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Tag Archives: Spring

  • Spring Blooms Coffee Filter Flowers

    Dying and making coffee filter flowers was so much fun as an indoor activity when the weather outside was a bit uncooperative. But it is spring, right? That means a lot of changeable forecasts that may alter family play time. So gather a few supplies and have fun indoors as this activity spaces out over a few hours to a couple of days depending on the volume of flowers you want to cultivate!

    I was reminiscing about my coloring from 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers, when I decided to jump onto Pinterest to see what was popular using such search words as "flower" and "color".

    Spring inspiration, item 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers by Leisure Arts. Spring inspiration, item 6806 - Art of Coloring Flowers by Leisure Arts.

    My Pinterest search lead me to the "coloring [or dying] of coffee filter flowers".  Making coffee filter flowers has remained very popular so I started to investigate further. When I saw a post on Poppies by Reality Daydream, I knew I had found my jumping off point into the wonderful world of dying and making coffee filter flowers!

    Close-up of a Poppy; a coffee filter flower. Close-up of a Poppy; a coffee filter flower.

    There are many methods and supplies for dying and making coffee filter flowers. I gathered my basket coffee filters and food coloring to dye them. To add variety to my flowers, I wanted to cut shapes from some of the coffee filters. I again relied on Pinterest to assist me;  this Pin shows simple shapes.

    Fold several basket coffee filters and cut shapes before dying. Cut different shapes to make a varied floral arrangement. Fold several basket coffee filters and cut shapes before dying. Cut different shapes to make a varied floral arrangement.

    With shapes in mind, next I needed to get my dyes ready. I relied on food coloring from the pantry. As seen here, my technique was simple; line up plastic containers of water with various dye colors. The number of drops of dye, the size container and amount of water, and the length of time the coffee filters sat in the dye are all contributing factors into the resulting color. One important note to make: the dye colors appear darker in the water, so as your coffee filters dry the shades appear lighter.

    Food coloring was the dye of my choice. I used assorted "traditional" and neon colors. Food coloring was the dye of my choice. I used assorted "traditional" and neon colors.

    I folded and cut three coffee filters at a time. I let each folded bunch sit in dye from 30 minutes to 8 hours. After removing each bunch from dye, I opened and placed each bunch on cookie racks placed inside an inverted box lid lined with waxed paper. I did not try separating each wet layer at this time. Coffee filters take forever to dry on their own! So my preferred method of drying was to place the inverted box lid (with wet flowers on cookie racks) under a ceiling fan! TIP: You may have to place another cookie rack over the inverted box lid to prevent any coffee filter flowers from flying around the room as each wet flower layer dries!

    Two different shapes just removed from food coloring dye. I opened each folded stack of three and placed on cookie racks. Two different shapes just removed from food coloring dye. I opened each folded stack of three and placed on cookie racks.

    I kept experimenting with multiple colors and shapes. Here's my finished variety of dyed coffee filters at the end of the weekend.

    Many shapes and colors later - voila! Now I have choices from which to begin. Many shapes and colors later - voila! Now I have choices from which to begin.

    I reviewed my Pinterest pin which led me to the post on Poppies to prepare both the center and the stem for each flower.  Since I am not a seamstress, I had no exciting fabric to use as the Poppies' centers, so I relied on felt. I glued the felt to some cardstock to give the center a bit more strength.

    Felt glued onto cardstock to be used as the center of some flowers. Felt glued onto cardstock to be used as the center of some flowers.

    To create the Poppies as described in the Pin, several layers of coffee filters would be stacked and glued one on top of another. But I wanted to insert a stem through the bottom coffee filter layer, not glue the wire to the outside of all of the coffee filters. I decided to insert floral wire through the bottom coffee filter layer and added an extra piece of plain cardstock for support. This bottom layer also hides the wire and glue as you stack the other layers on top of it.

    Floral Stem Wire (20 gauge) inserted through coffee filter and cardstock circle; hot glue melted over both. Floral Stem Wire (20 gauge) inserted through coffee filter and cardstock circle; hot glue melted over both.

