Archive for December, 2010

The Secret of Kells (2009)

This is the story of a young boy named Brendan who lives with him uncle who is the head of the monastery, Kells. They are living in a time where invaders are pillaging and killing small villages and Brendan’s uncle is obsessed with building a wall he thinks will keep them out. He has forbidden Brendan from ever travelling outside of the walls. Then another monk, brother Aiden, comes to Kells and he is the holder of a book that has the most amazing illuminations in it. The book is supposed to change with life of anyone who reads it, but it isn’t finished yet. Brendan’s uncle has also forbade Brendan and the other monks from doing any illumination because he wanted everyone to be as consumed with the building of the wall as he was. When brother Aiden came however, he inspired Brendan to want to see his illuminations. Aiden sent Brendan into the forest to find berries he needed to make ink, and he went. This was Brendan’s first rebellions against his uncle and he was very nervous and got lost in the forest. There he meets a wolf who turns into a girl, named Ashley. She’s a fairy and befriends and helps Brendan. On the way back to the monastery they come across an evil presence which we deal with later. So Brendan studies illumination under the tutelage of Aiden and things are progressing quite well until Aiden realized he lost a glass that helps him do the most intricate work, and the name of the glass shares the name of  the evil presence Brendan and Ashley passed in the forest. So Brendan takes it upon himself to fight this beast for the sake of the book that will change the world.

This film is a visual masterpiece. Everything is geometrical. At first glance the animation looks juvenile and simple, but the scenes are so well laid out and intricate. The characters are very geometrical in nature, and when they run in a group they form a single shape. The cracks or shapes in between objects or objects themselves are all patterned.

One flaw I found in the film was that the monks were all of different nationalities and the portrayal of their different nationalities was really racist, almost offensively so. They weren’t a large part of the film though, so it didn’t bother me as much as they would have if they’d played a larger role.



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Sandra Macdougall

Another fairy artist with an interesting style. Some of the subjects in her paintings remind me of Amy Brown in their poses or colour choice, but the style is definitely her own.

She has a gravatar page http://gravatar.com/localfairies

And here is her website http://www.sandramacdougall.ca/

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One of the most well-known fairies of the season are of courses Santa’s elves. There have been many different versions of elves over the years in as presented in movies and other media.

Most of what we know about elves we know because of movies or books. Here are some of the more popular films that have created what we know about Santa’s little helpers.

Elf– The story of a human who was raised by elves.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town– The elves take in Kris Kringle.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer– Hermes the elf doesn’t conform to ‘regular elf behaviour’ and wants to be a dentist. (So we see a little bit about what elf behaviour is by seeing what it isn’t)

The Santa Clause– elves don’t really play a large role in the film, but are essential in creating the mood of the north pole. They are also presented as children instead of little old men as others have done in the past.

There’s also a song by the Barenaked Ladies about how elves aren’t so happy doing what they do called Elf’s Lament. The whole album is pretty fun, it’s called Barenaked for the Holidays. here’s the band’s page on the album http://barenakedladies.com/music/barenaked-holidays

I recently discovered this book at a bookstore that comes with a little doll called Elf on the Shelf. The idea behind it is you put up the doll on the fireplace mantle or somewhere visible and the elf watches the children’s behaviour to tell Santa whether or not they’ve been naughty or nice. This seems just slightly creepy to me, and I have a feeling that I would have been more frightened of the doll than enchanted. It also seems like a cheap way to make your child behave by causing psychological trauma, but that might just be me. The doll also looks rather creepy. It comes with a book.  http://www.elfontheshelf.com/#/home

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As it is the Christmas season I thought I’d feature some Christmas faeries. Namely, the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Sugar Plum Fairy is from the popular ballet, The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky. The story of the Nutcracker is about a young girl named Clara who receives a nutcracker from her godfather as a Christmas present. That night she wakes up to find that the nutcracker has come alive and is fighting an army of evil rats. Just as the rat king is about to kill the Nutcracker, Clara throws her slipper at him to distract him and the rats retreat. The Nutcracker transforms into a handsome prince and takes Clara through the trees and across a lake in a nutshell boat into the land of the sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. After the Nutcracker prince tells the Sugar Plum Fairy of how Clara saved him from the mouse king and the court puts on a performance to honour the heroine. They then make Clara and the Nutcracker prince rulers of the realm. In the movie versions of the story Clara wakes up thinking that it must’ve been all a dream and then meets either an apprentice or a nephew of her godfather’s that looks strikingly like the Nutcracker prince and there are hints that they’ll fall in love.

Many of the songs from The Nutcracker are recognizable, and the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is one of them, if not the most recognizable.

There are a couple of Christmas films or tv episode specials but my two preferred movies are the 1993 version of The Nutcracker, which has Macaulay Culkin in it and is basically a filming of the ballet.

The second is Barbie in the Nutcraker. Many people may feel hesitant and superior to the Barbie movies, but they are great movies with strong heroines and actual orchestras for the soundtrack. In my opinion it is one of the best film series for your average young girl, and the Christmas films are no exception.

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I was browsing through my local bookstore recently and I saw this book in the discounted section. It being of a fairy nature I of course picked it up.

It’s a fairy- themed cookbook. It has a brief introduction with a few fairy bios and some fairy decorating ideas before getting into some creatively constructed and displayed items of food that actually look like they’re be quite good to eat. Before each section of recipes begin there is a cool little 2 page spread with 4 or 5 food facts or very quick recipes with a fairytale related name. The sections are; ‘potions’- drinks, ‘little mouthfuls’- appetizers, ‘feeding the wolf’- small main courses. ‘cheesy treats’- dairy dishes, and ‘sweet delights’- dessert. The dishes themselves call for lesser used ingredients in an imaginative way. It’s really a fantastic, fun little book if you can manage to get your hands on it. It’s a tiny 157 page book that is about the size of my hand.

yes these are radishes

pumpkin soup with nutmeg

The difficulty might be actually getting a copy of this though. I managed to stumble across this in english, but it’s apparently a French book originally. So unless you speak French you may have issues in getting a copy.

Here is the french amazon’s page on it http://www.amazon.fr/cuisine-fées-comment-merveilles-magicienne/dp/2845672365

and there is a link to the google- translated version here

But it’s on amazon.com in English, though it looks as if it’s currently unavailable. http://www.amazon.com/Fairytale-Create-Wonders-Without-Magician/dp/B0016CCMFC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1292394459&sr=1-1

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My name is Opal Sunflower Leaf. It might be better for story writing purposes or for make-believe play purposes just to use one of your names instead of all three, or two if you don’t have a middle name.

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Acorn Speaker and Radio

For the high-tech faerie.  http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/speakers/e0e0/

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