Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hobbies can be dangerous...

Abracadabra! You can buy pressed and dried flowers on the internet! During all my "research" I found a few websites that offered fully pressed and dried flowers for as little as $1.29 for 10.

"Did you buy some?" you ask. "Well of course I did".  (remember me?...impatient person who wants dried flowers RIGHT NOW!) I spent a whopping 20bucks on three packages of itsy bitsy tinsy weensey little flat and you thought I'd say bikinis didn't you?).

Boy...are they brittle. If you woman handle them (cause I don't man handle)...they crumble into little bits of nothing. (lesson learned on a leaf half the size of my thumb) LOL.

Now that I'm offically addicted to pressing and drying flowers, I have to admit I have a VERY indulgent hubby.  I'm constantly looking for new and exciting flowers...FOR FREE. So on the way to Brenda's yesterday I saw some really cool yellow flowers that looked like daisys (Yes, in the ditch). So he very kindly pulled over to the side of the road, (Yes on HWY 34) AND handed my a pair of needle nose plyers so I could cut some flowers.

Then about 10 miles down the road, I keep seeing these blue flowers.  I need blue flowers. So what does he do? Yep, he pulls over again and lets me out and I grab some of them, plus some purple whispy things too.  However, as indulgent as he was, he never misses an opportunity to pull away and let me think he's leaving me on the side of the road.  He did it.  So I cut some more blue flowers. 

When I got back into the truck with my hand full of flowers...he began to sneeze.  Hah! That's what you get for trying to leave me. 

Anyhow, we get to BK's and I cut the blooms off and press them into paper towels..I can't tell you how excited I was, and of course how much she laughed when I told her we would have been 30 minutes earlier if we hadn't stopped to "cut the flowers".

As I continue to eye all the different kinds of flowers around, I'm getting dangerously close to taking them from peoples when I saw the most perfect sunflower (on the side of the road next to a corn field) - I gave BK the plyers and made her cut it off. She's the town librarian, nobody gets mad at the town librarian!

So when we got home last night, Terry help me get something heavy enough for the sunflower and this morning when we checked it, he said you might have to "shave" some of the back of to get it to lay flater.  So I grabbed the knife and as I was thinking about the best way to "shave some off", he said, "give me the knife, you make me nervous", and proceed to shave my perfect little sunflower - but alas, he "shaved" too much and it completely fell apart.

So much for stealing flowers...

Hobbies can be addictive

It's been awhile since I've written, but it's not that we haven't been busy! Anyone who is familiar with the downtown farmers market here in CR might understand where I'm at with this story.

During last year's market, I saw an old window. It had dried flowers in it and was covered with some type of paper.  Low and behold, the owner wanted $165.00 for it.  I'm not cheap by any means, except that Terry and I have this terrible habit of saying "Geez, I could make one of those myself", and we move on to the next booth where you pick up a bottle of wine, or a pound of tomatoes.

As Timon in the Lion Kings says, "It begins"...

Over July 4th weekend, we were organizing and packing up some of my sisters things for her big move, so on a whim, Terry climbed into the top of the old barn (no one had ever done it in the 20+ years she's lived there).  We found some old windows, so I've decided to make my own window(s).

As Sophie and I walked the trail by our house (before the heat wave), I took my garden shears and cut some flowers, Queen Anne's Lace, Lillie's, etc.  Brought them home and put them between paper and put books on them. THEN I started researching how to dry/press flowers. Most instructions say it takes about six weeks for the flowers to dry.

WHAT? So I started to read more and look for other ways to dry flowers. Meanwhile I have piles and stacks of books all over the living room and the family room and my house is starting to look like the boys moved back home. (I do love you boys!!).

Meanwhile back at HQ, I've moved everything downstairs, commandeered the 8 foot table we use for Easter dinner, the card table and Sophie's kennel for table space. I spent the weekend before this scraping paint off the other windows and putting new glazing in so the glass doesn't fall out.

Found out the windows are backed with rice paper. No one in CR sells rice paper.On the
way back from Minneapolis (and Antiques Roadshow - which is another story), BK and I stop at Hobby Lobby in Waterloo. But of course they are not open on Sundays. Go Figure.

I was getting so antsy, that I took a day and a half vacation, just to organize my piles and go to the Iowa City Hobby Lobby for the rice paper. Found out there is the stuff called Silica Gel, which you can use in the microwave to dry your flowers instantly! Eureka! ...that's the ticket... INSTANT gratification.   (Apparently, I'm not a patient crafter).

The next day I picked a couple black eyed Susan's from the back yard. Followed the instructions with the Silica Gel, and ended up with instant FRIED flowers. According to the directions you are supposed to lay the flower on a half inch layer of gel, and the completely cover the flower. Cook on medium power for 1-2 minutes.  When I took it out of the gel it complete;y disintegrated. Crumpled into nothing in my impatient little hands.

Over the course of the last week or so, I've pretty much tested all power levels and time lengths for microwaving flowers.  If you do power level 2 and 35 seconds, they come out just a little dry so you can then put them between some paper and let them finish drying. I haven't checked them yet, but hopefully it will cut the drying time to less than six weeks.

Oh well, there are still fish to feed!

PS.. First one done...