Hand Made Flowers and Me

My last post had such a lovely reaction from my few faithful readers and also brought a couple of questions via email from my non-Wordpress readers – that I thought I’d try a brief explanation of the different types of flowers I make and especially how I make hand rolled flowers.

I make so many flowers – mainly due to the absence of mojo – that last Easter I put some into a bowl and made a little centrepiece for my table.  It still survives, mainly as Orlando has no interest in it due to the fact that these flowers don’t smell pleasing to him.  They don’t smell at all.

Bowl of flowers

This is a good example as it has lots of different kinds of flowers made with different kinds of paper.

Some time back when YD and I made a trip to the local junk shop, we scored big time in the book section.  We picked up some big books – almost A3 size – a cook book, a Kaffe Fassett knitwear book and a travel book.  All glossy pages and fully and colourfully illustrated.  The books were 50 cents each.

I also scored an old Brittanica Encyclopaedia [B] which is the mother-lode really, for 20 cents!  These books were made to last forever, they are made with high grade paper and high quality inks.  The pages don’t discolour or bleed or degrade with time.  I use this book paper for all my pages that want to have words somewhere in them and I have not made a discernible dent in the density of the book yet.

The other three books are my suppliers for the ready coloured flowers.  I have to admit that as a book-o-phile I was quite challenged at the thought of tearing pages from a beautiful book to make flowers, but once the first page was torn and the first flower made, I was on the road to hell!

The pic below stars a suitably autumnal flower made from the cookbook.

Bowl of flowers 6

These glassine flowers are made with a die, nothing to it really just cut out and layer up:

Bowl of flowers 3a

But today we are primarily concerned with these little blue beauties:

Bowl of flowers 1

You will need:

Book pages

Scissors

Tweezers or quilling tool

Pokey tool 🙂

Glue gun

Colouring agents: water based inks – I use Distress Inks; glimmer spray of some kind works well too, glitter if wanted

A favourite TV programme – and off we go!  [Just fyi – I’m a late comer to Grey’s Anatomy.  I’ve been watching for about a month and am up to series 3 – hooked!]

Cut your book pages into circles.  The bigger the circle, the bigger the flower.  I tend to make circles somewhere in the vicinity of 6 -8 cm [2 – 3 inches]  Next you will spiral cut into these circles.  It’s important to understand that the narrower the gap between spirals the flatter the flower will be.  And it depends on how you want to use them – a high standing flower doesn’t work well on a card for instance, but looks great on a canvas……  I like to make my cut slightly wavy as it gives the top of the petal a more natural look.

The following blurry photo is my attempt to show you the cutting and rolling process:

BP flower unrolled

There will be a small circle left at the end of your spiral cut, this is the base of the flower.

Using the tip of your tweezers grasp the outside edge of the spiral cut, with right side facing roll up the paper keeping the bottom edge as level as possible.  I roll quite tightly then let the flower unroll a bit to find its happy place.

I make a big pile of flowers up to this point – and I maybe cut out a few dozen petal/leaf shapes as well.  For the next step I retire the TV and return to the play room.

I hot glue the spiral cut flower to the base.  Hot glue is best, it sets quickly before the flower can escape the shape you have chosen.  Lately I have learned to add an extra layer of ‘petals’ to the outside edge.  I flip the flower over and, making a pleat in the bottom of each petal, I hot glue an odd number onto the base, overlapping as I go.

Now I add colour.  Sometimes I colour with a product like glimmer mist, but typically I use water based inks, swiping the pad along the top edge of the flower and outside petals quite strongly.  Then I spritz with water.  The ink will bleed and spread the colour.  Don’t use too much water or you will have a soggy pile of wet paper pulp [yes, I’ve done it!]  While the flower is still damp I like to use the tweezers and roll back the petals, especially on the outside of the flower.  Denting, stretching and making little tears is all okay, it adds to the natural look.   Leave the flower aside to fully dry.

The flower on the left has had the extra layer of petals added, you can see the difference, right?

BP flowers 2

Now I make leaves.  I forgot to photograph this part.  But it’s pretty easy.  The left overs from the petals you glued on in the last step will now become the leaves.

BP flowers 3

I swipe some green ink on.  Draw a centre spine and some veins with a green water based pen – I use Marvy’s but anything will do – then go back in with my water brush and bleed the colour out.  I scrunch them up to and make a pleat before gluing one or two or even three to the bottom of the flower.  The pleat is important as it makes the leaf stand up and have body:

BP flowers leaves

Next is the fun part.  BLING!  You can never have too much bling, even on book paper flowers…..

I inserted half pearls into the centres and employed the wipe on – wipe off method with some glitter on flowers and leaves:

BP flowers bling

And then, because I could, I made a card, just for you!  🙂

BP flowers card best

As you can see from the photo, it’s dark and past my bed time.  Orlando has already gone…………

So, wherever you are in the world, I wish you a good night – or a good day!!

In bed

Any questions, please do ask ’em.

Thanks for dropping by, love that you did!

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When My Mojo Leaves …….

