Thursday, October 30, 2008

You frame it Friday - Black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susans tend to be big, cheerful, bold flowers that I hardly ever press because their "black eye" is so thick.

I was surprised when I came upon a patch of them in my father-in-law's garden a few weeks ago. He lives deep in the north woods of Wisconsin, and my guess is because these flowers grew in an area of dappled sunlight they didn't become as robust as usual, and happily they pressed beautifully.

This piece unframed pressed flower art is already matted with an 8 x 10 white acid free mat, and the flowers been sealed with two types of invisible UV resistant polymers to seal in color and keep harmful rays and moisture out. It's all ready for someone to drop into their favorite 8 x 10 frame!

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2nd annual elephant ear leaf cast

Here's this years paper cast of an elephant ear. This leaf measures a whopping 38 inches long, two inches longer than last year's paper cast leaf.
This time I also made a paper cast of the large stem, which measures 25 inches, so if all goes well (no rain, snow, footballs), I may end up with a really large paper leaf!

Note to self: Next year, do your paper leaf casting in September, not the end of October. It's cold at the end of October!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

How to store pressed flowers, part 2

Last winter I blogged about my method for storing pressed flowers, but I thought I'd let you know that things have changed around here.

We had number of really damp spells lately here in Wisconsin, and even though I stored my flowers in plastic containers with tight fitting lids, they weren't air tight. I was constantly having to reactivate my silica gel. I keep my pressed flowers at my work area in our basement, and I was worried that the exposure to dampness would affect their ability to retain their bright colors.

Thankfully, I've come up with an improved method that really seems to be working. If you are a pressed flower artist, maybe this new way of storing pressed flowers will work for you too.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

You frame it Friday

I don't usually feature scripture pictures two weeks in a row, but I guess it's been on my mind lately.

I love oak leaves. One of the first framed pictures I ever made was just a single dark oak leaf mounted on a large piece of my handmade paper, and framed with out a mat. It was simple, but dramatic. I haven't sat down to think about why I like them so much, but I seem to detect a sense of strength, and dependability - maybe because oak trees are so enduring.

After I made this be still and know picture, I made another one to give to my Dad. He has accumulated many worries, and I'm hoping he'll take this message to heart because, after all, it really is a great message.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

treasure box

Here's what I did this morning.

Friends from the gallery, who just happen to have a spectacular garden, invited me to come over and raid it. Since we are expecting a hard frost any day now, Dennis and Karen allowed me free reign. I gathered hosta, elephant ears, and calla lily leaves for leaf casting. I also found many interesting leaves including japenese maples and tulip tree leaves, and even a few flowers to press.

I was especially happy to get the solomon's seal, because I think it's such a beautiful, graceful plant. I'm hoping it will press really well.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the Lord Reigns

I'm back - I missed "you frame it Friday" last week because my computer had a bit of a nervous breakdown. Apparently I added one too many high resolution scans, and my computer rebelled. One new flash drive later, things are thankfully back to normal.

Here's the scan of the "you frame it" picture that upset my computer. "The Lord Reigns" features a simple yet graceful sprig of leaves that are just on the cusp of turning from bright green to autumn yellow. Underneath is a verse from 1 Chronicles 16:31, which says:

Let the heavens rejoice,
let the earth be glad,
let them say among the nations,
"The Lord reigns!"

Times uncertain as they are, I have been finding much wisdom in this verse. Despite the financial uneasiness we are all facing, there still is so much to rejoice in, to be glad about...
and besides, when all is said and done, the Lord reigns!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

tillandsia multiplication

Last spring, I showed you my unusual Tillandsia bulbosa air plant, and then I showed it to you again a few weeks later after it had turned bright red and flowered.

Well, this unusual plant continues to act strangely. After spending the summer outside under my lemon tree, it has sprouted 2 new shoots perpendicular to the main plant.

The two offshoots seem to be getting ready to fall off soon, and I'm willing to share. Would anyone like one?


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

You frame it Friday (a day early)

I'll be in Chicago later today attending a conference for the next few days, so here is this week's "You frame it Friday" creation a day early.

This matted pressed maple leaf collage is so much better in person - my scanner didn't quite do it justice. These are pressed maple leaves from my trip to northern Wisconsin last weekend, mounted on highly textured handmade paper, and matted with an archival acid free 8x10 mat.

The leaves have been sealed with two UV resistant polymers, so this picture is ready to drop into your favorite 8x10 frame.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Northern Wisconsin

I'm interrupting my normal flower/plant post to bring you this stunning picture I just found on our camera. It was taken on Sunday just before we headed home, by my husband. I'm not sure what I like looking at better...the beautiful fall foliage, the reflection on the lake, or the silhouette of the wispy beach grass in the forefront. Part of me wishes we were still there, in that peaceful place.

Below is another picture, of one of my enthusiastic leaf hunter helpers and I, deep in the north woods looking for "perfect" leaves. We found quite a few - several gallon ziplock bags full.

I will be pressing most of the leaves in regular flower presses , but some of them I will be pressing in the Microfleur, so that I can use them right away.
I was thrilled to find an abundance of really, really red maple leaves this year - some years they tend to be more orange than deep red. They'll come in handy for maple leaf collages.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

You frame it Friday

Here's another un-framed pressed flower art creation featuring orange cosmos. The orange cosmos picture I posted three weeks sold almost immediately, so I thought I'd make another one in its place.

In a few hours we will be heading off to northern Wisconsin, where the glorious north woods are at their peak of color.

Stay tuned for some colorful autumn pressed leaf collages next week.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Growing micro greens with style

I've mentioned before that my Mom has Alzheimer's, as did her mother before her. Things being as they are, my sister and I are doing what we can to avoid going down the same path. We eat our blueberries just about everyday, my sister exercises vigorously, and tries really hard to talk me into doing it too.

RealAge has a lot of good information about keeping your mind healthy as you age, and awhile back I read about how eating micro greens may be very beneficial.
Micro greens are "filament-thin, delicate plants, the smallest possible incarnation of salad greens, herbs, edible flowers, and leafy vegetables". Apparently they have been found to contain higher levels of concentrated active compounds than found in mature plants or seeds.

I bought some micro green seeds to grow on my sunny kitchen window sill. The directions recommend growing them in shallow plastic trays, and taking cuttings after the second or third sets of leaves.

I wasn't too excited about having to look at plastic trays day after day, so I asked Maureen and George from AFAF to make me two small ceramic planters that would fit right on my window sill. Above are the before and after pictures of one of the two beautiful trays they've made. George designed a template from my specifications, and Maureen ended up glazing the trays in an earthy brown with a loose abstract design, sort of organic in nature.

I haven't actually received them yet, but now that the outdoor gardening season is coming to an end, I can't wait to get them and try my new trays out.

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