Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cardboard Cottage

I started roughing in the cottage walls this afternoon by cutting pieces of scrap cardboard to size.

I chopped and taped the flats together and worked out how the wall panels would slide apart for filming. I cut in windows, including finally building out a large bay window that I had a lot of difficulty figuring out. The standard three-sided bay is currently sitting across two of the cottage wall facets to a nice depth but I'll want to revise the wall placement as where it is flattens out the corner too much and just makes the wall look too broad. The ratio of scale between the tree and the cottage is off a bit. Fixing it should be a simple matter of moving a panel or two slightly inward. I have no idea how to construct the roof. I'm looking closely at my handy reference pictures but my challenge is how to make a comfortable roofline for the cottage without taking too much of the tree's height away in the process. The tree by rights should probably be about 15% larger but I haven't the heart to start it over. I'll work it out--and film from more flattering angles.

Having the Rana puppet stand-in has been a huge help as I could use her to gage the scale of the cottage area.

Next steps: Once the cardboard panels are in position, I can glue on Styrofoam on both sides to size and trowel on various plaster compounds.

Flubs: As the wooden dowel pegs break off with a snap as I remove the panels from the holes in the set floor... I'm replacing them with (shorter) metal rods. Taa Daa!

Friday, July 28, 2006

You Are Who?

These are examples of the sorts of constructs this character will inhabit in an infinite desert landscape.

Today's valuable collage (we understand these are not meant at all to be "artful" collages, right? Right.) is of a Halfland main character that only appears in the last act of our play. He is sage Serpent Musician, Urhu.

These references are arranged to show the endless desert scapes that will act as Urhu's set and setting in the upper right. Dunes shaped in spots like the soft contours a planet-sized female form. Mystical music softly greets our band of weary Halfland travelers as they make their way to his lone Arabian tent standing in the middle of literally nowhere. They discover Urhu seated on voluptuous carpets playing an ancient string instrument with a powerful muscular arm. The rest of his body is that of a large sinuous serpent's, like those in the middle here. His dress and ornament are indicated on the upper left.

He is wisdom, spiritual knowledge, experience. He communes with his understanding of existence as he plays his music, for no one in particular, save for those that come to him for counsel. He never speaks, as is true for all of the Halfland creatures, but he communicates everything with gesture and knowing eyes.

Urhu's turban headdress contain the Flowering Thoughts of inner joy revealed at the end of Halfland.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Touring Tarn and Yearning for Yanu


The dark haired figure on the left, in this painting detail, shows how Tarn, The Crow/Raven Woman's hair will be styled..

Above is Tarn's collage. She is black through and through, morose, depression itself, wounded and in anguish. She'll have the grace of a bird and the dark sharp gaze of a woman filled with the macabre. She will be a pale skinned woman on one side and the other a giant human-sized black feathered crow. Her face will be like a beauty's but with a nose that suggests a black crow's beak. One of her legs will have just been badly wounded by something as she arrives on her burden animal, a white hare with a tortoise shell.


This young male model has the strut, hair, chest and necklace of my Yanu. Just replace the walking stick with a giant bow and remove the jacket and shoes. I may even have him wear a sarong skirt like this, if I can't "handle" the nude male genitalia... as it were.

Yanu's collage panel shows various moth wing patterns at the top (I have several more on my wall collage as well as real specimens to work from), Wonderful images of figures in trees in the middle as Yanu will spend most, if not all, his time among the cottage tree's branches, below that, nude male figures with wings somehow incorporated into them (one taken from an ancient fresco I found while browsing around the Louvre), some clothed in Yanu style on right, carrying deer kills and bow and arrow on left.

Yanu is a young male Moth Man who travels through the forests of Halfland among the branches of the tree canopy. He is a master hunter with bow and arrow and kills without guilt. He himself eats no meat, opting instead for other insects and fungus. He laughs and delights in life. He represents the purity of male characteristics, protective, assured, free.

These are a closer look at the look and feel of Yanu's accessories, shown lower left of panel above. His leather pouch, his deer/kill, his jewelry. The necklace was something I saw on the neck of a young jewelry maker working in a bead shop in Fairhaven, Washington. I knew this kind of primitive, tribal artifact was for Yanu and she kindly took it off and allowed me to photograph it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Kreating Kyra

a photo taken from a magazine of an Arab prince diving into a palace pool. I was struck by how fin-like the shape of his feet and lower legs appeared. It let me imagine an interesting plausible blending of human and fish attributes.

