A Little Fall in My Florida Home

It’s the first day of October and it’s hot. But I’ve decided to ignore our tropical temps and bring a little change of the seasons into our home. Click on the pics to enlarge.

I primed a board and for good measure also added a coat of gesso. Then I used my acrylic paints to add a few Florida fall leaves to a goldish container. The gold highlights are from a Gold Leafing paint pen. I propped it on this thrift store sconce I got a couple of years ago and gave a makeover with chalk paint. This is on the narrow wall by my front door.

acrylic painted leaves on board Last week I stopped by my neighborhood thrift shop and spied this 60″ x 84″ tablecloth. I thought the colors and pattern were just lovely! I often stop by thrift stores to find a yard or two of fabric. So cheap! Today I cut the cloth lengthwise, sewed the edges and a channel for the rod then decided to add a burlap border.

panels with burlap border

With the border the panels puddle a bit which is okay but I may raise the rods. We’ll see. Sewing a simple border is a great way to add length to purchased panels that aren’t quite long enough. kw panel

Here’s a closer look at the border. I think the colors are perfect for fall and the bit of aqua (my favorite color) allows it to work perfectly with my existing decor. I have a lot of aqua touches in my home.

kw panel border

 

My simple fall wreath is a grapevine wreath with a vine of fall leaves, a scarecrow and some scrappy burlap for a bow. I may make something else later but this suits me for now.

fall wreath with scarecrow

This is my chalkboard I made from a framed picture. The chalkboard paint went right over the glass. :) I also painted the frame changing it from brown to this beachy distressed style. Where did I get the owl picture? Well, thank you for asking. :) That’s a print of my original watercolor. I printed it on a vintage hymn book page and framed it. Hoooo wouldn’t like that?!

chalkboard vignette

In my dining room -

I painted the 11 x 14 pumpkin canvas and it’s for sale in my Etsy Shop. The “M” initial is also a watercolor I framed.

dining room fall sideboard

On my kitchen table – Under the cloche is a little burlap pumpkin I fashioned with scrap burlap, twine, hot glue and a wine cork for the stem.

kitchen table cloche with burlap pumpkin

This little lady sits atop my piano. I added a pine cone to my shells. I figure our beach shells are just as fallish as acorns and pine cones. Since we live so near the beach, the shells are always in season and not limited to summer decor.

fall on the piano

 

One corner of my entertainment center -

pilgrims

The other corner of the entertainment center – pears and pine cones and my watercolor of pear tree leaves -

watercolor leaves

 With the advent of the fall season, I’ve sold some of my fall note cards in my Etsy Shop. I’ve sold the Pumpkin Patch cards as well as the Hello, Pumpkin cards. Yay! I’m glad to see there is a need for cards to continue the art of snail mail card sending.

Friends, to celebrate the first day of fall, here’s a recipe I used last fall and again just last week. It’s very similar to many other pumpkin muffin recipes but I always tweak recipes a bit based on what I have in the pantry. If you don’t bake with self-rising flour, you will need to adjust the recipe to add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. And you can use cinnamon if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice and you can use canola or vegetable oil if you don’t have coconut oil although the coconut oil added a mild coconut flavor which my family enjoyed. Another thing, next time I’l cut the sugar to 2 cups. I added a few chopped pecans to mine. We love pecans but you can also add walnuts. They were moist and delicious and made us feel like fall was right around the corner even though for us living in the “tropics of Florida” that’s a streeeeeetch.

pumpkin muffins

How are you adding fall to your home?

Written by Melanie Dorsey - Visit Website photo Mysignature-1.png
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The “M” Word

A few days ago I wrote about the flip side of focus. After second guessing myself, I removed the post – all but a link I had within it, that is. I’ve decided to re-post it but only part of it.

