Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stuff I Love: Travel Photography

There are so many places in the world I would love to see and have yet to travel to, but quite a few people have captured them already in perfect images, the kind that trigger a daydream when you see them, here are a collected few, all available for sale on my favorite shopping site, Etsy, of course.

Paris is a feeling
Paris is my number one destination city I have not yet been to, and this photograph from Irene Suchocki captures it as I've always imaged, dreamlike and serene.  By looking at it, one feels all the romance and mystery the city could hold.

Copenhagen Street
Copenhagen is the number one travel destination I have been to and would to back to in an instant.  Every street of this city is as beautiful as this one taken by LaFayette Photography, even the crowded squares, the parks, the castles.  I fell in love with the city while I was there and it will always be a part of me, until the day I return and am a part of it, again.

Literary Walk, Central Park
Would you believe I've never been to New York?  I suppose the city should be first on my list to travel to, as it's the most easily accessible.  Here, Tim Schultz Photo has managed to capture the softer side of a city all too often thought of as harsh. 

Buon Giorno Venice
Truly a city of fairytales, this Venice photograph from Serantoni Designs captures a bright spot in the city of water. The picture is so soft and subdued, the reflections so deliberate and colorful, it appears to almost be an Impressionist painting.

London Silhouette
If you're going to go half a world away, why not go somewhere the language is the same?  This skyline of London has been beautifull captured by TCapone Photo, showing us in silhouette all the majestic architecture of the classically beloved city.

Where would you go and what memory would you want to capture on film?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Spotlight On: Kim Ulrick of Moolric

Kim Ulrick of Moolric is a photographer and April's Army member who I met through the super-secret Regretsy chat room  whose breath-taking macro photography of nature ensured that I bug her until she agreed to answer my questions.  An Australian, born and raised, Kim studied graphic design at university and decided on a career in web design.  She went back for a few years to study photography, fell in love and now presents us with her passion (which she thankfully has the talent to back up) in her Etsy shop.

Paperbark Blossom 8 x 12 photograph

Tell us three other things about yourself.
I'm a scuba diver - certified to rescue diver.
I love my pets; I have two cats and a dog.
I play a lot of video games - especially WoW.

Tell us about how you first got into photography.
 I did it in high school. I got my first SLR at 17 and had a darkroom set up in the laundry. I did it a bit more during my design degree, but i didn't really get into it until I got a digital camera.  I started posting on fotolog  and for a long time I managed to post every single day. Knowing that people were actually looking at my photos, and liked them, made a huge difference.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
I really like the wedding album i made for my brother and his wife. It was a big project, but having a physical book at the end that i had designed was so much better than a pile of photos. I've always thought that combining photos well, will make them greater than the sum of their parts.

Pounce 8 x 12 Photograph

From where do you take inspiration?
I do a lot of nature macro photos. I love looking for the little details that most people walk past. So I guess I get inspired by the weird and wonderful in nature - the bits that aren't as obvious as sunsets.

Name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?
Do you count documentaries as art? I wish I'd had anything to do with making The Blue Planet. It really showcases how beautiful the world is and how different things are underwater.

I have to count documentaries.  My husband is a filmmaker so I know the art that goes into it. Aside from watching the Discovery Channel, what are you doing when you’re not crafting?
Well, video games as I said before. But now that summer is coming up I'll be spending a lot more time at the beach.

I'm jealous of your summer beginning as ours comes to a close. If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?
I have tried a lot of different crafts. Pretty much anything that sounds fun - embroidery and sewing toys have been the big ones lately. It's rare that anything holds my attention for long though, the way
photography has. If I did do something else it would need to be something that was a large part digital.

Misty Day 8 x 12 Photograph

I appreciate people who have a capacity for digital art.  It's never been something that's come out weel for me.  Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.  
I bought a lomo camera to help me do 'messier' photos. I'm really bad at faking messy in my photos and design, so letting it happen naturally in the camera seemed like a good idea. But when I got the
first roll of film printed. the photos were so terrible. Underexposed and blah. But a couple of months later I found the bag and had a look at the scans I'd had done, did a bit of post-processing in photoshop
and I was amazed at the difference it made.

Who is one person living or dead, famous or not, who you wish owned one of your creations and why?
I honestly can't think of anyone. I don't really care too much about my photos being owned by individuals. I would much prefer to see my photos in a book or magazine and owned/seen by a million people instead.

I like the way you think. How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?
"I take photos." I think photography is self-explanatory to even a small child. And
kids get their photos taken so much now, I think they all understand
what a camera does in essence. Unless you use a film camera. Then they
get confused when their picture doesn't show up on the back.

There is a lot that is involved in taking a great picture.  What’s your favorite part of the process?
Going for walks looking for bugs and flowers to shoot. I become hyper-aware of my surroundings. Though the times I've done aerial photography have been pretty awesome too.

Alien World 8 x 12 Photograph

One random thing you think people should know.
The animals in Australia won't actually try to kill you if you come visit.

Your shop address/facebook/Twitter/blog/website. Etc.
Shop at
Website at and also at
Flickr at

And one final question. If you could go anywhere on Earth at any point in time, where and when
would you go and why?
Assuming I could get home again safely, I'd want to go to the
Cretaceous period and see some dinosaurs.

My husband would be inclined to agree with you.  As Kim's a Regretsy member, I'm going to take this time to let you guys know the April's Army Charity store opens tomorrow, August 30th, so check it out.  This month we're helping pay a girl's tuition to beauty school.  Please make a note and go by tomorrow and at least share the links and love. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stuff I Love: Telling Tiny Stories

Guess you should have seen it coming, eh?

