Preparing for the overhaul...

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Post About Nothing

I've finally finalized a design I really like for the library...the first was lame and the second, as it turned out, wouldn't work in my space.  I'm hoping to post pictures soon, but since in the process of discovery I've used up a couple of key supplies...there's a delay.  On that front, actually, I've been having some very pleasant correspondence with Green Gables Dollhouse, which has been supplying the most recent part of this adventure.

I'm also trying to decide how, if at all I want to use my awesome grasscloth wallpaper.

Hopefully soon, too, I'll be ready for the big reveal as far as the living room ceiling.

Jackson was Yoda for Halloween.
On a final note, a question: does anyone have any good suggestions for "how to" books on flower and plant making?  Apparently Pepperwood Miniatures offers "how to" books of their own, which is really exciting considering the quality of their work, but they don't seem to respond to email.  I've tried several times, unsuccessfully, to contact them.  I'd really like to try my hand at plants (hello, greenhouse!) but I'm pretty inexperienced in this area.  And while there are some promising-looking kits out there, none of them are really for the plants I need.

How's everyone else?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thanks Everyone!

Thank you all, so much, for your excellent advice re: my lighting issues, and for your support in general!  I really appreciate it!  I did, finally--delaying dinner somewhat, I'm sorry to report--figure out what I was doing wrong, and it had to do, actually (as I suspected it might) with the terminal block itself.  I intend to do a post on this later on but, for now, all I have to say is wow, the Cir-Kit direction manual sucks.  The writing, and the actual diagrams, convey two different things; success came when I examined the latter while ignoring the former.  A variety of different tie-off combinations finally yielded success and, at least in my own mind, a logical explanation.

There's not a whole lot I can do, lighting-wise, until the rest of my lights come so I've moved on to some of the interior built-ins.  Tonight, I started on the library.  Jim is also doing some drawings for me, which will hopefully be readable by a laser cutter (I have a vision for the living room).

I needed a break from stone, stone and more stone, and from the exterior in general.  Tonight, Jim made me a beverage where the "secret ingredient" was my son's baby food.  He's now happily smearing it on his face (mangoes) as I write this.  Oh, for shame.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


So I'm trying round wiring for the first time.

Or not.

I'm fairly experienced with tape wire, and have never had any major problems.  However, it's not the most durable system on earth, and it can be hard to hide the tape.  So I thought I'd try round wire instead.  In theory, it doesn't seem that difficult.

However, I cannot get anything to work.

Usually, I have some idea of what I'm doing wrong.  This time, I don't.  I feel utterly defeated.  I'm not sure if it's how I'm wrapping the terminal block (a process for which there are no useful diagrams), how I'm soldering the connections (I don't think it's that), etc etc etc.  I've also realized that, alarmingly, I have no idea how to test the circuit!  Oh, for tape wire, where you just stick it in.

Any suggestions?

Copyright: My Two Cents

One of my favorite cases in law school involved the "Dead Dog" tee: the eponymous cafe's iconic "Black Dog" turned upside down.  You know, dead.  They sued, and Marblehead's own U.S. District Chief Judge Joseph Tauro dismissed the case.  Not only does he hail from my hometown, Judge Tauro (who also ruled, in 2010, that the federal ban on equal marriage was unconstitutional) has a sense of humor!  He wrote a little poem about "black dogs, dead dogs and dead hogs," using it to illustrate the legally salient point: people weren't apt to confuse "Dead Dog" with "Black Dog."  Parodies are legal.

The issue is one of intent: are you trying, in essence, to benefit from someone else's hard work?  The Black Dog Cafe became famous through its owners' hard work (and, like Marblehead's Stowaway Sweets, through some minor presidential intervention).  Admire them all you want, but you can't--legally, anyway--ride on their coattails.  Which, really, is where the legal gray area lies and the attempts to define "parody" begin.  Peter Hall wasn't trying to steal market share from the Black Dog Tavern; his tees were geared toward a different market entirely.  And as someone who lives in a tourist trap, myself, trust me: there's plenty of us who'd like some "anti-tourist" memorabilia.

