Painted Paper Rose-Tutorial

As discussed in my previous post Celebrate Life, this is the time of year where I remember my father.
Yellow roses are symbolic of his life. They were the flower he often gave to my mother for Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. We had a floral arrangement around his casket in which we pulled from and singularly used as our last physical good bye. For years we noticed single yellow roses growing in my mother’s garden. On tough days, like the anniversary of his death, I would often buy my mom yellow roses, and sign the card in my father's name. This year, I decided to craft my own lasting roses from computer paper. This was fitting since many of the memories I have of my dad involve computers and office supplies.  Anyway, here's how I did it.

Start with a single piece of plain white computer paper

Crumple it into a ball

Open up your paper and flatten it out

Fold in half and then fold in half again.

With scissors cut an oval shape 

Roll one of your cut ovals to form a center

Wrap petals one by one around the center. Bend shape and form the petals evenly. 

Use floral wire to wrap your base

Extend the wire past the base to form a stem. Using floral tape wrap the wire.

Mix acrylic paint of your liking and paint your flower being sure to cover all traces of white.

Let dry and stiffen.

Note: When applying the paint, the paper petals will become very fragile and may tear easily. Apply your paint carefully! You can paint the outermost petals separately before applying to the rose center but its best to shape and wrap them while wet.

Celebrating Life

The end of summer and beginning of fall always seem to be a time of remembrance for me. My dad passed in August of 2006. One year later (in October) my family and I had a Memorial party in his honor. It was a chance for me to find a constructive way to deal with the mourning process.  Designing a visual memorial allowed me to become completely absorbed in his life, personality, and accomplishments. For months I gathered images from every stage of his life to display along with symbolic d├ęcor such as stars and yellow roses.

The installation was setup on the back porch of his log home. I made a projection screen from white sheets and added grommets to secure them to the columns. The video projected was an hour-long photo tribute that I had previously edited over two sleepless nights prior to his wake.

The ceiling of the porch was covered in white lights, twigs, stars, and custom ornaments for our guests to take home. This was perhaps the most stressful of all the projects. As with many things in life it took WAY longer than I had planned for.

It was really important that this event be about sharing stories and remembering the laughter that my dad brought to our lives. A signature book, with pictures to help jog memories, was available for guests to jot down stories and thoughts.

We also shared our thoughts verbally in a candle lighting ceremony. The candleholders where made by drilling holes into freshly stained wood, some of which I had acquired from my dad’s workshop.  The circular board was trimmed with birch wood picked from the ground of the wooded acreage he owned and loved. 

Becoming so enthralled with this massive design project really opened my eyes to who I am as a person. I am someone with a great need to create, it is the way I think, operate and survive. In this way I am so much like my father, and I am so thankful for that.  

My Crafty Summer Visitor

I was fortunate enough to have my ten year-old niece Megan up for a week-long visit this summer. (She was actually nine at the time. Her birthday is tomorrow… Happy Birthday Megan! ) She helped organize my workshop, a necessary task that I am not always motivated to do, as well as clean and prepare the pre-owned Coach bags I’ve recently added to my space.

In exchange for her dutiful services we worked on some functional furniture and design elements for her new bedroom. The problem: a tiny room measuring 6’x11’ and a very artistic 5th grader in need of some workspace. So, I found this bunk bed on craigslist for only $65 with the idea that we could convert it to a loft. This way she would have space for projects and homework.

When my niece arrived we discussed what color palette she wanted. Since black and green are her “favorite colors” we went in that direction and added light blue and a touch of purple. I let her make all the final decisions and had her help out with the execution of the projects as much as possible. This was a different experience for me as I’m usually the one with the final say. I had to let go of any need to control the outcome of the work and just let the results be. It was a very freeing experience.

In my previous blog I discussed my sewing addiction gone cold. With Megan here I finally blew the dust off my sewing machine and let it’s needle soar once more. This was Megan’s first machine sewing experience…and I loved every minute of it! We started with a mini pillow for practice and then she made a large pillow complete with a decoratively stitched edge. My 16-month old daughter Ella even got involved!

