Curious Lola

Plants that Look Like Muppets

You may ask, “Emily, why are you obsessed with muppets and poufs?”

Well, my friend, everything about le pouf exclaims joy and exuberance. It is a multi-sensational representation of happiness. The shape, the name, the come-ere-and-give-me-a-feel quality of it all, sheer joy.

Often, I wish my hair was a pouf.

Poufs make their way into my floral designs,

my clothing choices,

Pom Peds at PurlBee

my garden designs, my doodles,

my dreams. The sub-concept for my wedding is the pouf.  I like to eat poufs.

Cotton Candy Cupcakes by steelensturm

My thought process is a pouf.

Muppets are even better because they are floppy poufs that talk, thus completing Perfect Pouf Sensation Star. Below are some muppet- plant combos featuring some plants from the UW Botanic Gardens.

So here we go.


Hakonechloa aureola and Thing Monster- Okay this is bugs bunny but it’s too good.

Fothergilla gardenii and Beaker

Aquilegia formosa and Animal

Astrantia and Kermit

Cape Fuschia, lonicera, and the…. Are those llama muppets?

And this one might be a stretch…

Cookie Monster and Venus Fly Trap

A Sustaina-Ball Flower Arrangement

Everything we learned, we learned in kindergarten. Right? I don’t know if you remember this little craft. You may have been too busy eating the dried paste off your desk…. waaaaait, that may have been me. In any case, this is a great craft to be resurrected and given new life.  And so fitting that this arrangement is all about new life. Springtime and sustainability. Everything about this arrangement is either recycled (glass vase), organic, or local AND organic. This can be traced back to our other kindergarten lesson, be good to the earth.

 

These string balls are so versatile. I love their airy forms. If you’d like a how-to, I used the instructions from Wednesday Designs here. Although, I must say, I will mess with the recipe next time. Maybe leave out the cornstarch. I didn’t like having to break out all the little glue windows. However, I may have been too gloppy…. sometimes I can be too gloppy.

Local sustainably grown flowers included Viburnum, Hellebore, Agrostis, budding pussy willow, Green Ball Flower (I actually don’t know the real name), and parrot tulips.

And here is one of our clam-mouthed parrot tulips.

Terrariums!

I’ve really missed the bus with this whole terrarium thing. Suddenly, they are everywhere, and I want one.

It combines three of my obsessions: miniaturized things, dioramas, and great containers. So fascinating.

There are so many how-to posts out there, that I won’t bore you with another. I’ll just get to the goods. If you want a how-to, I love the post at The Hipster Home

If I had done it over, I would have headed down to the dollar store and grabbed some little plastic creatures… or thrown in some vintage buttons, something to reward those that take a closer look. I also would have used some glass to make a neato layer. Geez, maybe I should do-over.

These terrariums remind me of one day in high school when my brother thoughtfully pondered, ” What if you were a giant and were walking around the earth and all the old growth forests crushed under your feet like blades of grass…”

Whoa. blowin’ my mind, Bro.

If any of you folks are local, my bud, Camille, brought me to a shop  in old Ballard that does terrarium classes. It is called the Palm Room and it is so inspiring for minimalist, earthy, fine-craft-from-found-object enthusiasts. Ugh, even their website is gorgeous. Have you ever stepped into a place and was in pain because it reflects, so perfectly, all the things you find are beautiful? That’s what this place does for me.  For a fee, you bring in all the containers you want and make terrariums with their provided materials. You make ’em until you are out of containers or your time is up. Pretty great for Christmas, wedding favors, or to outfit your home in beautiful miniature worlds.

By the way, I leave the tops off mine until people come over or else my succulents will hate me.

A Garland for Christmas Sanity

Listen, this garland has altered my Christmas attitude.  I have a problem with being a hopeless Christmas crafter. Setting my crafting goals too high to achieve a thoughtful, personal, useful gift for my very large family. It doesn’t work, and I end up handing out a lot of Christmastime sucks vibes during the weeks-long crafting process. In hindsight, the few dollars I spend just aren’t worth it.

This year, I kept it simple. Garlands. They are beautiful. And this one is cheap, fast, and literally a joy to make. They are so fast that I was able to make one for all my special people in less than a day.

