat with the heart shaped kink in her tail and she made me carve it.
The Koi card was my contribution to the Zoo Animals ring. This photo doesn't do the card justice. I stamped the Koi (an Escher design, I might add) in a random pattern all over light blue paper and then cut it to size. Then I took ink jet transparency film and did a blue wash on the "rough" side to give the look of water. I used spray adhesive to attach the transparency to the koi paper and then stamped the lily pads on top. When you look at the card, it really does seem like you are looking down through the water to see the fish.
The Lady Slipper Orchid above was carved for my SiL, and the Pansy Orchid below was carved for my Mom. Can I help it if some trading cards got made along the way?
More showers in the forecast for later!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fairyland Play Stage--Spoiler Alert!

I know I shouldn't do this yet, but I can't stand it! I love how this card came out, so I'm posting it. If you are receiving the 3 Billy Goats Gruff card, don't look if you want to be surprised!

The Fairyland Play Stage series of trading cards began some time ago when the 3 Blind Mice challenged some of us to come up with our most ambitious card yet. I couldn't participate at the time, but the idea kept me awake nights. Surprise. Now, one of those midnight ruminations is a reality. Hopefully, some of the others will follow. Of course, the girls helped by picking which Fairytale to do first.

All of these cards are intended to be interactive. Some, like this first one, should be fairly self explanatory. But I'll tell you how it works anyway. The front of the card is the stage. The ends of this card are open, and by adding a little sideways pressure, it will open further to allow the "characters" to drop out. You can then use the characters to act out the story in whatever way you wish. When you're finished, just tuck everything back inside. The "add-on" cards are to help spice things up a bit.

There, have I used up enough space so that I can post the pictures now? Here goes:
TRIP! TRAP! TRIP! TRAP! Over the Bridge!

One Troll for under the bridge, and 3 Billy Goats for over the bridge
One Big, Hairy Troll just in case my happy, hillbilly looking troll isn't enough of a bad guy for you.
And one Ugly, Scary, Grumpy Troll in case the Big, Hairy Troll isn't bad enough for you.

SNIP! SNAP! SNOUT! This tale's told out!
Next in the works will be Rapunzel, per FlowerWind's request. But don't look for it for at least a month or more.