This is Black Mermaid Kyra's image reference collage panel. The top shows several favorite Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood works portraying the classical depiction of White Mermaids and Sirens. I like these for the grace of the figures and fishywench details. Middle right shows real beauties in articles and ads that display the body and the confidence/attitude in question. The right shows them in beautiful dark skin tones from pitch black, espresso coffee, to alien electric blue. I think my Kyra will end up being as dark as I can make her in the richest, honeyed, warm, milk-in-coffee tone that I can. Below that are examples of the short crop tight curl hair that will be beaded with small snail shells, like a kind of sea buddha. The left middle shows ideas for underwater movement and light, or lack thereof and shot ideas for her emergence from water to land. At the bottom are enticing shorelines and other landscape/shooting notes.

Kyra is beauty, sensuality, innocent sexuality, and holds the key to our gaining entry into the realm of Halfland through her underwater doorway. Plus, I have NEVER heard of or seen a black mermaid rendered, referred to, or otherwise considered in all my reading of fairy folktales. There must be some, but it feels a startlingly original character nonetheless.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Realizing Rana

Victorian Era illustration, possibly by C.H. Bennett, an intriguing concept for Rana the Goat Woman's horn-like hair style.

I don't know how it is where you are today, I've been hearing tales of dramatic storms and power outages in New York and St. Louis, typhoons in the Philippines. Here in Los Angeles it was about the hottest I've seen. The meat thermometer that I use to gauge temps read about 100 degrees--inside the place--all day. Yep, me and Him stayed in, even though we don't have AC, listened to the rolling screams from the carnival across the street and the neighborhood backyard fiestas that samba into the night here during summer months. We walked around with frozen washcloths atop our heads all day. I even tied icepacks down my back as a low-tech cooling device. Strange clouds, strange color of light at sundown, thunderstorms, flooding, eerie, foreboding feeling in general. Might just be the extremity of the weather. How is it with you?

I did manage to make a good start to continuing collaging Halfland reference images. I completed Rana's page. It's another oversize sheet filled with pages of special books, magazine and web finds, drawings and vintage photos found along the way. These pages are vital to my realizing Halfland characters, sets and props because, even as I envision the film in my mind's eye, it is invaluable to tap into existing images that spark the recognition of what it is in me.

The top section of Rana's page (snapped above) shows the sensibility of the character in her cottage set, domestic, wise, content, earthy. On the right are pictures denoting her manner of dress, costuming and horn/hairstyle possibilities. The middle shows other Satyrs and similar Chimera-like creatures ( as well as real goats with boatloads of natural personality. Bottom left references quadruped hind legs and on the right hoof details.

I thought I'd feature this image from it. It is an interesting, older, wise, robust, woman that alone would be enough of a guide for me to follow to nail the Rana character.

Everyone take good care...

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Better than Morphine/Mayhem/Moaning or Soda/Sofa/Screaming

I made this entry a few days ago, just in case. I was doing fine until a little while ago and now see that I can't even paste pictures down today. I don't want any chocolate now, nor anything else and I feel enough pain to moan. I should be ok by tomorrow, where I plan to pick up the gluing pix for characters Tarn, the Raven/Crow Woman and Yanu, the Moth Man/Hunter. Gooooood stuff.

All the best to you and yours, cheers, bye.

Also, A big welcome to my new readers from New Zealand, Estonia, new in US: Missouri, North Dakota, Alabama and Central America.

Inked Hollywood Deal (sort of)

So far today I've made actual contact with the stock "needledrop" music company, Megatrax/Play ( and spoke with a schnazzily nice Andrew D. Robbins, Director of their Film/TV Division, who probably found in me his smallest teensiest potato yet.

I told him my plan for Halfland distribution, one intimate art gallery installation and perhaps a currently non-existent Internet site posting/airing and he quoted me a low as he could go fee for each short. The good news is that I won't have to pay until we see what's used in the final edit.

Contracts will be e-flying shortly after which access to their extensive library will be provided to me so I can begin adding the files to the clips as I go along creating (or visa versa.)

I'm positive that this is the music I want for the film, at least for Rana's parts of it {}, even though it is a danger that it's been used commercially and could be again. When you know it, you know it, right?

And now back to work...

Monday, July 17, 2006


The rice cakes caught fire in the toaster (remember, it's California) during breakfast prep this morning. I had rehearsed for such a moment and automatically pulled the pin on the extinguisher kept in the kitchen named, Lil' Squirt, for just such an occurrence.

