Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Tour of Fursdon House Studio!

Hi Everyone!

I was looking around the other day in my studio and decided it needed a proper clean-up, sort of a spring cleaning if you will.  So after a couple of days cleaning, I started thinking about how beautiful everything was, how fortunate I am, and also how appreciative I am that Nigel built it for me.

Actually - if you want the REAL story - he built it for himself, as a sort of potting shed, even though he had already installed French doors on the thing!!  Anyway, at the time, I kept all my crafts in the spare bedroom, which dearest husband never really cared for. He thinks bedrooms should look like.....well.....bedrooms!!  Hmmm......Oh well, we all have our faults! 😉

Anyway, one day while I was working in my "bedroom studio", Nigel came in and very casually asked me if I thought I could get all my crafts inside his almost completed "potting shed"!!  Well, you can imagine my reaction! After picking myself up off the floor, I immediately assured him that "Of course it will!!  Are you serious? I mean, really serious?" 

Actually, I had no idea if it would all fit or not; I just knew that I'd make it work one way or the other!! I had seen pictures of artists' studios in magazines, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever own one for myself!!

And there you have it! The rest was history! Although I do have to elaborate a little. As you can imagine, I was just thrilled to have it "as is", but I should have known Nigel had other ideas.  So off we went to the local Home Depot (Nigel's home away from home!!) and we picked out tile for the floor (I was going to settle for a carpet remnant!) and paint for the walls (in my favorite aquamarine, which he doesn't really care for)!  And then.....yes, it gets even BETTER!! ----  we went over several design changes he could incorporate, which included two loft areas! Yes, I'm SPOILED!!  And NO, I'm not sharing him with anyone!! 😊

Anyway, the result was FABULOUS!!  But I'm just slightly prejudiced.  So judge for yourself!!

Fursdon House Studio!!

Nigel built this himself! No architect. No help.  Just Nigel and his amazingly creative mind!!  The only part he didn't do was the metal roof.  He wanted to emulate his favorite Windsor architectural style (his family does hail from England, after all!).  To achieve this, he covered the walls in some kind of metal netting, then spread mortar all over it (i.e., the metal "net" gave the mortar something to adhere to). He can give you a much more detailed (and correct) description. 😊 Hey, at least I didn't use the word "thingy" or "whatchamacallit"!!

Yes, he also created the walkway, as well as hand carving the rock and making the steps leading inside!!  The next photo shows off the rock steps better!

Come on in!!

Here we are, in Fursdon House Studio. We'll start with a counter-clockwise view!

In this picture, you can see my hand-made sign on the door, which was nothing more than a purchased bulletin board from Hobby Lobby, along with wooden letters that I just adhered to the board with Elmers.  Immediately to the right of the door, you can see a tall cabinet.  My grandfather built this himself and I cherish it! It holds all my bins of ribbons and trim!! Okay, holds MOST of my ribbon and trims!  It originally had a screen door attached, but I've removed it for easier access. It's stored behind it should I want to put it back on.

And the ladder!!  Yes, it's multi-colored because I was determined NOT to go with the ordinary!!  I've thought of changing it out to something else, but haven't taken the plunge yet.  Besides, it took FOREVER to paint.  Poor Nigel - he just kept walking past me as I was painting it, shaking his head in wonder!  Let's just say his tastes are ...... quieter?  😏 

And where does this ladder lead you might ask?  To my two loft areas of course!! And Nigel being the wonderful husband he is, and knowing how graceful his wife is NOT, he installed a metal rod that runs the length of the base of both lofts.  He attached two heavy duty hooks on the top end of the ladder, which don't show up in this picture but which literally drape over the metal rods and secure the ladder. It isn't connected permanently, so I can move it from one side of the room to the other.  This area is perfect for storage, as you can well imagine!

The metal shelf in the corner is where I store some of finished shop items (i.e., my tea cozies, aprons, etc.), as well as projects "in the making".

