Monday, April 23, 2012

News from the Merry Old Land of OZ...

Here is the update and sample carving information from ElectricMedic.  First the actual blocks.  The little fox is the same image on PZ Kut from the last round.  They sent it back to me for comparison purposes, since I wanted to see the differing gouge mark qualities.  Baby Bugs is Sample #1 (the same material Electric carved last time with the musical rose image) and Baby Taz is the new Sample #2 (which we've all been calling OZ Kut).   The fox image is able to sit on top of a quarter with a fair amount of space left over all the way around (except, perhaps, where the rose stem is sticking out), just to give you some idea of scale.   

I printed each one side-by-side on a piece of cardstock I had sitting on my work table - nothing particularly special with respect to surface.  In fact, I think it tended to wick a little bit with my Memento Bamboo Leaves ink because the pad is fairly new and pretty juicy.  The black ink is Versafine Onyx Black.   The lines on all these carvings are beautifully fine, and amazingly even.  I can take a couple of pointers away, just looking at Electric's finished carvings.  :)

Electric's preliminary sort of stream-of-consciousness thoughts ran something like this (Medic typed as he was talking and carving -- quotes from Electric and Medic are in bold italics). 

Using the regular staedtler , works terrific. It feels easier to use the staedtler on sample #2 than sample #1. The knife cuts through the material like butter. Much easier than the first stuff. Was able to make a deeper cut without having to put a lot of force behind it. That is all the prelim as I haven't finished carving the design. To me it is a winner but I will finish and then give the final report.

Medic's comment completely cracked me up, so I just had to share it: 

I was sitting on the couch and I heard these strange noises from the man cave. Lucky I knew what was going on in there otherwise I would have been curious. I heard...WOW....OH MY...THAT'S IT....THIS IS PERFECT.....SHE HAS IT......

That just made my evening!   LOL!  Then the pertinent bits from the final report went like this: 

The new material solves the problem we had with the first pertaining to knife cuts. I was able to cut deeper and bigger chunks with the knife and pull them out and also the materiel still ripped apart like it should, no rubber band problems.
Tried to use dull gouges and all seemed to work fine. The sharp gouges made perfect straight lines like a knife. The ones that are not as sharp still cut the material half decent but if you look close you can see slightly rough edges, not as clean as if using a sharp tool.
IMHO, I recommend running sample #2 only. That will please the vast majority of PZ White carvers. Definitely easier to cut with a knife and a sharp gouge still cut like butter.

So, that's what I'm doing.  A trial run of Sample #2 (A.K.A. OZ Kut) is in the extrusion schedule for this week!  (Yikes!)  That means that by the middle of May, if not sooner, there should be a brand new material for us all to try out.  I am looking forward to seeing how the actual extrusion process effects the material - there's a good chance it will make the block even better than the lab samples - I'm hoping so!

Once again, I hope ElectricMedic will chime in here and let me know if I have missed anything they think people should know about the future OZ Kut.  And many, many thanks for your gracious help with the testing. 

Monday, April 16, 2012


Clue was one of my favorite childhood games. It had mysteries and clues and could be played by a whole bunch of people of varying ages and everyone still had a chance to win, since both luck and skill were required to be able to solve the puzzle. Besides, it was always possible you might discover you had done the nefarious deed yourself, if your favorite color playing piece represented the murderer of the moment.

I left a pretty fair clue - or perhaps it could even be called a statement over on the Stampeaz Facebook page Friday. Interestingly enough, only one person cashed in. So, I figure that either everybody has all the PZ Kut they want or they're tired of playing my silly little games. ;-) Or, maybe they were just all out having fun (or hiding in their basements from the storms) and away from their computers over the weekend. We'll see.

You see, I've been trying to make space in the Stampeaz inventory room for a big pile of OZ Kut that will be landing in fairly short order. To do that, I have to find someplace else to put things (preferably at your house! LOL!).

So, now you've been given two clues. Was it Mama Cache in Adhesives with the Glue Pad? Was it Webfoot in Embossing with the Heat Gun? Was it ElectricMedic in the Accessories with the Magnifier?

Skill and luck.... :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Flocks of Phlox

First, I want to thank everyone who came out and played in the Easter egg hunt at Stampeaz this past Sunday. It was fun to try and keep ahead of all of you and scramble the eggs. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

Wild phlox are blooming in my yard. I like to encourage the wildflowers, so I carefully mow around them. My neighbors all think I'm crazy. Okay, maybe they don't just *think* that.

The white throated sparrows usually take flight by the time the first really warm weather begins, but this year they've stuck around in spite of unusually high Spring temperatures. I loved the image of this little rascal in the dewy grass.

And the dogwoods were just so beautiful this year, I had to share another picture before they're completely gone for the year. We're expecting frost for the next couple nights, so the few flowers that stuck through the early heat wave will be gone when the cold snap passes.

In other news, the next test run of carving material is officially scheduled for the end of the month and I am very excited to say that my beta tester, Electric, thinks it's very, very close to PZ Kut, so even though it's still going to be white instead of emerald green, it's going land us in the merry old land of OZ Kut. It's been a long, long journey back, complete with flying monkeys and wicked witches (well, maybe it just felt that way at times - LOL!). The journey has also been filled with kind helpers and absolute wizards, so the road really has been golden, if somewhat rough and uneven. It looks like good things are coming soon. Now, where did I leave my ruby slippers....?

When I get the sample carvings from Electric, I will post them here, as I did last time (with his permission, of course). I would post my sample carving, but it would be a spoiler, since I'm currently using my test as an invoice image! :)

Also, thank you to those who tagged the Stampeaz Facebook page with a "Like". I appreciate your support! I'll have to think of a good way to throw a little party over there! Hee hee!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cluck Old Hen

There's an old fiddle tune called "Cluck Old Hen" that's popular among old time fiddle players in my area. I'm not sure how old my hens are (I've now spotted two different ones roaming the woods out my back window), but they do cluck softly to themselves as they look for snacks.

Yesterday, one of them had the three Jakes in hot pursuit. She was far more interested in finding bugs and seeds and things to eat than in holding court for her admirers, though. That might be part of the reason it's so difficult to get a good picture of the girls. They just don't hold still long enough. I finally got one that wasn't totally blurred by her pecking around or moving along her merry way. The boys, on the other hand, have been taking the time now and then to pose rather grandly as they swagger through the woods. After all, they have to make a good impression on the ladies.

Speaking of good impressions, the deer have been grooming to look their Spring best - and to get rid of the rest of their warm Winter coats. They are *very* curious about the turkeys. One of last year's fawns was following one of the boys around and trying to get a good sniff of the strange newcomer to the woods. And as a result, I was able to snap this next little juxtaposition, which made me laugh.

So, the hens are wandering around amidst the dogwoods, phlox and other early bloomers this year trying to decide where they want to nest and lay their precious eggs.

If you look carefully, you might find an egg hidden somewhere at, too. HappPZEaster! Oh - and Im' guessing that the Easter Hen may lay more than one and that she may not hide them all in the same place. They're tricky that way, those clucking old hens! :)

One more thing I almost forgot to mention! Stampeaz now has a Facebook page! I am not sure yet exactly how it might be used, but I expect I will come up with something! LOL!