Monthly Archives: October 2010

Just the latest Letterbox Trading Cards:

Dracula 2000This is a bloody Gerard Butler from Dracula 2000, a favorite terrible vampire movie.  The carve doesn't look like him, but it does look like the photo, which really didn't look much like him.  *shrugs*  Very happy with the vampire.

Bottle Tree RanchMy homage to Elmer Long's Bottle Tree Ranch, for a Route 66 swap.

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The agenda: Lunch at Bocelli's with a new friend.  She gave me a stack of awesome LTCs!  Then, met up with some other friends and headed off to the Halloween Bazaar, where we met the Great Pumpkin, and saw lots of super costuming and tempting vendors.  Oh, how I wanted a steampunk raygun!  I collected a bunch of cards, so here's a link dump, so you can see some of this great stuff for yourself:

Voodoo Doll Designs. Lots of vintage jewelry and found bits on flowers, and other lovely bits.

Madame Talbot. You see these wonderful posters, and think, oh, she's selling vintage illustrations!  Nope, these are all hand-drawn originals, and they're great.

Coffin Friends make gruesome little dolls in coffins. My favorite was the vivisected panda.

Clockwork Beetle was sharing a booth with the steampunk stuff.  She made some very nice vintage-look jewelry.

What caught my eye at the Portland Black Lipstick Company table was not the lipstick, but the skull-shaped bath fizzies.  I went home with two heady-smelling skulls.  (Get it?  Heady?)

There was a lot of steampunk costumery at the Bazaar, and I must say, the fashion makes just about any guy look hot.  The best steampunk table was from Steam Baby.  Brass goggles and rayguns to make your heart go pitter-pat.

I had a nice look through the work of Robin E. Kaplan.  Her illustrations are filled with melancholy, whimsy, and a bit of mystery.

Finally, the booth I kept dragging everyone to (and most of us bought something), was Addie Pearl Jewelry.  Cute little felt skulls with Czech sequins (I'm wearing one), darling critters, tiny zombie hearts--all perfectly designed and well made.

Was that the end of the day?  NO! We wandered over to Sock Dreams, where I found a pretty pair of black socks with Chinese dragons for the Spousal Unit, then we had the most amazing dinner at Portofino.  I think dessert just about killed me with chocolate goodness.

Last and best, we got our minds blown at Davis Graveyard.  Last time I went, they had one projected ghost.  Now the entire place is populated with spooks, including a full-size ghost horse!  It's just amazing, and will no doubt be the highlight of the season.  I think I want to go again.



After reading a thread on Atlas Quest, I decided to try a new carving material: Gomuban Relief Printing Plates.  Quick version: I love this stuff, and it will be my go-to carving material.  It isn't perfect, but it is very, very nice.  As you can see, it's thin: 1/4".  One side is blue, the other green, with a black core.  Both sides are carvable and differ only in color.

I decided not to sand the material, as the surface is thin enough.  Turns out sanding is not needed, though it may improve the primary problem: visibility.


First, I tried a pencil rubbing.  That's a little Hello Kitty head in a frying pan (frykitty, get it?).  Can you tell?  Neither could I.  Glare is strong on the unsanded material, but I doubt that reducing glare would help, as both sides are fairly dark.


Ah, that's better.  This is a rubbing from an inkjet printer.  Since it's October, I chose a little ghost by Chris Simmons.

The carving experience was great.  The material has a very nice bite.  It's nearly as firm as Firm Kut, but it isn't rubbery, and it's not so hard to plough through that I lose control of the gouge.  The material lifts out like a dream--almost no digging and swearing. I was using one of Kirbert's modified Staedtler gouges for most of this carve.   Again, there's a visibility issue as you carve through colored material to a dark gray/black beneath.  That contrast could be better.


Here's the final carve.  I admit, I didn't clean up much.  Because the material isn't very rubbery, it doesn't move around when you try to go back over small areas; for example, making that little eye rounder was very easy.  The material is very light, and because it's so thin and flexible,  I would definitely mount it for regular use.

The big question now is durability.  Will it survive on the trail?  I honestly cannot tell just from handling, so I'll have to plant something and find out.

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Okay, here's the list so far:

Davis Graveyard is a huge yard display, and is not optional--if you've never seen it, you simply must go.  This year, haunters from all over have sent in spectacular sculptures for the new spider tree.  I can't wait.  Starts October 8.

13th Door. Run by the same folks who own Glowing Greens,  13th Door is consistently fantastic.

Fright Town. I can't believe I've never been to this one.  I am going this year.

Scream at The Beach. I always end up here.  It's like a comfy pair of slippers.  Really scary slippers, with teeth and blood.

Haunted MAiZE. This is another one I can't believe I've never been to.  Hoping to get there this year.

Here are a few outside Portland.  I haven't been to any of them, but I'll hit a few this year if I can.  I especially want to visit Milburn's.

Howl'n'Feast, Molalla, OR

Terror in the Country, Warren, OR

Milburn's Haunted Manor, Hubbard, OR

Finally, this is where I'll be this weekend: The Portland Halloween Bazaar at Oaks Park.