Sunday, September 25, 2011

Another Project Completed!!

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out where I was going to put all my rubber stamps!  I wanted them where I could see them all at a glance because it's far easier to create something if you know what you have to create with!  At least that's my theory!!  And although I LOVE my studio (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!), I could use more space!!  Hey - I'm greedy, okay?  Fully admitted!!  But I'm also a pack rat, though I'm trying very hard to keep only what I absolutely love or feel I absolutely need or could absolutely use some day.....okay, forget pare down! I'm a pack rat.  Enough said!!

Now back to the point of this blog post!  I kept wondering how I was going to pull this one off when I realized I still had "available space" on my desk front!  See what I mean.....

 I've learned many things over the years, living with Nigel in the Military, and one thing I'm good at is maximizing every tiny inch of space!  And there are a LOT of inches of space right here for the taking!!
So I took 'em!!  Here's what I did.....

I measured the front of the desk and I measured my largest rubber stamps. This way, I had an idea how many "shelves" I could fit onto the piece.  Since Nigel doesn't want me using any of his saws (silly man!), I decided to let Home Depot do the work for me.  Wonderful people they are! I picked out a good quality sheet of cabinet grade plywood (on sale no less!!), as well as a long length of molding that had a nice ridge running down the length of it, which was also deep enough to hold the stamps.
I then gave the clerk my dimensions and he cut everything up for me!

True to form, I almost forgot to photograph this process.  As you can see, I'd already started painting when I realized I hadn't taken any photos! Here you see the plywood, with the molding placed on top and glued down.  Glue, you ask? Yes, glue!!  It's called Liquid Nails and Nigel already had some loaded in his "squirty glue-gun thingy". 

Come to think of it, he also uses that to caulk with, so maybe it's called a caulk gun!
(One of my "DUH" moments! Sorry!)  
Here it is, all nicely painted.  I let the "liquid nails" set 24 hours before testing it, and it really did hold well, so I was encouraged to keep going.  After the paint was thoroughly dry, I stood it up in front of the desk.  The next question was - should I trust "liquid nails" again to glue it to the front, or should I use traditional nails?  Too easy! I decided on the glue. If it didn't work, I could always use real nails, but why not give it a try?
 And it worked!! I glued the panel on the front of the desk, then pushed several heavy items against it to hold it in place.  This time, I waited 48 hours.  And here are the results!

Isn't it cool?  And it only takes up about 3 more inches of space!!

I love it when a plan comes together!!  Until next time then, take care and have a lovely week!! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Latest Creation from Fursdon House

Hi Everyone!

Just wanted to show you my latest "completed" project at Fursdon House!  Seems like I have about 30 of them started and in various stages of completion, but this one made it through to the home stretch.  See what you think!

I did another one for Elise's older brother, Brian.  Then alone came little sister, so it's only natural I had to do one for her too!  I used chipboard letters, traced the shapes onto different papers, then glued the paper to the letter shapes.  Most of my time was spent trying to find papers I liked that went well together!  And of course I had to jazz it up a bit with some pretty flower stickers!  I already had the frame so it was a great re-do; it was originally a mirror! I just removed the mirror and put in plain glass.

Here's the one I did for Big Brother Brian last year! Here's that post:

Isn't this rosebud sweet?  One of my co-workers gave it to me Friday afternoon!  It's scent was Heavenly!!

It's Saturday morning and the bloom is opening up!  The "vase" is the top of a lipstick cover I had at work!

Sunday and it's completely open, still with a lovely scent!  Thank you Sandra!!!
One last photo before closing.  This is Thistle and Dundee, checking out the new deck and wondering what the new smell is! looks like a deck, feels like a deck, maybe it is a deck!!

Love and Blessings to All! Jan

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Our New Deck!!

Hi Everybody!

I wanted to share photos of our new deck with you that Nigel just built and Yours Truly just painted!  Check it out!

As usual, he did a FANTASTIC job!!

He also removed the railings that were built when the desk was first put in.  It really opens up the space visually, as well as literally.  Back then, there weren't an trees or shrubbery - nothing really except a giant empty back yard that Nigel was determined to fill up.  Twenty years later - things are slightly different!  Also, with the rails gone you can see what I consider his finest work - the rock edging he put around the circumference of the deck and flower beds! 