He sure did his job as the two foot flames were smothered out immediately. We have been very grateful all day that it didn't turn into to something dire here. If we hadn't noticed the fire while it was small, many other items would have also surely ignited. That's what happens to many families every year. Kitchen fires are a leading cause of home fires in the United States with often devastating results. So please make certain that you have working extinguishers in various places throughout your home too today. Name them, make it fun as well as vitally important.

We keep "Big Burtha" by the bed for night fires, we'll get a replacement "Lil' Squirt" for the kitchen FOR SURE!!, and I have "Guardian" strapped to the Halfland set where I'll be ready should something happen with the hot glue gun or other equipment. Get one for your home and shop and maybe even car and be ready to use it--- without trying to read while the sight of flames makes you lose your ability to comprehend English, which is what happened to me once several years ago. Believe me, stopping to read the instructions during a fire? Total panic.

The rest of the day has been spent cleaning up the super fine toxic dust the dry chemical extinguisher left behind in its brief yet effective two second blast. There was plenty of smoke throughout the large home and a dusting of mica, etc. over a 400 square foot radius around the toastal arena.

Please Practice the following in your mind...


Pull the Pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to discharge the extinguisher.

Aim at the base of the fire not the flames. This is important - in order to put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel.

Squeeze the lever slowly.This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher. If the handle is released, the discharge will stop.

Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out. Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Be sure to read the instructions on your fire extinguisher - different fire extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances. Remember: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!!!!

Find out more from this excellent flash site:

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Gracious compliments all around and another major parental unit mission accomplished.

I'm still doing dishes but thought I'd take a break and take you off tenterhooks about how the evening went. Kidding. We had a big day with lots of stops but Len and Pearl lasted well. They really "got" our eccentric place, they are amazingly sharp and modern for people of their ages. Dessert was a total flop, as most of people there were on special non-sugar, non-dairy, non-wheat eating detox diets (Hey, this IS California remember) and I completely forgot to ask that question. We managed. Anyone want the extra lemon shortbread cookies from the Greek bakery? Otherwise they're going in--my mouth!!!

And a big hello and welcome to additional exotics visiting this page from* Italy, Netherlands, Nor Cal USA, San Francisco, Phoneix, Buenos Aires, and Singapore (*If I'm reading the maps properly) I have had to bookmark a world atlas and try to locate the red marks on my daily cluster map as if I've never looked at a globe before. Kewl. Ale, you are not alone.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ballbusting Balebuste-hood (Yiddish expression, Ballaboosta: excellent homemaker)

Sweet and sour soup with lemon grass and fresh ginger
Grilled butterfly schrimps (yes, they eat shellfish) with spicy cocktail sauce

Main course
Rack of lamb with dijon-mint sauce
Tenderloin of lamb with lemon-yogurt sauce
Grilled mushrooms served on bed of sauteed greens with bruschetta olives/fire-roasted red peppers
Roasted yellow mini potatoes tossed with tarragon, sea salt/olive oil
Fresh herbal green salad with crumbled goat cheese

Lemon bundt cake sprinkled with orange blossom extract
and filled with a scoop each of lemon curd mascarpone cream and lemon sorbet

I've been (and still am) cooking in the kitchen, pre-preparing for dinner tomorrow for seven at seven. But I wanted to let you know that in Halfland I did try applying the joint compound directly onto the Styrofoam last night (at 3 am =:/). It adhered well but the foam slice I was using was too thin. So this morning I glued two pieces together and left them weighted to dry while I ran errands all day. On the previous test panel, I didn't care for how hard it was to fill the mesh of the hardware cloth, even after three coatings I can still make out the mesh square texture. But I did like the heft and sturdy, rugged feel the triple decker cardboard/foam/wire sammich gave.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to give up going to OSH.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

World Domination

I just signed up for a Cluster Map ( on this site a couple days ago and just checked in on it on a lark and whoa--while the number is relatively "Select" shall we say--I'm dusted that there are visitors here from Japan?! and (I have to look at a map) Norway?! and deep in the heart of Texas?! and way up in frigid British Columbia (again guessing without geographical knowledge or map)

I can recognize a certain Argentinean friend, alone on the entire continent of South America (Hi, Ale!) but who are you nearly next to Mike in the sweet creamy middle of the U.S.?!! Who are you CLEARLY insightful people!!?

