Friday, August 19, 2011

Decorating the Branch

This past fall while cutting wood at a local church, Clint found this branch and, knowing I'd love it, he brought it home. I walked around and around it, carried it around the house for awhile, and then decided it needed to hang from the ceiling in our family room. At Christmas time, it was decorated with ornaments that sparkled and glittered and some lovely birds. The birds got to stay on the branch after I took the ornaments down.

They look too comfortable, I think, to be packed away in the darkness of the basement. And I like to look at this teal one in particular. He has such lovely tail feathers, and sometimes I think he winks at me.

But if the bird loved me, the bare branch taunted me. I knew it needed decoration, but I couldn't decide what. Whatever I chose had to be light weight so as not to break the fragile small limbs, and not too fancy or frilly as it wouldn't go with the rest of the room. I knew I wanted to make it, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money.

So, one day I sat down and started sketching simple flowers and leaves. I cut a flower out and held it up to the light, but it was just a little bit too boring. It needed some dimension, some shape. Also, my sketch was a little lackluster, if I must admit, and I wanted something more simple and less fussy.

After searching awhile online, I found this tutorial, which was both easy to follow and simple in design. I don't have extra vellum, and I was looking through my paper stash when lightning struck my brain in a moment of sheer crafting and penny-pinching genius: I could use last month's Crate and Barrel catalog. (I had saved it for once and have been using the pages for wrapping paper and envelopes...hate to thow such beautiful pictures away!)

I used a small glass to trace lots and lots of circles, as the tutorial instructed. Then, I cut out each circle (and you don't need to be super precise because the edges get rounded). After cutting each circle, I folded them into eighths (half and half and half again) and then rounded off the edges. Then after unfolding my almost-flower (and here's where you really need to look at the tutorial to get the visual help), I cut out one little section and a tiny part of another. Apply a kiss of glue stick and adhere the cut tab to the other part of the flower and voila! 3-D flower.

Having a one-girl assembly line makes the process run much more quickly, I think, than making each flower individually. The next step is making the stems. As the tutorial suggested, I cut pieces of floral wire and bent one end into a hooky thing to look like the (ahem) reproductive parts of a flower. Thread the unbent end of the wire through the very, very tiny hole in the middle of the flower and there you go! All set. Now I just needed to attach them to the branch.

Here's one lone guy on his branch. He's waiting for more friends to join him.

And soon they were all on the branch (except for the few who still sit on my counter top: I ran out of floral wire!), where they introduced themselves quite politely to Mr. Teal Bird and his friends. Sometimes I look up from my chair (which is right below the branch, of course, almost like a halo of crafty benediction) and smile at them as they bob gently in the breeze from the window.

You'll be happy to know that the branch no longer taunts me at all. It has become quite friendly since the addition of the flowers. The only trouble now is the nagging I get from the flowers that still lack their wires. I'll get to it, I assure both them and you, in my own sweet time.


Juliette said...

Wow...those flowers turned out great! The branch hanging from your ceiling is crazy cool and I sure wouldn't have ever thought to use Crate & Barrel pages....awesome! I'm going to have my daughter make those flowers for my classroom. Thanks, Kir!

Tammy said...

Love the flowers! Simple and whimsical. They kind of look like butterflies. I bet the birds are thrilled to have some company!