The Flip Side of Focus - 

Do you know what I wish? I wish my ability to what I call hyperfocus on a task – which can be a very good thing at times – I wish this ability did not have the flip side that is sooooo wearisome. When trouble comes, I have an overwhelming need to relieve myself of all extraneous responsibility and commitments.  My mind goes into overdrive focusing on how to manage the trouble as best I can. That management feels like removing every other thing that feels like a weight on me until the trouble has passed. Even when the weights are not weighty on a good day but good things I’ve chosen, on a bad day they can feel like bricks on my shoulders. It’s really an awful feeling. It makes me hold my breath and then let it out again in a huffy sigh.

I think I used to handle stress fairly well (before my son got sick). But maybe all those years I wasn’t dealing with it at all. I just kept doing the thing that needed to be done – staying on track, keeping the routine – and pushed down my emotions. I was so very good at covering my emotions. I was master of the no expression expression. But is that really handling the stress of a hard situation? Some would say that’s being strong. But I disagree. Stuffing your emotions and telling yourself that what is happening is not really happening is just a different kind of coping strategy – but not a healthy one.

(At this point I’m deleting a paragraph from my original post. I’ll talk more about that further down the page.)

I feel the responsibility to fix broken things that although I did not break, I feel I must fix. I admitted to my husband a few days ago that I have lived my entire life feeling that nothing I do is enough. Just under the surface of this 51 year old flesh is a girl with sweaty palms who lives in fear of being called to the PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE. Not because she did something so wrong but because she didn’t do enough right. She didn’t meet all those expectations that for some really dumb reason she thinks people have of her.

(Here’s where I should insert, “People don’t think about you half as much as you think they think about you.)

Maybe it’s because she’s actually heard some of those words through the years. Maybe it’s not dumb after all. Maybe it’s just remembering the real words. It’s a terrible burden to hold yourself to words like these.

She should…

She ought to…

She should have been there.

She should do more.

Maybe it’s revealing that the good little girl is not that good after all. I prayed for wisdom today because I just don’t know what to do in a present trouble. But I’m so tired of the wearisome mental and emotional focus.

After I originally wrote and published this today, I decided to google “hyperfocus.” Then I edited my post to link the article. This statement from the article sums up my feelings to a T.

“In short, positive hyperfocus feels good and makes you happy. Negative hyperfocus feels bad and makes you stressed.” 

End - 

 

Now for a little explanation on what I left out from the original post -

I wrote about something that, truth be told, represents a place of wounding in my life. The wounds left scars and those scars are very sensitive still. I’m talking about manipulation. 

Disclaimer: I have no problem with persuasion that is open and honest but that’s not what manipulation is. Persuasion is up front and comes from a sincere place. Manipulation is another ballgame altogether.

Manipulate - to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to  one’s own advantage (Merriam Webster online)

Insidious – causing harm in a way that is not easily noticed

By the way, “harm” does not have to be great harm to be harmful.

I have such an aversion to the feeling of being manipulated that my knee-jerk reaction is to escape the source. And I have considered that I may be so overly sensitive to it that I misinterpret it at times. But I also believe that often the people who do it do not even realize what they are doing. Manipulation can be so subtle. A person may not even recognize it for what it is. They may simply feel bad or have a sense of guilt (false guilt!) and not realize what’s just happened. Maybe the best thing I can do is, recognize it but refuse to get inwardly worked up about it – unless it has to do with my kids. Then that’s another scenario.

If I could sit with you face to face, I could speak more candidly about this and if manipulation is not a source of wounding for you, you may dismiss most of what I have to say. But…if your heart beat a bit faster when you read my words and a few past or present scenarios came to your mind, you might find some freedom in an open discussion in safe company.

I have more to share but it’ll keep. I had a conversation yesterday with an older woman – my aunt – that soothed my hurt and made me realize how much I miss being mothered by my own mother. We need one another. We need spiritual daughters, sisters and mothers in the faith. With just one term of endearment in that quick call yesterday, a weight rolled off my shoulders. But like I said, that’ll keep.