UPDATE: Duh. Firstly Norway is the UK (I know a few fine blokes there), and duh, Texas is Mexico!! (that's truer than I realized, hello/hola!) Then British Columbia is Washington State? and then my Louisiana people aren't where I thought, they're in Tennessee or Georgia? (where's my Uber?) There are people standing right next to Mike in either Kansas or Nebraska? and the Michigan, Rhode Island, or New Jersey folks are candy surprises! (and, just in case, when I said I HATED the talented people who attend RISD [Rhode Island School of Design] in someone's blog comments recently, I, ah, meant that I'm jealous you got to know the secrets of creating innovative art that they teach you there for $80,000/semester.)

The world is listening.

After An Impression

artist Roderick MacIver

Thank you all for the nice comments on yesterday's art improvisation.

I'm deep into hauswork responsibilities so far today, preparing for an in-law dinner party, and thinking today's Halfland moment will have to settle for trying a wall panel without the cardboard and hardware cloth, just direct plaster to foam to see how that works. I'll report on how that goes later tonight. Oh boy.

In the meantime, to compensate for the wimpy art action here...

Himself sent me the interesting thoughts below that he received today from Heron Dance, an art and creativity newsletter. If we transpose the ideas from traditional painting onto animation art, the important points still stand. See what you think.

"It's all to easy to get carried away by one's own skill and forget about the picture itself. There are legions of painters who are just too talented to paint good pictures. Being able to do something is never an adequate reason for doing it."

--Gerhard Richter from The Daily Practice of Painting

"I knew men who were students at the Academie Julian in Paris, where I studied in 1888, thirteen years ago. I visited the Academie this year (1901) and found some of the same students still there, repeating the same exercises, and doing work nearly as good as they did thirteen years ago."

--Robert Henri from The Art Spirit

"A comment by an expert in art fraud has been on my mind a lot lately. I heard it on an NPR radio show, Studio 360. He is an ex-curator at a major national art museum‚ at the Whitney, I think‚ and now he rents his time out to other museums concerned that they might be exhibiting forged copies.

The comment that has been so much on my mind is that a crucial indication of a forgery is that forgeries are usually much more carefully painted, and much more technically advanced, than the original masterpiece. The forger was a good student. The original artist was after an impression, a spirit, an idea. The forger took pains over his work. The artist painted with a relaxed confidence.

Rodin created wonderful, erotic watercolors, but they were dismissed by prominent artists of the day as amateurish. The paintings communicated his love of the subject and have a wonderful freedom, but they are rough and quick, bold and beautiful."

--Roderick MacIver from Heron Dance;

Shadow Play

art by Hal Flander

A bit of shadow play with the photo/idea captured last night. Not a logo, nor a final poster concept, just an exercise for my own amusement.

Things look hopeful for some Actual Action© in the shop tomorrow.

How are your projects going?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bad Ass Work

Late night, peering into my workshop from the house side of things, I noticed a marvelous shadow cast from the Halfland tree set onto the translucent paper panels hung as partitions, blue light shone and shown underneath is from our good friend, computer.

As I thought, it was to be just a brief Halfland moment today.

All I was able to do on Halfland progress was to slather the other side of the test wall panel with a different brand of pre-mixed joint compound that I'd bought ages ago for the purpose. I think I'll be happy with the cottage wall look after the whole thing gets a second or third coat of plaster and then color washed.


Sorry for such dull news when such possible excitement is held at bay behind the wafer thin veneer of the often frustrating time/space continuum.

My hands want to sculpt characters badly (well, that came out sounding wrong) I want to sculpt and build and detail and film and edit so badly. hee.

Maybe one day I'll get my chance. To be bad, (I'm cracking myself up over here) Bad Ass Animation that is!. Yup.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Two sweet Brits, our honored guests from the UK. As you may derive from this portrait, taken at their luxury hotel yesterday, Len has a cheeky sense of humor and uses it to memorable effect.

These are Himself's parents, Len and Pearl. Pearl suffers from every possible physical calamity conceivable, all at once, as the way of her life. She suffers greatly. And Len, utterly blind now, used to work in India in the 1940's while it was still ruled under the English Empire. You would never pick up that Len can't see. He walks forward with great deliberateness and doesn't miss a trick. He sees more with next-to-no vision than I do with two working orbital apparati. It falls to Len to care for Pearl at home normally, which I can say first hand now, is more than tiring.

Between making sure they have the right accommodations, food for three meals a day, plenty of water and treats, difficult medicines ongoingly administered correctly, fitting entertainment lined up, and many other necessities for them, I haven't had a moment at home to work or progress Halfland. I hadn't anticipated this part of their visit being so consuming but I am so pleased that I can contribute to them having a holiday to remember and to give Len a bit of a break from the rigors of caring for his bride of 57 years.

