Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I'm Back!! Hello? Are you there? Anyone? Knock! Knock!

I've been sitting here, looking at this blog for half an hour now, wondering how in the blue blazes I'm ever going to get started again!?!?  Let's face it; the last post was in January 2014 for Heaven's sake!! So...........how do I get started again?  Tell you what . . . . I'll just start typing and see where that leads.  Poor you! That is, if anyone is still out there!

The BIGGEST news is - God willing - I'm retiring in January 2016!! I'm almost afraid to put it into print because I don't want to jinx it!  I've always been told that I'll know when it's time.  And if I have any choice in the matter, the time is NOW (Okay, 30 January 2016, if I must wait!).  I have the usual List of Things to Do After Retirement.  Are they the same as yours?  Mine are:

1.  More time creating items for my on-line shop, www.fursdonhouse.etsy.com, which of course includes more time on this blog and Facebook, to help promote said shop! I've got ideas out the ying yang of things I want to make, things I've already made and need to get posted, etc. etc. etc. By the way, I wonder what a "ying yang" is? Hmmmmm.........oh well, I digress. Back to the list!

2.  Learning how to be a "housewife" for the first time in 35 years of marriage!  I know this sounds slightly old-fashioned, but I've never been a housewife only and, quite frankly, I'm looking forward to it! I think!  And being a housewife encompasses the following on my ever growing list:

     a.  Clean my house - from stem to stern, top to bottom, sideways, forward and backwards, and everything in between.  There! I think that about covers it!  And by cleaning, I mean going through every drawer, every closet, every shelf, every little nook and cranny - to sort through, purge, organize, and ......well, you get the picture.  Ever since we stopped moving with the military, we've been accumulating.  And trust me  -  I can accumulate!!

     b.  Cooking.................did I really say that? Oh well.............It's not that I'm a bad cook. I'm a decent one as cooks go. I just HATE doing it!! So no grand promises on this one!  I've always loved to bake, but cooking is just a C.H.O.R.E..............and it's a B.O.R.I.N.G. one at that!!  But I'm hoping that by some miracle, I might actually learn to like doing it - at least a little more than I do now. Hey, miracles do happen, you know!!  Like I said though - NO PROMISES!!

Okay, that's enough for the housewife bit. Now on to something more exciting!! 

3.  Revamping my screened in porch.  We have lots of wicker out there, in various shades of tan and brown.....ugh!  I've been thinking along the lines of Victorian white wicker, which I L.O.V.E., but not a stark white. I'm thinking of a warmer, creamy white, which should look great with all those cushions I bought a few years back.

4.  Gardening........did I really say that too?  Yikes! What's gotten into me?!?!?  I mean, gardening wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the Alabama State Bird (AKA The Mosquito), or the nasty Alabama humidity, or the dirt and grime, or the muscle aches and pains, or the sunburn, or..........Okay, okay......no HUGE promises on that one either.  But I'm determined to help Wonderful Husband, who is the TRUE gardener of this family.  I figure I'll go out about 7:00 am every morning, and work an hour or so.  Well.....it sounds good in theory at any rate!

5.  I did plan on taking my alarm clock and SMASHING it to ITY BITTY BITS!!!  But then I wouldn't be able to get out and garden at 7:00 am every morning.   Hmmmmmm................ :-)

6.  Start going to the grocery store in the middle of the day!!  And...........TAKING MY TIME!!  I usually go after work (Ugh!), or on my preciously guarded weekend time, then racing through it like the Indy 500, getting the same old things I always get because it's faster and easier, then wondering why I don't like to cook much!

 Okay.....enough of this list thingy.  It's getting old.  So here are some photos I've taken recently (or rather, in the last year!), and most of these are listed on my Etsy shop at www.fursdonhouse.etsy.com . Now, if I can just remember how to load photos on this thing!  Hmmmm........let's try THIS!

Hey! It worked!! Check these out!

"Let Them Eat Cake"
 
This is a fabric collage I did awhile back, called .....you guessed it! Let Them Eat Cake!  It consists of vintage and new laces and beads, vintage paper leaves, and a few other "bits and bobs".  I created the whole thing on a canvas board thingy that's about 8 x 10 inches.  As you can obviously see, I haven't framed it yet.  I think I'm reluctant to because I like to see it and touch it whenever I walk into the studio.  And you can't get that tactile feeling when it's in a frame.  But I just L.O.V.E. it. I'm thinking of incorporating them into some of the tea cozies I design.  I did make a tea cozy with a similar design on it for a sweet friend of mine; turned out pretty cool!  I'll try to find a picture of it.  Or perhaps I'll just add them to my Etsy shop "as is", or framed.  Who knows. 

