what this blog is about

This blog is an eclectic one, having a little bit of everything thrown in here. I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Harry Potter Style Letterboxing

Well, it's done! All of the stamps that I carved for the marathon have now been planted as letterboxes for the letterboxing community to enjoy! In order to do this, I had to create a logbook for each stamp and a pouch for the stamp to go in. It took almost a month to make these! I used Wizarding books and items from the movies and books, tied them into each stamp, and then put a little explanation in each logbook so anyone who isn't some crazy Harry Potter freak (like me :p ) would understand how the logbook related to the stamp. By the way, if you would like to learn about letterboxing, click here.
 I had a fun time learning how to make codex books. Sewing the packs of folded paper together, creating the cover and binding, and gluing it all together was a larger task than I thought it would be, but relatively simple once you know what you're doing.
Ron's logbook / Dementor logbook

Sorting Hat logbook / Deathly Hallows logbook

Ron's Emotional Range bonus box / Weasley is our King logbook

Slytherin logbook / Grindylow logbook

Ravenclaw logbook / Gryffindor logbook

Hogwarts Crest logbook / Hedwig's logbook

The front of the Hogwarts Crest logbook

Hufflepuff logbook / The Fallen Heroes logbook (Sirius & Dumbledore)

The Cauldron logbook / Harry's logbook

logbook for Weasley's Wizard Wheezes

the Quidditch equipment logbook

logbook for the Dark Mark / Hogwarts School logbook

Hermione's logbook

Snape's logbook
 This is my favorite logbook that I made. It also took longer than any of the others. You can see why.
Hagrid's logbook

 The pouches that were made for each stamp. A big thanks to Carma who helped with this. She sewed them all (I don't touch sewing machines. They tend to break when I touch them.).
With a lot of help from Joyce, all 23 letterboxes got planted in just 6 hours. I would have had to do it in a couple of days if I had gone by myself.

I hope to have the instructions on how to make the Monster Book of Monsters up sometime next week.

October Road Trip

I'm a little behind on the blog, so I'm going to do a few posts real quick to get up to speed.               
I was over in Eastern Idaho a couple of weeks ago. Joyce and I went through Yellowstone and on into Jackson Hole before going back to her house. While in Wyoming, we stopped at the most photographed barn to do a little letterboxing. Unfortunately, the box was missing.

On our way back to the Boise/Idaho City area, we stopped at Craters of the Moon to do, what else, some letterboxing. I took some pictures outside the cave we went in to get one of the boxes. The caution sign just outside of the cave made me wonder. Does Santa have a hobby of spelunking during his holidays? And if so, does he tend to hit his head a lot?

This is the entrance to the cave we went into. The cave is 300 feet long, and pitch black. Joyce and I both had headlamps on and Joyce had a small flashlight. Even with our lights, we could barely see more than a couple feet in front of us. I have to say that I'm glad there weren't any bats, not because they scare me, but because I was already out of my comfort zone just by going in the cave and I didn't need furry winged things flying around.

 Below is the view of the trail we walked to get to Beauty Cave. The wind was so strong, and kept catching on my pack, that I almost fell over a couple of times.

 I hid my spelunking letterbox behind these rocks! This is halfway down to the entrance of Boy Scout Cave. We didn't go in this one, it's covered in ice all year round and you have to crawl in most places.

Well, those were the highlights of my short road trip this month!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ten Years Later: Remembering 9/11

I was a senior in high school. I had been listening to a CD on my way to school. When I arrived, early (I hate being late), the halls were unnaturally quite. The TVs in all of the classrooms were all on CNN. I found some of my friends, and was shocked to see their worried and tearful faces. A plane has hit one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. I had no idea what the Twin Towers were at that time, but I understood the terribleness of the event that was happening. A second plane has hit the towers. I remember sitting in choir, every eye glued to the TV, when the first tower fell. A collective gasp rang through the room. Then the crying began. Even here in Boise, ID, there were kids, teachers, and friends who had loved ones in New York that they were now fearing for. I remember that day as a day of silence, questions, tears, prayers, and hugs. Every class was spent watching and waiting for more information. I had to work that night at the fast food place I was employed at. We were really slow. A woman came in and said that she worked at the mall. They closed four hours early because nobody wanted to go out into crowded public areas. There was a fear because of the military bases in the area. Would they be a target?

