Friday, April 26, 2013

Bouquet - My Way.

Prom bouquets can easily cost $50-$65 apiece!  I have THREE boys.  AND, when they started getting asked to multiple proms in the same year...more than one of the boys that is, the flower fees were really adding up.  So, I discoverd DIY Prom Bouquets.

How did I learn? Luck.

I've blogged about flower bouquets before HERE and also HERE.

Now that my two older sons are in college, there's only one boy still at home.  AND... tonight is his junior prom.  One of the challenges of homemade bouquets is flower selection.  You can't just go into a reasonably priced flower selling location and pick out the EXACT flowers that will match the dress.  But, you can skirt around the issue by using coordinating flowers or all one color - like white!

Today's dress color is CORAL.  So, I went with a dark coral rose, pink and white tulips and few other white accent flowers and some greenery picked from the yard.  The dress is apparently somewhere between a pink and a coral, so I thought these colors would work.  I selected these flowers at Trader Joe's for a total of $18.

In addition to the flowers, a pair or sharp snips are helpful and some floral tape is a must.  I got a 3-pack of floral tape a few years ago for around $5 and I'm still using the same batch.  Keep it wrapped in plastic so it doesn't dry out.  I went with the thinner type but thicker might require less wrapping.

First step, remove the excess greenery and anything broken or undesirable.

Next, start adding flowers to your hand between your thumb and your index finger, letting the end of the stems criss cross as you go.  Making a big X while you're building the bouquet seems to work best.  I try to make the flowers slightly different heights for some dimension.

Once the bouquet looks the way you want, start wrapping it with the green tape just under the blooms and continue round and round for about 4 inches.

Whew - now take a breath and rest your hand.  I always get nervous when I'm making the bouquet, afraid I'll drop the whole batch or something.  Next, I trim off the bottom stems just a bit, an inch or so.  I do this so I can immediately add a few inches of water to a vase and stand the wrapped flowers in it.

Next, I wrap the hand-hold part (over top the green tape) with something decorative.  I use bits and bobs of fabric, and today - as I have before - I used satin blanket binding.

When I'd wrapped enough (make it as tight as you can - same when you are wrapping the floral tape - tight) binding, I tucked the final end under and then stuck it through will pins.  I use a flat edged spread knife to push the pin all the way in and save my fingers.  The florist uses fancy pearl topped pins, I just go with flat head silver, very inexpensive - hundreds of them for just a few dollars.

I think it looks like a little tuxedo wrap on the hand-hold when the pins are done.

Final - add some bling.  I just go with some sort of ribbon.  As I had a lot of the dark coral color in the bouquet, I decided to off-set it with some light pink.  I tied a knot around and let the ends hang.  Then I tied a bow around atop that and let the ends hang.  Nice.

The ribbon I used frays a bit at the ends.  I just brush a little clear nail polish on the front and back of the ribbon at the very tip where I cut it to keep it from fraying further.  I'm sure watered down glue would work for this as well.

Once the bouquet is all wrapped and has a bow, I store it in the basement fridge after sprinkling the flowers with a hand spritz of water.  Before we are ready to take the bouquet to the young lady recipient, I cut the stems to the perfect length, nearer to the bottom of the hand-hold.  We usually transport the bouquet in a vase in the car - it's easier to hold that way and doesn't need to be laid down - the ones at the florist come with a plastic lidded container, but I figure it's one less box or bit of plastic to recycle.

The bouquet just needs to look good for the photos and for walking into the prom and for the prom photos themselves, after that, I figure we're lucky if the flowers make it back home and maybe get a bit of display at the house.  Who knows.

Here are a few other bouquets I've made over the past couple of years.

If you click on the links I've provided at the beginning of this post, you'll see another step by step tutorial and yet two more bouquet photos if you need ideas.  Good luck!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's a HOOT Crochet Owl Fun

I pin the BEST stuff on Pinterest.

I LOVE to just browse through all of my awesome boards and gaze at the things I will make...some day...

Then, SOME DAY arrives, and it's PIN_DO!!!

Yesterday, after hours of computer work, my crochet hook called me into the next room and literally begged me to make something - how could I not comply?

"Hoot," called the hook.  "Hoot Hoot Heart," it cried again.  I couldn't help it - I had to go.  This is what happened:

I have a friend who loves owls, so I started pinning them...mostly they are of the crochet variety.

With some cotton worsted by my side and a trusty H-hook, I got to work.

I made this:

It's from this pattern here:  OWL PATTERN (found on Pinterest).

I made two (front and back).  The back side didn't have eyes or a beak.  I crocheted the two sides together.  On the join round, I also made a bit more of a picot where the ears are - to make them more pronounced.  I stuffed it with some polyester fluff.

Since my friend LOVES owls, I thought a heart was in order.  I have a big pinterest board with hearts.  I wanted one I could stuff.  I uses this pattern here:  HEART PATTERN (I love the way she made the square at the beginning of the heart - genius, never saw it done that way, must remember!).

