Saturday, March 27, 2010

Taking Show Inventory

Today I took inventory of my corn husk dolls for the Mountain Laurel Festival. The show will be on May 15 in Clarkesville. I already have 26 little tiny dolls and 15 regular-sized doll. I hope to make more of both, along with some sheep and maybe a Nativity set. I have a lot of dolls with fall colored accents. I probably should focus on adding some pinks, blues, greens etc. People also seem to like sweeping dolls, and I only have one of those.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Rope Broke

I've always admired tire swings. I've swung on them some but don't really have a personal attachment to one. However, I do have a personal detachment to stick swings. I tied one end of the rope to a stick and the other to a branch, but then it broke. My memory is a little blurry but I think the rope broke while I was swinging.

Friday, March 19, 2010

How Do You Press Your Flowers?

"How do you press your flowers?"

This is a question I'm often asked. The answer is that I generally press with one of three different methods.

1. The method I most frequently use involves a homemade press made of peg board, air conditioning filters and paper. The peg board pieces make up the top and the bottom of the press. In between them you layer the remaining items as follows: air conditioning filter, blotting paper, flowers, blotting paper, air conditioning filter and so on. An advantage of this method over some others is that the air conditioning filters allow the flowers to sink in so the entire flower becomes exposed to pressure and not just the thick center. A lot of presses include wingnuts and bolts on all corners to give the flowers pressure. Instead of tightening nuts, I stack heavy boxes on my presses for the pressure.

2. Another favorite method of mine is the Microfleur. With this press, you sandwich your flowers, pop them into the microwave for several short spurts, and you have pressed flowers within minutes. You probably wouldn't use this method if you had hundreds of leaves to press because it would get pretty tedious and time consuming to be constantly taking leaves in and out of the microwave. Also, you have to let the microwave cool every now and then or else you'll catch it on fire...Sorry Mom and Dad! The advantage is you have what you need when you need it. If I'm working on a picture that just needs one special flower it's nicer to press it and have it immediately than to have to keep my picture on hold for five days while the plant material is pressing the other way. Another good thing about the Microfleur is that it allows you to press wet fleshy things such as mushrooms. Since it presses things so fast, the mushrooms or whatever don't have time to get moldy or yucky in their press.


The other way I occasionally press and which I would recommend to a beginner is to use a phone book. The phone book was my first press. You can use it to find out if you like pressing flowers before you invest money in presses. You simply open the book, put in a piece of blotting paper, the flowers and another piece of blotting paper, then turn a chunk of pages and keep layering throughout the book. Weight on top of this is a good idea.

Basic Pressing Guidelines:

1. Most pressing methods that I'm aware of have you put your plant material between a couple of pieces of blotting paper. I'm not sure if my definition is correct but I think of good blotting paper as any paper that doesn't have newsprint on it. If you use paper towel, make sure it doesn't have texture, unless you want little clouds embossed on your rose petals. Computer paper works well.

2. Contrary to those who say you should press flowers for a couple of months, what I've heard as a general rule is to let your flowers press for about five days. The flowers will feel different when they're done. They will not be as flimsy, they should feel paper-like and not wet.

3. Over the course of the pressing time it may be good to change your blotting paper a couple of times if it feels wet.

There are many, many other methods of pressing, but so far theses have worked well for me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Which One?

Late last year I was commissioned to make a reproduction of one of my earlier pictures, Mushroom Creek. So to fulfill the commission I started making the picture shown directly above, but I didn't like the way it was coming out, so I started over and made the picture shown above it. While making this picture I wasn't sure about if I should do a particular detail or not. So I called the lady who commissioned it to see what she thought. She asked if I had more than one of this picture so she could choose. As a matter of fact I did. So I finished both of the pictures so she could choose. I ended up happy with both pictures. The lady ended up happy with the pictures. She chose the bottom one, the one I started in the beginning. And now I am happy to have an extra picture I could sell at a show.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Old Art Work On Yellowed Paper

About five days ago I had the privilege of sitting at my grandma's table to sort through my dad's old, old school papers, stories and drawings. It was neat to see the many pictures he drew of fish, the different mediums he used and how some of the work showed signs of who he is now. I put the pictures and things into page sleeves. I enjoyed seeing what Dad used to draw. Isn't it cool to see work on yellowed paper. Grandma says she doesn't know where Dad got his obsession with the Jolly Green Giant, but he was one of Dad's favorite things to draw.