Pseudo-Peonies

IMAG0834-1

While the weather might be warmer than it was before, and while I pulled these lovely daffodils out of my garden last week …

Pseudo Peony 3

… my garden still looks like this.  Which means that my peonies haven’t bloomed yet.  If they’re going to bloom at all.  And I like peonies.  They’re one of my favourites.

Pseudo Peony 4

So I’m going to make my own here.  It’s not that hard.  I found a quick tutorial at Two Shades of Pink and had at it.

Pseudo Peony 52

Start with a bunch of coffee filters.  I don’t know how many.  A bunch.

Pseudo Peony 7

And some warm water.  And some food colouring.  Or watercolour paint.

Pseudo Peony 8

Dissolve some of your paint/dye in the water. This is some Crayola stuff I broke off and stirred in.

Pseudo Peony 17

I tried this craft paint but it wasn’t water soluble, not really.

Pseudo Peony 9

Pseudo Peony 10

Then dip your filters into the coloured water.  You can do a bunch at once. And they don’t need to sit in the water for more than a few seconds.

Pseudo Peony 14

Experiment with the outer edges.

Pseudo Peony 19

Versus the inside. Or the whole thing.

Pseudo Peony 15

Squeeze out the excess dye with your hands.

Pseudo Peony 23

I totally dyed my hand pink.

Pseudo Peony 26

Spread out the filters to dry completely.

Pseudo Peony 24

Mine took a few hours, less when I fully separated the layers and put them in a place with lots of air flow.

Pseudo Peony 27

This is the full stack next day.

Pseudo Peony 30

Now, in addition to the filters, you will need scissors, a stapler (with staples), and then some tape or wire (I have floral wire here).

Pseudo Peony 31

Grab between 6 and 8 of the filters and stack them up.  Flatten them a bit with your hands.

Pseudo Peony 32

Fold the filters in half, then half again so you have a little cone.

Pseudo Peony 33

Take your scissors and scallop the rounded edge of the cone — don’t worry about perfection, it’s all good.

Pseudo Peony 34

Now unfold the thing and ruffle it up a bit.  Pinch that spot at the very centre where you made your folds.

Pseudo Peony 35

Flip the filters over and you can see what I mean by that pinch.

Pseudo Peony 36

Staple over that pinched spot to hold things in place.

Pseudo Peony 37

Now flip it back over and smooth it out a bit.

Pseudo Peony 38

Pull up the edges of the topmost (innermost) filter and, working from the bottom, squish the filter in on itself, leaving a nice fluffy gathering on top.

Pseudo Peony 39

Keep going with each successive layer.

Pseudo Peony 40

Make sure to keep the top nice and fluffy, while still jamming the paper against itself.

Pseudo Peony 41

Gather up the bottom layer and push it upwards, squeezing into the little handle you’ve created for yourself.

Pseudo Peony 42

The paper will hold its shape for a short time, but you want to fix it more permanently.  You can use tape around the little nub here or floral wire, which is what I used.

Pseudo Peony 43

I attached one flower to one end of the wire and another to the bottom.  What am I going to do with it?  I’m getting to that.

Pseudo Peony 45

Because of the variation in the way I dyed the filters, you can see different colour gradations in the finished flowers.

Pseudo Peony 44

On this one I put the darker filters in the middle.

Pseudo Peony 46

This was the resulting bloom.

Pseudo Peony 48

I used 8 filters per bloom and ended up with 18 flowers finished, which means I had 144 filters dyed.

Pseudo Peony 51

When I was finished I gathered some of the blossoms that were tied together and I used an additional piece of floral wire to wind their stems together.

Pseudo Peony 53

And it made two lovely little bouquets of 9 flowers each.

Pseudo Peony 55

I don’t even want to talk about that horrible plaster job in the background.  The landlord took our chimney away and now I have no place to display my work.

Pseudo Peony 56

So until I figure out how to compensate for my lack of a fireplace, I’ve put my pseudo peonies flanking my television.  Because I’m classy like that.

Pseudo Peony 59

Pseudo Peony 63

A Vintage Arrangement

I made a wedding cake this weekend.  And it is AWESOME.

Unfortunately, I’m too tired to post about it right now so you’ll have to wait until Wednesday.  And actually, at this very second I am preparing to hurtle at 650km/h across the North Atlantic to return home to the Pie and Gren.  So some patience, please.

My parents’ garden is in rare form this year following a chilly, wet spring, so of course any excuse to cut some of the lovely flowers and bring their delicious scents inside is a good excuse.

This is a centre piece I made for a dinner with my Uncle Squeaker.  Peonies, my favourite flower in the whole world, make for great arrangements.  You can keep them tall and elegant in a huge wide vase or cut them off completely to float them in a bowl.  They’re just the best.

Here, however, I cut them short and stuck them in vintage canning jars.

And photographic fluid flasks. 

I even stuck one in my great-grandmother’s coffee jar.

Then of course some iris in old medicinal tonic bottles to add a bit of height to the arrangement.

And that was it.  Don’t let not having a big vase stop you from making a big (floral) statement.