Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Relic From A Past Life

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I lived in Maine for a summer. I lived in a little town called Friendship, and I worked part time in a beautiful town called Camden. I worked right on the water in a little shop that sold tote bags - I'm not sure why the need for tote bags is so humongous in Maine - it's astonishing, but it is - and I nipped over to a little place on a dock for a lobster roll and a hot cookie every day during my brief retail lunch breaks.

It was the quaintest, tiniest town, with all the things a quaint, tiny town has to offer. A small, well-curated bookstore, the smell of which I can recall instantly. The best bakery I've ever been in, with the best cake I've ever had - a Kentucky Butter cake. I've never found another one that was quite like that one. I had a post-college metabolism, so I ate metric tons of it and was still skinny.

It was also colder than a meat locker there during the summer, so that might have helped with burning all the cake and lobster calories. Why people live there, I'll never know. The poor things don't even get a summer! They get winter light! I HAD TO BUY A SWEATER. IN THE SUMMER. Ohhh - THAT is why they need so many oversized canvas tote bags. Got it.

Maine has creeped me out since we camped there when I was little. I am the youngest, so of course I was offered as tribute one night in our cabin, and slept alone downstairs in the cabin - everyone else was upstairs. I had a stuffed lobster we had bought somewhere that I slept with on this one, horrible night. I've always been a pretty light sleeper (except during a few golf matches), and I awoke in the middle of the night to see a pair of glowing eyes just inches from me. I screamed, of course and I don't remember if I got in trouble for that, but what I do know is that that furry little **** stole my lobster and ran out the creepy unlocked door into the night. Writing this, I realize how mad I still am.

It's a creepy place, and was creepy when I went back to live there. My sweet college roommate was from Maine and she wasn't creepy, and I didn't understand how such a sweet, sunny girl came out of such a cold, creepy state full of lobster stealers. Stephen King is NOT exaggerating. He's writing non-fiction, y'all.

One night, I stayed in town later than normal. It gets dark up there at like 2:30 PM every day anyway - the sun is all: "hell - if I can't get this place over 40 degrees in July, I'm out." So it was pitch dark (and I mean that - there was no man-made light for miles, which was nice, and also creepy) and all of the sudden, what I thought was the end of the world opened up above my head. Long sheets of red and green, slowly folding up in the sky like a shower curtain. Once I looked around to confirm that I had not been abducted by aliens, I realized - it was the Northern Lights.

It was a thing of wonder. It lasted my whole trip home and then slowly faded out. Everyone should see this once. Go there. It's your reward for freezing your baguettes off in July in the land of Stephen King and lobster stealers. Heck - for all I know - STEPHEN KING STOLE MY LOBSTER.

Anyway, all that to say, one day I walked into a little gift shop in Camden with things way too expensive for my part time retail budget. Beautiful fountain pens, Crane stationery, a little marble holder for a roll of stamps - heaven for my paper-loving heart. But sitting on the counter was a beautiful thing I could afford.

It was a little matchbox, covered in this beautiful hand-marbled paper. It was $3.00. Pretty exorbitant for the (redacted) year, but I had three dollars.

I bought it - and I still have it today. It's in the medicine cabinet in my guest bath, as a matter of fact. I'll put a photo below. I doubt there are many small objects that have survived my many moves and minimalist nature, but I love that little paper covered box.

For some reason, I thought of it when I got the new Staz-On pigment ink, and was playing around with it on different surfaces. I thought it would be perfect to sit up on top of Gel Press prints - I've been waiting for that perfect Gel Press ink for years - and that little box popped into my head.  I knew I had to recreate the box. So I did.

I took Gel Press prints - three of them, and stamped this background stamp all over them in Orange Peel, Peacock Feathers and Snowflake. Permanent pigment ink is perfect for standing out against those detailed prints, and of course it dries and becomes waterproof, which was important for the next step - adding a ton of sparkle to the top side with these crazy shimmery daubers - you'll see how sparkly they are in the video, and the dauber tip makes it easy to cover a lot of ground really fast. Since the ink is waterproof, it's perfectly crisp and immovable during the shimmer application. I'm in love. I sparkled only one side - so the person I give these to knows that that's the top and they can open it that side up so they don't dump their matches all over the floor :) I buy the matches in big stacks like these on Amazon.

I used some of my old book preservation techniques to make these, so I have those tips in the video below.

Here's the original inspiration, very much faded and scuffed after all these decades. It was a brilliant blue when I bought it.

I still love it though. And these boxes make great gifts if you're giving a candle, or even if you're not. Everyone needs matches.

So enjoy the video - supplies below. Loveyameanitbye.

Abstract Wave Bold Prints
[ HA | SSS ]
Tsukineko SPARKLE Sheer Shimmer Stix...
[ SSS ]
Tsukineko Stazon PEACOCK FEATHERS...
[ SSS ]
Tsukineko Stazon ORANGE PEEL Pigment...
[ SSS ]
Tsukineko Stazon SNOWFLAKE Pigment...
[ SSS ] GreenLight Diamond Strike...
[ AMZUS ] : Hammermill 102467 Copy...
[ SSS | BLIC ]
Inovart Pro-Roller Brayer
MISTI Stamping Tool
[ MSP | SSS | ELH | MFT ]
Absorber - Synthetic Cleaning Cloth
Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer...
Airtable: Organize your stamps & dies
[ ART ]


  1. I love hearing your stories, Maine sounds perfect for me, I don't like summer. These covers are so neat. Any chance you could give us a demo using Airtable? It sounds like a great app.

  2. Lydia, those turned out beautiful! I love the peacock one. The sparkle you get from the sheer Shimmer Stix is Gorgeous. Those are definitely on my list.

  3. Some days I can't decide if I like your stories or your art creations better. This is one of those days. It's all good.

  4. I love this so much - especially as a closet pyromaniac who loves matches in pretty boxes.


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