Saturday, July 30, 2011

I hate to waste a good batch of grunge & Sunflower Tutorial

I did a quick post this morning to show what I've been working on. I had to hurry so that I would be ready for a motorcycle ride with my husband.  I got ready on time.  I even put on something other than a t-shirt.   My husband walked through the door and said, "You look great, but you might want to change your clothes.  There's been a change of plans."  Shocking.  That is the story of my summer thus far.  But seriously how many women have a change in plans that involves going to a pond that is being drained to rescue fish?  Lots of fish.  Hundreds of fish.  Anyone?  How about two days in a row?  Nobody?  Hmmm...
Well, along with the obvious upside of spending time with my husband, this activity kicked him in the pants and he is now asleep.  I have never tried to type so quietly...  He REALLY needs some rest.

When I did my projects yesterday I had stirred up a batch of grunging mix.  This is my procedure for that:
1.  Boil 2 cups of water in the microwave.
2.  Stir in two heaping TBS of instant coffee, or maybe three - it depends on my mood or attention span.
3.  Notice that I HATE the smell of generic instant coffee.  (I don't do this often so this step is always a surprise.)
4.  Add vanilla - just open the bottle and dump some in.  I never measure this.  ( I buy cheap vanilla for this.)
5.  Add a couple heaping teaspoons or so of cinnamon.  Again with the not measuring.
6.  Add nutmeg, pie spice, ground cloves, or whatever smells good and is in my little container of ingredients.
7.  Stir well and let sit for a few minutes.  It turns gooey.

For the grunging I did yesterday, I dipped the flowers in and then squished as much of the liquid out as I could get.  Messy, but it smells great!  I baked my sunflowers in the oven yesterday at about 200-250.  Okay I started at 200 and then got impatient.  That's when I burned the edges of one of the sunflowers.  I decided it looked more primitive.  I tell myself that a lot...

Today I used a foam brush for my grunging.  I started with some hang tags.  I usually just dip them in a coffee and vanilla mixture, but I had leftover grunging stuff from yesterday so I thought "What the heck.  It'll smell good."   Have I mentioned that I am currently unsupervised?
I also grunged the pumpkin from yesterday that I did not like the staining on.  Jury is still out on that move.  (But it'll smell good!)
There was still a good bit of mixture left, so I decided that I would try to make some small sunflowers.  That's where the tutorial comes in.  I did not invent prim sunflowers.  I am just sharing the tutorial for how I am making them.  I know Denise over at the Krazy Kraft Lady has a tutorial on her blog, too, and that's where I first saw the prim sunflowers, I think.   I even ordered some mini ones from her last year. :)

Floppy Primitive Sunflowers:
Here are the materials I used.  Click on the picture to get a better look:
I used the scraps from my old bedspread and some plain yellow cotton fabric from my Mom's stash.  Yes, she knows I took it.:

Step 1:  Cut circles from the center fabric and from the fabric you are using for petals  The sizes I used are in the photo above.  Click it for a better look at that information along the right hand side.
I am still experimenting with how many layers I want to use for this.  Some of the ones I did yesterday had 4-5 layers.  Today for the smaller sunflowers I used 3 layers on one and 2 layers on the other.  I will show both once they are finished drying in the sun..
Step 2:  Pin the center circle on the petal circles and cut from the edge to the center going around the whole circle.  I did not measure.  I just "eye-balled" it.  My success with this varies, but if I goof, I just think, "Hey that will look more primitive."  I think  a pattern is emerging with my thought process for crafting...

Step 3:  Clip the ends of the flowers so they are pointy.  Still with the lack of measuring and precision. 

Step 4: Unpin the center from the petals.  Lift the layers of the sunflower and turn each layer a little bit so they are staggered.  I think this make the flower look fuller.  If you look at the picture of the large sunflowers in my previous post you'll see that I didn't think of the staggering bit until the third sunflower. 

Step 5:  Pin the center back onto the petals.  Try to center it.  My example is not a good example of the centering.  (But, hey, maybe it'll look more primitive!)  Sew the center to the petals using strong thread.  I used small string because that was leftover in my needle from doing pumpkins yesterday..  (Yes, I am serious.)  When you have just a small ways to go (less than a quarter of  the way) stuff the center so it stands up a bit.

I forgot to take a picture of the back before I started grunging.  

 Step 6: Grunge your sunflower.  You can dip the whole things right into the mix and swish it around, or I have found that painting the stuff on with a foam brush works great, too.  Definitley less messy than the dipping and squeezing out the excess which for me is the equivalent of a full contact sport such as mud pie throwing.  I tend to be a little messy.... :O

This is what they look like now.  I have them outside drying in the sun.  Once they are almost dry, I will peel the petals apart and they will be a bit fluffier after they dry a bit more.

It has taken me far longer to write this post than it did for me to make the two little sunflowers.  I think if you got a little assembly line going, you could "grow" a bouquet in a fairly short time.

Here's another peek at the larger version made with a 4 inch center and 9 inch petals.  I dipped these in the grunge mix and squeezed out the excess.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!  Make sure you do at least one thing you really love to do.  Even 15 minutes of doing what you love can make a brain feel refreshed!