Thank you for your patience. I expect to have a Halfland moment this Tuesday.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Easy Going

A stranger's photo of the drive down I-15, through the sweltering and foreboding Mojave desert.

Thank you all for your prayers of intercession--they worked!

We had NO troubles with the trip other than the stress of worrying about it. No traffic either direction. Everyone who left, returned, despite my apprehensions. My animals were well cared for. I'm sure my personal drama over it sounds absolutely absurd to anyone who goes anywhere easily but I rarely leave home for a reason. Now you know, if one hadn't already gathered, I'm not an easy going person when it comes to going. I don't take vacations, honeymoons, or pleasure trips. If I go anywhere it must be extraordinarily on purpose, meaning that doing so accomplishes something I think is highly worthwhile. It's never just for getting away--from what?! Everything I've always wanted right here?!! No thanks. So...well, thank you for the good vibes and peaches sent my way, they really helped.

I will concede that the broadened experience of travel always provides the traveler with new points of view. And this jaunt was no exception. I gleaned valuable insight about life and what matters to me about it. Not bad, considering nekkid lady tushies were raised in the air and cosmetic surgeon handiwork was out on display everywhere one looked along with hugely huge Americans rolling in to eat gynormous portions of thematically presented foodstuffs again and again. There were far far more buildings and people than ever before and the surrounding view was littered with multiple heavy construction cranes making still more places for still more crowds. The strip will be arriving at your door before we know it.

Halfland Notes:

When we drove through the ancient former ocean floor of the Mojave, I noticed that the mountains looked as though sand had been poured over them. That gave me the idea that set mountain landscapes must have a geological origin in mind when built so that foothills don't just jut out from the ground without a natural logic.

With nothing else to do, I spent some time feeding little sparrows by the pool and got a good tutorial on the mannerisms and movements of small birds in preparation for animating the Birds in Hats sequences.

I noticed how tortoise sit on rocks in the sun, sometimes on top of each other's backs and will have to see whether that little touch can embellish the Timefrog and Torhare action.

Plus some little notions for additional cottage props.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Amped Allegory


I forgot many things. One of which was my camera which is too bad because the photo ops won't quit. I will attempt to describe some of the relevant scene and sights when I return tomorrow.

But in the meantime I can put it this way, the first day we arrived I reacted with what must have been a full on panic attack. I ran out of the hotel in a kind of shock, talking out loud to myself, and trying to grasp onto a method to leave this place with more desperation than I ever recall having. Having traveled here five hours through the extreme heat of alien landscape through the vast Mojave desert, arriving to 100,000's of people crowding the bladerunner like street scenes, I felt trapped in a way I hadn't before. Trapped by the environment. Trapped by the location as I would parish trying to walk out. Trapped even in my own body. In short, I fully freaked.

I am normally terrified to fly, but actually would have been happy to ride in the talons of a Teradactyl by my delicates that day.

I talked myself down, got over it through some pretty radical new insights about what it means to be alive. I found my new motto to be, "How one deals with Vegas is how one deals with life", because Vegas is an amped up version of the world, from one point of view. I found that going through both, looking for small graces, does the trick very well.

See you soon.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Pray for Me

The time has come, my good friends, for me to step away from the computer for the next 6 days. I plan (and will be counting the seconds) to return Friday July 7.

I'll be in, gulp, Las Vegas. Not my place in any way. Not relishing driving in traffic in 118 degree bleak desert heat with infirm diabetic and blind, sweet but bickersome, and inexplicably Vegas loving, elderly for 5 days. But hey, there's the fact that the trip has landed along WITH my middleschmurtz, so there's that! Weeeeeeeeee. Pray for me, if you're of a mind to.

Take good care, and I look forward to seeing what you've been up to creating during this, hopefully brief, absence.

What'll I be doing?... Trying my best to have a good attitude.

Cheers! Shelley

Pat Thomas: She's Mighty Mighty

Photo copyright Pat and Noel Thomas
Found it! Like Sven ( said, asking the question begins the answer (condensed concept). Last night I wondered aloud here how to integrate my new plaster cottage walls with its wooden door. Whilst strolling through my favorite miniature building artist's site today I found THE PERFECT reference image I'll use to create my little house.

The site is Noel and Pat Thomas' (
And If one can use their artist's eye to see past the less-than-worthy quality of photos of the Thomas' works posted there, they'll find Master Work on display, along with some pretty enlightening descriptions of their techniques. They've written dozens of print articles, possibly still available through magazine back issue. ( on everything from the importance of scale for miniature roofing shingles and how to age them to remarkable realism to making clever faux bird droppings, in case you don't have natural access to any. Hope you'll enjoy a nice scroll stroll through there.

