Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Preserving Flowers

With high school graduation just past (yippee!), I have a beautiful bouquet from my mom in the kitchen. And the rose from school (confession: I broke its stem in a moment of happy hugging). It's not the first time I've received meaningful flowers, but it is the first time I decided to think about preserving them. Originally, I just wanted to press the rose. But roses are round, and I wasn't sure how that would go.

So to the Internet I turned... I found that a.) if I wanted to press the rose I should slice it in half, and b.) other expensive methods aside, I could hang it upside-down and wait for it to dry.

Well that's not difficult. Except the waiting part. Two to three weeks! Sigh...

After further research, I found that many types of flowers can be dried that way. Including the ones in my bouquet (sunflower, rose, volderfrieden delphinium, craspedia, statice, carnation--I looked most of these names up).

So now I have lots of flowers hanging upside-down in the laundry room. For the rose whose stem broke, I threaded a piece of craft wire through the remaining bit of the stem and hung it from that. For the rest, I rubber-banded the stems and threaded some ribbon through it.

So now as I wait for the lack of water to do its job, I'm thinking of ways to display these dried flowers. I plan to apply a light coat of hairspray to the dried flowers to keep them stronger. After that... For the single rose, I'm thinking about placing it in a clear plastic ball, like an ornament (except that the openings of those are way too small. Perhaps a snow globe?). For the bouquet, I'd like to display it as a bouquet. I'm thinking about making a vase for it, then retying the original ribbon around it. However, that just seems like a dust collector, and it'd be a pain to dust... this still requires some brainstorming.

I can't wait for everything to dry!

Junk Mail Journal

For the past couple years, our mailbox has been stuffed with mail from colleges. I used to love getting stuff in the mail--I still do--but the sheer amount of mail I have received from colleges put me off a little. As is my habit, I didn't trash any of it (I didn't read any of it, either). However, as the college application process started to wrap up, I realized I needed to do something with my three brown paper shopping bags stuffed full of mail. So, after much research, I decided to make journals. Here are my first few:
I basically followed Sea Lemon's YouTube videos, following the links from this one.
To start, I opened all the envelopes and removed all their contents. Then I sorted envelopes and papers by size. I set aside magazines, postcards, and double-sided pages.
To work with envelopes, I unglued and cut off the flaps before cutting the envelopes to size and folding them to make text blocks. Although I tried to make each book with only one size of paper, it wasn't always possible. To accommodate, you could cut the papers to the same size. I just ignored the different sizes. These journals will be for me to write in, anyway. The number of signatures varied from book to book (anywhere from six to fourteen so far). For the endpapers, I ripped sheets from magazines or other double-sided pages and cut them to size. I only used book headbands for my first one because the spine wasn't even and I wanted to hide that. I did not add a bookmark.
For the cover, I used postcards or the covers of booklets for the inside. For the bookcloth portion, I cut a piece of colored paper to size. Then I glued on logos, stamps, and addresses from the cut-off envelope flaps. Finally, I used a glue stick to glue a piece of white tissue paper over the whole thing. I treated the entire thing as the bookcloth. I like the effect of the tissue paper because it "washes out" the colors. Note that the tissue paper is very fragile and will likely tear unless every inch of it is glued down. I also ran out of tissue paper; I have been using a thick, clear, flexible plastic that some of the mail came in. It is harder to glue, but it gives the books a nice sheen. I also used a Chipotle bag for the covers of some books. I like papers that have text on them. You could also decorate with stickers or drawings.
I really enjoy making these books (twenty and still going). It's a great way to recycle paper, and because I'm a daily journal-writer, it's also very practical. (I just find white spaces to write.)
Now I just need to figure something out for the magazines, postcards, and double-sided sheets!