I never really had a 'real' dollhouse as a kid, not even a Barbie Dreamhouse.  I remember lusting after every dollhouse I'd see and often buil them out of things I had lying around: small furniture and cushions and other toys.  Even now, when I go the craft store and see those boxes of dollhouses to assemble, miniature Victorians and Queen Annes and Cape Cods galore, I still want them but am (a) too poor to afford them and (b) know I have nowhere to put one.  Perhaps the reason I always hope we'll have a little girl one day is so I have a genuine excuse to get one.    Here are a few (and their accessories) I'd consider.

Ravenwing Cottage Witch's Dollhouse
I know this is called a witch's dollhouse, but if I were the little girl playing with it, it would be one of those stories about an orphan who goes to live with some distant aunt or gets adopted by some old lady (very L. M. Montgomery) only to find her true home.

Modern Dollhouse Ikea-style bookcase
A bookcase that looks like something out of an IKEA catalog, right next to what appears to be an Eames chair.  This tells me I'm not the only adult out there with a desire to decorate in miniature.  With doll furniture like this and the dollhouse to match (probably one of the ones I posted yesterday), you could actually display it in the open and just tell your friend your an architecture and design fanatic (then bring out the actual dolls when everyone goes home)!

Tudor Lady Porcelain Doll
This gorgeous creation makes me wish I had a doll castle and a doll king.  I'd name her Anne for the queen she closely resembles, but I would make the story end up happily, without any sorts of beheading or divorces.  Then again, there was always drama amongst the dolls when I was little....

Decorative Interior House
This house isn't so much a dollhouse, as a yardhouse, meant to sit in the yard and be a place for faeries to live.  But then, I don't think you really need to be able to stick dolls in it to use it for what dollhouses have been assissting in for so many years: the art of storytelling.  This one, with it's vintage looks and ability to light up a night outside, would be the inspiration for a lot of stories.   And, as I said, just because we can't get in, doesn't mean the faeries can't.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Spotlight On: Amelia Schmelzer of the Frippery Factory.

This week, I think I'll let this one introduce herself.
Hiya! My name's Amelia Schmelzer, and I'm the wee lass behind the Frippery Factory, which I run with the assistance of my lovely mother, Mary. The Frippery Factory started in June 2010 as a place for Mama to sell her absolutely fantastic greeting cards; I just tossed up a few of my own creations. It turns out that it's a lot harder to sell greeting cards than miniature deviled eggs, and the Frippery Factory became a miniatures-only zone for nearly a year. It wasn't until recently that Mama reintroduced some of her creations: Pantone-covered composition notebooks in custom colors that the good ol' FF became a multi-media hangout again.

Miniature Pumpkins

Tell us three other things about yourself.
I'm 16 years old, I'm quite partial to a bad pun, and I hate corn dogs.

What’s your medium and how did you get into it?
Polymer clay is what I spend most of my time. Poly clay is a soft, Play Doh-like material that bakes into a durable plastic in the oven. I don't remember exactly what got me into polymer clay, but I started fiddling with it around my 9th birthday. You should have seen some of my first creations; they look like something you'd scoop out of a litter box.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
The baked Alaska. I don't even know if I like baked Alaska in real life, but it turned out really nicely in miniature. It's the chopped chocolate, I think. Everyone loves chopped chocolate. Even when it's plastic.

From where do you take inspiration?
Our stash of retro cookbooks (and, yes, that includes The Joys of Jello) as well as old magazines and catalogs. Mom and I love to scour flea markets and antique shops for "scary vintage" as well as the stuff that's just plain cool.

Deviled Eggs for Six Dollhouse Food

Name one piece of art you wish you’d created and why?
Whoever created the EasyBake oven is a genius. They basically made my childhood. Did you know that the Easy Bake oven cooks things using a lightbulb? No wonder that cake took an hour and a half to bake.

What are you doing when you’re not crafting?
Well, since I'm still a veritable youngster, a lot of my life involves school and trying to find more money. In my free time, I really do love to read, and cook (and eat), and spend time outside. I'm a pretty dangerous badminton opponent, and my brothers and I are really into archery.

If you had to give up your medium and pursue another, what would it be and why?
I think I would have a gas making bath and body products. My signature scent would probably end up being something snarky like "Campgrounds".

Tell us about a time you were making something that came out better than expected and how it happened.
Well, my expectations were pretty low. I had just wrecked three or four pieces in the final detailing parts, like when I brush on chalk for a toasty look or cut a slice of cake out. I was pretty crabby and in a particularly stubborn mood, so I just kept making things until, lo and behold, tiny tater tots came into existence.

Dollhouse Food Tater Tots

Who is one person living or dead, famous or not, who you wish owned one of your creations and why?  Hmmm...probably Julia Child. She seemed like the type who would like wearing noodles on her noodle. And she could cook me something in return for free earrings.

How would you explain how to do what you do to an eight year old?
"I make tiny food to feed leprechauns. Yes, they like eating plastic. No, you can't chew on it."

What’s your favorite part of the process?
Putting the shiny glaze on stuff, when I put shiny glaze on stuff. All the colors come to life and it actually looks like it could feed a small drove of fairies after a day at the beach.

One random thing you think people should know.
Jello and mayonnaise is the most delicious combination ever invented. Seriously.

Your shop address/facebook/Twitter/blog/website. Etc.
Newsletter subscriptions:

What did you want to be when you were ten?
A hobbit, a racehorse jockey, or an Irish folk dancer. I kept my options open.