    I noticed that I was drawn to the look of flowers that resemble both Peonies and Roses. This gathering of pale colored flowers was so inspiring, I wanted to try her technique. One drawback for me at this time was that I didn't want to use my flowers as a centerpiece, or glued to a wreath or for the underneath of each flower to be seen. Let me know if you think of a good technique to use to finish the back of these flowers so that the pinched masking taped center is hidden.

    With all of the above in mind, I decided to insert wire for stems into my other floral creations, too. I held a pipe cleaner with the 20 gauge floral stem wire to give my stem extra thickness before wrapping with floral tape.

    Day Lily-like flower. Curled pipe cleaner connected to 20 gauge floral stem wire; lighter-weight 26 gauge floral wire wrapped around base of flower. Day Lily-like flower. Curled pipe cleaner connected to 20 gauge floral stem wire; lighter-weight 26 gauge floral wire wrapped around base of flower.

    In addition to the Poppies I made, the other varieties of coffee filter flowers included a Day Lily, a Peony and a Shasta Daisy.

    Day Lily and Peony look perky in a decorative glass milk bottle (item #47918 by Leisure Arts). Day Lily and Peony look perky in a decorative glass milk bottle (item #47918 by Leisure Arts).
    Pretty yellow Shasta Daisy shows off its beauty simply placed in a decorative glass milk bottle (item #47918 by Leisure Arts). Pretty yellow Shasta Daisy shows off its beauty simply placed in a decorative glass milk bottle (item #47918 by Leisure Arts).

    I gathered all of my coffee filter flowers into a larger vase and placed on my desk. I wanted to enjoy the colors of spring everyday in the office; pollen-free and no watering necessary!

    A purple glass vase is perfect for spring and showcasing my floral bouquet; from left to right, see a Day Lily, Poppy, Shasta Daisy and Peony. A purple glass vase is perfect for spring and showcasing my floral bouquet; from left to right, see a Day Lily, Poppy, Shasta Daisy and Peony.

    Spring into something fun and share your love of color!

    Martha

     

  • Wood Decor: Plates, Birds & Paint

    Aren't we ready for spring? Let's make a new wood decor project for our homes using paint and birds as we clean out our nests from the winter blues!  Since March is National Craft Month, I am also trying something new with my wood piece: decoupage with a crackling effect!

    When I think of spring, I think of birds building their nests as one reminder that longer days and warmer sunshine are closer than we think. I put my hands on the book I was ready to use, Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection (Leisure Arts #7066).

    Beautiful vintage prints are included in this book with nature as its subject matter (Leisure Arts #7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection). Beautiful vintage prints are included in this book with nature as its subject matter (Leisure Arts #7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection).

    In addition to using spring as my theme for my new project, I also wanted to incorporate the use of wood. Haven't you noticed how popular the use of wood has become again? Just search for ideas or walk through craft stores to find wood pallet projects, wood signs, wood initials, and wood tree crafts.

    I already had a 14" unfinished wooden plate that I could use, but I also wanted something a bit more non-traditional. I found the slight difference I was looking for with this natural-looking piece of wood from Amazon; it was advertised as a tree bark footed server. It was an authentic slice of tree repurposed as a kitchen item. Well, it seemed to be the perfect solution for me; I purchased it for this project!

    This cross-section is a beautiful slice of a tree found on Amazon for my project. It is described as a footed tree bark server. This cross-section is a beautiful slice of a tree found on Amazon for my project. It is described as a footed tree bark server.

    With my Birds and Butterflies leaflet in hand, I made a list of effect(s) I wanted my projects to have along with the required supplies. There's a great chart within the book that outlines what you'll need for each of the photographed projects shown in the leaflet.

    For both my wood plate and bark server, the first step was to sand each using both medium-grit and fine-grit sandpaper.

    A 14" wooden plate sanded twice and wiped clean with a dry tack cloth. A 14" wooden plate sanded twice and wiped clean with a dry tack cloth.

