preserving a special garden

In April I helped my little girl plant her first flower garden from wildflower seeds.

lilysgarden

It’s been such a fun process and a great learning experience for both of us!  It has been sweet to watch her water her garden and ask curious questions.  We’ve seen bees come and go collecting pollen on their legs.  Butterflies too.  She’s picked some of the flowers to make adorably messy bouquets.  It’s been great.  Now the flowers are slowing their bloom and leaves are starting to turn a bit brown.  I’ve taken a ton of pictures to preserve these special moments, but I thought I would take it a step further and preserve some of the flowers by pressing them in a book and framing them.  I took some tips from Martha and I’m so happy with the results.

cutflowers

I snipped some of the flowers that looked “press-worthy”

coverwithtissue

Then I sandwiched them carefully in tissue paper between the pages of a heavy book.  I put additional weight on the books and let them sit for about five days.

pressedflowersbeforeafter1

Before and after pressing.  It was interesting to see how the colors changed after pressing.  The red flower turned indigo blue.

driedflowers2

The green leaves pressed well too. I’m glad I included those.

CUtidy

There seems to be a messy side and not so messy side to the pressed flower. I decided to arrange them on the paper with the not so messy side facing up.

placeandtitle

I arranged the flowers on acid-free craft paper. I did not use any adhesive to secure the flowers. For framing I worked top-down and took the frame backing and put a couple of thick pieces of paper in place (for a tight fit). Then I carefully laid my arrangement on top (face up). Then the glass on top. Then the frame on top.

framedflowers

Aaah.  I can breathe a satisfied sigh of relief that I was able to preserve (literally) memories of Lily’s first flower garden.  Hmm.  I wish I could do that with all the special moments.

Until next Monday!

Jennifer

Make your succulent planters look fuller instantly

After my post last week on making succulent arrangements I found myself chomping at the bit to give my sad looking patio planters a succulent makeover.  So I did . . .

succulent urn

I paid a visit to a local garden center to gather some succulents for this project and quickly realized that the amount that I needed to fill my planters like I wanted to (full looking) was going to be costly.  Darn.  Then I came across trays of succulent ground cover.  These are normally used for landscaping but in my case they are perfect for adding softness and fullness to succulent planters.  The garden center had several different choices of these ground cover trays but I chose this one because it had the most variety of little mini succulents.

succulent pallet

This tray was $23. A couple of days later I saw the same exact tray at larger home improvement center for $14. Grrr.

This was how I was going to get that instantly full look for my succulent planters (I just don’t have the patience to let those succulent trimmings grow in to fill the planters).  These trays are super easy to work with too!

succulent pallet2

Remember to use cactus soil for your planters then simply tuck your succulents in and water nicely.  I put together five succulent planter arrangements with the help of the plentiful tray of succulents.  (I still had half of the tray left over!)  I mixed in a couple of other varieties of succulents to give the planters some variety and texture.

four pots

succulent urn vert

succulent mini urn

If you need to give your patio a quick makeover for those summer BBQ’s, this is a great alternative to filling your planters with traditional outdoor plants.  Succulents are low maintenance and can tolerate that hot summer heat.  Let’s see how mine do!  (Who am I kidding.  I live in Santa Barbara, they’ll be fine;)

Until next Monday!

Jennifer

Fun with spring flowers and wedding gifts

Since we are fresh into spring I thought I would have some fun with pretty pink flowers.  I picked up a few bunches from Trader Joe’s for less than $20.

flowers4spring

I also decided to dust off a pretty set of vases we got as a wedding gift years ago.  I split the flower bunches between the three vases (eyeballed it) and started arranging.

flowerfix

The larger arrangement seemed a little loose at first.  So I bunched them together in the vase with my hand and took a look and realized I needed to just keep adding more flowers for a fuller and cozier arrangement.

bunchit

Then I added some greenery from a shrub in my yard.

greener

The finished trio . . .

threespring

Hopefully these will stick around for the Easter Bunny this weekend.  Easter Bunnies like this stuff.  Have a great one!

Until Next Monday!