 

Written by Melanie Dorsey - Visit Website photo Mysignature-1.png
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Find Me On Etsy

 

Last week I opened my Etsy Shop.  After a year of selling my BellaMella Canvases and two months after selling my watercolor prints and Flower Power Pins, I decided to open shop. Currently I am not listing my BellaMella Canvases but you can still find those here.

How can you connect with me and see my listings, get coupon codes, gifts with purchase and other special deals?

  • “Like” my facebook page Melanie Dorsey Designs. You can do this from my sidebar.
  • “Follow” my Etsy Shop board on Pinterest. You’ll see that in my sidebar as well.
  • “Re-Pin” from my Etsy Shop board. This helps others see my pins and directs them to my Etsy Shop.
  • Order something! :)  When you order from my Etsy Shop today 9/10 – Friday 9/12, let me know in the “Note To Seller” that you were referred from my blog and I’ll include a GIFT WITH PURCHASE.

Here are a few things you’ll find in my Etsy Shop.

Burlap Tote Owl Watercolor Print Canary Note Card

peacock notecard

Note Card, Dolphin Note Card, Goldfish, Fedora, Twine Note Card, Sea TurtleChristmas Card Cardinal fb collage Magnolia Bloom Leather Pin

Linen Flower Pin $20 includes s/h

Magnolia Bloom Pin – Linen

Thank you so much for your continued support and all of the encouragement I’ve felt these past few years. This particular time of the year brings its own set of painful memories as it’s the 4 month season in which we got the devastating news of our son Andrew’s brain cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing ten days before Christmas. Besides running and spending time at the beach, being creative is one of my coping methods and it is a joy to this mother’s heart that I am able to use some of Andrew’s own art supplies in my process.

Thank you, in advance, for checking out my Etsy Shop and any other way you choose to show your support of my new venture.

sunburst etsy badge

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Vintage Owl Lamp Make Over

I picked up this lamp at a yard sale a few days ago. After checking online, I found out that it was produced by the Atlantic Mold Company in the 70′s. Similar vintage owl lamps are priced at $70 and up. This owl measures about 21″. With the shade, this is one statement piece! I painted it and covered the lampshade with a fabric from HGTV called, “Like Lace.” I gave this one a makeover in order to sell it. Until then, I’ll enjoy it myself!

Here’s the before and after pictures. What do you think?

owl lamp before pic

Vintage Owl Lamp

Vintage Owl Lamp

Written by Melanie Dorsey - Visit Website photo Mysignature-1.png
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Burlap and Button Down Shirt Pillow

I’ve been making things lately. A lot of things.

burlap biz shirt collage

I stopped at a yard sale this afternoon and bought this chair. I had intended to use it in my backyard but once I got it home, I realized it would be perfect for my Creative Studio. Studio sounds like such a fancy word for the enclosed Florida room where I write, paint, sew, crochet and do my Bible study.

stu·di·o
ˈst(y)o͞odēˌō/
noun
  1. 1.
    a room where an artist, photographer, sculptor, etc., works.

However since Google defined it thusly and “etc” leaves the studio door wide open to interpretation...and there’s quite a lot of creating that happens in this space, Creative Studio it is!

It really is a comfortable chair but it needed something to add color, texture, comfort and style. A pillow! A burlap pillow! A burlap pillow with fabric on the backside – yep, that’s what I envisioned. I went through my box of discarded clothing and pulled out one of my husband’s old button down business shirts. I cut the backside of his shirt, leaving the tail. I cut the burlap to size, pinned and sewed. I kept the pillow case open to change out the pillow. I prefer down pillows but I didn’t have one that fit, so I used some fiberfill I found in some of my mom’s things. Thanks, Mother!

Notice the band around the pillow Can you guess what part of the shirt it’s from? :) The finishing touch was one of my burlap flowers. I may have hollered for joy when this was complete. It’s so cute and it’s my design from start to finish. And that just thrills my heart.

