Monday, August 30, 2010

Gingerbread House!

Wanted to share with you my latest "re-do".  It's a gingerbread house I made about 7-8 years ago, that I designed based on one that was shown on a Christmas television special sponsored by Southern Living (At least I think it was them).  I remember seeing the house on their previews of the show earlier in the week and I was immediately taken with it's charm.  But the previews only allowed a second or two of viewing time, so I anxiously awaited the coming show.  Finally the day arrived and I was glued to the set, patiently going through each room of the house with the cameraman as they showed off the various decorations.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, they got to the kitchen and there sat the gingerbread house, in the background.  Suddenly the camera zoomed in.  By this time, I realized the show was almost over so I knew I wouldn't have much time.  I had paper and pencil at the ready and I was determined to memorize every detail I could in order to recreate my own version.  It's a good thing too because the camera stayed on the house for perhaps all of five whole great big seconds and then the show was over!  But I'd managed to capture the basic idea and it wasn't long before I was gathering my materials.  Here it is - The Fursdon Gingerbread House!

I can't remember if the original was edible, but I decided to make mine non-edible.  Instead of using white icing, which would detract from the woodland theme I wanted, I decided to use a glue gun instead.  Almonds on the roof top each received a white fabric paint design and Spanish moss was placed at the base surrounding the house.  This was interspersed with small red "berries" from one of many faux garlands I possess.  The terra cotta pot was the smallest I could find at the time, but I've since located many that are much smaller and more in scale with the actual house.  Also, the gingerbread sides and roof all came from a basic Christmas Gingerbread House kit!  I didn't bake any of it!  Far too complicated when you can have more fun decorating!!

The sticks surrounding the door came from my back garden, as did the "bark" for the little door, which had fallen off our River Burch tree!  Just a note - it's very important NOT to peel bark from trees, as this allows disease to enter and potentially kill the tree.  Tree bark, much like our human skin, is designed to protect the tree but, also like our skin, it generally sloughs off from time to time, making room for newer bark!  Then crazy souls like myself gather it up and use it in various projects!

These were the smallest little birds I could find and I love them.  They're adorable! 
You can see how it's beginning to deteriorate though.  Some of the almonds have fallen off, showing the dried glue at the top peak, and the gingerbread itself seems to be turning into a fine meal like substance!  Not sure what's going on exactly, but it's high time for a facelift!!

One of the sides showing still more decay, with a "window frame" of sticks that's fallen from the house to the "ground" below.  You can also see more places where the almonds have come off. 

I guess I ran out of birds!  The facelift will definitely include one in this wreath on the back of the house.  You can also see a vague design just below the wreath, where stick "window frames" had been glued.  Long gone by now, but again - will be added back soon!

I included this view to show you the long "log" on top of the house that blends the two sides together.  It's a pretzel stick!!  As you can imagine, I had a GREAT time recreating this house and it's lasted about 8 years (if my memory is correct).  The biggest threat to this type of project is moisture!!  And I have to admit, I didn't store it properly for many years, which only hastened it's decay.  I've since learned many things about proper storage and plan to have a special container for the next Fursdon Gingerbread House!!  May God Bless, Jan

Peaceful Bliss

Yes, it's been awhile since I posted; been way too busy.  I missed you, Ms. Blog!  But I'm back now and have a lovely view to share with you.  Actually - two lovely views.  The first is a yellow water lily that's blooming in Nigel's Koi pond.  They're so beautiful and the amazing thing is that they grow underwater!!  They come out early in the morning, and close up every evening.  Makes one treasure them all the more!  We have several of these sunshiny yellow ones and two or three fuschia pink ones!  I love the way the lattice work of the arbor above is reflected in the water; looks like black lace!

And now I'd like to share with you more of Nigel's talents.  It's nice to be able to show off the multitude of things he's built over the years.  I tried to convince him he was an artist too, but he just laughed it off, looked at me as if to say, "You're nuts!"  then went on about his merry business.  Oh well, I know he is and I'm very fortunate to have him.  See what you think!

One of my favorite places to be, especially in the spring and autumn, or late at night any other time of the year, when the sun's gone down and I can see the moon reflected up above the rooftop.  I've loved to swing ever since I was a little girl.  And I like to swing high too!  I have a lovely memory of my father and grandfather, both sitting on either side of our metal swing set when I was about eight years old.  I sat on one of the swing seats in the middle and went as high as I could go while the "men in my life" weighted down the swing to keep it from tipping over.  Even so, every now and then, the metal legs would give a little jump.   Of course my mom would have been furious had she seen what I was doing, but I'm happy to say we stayed out of trouble that day!!  And here I am, some 40+ years later, still loving to swing high!  This time, Nigel set the legs into concrete for me!  I come out here when I'm happy or sad, content or troubled.  Somehow swinging just seems to help me get my perspective back if all isn't right with the world.  Another memory I have is of my grandmother the spring before she died in 1998.  We were sitting in her swing on her back porch, catching the cool breeze of an afternoon and talking idly about whatever came to mind.  It was a lovely peaceful time and I'll cherish it always.  May God Bless, Jan