Art, DIY, Home Decor

How to Enjoy Summer All Year Long

Hydrangeas: The word alone makes me happy inside.  Just looking at them makes me want to grab a blankie and dive right in for a cozy nap (although, the neighbors might be a little disturbed by that visual reality).  I can’t get enough of them, and that’s very obvious given the multiple varieties I have planted ring around my home.

I could fill my entire yard with these amazing plants.  Wait, I think that might be one of my new goals in life.  I’ll add it to my list.

I’m so not mentally prepared for these beauties to disappear just yet (say it with me, “I do like winter.  Again.  I do like winter…”).

But, seeing as how “not hydrangea season” is drawing near, I hopped outside a couple of weeks ago to grab a handful of these sweeties before they dwindle away.  If you’d like to enjoy summer throughout the winter with me, go ahead and grab a few of your favorite stems too.

After you’ve frolicked around your yard and happily selected your best blooms (your neighbors think you’re strange for frolicking.  Maybe we should be neighbors and not judge one another for our ways), find something inside your home that will flatten the life right out of ’em.

I most generally grab the heaviest book I can find, tear a few sheets of wax paper to place inside it’s pages, and sandwich my pretty little petals right in between the layers.

After about two weeks of drying time, they will be ready to be put to work.  Trust me, it’s worth the wait.

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I contemplated about what to use as my background while returning home from dropping my kids off at school a few mornings ago.  I wanted a fun texture behind the hydrangeas, not just a boring smooth surface.  Eureka!  An old table runner that I was no longer using.  After laying a couple of blooms out on the runner, I realized I wanted the petals to stand out more against the background.  This background would be fine; it was just a little plain for what I was going for.

I started painting a black latex paint on the runner, but after about 4 minutes, I realized spray painting would be much better.  Not so globby; not so time-consuming.  I change my mind a lot.  I’m allowed.  You are too.  Do it.  Be free.

After spray painting the runner black, I laid it on top of a piece of cardboard.

I liked the way the brown cardboard peeked through the black runner.  Hi cardboard!  I see you!

I used Mod Podge to both adhere the black table runner to the cardboard, as well as to attach the hydrangeas to the table runner.

After finishing all of the gluing on of the hydrangeas, I knew that I needed a focal point.  I contemplated adding a word, but I thought a simple initial would give more of a punch, and I didn’t want a word to cover up all of the flowers.

Time to move over to my Silhouette Cameo.

I’m sloooooowly learning about all of the wonderful things that the Cameo can do, and how to accomplish these wondrous things; I’m surprised and excited every time I learn something new about it.  I was already aware that this machine could easily cut paper, but I needed something more substantial for this project; that wouldn’t wrinkle on top of the petals.  After considering many different materials I had lying around my house, it came to mind that empty cereal boxes might be brilliant to use for the cutout initial!

After typing in my query on Pinterest, I discovered this post.

So, to the recycling bin I went, and found my ammo.  I like cereal even more now.  Those of you that know me wonder how that’s even possible (love me some cereal).

There she is:  The machine that I love to hate.  No, really, it is rather amazing.  I just don’t understand how to access all of it’s capabilities quite yet, which happens to frustrate the everloving happiness right out of me.  All in good time and baby steps 1, 2, 3 (deep breathing exercises)…

There!  I did it!  A letter “P” cut from a cereal box.  Who knew?  Apparently lots of people.

I grabbed some antique copper acrylic paint, and slapped some shiny on that pretty little P.  I love the font:  “Miss Elizabeth” is her name.

Ok, confession time: I had a change of heart right about here.  I had planned to hang this piece in my daughter’s room initially; hence the letter P.  However, right as the copper paint was drying, I received a phone call that made me realize that this needed to be a gift to brighten my friend’s day.  Sooooooo, hey guys!  Look at this darling letter “M”!  Fancy.

Now it was just a matter of cleaning the dust off the frame (this guy was parked in the basement for quite awhile), and attaching everything together.

This project was extremely inexpensive; as in it cost me nothing to create.  I reused the frame, the flowers were from my garden, the table runner was repurposed, and the cereal box was from the recycling.  I love free.  Something tells me you do too.

This project can go one million (I know that’s far-fetched – don’t be too technical) different ways.  I am just hoping my hydrangea creation will get your wheels turning on what you can do with yours.  I pray that you’re inspired to try something new.

So, how will you use your garden’s flowers?  You better grab them quick.  You know what’s coming…

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Thanks so much for reading!  Enjoy this beautiful fall weather!


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