Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Proppy, Proppy, Punch Bowl

 Materials:  Punch Bowl and Ladle,  Artificial Fruit Slices, Clear Acrylic Sheeting, Design Master Spray Paint

 Behold the proppy, proppy punch bowl from our current production of Cabaret*!  This one surprised me, folks.  I went back and forth with my boss about what should be in this punch bowl.  The conversation went something (nothing)  like this:
Me: Jello?
Boss: Spoilage
Me: Acrylic? Resin?
Boss: Heavy and expensive.
Me: Punch?
Boss: Now you're not even trying.
Me: Well, what do you suggest, smart guy?
Boss: We used to do this trick in opera with Plexiglas and spray paint.
Boss: You got any better ideas?
Me: ..........................

And that is how the proppy, proppy punch was born.  Frankly, its success surprised us all. 

First of all, I taped a fill line around the inside of the bowl. Then, I cut a piece of acrylic to fit into the bowl at the fill line, and cut out a notch along the edge for the ladle.  Once this was done, I spray painted the inside of the bowl, and the bottom of the acrylic.  I used design master paints, Cherry Wood Tone of the berry colors. Cranberry, maybe.  I wanted it to look more like a wine punch than Hawaiian Punch, so I tried to keep the color subdued.

All that was left was to assemble the punch. I used snot tape to hold in the fake orange slices and ladle, and even to hold in the acrylic top.  I most likely could have used something more permanent to hold in the acrylic, but I wasn't sure what was a better option.  At least this way, I can disassemble and reuse the pieces when the show comes down.  A few orange slices on top completed the punch (one small slice behind the ladle hides the notch.)

 And that's it, the proppiest punch you ever did see! It sat on top of a buffet counter loaded with treats, and surrounded by beautiful people in their undies.  Did it steal the show? No. Did it do the job? Yes.

 If I were going to put a punch bowl smack down-center, this technique might not cut the mustard.  Scratches in the paint give it away, as well as the tell tale clear edge of the acrylic, (though perhaps this could be remedied with some judicious Sharpie action).  It is by no means a perfect solution, but it is light weight, simple to make, and effective from afar. 

 *(I will not title this post 'Punch and Jew-dy Show', I will not title this post 'Punch and Jew-dy Show')

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Hot Links- Menus and Food Timeline

From the LAPL menu database. Part of a menu from the Seven Homes Restaurant in Denmark, circa 1960s.
This week on the Fake-n-Bake blog, I bringing you two new phenomenal links that I have recently stumbled upon.

Los Angeles Public Library Menu Collection
The first is a database of period restaurant menus at the LA public library.  You can search for menus by Keyword, Restaurant, Cuisine, and Date. This is useful in many ways. Not only is this a gem for ephemera buffs and paper props creation, you can also us it to research food history! Wondering what was popular in New York restaurants in the 1930s? Pop onto the database and browse menus from that period. Some of the menus even have images of their restaurant decor and meal selections, what more could you ask for? Take some time and poke around, I'm sure you'll be thrilled with what you find.

Food Timeline
Reference librarian Lynne Olver has put together this database which is an invaluable tool for food craftsters. From "a la carte" to "zweiback" hundreds of articles discuss the history of food, and a timeline dating back before the beginnings of agriculture lays it all out.  Whether you need to know what Christopher Columbus was lunching on or need a recipe for popcorn balls, you'll find what you need here.

Happy Propping!

Monday, September 6, 2010

One Last Herring Cake

This cake is the last of the opera's Albert Herring food-stravaganza, and it happens to be the one that I made.  Here is the research image:

Isn't it darling? You just know that whoever baked it was wearing pearls and a crinoline!

I started by using the band saw to cut a bevel into my bead foam base, and then cut a hole into the middle of the cake.  I then sanded the edges to soften them.  Next, I mixed some color into my acrylic caulk, and frosted the cake.

Once the frosting dried, I decorated the cake using items I found in stock; some foam lemon slices that I painted orange and some little silk daisies. Ta-da!

Note: There is actually one other Herring cake, a lovely strawberry number by Keli (of the Sham ala Keli entry.) Unfortunately, I do not have photos of said cake. If I come across any, I will post them!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cakes ala David

This is another lovely foam con-caulk-tion! David Russell is our Master Craftsperson, and boy, can he fake some cakes! This one is a lemon cake based on a research photo from County Living.

David's other cake is a lovely sugared violet number. Here is the research image:
Is this not the most precious cake you've ever seen? Thanks Kids

He started out with an insulation foam base, and added little foam lady fingers around the edge. To texture the lady fingers, he coated them with Elastomeric and sand, and handed them off to the painters for that fresh-baked look.
The frosting is our good old standby, acrylic caulk.  Unfortunately, the caulk took a while to dry, and before if was cured, some curious performer left a few fingerprints in the top. No worries, though, a few judiciously placed violets solved that right quick. The resulting cake was far sweeter than this photo shows.
Lord, I need a new camera.


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