Happy Memorial Day. I would first like to thank those of you who are currently serving our beautiful country. I would also like to take a moment to remember those who have fallen in the line of duty. Words can not merely express my gratitude and thanks for all servicemen and women who are currently serving or have served our country.
Next, I would like to apologize for my absenteeism this past weekend as I had fully intended to post throughout the weekend. I did enjoy our one nice day on Friday before heavy storms and monsoon like rains drenched our area throughout the entire weekend. Several times our power flickered and internet was intermittent at times. Storms + complex project + not enough hours in each day = no blog post over the past weekend. I sincerely apologize and will try and play catch up this week for you.
This afternoon I finally completed my envisioned bouquet of peonies minus the stem’s leaves. This project was definitely a never ending whirlwind!!! It consumed nearly every free non stormy moment throughout the long holiday weekend. My original vision for this project was to create a bouquet of life like peonies. Earlier this spring I had purchased several of the McGill paper blossom punches and thought that I would use them to make some peonies.
I started by printing off the peony instructions from McGill’s website. I then proceeded to select paper and punch the desired number of required shapes. As I was punching the shapes, I thought to myself that the shapes seem pretty small, but I proceeded anyway and completed the assembly for 7 peonies. They turned out fine but are indeed very small and lacked a life like sized blossom. I am going to save these for later use on a scrapbook layout, card, or home decor type project. The completed McGill peonies are pictured below.
The McGill peonies while nice were not what I had originally envisioned, for I desired big, luscious, full blooms like their live counterparts. So I instead decided to use my Cricut and the Giant Flowers Cricut Cartridge. A Cricut die cutting machine allows a user to cut my desired shape(s) at any specified size. My luscious, full sized blooms are pictured below.
I elected to cut my flower parts at 3 inches. The book recommends much larger but with having previous experience using this cartridge, I knew I could successfully cut my shapes much smaller. I followed the book’s instructions and cut desired shapes in white card stock to assemble a test flower. I do this typically to figure out the quirks of assembly and for determination of size before using my quality card stock. I am so glad I did as I was very disappointed in the test flower. In my opinion, the flower was sparse and had a hug hole in the center. Perhaps, if someone were to use this as a centerpiece or even to place a candle in the center then this would be sufficient but not for a luscious life like blossom that I envisioned. I now knew that I needed to cut mass quantities of each flower part in order to potentially achieve my desired flower. To do this I used my Gypsy and placed mass quanities onto a 12X24 mat and cut out shapes once more.
I listed my cuts below:
4 Peony centers (not the recommended 2)
8 peony leaf 1 (not the recommended 6)
8 peony leaf 2 (not the recommended 4)
12 of peony leaf 4 (not the recommended 4).
I also cut 2 of peony layer 4 in lieu of the recommended 1. These are for the center stamens.
I chose 2 different colors of pink card stock and cut enough parts so that I would be able to make 5 of one color and 4 of the other color. Odd numbers are more visually pleasing to the eye. I will warn you that if you decide to make these yourself, please purchase enough card stock. After all parts were cut, I used Worn Lipstick Distress ink and my blending tool and inked the edges on both sides of each flower part. Afterwards, I used my McGill molding mat and accompanying tools to mold the flower parts. I then used Inkessentials Glossy Accents to glue each flower part prior to the final assembly. This step was labor intensive and downright tedious, but makes a huge difference in the final flower.
Regarding the final assembly, I rolled and offset glued consecutively all 4 peony centers ensuring that I did leave a large enough central opening for my stamens to fit. If you need too, glue these together first, I just estimated. Next, I adhered 8 peony leaf 1 parts and again offset these with each layer. I adhered these at the height of the score marks on the peony centers. I continued to adhere the remaining leaf parts offset for each row while I held the flower firmly in my hand upside down the entire time to ensure that the adhesive and flower stayed firmly together.
I would also like to share with you and hope to save you the frustration that I encountered using various adhesives. I started out using Crafter’s Ultimate glue and this did work, but I felt took too long to dry before I could proceed to adhere additional flower parts. I then tried Inkessentials Glossy Accents. This worked better but still required additional time to dry in between each flower part. I then decided to try hot glue. While this seemed to work well intially, I became very frustrated as while I was adhering my final petal layers on my flower, I could see that the hot glue previously used cooled clumpy like and that my flower parts were not adhered well. I could see that large clumps of flower parts were barely adhered and were not intact. At this point I was very frustrated! So much so that I had to just walk away and take a break. The next day, I reassembled the flower and the others using Inkessentials Glossy Accents. I used 2 sets of locking tweezers to adhere 2 parts at a time and let sit to completely dry each time, typically 3-5 minutes. This was very time consuming!!!!!!! In order to pass time, I surfed the internet and chatted on message boards. In all, it took me the better part of late Saturday, Sunday, and a few hours this morning to complete the final assembly of these 9 peonies.
For the stems, I had to think outside the box a bit. These flower heads have some distinct weight to them. I decided to use double thickness floral wire and wrapped the wire with green floral tape. I used hot glue successfully to adhere the stems to the flower heads. I still need to cut out leave,s but really wanted to post these for you instead of making you wait yet a few more days. To help conceal the naked stems, I placed the blossoms inside a cute watering can purse I received awhile back for a gift. I then photographed them for you outside in between the bouts of rain.
All in all, I think this project demanded the most time to complete of the projects I have posted thus far. I am pleased with the results and am eager to cut the leaves out. What do you think about today’s flowers? Which do you prefer? I would so love for you to leave me a comment telling me your thoughts or ask any questions.
Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to read this lengthy blog post. I am in the process of starting to compose my studio gallery organization and will begin to post about that later this week. I also plan to create the poppy next on the Giant Flowers Cricut cartridge as well as complete my Compendium of Curiosities II challenge yet this week.
Thank you again for stopping by. Have a great night!