Wednesday, March 21

Happy spring!

Things are growing!
Though over the years I have grown to really love and appreciate winter for its cold and dark days, there is something that will always be special and joyful about spring. This year it seems to have come a bit early for me in Omaha, but it seems only appropriate to recognize the first day of spring (though it was yesterday). And a spring day it is indeed! Warm but drizzly, with a hint of pollen in the air. What a treat, too, with the trees blooming around the city and flowers budding everywhere! Even some tulips that I planted in January have decided to make an appearance, poking their noses out of the soil in front of our house. The birds too, are singing many a songs of spring. My body is rejuvenated.

As with all changing seasons, the coming of spring gave me a kick to decorate. I feel like we all have such a unique relationship with the spaces that we live in, and for me, I am better able to relate to my space if it is an ever-changing extension of my feelings (bless my roommates, who put up with my constant rearranging, redecorating and repeating).
Cat mint I foraged from the riverbed of the Platte
A couple of months back, when Christmas had past and everyone else was ready for winter to be through, Farren and I were out and about and I spied a evergreen wreath on the curbside headed for the dump. Now if you know me, you know I won't pass up a good opportunity for free craft supplies! So we pulled on over and stuffed the wreath into the trunk and headed on our merry way. Upon bringing it home, I removed the branches and pine cones from the metal wreath hoop and fashioned a new winter wreath, which hung in our front window until only recently. When the outdoor temperatures reached 80 degrees and spruce needles covered our floor, I decided it was time for a change. Using the metal hoop we had foraged from the trash, it seemed only appropriate (spring is the time for new life!) to give our little wreath a new spring life.

I started by wrapping a portion of the metal frame with some pastel yellow scrap fabric I had lying around. Then, I wove branches that I had recently pruned from our fence-line around the remaining portion of the wreath. Because they were freshly cut, they were quite flexible and easily able to take any form I put them in. For a final touch, I made homemade flowers using coffee filters and some pink and orange paints. Super easy and the result is really lovely! I have written how to make the homemade blooms below.

I think the wreath turned out quite nice and my roommates have not taken it down yet... Other things that would work well around a spring wreath  would be hollowed eggs, dried flowers or some lace. Really, anything you have lying around! Its always nice to spruce up your space, and its especially nice when doing so costs pennies. In this case, I really only paid for the coffee filters. And it was a nice project to work on outside, allowing me to enjoy the beautiful weather!
Homemade flower blooms
Coffee filters (two per bloom)
Acrylic paint, in warm colors (I used pink and orange)
A plate
other supplies:
A line to hang the filters to dry
Paint brush (optional; I used my fingers!)
Something to hold the filters to the line (I used bobby pins)

Start by wetting the plate with quite a bit of water. Lay a coffee filter on the plate and add paint. I used my fingers, so about a finger-dip is plenty of paint. Spread the paint around and allow it to spread throughout the filter.

Each filter will be unique, so add more or less paint to each one for different blooms! Once the filter is painted to your liking, hang to dry. The paint will drip a little, so be sure you are not hanging them over your finest linens or your favorite shoes (unless you want to paint those too!). It only takes a couple minutes to dry if the weather is warm, so you can just keep switching out wet ones for dry ones.

Once you have as many filters painted as you'd like, you are ready to make the blooms. Start by taking one filter and bunching it in the center so the edges ruffle out, and the center is pulled together tightly. Then, place the center of the first filter at the center of the second filter and softly bunch the second filter to create a flower-like bloom. Using string, tie the two filters together!
I used the blooms on the wreath but they can also be used for other things. Consider tying them to single branches and using them in a bouquet. String some together and use them as a garland. Use them for gift wrapping! Really, anything you'd like to bring some springy fun to.

Other things that are happening in my life right now:
Big Muddy Urban Farm started our seeds!
Canning with friends! 
Plants I have gleaned, are growing happily
I hope you are enjoying and celebrating the spring.
Happy crafting!

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