I haven't finished painting yet so guess what's in store for my upcoming weekend?!?!  But I figured that if he could build it, I'd get it painted. Of course, my muscles aren't overly pleased with me, but they can just deal!

 One last view!  Isn't it a great looking deck!!

Well, that's all for tonight. Just wanted to share with you!  Isn't this cooler weather wonderful?  It only registered about 80 degrees Fahrenheit today!!  LOVELY!!!!  I sure hope it doesn't heat back up too soon. Quite frankly, I'm ready to say "Goodbye Summer and Hello Autumn!!

Take care and have a great evening! Jan

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Going Home - By Way of Ashville, North Carolina and Murfreesboro, Tennessee

One last view of the Washington Monument before leaving D.C.

I didn't realize the flags from all 50 states flew at the base of this monument.  Very fitting! 
Beautiful old Woolworth's Building in Ashville, North Carolina!  Look at that architecture!  It's been turned into an Artist's Gallery and Show Room.  Needless to say, I had to go in!! 
Out of sequence, but this is Isabel hamming it up with Stripes at the Metro in D.C. the night before we left.  
Silly Izzy at the Solace Restaurant in Ashville, NC.  The restaurant's owners opened about 4 months previously and only serve organically grown food they either purchase or grow themselves.  Delicious! 
These next four slides are so interesting.  It's live street art in Ashville.  Two women, dressed in antebellum style, but everything is painted in gold!
They remain perfectly still for five or ten minutes and unless you see them actually move to a new position, you wonder if they aren't statues. 
They had quite a following!  Lovely to watch, because when they did move, it was in very slow motion, as if they were animated electronically.
A fun treat and I enjoyed every minute of it, even if I did almost lose sight of everyone else 
Squirrels were everywhere we went!  They were in D.C. on the sidewalks and in the trees beside the museums. On trails and along the streets!  Quite tame!  I got some lovely photos! This is Sammy Squirrel. 
Sabrina Squirrel
Sebastian Squirrel 
A lovely old building in Ashville.  I love buildings with unusual architectural interests.  
Somewhere between Ashville, North Carolina and Murfreesboro, Tennessee - at yet another Starbucks!!  It's safe to say we worked hard to improve the nation's economy, especially at Starbucks, on this entire trip! Wasn't that very considerate of us? 
Isabel wanted this shirt because she wanted to be Sherry's twin, even though she wasn't 51.  Oh well, we let the rules slide a little for her.  She was such a GREAT traveler! I still can't believe how well she behaved, as if she were an adult, instead of an almost 9-year-old on a week long trip!  Yea Isabel!!!!! 
The aftermath!  Eeeck!!  Cute cat shirt though! 
After Aftermath! Eeeeck again!!

Well folks, that's it.  The D.C. trip of 2011!  I'm still enjoying the books and small pieces of artwork I bought. And I've also promised myself I'd create a scrapbook about the whole trip!! I'm my own worst enemy!!   Believe it or not, you haven't seen all of the pictures yet!  But having a scrapbook that you can actually pick up in your hands is so much fun, especially years from now.  Isabel and both my girls L.O.V.E. looking at their own scrapbooks.  I think they're an important and fun way to preserve a little bit of our past!

Take care and enjoy the Labor Day Weekend!  With Love and Blessings to All! Jan

Fun Shots on Last Day and Evening in D.C.

Some fun photos on our last day in D.C.

A metal tree!!  This is SO COOL!!! 

Isabel and Stripes.  What is it about stuffed animals and kids? She has tons of them, but when she saw this at Barnes and Noble on the second day of our trip, she fell wildly in love with him.  So - naturally - Gummy just had to get him for her!  She carried him every day and surprisingly did not lose him!

