My sister Kathi is visiting from California. Today I took her to the best attraction in Kansas City: The Steamboat Arabia Museum. OK, the Nelson Atkins is world class, the WWI Memorial is amazing, but the Steamboat Arabia is just plain a good story.
The Steamboat was traveling on the Missouri River in 1856, hit a snag (giant log) and sank. Passengers were primarily homesteading women & children going to meet husbands who had traveled ahead. The majority of the goods on board were supplies for 5 different general stores in various towns along the river.
Every passenger was saved, but all of the goods went down with the boat.
I'll skip the explanations about erosion, rivers and the Army Corp of Engineers and just tell you that the Arabia was eventually covered by soil and ended up under a field. Well, 132 years later, a man, his 2 grown sons and a family friend decided to try to figure out where it was and dig it up.
These guys are average middle class guys, but they took a wild idea and actually followed through. They studied maps and other excavations, rented equipment and learned how to use it, used fancy metal detectors to figure out where the steamboat was. They stored stuff in their own refrigerators and in water-filled holes they dug in their own backyards.
Arial view of the excavation:
What they found were boxes and boxes of goods, a huge collection of pre-Civil War housewares, tools, clothing and more. Items are still being cleaned and preserved today; they expect it to take another 10+ years.
For those of us who like the old, vintage, day-to-day materials, it's an astonishing amount of great stuff, most in surprisingly great shape.
China, stoneware, glasses, pots & pans:
Candles, mirrors, slates, eating utensils:
Boots, shoes, saddles:
Homebuilding supplies; hinges, door knobs, panes of glass (you know you want some)
...and more buttons...
Plus lots more:
Yes, that's the actual food still in the bottles.
Every single time I've been, one of the original 4 men or one of the diggers has been there to say hi, and answer questions. Every person who's ever gone with me loved it; and not one of them was the slightest bit interested in going before I forced them.
If you ever get the chance, go.
Go to their website to get a good telling of the story and lots of great pictures.
Did you know there's a name for the little something left behind in a book? They're called flyaways, and had a big impact on my art this weekend.
Flyaways can be receipts, labels, snapshots...
tickets and stamps...
postcards and pressed grasses...
mailing tags and playing cards...
bookseller labels and 4 leaf clovers...
bits of envelopes and game card instructions...
They're the handwritten recipe inserted in a cookbook and maybe even the red rose pressed inside the family bible.
Are you saving pages with take-out menus and magazine subscription cards? They'll be collectors items in a hundred years!
In a recent post, I pictured a couple gift envelopes for Beth & Karla. I promised to send another to anyone who could guess what was in the envelopes...and some of you got pretty close. You mentioned my ephemera and card obsessions, and more than one of you spotted that all of the cards pictured are styles of my favorite, Logomachy War of Words.
I love all 3 of the styles I have and I often get requests for them. Recently, Karla said she'd like to have a lifetime supply of her favorites. Well, I can't seem to get that many cards, so I've been looking for alternatives.
This week, I started to scan each one...and then I copied them to disks...
So there was just one thing in each envelope - a disk with all of the images - each of the alphabet letters cards in each of the 3 styles.
I'm cleaning up a couple scanning glitches I spotted, then I'll be creating more discs to offer in my Etsy store. I'll let you know when they're ready in case you'd like to get one of your own.
I'm a little behind on my blog posts; especially in saying a big THANK YOU to Marilyn who sent a wonderful ATC to me last week (and some cool tickets in the envelope too) Marilyn does such crisp and clean (and sparkly) art; this is such a pretty card.
I decorated a bunch of little composition notebooks this week (sorry, no pic) and did some more book cover art...
These 2 are the front and back cover of the same book, so they each measure about 5" tall and 7 1/2" wide. I am thoroughly enjoying these; the book covers are so nice and sturdy.
Can you guess what's inside? Guess correctly and I'll send you one too. There are pretty big clues in the picture, if you know the things I obsess about.
I'll try to get better pictures of Miss Frenchie's this time. Wish me luck.
I like my gluebook best. Even with all the other journals and altered books and ephemera books and art on book covers I've created this year...my gluebook is the thing I reach for.
I love to sit down with it and open it to the next page. I love how something that didn't seem to be going anywhere suddenly surprises me and falls into a special some thing.
I'm even ok with the pages that are pulling together nicely...and then just seem to stall in limbo...
Pages are falling out of the book now and a rubber band has to hold them in. And there are still about a half dozen spreads in this book left to do. Then it will be on to the next one.
In the exciting-to-me and maybe not exciting-to-you category today: my new rubber stamps.
You may know that I am stamping challenged (no really, other attendees stop and stare in every class I've ever taken). But, I really like the use of stamping as part of a layered background and I'm almost adequate at that.
I've always wanted to have my own images; they're not only more personal but I feel better about those pesky copyright and angel policy issues. Over time, I've saved some images I thought might make good rubber stamps, stickers, or collage papers. I keep folders with the original pieces of anything I've copied for my own use.
I called a nearby rubber stamp company that normally does logo and address stamps for area businesses. After their extensive patience and explanations, I submitted my images for 2 dies, and they cut the dies into rubber for me. (Thank you, Central Rubber Stamp & Seal Co. in Raytown MO)
I had stamps made from things like an 1879's handwritten letter, script from the back of one of my French holy cards, bees from an 1874 children's book and more.
You may be wondering about the cost and overall it was pricier than stamps at Hobby Lobby. I put 9 images on one 6" X 7" die and the pricing broke out really well. The 4" X 4" script only die was cost prohibitive for most images, but I know the script will get the biggest workout, and was my primary need. Paying more for that one was worth it.
Having the stamps unmounted rather than mounted was a big bonus, and I already had mounting supplies. Doing the PDF for the die saved an art charge - and I'm so proud of myself for figuring out how to do it!
I gave the company copies of copies, yet the stamped images are still detailed. If I needed a very crisp image of something for cardmaking I'd want to take the original image and have them do the art, which of course would be more.
These are perfect for my backgrounds and accents; so watch for my new stamps on a piece of art soon!