Working with Megan was a wonderful experience as she is incredibly intuitive and creative. Her instincts and consistent ability to quietly problem solve had me intrigued. She truly has an incredible gift and so much potential. I’ve found that after Megan has left my work has become more inspired. I am truly thankful for the opportunity.



Garden Photography

My Husband's Garden Addiction

My husband Joe is wonderful. We met in college at a random party and have been best friends ever since. Our passion is planning, executing, and dreaming about DIY projects together.

This summer Joe has become obsessed with landscaping. Early in the summer, he realized that the Lowe’s near our home has a clearance section for annuals and perennials.  He was able to purchase some amazingly healthy plants for incredible prices.

So now, I have been harassing my dear husband by calling him an “addict.” Since he made this discovery, he’s been to Lowes nearly every day checking out what plants have been marked down and never coming home empty handed! There have been several days where he has made multiple trips (like today…he went four times!) He is hooked on the thrill of the find. This is, as you will learn if you actually care to follow my blog, more like me than him.  For the last several months the routine has been: baby goes down at 8 pm and Daddy is out in the yard by 8:01. He’ll stay out there most nights planting, digging, weeding, and watering until 11 or longer! ! I can’t seem to be out in the yard in the evening for longer than 20 minutes before I find myself covered in bug bites! And so, our yard… thanks to my fabulous husband …has never looked so good.

We found this great little house….excuse me “Cedar Chateau”  at Sam’s Club for under $300! It was a great find. Check out all the fun little details. I added some of my own custom touches like this sign. Come on…how cute is that?

Sewing Machine Gone Cold

I’m not the kind of person that has decorations for every holiday, or makes a habit of dressing the color of the occasion.  I do however love the idea of Halloween costumes and CAN NOT wait until my daughter is old enough to play dress up with me! There is something about being both a mother and crafter that makes me want to make outfits for my daughter. I suppose I have always wanted to have a baby girl to dress up in fun clothes like a doll. 

This was last Halloween...

Here’s the thing…I have yards and yards of fabric and seven sewing machines...well four that work (not including the Playschool one…that’s my daughter’s) and I have not sewn a mechanical stitch in a really long time. Between moving 6 times in eight years, loosing my father to cancer, starting a few businesses, and having a baby, I never seemed to be at the right state to make my sewing dreams reality.

Over the years I have managed to horde away an extensive amount of fabric, buttons, and other sewing materials. I have used the fabric in small projects, (like my lamp revamps) and other no-sew or minimal hand stitch projects like the owl in my daughter’s nursery. But, haven’t turned my machine on more than a handful of times since….well since I got it. It was the last birthday gift I received from my father before he passed. I needed it to replace the one I had been using for years that no longer worked very well.

Now though, I am ready. I have the workspace, I'm working on a rolling cutting table (details to come), my fabric is organized (sort of), and the inspirational sewing artwork is in place. Now, I just need to sew….

All hail the power of Baking Soda!

I have been obsessed with baking soda and all it's many uses for sometime now. My husband has joked about getting me an "I heart baking soda" t-shirt. If he ever actually did...I swear I would wear it! Arm & Hammer has not paid me a dime.... I am just floored by how many uses there are for baking soda. From skin care to toilet cleaning, baking soda is my bff - helping me avoid the costly toxic alternatives! My love affair for the powder started when it dawned on me that I could use it for cleaning the bathroom instead of the pile of sprays and liquids that had my head reeling from the fumes.

Helpful Uses for the Wonder Powder
  • Mix with water to form a paste to clean teeth
  • Clean counter tops, toilets, tubs and dishes
  • Take the itch from pesky bug bites
  • Clean silver
  • Remove mildew from showers and outdoor furniture
  • Remove stains and scuff marks from fabrics and other materials
  • Remove burnt food residue from pots and pans
  • Cut back on the "wet dog smell" after your dog's bath (sprinkle on and brush off)
  • Clean your child's toys safely
  • Add it to your diaper pale between smelly poops or sprinkle in the bottom of your regular trash can before adding a new bag. 
  • Add to your shampoo for fuller more manageable hair
  • Exfoliate your skin