But to the extent that parody is legal, outright imitation most certainly is not.  Parody is only legal to the extent that it's obviously not imitation.  Once you've ranged out of the patently absurd and into the dark forest of "if"--where you're even courting the possibility that someone could mistake your work for theirs--you're breaking the law.  Depending on what, exactly, you're doing you could be charged with a variety of civil penalties--and crimes.  If you're making use of someone else's work (or name, or reputation) for financial gain, then, depending on the facts of the case and your particular jurisdiction, it could be fraud.  And fraud, believe me, is very serious.

I was really disappointed to see that Brae, an artisan and blogger I admire greatly, is suffering from an apparently really egregious case of plagiarism.  Whoever said "imitation is the highest form of flattery" never got ripped off.  There's nothing flattering about discovering that someone's stolen your work.  It's a violation.

I've dealt with my own copyright issues; I mention one miniatures-related experience in my "FAQ" section and, recently, someone I thought was my friend sold some revealing pictures of me.  They were from my wedding album (which covered everything from "getting ready" to "finally leaving"), digital files she had access to because, at the time, I thought she'd earned my trust.  Particularly sad was the fact that the unsuspecting third party thought they were purchasing legally licensed ad copy.  Had we chosen to make more of an issue of it than we did (I was just happy to see the photographs gone), they--despite their ignorance--might have been in some trouble.

It's not cool to steal from people.  Even if nobody can prove anything, even if you skate off, scott free, into the sunset, you're still a loser.  Reputation is everything.  I'm all for forgiving and forgetting, but I saw some things in law school that changed my opinion of certain people forever.  I might get a beer with them, but I'd never risk recommending them to a potential client.

Anyway, I'm getting off my soapbox now.  As you might have guessed, the fact that I talk for a living isn't always a good thing.  But anyway, since this does touch directly on what I do all day--and, gods forbid, by way of stating the obvious this is not legal advice--I really felt like I had to say something.  I try (and fail) not to editorialize overmuch, but dishonesty is one of those things that gets me really angry.  And I can hardly complain about the fact that it happens if I don't speak out against it once in awhile, now can I?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lights! And Other Hauls!

The pink bats were, maybe, an homage to something in my subconscious.  I'm a huge Elton John fan, and he's serenaded me quite a bit during this project.  In any case, less pink bats--and a l'oeil de boeuf window that's, um, somewhat unusual--are coming.

In the meantime, some treats have arrived!  I bought several lighting fixtures; I'm still waiting on the second batch (the shop apparently had to special order it), but the first finally arrived.  That was a special order, too.  Which brings me to my first question: what's going on at Clare Bell Brass Works?  I've noticed that, recently, much of their line has been exceedingly hard to find--and what is available isn't, actually, available.  Inventory is, I'm told, really hard to come by.

At a job site earlier today.

The above picture represents the end of four years' worth of work.  Hey, it was a growth experience!  I don't know what everyone else does for work, but, sometimes, don't you just want to slam something (like your head) into a wall?  Now that this case is finally over, I should probably be nostalgic...but I'm not.  It was my First Big Case; I went in naive and stupid, and came out...naive and stupid but slightly more highly paid.

We're apparently taking publicity shots of ourselves now.  Or, at least, trying to convince our overseas relatives that we're not quite as loony as they think.  Mission impossible, right?
I like things meant for model trains.  Most of the LED's and other electrical equipment I bought are.  In particular, I'm excited from this "fire kit" from Evan's Designs.  Most of their stuff is pretty reasonably priced, so if it all turns out to suck I'm not out too much.  Unlike usual.  Then again, considering what we pay for Jackson's baby food, maybe I should stop beating myself up about it.

My haul.

High hopes!

Clare-Bell's "orient express" lamp.

This haul comes from Evan's Designs, S and P Miniatures, Swan House (thank you Greg for special ordering all of this for me!) and eBay.  I'd been searching high and low for a suitable newel post lamp (which is really more Eastlake Victorian than Gothic Revival, but who cares) and, surprisingly, there really isn't anything good.  At least, not in my price range!  I finally found this little Asian-style dolphin lamp which, once it's had a bit of a paint treatment--the "gold" color it comes in is ghastly--will, I think, fit the bill.  I'm also considering rewiring it with a (different colored) LED.  But that might be a bit over the top.

Thank you eBay, you veritable trove of delights!

