Monday, September 7, 2015

Bumbling into something new...

So just as the summer was getting started, I decided to follow in the brave footsteps of Ms. Viking and finally start selling my carvings out via Etsy. Over the last couple of years, I had been press-ganged happily volunteered my carving abilities for wedding type things...  There had been a post here earlier about being able to carve lettering on a stamp which was actually a wedding invitation and I had also done a Vegas-themed stamp for a Las Vegas wedding this past summer.  After which I had been encouraged to go the Etsy route...

I figured there wasn't much to lose and mostly I wanted to set up shop to carve more pumpkins.  Anyone who has read this blog knows I came to carve stamps because of my pumpkin carving past. Last fall, I actually sold my first commissioned pumpkin (which was unexpected and made me quite happy).  So,  I set up the shop to carry mostly stamps which people might like year round, but as a place to host my carved foam pumpkins.

My shop is called Cuts & Scrapes and so far I've sold mostly custom stamps, but I have also sold one of my pumpkins.  I've learned quite a bit about what people like to use stamps for (not always what you think) and I've had some really nice feedback from people.

Anyways, I'll leave that here as an fyi and I'll probably post a link to my shop in the sidebar.  Now, as you were, go about your business...

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Inconceivable little library

So, with slight delay, I post here about last weekend's letterboxing trip to Kitchener to join StarHexen's mini event.

Two other casual letterboxers and I headed up to Kitchener after work on the Friday to make an appearance at a little library where there was allegedly a letterbox planted.  Kitchener must have the highest per capita rate of mini libraries (which is something to be proud of). This particular library, however, is unique with a green roof (amazing) and decked out with a Princess Bride motif.  And, of course, it joins the ranks of letterbox-containing-mini-libraries.

It was great having a little visit with StarHexen, but the ladies and I only had a couple hours before dark and so we stamped in (fantastic stamp) and headed on our way...

We then headed over to the nearby cemetery where I had found a number of letterboxes before.  The sun was quickly going down, putting the cemetery in twilight which was quite beautiful.

Unfortunately, once we came upon the box we were searching for, it was quickly apparent that my namesake insect had created a ground nest right in front of the hiding spot.  Yikes.  A quick stamp in for everyone, a delicate re-hide procedure, and we were on our way out of the cemetery.

It was a beautiful trip and although we didn't find any other boxes (one was a little too tricky and then it was too dark to continue) the day was great for getting back in the letterboxing spirit of things.

Eek, the summer is almost over.  I did manage to get out letterboxing and go to a mini event though so  I'm not hopeless.  I'm also planning to attend Box ON with a fellow letterboxer and even sent a stamp in for the event.

Hope to see you there!

Happy trails!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

It finally happened *or* a letterboxer's view on ink pad packaging

It finally happened: I had to throw out ink pads.  Ones I bought over five years ago.  It's crazy.

In reviewing my ink stash (which have been tragically underused over the past year or so) I came to find three (3) of my ColorBox petal point kits had gone dry, along with a number of other individual stamp pads.  I'm a bit of a craft supply hoarder, so it was nice to have a good reason to toss those.

The petal point packaging in particular was difficult to use, particularly on the trail.  Too many pieces, weird size.  10/10 would not recommend.  I do like pigment ink for certain things though... Their individual stamp pads have this unfortunate habit of popping their tops off in my trail pack. {The insides of my one bag are a lovely teal because of this...} I don't even buy those any more.  My long skinny ColorBox with the full range of colours sometimes joins me, but it is also super messy to use.

On the other hand, my StazOn and other Tsukeniko inks are doing really well.  Still quite juicy.  The black is the only one I've needed a reinker for - and the packaging stays nice and tightly shut in my bag on the trail.  I'm going to stick with those in the future, I think...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Throwing a stamp in the mail...

Does anyone else have a moment of panic that you wrote the address right on an envelope after it leaves your hands at the post office?

On Monday, I finished a fun carve that I've sent off to GreenSpirit who was kind enough to host this year's Box ON! event.  I remember writing something on the front of the envelope.  I sorta remember writing my return address.

Don't worry.  I'm sure my stamp will reach GreenSpirit.  I think it's sort of like driving; you suddenly arrive at a location but have no recollection of the actual drive itself.