Jennifer

A yarn wrapped tree

I made a yarn wrapped tree for my little girl . . .

littletree

My inspiration was this sad little plant . . .

poortree

You see, my daughter loves playing with her little creatures in the “trees” . . . or my house plants.  The plant above used to have leaves believe it or not, but they were handpicked to reveal the branches of the tree for better creature climbing.  So I decided I could try to duplicate this kind of branchy tree wonderland

I started with a dry branch from a backyard tree.  I used floral tape to strengthen any thinner branches.  I applied glue bit by bit and wrapped with yarn bit by bit. . .

treebranch

Then I hand cut little green leaves from felt and hot glued them in places that didn’t look so tidy, like the tips of branches . . .

newleaf

For the little nest I used that same drop cloth that I’ve used for a few other projects.  I cut a circle, sewed a swirl-like top stitch around the middle.  Then I just stuffed around the stitching and sewed it closed. . .

nest

I used the lid from a small papier-mache box for the little swing.  I painted it with fabric glue and adhered the fabric. . .

littleswing

For the cherries I used red mini pom poms and green pipe cleaners.

cherries

To “plant” the tree I used a $3 thrift store planter and trimmed a piece of styrofoam to fit snuggly inside.    I used hot glue to adhere it inside the planter.  I also carved a little hole for the tree trunk.  I used felt for the grass but made sure to shimmy it up the tree trunk before I glued the tree into the hole.  I hot glued the felt grass into place . . .

plantthetree

And that was all.  I worked on it here and there throughout the week.  The wrapping of the yard was the most time-consuming.  But it’s pretty mindless work.  You could definitely space out while you do it, or watch your favorite Bravo show at the same time.

littletree

treenest

treeswing

The absolute best part about these projects is surprising my daughter with them . . .

fairyswinging

atplay

littletree

I hope this yarn wrapped tree gives some relief for a while to the poor ol’ house plant.  However I have a feeling that it will be making its way back into the rotation again.

Until Next Monday!

Jennifer

White florals with a subtle valentine wish

JennifersMentionablesValentinearrangement

I seem to be more and more inspired by the holidays these days . . . I think my little one has something to do with it (and this little blog.)

Hearts, hearts, everywhere hearts.  Initially my inspiration for this blog post was a brown bag from the grocery store.  The sides of the bag were covered with cute little red and white hearts of different shapes and sizes.  The crafter (slash hoarder) in me thought, “hmm, I could craft something out of this.  Possibly incorporate it into a flower arrangement?”  Well as it turns out, after buying a couple of white flower bouquets from the grocery store I ended up being most inspired by the huge banana palms in our backyard. . . I’ll let the photos do most of the talking . . .

JennifersMentionablesBananaPalm

(The beautiful flowers were inspiring too of course . . .

JennifersMentionableswhitebouquet

I started with a short, round glass container from my stash in the garage.  I cut the banana leaf to line the inside of the container.  Then cut the wet floral foam (half dome) to fit. . .

prepcontainer

Now for the arranging.  I start with the fullest flowers and cut the stems short and at an angle to push into the wet floral foam. . .

beginarranging

PS our neighborhood trees are blooming with this white flower (Manchurian Pear tree) so I thought I could incorporate that too . . .

JennifersMentionablesManchurian Pear

I also couldn’t help but notice the abundance of this cute little weed with heart-shaped leaves growing everywhere.  So I incorporated it into the arrangement.  It’s called Shepherd’s purse  . . .

miniheartleaves

After all of the flowers were arranged, I simply hand cut a few heart shapes from the banana leaf and kept them soaked until I was ready to use them.  They seem to get brittle pretty quickly.  Then I used floral tape to attach the heart to a bit of floral wire . . .

heartleaves

After I tucked the hearts into the arrangement it seemed that the hearts looked a little dull.  So I just rubbed a tiny bit of olive oil on the surface and edges. . .

JennifersMentionablesclosethreehearts

So it’s not your standard red and white Valentine color scheme.  But I think it still kinda says “pssst, Happy Valentines Day.”

JennifersMentionablesValentinearrangement

I’m glad I have this little blog.  What a great excuse to take the time to do little things like this that make me happy.  I get a kick out of taking affordable grocery store flowers and doing something special with them (exhibit A, B, and C to name a few).  My 2 year old daughter saw it and said, “it’s art mama.”  My best critic!

Maybe next week I’ll do something special with that brown bag.

Until next Monday !

Jennifer

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