These Nova-Lytes have been a bit tough to find, too; these were special ordered from Swan House (and at a really reasonable price; not everything they sell is expensive).  I'm planning on using them in a few places where I need illumination but not, necessarily, a light.  Like in the crypt.  We shall see.  Jim says he'll help me install them; he has a great deal more aptitude for wiring than I do.

Clare-Bell sconces!

I really like their shades.

And then, well, there's the increasingly bizarre family of creatures who actually live in this house.  Inspiration-wise, it's something of a hodge podge, but hey.  Aren't real houses?  As an excuse to hoard little vials of potions, etc etc etc, my resident wizard is something of a chemist.  Who, indeed, has quite the home office.

From S and P Miniatures.

"Syphilis Can Be Cured" just cracks me up.  As do the leeches.  Hey, not everyone wants a love potion.

I plan on giving this sign (which will go somewhere near the front door) a chemical wash and, hopefully, a nice patina.  Wouldn't want anything encouraging, would you?

Well naturally.

Another view of the would-be newel post lamp.

Every lawn needs an abandoned croquet set.

Who knows when I'll actually get to start installing these lights.  And as for the rest of it--it'll just all just have to wait!  A long time!  At the rate I'm going, Jackson will be taking the SAT's before this house is done.  Which is just as well, because how many more dollhouses do we really have room for?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pink Bats and the Tortures of Job

The pink bats...I'll get to that.

The tortures of Job...well, maybe that's a teeny bit of an exaggeration.  But not much.  It's been a rough week with our non-accepting family.  Rather than blather on and on about the importance of tolerance and equality, let me just say that this has also been a golden opportunity to appreciate the people in my life who really matter.

And, in the meantime, I've been taking out my aggressions on these windows!  Please, please, LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES.  I, um, am going to have to re-make some of the windows, because I ended up totally destroying them.  But, during this--process?--I at least figured out what not to do.  And I think the final result is pretty good.  It is, at least, better than my first (or fifth) attempt.

First, dude, here's what NOT to do.
  1. Don't seal your project with Krylon, if you've used Quick Grip to put it together.  It makes the seams dissolve.  Which, like, is not what's up.  I ended up having to re-glue everything with Aleen's Tacky Glue.
  2. Don't pay attention to the color of the still-wet modeling dust.  That's how you end up with pink bats.
  3. Use MUCH LESS modeling dust than you think you need.  I'd only ever used it on rather flat, uninteresting shapes, and so didn't have much of a sense of how much detail you actually lose when you put on a (slightly) thicker coat.  My first attempt at cladding the window stripped it of all its details.  Like with everything else, I guess, tons and tons of super thin coats win the day.
So anyway...

First, I decided to change my window construction up a little bit.  Instead of putting the "glass" near the front and building up depth on the interior side, I decided to do the opposite.  It made for a more dramatic and, I think, realistic effect.  So I added 1/4" of depth to the inside, using strips of basswood and, where the window curves, 1/16" balsa.  I cut it across the grain, so it bent very easily.  After gluing it in place with Quick Grip and giving it a light sand, I covered the seam with a layer of DAP.  Personally, I like the kind that starts out pink and turns white as it dries.  This stuff is perfect for miniatures, because it has a very, very fine grain--like gypsum--and sands easily.

Ready for action!

This is the window, sans (additional) carving.
The first thing I did was carve in the "seams."  I used craft knife to score the lines, then widened them with a stylus.  Richard Stacey recommends scoring the lines after cladding, but I didn't find that this worked very well.  Maybe it works better on a simpler project, or maybe my skill is just lacking, but I wasn't satisfied with the realism of the result.

As far as realism goes, once again I owe a lot to my degree in medieval history!  Back in the day, when I was at university, I was really into "getting into the moment," and living the true experience.  Which, considering my other first was sociology, led to some interesting experiments!  Heh.  Anyway, I took a number of different classes, hoping to develop a better understanding of what life was actually like in the 1100's.  I slept outdoors, pickled lemons, ate mold, etc etc etc.  I also learned to make glass, and to create stained glass panels.  And one thing I learned was that with glass--and, to a lesser extent, with stone--you can't cut a true s-curve.  This is why real stained glass panels, and the windows that contain them, are assembled from such basic shapes.  It's an important limitation to keep in mind, and one a lot of artisans working with modern materials overlook.