I hope.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to Box ON!, not just because of the letterboxing, but because it will be really nice to catch up with everyone.

Hope everyone is having a great summer :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Lovely updates on my Korean letterbox

Seoul, South Korea, with N Seoul Tower on Namsan Mountain in the middle of the city
So one of the many things I have been behind on blogging about is my profound delight in getting find notices on a box I planted while in Seoul, South Korea: Love in Suraksan.

In early spring of 2012, I was a very sad Bumble who was missing her baby sister, let's call her Mini Bumble.  A year earlier, Mini Bumble flew across this planet to work at a South Korean hogwan where she was responsible for teaching English to a small class of nine adorable kindergarteners. Since I missed her and wanted to visit the place she had been calling home, I packed up my gear and flew over to meet her - taking a small letterboxing kit with me, obvs. She lived just outside of Nowon, a district of Seoul, at the base of Suraksan Mountain.

At the time, there really weren't many boxes in Seoul - or at least there weren't many listed on AQ.  Combine that with some significant difficulties in getting around without knowing the language meant that I wasn't able to find any boxes while I was there (came oh so close: we found the right spot for one, with certainty, but the box was MIA).

If you haven't been to Seoul, it is a magical place for letterboxing.  The dense urban city is broken up by endless little mountains with an infinite number of walking trails.  The only thing stopping me from heading in was my fear of getting lost.  Anyway - just a tip for any letterboxers who may be going over to visit or teach.

I had no idea what I would plant, and I was actually nervous that I'd have trouble taking a camo'd lock-n-lock through airport security, so I believe I had a box that was clear and a small slab of uncarved material.

In the end, overcome with seeing my sister after so long and absolutely loving the country, I decided on a simple heart with a Canadian flag maple leaf and a Korean flag Taegeuk inside. (If I've somehow spoiled the box for anyone, my apologies.)

I had a bit of a time hiding it, though.  With such a dense population of people, there was never a moment I was alone and my slight hike up Suraksan Mountain wasn't proving to have a lot of hiding spots.  In the end, thanks to the water that was not coming down the mountain while I was there, I was able to hide the box under the decking of the areas beside the water flow areas for which the mountain was named.  I hid it and got out as stealthily as only a tall, white, overweight foreigner can.

I listed the box and finished my wonderful trip, Mini Bumble as my guide, returning to Canada after my trip.

And I waited. 

And I waited.

Really, no hits on the clue.  I couldn't really imagine anyone from North America heading out there and to the end of one of the subway lines to climb a mountain based only on the directions given by a letterbox clue.  And as time went on, I could only imagine that the citizens of the cleanest country I've ever visited would find my box and remove it.  So I waited, but secretly wanted no one to even make an attempt because the thought that it was still there on the other side of the planet made me happier than if I found that it was gone.

But then two years after planting I got a find and a lovely message from Sonoran Girl: "I was the first finder on this box even though it was planted almost two years ago. It was a little mucky from its days by the creek, but it's in perfect condition and has a lovely hand-carved stamp inside. It's well hidden enough to never be noticed by someone not specifically looking for it, which is kind of a miracle here in Korea."

So very happy.

Then not so long later, from Fruitcake: "Just wanted to let you know that I came VERY close to your letterbox, but had the misfortune of searching on Korean independence day when the creek area was swarmed with people. UGH! So close, yet so far away! It is in a beautiful location though, and I really enjoyed my time in the park."

Almost there, but I can't believe all the people in the creek were not seeing the box...

But it was safe! From Lig: "The box and contents are all in great shape. First time trying multiple colors on the same stamp; it worked really well. Check out Cafe Dasio at the end of the street, near the box for an artsy place to stamp in while enjoying something sweet."

And then as recently as March, from JIY: "Hi, the park is beautiful and I loved the Stamp."

I've had a bit of a weird year starting last summer and have been a little down.  These finders don't know that their find logs filled me with an indescribable joy. Maybe I'll send this post their way...

Happy trails!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Where have all the letterboxers gone?

My, how things have changed since last year.  Letterboxing has just about ground to a halt, but I'm sure it's not me: I can count the finds this year on my boxes on one hand.

But today, I signed up for Box ON (I choose to force myself to go rather than wallow in regret) and my carving thumb is getting awfully sore.  I've even dusted off my letterboxing pack.

Who knows what the future holds?