Sweet little faces!! 
Isabel and Twins!  Sherry and I got our blouses and hats at a fantastic sale Coldwater Creek was having in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  The rest of the outfits matching were just coincidental!  Isabel kept saying she wanted to be our twin too, but when she heard she had to be 51 years old first, it suddenly didn't sound so great to her! 
Isabel took this photo and I thought it turned out pretty cool!  Besides, we two Sisters are quite unique! Sometimes we're down right extraordinary!! And always  we have F.U.N.!!! Sisters Rule!!!
The fountain where these photos was taken sits in front of the American History Museum 
On our last evening, we traveled to Old Town Alexandria.  It was late and most of the shops were closed, which is just as well considering how much I'd already spent!!  We walked up and down the streets (closed to traffic, if I remember correctly), trying to figure out where to eat.  Then Sherry said we should let Isabel choose the place this time.  Great idea! 

"Isabel - where do you want to eat?     The Fish Market Restaurant!"    Okay....let's go back there and eat."

So back we go and awhile later, after being seated......

"Isabel, why did you want to eat here?  Because it has cheeseburgers on the menu outside!" 

Need I say more?  Actually, it was a wonderful restaurant, with the best crab cakes I've ever eaten!  And I ordered a Sangria that came in a glass the size of a small swimming pool!  Oh well, that didn't stop me either.  It was fantastic!  And the building, although you can't tell it from the front shown in the picture above, actually dates back to the Revolutionary War!  A definite revisit is warranted!! 
And then for dessert!  Isabel is seated on a wooden cow bench while we order Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream!!!  Sad, it's true, but somebody had to do it!  Until then, I'd only had Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream from the grocery store freezer section!  In case you were's FABULOUS!!! 
Isabel sitting for her first portrait!  No Laura - you CANNOT have it!!! 
While Joe stayed with Isabel, Sherry and I strolled along the pier, sat for awhile looking at the beautiful sunset and taking this photo.  In World War II, this building was used as a torpedo factory!  Now it's used by artists to display and sell their art, give classes, etc.  A fitting twist of fate, wouldn't you say?
Joe took this photo in the car while driving us out of Old Town Alexandria!  We couldn't stop because cars were behind us and it was too late to turn around without some difficulty.  When I return (not "if" but "when"), I'll get a better photo!  This is the oldest Masonic Lodge in the United States!! It dates back to the 1700's.  Nigel is a Mason and I knew he'd enjoy seeing the building!

That's it for now!  I think I have one more blog post left in me for tonight, which should see the end of our D.C. trip.  Take care and have a lovely Labor Day Weekend! Jan

The National Art Museum and The American History Museum

Art and American History Museums! Can it get any better?  I have to repeat what my friend Sherry said as we were strolling around through all the hallways.  Nothing can compare to seeing good art in person.  While computers and cameras are marvelous, it's being able to see and in some cases even touch the actual brush strokes made by the artist that really bring a piece of art to life.  We had a wonderful time and I was able to photograph many of my favorites that I'd only seen in books and magazines until now.  Hope you enjoy the tour!
The National Art Museum

"Boating Party - Mary Cassatt"
Although not one of my most favorite pieces of art, I enjoyed the movement of the little child in its mother's arms - anxious to get loose!  That never changes down through the ages, does it?
"The Loge - Mary Cassat"
I loved the colors used in this portrait of two ladies at the theater, although the one in front doesn't look terribly excited about the prospect of a dance with anyone in particular.  Perhaps the one she had "hoped" would be there was not?  As you can see, I'm a romantic at heart!
"Landscape Near Paris - Paul Cezanne"
A favorite; I love the colors used here.
"A Friendly Call - William Chase"
Another favorite!  I imagine the woman is the mother or mother-in-law.  I also like the way pillows are strewn on the floor and in the chair!
"Still Life - Henri Latour"
So peaceful and "ordinary" looking.  Nothing like a good book, a cup of tea and a healthy snack!
"Banks of the Seine - Claude Monet"
A favorite artist!  I love the colors he uses!  "Waterlilies" is one of my most favorite pieces of his!
"Ms. Mary Ellison With Fan - Mary Cassatt"
Mary Ellison was a close friend of Mary Cassatt's. It's believed she's also the one in the portrait above of the two ladies at the theater.  Seeing this portrait reminds me of how far women have come in the last century!!
"Girl With a Hoop - Pierre-Auguste Renoir"
Lovely colors and subject!  I love the stark contrast of the black shoes!  And they're still in style today! Remember - there's NOTHING new under the sun!!
"Girl With a Watering Can - Pierre-Auguste Renoir"
More beautiful blues and a sweet little girl!  Reminds me of my girls and my granddaughter, always wanting to help me water the plants using their little watering cans! 
"Girl in White - Vincent Van Gogh"
Although I rarely enjoy Van Gogh's work (it's too bold and stark for my taste), I really like this one!  He's left the little white strokes (like beads) raised, to make the fabric stand out. 
"Mr. Theodore Duret - Edouard Vuillard" 
Of course, any picture of someone with a cat deserves a second look!  And I really like the color of those walls behind him!  Fantastic!

