Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Still More Bouquet Photos

If you think this bouquet has taken over my life, you're probably right. I'm dreaming of felt flowers. (Also dreaming of Elizabeth Bennet since my favorite way to do handwork is watching movies made from Jane Austen's novels. I watched the whole set of the BBC movies from thirty or so years ago plus a couple of different Pride and Prejudices, and my latest obsession is BBC's Lost in Austen. I've seen that so many times I know the dialog almost as good as the actors do. But when Elizabeth Bennet starts making felt flowers in my dreams, I'm thinking I've had too much of one or the other.)

Currently I'm working on keeping the turquoise flower from seeming out of place. I may have overdone the turquoise additions in the next few pictures.
We replaced the large turquoise leaves at the bottom with leaves of a darker green so I cut the large turquoise leaves into smaller shapes.One is shown here along with a lily with a turquoise center and the white flower below with a turquoise handmade bead. The turquoise felt just above the leaf is a lily with a green center.

I've wrapped the base with a satin ribbon to give the client an idea of how a wrapped handle looks. She's chosen the vintage ribbon beside it for the finished bouquet.
A different view with another turquoise leaf. You can see the tip of the turquoise flower on the right and a turquoise bead inside a flower just above the leaf.
Yet another view. On the left is one of the darker green leaves I added at the base and there's yet another lily with a turquoise center.
Another view. To the left you see the turquoise lily with green center, which means we've been all around this view of the bouquet.
A view from the top.
And another.
And the last.

I'm thinking the turquoise lily is definitely too much. I'm not sure about all the turquoise leaves. There are three; and I'm thinking I should cut it down at least to two, maybe even to just one. That, along with the original turquoise flower and the turquoise centers to the other flowers may be enough.

Thoughts anyone? It would be much appreciated.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Bouquet Update

My client requested I take a photo of the bouquet I'm making her with someone holding it so she could get an idea of how it would look in situ. As I didn't want to be the one holding it nor did I imagine the hub would either, I captured my niece who was spending Memorial Day weekend with her MIL. Of course, I didn't get over to Sunny's until the afternoon and, her living on the lake, by the time I got there, almost everyone had been in the water. Laura was game anyway. (Isn't she a cutie?)
The client wanted to see the bouquet both with and without the turquoise flower that inspired her. In an attempt to make it not appear out of place amidst all the creams and whites, I added some blue in other places, including a few turquoise leaves.
She's uncertain whether she likes the turquoise leaves, as am I. They look so...new. The flower is made of a fulled sweater, the leaves are new wool felt. Today I tried to make them look not so slick by first soaking them in tea--didn't work--then I put them into a container with a mixture of bleach, water and marbles, then into the dryer. (Don't ask what I was trying to achieve with the marbles; it didn't work. Did you know wool will melt if left too long in pure bleach? That's how I tell if the felt I pick up at thrift stores is wool or synthetic or a blend. If wool, it melts entirely, if synthetic, not at all, if a blend, only the wool melts and the other fibers remain.) I made the bleach mixture weak and didn't leave the leaves in for long before putting them in the dryer. I think the dryer worked best; what came out doesn't appear any less colorful but it's also not as slick as new felt.
This is the bouquet sans turquoise flower and leaves with only the creams and whites and green leaves remaining.
So we're going with the turquoise flower, and I'm adding bits of turquoise to tie it in better, like beads and buttons and wool roving as centers to a few flowers. I should be able to get to the wrapping of the handle this week, one step closer to being done.

Somebody remind me next time that this is a lot more work than I anticipated. You can also remind me that I'm loving every minute of it. Time versus enjoyment; pretty good balance, I'd say.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bouquet Addendum

I'm stuck inside today. The hub's in the back lot, digging a trench to irrigate a patch of flowers, and I have to wait for a delivery, which means I can't even retreat to my studio in the backyard.