I saved the papers from that week. There wasn't a single section of the paper that wasn't devoted to reporting the attack. Yesterday, I spent a few hours photographing these papers and putting a slideshow together. I am not a professional photographer, cinematographer, nor am I a computer expert. I know enough to get by in life. For some reason, blogger won't let me load the slide show, so I will just put up a few of the photos. I am sorry for the blurriness of some of the photos. We will never forget.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Favorite Landscapes

Some of my favorite landscape shots that I have taken have been from the trip I took to Hawaii in October of 2008. I love the beach, so naturally I love taking photos of the surrounding landscape.
Our trail to the Waianapanapa Caves
The Legend of Waianapanapa Caves:
     Once upon a time, a Hawaiian princess named Popoalaea fled from her cruel husband. The chief, Kakae. She hid on a ledge just inside the underwater entrance to this cave. A faithful serving maid sat across from her fanning the princess with a feather Kahili, symbol of royalty. Noticing the reflection of the Kahili in the water, the chief, Kakae, discovered Popoalaea's hiding place and killed her. At certain times of the year, tiny red shrimp appear in the pool, turning the water red. Some say it is a reminder of the blood of the slain princess.

These caves were really cool, with pools of water deep enough for swimming. One of the pools looked really inviting, but as we weren't wearing our suits, we didn't take a dip.

water rushing into the lava tube
This photo was taken from inside a lava tube. A lava tube on the surface, such as this one, is a tunnel left behind from the lava flow. This was on Maui at a small black sand beach.

These next three pictures were taken near Hana, Maui, Hawaii. It is a long and winding drive to Hana. The road is very narrow in most places, especially around the corners. You cross over 59 bridges, 46 of which are one lane. There are approximately 620 curves. Not a good road for those who experience car sickness, but a very beautiful drive.

This last photo, also taken during our drive to Hana, is of the Seven Sacred Pools. They are a series of waterfalls, which pool under each fall to create one of the Seven Sacred Pools. The stream then flows into the ocean. There are actually more than seven pools, but there are seven that are easily seen while walking the trail down to the coast. The pools are bigger than they look in the picture. They would easily fit about three people in them.
Seven Sacred Pools

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Harry Potter Templates, Instructions, and Recipies

So, I have had a number of people asking for the templates for the candy boxes and what not that I used for the Harry Potter party. Here they are! I hope anyone who wants to use them finds them easy to put together and helpful in planning a great Harry Potter marathon.

Click here to go to the template for the Chocolate Frog Boxes. Click on the "Download Image" to get the template. I had to re-size mine a little so that the chocolate frogs I had would fit in them. I found a chocolate frog mold on Amazon. The chocolates were just slightly too big for the original size of the box.

Click here to get the template for the Bertie Botts Beans Box. Again, I re-sized this once I had it downloaded to make it easier to work with. I have since found another template, click here, that I think might be easier to make. I haven't fully read the instructions on the second template, but the first doesn't really show you how to close the top. I punched holes in each section and strung red raffia through the holes and tied the ends together in a bow. For the windows, I took transparency film and cut the pieces slightly larger than the windows so I could glue it. You could use clear cellophane, but I thought the transparency film would be stronger and hold up better. WARNING: if you plan to make a lot of these boxes, they hold quite a few beans in them. We made close to thirty boxes and went through about fifteen pounds of jelly beans. The cost can be high, though the guests reaction to getting them at our party made it worth it in my mind.

For the logbooks that I made, I wanted to cover them with Harry Potter paper. The problem I ran into was that all the HP paper I found in scrapbook stores wouldn't work well for what I wanted. The solution: I made my own paper. Click here to get the paper to use for any number of HP crafts you want to create. If you want to create your own paper, wordle.net is a great site, though it does take some getting used to. You also have to do a download in order for it to work.

My sister made the Marauder's Maps. She followed the directions on the site with only one change. She aged the paper by spraying it with tea and baking it in the oven. She found the map by looking through the craft links on The Leaky Cauldron site.

The wand making instructions can be found here. We filled our wands with sand to give them a more realistic weight. Everyone had fun making these and then dueling each other.


To make the acid pops, you will need sour suckers, pop rocks, and water. I had trouble finding sour suckers in my area, but finally found them at Zurchers. They also had the pop rocks there. I just love that store! Anyway, to make the acid pops, you'll need to unwrap the suckers. Fold a paper towel up and place in a small bowl with a little water. You just need enough water to soak the paper towel through. Roll the sucker around on the paper towel to get it damp. Next, roll the sucker in pop rocks until the surface is covered. You will hear the pop rocks pop and fizzle, but don't worry, there will be enough pop left in them. Wrap the suckers in wax paper. I would advise making these within twenty-four hours of serving. The longer they sit, the less the pop rocks react when eating.
The stand was made from a styrafoam cone. I simply painted it green and stuck the sucker sticks in it to create my own sucker tree. You can purchase a lollipop stand if you would like to reuse one. Amazon has a fairly simple one for a reasonable price.

The cockroach clusters were easy to make. I simple broke up pieces of pretzels and covered them in chocolate. They did look like they might have pieces of cockroaches in them, but they tasted great!

The pretzels wands were even easier to make than the cockroach clusters. I simply dipped the ends in melted chocolate and them took chocolate drizzel to create a zig-zagged look.