Monday, November 30, 2009

Reservations for Peru

If I had to pick favorites from this book, this page by Jabber & Jobob would certainly be in the top ten (No, seriously. How do you pick a favorite when each one if so fanastically amazing?). I love how they wrote the text of the page like a three day travel plan. You really should zoom in on the photo and read what it says. The whole page looks like a glossy brochure you might pick up at the travel agent's office.
The warmth of the colors really brings out the South American feel. Love the Llamas!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Reservations for Italy

Onward we go! From London to Italy now, with Booknut as our guide. I love the antique feel of this and several of the other pages.

Italia! O Italia! Thou who hast
The fatal gift of beauty, which became
A funeral dower of present woes and past,
On they sweet brow is sorrow plough'd by shame,
And annals graved in characters of flame.
~Lord Byron, trans. from "Italia" by Vicenzo da Filicaja

This card is in the pocket behind the Milano card and miniature fresco on the right hand page.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reservations for London

We've had a chance to take an overview tour by train. Now it seems that we are zeroing in on a few more focused destinations in Europe. Today we will be riding the London Eye, watching the changing of the Guard, walking through castles, across bridges and into one notorious prison.

Fish and chips, anyone? As a huge Doctor Who fan, I'd have to say London would probably rank up there pretty high on my travel to-do list. I definitely need to add a Union Jack to my t-shirt drawer. Thanks, Songbird!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Turkey Egg

I am going to attempt to be profound for two seconds today before I go overdose on tryptophan.
Every year we take one day out of 365 and feign thankfulness for home, family and daily provisions. Except that most of us have never known true need to begin with. You can't know real feasting unless you have also known fasting.
It's like singing the National Anthem before a sports event. You don't really feel patriotic, but you have to get it out of the way before the game can start. So we come together, hold hands with people we rarely see the rest of the year, talk about the 5 kernels the pilgrims ate and then gorge ourselves like happy ticks in the woods of Wisconsin. Thanksgiving becomes nothing more than a precursor to the gluttony that Christmas has become.

Wow. And now I've laid an egg in the middle of my blog. What do you think we should do about that?

Here's my proposal:
In the spirit of the Native Americans who saved our collective tail feathers by sharing what they had both physically and by way of teaching, I suggest that we spread the bounty farther than the card tables in front of the football game. My personal choices are World Vision and Partners International.

**I realize that this post is teetering on the edge of a rant. I want you to know that I am not standing on a soapbox. I have picked it up and am whacking myself in the head with it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reservations for Paris

Orion will be our guide today as we absorb the richness of Paris, France. Who wouldn't want to go to Paris? All the Art, Romance, History, Architecture and culture mean that there is something for everyone. J wants to see the Eiffel Tower, M wants to see the Mona Lisa, and I want to see it all.
The tag in the pocket pulls out to show Orion's sig and her note on the back.

One of the things that I particularly love about this journal is the stamps. Not just the hand carved stamps or other rubber stamps used, but as you will see, many people used postage stamps in some way as part of their design. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but that element ties the whole book together in a wonderful way.

*A regret~Unfortunately, I cannot portray all of the varied textures on each page. The embossing, different papers, ribbons, and three dimensional elements cannot be transferred in a two dimensional digital media. Some of the pages were a little more difficult to photograph or scan because of some of the "doolollies". You'll just have to imagine the other sensory experiences.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reservations for Europe by Rail

Now we're going to hop on the train and take a whirlwind tour of Europe, courtesy of Daytonatip
I love how she stamped her sig on all of the different stops. There is so much to see in Europe that I imagine traveling by rail would be a very convenient way of seeing alot in a short amount of time. Great idea!

The passport opens to reveal her note and sig stamp. Love it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Reservations for Scotland

Our next stop is Scotland. These wonderful pages were created by Wyvern of Potsdam, NY. Scotland would definitely be on my list of places I would love to see. I love the tartan samples she included and the Highland Kyloe.

The photo of the "Shepherd's Cot in Glen Nevis, Inverness-shire" opens up to reveal this poem.

The other side has a recipe for Pitcaithly Bannock, a type of shortbread.

