September : the month when your spirits start to lift, the days lengthen, the frosts are fewer and the garden starts to slowly wake up ! Every day, it is so exciting to go down to the garden and inspect each plant for new growth. The blackbirds love it too!All the bare-rooted roses are developing new leaf, the crabapple has opened its first flowers, the Prunus has exploded into full blossom and the Exochorda shows great promise of a fine Spring show.
The cutting garden is dotted with colour and blue periwinkle romps through the fernery. The Winter stalwarts like this Winter honeysuckle continue to delight. We planted a new rhododendron under the Duranta canopy, on the left, behind the love seat, to mark the first day of Spring. ‘Bric-a-Brac’ (top photo)is a very pretty variety and should grow to 90 cm tall and 120cm wide. Later in the week, it was joined by a ‘White Lace’ azalea in the middle and a Viburnum plicatum tomentosum on the bottom.I made one of my floral decoupage cards this week. In the past, I have used them for thank you cards, but this one was a condolence card. I was originally inspired to create them after reading Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s book ‘The Language of Flowers’. You can read a review by the New York Times : http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/08/books/the-language-of-flowers-by-vanessa-diffenbaugh-review.html?_r=0.Its a delightful read and in the back, she has compiled a compendium of the meanings of all the flowers. I was so entranced with this notion that I decided to choose my card flowers according to their meaning and the message I wanted to convey to their recipient. I loved the way Kate Middleton did a similar thing with her bouquet when she married Prince William. I was also inspired by the exquisite paper mosaic collages made by Mrs Mary Delaney back in the 1700s. See http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=Mary+Delany and http://littlegreennotebook.com/2010/04/botanicals-on-black-paper-and-mary.html/.
This is a lovely activity to do when Spring is just around the corner or when Winter makes one last ditch attempt to reassert itself ! Because of the time involved, they are very special cards for special people. And its fun ! So lovely choosing the blooms, then making up the bouquet- it appeals to my love of colour, flowers, beauty and home-made gift giving ! Here is the process involved :
- Decide what flowers you want to use in your bouquet for the card. You may choose, like me, to base your decision on the language of flowers or prefer to choose your or your recipient’s favourite flowers/ color scheme etc
- Find and cut-and-paste flower images from Google and paste to a Word Document. Resize the blooms in proportion to each other and print out. Alternatively, you could use magazine pictures or coloured papers like Mary Delaney. I usually make two bouquets, so I can decorate both sides of the card exterior, but really its because I can never make up my mind which flowers to use !!!
- Using a fine pair of scissors, carefully cut round each flower. It is often easier to use images on a black background if you intend pasting them to a black card. I use an A4 card folded in half and find black card provides dramatic contrast and shows off the flower images well.
- Play with the positioning of the flower cutouts in your bouquet on a practice card. This step is all really a matter of feel. I tend to have the dominant flower in the middle or slightly higher and work outwards. It is good to lighten the bouquet with smaller flowers at the top and edges. When you are happy with the result, take a photo. This is really important, as it provides you with a reference when you have to remove pieces to stick them down or if you foolishly turn on the reverse cycle air conditioner like I did !!!
- Rule a thin border 3mm in from each edge of the card exterior with a silver pen and repeat on the inside of the card.
- When the ink is dry, glue the flower pieces to the card. Work in layers from from back to front and keep a rag handy to firm down the glued papers and keep your hands clean. Its sticky work and you don’t want to smudge the paper pieces with black fingers !!
- Almost there ! Draw in the stems with silver pen, tie a ribbon bow and attach the latter half way down the stems with a hot glue gun. Don’t forget to sign it!
- Print out a list of the flowers used and their meanings and write your message.Your friend will be delighted to receive such a special card !
- It is worth printing out a few copies of your card, both in colour and black- and-white ( for tonal contrasts), as you could glue these copies to another black card if you need a quick card another time.
- This technique could be extended to make pictures, paper fans etc. Remember nothing is ever a mistake ! I pasted my second bouquet to the back of the practice card by mistake, so had to cut out the bouquet and stuck it to the back of the correct gift card. The wonderful advantages of glue !!! It is also great if you are not totally satisfied with the appearance of your bouquet !While we are on the topic of card making, I also recently made a never-ending card for my daughter’s birthday today. Using some lovely Kaiser Craft papers, available from Kaiser Craft : http://www.kaisercraft.com.au/ or Spotlight : http://www.spotlightstores.com , I assembled the card using Veronica Chamber’s technique shown on her clip on : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOSIHIQhjjQ.
It should have been so easy ! I watched the clip a number of times and even made the card twice, but every time I went to open it, I ended up producing an empty paper frame and yet I knew I’d made it correctly !
I felt so stupid, but after fiddling with it the next morning, I finally worked it out ! SUCCESS !!! So its well worth trying, even though I’m still not totally confident with my technique !