The American History Museum

Beaded Papoose and Child's Beaded Shoes
Beautiful Beaded Bag
Can you imagine the time it took to bead these articles, not to mention needles were very scarce. They probably used fine bones instead.  And it isn't as if they could run down to Hobby Lobby to get the beads they wanted!  Oh, and then there was washing and cooking and hunting and feeding! Amazing!
 Another beautifully beaded bag, in my favorite pink colors! Naturally this also caught my attention because of the "swastika" shape on the top of it. I had heard this symbol was used hundreds of years before the Nazis made it such a reviled emblem, but I hadn't seen evidence of this.  Mr. Google informs us that the word swastika came from the Sanskrit word svastika, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck.

Woman's Ceremonial Dress - Fabulous Design!!

More beautiful colors!! This looks like a forerunner of our book bags!
I've read that moccasins are extremely comfortable to wear.
A man's beaded shirt - again for ceremonial occasions.
A beaded shawl!  Talk about a work of love!
A beaded woman's dress.
Another beaded bag
A more decoratively beaded man's shirt
Another man's shirt
Beaded children's shoes and beaded animals.  One is a turtle and the other looks like a salamander.
Fantastically beaded vest! This blue is fabulous!
Another beaded vest

Beaded Vest in Blue with Red Bead Trim
More bead work.  I love the art work here! It still amazes me to think that we as a general population thought of the American Indians as savages!  I suppose when you want something that someone else has (i.e., land in this case), it's easy to find fault with them and drive them out of society.
I think of this as a very dark chapter in American history. This was a very dark chapter in American history.
These beaded leggings immediately reminded me of exquisite lace; my favorite article in the entire museum!  It appeared to have a very marked Spanish influence in the overall design as well.
Now is this fun or what?!?!?!  I love it!!  It's a Day of the Dead Skull.  The colors are fabulous!  The Day of the Dead (Spanish - "Día de los Muertos") is celebrated in many societies. Mr. Google informs us that the holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and graves with these as gifts.
It reminds me of how Americans used to celebrate Memorial Day, visiting cemeteries of those who had died.  I remember going to cemeteries with my grandparents when I was young.  We visited the graves and cleaned them up, then we had a picnic lunch on a quilt Gran had made.  Afterward, we kids got to play in a nearby lake while the adults cleaned everything up and rested.  Are we peoples of the earth so very different from each other?   I truly don't think so.
Another fabulous example! I've thought of incorporating Day of the Dead art in some of my own pieces!
A beautiful white example!  I love the flowers for the eyes! We're so far removed from death in our society.  "Way back when" the bodies were kept in our houses for viewing and buried on our own land for the most part.  And of course people died far easier than they do today, from so many things that would be considered minor scrapes today.  So death was very much a part of everyday life back then.
Now the body is whisked away to a mortuary and made to look as "alive" as possible.  And we see movies where actors are killed over and over again, only to be resurrected either in the same movie or another one soon following.  I believe many people fear death because it is no longer such a large part of our lives.  I think we've become desensitized to it in a way, as if it can't possibly be a permanent thing. Not a wise thing at all.

Beautiful feathered decorations!
One last feathered decoration!

Well, that's it! Hope you enjoyed the tour! I know we certainly had a great time.  It's wonderful to be able to see so many things from our history.  And there are so many museums we didn't even get to!  So....have to make a return trip some time!  Darn!

Take care everyone and have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend! Jan