I’m a big believer in using what I have on hand. I enjoy the challenge of creating something new from something old. And for some reason I gain more inspiration from a limitation. What about you? What inspires you?

 

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colors for june – watercolors & prints

Last week I painted this peacock using watercolors.

watercolor

watercolor

About three weeks ago I picked up some watercolor paints and painted my first watercolor. I am smitten! Smitten, I tell you. Dipping the brush in the water and swirling it in the little pan of paint, I remembered something I have not thought of in a long time. Over the years my mother shared with me a regret. When she had the opportunity to take classes in watercolor painting, she did not do it. Mother was in her early forties when she had the chance to take a watercolor course. A couple of women from her church were registering for it and invited her along.

Over the years, she confided in me that it was one of the things she regretted not doing. She felt she could not take time to do something that was only for herself. I suppose she may have believed if it was not for her home, her family or her church, that it did not merit her time away from home, family or church.

Let’s pause for a collective sigh right here…

I finished that first watercolor.

colors for june - hydrangeas in blue jar

And about half-way through the next one, I remembered what my mother shared.

Bee Yourself

At that moment, I was inspired to give my watercolors a name and “colors for june” was born.

June Williams Clark 6/28/38 - 5/9/13

June Williams Clark
6/28/38 – 4/9/13

I know Mother would be happy about that.

I’m now producing note cards with prints of my watercolors. Click on the fish below to see my designs and order “colors for june.”

Be sure to check out Elaine’s blog at Peace for the Journey because she’s generously hosting a give away for 5 of my cards. My friend, Elaine, has always been supportive of my creative endeavors and I appreciate her friendship and encouragement. You’ll love her writing and be sure to click on the link within her post on “solving the problem of pain.” Wow! Did that resonate with me!

goldihana

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I Still Believe

Yesterday things began churning within me. This is good. I had a spiritual dry spell for several days and that always makes me restless and dissatisfied but it also causes me to cry out to God for something. To cry out to Him for whatever it is He wants to speak to me or show me. I’ll be honest, there are times when I just don’t feel up to hearing what He may say (which is partly the cause of dry spells).

Sometimes it’s exciting and feels good to my soul. Other times it’s a humbling, arrow to the heart. Of course, His heart pricks always, ALWAYS, result in a beautiful end. I say end, but there is never an end with God. There is only eternity.

I sat in the pew at church Sunday and had a flashback to a fall day in 2009. My husband and I were driving Andrew to Shands Hospital in Gainesville. I clearly saw the scene replayed. I sat in the front passenger seat as my husband drove us. Andrew sat in the seat behind his dad so I could see him easily and assist him should he get sick on the drive. (If you have not been a reader of my blog, you may not know my twelve year old son, Andrew was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer in August 2009. He went on to Heaven that December.) I saw my Bible open to Psalm 97 and I was reading a passage aloud. I was calling upon all the courage and strength I had. I read and I encouraged Dannie and Andrew to believe that not only COULD God do a miracle to heal Andrew, but that He WOULD do it.

In the pew, I sat and remembered and saw it all again…and then God spoke to my heart. He showed me that for some of us who have had the faith to believe He would intervene, yet did not see it manifest here, our faith will still be rewarded in Heaven. In fact, our faith acts and words are recorded in Heaven. And one day, there will be a reward for that faith. For some their highest reward is the answered prayer here on earth and that is cause for great joy in the here and now. But for others their prayers were not answered in the way they hoped. Their faith was not made “unto sight” in the here and now, yet for eternity their joy shall be unquenchable and their hearts will display the faith they exhibited in God’s power to respond even though it was not seen in this time.

Tears filled my eyes as I saw this yesterday. I’m still weepy over it. Last night I took my art journal and created these two pages as an expression of that spiritual vision.

I Still Believe

There is a future blessing that will last for all of eternity for those who believe and have not seen…yet…

Are you believing for something? Keep the faith. It’s recorded and rewarded in Heaven, my dear friend.

 

Heaven & Andrew

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