8 oz flour
4 oz butter
2 oz caster sugar (superfine ground sugar)
1 oz chopped almonds
1 oz mixed candied peel

Set oven to 325*F or Mark 3. Grease a baking sheet. Sift flour into bowl. Add the sugar and butter and rub in to form a dough. Add the almonds and the mixed peel, making sure they are evenly distributed. Form into a thick round on a lightly floured surface and prick all over with a fork. Place on the sheet and bake for about 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool and serve sliced thinly and buttered.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reservations for Norway

The owner of each Artful Logbook was to decorate the first page according to their own theme. If I were truly given the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, I would have a very difficult time deciding between Norway, Israel and Spain. And Greece. And Washington.
In the end I decided that since I live in a very Norwegian community (Ya, sure, you betcha) I would have much more opportunity to plant Scandi themed stamps. And I decided to do my whole page with stamps. As a pop-up.
If you live around here you may recognize these stamps as the contents of the Norway in a Pine Box letterbox. There are 12 stamps in all.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Just when you (and me too!) thought the way back machine had run out of gas...

Back in January of aught seven, I received a delightful invitation to participate in a postal ring hybrid. It was called The Artful Log: A Decorated Journal Round Robin and was started by Heysukeyw. The idea was to pick a theme, create a logbook and carve a stamp and mail it around the circle. With me so far? The twist was that each person who received your logbook would then completely decorate a double page spread according to their interpretation of your theme. No limits. In this case the stamp was really secondary to the logbook. Oh, and did I mention that we were to title our logbooks in such a way as to disguise the true theme until the logbooks were actually in hand? So there was no way to plan what you were going to do until the next journal arrived in the mail. We had about two weeks with each book, so there was plenty of time to brainstorm and execute. If I had to pick one favorite postal out of them all, this would probably be it. (Wait, have I said that before?) I will be posting the pages of my logbook over the next 12 days. (See, isn't that clever? I can finish NaNo and you'll never even miss me.)
You're probably wondering what my theme was, right? Well it was titled Reservations, which seems straightforward enough until you take into account the online chit chat designed to mislead. *Insert Doctor Horrible laugh* So while my theme was fantasy destinations, it could have also been Native American or phobias.
The logbook that I sent out was created to look like a suitcase (Yes, I was taking travelogue in a different direction) and it came home delightfully battered and stuffed to the brim with wonderful art depicting all of the places people would go if there were "no limits".
In case you can't read it, the first page says: "Now taking Reservations for the ultimate vacation of your dreams! If you could visit any place on earth, where would you choose to go? A secluded beach? The bullfights in Madrid? Or back home to Grandma's farm? Tell me! Nitrocat and Kittens have their bags packed and are ready to go! We're leaving Newark, Illinois on January 29th, 2007. Next Stop....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tough Act to Follow

So, for the last two weeks I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what was going to happen when the Rube Goldberg project came to it's spectacular yet humane end. Now that I had set my reader's expectation so high, how was I possibly going to maintain that level of masterful suspense and excellence in programming?
I'll let you know just as soon as I figure it out. In the meantime, our month of literary abandon is more than half over and it has not been so much a question of literary abandon as it has been one of the abandonment of all else. Cooking, laundry and vacuuming top the list.
Now that I have passed the 50k milestone and come up for air, I am noticing the swirling vortex of cat hair by the stairs and the ever growing stack of empty pot pie tins in the kitchen. My family needs me.
So, if for the next couple of weeks there is nothing but snow on this particular blog channel, it's because I am trying to reclaim the house before the health department steps in.

But first, for your reading pleasure (*snicker*), I give you the opening scene to my new book, Stone Song:

The village of Bascom lay in a valley between the foothills of the great mountain range of Gneiss and the sand hills that marked the beginning of the wasteland of the Arkosian desert. Except for the occasional mischief cause by wandering packs of wild dogs or a neighbor’s wandering cow, all was peaceful. The climate allowed for year round crops and gardening. Six Festivals that spread across the seasons marked the times when all of the surrounding communities gathered in fellowship and celebration. After work was completed for the day, evenings were spent with family and friends, in song and reading and laughter. Quiet and comfort had been a way of life for generations. One summer night all of that changed.