When I am wanting to create, but inspiration has packed her bags and left I either make cards or flowers!  I can spend hours – days even – making cards and flowers!

I play around with dies and stamps and try to put together something that is vaguely pleasing or pretty …….

Collection 1

It doesn’t always work out ……………………

Collection 5

……….and other times it does!

I went through an Owl phase when I got a really cute owl die with movable parts:

Collection 8

And a teddy bear textured phase – when you touch this teddy bear, it feels furry, I painstakingly glued on flocking…..and it was really fun to make!!  [This is a Magnolia stamp, coloured with Spectrum Noir ink pens.]

Collection 9

Collection 9a

Collection 9b

All these cards are heavily embellished and impossible to post in an envelope.

I now have a large carton full of cards and other created items – we need to go to a market day and sell ’em off!

I wish my mojo wouldn’t leave quite so often.

Thanks for dropping by, do leave a note – it’s always lovely to see you’ve been  🙂 

The Paper Bag Book

Bag & Book

I decided to make the little book for several reasons –

1) it was originally meant to be included in the ‘Box to Book’ project, but just wanted to be too big for its intended slot – so it became a stand alone piece.

2)  I wanted to experiment with more aged and tattered looks, I wanted to make a little book that looked as if it had been well loved for a long time.

3) I’d been reading about the importance of leaving behind examples of your own writing for your loved ones – and remembering how touched I had been when I discovered words handwritten by beloved old relatives, now gone.   I thought I should make something that was written in my own hand.   I started it in the ‘Box to Book’ project, and continued it here.

4) My recycling bug needed to make use of some cardboard and paper bags and used dryer sheets that were lying about on the desk getting in my way…

So, here we go.  The first pic depicts some of the items used in the process of turning a bit of cardboard and a brown paper bag into a faux leather book cover, assembled around the almost finished book:

Booklet 1

I cut the cardboard into two pieces.  The brown paper was cut to size, crumpled up and generally mistreated.  Then it was hit with swipes of ink straight from the ink pad in two colours – my favourites at the moment, Aged Mahogany and Old Paper.  The two pieces of card were then joined with binding tape, leaving a small gap so that the signatures could be sewn in

Booklet 2

The inside of the cover recycled a used dryer sheet, which has a really nice texture, like old hand made paper –  liberally sprayed with a glimmer mist concoction of colours:

Booklet 3

The almost finished cover – before the tweaking process:

Cover

The pages were made from ordinary white paper, cut to size, tattered along the edges to look like the hand cut paper you used to see in old books and generally mistreated to achieve that well worn look……. I wanted to get something of the look of a palimpsest* to the thing [don’t ask me why, it was just another crazy idea….] so I stamped every page with an illegible handwritten stamp from La Blanche in Old Paper, coloured over it with a coat of Aged Mahogany and then  splattered drops of Old Paper in liquid form about, made a coffee cup sized stain on some pages and dog-eared others.  I then hand copied a poem or a quote on every page.Booklet 5

The pages looked too plain for my taste, so now the flower stamp you saw in the first photo was utilised on every page and I spent a couple of happy hours colouring in and producing ‘water colours’ .  Still not satisfied I hit every page with a good spray of gold glimmer mist for a bit of sparkle.

Cover Inside 1

Page 2

Page 1

Detail

Detail

Byron & Yeats

The little book looks suitably well worn, with coffee stains, age spots and the glimmer of worn gold still visible on some pages.  It’s tatty and dog eared pages contain a wide variety of quotes and poems – from Winnie the Pooh to Khalil Gibran; Rumi to Leonard Cohen and includes Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Shakespeare, Yeats, Byron and more.  It’s all about LOVE!

With the book all but finished [tweaking!] I turned my mind to the bag.  I opened up another brown paper bag and cut it into two, then stuck it back together again.  I crumpled it up and mistreated it in a similar fashion to the paper that made the cover of the book.  I glued down the medallion and gave it a good coat of multi medium gel for shine and strength and [hopefully] durability

Bag w gel

At this point I realised I’d stuck the medallion on the wrong side of the bag and would have to disguise the rather prominent hem, which you can see at the top of the picture ….. so out came the lace and the ribbon and pearls and hot glue gun…… and we ended up with this.

Bag 4 finished

And did you spot the button?  It is one from the set that was made a few weeks back which I posted about as ‘Antique Buttons’.

I had fun making this and learned a lot in the process!

Thanks for dropping by, hope you enjoyed it – do say Hi – it’s nice to meet the visitors!  🙂

*Palimpsest literally means ‘scraped clean and used again’ 

Back in ye olde dayes when few knew how to write and paper/parchment was hard to come by it was common practise to scrape away previous script and use the paper again.  It was still common practise in the early medieval period for monks [who did most of the beautiful script work that survives today] to re-use even older manuscripts considered of no importance to produce their work on.  A recent discovery is the Archimedes Palimpsest.  It has caused great interest when it was found that the original writing was a 10th Century copy of a previously unknown treatise  by the renown philosopher.  Scientists and scholars are still working together to try and decode it. 