After creating the "seams," I attached the "carving."  This little dude is made of Sculpey, and is by far the simplest of my planned (and, in some cases, partially finished) carvings.  It really helps, too, when you plan on making the same shape over and over, to make a mold.  Or, if you're not so inclined, there are tons of interesting molds for sale on Etsy.  This particular guy is actually part of a piece of jewelry.  I think he's supposed to be Aeolus, but I'm pretending he's a greenman.  He's also available for sale as a mold on Etsy (I think from, like, three different sellers), as are various other parts of the same piece.

I glued him on with Quick Grip, and let him set.
After my first disaster, I had the bright idea of underpainting.  In actual fact, I tried a number of different things: paint over modelling dust, paint under modelling dust, paint mixed with modelling dust.  Don't try that last one; you end up with pink bats.

This was supposed to be a terra cotta tile.  Don't worry, I'll make another one.

Anyway, a trip to Michael's (stone sample in hand) yielded a color that was actually a perfect match!  Which, another piece of brilliant advice I have is this: TEST THE ACTUAL COLOR!  Dude, the actual cladding mixture looks nothing like the dust in the packet.  The dust in the packet is a pleasant sort of dove gray color; mixed with a slurry of equal parts water and PVA (I used acid free, non-toxic bookbinder's glue), it turns an interesting sort of tannish green.  Don't get me wrong, I like it, and I think it looks bananas on a haunted house...but if I were trying to recreate Cinderella's castle, I'd be fairly annoyed.

So then I started painting my window...

His face is emerging!

I clamped it flat to dry, to minimize warp--although I still ended up having to add a strengthener in the back.

Then, after the tan dried, I brought out the details in the carving and the "seams" between the "stones" with a wash of black.  I actually did a couple of washes on the greenman's face--concentrating my black in places that'd end up holding coal dust, like his mouth--to bring out the differing planes as much as possible.

And let me tell you, by the time I'd gotten to this point I was really beginning to feel like Job.  As it is I'll have to remake several windows!  For awhile, I really wondered if I was experiencing--what?  Miniatures impotence?  It seemed like everything I tried worked worse than the last!

Then, finally, after letting the paint cure overnight, I was ready to apply the actual stone.

My son's teddy bear, and some liquid courage.

I tried to go really slowly, applying very fine, thin coats of "stone."

The back, before I decided to add a strengthener.

Almost there!
I did this over a couple of nights, allowing myself ample drying time.  Apart from everything else, I wanted to get a sense of what the "stone" looked like completely dry.  A few times, with earlier windows, I thought it was dry when it wasn't.

The actual window and the earlier, failed prototype side by side.

I was pretty amazed by the difference!  The window on the right (top) was a prototype that I kept abusing.  As you can see, using multiple thin coats really does make a difference.  You can preserve much more of the detail.

So I guess all that misery was worth it?
Finally, I tested the window in place to see whether I liked it.  I'm leaving it there, for now, until it's ready to get its "glass" and be installed.  Which is good because, in the meantime, I need to figure out what's going on in the third floor bedroom!  I'm still hung up on the--what?  Oxford grate?  I'm not really sure what the levitating fireplace is supposed to be about.

The (in my opinion) more thrilling carvings are on the porch, front door, and tower window.  Which are so not ready for pictures.  But, hopefully, I'll get there soon.


Friday, October 12, 2012

I Can't Believe I Bought It

In further news, after a very, very long period of yearning, I bought myself (with my family's help) my birthday present: an 1880's-era "White Clad" ice box from Shaker Works West.  I will now retire to a darkened room to recover.  Seriously though, there's nothing else on the market even remotely like it.  I've never owned one of Dr. Byer's pieces, but I'm familiar with his work and have always admired it.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Ken Byers
Not only is this the Cadillac of ice boxes, it's the only ice box!  Bizarrely, ice boxes don't seem to be something artisans make--and as Dr. Byers correctly notes on his website, you can't really make your own because the hardware simply isn't available.  The, um, complete and utter desert of misery that is dollhouse hardware is another post altogether.  So when my beautiful new ice box arrives, I'll post pictures and write about it!

It's not for another couple of weeks, but happy birthday to me!


I really did.  My credit card will never forgive me.  Heh.