When the inevitable Christmastime craft danger thought comes…”this handmade stocking just doesn’t really get at how much I applaud him for all the challenges he’s overcome this year. How can I make this stocking express more perseverance and triumph?”… I can sit back and think…. “It’s a garland, Emily. A garland. It doesn’t express. It just hangs out and acts all pretty and stuff.”

And as it turns out. People love them.

All it takes is a large pattern puncher, trace paper, a sewing machine, and heavy paper. I wised up yesterday and started using ugly wrapping paper to save my dear and useful trace.

The trace paper or wrapping paper allows me to sew through the paper and create the  floating string. Otherwise my machine would jam. The paper can be pulled off cleanly.

So here we go.

Cut out your shapes,

Stick one end of trace or wrapping paper under the needle of your sewing machine, then a shape on top of that,

Sew.

Follow with another shape.

Sew. Repeat.

Then just tear the backing off and cut the excess thread.

 

I actually photoshopped out a hangnail (!?!)

 

Wonderful. People just may be getting variations on a garland theme for years to come.

 

Holiday vandalism.

 

I attacked my friend, Lisa’s house with some sneaky holiday cheer.

So cute my friend used her garland in her kid’s nursery.

Thank you, garland, for saving my Christmas.

So fast, I actually have time to post a blog on Christmas Eve!

Have some wonderful holiday fun!

Whimsical Eco-Rad Centerpieces from Repurposed Materials

I was recently asked to make an arrangement for an auction. I agreed. I went home and searched through my house. Cute and cheap, cute and cheap. I was grabbing at things I could re-purpose as if I was late for a White Elephant party.  AHA! Paper bags! So versatile.  When wet down, crumbled up, dried and straightened out, paper bags can be nice and workable.  (So many jokes are running through my head right now) And the fancy Metro Market sacks are bleached white and I’m sure could take on a bright color. The result would be great for a baby shower celebration, birthday, whimsical wedding, thanksgiving, whatevs. And depending on what materials you use, they are different levels of eco-rad. So here’s the how-to. At the bottom you will get the cost run down.

I love that the next photo after mentioning eco-radness is a photo featuring the Caution notation. I looked it up and it’s best to wear a mask and gloves while using dyes in powder form. I used about a fifth of a packet of dye in about a gallon of water and had more than enough to do my two pieces. I cut up two different kinds of sacks, bleached and brown, to see how each took the dye.  I wadded the paper up, stuck it in the dye for about an hour and carefully hung it out to dry. In the morning I ironed them flat.

I loved the yellow on white paper and the blue on brown paper.  By the way, do this with tea bags and paper bags to make some neat buried treasure maps for kiddos that look like they are ages old.

I used 6 inch plastic design trays that I had reused from a past event and some floral foam (not so eco-rad but convenient… Convenient is eco-rad’s nemesis). But YOU can use the bottom of a yogurt container, an old bowl, whatever. To hold the flowers in place, you can use sand, dirt, pebbles, sticks. All you need is something that will give a minimal amount of support to keep the flowers from flopping around.  For the yellow arrangement, I cut out triangles and started on the inside layer of petals, gluing them near the top rim of my container. I worked my way around and down, gluing the final row of petals under the container and tacking to the side.  For the floppy blue flower, I cut out basset hound ear shapes and sandwiched two together to give them more support. Looking back, I would have added some wire to my basset hound ear sandwich so I could bend and twist the petals easier. I then rolled the edges under for more support and a softer edge. I added water to the center and shoved in about 6 Carnations. For more added eco-radness, use flowers, berries, rocks, or pods available in your native habitat. Finally, I rolled and bent the petals until they looked about right.

So cute. The blue flower is about 12-14″ wide while the yellow flower is 6-8″ wide.

I’ve been told this one looks like chips and cabbage.

All in all, the supplies I used cost $12.60 and I have dye to spare. If you use your own flowers, container, and flower support, then you are only paying for the dye which is about 2 bucks a pop. I think one box of dye would have gotten 15-20 flowers worth of paper. Not to shabby. I’ll be completing the set with a large leaf this weekend. Then, we’ll see how much it brings in at the auction.


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