Here's a better view of one of the lofts.  The chandelier was from my brother. Can you believe it - he was going to throw it out!!  Fortunately, I came to its rescue!! I took off all the glass prisms and ropes of glass trim, and they're all stored on that three-tiered table.  I'm quite convinced that one of these days, I'll come up with some way to use them! Until then, I love just looking at them!  And when I'm being really good, I put chubby little candles (about 2 inches in diameter) on all the spindles where the lights originally sat. It looks lovely when lit, but talk about heating up the place!!  
Not to mention the fire hazard, which Nigel was quick to point out! So practical!

A closer look at the tiered table! Yummy!  A favorite of mine. I love "tiered" pieces!  And my sewing desk.  It was an old desk that the girls used when they were little, which I just repainted.  The front did have an opening to it, but I needed some place to store my stamps where I could see them (i.e., out of sight, out of mind).  So sweet husband cut me a piece of plywood, to which I adhered strips of pre-painted white trim that serve as narrow shelves - perfect for stamps and die cuts!! 

You can also see some of the Williamsburg style fruit plaques on the wall that I make for my shop.  This wall constantly changes; that's the great thing about peg board!!

Another view of the desk and the corner of all the metal shelves located on the back wall.  I made the sewing machine cover for my granddaughter's sewing machine, but she's kind of outgrown the "crafting bug" for now, so I confiscated it for myself.  The cover, not the bug; I already have the bug and that sucker is embedded!!

That shirt started life out as a very plain one that I heavily embellished with lace, buttons, beads, etc. I've thought about selling it, but I just like looking at it. So there it hangs!

A good view of the shelves that hold all my "bits and bobs", as well as the drawers underneath that hold all my fabrics.  Most of the "bits and bobs" came from thrift shops, yard sales and bargain stores, or were given to me by very generous and wonderful friends and family!

The apron is one I literally just finished and was photographing it for my online shop at Etsy.

At the top left, you can see a child's dress on a mannequin. My mother-in-law gave me this. It's beautifully hand-embroidered and is from about 1900!! 

The limb is one from the Monkey Puzzle tree! I love it's gnarly look! And no, I didn't cut it off.  A thunderstorm last year hit a tree beside it, and a huge branch fell off on top of it. I was able to save several pieces and I'm happy to report that the Monkey Puzzle has rebounded nicely!!  Behind it sits the small heat/air unit I purchased before I retired (when I could still afford things like that!). Before that, I just relied on a fan and a heater, but Alabama weather - especially in the summer - is just too humid to be comfortable for any length of time.

Oh, the fun I have in here!!  The table is one my Mumzie gave to me! The base is from an old Singer Sewing Machine.  Both my grandmothers used sewing machines like that so I was quite happy to have it. Every time I look at it, I'm reminded of Gran and Grandma, as well as how much sewing has changed over the years!  And that bench used to belong to my Gran. I love it!

Another similar view, this one showing the beautiful purple "Fairy Dress" that I found at a thrift shop for my granddaughter when she was little.  She loved it and wore it over and over. I loved it too, so much so that I couldn't part with it, so it gets a place of honor here so I can see it all the time!  

That little bear in the frame (immediately to the right of the dress) is one that belonged to my oldest daughter.  She's 37 now!! How time does fly!!

Turning the corner again, this shows off the Singer Sewing Machine trestle better!  The plastic bins behind that hold all my paper crafting supplies, which I'm about to take off on a new venture for my shop - but more importantly, for ME!  I'm going to try my hand at making elaborately decorated journals! More to follow, so stay tuned!!

Almost finished! I love looking at all the artwork my granddaughter made for me when she was little! The felt alphabet hanging was one I made for her.  Or I should say, remade.  My aunt had the original, which had a dark blue background, which I believe she found at a thrift shop. I always admired it so when dearest granddaughter made her appearance in the world, I knew I had to make one just for her!! Inside each pocket is an object that begins with the letter on the outside of the pocket (i.e., a mouse for the letter M, etc).  