That night fire rained down from the night sky. In moments the peaceful rhythm of the community erupted into chaos as sleeping villagers woke to terror. Some of them fled while others sought out loved ones and neighbors. As the stars poured down upon them, some of the young people stumbled into the town square. Their eyes followed the flames that streaked across the heavens and in unison they had chosen to investigate.

Rutile and Corundine had gone back to gather torches and lanterns while Breccian and Chert had helped the girls Argenta and Niccoli through the darkness to first hill. When Rutile and Corundine caught up with them they had run together over the hills and out into the sands on the edge of the Arkosian. Behind them, the villagers struggled to put out flames and bind wounds as the star storm slowed. The six stumbled out into the dunes, some of the burning rubble falling very close to them. They reached a large crater formed by the falling debris. Flames still burned hot around the rim of the crater and the sand had fused together in charred masses.

As they explored, one last meteorite crashed into the sand near Breccian. The others looked on frozen in horror as the young man was engulfed in a cloud of steam and light. The air glittered with vaporized particles of sand and Breccian’s screams carried across the dunes. Rutile snapped to his senses first and shouted for the others to help. He jumped forward and snatched Breccian from the smoke by his arm. The young man’s appearance made them step back, afraid to touch him. Most of his clothing was black and had melted to his skin, which was covered with streaks of soot and blood. Exploding pieces of stone had gashed him in several places and smaller rocks were embedded in his flesh. Blood trickled from his ears, eyes and nose. More shocking, however, was the glow, as from hot coals that came from each of his joints.

The young man’s shrieks slowly died off and he lay on his back in the sand writhing in pain. The air in his lungs felt like flames and he struggled to breathe. Each gasp of breath drew more of the sand filled steam into his lungs and he could feel it spreading throughout his body like white hot needles. The pain surged over him like a flood and he finally surrendered to the rising tide. Just before the light fled completely from his eyes, Breccian thought he saw a swarm of glowing creatures fly off into the darkness of the desert. Unconsciousness descended.

It was then decided that Chert and Niccoli would stay and watch over Breccian while the other three returned to the village to get help. Expecting it to be some time before help reached them, Chert took the first watch and let Niccoli rest in the shelter of some scrub trees a little distance from the craters. After several hours, he came to wake her. When she arrived at the spot where Breccian had been lying, he was nowhere to be found. The two of them searched until Rutile returned with some of the men from the village. Hoping to find him still alive, the search continued for several days.

The rescuers eventually returned from the Arkosian empty handed. Bascom grieved their losses and began to rebuild. Crops were replanted. The first of the Festivals was celebrated among cottages still under repair. Life moved forward. Quiet returned.

And thirty years passed....

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Archimedes Screw

...which terrifies the pedophobic* man (A) making him run into a mannequin (B) which hits a paddle (C) and knocks delicious cheese and water (D) to a nearby mouse. It also causes a Red Sock to hit a baseball (E) which lands in a basket (F). This closes the scissors (G) cutting the string (H) holding the bag (I) that falls on the scale (J). The scale lifts and causes a hand (K) to move which entices the snapping turtle (L) to snap, opening the clamps (M) which drop the cage (N) onto the mouse leaving it safely trapped with food and water.

*fear of children

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Cape Cod Lightning Bug

...onto Peter Rabbit (54) who leaps up and knocks Charlotte out of her web (55). Charlotte lands on Miss Muffet who runs into a tree, dislodging a bird who asks, "Are you my Mother?" (57)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Rube Goldberg by ArtGekko

...the garden rake (45) flipping the handle up to send the windmill (46) spinning, tightening the rope attached to the start cord on the mower (47), which runs over the hose (48), spraying water everywhere & filling up the birdbath (49); that tips over onto the flowers (50), disturbing the bee that flies off and stings a nearby gekko (52), who jumps up and sends the flowerpot (53)...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Booknut

...into the Victrola (39), bumping the needle and starting the music. The couple (40) dances, flipping the switch (41) which causes the fan (42) to start spinning. The twine begins to tighten, pulling the painter (43) off-balance. Teetering, he drops the paint onto the trampoline (44). The bucket bounces into...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Orion