Below is a shot from one of their classes Works of the Imagination: Ruin--Italian Garden Gate and a little tip tutorial from them on their method of making such realistic model bricks.

Fimo Brick

© 2002 by Pat and Noel Thomas

When I started, I wanted to use brick colored Fimo, but, because I couldn't find any, I used a combination of Rosewood (3/4 of a pkg.), Red (less than 1/8 pkg.) and Terra Cotta (1/2 pkg.), with good results. I think experimenting with assorted colors works well because you can imitate the natural variations in brick colors. Not all full-size bricks were made from the same mud, nor were they all baked at the same heat, nor for the same length of time. You can even mix bricks from different color batches. Experiment!

In this case, experimentation allows you to use a lot of household appliances for crafts you'd never have been allowed to use as a child. You will need a blender or food processor, a pasta machine, a sheet of glass, a bottle, an Exacto knife, a T square, and an oven. To save money on a large batch of bricks, try to buy Fimo in large blocks. If your miniature shop doesn't carry them, try large craft suppliers, or bead and jewelry supply shops.

1. Cut Fimo into pieces and shred in blender or food processor until the pieces are tiny, making it easier to combine colors.

2. Work clay bits back together with your hands into a lump, and flatten. Using a glass bottle for a rolling pin, roll out balls into sheets about 1/4" thick.

3. Blending and rolling: Feed each sheet through pasta machine rollers. Fold, and repeat 3-4 times, working the clay down to the thinnest setting on the machine, repeating until the colors are completely blended. At first the colors will marbleize, but eventually they will blend to one color. You made need to feed the sheets once through the spaghetti cutter to get them to mix. If you are using only one color of Fimo, you'll only have to roll it out until the texture is smooth. Finally, fold the blended sheets together and feed through the thickest setting on the pasta machine, until you have a smooth, blended slab (or slabs) of clay, about 3/32"-1/8" thick.

4. Lay slab on glass, and with the Exacto knife, score the brick shapes (approx. 5/8" X 1/4") into the clay. Don't cut all the way through the clay. Texture surface to look like brick (I used a nail brush, pressed randomly over the surface, but, for more realism, you might try brushes with different sized bristles, so the marks vary in size).

5. Bake bricks on the sheet of glass for 30. min. in a 250 degree oven.

6. When cool, break slab into bricks on scored lines. The bricks can now be "cracked," or "broken," dented, edges softened, and other imperfections added with the Exacto knife. Glue down with Elmer's white glue. Age the color by painting with Raw Umber tube acrylics, thinned with a little water, and/or experiment with olive greens, ochres and other earth-tones for more variation. Grout, smoothing some of the grout out with a damp sponge, so the grout is not quite up to the level of the bricks.

It's Like Watching Paint Dry...

...Only less colorful.

This what what I would most like the cottage to resemble, its plaster surface and realistic detail.

The Wall Report: So it's not as heavy as I thought it might be with 32 ozs. of compound slathered on there for a basecoat. It seems to be highly successful wallosity where sufficient amounts were applied. I'm thinking that I might want to use something cheaper as a first coat and use Flex-all as the coup de grace. Or risk spending about $100 worth on wall sludge. The thing is, I used the last bit in the tub on one of the tree branches to see what it would do and I have to say, woo. It seems an ideal last layer of construct before painting as it adhered flawlessly, increased toughness of the finer twigs, and yet remains elastic enough to flex without breakage. Much better than the plaster, matte medium, and acrylic paint concoctive I made to coat the papier mache 3 years ago.

It's definitely not a soggy wall now that it's dry. The shape is completely rigid. It's been wicked hot here these days and hopefully any moisture in the paper cardstock underment will be well dried. "No mold in Halfland!"

Issues: Ma' wooden peg broke when I took out the panel to look more closely at it. Hmm, drill out the hole and replace the wood with a externally-threaded, hardened steel dowel pin?

(From the basics of design engineering: A "stud" is an externally threaded headless fastener. One end usually mates with a tapped component and the other with a standard nut.) *Sounds more like a description of many of the relationships in LA! heh.

Next Step: Try out different compounds on other wall panels. I'll have the walls done before I know it.

Next challenge: How to add a wooden threshold to the panels on either side of the wooden cottage door? I plan to Google some images of country peasant cottage doors to get an idea.
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