And ONE MORE THING.... It needed a flower - why?  Because I've been itching to make a few of these flowers.  Love them.  So colorful and happy (just like my new running shoes).  I used this pattern here:  FLOWER PATTERN.

I strung them all together - tho. frankly I might take it apart and re-join them.  Not so happy with my joining. I did it all very fast to be done because I was excited to see it finished, but I really don't like the way I've connected them.  Nonetheless, I took some photos (didn't turn out as well as I would've liked) and here's the happy little owl with heart and flower.


NOTE:  See how happy the new running shoes are?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shake Shake Shake - Shake Your Smoothie!

As the warm weather and fresh fruit come into season, this is one of my post run fuels.  I love fruit smoothies and they are super easy to make.  I use a standard, inexpensive blender and it does the trick just fine.

Here's my method!

And there you have it -

YES... you can add all sorts of other ingredients.  My kids love yogurt, peanut butter, frozen bananas (home made) and honey.  Sometimes they substitute ice cream for the yogurt - save that one for dessert!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Flowers & Flutterbys Crochet Wreath

TA-DAH!  It's done.  AND...I love it!!!

Wanna make one?  Well here's how.  By the way, if you missed my preview of this wreath, see that POST HERE.

First, we'll start with the wreath itself.  Since this wreath is one of several in a series that I've designed, I used the same pattern for the wreath.  Click here for the wreath pattern.  For the Flowers & Flutterbys wreath I used 2 colors of yarn (Bamboo Ewe) for the stripes and a brighter green of the same yarn to stitch the two wreath sides together (the inner and outer join).  I used a size F hook to make the wreath dense and firm.

After making two sides of the wreath (identical), I joined the two sides at their inner ring.  I added the motifs to the front wreath side only.  I used the tails from the motifs to stitch them onto the front side.  The beauty of the two wreath sides is being able to just stuff all the ends between, not having to weave them in - thank heavens!

This wreath included 4 daffodils.  I didn't design the daffodil pattern.  I found it HERE.  I did a few things different.  ONE, I didn't use a pipe cleaner OR make a stem.  TWO, I added a separate flower middle.  The pattern for the daffodil middle is (make a magic ring, ch 2, work 8hdc into ring, tighten ring, join to first stich with sl st.  Finish off).

To keep the daffodils in a bit of a cup shape, I sat each one in a small glass dish, spritzed it well with a bottle of Stiffen Quik and put them in the microwave to firm up according to the directions on the bottle.  I did each one twice and they have held their cup-like shape.

There are also 11 Sweet Sevens (I designed a new pattern for the Sweet Seven Flower) you can find the photo tutorial for the sweet sevens HERE and also on my Ravelry site. 

Finally, I've designed a lovely new motif called Flutterby Butterfly!  I searched and searched for a butterfly pattern that looked just the way I envisioned but even with all the creations, none of them were what I was wanting.  So... after a long bit of trial and error, I designed my own.  I'm very happy with it.  I've made oodles of them now and they are quite easy.  I've prepared a step by step photo tutorial for the little sweeties and you can get the Flutterby Butterfly tutorial by clicking HERE.

There are FOUR Flutterbys on the F&F wreath.  All are made with cotlin dk.  Three of the four are made with an E sized hook and one was made with an F sized hook.

Once the motifs are made and stitched together, the outer ring of the wreath sides can be joined.

Usually, I just cut apart an old cereal box to form a cardboard ring and slip it between the two wreath layers but I had already emptied the recycle bin and it had rained and I didn't fancy a soggy brown board living inside the wreath.  So, I hunted around in my sewing room and found this stuff:

It's made to be insulation in window cracks and such.  I had purchased a bag of it at a hardware store going out of business figuring I'd do something crafty with it and now I have.

I also snagged a broken hanger which I re-shaped into somewhat of a circle and taped the insulation ring to the hanger circle. To assure that the inner ring of the wreath also held it's form, I made a smaller foam ring and simply stuck it between the layers after the inner ring sides had been joined.

As I joined the outer rings (I used sc and I go through BOTH loops of each wreath side - 4 loops - on every sc), I realized I could crochet up the hanger hook and cover the wire.  I did finish off and re-join my yarn after covering the hanger hook.

The new solution worked fine, but it was a bit of a hassle to create and I'm not sure I'd do it the exact same way again - however, this time, it is in - and done, and it worked, so alls well there.

If you haven't seen the other wreaths in my series, you can check them out here (and also on ravelry):

Autumn Wreath
Christmas Wreath and also HERE
Double Sided Winter/LOVE Wreath

For now, I am enjoying a pastel Flowers & Flutterbys wreath in time for all the spring colors outdoor to begin popping up and also in time to enjoy for Mother's Day!

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