Monthly Archives: July 2011

Friday July 8, 2011

After I made the clutches for Show & Tell Wednesday, @Laura_Moore asked if I would mind showing everyone how I made the “funky flower” for one of the clutches.  I am finally getting around to putting a quick tutorial together.  First I would like to say I did not come up with this idea.  These folded rosettes are all over the internet.  I found several tutorials that were very complicated; involving lots of cutting, ironing, and hand sewing.  I finally found a tutorial that was simple and got the results I wanted, but when I went back to find the link but it wasn’t there anymore. 

So here’s what I did~

For making a folded flower you will need the following items~

You will also need a glue gun

Samson had his hair
Red Green had his duct tape
I have my glue gun

Start with the piece of fabric.  Any kind will do; linen, cotton, silk…
For this tutorial I am using a mustard colored raw silk.  I love the raw silk for this project.  Raw silk has that interesting texture, it’s not super bulky, and it has rich colors.  It can also be pricey, fortunately you don’t need a lot of yardage for this project and you can buy imitation raw silk for less.

I cut a little snip out of the end of the fabric in order to start making the fabric strip for the flower.  The strip is about 2 inches wide.  Narrow strips make smaller flowers, wider strips make thicker, bigger flowers.

I take the piece I have sniped and I rip the strip off with my hands.  You can cut it with scissors but it’s faster to just rip the material and I like the way it frays the edges.

It should look like this.  I like to work with long pieces because it gives me the liberty to make the rose as fat as I like.

Begin by folding the strip in half and knotting one end.

Next, wrap the strip around the knot several times to create the center spiral of the rose.

As you wrap around the knot be sure to put a dab of hot glue in between the layers to hold the flower together.

One you have the center spiral the size you want it, start wrapping and twisting the strip around the center of the flower.  This is the part that takes a little practice.  The first few flowers I made were a little flat and not shaped real prettily.  Every time you wrap and twist the fabric, place a small dot of hot glue under the twist.  You are basically gluing the petals together as you twist.

As the flowers gets bigger start making the twists bigger and wider. 

Once you like the size of the flower…

… take your scissors and cut the strip about a half an inch away from the flower.

Take that piece and tuck it behind the flower, gluing is in place.

To give the flower a finished look I like to add a felt circle to the back.  If you want to turn it into a pin now is the time to do that.  If you have regular pin backs that works the best but if not a safety pin works fine too.

Cut out some small notches in the felt and slip the pin through the cuts.  Coat the back of the felt and pin with glue (either super glue or hot glue), center the felt and pin on the back of the flower and glue it in place.  Be sure to add even pressure when you are letting the glue dry.

Pin it to your favorite scarf, shirt or hat and you are ready to impress your friends.

You can add gems, buttons or pearls to the centers.  You can also twist a layer of tulle into the flower to give it a softer look.

You can pin these little pretties to almost anything, purses, headbands, or necklaces.  They make darling gifts.

Lastly, for your amusement… “The Outtakes”

Don’t mess with a girl and her glue gun, baby.

Trying for that “Charlies Angels” dangerous and smoldering look, but I only managed to get a disturbing shot of my nostril.

I have no idea

Now if you will excuse me I’m going to take what’s left of my pride and go eat 3 slices of chocolate zucchini bread.

Have a wonderful weekend being with those you love!  ~April

Wednesday July 6, 2011

Lately, I think I have been giving the impression that I am some sort of photographer. 

I am not. 

I’m a person who likes to take pictures of my family, my life, things that catch my eye, but I am not a photographer.  I know this because photographers know stuff about their cameras.  They read their camera manuals, they take classes, read photography blogs, and use words like… ISO, aperture, shutter speeds, and they talk about their lenses like they were members of their family.  I, on the other hand, up until a few months ago, could not have told you the name of the company that makes my camera.  You could have asked me a simple question like, “Hey, what kind of camera do you have?”  and I would have looked at you sheepishly and replied, “Uh, it’s big… it has a strap.  It might be a Cannon?  No wait I think it’s an Olympus, or is it a Nikon?”

99.7% of the time I shoot in automatic mode, which immediately lets you know that I am no photographer.  Every once in a while I think, “I wonder what all these twisty, knob thingies do?  They look lonely.  Maybe I should twist them randomly and see what happens.”  It never works out very well.