We've been having a bit of a beastly time in our neck of the woods and, I suppose, I like retail therapy as much as the next girl.  My wonderful, entirely too supportive husband encouraged me to go ahead and buy the one thing I really wanted (that can be purchased): real marble tile for the Haunted Beacon Hill.  And, well, that led to him pointing out that, really, I shouldn't compromise my vision for the house by using less-than-desired cladding materials.  You can see where this is going.  Pretty soon, I'd bought out the entire store!

I can't say that it made this morning's funeral any less wretched, but it has given me warm and fuzzy fantasies about how I'll distract myself in the upcoming weeks.  

The tile, while ludicrously expensive, is really lovely.  It's pink!  Richard Stacey's entire line, I've recently discovered, is available for sale on eBay.  I don't normally care for eBay, but for some things I'll make the sacrifice.  This is particularly good, because it's not static; you can see, in real time, what sorts of colors of marble they're offering.  I also (hey, why ruin a good thing?) bought some deeply veined gray marble for the conservatory.  I'd originally been planning on going in a completely different direction, but this project has--appropriately for a haunted house, I suppose--taken on a life of its own.

In other news, I'm coming along with the carvings, and should have something to show for myself in that department soon.  I'm really excited to write about it, and show you what I've done.  What's holding me back right now, more than anything, is the mail--waiting for things to arrive!  The time I have (I took a couple of mental health days), the materials...

Also, too, I've been pondering the interior window trim and have realized, in doing that, that having any sort of sense of what I want necessitates having an indoor design plan.  The only room about which I have absolutely no ideas--or no good ideas, I should modify--is the dining room.  Normally I'm mad for dining rooms; I don't know what it is, this time.

On a final note, my son behaved really, really well today.  Jim and I were commenting that if only he were old enough, we'd take him out for an ice cream and presents.  He put up with quite a bit--strange, looming people not the least of which--and handled himself wonderfully.  Now, of course, everyone thinks we have the perfect baby!  Which, of course, we do.

Back at home, with Teddy.
I'm still sort of struggling along with the catacombs...
I hope everyone else's week has ended on a high note.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dremeling for Fun and Leisure: A Tutorial

I love my Dremel, and since I've gotten so many really nice (and undeserved!) comments on my recent efforts I thought I'd share a few of my techniques.  Most of what I've learned--in real life as well as in mini life--has been through trial and error.  A lot of horribly deformed lumps paved the way for anything remotely resembling an actual geometric shape.  Hopefully hearing about my mistakes can save you some trouble!

The first and really most important issue, I think, is which Dremel to use.  I mentioned before, I have the 4000.  It's a little extra, but comes with some very important features that cheaper Dremels don't have.  In particular:
  1. a variable speed motor, and
  2.  a really hardcore little motor.
I find the variable speed to be indispensable.  Just like with a table saw, different applications (and types of materials) require different speeds.  I've been making the embellishments on the Haunted Beacon Hill out of basswood, because it's lightweight and easy to work with.  I also find that it's very easy to dremel on.  The temptation is to set the motor on its lowest speed and go really slowly, so you don't mess anything up.  But don't!  I've found that too-slow dremeling makes for uneven, pitted lines.  It takes a little practice, but I personally find that I get cleaner, more elegant results when I set my motor somewhere between 15 and 25.

As for materials, don't use balsa.  It's so appealingly soft, this seems like a great time-saver.  But since it is so soft, it doesn't hold its shape at all.  Which, particularly when you're trying to create 16 (or more) identical pieces is a real drag.  I've used hardwoods, too--mainly walnut--but it depends on your final goal.  There's no sense in using really nice (expensive) wood if you're just going to glue bricks down on top of it.

I've actually had Dremels burn out on me.  When I first started making miniatures, my ambitions were, in some cases, ah, bigger than my abilities--or tools.  A not-so-great motor is fine for light work, but if you're planning on spending the afternoon working with a tool, keep in mind that it--that any tool--can and will overheat.  The only question is how long of a grace period you'll get.  The better the motor, the longer you can go--and the quicker its recovery time.

So, having said all this, the real key to successful results is--I think--the design of the piece itself.  Don't create unnecessary work--and misery--for yourself!  It's like with anything else: just because the final project looks like a single piece of wood, doesn't mean it is.  Use the same principles of addition, subtraction and compounding you'd use in, say, designing a piece of wainscoting.  It's really pretty amazing, what a bunch of different little sticks can turn into.