 
 
Another collage!  The base is a vintage linen place mat and I've just had fun adding bits and pieces, some new and some vintage, as well as a little embroidery.  Although it's currently listed "as is" in my Etsy shop, I'm thinking of incorporating it into something else, like having it as a front panel of a sewing machine cover.  Lots of plans and little time!  Such is everyone's plight though! 

 
 
A sweet little brooch I made, using antique millinery flowers, lace, and tiny fresh water pearls.  It has a pin back on the reverse.  My first try and I have to admit, I was rather pleased with it!


I had great fun making this fabric strip banner for a friend of mine. She commissioned it for her granddaughter, to hang in her bedroom.  It ended up about 4 1/2 feet long and, as you can see, was a "Symphony in PINK!!"  It was very easy and ripping those strips of fabric was GREAT therapy!!



Some of the latest tea cozies I've made; I've done others as well.  I've come up with an improved method of making them, which I'm very excited about.  Cuts down on the time and is actually easier to stitch. 


One last photo for now.  These are hearts I've created.  They're generally about 7-8 inches long by 5-6 inches wide, and each one has a hanging cord.  I love to hang these on the fronts of large pieces of furniture, instead of tassels.  The heart shape is one of my favorites!

Well, that's it for now.  I need to get this posted.  Hopefully you haven't fallen asleep!

Love and Blessings to All!

Jan of Fursdon House





Saturday, January 25, 2014

Creative Play

Wanted to try out my new camera - my birthday present from Wonderful Husband! Thank you wonderful husband!!  Of course I haven't read any of the instructions yet, but I just kept pushing buttons until it seemed to work.  I can just picture my technically inclined eldest daughter cringing as she reads this!!  :-)   Anyway, here's what I've been up to lately............

 I was reading one of my favorite magazines, the October 2013 issue of Somerset Life,
when I came across the following article, by Sarah Hawkings:

 She gave a tutorial about covering small journals with vintage blankets,
embellished with trim, buttons, etc.

 Aren't they beautiful? 
So I got to thinking about ........

my VERY PLAIN journal.  I've already filled it up, but I'd been wondering how best to change
 it into something a little more appealing to look at.  So that's just what I did!

Ta Da! 
Of course, it isn't nearly as nice as the ones Ms. Hawkings made, but this is my very first one after all!  And now that I have the hang of it, I plan to do a lot more.  You see, I have diaries and journals dating back to the 5th grade and they're all in a huge variety of shapes, colors, sizes, etc.  However, if I covered them all with the same base fabric above, but used different fabrics for the embellishments, they would still be unique, but also have a more unifying look.  And why is this important you may ask?  Well, I admit it, I'm a trifle O.C.D.    Okay, okay, I'm a LOT O.C.D.  And I just thought it would look really great, displaying all my journals in one place - sort of a stroll down memory lane!
I only have about 15 more to go!

 Also last fall, I was re-reading an article by Marianne Ford that I'd cut out of a magazine some time ago.  It was in the Holiday 2011-2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.  Ms. Ford gave a tutorial on creating quilted strips of fabrics, adding a bit of bling to them, then connecting them together like old-fashioned paper chains. You can see in the picture above that she used hers as a tree garland.

Well, I don't mind following others up to a point, but I also want to put my own spin on things too.  So I decided to make fabric chains that I could drape up and over curtain rods and doorways.  The ones above are just a few of the ones I've made so far.

This shows a little better what I'm talking about.  I currently have about 10 feet of "chains".
 
 The best thing about these is that its "hand work", which I love to do much more than machine stitching.  And if I get bored with it, I can just put it down and do something else (like creating journal covers!)  The next best thing about them is that they're SO MUCH FUN to make!!  I get to do what artist Mary Ann Moss refers to as "Commando Sewing" by not having to stick to tried and true sewing rules.  The idea here is just to let your imagination fly - along with the buttons, beads, fibers, and anything else you can think of to add a little more color and texture!
 
 Each strip is connected by snaps (my own addition) which makes them easier to put together
or take apart, easier to store, easier to make into different lengths, etc.
 
 And because a lot of hand stitching is involved, I can work on them during my lunch break at work -
when I need something to get my mind off of ......WORK!!  I also thought about doing some in cream colors, sort of a soothing cool palette for summertime d├ęcor.
Well, there you have it!  My latest and greatest!  As you can see, it's never boring at the Fursdon House!  BTW - If anyone would like me to scan these two articles and send to you by e-mail, just drop me a line at FursdonHouse@aol.com.
 
And MANY THANKS to both Ms. Hawkings and Ms. Ford, for giving me and others a great way to add a little more creativity into our lives!
 
May God Bless, Jan