While I do not claim to be a photographer, over the years I have developed a few techniques for faking it.  So if you’re a busy person who doesn’t have the time to really study and develop your picture taking skills but you want a few tricks to improve your photos, this is my cheater (completely made up) guide~
{for my friends who are brilliantly skilled photographers please don’t feel the need to read any further}

First I should say I have a pretty nice camera.  Through no merit of my own, or research on my part.  My husband (who is an optical engineer) researched a bunch of different kinds of cameras, bought a nice camera, put it in my hands and said “Have fun.”  It’s an Olympus E-620.  It’s an SLR which stands for… something, something, something or another.  All I know is, it’s a heck of a lot faster than my old camera.  With my other camera I’d go to take a picture of the kids and by the time it decided to snap the picture, they were off doing something else.

In addition to having a nice camera, I take a lot of pictures and I usually only put the nicest ones on my blog.  In other words, what you see is the cream of the crop, and dumb luck factors heavily into any picture that comes out well.

I have learned to take advantage of the natural lighting in my house.  We have big floor-to-ceiling windows which let in a lot of light.  When I am taking pictures in the daytime I always turn off my flash.

The automatic flash on cameras has a tendency to make pictures look flat and dull.  This is a picture I shot with my flash on…

… this is the very same shot without the flash.  Whenever possible turn off the automatic flash on your camera.  Sometimes you will have to edit the picture by bumping up the “fill light” or the “highlights” to compensate for not using the flash.  With this picture I adjusted the highlights and the coloring a bit.  Bumping up the highlights can make the colors look too saturated (at least it does to my eyes).
The natural lighting of the windows can be a big help if you are shooting with the light instead of against it.

This one is shot at the window:  too much back light and his face is completely shadowed.

This one is taken at the same table at the same time of the day, but I am standing next to the window shooting away from it, so all the lighting is on Jude’s face.

I also use photo editing.  I don’t have a professional one, I use Picasa.  I upload and store all my photos on Picasa.  I adjust the lighting, color, and crop on most of the pictures I post.  I also use Picnik which is a free editing program that allows me to add text, doodles, and artistic effects to my pictures.  I don’t use it very often because it can be a bit time consuming, but I do have fun messing with the pictures from time to time.

Picnik has what they call “effects” that you can add to your photos.  With a click of a button you can change the entire feel of the picture.

This is the picture I took in my garden last week.  This first picture has had nothing done to it~

To achieve the look on this photo I chose the “cross-process” effect, added the text, and rounded the corners of the picture.

It’s really amazing the way these “effects” can drastically change the appearance of a picture

Unedited ~

Messed with considerably ~

When I am taking pictures of something I have made I like to chose a background that is simple and nonreflective.  I stage the photo in an area that gets indirect filtered light.

I often use the side of my shed which is always perfectly shaded and is made of corrugated metal (which makes an interesting but subtle background). Through trial an error you can figure out the places in your house that are best for staging photo shoots.

Or I set up on my white desk.  It gets nice lighting from the window and the white background adds a crisp, clean, look that brings out the colors or details of whatever I am photographing.

Most importantly, life is life, and memories happen in places where the lighting is not good, and the background is too busy, faces are dirty, the lens isn’t perfectly focused… but it’s the moment that counts.  The memory that is being captured and frozen; that’s what is important… not photographic perfection.  Some of my most cherished pictures are not technically beautiful pictures but they are perfect to my eyes.

Plus when your subject matter is this darn cute how can you possible go wrong?

Sorry, shameless proud mom moment there… I’ll try not to let it happen again.

One last thing.  I really admire photographers who have taken the time to study and hone their skills.  Someday I would like to do that myself, until then I just do the best I can with what I have.

Tuesday July 5, 2011

We went bug hunting in out p.j’s for @WildWomanOfTheWest.  Why you may ask?  Well, we were out in our pajamas because that’s what we do in the summer… stay in our p.j’s until lunch , and we were hunting bugs for Wild Woman’s fabulous giveaway.  If you want to know more about the giveaway you can check it out here.  But you better hurry, it ends Wed. July 6th, high noon.

The good news is, we found bugs.

The bad news is, we found squash bugs on the squash and…

… they are happily making lots of baby squash bugs.  We like bugs around here but these critters might have to go, otherwise there will be no more zucchini bread and squash fritters.

Thanks Wild Woman for putting a great giveaway together, and giving the kids and I something fun to do on this long summer day!

*Taking pictures and doing a post is not required to enter the giveaway… it just sounded like fun to me so I did…

Friday July 1, 2011


We are winding down this wonderfully slow summer week.

Looking forward to a weekend of family, good food, fireworks, children waving sparklers, drippy ice cream, and all the other pleasures of the season…  Hello July!  It’s good to see you again.