Monday, May 31, 2010

A Wonderful Weekend!

Just coming to the close of our first "long holiday weekend" since February, and what a wonderful time it's been!  Nigel was in Iowa visiting "an old Army buddy" so I spent my free time creating, crafting, writing, reading, listening and - my favorite - sitting on my swing at dusk, listening to the night sounds and thanking God for such a blessed life!

One item I wanted to share with you is still "in progress", but I couldn't wait to show you so here it is!  Can you guess what it is?

Initially it started out as a curtain valance (sans embellishments), but I decided that no matter where I put it, Nigel might have a heart attack upon seeing it's lively colors!  And he has far too many items on his "honey do list" to croak now!  So....have you figured it out?  Here's another couple of photos:

Keep in mind, it's still "in progress".  The little black cat was a gift from my granddaughter, Isabel, this past Christmas, so naturally I had to use it! 

I LOVED working on the free-form tree!  It was great fun, running the sewing machine up and down without any rhyme or reason!  Isabel sewed on the green buttons and did a great job too!

This little antique Dutch Doll applique was one that belonged to my grandmother Irene Isobel (Isabel's namesake).  I have several of them and cherish each one!  You'll be seeing them in other projects in the near future!  One last photo:

I love this particular piece!  It came about quite unexpectedly!  And Isabel helped again - by sewing on the five little buttons on the boot!  I'm so proud of her!  As a wild "last gesture", I added the three large buttons!  I'm really enjoying the use of color.  Can you tell? Ha Ha

Okay, okay.  You've been patient enough!  Here's the answer - it's going to be my sewing machine cover!  It's been super easy to make; I just have to add a few more embellishments, then sew the lining to the inside.  The lining material is the same as the material on the far left of this photo (pink polka dot and pink/orange/yellow check)!  Like I said - I'm really enjoying the use of color these days!  Interestingly enough, I'm equally drawn to much paler vintage colors of peach, rose and teal; sepia tones; old black and white photos; etc.  So for my next cover (which I'm planning for my soon-to-be-purchased fancier sewing machine), I'm going to follow that color palette.  With any luck, I'm hoping to include a newly learned craft - photo transfers in sepia and black and white!

Well, must close now.  It's been such a peaceful, rejuvenating weekend!  Almost like my own personal art retreat!

May God Bless, Jan of Fursdon House

Friday, May 21, 2010

Princess Isabel

Not that I'm a PROUD grandma or anything.  No, not at all!! These photos were taken at Isabel's first dance recital this past Saturday!  It was held at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville; a massive crowd, yet they performed quite well! This year was Elementary Jazz I.  Next year is "Creative Dance" and I'm told they get to go barefoot and dance like tigers and lizzards and bears would dance!  Sounds like a future blog moment!!  Thanks for dropping in!  Jan of Fursdon House

Dundee in the Flower Pot! Dundee!!!  I was leaving for church this past Sunday morning when I spotted him on top of the flower pot on our porch ledge!  Nigel was wondering why his flowers were looking a little flat!!  Now we know! Gotta LUV a cat like this!!     Best Wishes for a Peaceful Weekend to All!  Jan

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Altered Couture - My Newfound Love!!

After altering my Gran's tablecloth into a lace wrap (see earlier post, same date), I went a little crazy and returned to my favorite thrift store (proceeds of which go to the Humane Society).  I purchased a very plain white long-sleeved blouse and the rest is history!  Initially I cut the sleeves off to quarter length, but something didn't quite mesh so I removed them entirely at the top shoulder seam.  I added an antique rectangle-shaped dresser scarf to the front left, which I embellished with new and vintage buttons randomly placed.  I added a vintage doily to the front right, to which I added more beads and a lovely vintage-style button in the center, giving it a little "bling".  I created a small white felt heart that I enbroidered with crystal bugle beads and anchored a sheer piece of cloth to the front right, and added strips of lace trim around the collar, cuffs and front hemline.  I added some lovely pale pink freshwater pearls to a lace piece on the front left, anchoring it in place. 

Initially I only had the applique in the center, which I painstakingly cut out from another piece of cloth and liberally embellished with small freshwater pearls from an old necklace Mom gave me that had seen better days.

Thinking I was finished, I paired the shirt with a lovely white crinkle-style skirt I found at Wal-Mart about 2 years ago, that was intended to be used as a bathing cover up! Ridiculous waste of beauty as it's lower half is covered in beautiful machine embroidery.  I don't have a photo of the skirt, but it goes perfectly with my shirt.  Well....almost perfect.  I immediately realized I wasn't through embellishing the back, so I added two different strips of lace over the large center applique and stitched 10 strips of very small white rickrack down the bottom half, each strip topped with a clear button.  Then I decided I was finished.  What do you think?

I thought I'd wear this to our upcoming Dining Out (dressy military function).  And either of the fabric cuffs I've made should go nicely with it!

Well, must close now.  I'm all posted out!  If I had any sense, I'd post more often so I wouldn't have to spend so much time getting caught up!  Yes, that's definitely what I should do.

May God Bless, Jan Fursdon of Fursdon House

Miscellany Musings

I love small antique bottles, something I inherited from my mom, Joy.  Here's a small sample of my collection.  My favorite is the baby bottle by EvenFlo (front far left) that was intended for a doll.  I especially like it because Mom used EvenFlo bottles when we were babies, and I did also when my girls were babies.  I also love the look of the teal-colored ones!  The poor soul in the front, second from right, looked as if it survived a fire, which is the only reason I purchased it (for a whopping 0.50).  It needed a loving home.