So--I brought in some handwork along with my light box to photograph the new rendition of the bridal bouquet I'm working on. Since the bride-to-be prefers flowers without embroidery or stacked buttons, I've made several new  to replace the ones with those elements. 
Now I'm working on arrangement. In these first few photos, I placed the flowers in a bouquet, then the leaves below that, then the hydrangeas.
Another view, same arrangement. I've strung beads onto wire loops as additional filler.
Yet another view. Though this flower--and one other--has embroidery, she chose to keep these two.
 This is the last photo with that same arrangement.
Next, I stuck the leaves into the central bouquet with only the hydrangeas as the bottom layer. (There's another arrangement I want to try so I didn't tie the ribbon around this bouquet.)
 Different view, same arrangement.
This is the last view of the second arrangement.

There's one last arrangement I want to try for, inspired by this one at A Thousand Screaming Rabbits.

The components I've put together--and the color scheme--will make it very different, but I think I'd like to see what I can come up with. Gorgeous, innit?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bridal Bouquets

I recently received a request to make a felt flower bridal bouquet using brooches that the bride can later gift to her wedding party. I thought it was a brilliant idea, but found it a tad bit difficult in execution. My first "mock-up" now completed,  I decided to use this blog as a venue to show the bride-to-be what I've come up with, rather than sending massive photos through email.
The turquoise flower is the one she referenced when she made the request so I used it to influence others. I only made six into brooches, the rest being filler flowers. The beaded flower in this pic is a brooch, as is, of course, the turquoise.
I found a number of felt bouquets online--who knew it would turn out to be a growing trend!--and was influenced by some of those as well. (The pompom flower is a brooch as well as the one with the pink middle layer in the forefront.)
In this photo, the flower with the stacked buttons, the leaves and the lily with the turquoise center are all filler.
I used felt hydrangeas as a collar. In the finished bouquet, the stems will be wrapped to make it more comfortable to carry, the stems, of course, being wire.
In this photo, the flower with the turquoise center and stacked buttons is a brooch, but I think it needs a third, smaller circle on top, which means I'll have to take it apart. :^P 
The embroidered flower with the brooch center is also, itself, a brooch. And that makes six!

I'm such a newbie at this I'd love input, especially from you, Melissa. Have a good day, y'all!

P.S. I redid the flower I mentioned above. I think it works much better now.
I've shared this post at Someday Craft's Whatever Goes Wednesday and Beyond The Picket Fence's Under $100 Linky Party.. Check out the other cool links!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Of Shoes--and Ships--and Dear Friends

Twenty-five years ago, I was a newly-published author. Though my publishing career didn't last much longer--a mere three books-worth--it left me with something I value much more than money: a dear, dear friend. That year, I judged her manuscript in a national contest and, admiring her skill, attached some notes about what I felt would strengthen her book. (I blush now, looking back, at how inflated my ego was on the sale of one book to think I knew so much about what publishers wanted in a ms.) Kathy, as proper as I came to know her to be, wrote a lovely thank you note. Silly me, I thought she wanted to be my friend so I replied and we began a correspondence, which we've continued in one form or another ever since. We didn't meet face to face for another fifteen years--she lived near Seattle, and at the time I lived near Dallas. Now we have a standing ritual of speaking together every Sunday. Not much ever gets in the way of my conversations with Kathy.

Next week, she'll be eighty, and she wears her age with the grace of the lady she is. I only hope I can wear it as well myself when I reach that age

Kathy and I rarely exchange gifts anymore. Occasionally she'll send me something she's made, usually the result of something new she's trying, and occasionally I do the same for her. This year, it's a product of needle-felting, her having introduced me to the technique. In respect of her talents as a couture-level seamstress, this is my offering this year: a make-do pincushion, from a crystal clock minus its workings, and a needle book.
And a card made from an image I found on (as in stole from) the 'net. (We're both cat lovers.)

So when we speak of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings, don't ever let's forget dear, dear friends.