...come sailing into the toy shop. Sock Monkey slips (34) and he pops an eye out (35), the button bangs into the bottom of the Jack in the Box (36). Jack pops up and tips the Rocking Horse forward (37) which pushes the ball down on to the top (38) setting it spinning...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rube Goldberg by MnM Maniac

...which tilts shelf causing vase (21) to fall, pulling string, lighting gun lighter (22) causing hot air balloon (23) to rise, flipping switch (24) turning on light (25) which shines through magnifying glass (26) which lights fuse to rocket (27) deploying parachute (28) which lands on start button of race track (29). Race car hits rail arm (30) hitting bowling ball (31) knocking over bowling pin (32) hitting banana (33) causing it to...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Jacks

Dominoes head up the ramp, one falls off (15) hitting cat on back. Cat wakes up, notices other cat, falls in love (16) and runs to the store to buy catnip for the new love (17) getting tangled in a string that pulls a pot of melting chocolate our of boiling water (18). Aroma of chocolate fills the air which causes the chocolate loving girl to drool (19). Drool waters plant which starts to grow uncontrollably (20)...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Nitrocat

The chimp grabs the banana (4) flipping the switch (5) which turns on the fan (6) blowing the windmill (7) which generates power for the motor (8). The piston on the motor pumps the handle (9) on the water pump (10) filling the bucket (11). The weight of the water snaps the string causing the bucket to fall on the bulb (12). The compression of the bulb makes the leaping frog toy (13) jump forward starting a cascade of dominoes (14)...
*a potential short cut looks on with casual disinterest.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Sahalie

Pie hits clown toy (W) causing it to swing back. Clown shoe kicks ball (X). Ball rolls off, landing on seesaw (Y) which flips dog (Z) into basket on scales (1). Basket lowers, pulling down rope which is attached to cage gate (2). Gate opens and Chimpanzee escapes (3)...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Happy Papaya

Rings bell (O) causing Pavlov's Dog (P) to drool (Q), extinguishing flame (R). Total darkness (S) makes waiter (T) trip over dog's bone (U) sending banana cream pie (V) flying through the air...

**I forgot to explain in the beginning that the Rube Goldberg postal was launched way back in October of 2006. It circulated for half of an eternity before the mouse was finally, and humanely, caught. I think it would be safe to say that all of our carving skills have dramatically improved since then.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Lisascenic

Pathetic-looking raven (J) inspires Edgar Allen Poe (K) to write poem (L) with quill pen (M) which, for reasons known only to Poe (K) is tied to string (N) which...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rube Goldberg by Wassamatta_U

Once upon a time...
An intrepid letterboxer (a) picks up a letterbox (b) pulling string (c) which swings shoe (d) kicking ball (e) down tube (f) until it hits scissors (g) cutting string on balloon (h) which hits nail (i). Popping balloon scares pathetic-looking raven (j), which flies off it's perch...

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Rube Tube

Of course, you know that Wassa was the instigator of the whole thing. And, of course, with him involved you know that it was a ridiculous lot of fun.
I'm talking about The Rube Goldberg postal project. The idea was to work together to "build a better mousetrap"~Rube Goldberg style. A mailing tube, dubbed The Rube Tube, was sent to each of the 12 people in the group. Inside were 16 identical strips of paper (4 extras in case of mistakes), each 38 inches long and divided into 24 measured sections. The top twelve sections were to be filled with the stamps; the bottom with the descriptions. Each person was to add on to the previous section, continuing the story of how were were going to catch the mouse (humanely, of course). No one knew what they were going to carve until the Tube arrived and the adjoining stamp was revealed. When all was complete, each person received their very own copy of the Rube Goldberg contraption. I am saving a spot on my office wall to hang mine...just as soon as I find a frame that will fit.

The mouse with the attitude was carved by Wassamatta_U, our beloved leader. Over the next 12 days (not including Sundays), I am going to highlight the stamps created by each person who played...I mean participated in this wonderful project. If I can figure out a way to display the whole poster, I'll post that separately. I have to confess that I doubt I can do it justice.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Aspiring Novelists

The girls wanted to have their picture taken in their new special writing T-shirts. Theirs says "I eat novels for breakfast!" Mine, which was made by my college roommate and long time friend, says "Be careful or you may end up in my Novel".
Let the writing begin!