A lovely Chinese porcelain dessert stand shows off my Gran's old reading glasses.  Aren't they wild?  They were made in Italy and have small rhinestones and a simulated pearl at the top rims.  I keep them on a hall table I pass several times daily; it's a lovely reminder of Gran for me.  Beside that is a small, beautifully stitched pouch I found on a trip to my Aunt Von's in South Carolina.  I keep my digital camera in it.  I love looking at beautiful things!  Then again, don't we all?!

Fabric cuffs seem to be quite popular these days and I admit to thoroughly being entranced with them myself.  So what's a girl to do?  Make one (or more) for herself!  This is my first attempt and I had a great time making it.  I think it would look great as a wedding cuff.  Might put this one on my Etsy site (FursdonHouse.Etsy.Com).  They're a lovely way to spend a few hours without getting too hung up in a more involved project!  Which means you can make more! 

This second creation was almost too easy.  I literally cut the cuff off an old lace shirt (purchased from the local thrift store for all of $1.29, proceeds of which take care of the animals at the Humane Society).  By doing this, I was able to save the button hole (which I don't know how to do myself), then I just added a square vintage button from my personal stash.  I stitched glass beads in palest pink and rose at the top and palest aquamarine to the circles on the bottom.  I then wove two very pale pieces of aqua ribbon through the notches above and below the circles.  I think I'm going to create one for Isabel next; she wants it to be a little wild, so I should have fun with that one!  A pity my photographer skills aren't better.  Oh well......

That's it for this posting.  Take care and have a blessed day!  Jan Fursdon of Fursdon House

Inspiration Cloud 99!!

In a recent article in one of my favorite Stampington & Company magazines, Belle Armoire (Jan/Feb 2010 issue), I hit Inspiration Cloud 99!  The article included a photo named "Tattered Treasure Jacket" by Nancy Kaschmitter, that had been created from the artist's mother's curtains and linens!  I was amazed and immediately thought of what I could do with an old lace tablecloth that my Gran gave me years ago.  Made from machine lace found at a bargain (Naturally!), Gran had hemmed it and used it for a tablecloth, then later gifted it to me.  Problem was - my table was much too wide for it so it remained hidden in the linen drawer for ages.  Not so anymore!  I immediately pictured a lovely lace wrap and here are the results.  After folding the cloth in half, I cut out a place for the neck and front (which I covered in a pretty piece of lace to hide the seams).  I then went wild adding vintage and new buttons at the top and cream rick-rack to the hemline.  I deliberately moved the rick-rack inside the seam so that Gran's original hem stitching remained visible.  On the back, I added a vintage doily, embellished with beads, and a small strip of cream and yellow trimmed lace that also once belonged to Gran.  I'm not sure if I'll ever wear it, but I get such pure joy just looking at it, displayed permanently on one of my dress forms in my studio!

Many thanks to the folks at Stampington & Company, who bring such creative ideas to us all!

Till the next posting, may your days be filled with the joy of creativity and light.  Jan Fursdon, of Fursdon House

Recent Finds at Scott Antique Market in Atlanta!

Just wanted to include photos of some of the cool finds from a visit to Scott Antique Market in Atlanta in March.  Okay, so I'm just now getting around to posting them, but at least I am getting around to it!! 

The first photo is of an antique silk and lace embroidered drawstring bag - perhaps for toiletries?  I'd love to know more about the lady who owned it but since it was literally in a bag of "bits and pieces", the likelihood of finding anything about it is slim to none!  So beautiful!

This photos shows a collection of other laces, so frail and in some cases literally falling apart.  It was in the same bag of "bits and pieces" as the drawstring bag.  I love the aged appearance; I think most of this lot came from the 1920s and 1930s, though some pieces (not shown) are from the 1950s and 1960s.

Are these fabulous or what??!!  I went wild, as you can see!  I spent almost an hour going through everything the vendor had to offer.  And I'm happy to report that I got the very best he had, much to the dismay of many other ladies I had to keep holding at bay!  For those of you who've seen me shopping, you get the picture!  But well worth my efforts.  I'm thinking of creating some evening bags and including them as part of the design.  Now all I have to do is find the time!  So little and so precious it is!

Antique embroidered bath linens!  Couldn't pass them up either!  I think I'll put them on my Etsy site (  They're so sweet.  And I love the blue on cream linen!

Well, that concludes this posting.  Hope you enjoyed looking!  Jan Fursdon, of Fursdon House

Isabel Inherits Family Creativity Gene!!

Hi Everyone! Just wanted to write a few lines about how excited I am that my granddaughter Isabel has apparently inherited the family "creativity" gene! Here is a birthday card she made for her greatgrandmother, Joy, on her 70th birthday! She glued each individual bead onto the card to spell the words! Talk about patience! I'm not sure I'd have had enough myself. I've also included the card I made for Mama, using her favorite red ticking material and a ladybug. Not nearly so creative but I had fun just the same!

Below are pictures of a very special apron Isabel made, and when I say she made it, I want you to know she made 99% of it herself!  Not bad for a 7-year-old!!  The only thing I did was sew on the two Dutch Dolls because it required a lot of tight turns with the sewing machine.  Isabel did everything else.  She chose the fabric and cut it out ("Gummi - are you sure I can cut it by myself? What if I mess up?").  She chose all the embellishments, including some I didn't really care for but that wasn't my decision, was it?  Then she stitched them all on, including the butterfly that's caught under the netting on the top.  She wanted him to be able to move around so he's just in there loosely.  Another special thing about this apron is that Isabel used Dutch Dolls that Gran (my grandmother and Isabel's namesake) had given me years ago, some of which she also included in an apron she made for my daughters Laura (Isabel's Mom) and Elizabeth when they were little!

Hope you enjoy the photos! Till the next posting then.....Jan Fursdon of Fursdon House