Happy belated birthday Momma!
By the time you read this I will have already come back from a brief trip with Gren to Ottawa to visit my grandmother. Before I left, however, I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something creative to give her to let her know I was thinking about her, but something that would appeal to her practical sensibilities and also something that she wouldn’t have to keep around for a long time if she didn’t want to.
And I was doing all that wracking at work in the library. Yes, sometimes I do slack off. Only sometimes, though. I took a lot of the following photos with my phone, in fact.
We have about fifty or so subscriptions to loose-leaf legal volumes, which are legal texts that update probably four or five times a year when legislation changes or when new cases can be used as precedents. So part of my job is to go through each of these volumes, remove the selected pages that have been updated, and insert the new ones. It ends up being a lot of paper, in the end. I save the sheets that have one blank side to make scrap paper notebooks. But the rest of it, the printed-on-both-sides stuff, ends up in the recycling bin. Sometimes I can empty that sucker two or three times a day.
After my success with the Fruit by the Foot roses, and after looking at these cute gift toppers, I had an idea (and it also occurred to me that my candy roses would have been better if I’d cut them from spirals in Fruit Roll-Ups instead). Instead of picking up some real flowers for her, ones that have likely been grown using questionable or unsustainable methods, ones that have been shipped in from a great distance and will likely wilt in a few days, which would require her to take action to get rid of them, why not give her a bouquet of recycled roses?
So I grabbed a handful of sheets out of my recycling bin and started in on this. Fortunately, because I’m a librarian, I have a lot of scissors and interesting adhesives and things lying around, as well as a big desk to work with. For this job, though, you just need some relatively thin sheets of paper, any kind you want, a pair of scissors, some fast-drying glue (hot glue or rubber cement work just fine), and maybe a pencil and a stapler, if you want.
Take your paper, and stack up maybe two or three sheets, to give you some volume and layers. I cut my sheets in half to make them a bit more square. Take your pencil and, starting in the centre of the sheet, draw a line spiraling outward to the edge of the page. You can also just freehand cut your spiral if you wish, which is why the pencil is optional.
Don’t worry about drawing a pretty spiral, or even in cutting a pretty spiral. In fact, the more uneven it is the more interesting your final flower will be.
Take a pair of scissors and start cutting from the outside to the inside of the spiral. When you get to the centre, instead of cutting out the full spiral, leave a little circle at the end, not too big, but big enough. You can trim it later.
I found it was a little easier if I stapled the future site of my final circle before I started cutting. It helped to keep the layers under more control, though a little separation is both natural and desirable. You can also staple the circle later. Or not at all. That is up to you.
Starting on the outside of your lengthy paper snake (the side without the round circle “head”), start rolling up the paper. You’ll want it to be tighter at first, and then looser as you get to the end. Keep the bottom edge of the paper all lined up as you go along.
When you get to the end, put a generous dollop of your fast-drying glue inside the bottom of the flower and fold the final circle down over top. If you want it to unroll a bit before it dries, you can loosen your grip a bit, or if you want it to be all contained, then hold on tight.
And there’s your little flower. Easy peasy.
Now make a bunch more. I made five before I felt guilty and had to go back to work.
You can stick these puppies on anything. I’ve seen them on presents, on wreaths, as garlands … whatever floats your boat. If I had some more skill (and some decent floral tape), I would make these into stand-up flowers that could be put in a vase. For ease of transport and disposability, I am going to make a sort of pop-out picture out of paper.
These cardboard squares came as packaging material from one of the books I ordered at work. I think they’ll provide a nice stiff backing to my planned project. I can use one as a canvas, and cut another to provide a backstop so the whole thing stands up.
I briefly thought about wrapping the backdrop in some form of pretty fabric as a nice contrast, but then I stopped myself. The whole idea of this little gift is that it will be recyclable when I am done. But I think the brown cardboard back with the printed white paper on front is a nice contrast in itself.
I rolled thin strips of printed paper up diagonally to make narrow tubes which became the stems of the flowers.
A rolled piece of folded paper makes a simple little vase.
Curled up cut-outs make nice leaves.
Tape a few strips of cardboard to the back to act as a stand.
And there you have it. A pop-out paper bouquet. View of St. John’s not included.