Mini Monday: A Wedding at Brenul Barn
Right now there is what I would call a "nerd uprising". Comicon is a Hollywood star studded event. Video games make bazillions. "Geek chic" is a thing. Every comic book character warrants a blockbuster trilogy. And the board game bars in Seattle have waitlists. And I think that is all really great. It makes me happy that Ansel and all his "nerdy" friends are having a blast in all the geeky glory (I have a totally correct theory about all this being because the tech industry is booming, and those who were the "nerds" of their childhood, grew up, learned to code, and now make lots of disposable income and have become the top of the economic and professional food chain, so are now a prime marketing target... but whatever, good for the nerds). So I went to PAX, play all the strategery board games, and buy Star Wars branded cat toys with fearless happiness, but until this year I was pretty terrified to talk about my nerdosity... scale miniatures. It's not a brand of nerd that is "in" right now, and has very little youth culture as far as I can tell. And I have heard some harsh judgement in the past, or some folks' first response has been "oh, my five year old would love that". Which they totally would, but... so do I, so I feel lame. So I did what closet D&D nerds making models in their basement would have loved to have been able to do in the nerd dark ages, I made a secret Instagram account for my minis :) And it was super fun! Until I accidentally changed some setting that sent the account to all my real life friends. oh god. Shut it down! Shut it down! I honestly had a panic attack. I didn't ever mention it, and didn't ever want to, but a few of my friends were like "So I saw your Instagram account..."
Oh here it comes, I thought.
"And it was cute. I didn't know you made those."
And that was that. Phew! So, I have carried on with my Instagram account and decided to enter a miniatures contest for funsies and to give myself a framework to continue to get better at this hobby I enjoy. Just a quiet side project to spark my creativity, and use as a practice ground for design ideas. But then this winter, those friends who I thought had been kindly bemused, but uninterested, in my "mini-gram" gave me sculpy clay, and gift cards to miniature stores, and tiny charms they thought would be fun in a scene, and sent me links to Etsy shops they hope will inspire me to open one. And my papa scoured thrifts stores for a whole collection for mini furniture. Like woah guys, the encouragement. One of my friends even said "we want you to do more of what makes you happy". Which, I thought "of course, don't we all want that for our friends?" (which actually isn't even true, I just have the best friends), but then I was blown away that they identified something that makes me happy despite me trying to hide it, and were pushing me to keep going.
Blah. must stop. the squishy feelings.
So anyways. With the encouragement of my pals on Instagram and real life, and the unsinkable enthusiasm of Ansel (he does not share my nerd shame, and so tells everyone he can think of about my projects despite my continued hesitance...) I designed, built and completed Brenul Barn for the Undersized Urbanite Contest. If you made it through my ramblings and like this mini project then, might I ask you to vote for me? Yeah, it's a voting contest. Sorry and thank you :)
PS: its a little tricky to vote, you have to click the heart in the corner of my profile square on the undersized urbanite page.
My mom grew up in a barn her parents purchased and converted into a home for their four kids, many foster children, dogs, kitties and a goat I believe. When she told me stories as a kid, and even now, it sounds kind of magical. I have always wanted to find my own barn to rehab, and still will, but in the mean time I was simply inspired to build a miniature converted barn and name it after her childhood home.
For the Undersized Urbanite Contest I have created the scene to be a barn wedding. I have visions of transforming it into a farm to table style restaurant with lots of mini vegetables and a garden patch just outside those doors. But for now, I am pretty happy with how this mini wedding reception turned out. So, with out further ado...
The Making of Brenul Barn
I have made room boxes and houses from wood before, but this was my first time designing and constructing the whole thing from scratch and I had the actually genius idea of making the walls and roof from foam core. It was amazing. The materials were not expensive, I didn't need to kill myself over getting the dremel tools to make perfectly 90 degree cuts, because I could cut with drafting triangles and a xacto knife. I knew I was going to cover the exterior with wood siding, and most of the interior with beams, so everything was beyond supported. Never going back to all wood, unless it is a very nicely crafted kit. But otherwise, foam core for the win.
Now here is Bingley looking on with disdain while I cut, distress and stain tiny pieces of wood to look like old barn beams.
Love how the wood floor and beams turned out. The floor is iron-on wood veneer (meant for the edges of shelves?) that I cut and ironed down in an irregular pattern. I distressed the beams by attacking them with my xacto knife in a very sophisticated manner.
And of course, it wouldn't be an Aflutter blog post with out a photo of my constant support/distraction team: Bingley (totally over it) and Nox (totally confused).
In case you are curious what elements I made or purchased, check below for the full resource list and links. Oh yeah and vote for me please!
- Barn (structure, beams, flooring): Hand made
- Upholstered chairs and sofa: Gift
- Side board: Gift, plus paint and cabinet pulls
- Tables and Benches: Hand made
- Wedding dress & Veil: Hand made
- Mirrors: ebay
- Lanterns: Joann Fabrics
- Vanity table: Dollar Tree, plus paint and found drawer handles
- Vanity Bench: Hand made
- Wedding Cake: Hand made
- Other pastries: Hand made
- 3-tiered tray: Michaels
- Candelabras: CJN Miniatures, plus paint
- Candles: Hand made
- Plates/forks/knives: Michaels, plus paint
- Napkins: Hand made (fabric + beads)
- Glasses: Miniatures.com
- Flower arrangements: Hand made
- Wedding signs and banners: Hand made
- Doors: Real Good Toys
- Door pulls: Joann Fabrics
- Stone blocks: Superior Miniatures
- Urns: Joann Fabrics plus paint