Category: "Books, films, and other media"

The Haunted Heritage in Miniaturas magazine

by brae  

I wasn't sure about writing on this subject, because it is a bittersweet thing for me.  I was surprised to find that The Haunted Heritage was published in the latest issue of Miniaturas magazine, the same publication that featured The Artist's Studio from the Undersized Urbanite contest.  It was a surprise because it had been done without my permission.

The publisher and I had discussed printing my works at the beginning of this year, and I sent in hi-res photos for Baxter Pointe Villa.  I never heard back, so I figured the house was no longer needed or wanted.  When the winners of the Undersized Urbanite contest were to be published in the magazine, I again sent in hi-res photos for publication, this time of The Artist's Studio.  I was so thrilled to have my first published feature!  :D

I never sent the publisher photos of the Heritage, so the ones in the latest magazine were taken from my blog.  The print quality isn't as good since the web photos are much smaller and intended for viewing not printing.

While I do love seeing my work in this fine magazine, it bothered me that it was handled this way.  I've spoken with the publisher and accepted the apology given.  I believe no ill will was intended, but I asked that my work not be featured in the future without express permission.

It zapped my creative energy lately, because I would have been so thrilled to have my work featured but it ended up making me feel very uncomfortable.  I told a friend that today, and he told me I shouldn't let this get to me.  I already knew he was right, but it wasn't until I said how I felt out loud that the tension and frustration started to leave me.  I'm feeling better now and am choosing to look at the bright side.  My work was published and recognized, and that's not a bad thing.

I hope to be back in full swing soon!  Cheers!  :]

I've been published!

by brae  

I just received my first ever print publication!  Miniaturas is a magazine from Spain, and unfortunately, I can't read the text.  But, it is an amazing feeling to have my work published in print.  The quality of the magazine is wonderful, and there are free printed mini projects in each edition.

The Artist's Studio won first place in the 2013 Undersized Urbanite contest hosted by Little Victorian.  Part of the prize was a year's subscription to Miniaturas and a feature in the magazine.

I had dinner with mom last night, and she promptly swiped the magazine to show around her office.  I was able to take two photos beforehand, though.  Once I have it back, I'll be able to show it around my own office.  :D

If you visit the new Undersized Urbanite contest website, you will see that next year I will be on the panel of judges.  :D  I'm excited to see the creative entries take shape!


by brae  

What's a Halloween display without a jack-o'-lantern?!  Ophelia wouldn't hear of it!

I've seen many techniques used online and in books for making hollow pumpkins from polymer clay.  Most often something is baked inside: styrofoam, foil or a glass marble.  Each of these has pros and cons.  The styrofoam just seems noxious to bake, but maybe I'm wrong.  The glass marble can cause breakage when you try to remove it, which makes me worry about all the effort to make it look good being ruined in an instant.  The foil doesn't seem the easiest to remove, but it seems the least noxious and easier than the that's the way I went.

I used Fimo ochre clay around the foil ball and then added Fimo cognac clay around the clay ball.  This way, the inside would be lighter than the outside once carved.

I added lines and texture but decided to carve my pumpkin after baking to minimize handling while the clay was pliable.  I did plan to leave one or two of the pumpkins intact just for decoration, but I made all three the same way just in case.

I used pastels to color the clay before baking to deepen the color and emphasize the sculpted lines.  Here they are after baking.

After the clay cooled, I cut the removable top, removed the foil innards and carved the pumpkin face.  None of these things proved easily done.  The clay was thicker and harder than I thought it would be.  It didn't ruin the illusion in the end, but I ended up making only this one for lack of time.

I used a grape stem for the top, an idea I saw on Joann Swanson's blog.  I used the larger main stem, though, and it was still green.  I microwaved it to dry it out, and bleh...did it ever smell bad.  Hahahaha

After gluing the stems on, I brushed on a thin coat of Sculpey satin glaze, even on the stems to seal them.  It gives them a wonderfully realistic waxy finish.  :D It also disguises the cutting and carving marks.

I drilled a hole in the bottom for the LED.

These are flickering LEDs from Evan Designs.  They attach to a 3V battery adapter with a switch and come in yellow or orange.  I bought both colors since I wasn't sure which would look better, or if I would want a combination of the two.  And, because Lyssa told me to get both.  :D  I ended up using a single orange bulb for my jack-o'-lantern.  It ended up being the better color of the two and plenty bright on its own.

I had already run the wire through the foundation so I could operate the switch in the cellar doors.  Here's the battery and switch in the cellar.

The light is on and pumpkins are in place!  Hooray!

I think this requires a movie.  ;D  I apologize for the poor quality of the video, but it's the best my camera will do. At least you get to see the flickering LED!

I will definitely use these flickering lights for the parlor fireplace, too.  That wiring will be an easier endeavor to accomplish, though.