I always start with a (usually life sized) scaled design so I know what I'm actually trying to make.  A few millimeters here or there can make a big difference!  Having a design is also really convenient, because you can turn it into a pattern.  Here, I've cut out sections of my latest window design to use as a pattern, not just for getting the angles right but for placing them on the wood itself. 

What will hopefully become the dormer windows on the Haunted Beacon Hill.
Instead of suffering along, trying to cut compound angles, I create a lot of different, separate pieces and glue them together.  An aside: use Quick Grip, or some other non-water based glue, as it won't warp your wood.  So, for example, if I want the eventual width of my arch to be 3", I'll cut two 1 1/2" strips and use them to make two mirrored pieces.  Which, well, this can get confusing so yet another reason to have a pattern.

I periodically check my pieces against the pattern and against each other.  Usually, after I create the first piece--i.e. the first concave arch half--I use that piece, itself, as a pattern, tracing its shape onto my other pieces of wood.  Then, moving forward, I always check my work against that original piece.  Otherwise, I've found, mistakes can multiply.  A millimeter here or there, over the course of, say, 16 arches, can mushroom into pieces that, by the end, look nothing alike.

I always number my pieces, so I know what's supposed to go with what.
I usually do a rough cut to remove as much bulk as I can from the angle, then finish it off with my Dremel.  I probably end up removing about 1/4" (sometimes slightly more) with my Dremel.  Particularly with some shapes, it's hard to get in close enough to the line without sawing up your piece.

Then, once I'm satisfied with the shape--and uniformity--of all my pieces, I start gluing everything together.  Carefully.  I usually keep checking my work against a ruler, to make sure the shape I want is what's actually taking form.

Sometimes, mid-project, I make a change.  That's what happened here.  Preliminaries are good, but nothing beats seeing your work in the actual flesh.  I realized, when I was looking at the window, that I wasn't happy with the height of the dormer or the allowance I'd made for trim.  The trim I'd planned on using looked great on paper but really dinky in real life.

Realizing something isn't quite right...
So what I did was--and this is another great benefit of making everything piecemeal--insert a larger cornice.  I used 1/4" cove molding on a base of 1/4" x 3/8" balsa.  The reason I used balsa is, this all is going to be covered with stone powder (specifically Richard Stacey modeling dust) later on.  When I can use lighter, cheaper materials I do.

The new, improved window.
This window is going to have two embellishments: columns, and a carving.  That's what the larger head is for--to support the carving.  But that's a ways away (the materials I need to create it haven't arrived in the mail yet and besides, I do work...sort of).  For the columns, I'm echoing the same pattern I used on the central stained glass window.  The capital and plinth are reclaimed parts from veranda posts, and the column (which is actually a pilaster, I suppose) is 1/4" half round molding.  

First, I cut the actual capitals.  Then, I figured out how long I needed the plinth to be, and where on the window it was going to attach.  Then, I cut a test piece of 1/4" half round molding to fit--and once I knew I had the right fit, I cut seven more.  I then assembled each window from the top down, attaching capital, column body, and plinth.  That way, I could be (more or less) assured of their uniformity.

Photo courtesy of Manchester Woodworks.
This isn't the greatest picture ever, but if you examine the top of the veranda post, you can see the little urn-like shape.  If you flip your computer upside down, you'll see the pilaster, too--it's the bit above the little urn-like shape.  It's just upside down right now, so it's hard to tell.  When I cut the columns in half, I only cut about halfway down (I might want the bottoms for something else, who knows, plus it's a real drag to risk your fingers like that).  This is exactly the kind of thing I love my small table saw (the MicroLux) for.

I like to think it doesn't look like a middle American porch anymore!
 The plinth extends past the foot of the window, allowing for the slope of the roof.  I tested the pieces against the roof before cutting anything.  Also, too, it's worth mentioning that I dry-fitted the sill and walls at the same time to make sure that everything was squaring off.  It's such a sinking feeling, when you realize that you've cut everything to tolerate an off angle and, as a result...nothing fits.

Finally, this is the window, in place and waiting for its carving.  So far, the house doesn't look particularly scary; I'm relying on my as yet unrealized carvings to give it the proper sense of atmosphere.  I'm excited!

Any thoughts?