Now that I have two new grandsons, I'll have to redo it a little because little hands have lost a couple of the pieces! 😊

You can also see my "Wreathus Bulbus Maximus".  I had great fun making it and I keep it up all the time. It's made entirely from vintage glass Christmas balls.

Well folks, that concludes my little tour of Fursdon House Studio!  I hope you enjoyed it and maybe even found some inspiration for making something crafty!! 

Have a lovely and blessed day!


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017 and Happy New Year 2018!!

Gingerbread Men!!

Hi Everyone!  

Finally, after almost two weeks of being sick, that included a trip to the local Emergency Room, I feel like I'm beginning to get better!!  Which is good, because we leave for our Christmas Caribbean Cruise in less than two weeks!  YIKES!!

Anyway, I wanted to share my latest project with you.  Fortunately, I finished this before Thanksgiving!  I made these for a very dear friend and I'm so glad I didn't procrastinate this time! Whew!

So.......GINGERBREAD MEN!!  And not just any gingerbread men, mind you.  These are made out of .....wait for it.....wait for it.....cinnamon (duh!), glue (Yes, glue!) and applesauce!!!  By the way.....NO, they are NOT edible!! But they smell DIVINE and they last for years!!!  Reminds you of those cinnamon brooms they always put in the stores right about now!  Here's the recipe!


3 cups cinnamon
2 cups applesauce
2/3 cups white school glue

Additional supplies:

*Whole black peppercorns
*Chopstick (or similarly shaped object)
*White puff paint
*Gloves (if desired)
*Gingerbread cookie cutter
*Cooling rack
*Wire or old-fashioned hairpins (Cut into small "U" shapes, about half an inch long. These will be inserted into the head for hangers.)
*Wire cutters
*Cool, dry space (These will need to air dry on the cooling racks for about five days!)


Mix the cinnamon, applesauce and glue in a metal or glass bowl, then remove from the bowl and knead the mixture until it turns into a firm "clay" consistency.

Refrigerate for about half an hour to chill, then roll it out to about 1/2" thickness.  Try to  be as consistent as possible with the thickness.  Also, use cinnamon to dust the surface of your area and the rolling pin, to keep everything from sticking.

Using  the cookie cutter, start cutting out gingerbread men.  I usually just pinch off enough dough to roll out one or two at a time.  Remember to sprinkle cinnamon on your cookie cutter too, to keep it from sticking.  Lay the gingerbread men on a cooling rack.

Once you've laid out all your cut gingerbread men, take your chopstick and and carefully press indentations (not going all the way through) to make space for the eyes, a nose, and four buttons on his tummy.

Carefully insert the "U" shaped wire into the top of the center of the head until just enough remains at the top to run a hanger or thread through for hanging on the Christmas tree.

Now you get to WAIT!  Like five days worth of waiting, though sometimes it only takes 4 days. It just depends on your home temperature, etc.  The gingerbread men will start to turn a slightly paler color when they're dry.

Once dry, put dabs of glue into the small indentations made earlier, then place whole peppercorns into the indentations. This will make the eyes, nose, and buttons! The glue will dry clear, so don't worry if it doesn't go into the indentations perfectly. Now take puffy paint and outline the gingerbread men as desired.

You can either wait until the glue and peppercorns dry before painting, or just do one right after the other. The picture taken above shows painting before all the glue dried, which is why you can still see it in some areas.

As I mentioned earlier, these literally last for years.  All you have to do is store them carefully in an air-tight container.  I've had some of mine for about 5 years now.  The cinnamon smell eventually starts to lessen, so instead of making more, you might just put some cinnamon oil on them to "liven them up" after a few years.

Each recipe makes about 20-22 gingerbread men. And there you have it! Gingerbread men for the holidays!

I hope each of you have a lovely Christmas season and a happy New Year 2018!

May God Bless,