An early Halloween gift from mom

by brae  

I had mentioned to mom that I wanted Peiwen Petitgrand's book on making clay food for Christmas.  I am sure most of you already know Peiwen's beautiful work from her blog Oiseau deNim, but if are missing out!!!  Anyway, mom bought the book and gave it to me early as a Happy Halloween present!  :D

The book is so lovely and has so many projects.  I took French for four years in high school -- a long time ago!  I've been relying heavily on Google translate to supplement the small amount of French I remember, and the photos are wonderfully instructive, so I don't think I'll have much trouble following the tutorials.

I want to make so many things, but I will start with mushrooms.  First, they are one of the simpler items to make.  Second, I need them for the Heritage lawn.  :D  I hope to show you the fungi of my labors soon!

This is a photo I took in 2007 in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  I've always liked the look of it.  Perhaps with some practice, I can make mini versions of it.

The Aero Squadron Lounge - reference material

by brae  

I like to do a fair amount of research when bringing a build to life, and The Aero Squadron Lounge was no exception.  In addition to the online research I did on the Sopwith Camel, I checked out books and watched movies on the subjects of WWI - known at the time as The Great War - and French country design.  I am by no means an expert on either, and I didn't really delve into the politics of the war, but a lot of this material helped me come up with ideas for the look and feel of the build.  For any online sources, I have linked (or will link) to them in the various relevant blog posts about the build, so they are not listed specifically here.

I promise there are posts with more pretty pictures coming soon, but I thought you might like to read about where some of the inspiration comes from.


Wings, 1927
This silent movie was a real treat to watch and I highly recommend it.  The plot surrounds two WWI pilots and the people connected to their lives.  Being that it was made in 1927, the locales, sets, planes, fashion and other details are all as close to the real thing as possible.  The accompanying score and sound effects are great, too!  Without dialogue, there is the usual demonstrative acting which is so endearing of silent film.  The subject matter is obviously grave, but there was such an innocence to the way it was portrayed without making light of it.  There was also some farcical humor, and the action scenes are amazing given the times.  Just a great movie.

Flyboys, 2006
This movie is about American volunteer pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille, and while it isn't the best or most historically accurate drama around, the settings and planes are well worth seeing.

The Red Baron, 2008
Again, not the most thrilling or in-depth movie, but the planes!  :D

Influenza 1918, 2005
This PBS documentary details the influenza outbreak in 1918-1919.  While not directly related to my build, I ran across it while searching for reference material.  What I found remarkable about it is the same as what many say, that I had never heard about it until later in my life and just how "forgotten" the pandemic seems to be.  Even in the documentary, people who survived said they wanted to forget, that it was too horrible and too inexplicable.  Medical knowledge about the flu was virtually nonexistent at the time, too.  Looking back, you can see how so many of the things people did likely increased the spread, most notably all the large public gatherings and parades going on at the time.  It's an interesting documentary to watch with interviews of the people who survived as children being the most moving part.


Diary of a WWI Pilot, 2004
This is the authentic diary of Harvey Conover, a WWI pilot.  This book is funny, moving and a real treasure.  It is so interesting, for the lack of a better word, to see the experience of it all through the eyes of someone who was there.  The tributes Mr. Conover wrote about fallen friends and the epilogue written by his daughter after the diary are wonderfully poignant.  I highly recommend this book, even if you have no interest in WWI history, simply for its thoughtfulness and emotion.  One caveat is that the daughter edited out some content that was racially charged since she knew her father to no longer hold those feelings later in life.  While I understand her reasons for not wanting to show her father in a bad light, it does a certain disservice to the authenticity of the diary. 

Sopwith Camel - King of Combat by Chaz Bowler, 1978
An excellent source for the airplane build with many great photographs not only of the planes but the pilots as well.

As an aside, I often check out books from interlibrary loan when working on a project since I might need the reference but don't necessarily want to add the books to my own library.  This one was a sight!  It came from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL and looks like it was first checked out in 1980 with a relatively consistent borrowing pattern with a few gaps here and there.  My guess is somewhere along the line it was misplaced in a window.  It's all sun bleached, water stained and frayed on the outside, but the inside is in very good condition.  :D  Poor book...but now it has been featured on the internet!

Sopwith Fighters in Action by Peter Cooksley, 1991 
This is a wonderful little paperback with loads of information on the various versions of Sopwith planes.  There was no shortage of photographs and illustrations.  This one came through interlibrary loan from the Marine Corps University Library in Quantico, VA.

Sopwith Camel Aces of World War 1 by Norman Franks, 2003
This is a great compilation of pilots and planes, including fourteen pages of color plates showing various Camel markings.

Sopwith Aircraft by Mick Davis, 1999
This book has a good sized chapter on the Camel along with a lot of photos, including some of the internal framework.

French Country Style at Home by Sébastien Siraudeau, 2010
This is a lovely collection of French country interiors - beautiful photographs and lots of inspiration.  This is where I found my inspiration for the stone fireplace.

The French Country Garden by Louisa Jones, 2000
Wonderful collection of garden photographs, including old stone cottages.

French Country Kitchens by Linda Dannenberg, 2008
I found many ideas here for hutches and general kitchen décor.

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