The ‘Last Tweak’ Syndrome

I’ve been playing around with a number of different ideas in my craft room – I have five projects in various stages of completion because I get to the ‘finished’ stage and then think ‘Oh, if I just do this, that bit will look better ……’  Then when I’ve done that I discover some other part of the project would also benefit from a wee tweak………. having done that of course the rest certainly requires being brought up to speed – and so it goes.

This is the case with the ‘Box to Book’ project, which is still in process, but which I assure myself is okay as it isn’t required until Christmas, so isn’t it good that I gave myself an eight month timeline with it …..?     🙂

The up side of all this prevarication and tweaking is that all kinds of exciting discoveries occur which leads to more inspiration, and all kinds of little practise runs happen and this, of course, leads to ‘I wonder what would happen if ….’  and so it continues.

I usually have to say ‘That’s it – no more!’ clap my hands together briskly and exit the room in order to stop the endless ‘last tweak’ syndrome.

Here are a couple of pictures of two items that came into being due to the tweak syndrome

Blue Tag

Blue is my favourite colour – so I kept this for me.  It dangles enticingly from the reading lamp on my desk, reminding me that tweaking is good!

How Does It Get Any Better

This one made an appearance when I was first learning how to make flowers and use stamps and has hung around ever since – it holds an inspirational question, which I try to remember to ask myself every day.  [If you read my blog you’ll know I fell off the horse with that one recently, but back on again now!]

Any way – the tweaking syndrome has led to another side project that I think is almost finished and which I will post details of in a couple of days – so this has all been a teaser to get your interest level raised – and to ensure that I cease tweaking and get it finished!

Hint:  Its a small book in a paper bag ……….and now I hope it’s worth the intro and that you come back to check it out   🙂

Thanks for dropping by!

Quick Cards

Finally, I’m back with a little something to share….. I’ve been busy working on several projects and none of them finished 😦 but here are three quick cards from an idea I played around with a couple of days ago, but first a quick update.

Living in New Zealand we are very used to earthquakes – the country straddles a giant fault line and the recent events in Christchurch have revealed a new fault line, which may be moving north, and the reason that the latest events have occurred.

My hometown of Wellington, the capital city, has been shaken with earthquakes over the past few days, my eldest daughter lives there and is coping with the endless rocking and rolling, books tumbling off her bookshelves – and she is a book-aholic with bookshelves in just about every room…… Work takes both ED and her partner into the central city with it’s high rises which is always a concern when the earth decides to move!

Needing a bit of a stress relief, it was time to do something relatively mindless……..

I made an oval template and filled in the colour with distress inks, stamped, then coloured – colouring in for grown ups, it is so relaxing!  Then I added the greeting and finally matted and mounted.  All done in less than an hour.

Quick Card 1 July 13

Quick Card 2 July 13

Quick Card 3 July 13

Thanks for dropping by, hope all goes well for you!

Where Have I Gone?

Today I got a message on my last post made 19 days ago.  The message was from my blogging friend katyoparty over at ArtOutWithYourHeArtOut   The message said: “Where are you?  I’ve missed your posts!”  

What a good question – where am I?

As I pondered what to say in response I rejected all the reasons I might normally give – busy with clients, busy in the art room, busy reading, busy listening to self improvement CD’s, busy with family, busy with Orlando, busy playing slotomania on facebook …….

The truth is I’m not busy, I’m evading.

I’m evading the season, the weather, the emotional pulls that revisit at this time every year,.  I’m in survival mode.

And I’m barely making it.

My work as a life coach means I help others find a path through their troubles, I teach them how to change their thinking from glass half empty to glass half full.  I encourage, I make them exercise their emotional muscles, I give homework and never accept excuses when they try to fool themselves or feed me red herrings.  They tell me I am a good life coach.  I know I change lives, I am their mentor and none of them know when I am wobbly.  I don’t let them see it.

But it’s really hard to coach yourself!

Having chosen to leave my ultra busy and over extended previous existence to become more quiet and contemplative in my daily life, I live far away from my life long friends and I have no family except my two beautiful and loving daughters.

I’m struggling with a question that goes something like this:  how do I remain grateful for all I already have while wishing for something more?  The longing for my family to be closer geographically tips me out of my contentment with what is.  I become impatient and discontented with my situation.  I lose the art of living in the moment, which is my greatest treasure.

Katy’s caring comment went bang straight into my heart.  It came at a moment when I was feeling especially vulnerable having just read a couple of posts.  One on dealing with loss and the other a really good Johnny Cash quote which hit home quite strongly.  

I was on the verge of making the decision to pull myself up by the shoe laces, white knuckle it and get over myself.  At a time when I felt really alone and really tired of being alone and really fed up with yet another year when the shadows from my past start to gather about and attempt to drag me back to a place I left long ago.

And somehow that question made it all alright.  In this strange and still somewhat alien blogosphere someone notices your absence, someone cares enough to say hey, how you doin’?  And a shaft of sunlight blazes into the place where my heart huddles coldly and reignites it.

Thank you for caring enough to send that message Katy.  I am here, and I will be just fine now.

And I bet you never expected to get a response like that to your friendly enquiry!  🙂