    For wooden surfaces, a primer was needed to be applied before anything else, followed by another round of sanding. After wiping away the dust once again, I applied a base coat.

    I masked the outer edge with plastic so that the tree bark would not get Primer on it when applied. Then, a first coat of base coat acrylic paint was applied. I masked the outer edge with plastic so when Primer was applied, it would not get on the tree bark. Then, a first coat of base coat acrylic paint was applied.

    After the turquoise paint was applied near the center of the bark server, I painted the surface with a spring green color. I didn't know if the darker turquoise area would be noticeable underneath the green, or, through how many layers the crackling effect would appear. Here's a close-up of the crackling effect.

    Green acrylic paint was applied over the dark turquoise as my base coat(s). You can see the green between the cracks. Green acrylic paint was applied over the dark turquoise as my base coat(s). You can see the green between the cracks.
    To create the cracked effect, crackle medium was applied over the base coat(s). Paint was applied over the crackle medium rendering the cracks. Finally a glazing mixture was applied over the crackle medium. To create the cracked effect, crackle medium was applied over the base coat(s). Paint was applied over the crackle medium rendering the cracks. Finally a glazing mixture was applied over the crackle medium.

    The wooden plate had its rim painted yellow with its center an antique white. Then a darker green was used in preparation for the future inset bird nest image to be decoupaged in the plate's center.

    The 14" wooden plate had the same procedures done to it as described for the server. Except, to add an additional masked look to the paint on the plate's rim, I used a dry brush to apply a very light layer of paint over the cracked paint. The 14" wooden plate had the same procedures done to it as described for the bark server with one exception.. I added an additional masked look to the paint on the plate's rim, by using a dry brush to apply a very light layer of paint over the cracked paint.

    Okay, so far so good but how to make this plate's crackling effect and use of the print images different from the bark server project? Below you'll see the completed steps that I had so far; I needed to pause with this project to consider my next step.

    One image for the wooden plate. What else can I do to give it even more dimension that just the crackling effect? One image for the wooden plate. What else can I do to give it even more dimension than just the crackling effect?

    Moving right along with the bark server, I needed to decide on the print images to use and their placement. I cut out many images from the book and started positioning them on the bark server without gluing until I decided on a final composition. I think the below placement looked like a winner!

    Deciding what print images to use on which wood pieces. I'm glad I've cut several from the leaflet; now I can reposition to my heart's content! Deciding what print images to use and their placement on the bark server. I'm glad I've cut several from the leaflet; now I can reposition to my heart's content!

    As I reread the crackling steps in the Birds and Butterflies leaflet, I noticed a sentence outlining how to create a "stained" topcoat effect. Maybe I would try that along with gluing reeds and sprigs of shrubbery around the plate's rim; that would create the effect of peering in on the nest and its inhabitants while in its natural environment!

    Maybe I'll try the "stained"topcoat effect as described in the leaflet 7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection. Then I'll start experimenting with placing reeds and springs of shrubbery to the plate's rim for an additional dimensional effect. Maybe I'll try the "stained" topcoat effect as described in the leaflet 7066 - Birds and Butterflies Decorator Collection. Then I'll start experimenting with placing reeds and sprigs of shrubbery to the plate's rim for an additional dimensional effect.

    Here are my final two wood projects... I am pleased with the results. There are multiple steps to be coordinated with the effects and/or paint techniques you plan on trying. So be careful that you've outlined the steps you need to take and supplies you need to have on hand!

    Here's the finished wooden server that won't be used for food any longer. It is now a display piece, and I will happily display it in honor of spring! Here's the finished wooden bark server. It won't be used for food in my household; it is now a display piece! I will happily display the bark server in honor of spring!
    The final plate decorated to give the viewer the effect of peering through the reeds only to discover a warbler's nest. What a great present this would make for any bird lover! The final wooden plate decorated to give the viewer the effect of peering through the reeds only to discover a warbler's nest. What a great present this would make for any bird lover!

