Drying Flowers, Iron vs. Books

I decided to do a little test this summer to figure out if ironing flowers would work as well as my tried and true method of pressing them between the pages of a book. 
The book pressing method is so simple, but requires some patience. It takes about 10 days to get blooms perfectly flat and dry. 

Below are my flowers and foliage after being pressed between 2 sheets of parchment paper under a stack of heavy books. This was on day 10. The leaves are nice and green and very flat. The petunia flower kept it's beautiful purple color. 

They're kind of perfect, but let's see if we can get these results without the wait. It's time to get out the iron! 
Here's a new batch of flowers and leaves. 
Just as with the book method, I placed my flowers and leaves between 2 sheets of parchment paper. 
With my iron on the highest temperature setting without steam, I went over the flowers for about 3 of 4 minutes. 
And the results are in. This was definitely not as effective as using books for pressing. The leaves are not flattened and, what's worse, the pretty purple petunias turned brown. And my bell flowers look like they've been run over by a truck, or at least a bicycle. 
So there you have it. If you want really gorgeous pressed flowers that retain their color, you'll have to just wait. You'll have better looking results and there's hardly any active time at all.  

Fairy Garden Party

If planning a little girl's birthday doesn't get you crafting, I don't know what will. My sweet Isla turned 6 this month and we celebrated in the backyard with friends, lots of sweet treats, a piñata and a fairy garden craft. 
 I made the little fairy bunting banner by cutting out little triangles from burlap cardstock. Then I hot glued the back of each triangle to string and then glued the string around the ends of 2 skewers. 

I found the little chalkboard in the clearance bin at Michaels for less than $3. The girls and I painted the frame pink. 

Poor letter I. It's not the flashiest initial and it's often confused with the lower case L, but covering a cardboard cutout I-shape with little tissue paper rosettes helps it look special. 
I don't often refer to craft projects as easy, because even the simplest DIY projects can get pretty complicated. Especially if you're a perfectionist and aim to have everything look just right. The paper chain, however, really is hard to mess up. My 7-year-old helped me make a super long chaing to hang outstide on the shrubs. 
In the backyard, I set up a few fairy gardens. Last year we only had 1 little miniature garden. This year we have 4, thanks to me ordering the wrong scale accessories for the birthday party craft. That mistake left me with an abundance of little fairy furniture that I decided to keep. I'm really not sure who gets more excited about fairy gardens... me or the kids. 

I love how my husband hung the cupcake piñata with transparent fishing wire. It kind of reminds me of a surrealist painting. 
Some of those "mistake" fairy accessories decorated the outdoor table. 
I grabbed the wooden mushroom from my son's room.
I'm learning every year how to better adapt the menu for our young party guests. These white chocolate-covered marshmallows were a huge hit. 
To make these, I just melted a bar of white chocolate in a glass dish over boiling water, added some red food coloring and dipped jumbo-sized marshmallows in. Then I sprinked some sugar crystals on top and let them cool for a few minutes before serving. 

The first week of July is always the most colorful in my garden. 

Can you spot the garden jewels in the background? Their sparkles help catch fairies, of course. 
I got that idea from an episode of The Jennie Garth Project. You just hot glue some gems onto some fishing wire and hang. 
And there's Judy, a fixture at all our backyard events. 
I'm just going to show off now. There's my herb garden growing vigorously. 
And my day lilies and daisies. 
One thing that made my life so much easier this time was to just buy the cake at the bakery! It came all packaged up so our dog couldn't get to it. 
There's the happy birthday girl. 
 And here's the beach scene fairy garden all the girls made. 

I bought a few packs of anuals (look for plants that grow no more than 3 or 4 inches tall) and ended up buying umbrellas, buckets and sand from Michaels. The little fences came from I had some moss left over from a previous project which we used around the base of the plants. 

One note: if you make a little mini garden with sand, it's best to place a piece of wax paper or plastic over the potting soil before you layer the sand. It will help keep the sand from getting mixed up with the soil. 
 A fairy garden isn't complete without fairy dust! That's just some glitter funneled into pretty little glass bottles. 
 Miniature garden shovels were perfect for scooping out the sand. 

And that was our fairy garden party! 

Nursery Tour

I've been meaning to get this post up for ages! Toma's room has been ready for months, but I kept thinking I'd put a few finishing touches (change out some of that wall art, do something to that thrift store chair, fix that one roman shade), so I held off on taking pictures until today. I spent all of 5 or 10 minutes snapping quickly because Toma decided he didn't want to sit still anymore right as I was getting started. 

So while I really wanted to take my time taking pictures and getting all sorts of detail shots... these will have to do for now. 
The wire basket from World Market is very useful for holding diapers.  The mirror was another thrift store find that I painted. The shelf is Ikea and that little crate holding toys is from a craft store. 

Notice the family photo project?
 Those are the Ikea picture ledges we used to make a wall of book storage. 

I made the roman shade with HGTV home decor fabric from Joann. I also tried something new and used black out fabric and a liner in the middle which is supposed to help block out sound and insulate the window. I also used child-safe shrouds to encase the cord.
 I'll have to do a before and after post with this dresser. I found it at a thrift store, sanded it down completely and painted it with a blend of 2 colors of milk paint. The cute knobs were only $5 at Home Goods. As you can see, it doubles as a changing table and is working out great. 
When I first got to work on transforming the guest room into a baby's room (maybe 20 seconds after I found out I was pregnant) I thought I wouldn't have much to do. But one project turned into another. Things weren't wrapped up until a couple of weeks before my due date. 

Here's a rundown of what I did. 

First up was painting the Ikea daybed. When I bought it on Craigslist a few years ago, it had been spraypainted black. I really wanted it white, but didn't feel like sanding it down. I made some DIY chalkboard paint by mixing regular latex wall paint with water and plaster of Paris and started painting. The plaster really sticks to the surface, so no sanding required! I still need to do a wax finish though.

I bought the dresser for $50 at a local thrift store, sanded it down and painted it with milkpaint and replaced the drawer pulls. 

Painted the walls and stenciled a handmade bee pattern on one. 

Changed out the light fixture with an inexpensive schoolhouse light from Home Depot. 

Made child-safe roman shades. Twice. I wasn't happy with the first fabric I used. 

Sewed a quilt. 

Made kite wall art with wood dowels and scrap fabric and sewed a cloud mobile out of white felt. 

Used black and white family photos to make photo transfer art and placed it in embroidery hoops. 

Made Wisconsin map art using wrapping paper and a shiny gold gift bag. 

Put up Ikea picture rail for the book shelves (my husband did most of the work). He also painted the trim and door a nice bright white (one door still left to paint). 

Crocheted 2 toy baskets. 

Besides shopping for the crib and accessories (that's the fun part) I think that's about it. Phew. So glad I can now sit back and relax in what is my favorite room in our house right now. 

In case you are wondering about sources, here are some I haven't already mentioned...

Bee stencil project
Wall colors Sherwin Williams Tidewater SW6477 (on the stenciled wall) and Blue Horizon SW 6497
Diaper changer cover from Target
Crib: Ikea Sundvik
Metal garden stool/side table, pillows, small gold mirror from Home Goods
Wall art is a mix of stuff including one of my linocuts and some DIY art
Kite, quilt and cloud mobile were all DIY projects that I will get around to blogging about someday
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