Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free plantable wildflower paper kit!

I've really gotten into making plantable paper lately, so I thought I'd pass along the fun.  I'm including a free  plantable wildflower seed paper kit in every Going Green Paper Making kit ordered - while my supplies last. 

Included are instructions, ideas for using plantable paper, planting directions, and of course, a nice variety of wildflower seeds.  Going Green Paper Making Kits are available at Elizabeth's Flowers as well as leaf petals.  Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

got basil?

I do!  It's definitely time to pinch back my basil today. But, since we will be celebrating the end of my son's little league season tonight, I won't have the opportunity to make fresh pesto for supper.  (We'll be eating at Taco Bell...please pass the Tums...)

Instead of pesto, I'm going to try this Basil Lemonade recipe from a good friend of mine.  It sounds great - I really don't think you can go wrong with anything as delicious as lemons and basil.

basil lemonade

makes 4 servings

1/2  cup rinsed, lightly packed
fresh basil leaves

3 tablespoons of sugar

4 cups of water

1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon

4 sprigs of fresh basil


In a 2-quart glass bowl, combine basil leaves and sugar. With a wooden spoon, crush leaves with sugar until bruised. Add water and  lemon juice.Stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour through a fine strainer into ice filled glasses. Top with a few sprigs of basil leaves.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Flower Pressing Tips, Part 2 - Revisited

We are in early summer here in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and it is beautiful. My perennials and annuals are blooming, and the wildflower seeds I planted earlier along the cornfield are beginning to pop as well, so as usual I'm doing lot's of pressing. I love it!

Here are a few more pressed flower tips I want to share with you:

I usually press the flowers I gather right away, but sometimes I let certain flowers sit on the counter for awhile, such as carpet cosmos, poppies, and even pansies. I gently flatten them out, and arrange the petals as needed, but then I let them sit for a few hours, and they kind of “draw in a bit.” This tends to concentrate the color of the flowers, and it adds a bit of interesting texture. Try it, and see what you think.

*  A number of you have written in asking me what kind of glue I use on pressed flowers. For years I used plain old Elmer's glue.  However, now I tend to use Perfect Paper Adhesive for both gluing and protecting all of my pressed flower and botanical art pieces. It's UV resistant, moisture proof, and it's even flexible - and virtually invisible.

*  Pansies are a favorite for pressed flower artists, but they can be tricky to glue properly. Here’s how I glue them:
First, place a small drop of glue in the center of the flower, and place a row of small dots of glue along the outer edge of the flower. Arrange the pansy where you want it and press down.

Then take a tooth pick and gently run it under the overlapping petals of the pansy from the middle out, and lift up the flaps that make up the "face" of the pansy.  Place a tiny drop of adhesive on the end of the toothpick, and gently slide it under the unsecured parts of the overlapping petals.

After gluing down the flowers, I would recommend lightly covering each flower, stem and leaf with a light coat of Perfect Paper Adhesive to preserve and protect the them and to maintain their vibrant colors.  If I'm making a piece of pressed flower art that will be framed at some point, I also spray it with clear UV resistant sealer in addition to applying the PPA.

Happy pressing!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Flower Pressing Tips, Part I - Revisited

Back in April of 2005, I entered my first blog entry.  I reread it the other day, and was happy to see that it wasn't too bad, considering!  I've dusted it off and polished it up a bit because it contains some good information for my newer "pressed flower" readers. 

Flower Pressing Tips, Part I

* My most used press - I love the "Microfluer" microwave flower press. It's essentially two thick pieces of thick durable plastic, 4 clips, and a set of thick fleece liners. I use this press the most, because it's so FAST and easy. I can press about 15-20 decent sized pansies in about a minute. The color is exceptional - often the color seems richer after being microwaved, since they are both pressed and dried in just a little over a minute. There are a few flowers that turn strange colors, or don't tolerate the microwave at all, especially very moist flowers like impatiens.  Also, the timing can be tricky, i.e. how long to zap the flowers, but it just takes some patient trial and error. Please practice on some "not so perfect" flowers first. 

* Gently flatten the flowers - before placing them in your press. That way they have a better chance of pressing perfectly.

* Don't forget the leaves! - It's easy to get so carried away while gathering flowers, that you forget to snip a few leaves and stems. Find young fresh leaves, as they press best. Also, if the stems of a certain flower are thick and bulky, substitute a more slender stem from another flower.

* Cultivate a sense of wonder - Take a moment to look...really, really, look at a flower. See the intircate handiwork of each flower - the precise symetry, the irridescent glowing colors on such a tender canvas. How kind of our Creator to sprinkle such beauty at our feet!

* Cultivate a sense of humor - I try to gently knock the bugs off each flower I gather, but those little pests are persistent! Can you believe God made so many odd looking bugs? I try to be patient and carry those little bugs back outside, but after the millionth one...

* A few of my favorite flowers to press - Cosmos, osperspermum, pansey, viola, violet, verbena, coreopsis, calendula, transcantia, borage, edelweiss, mallow, and lavender,just to name a few.  Here is a complete list of flowers that I have found to press well in the Microfleur.

If you haven't pressed flowers before, please try it! If you have any questions, just email me. I'd be happy to help get you started!

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Do you juggle?

It gets tiring to keep all of my balls up in the air, so I let my "art/work" ball fall to the ground for a while this spring.  I was secretly hoping no one would notice, but you did.  Thanks to the gentle admonition from several friends and readers to "get going!", I'm ready to get back at it again.   

While I've been gone I happily discovered that my daughter is a budding track star.  I knew she was fast, but I didn't realize she was fast enough to win races and set a record.  Awesome!

I've also been busy with the usual home and garden things (I expanded my vegetable and herb gardens), and visiting and helping my parents as much as I can, as well as trying to help a friend who is going through a hard time.  I'm glad I can be available to them.

And, thanks to my husband, I now have another ball to keep in the air - fitness, of all things.  In March, the company he works for sponsored a 12 week "Body for Life" program involving very healthy eating, and 6 days a week of serious exercise, and we signed up. Getting up at 5 am for cardio or weight lifting was a grind!  But we struggled through, and I am so thankful to feel strong and fit once again.  I haven't been in shape since my college days - and I cringe to tell you how long ago that was.

The most important "ball" in my life is my faith, and thankfully as I occasionally drop one or two of my other balls, that one has stayed with me.  I might have mentioned earlier this year that I am memorizing "chunks" of scripture - for the incredible spiritual benefits, and also as exercise to keep my mind as fit as possible as I age (Alzheimer's is common in my family).  So far I've got the first 11 verses of 2 Peter 1 under my belt, I'm almost done with Psalm 139, and am still struggling with Isaiah 53.  I'm finding memorization takes a lot of work when one is in their mid forties, but what a sense of blessing/accomplishment it is when I finally get it. 

Back to work!