    There are multiple steps with each of these projects, but they are not difficult. You must make sure you follow the manufacturers' directions on each of the supplies that you purchase for the effect you desire to create on your project(s).

    Enjoy your new discoveries both in nature and in art; happy National Craft Month!

    Martha

     

  • Home Decor: Buttons & Candles for All Seasons

    August is a transition-time of year. Growing up in the northeast, it was the final month of summer vacation. The days were still hot, but the evening air would sometimes be cool. August ended with my birthday and an introduction to a new school year after the final three-day holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day. It was a cue for me to say, "Okay; now I'm ready!" I was anxious for new challenges, seeing familiar faces and getting ready for seasonal changes. This inspired me to create with Buttons and the LED Candle Set.

    I want a change to my summer decor, but I don't want to jump into fall leaves, berries and gourds. I scoured the few magazines readily available at hair salons and doctors' offices, but then turned to Pinterest for some ideas, too. I was inspired by this Vintage Button Garland and the ambience it created in quite a simple way. Plus, it was a perfect embellishment for a "fake" candle. LED candles won't burn so my garland is safe; easy-peasy, nice and easy!

    I gathered the buttons I had previously sorted and started planning. I decided to thread my buttons onto waxed linen in a color similar to the candles in my set. I love my LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts);  they look and feel like real waxed candles, plus they have a remote control to change colors, add flickering flames or set a timer!

    Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Used waxed linen to assist holding your buttons in place. Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Using waxed linen  assists by holding your buttons in place.

    Using the waxed linen allowed me to easily thread my buttons.  Also, I didn't have to place knots on either side of a strung button to prevent its repositioning. The waxed linen has a natural 'tackiness' which assisted in placing the garland on each candle. But, just in case your button garland gets heavy and wants to slide down your candle just a bit, use a little piece of mounting putty behind several buttons to hold the garland in place.

    Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place. Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place.

    Since the LED candles don't get hot,  you can safely walk away from your lit candles. I really do love the LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts).

    Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying height, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames. Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying heights, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames.

    This transition-time of year includes the colors of deepening yellows, fading greens, and dulling browns to its flashes of remaining bright colors. I decided to replicate those colors on each garland I made. I didn't measure at first. I wanted at least three rows of buttons to wrap around each LED candle. I wrapped the waxed linen six times around a candle to give me the rough estimate of the length I needed. Later, I did measure a piece of waxed linen and it was 6 feet plus; so to be safe, measure a piece that is 7 feet long.

    Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right! Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right!

    After making three button garlands, I discovered two unopened plastic containers that had plaid-patterned buttons and leaf-shaped buttons in them. Time to create a seasonally-themed button garland for my candle!

    A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle. A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle.

    I was not going to undo the previous garlands strung, so I decided to further embellish the candles with ribbons and/or their display area. Here are some developing ideas to inspire you for your home decor planning in the upcoming months. If you need some more inspiration, for more ideas using buttons and ribbons, look at Leisure Arts' item 6023 - Crafting with Buttons & Ribbons.

    Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer. Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer.
    Using waxed linen cording prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place. Using waxed linen prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen cord was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place.

    For a preview of Christmas and winter, I thought of pom-poms. HMM...I tied a seasonal ribbon on one LED candle and the ideas started developing. For a winter theme, the LED candles could be placed on a stand then pom-poms could be stacked at their base -- this idea is just developing! Again there are no worries as these are flameless - I really do like Leisure Arts' LED Candle Set!

    Planning for a Christmas -themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations. Planning for a Christmas-themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations.

    What's great is that the button garlands can easily be swapped out with another. So let the themes Begin! Although the button garlands can be stored easily, I would recommend a cool storage area since it is waxed linen.

    A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set. A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set.

    Plan for your transitional decor with changes in color and themes. Do you need to get your creative juices flowing? Start small; try simple changes and see how a few special touches can give a new ambience to your existing home decor!

    Enjoy!

    Martha

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