Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bringing the Outside In

Bringing the outside in … you hear that phrase every so often these days. The concept is a pleasing one – bringing a small portion of nature, i.e. God’s beautiful creation into home – where it can become a part of our personal living space. I love that!

As I was putting together some of my container plantings the other day, I decided that I wanted to encourage you to add a few ivy plants to your list of plants this spring. They come in a variety of leaf shapes and sizes, and can be a beautiful rich green, or a playful variegated cream/green. They look wonderful draping down from containers curing the summertime, but what really sets them apart is their long lasting ability to thrive as a cutting in a vase.

Ivies thrive remarkably well for month after month in vases or bottles filled with water. I prefer simple green Perrier bottles, but I also have some vintage lab ware that they look great in as well. A bottle with a cascading sprig of ivy brings a gloomy corner alive with vibrant green freshness. At the moment, I have a still sprig of ivy in both bathrooms, but I’ve planted the ivy sprigs that had been sitting on my computer desk and kitchen counter into my summer flower containers. Soon they’ll be mingling with the flowers, and gracefully tumbling down the sides of the containers. In the fall, when my flowers are spent, I’ll take cuttings of all my ivy plants, put them in sparkling bottles water, and place them around my home once again. The outside will be in!


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bellis perennis

English Daisies were one of my “experimental” flower purchases this spring…and what a great purchase! When they caught my eye at my local nursery last week, I was attracted to their simple round shape and the myriad of tiny brush-like like petals. The yellow-eyed bright red flowers pressed wonderfully in my Microfleur, and are really quite sturdy, so they should work well on my cards.

English Daisies are a low growing perennial that prefer sun to part shade, and supposedly bloom until mid summer. The leaves are rather big and floppy, so I don’t think I’ll include them on my cards, but perhaps I’ll use them with the flowers in a framed picture at some point.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Good old Elmer's

Hi Elizabeth,

I am having sooooo much fun with the Microfleur flower press I ordered from you. I am making all kinds of cards. Birthday, graduation etc.
I am using dogwood blooms. I read somewhere that if you use a white flower you will need to treat it, in order for it to stay white. Is this true? If so what do I use?

Also, I am covering them with a clear paper and gluing the edges. Do you cover yours? What kind of glue do you use?
Thank you so much!

Nancy from Oklahoma

Dear Nancy,

I’m thrilled to hear that you are enjoying your new Microfleur and making lots of cards! Sorry that it took me so long to get back to you, but I’ll try to answer all your questions.

Regarding white flowers: I don’t press a lot of white flowers, but you’re right, they do tend to turn an ivory color after awhile. I have heard that people who use standard air flower presses (not the Microfleur) use Bon Ami cleanser… they put a little in a plastic zip lock bag and shake it very carefully, and then dust off the excess, and press as usual. I don’t know about using this method with the Microfleur in the microwave – I would worry about possible fumes from the cleanser. I have occasionally touched up Queen Anne’s Lace with diluted white acrylic paint to enhance their whiteness after pressing, and perhaps that would work with your dogwood blossoms.

I don’t cover the flowers on my cards with anything, although I know a number of pressed flower artists use clear contact paper. I glue down my pressed flowers well on a fairly thick piece of handmade paper, which is then mounted on heavy cardstock, so the flowers have a sturdy, stiff foundation to rest on, which protects them from the average trip through the US mail.

I have tried a number of different glues, including a pricey “botanical glue”, but have always come back to plain old Elmer’s Glue. It’s strong yet gentle on flower tissues, and best of all, it’s inexpensive! I buy it in the small children’s bottles, which are just the right size for precise control. Note: I now only use Perfect Paper Adhesive to adhere my pressed flowers!

There! I think that I’ve answered all your questions, but if you have more, just ask!

Kind Regards,


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