It is a delight to me at the moment that I have an especially good showing of snowdrops outside the house. Obviously, being bulbs, they’re natualising and gradually increasing year on year, but this year, the conditions must have been conducive to them thriving and I have quite a decent patch of them in the patch of grass right outside my front door.
They’ve always been a favourite and I feel as though I’ve planted quite a lot of bulbs over the years, so it’s a joy to me that the effort is finally paying dividends. One patch of a large species was planted as a single bulb some years ago, the only one to come up again from a pot of commercially grown flowering plants I received as a gift. So it’s fabulous to now see around 25 flowers bobbing their heads in the breeze in that particular spot.
Over the last few days the crocuses have joined them and whilst they’re only just starting, it always feels like spring and summer is on its way once we see the splashes of purple and yellow amongst the grass. The daffodils are a way off yet, although when visiting our son in Liverpool three weeks ago, the park near him had full patches of daffs already in full flower.
Paper roses (and daisies)
Flowers have been on my mind quite a bit this week as I’m still having a lot of fun tinkering with my Silhouette cutting machine. Whilst there are a massive amount of commercially available cutting files to buy – and largely pretty inexpensively – if you want to use them in any way commercially, you’d understandably need to buy the appropriate commercial licence. But as I’m having so much fun playing with the Studio software that comes with the machine, I’d rather create my own original designs and once you have a decent grasp on the concepts and drawing with vector graphics, it’s pretty easy – and more importantly, great fun – at least it is to me!
With my interest in nature and also gardening, the construction of flowers and how to re-create them out of paper is my latest obsession. I love the idea of using a flower and leaf arrangement to decorate a gift instead of a more conventional gift bow, so I’ve been working on a number of flowers that work well when laid flat in this manner and have possibly spent more time than is decent studying stamens and petal construction.
My two favourites so far are the daisy and wild roses shown adjacent. Their structure makes them easy to mimic in paper and I think the results are fairly realistic. The rose petals can be made more natural looking, as I’ve done here, with the application of a little additional colour – so having cut out the basic petal shapes out of a pinky cream coloured paper, I made up some dilute water colour and brushed it onto the outer edges of the petals. They take on even more life once you curl and shape them before assembling the flower.
I also wanted to consider different box designs too. I always gift wrap the jewellery I sell and am pretty settled and happy with how I do things already, but there are occasional situations that call for something slightly different. Sometimes a large beaded pendant for example, might cause a bulge in a flat envelope, so something with some depth or a gusset might suit better.
The same consideration for commercial use applies, so I was keen to design my own, this freed me from licencing restrictions and also ensures that I got boxes and envelopes that were perfect for my own personal needs. The boxes shown above are my own design – square in shape – these are about 75mm (3″) square and 17mm (0.7″) tall. They have internal flaps to keep the sides pretty, add strength and prevent the contents from straying out and a little thumb notch to aid opening.
I’m currently toying with the idea of selling some of these items as finished products. Due to the way postage is currently priced on size as well as weight, selling gift boxes assembled would be cost-prohibitive, but maybe selling them flat might work, they’d only need the application of a little glue to finish them. But the flowers are perhaps a better prospect – I could sell them made in batches, of 6 or 8, in one of my flat postal boxes and let the buyer use them however they wished; for decorating wedding favours, gift boxes etc. Once I’ve finalised my designs (my roses have a number of stamen designs as you can see right and I still don’t know which I prefer) I might try this out with the roses and daisies.
Digital paper – who knew?
It was also a revelation to me recently to find that you could buy digital paper – who knew such a beast even existed!? But once I’d bought a couple to try, I was hooked on those too. I’ve bought fancy papers for making boxes and envelopes before, but in a (usually quite expensive) pack there are inevitably some designs you don’t like so much, so printing your own from a digital collection ensures that you can use the ones you like as much as you want and ignore the rest.
There are some truly gorgeous designs available and also, many are very inexpensive. But these too are understandably only available for personal use, so I’ve also tinkered with my own ‘paper’ designs and printed onto light card for making boxes. I don’t think I have quite the flair for this that the paper designers clearly have, but I like the idea that absolutely everything in the photos shown are totally original and I’m free to use them however I like.
Now if I could only get the Silhouette Studio software to play nicely and not totally hog all of my computer resources when it’s open, I’d really be having some fun – it does tend to suck the joy out of being creative when you have to keep rebooting the computer! Grrrr!