Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Love Lavender

This weekend is the Sequim Lavender Festival . I  love lavender and to pay homage to this wonderful healing herb, not only do I make salves and soaps, but I also make stuff with the flowers - check out my my Etsy shop for my lavender salves. I have made lavender wands, bouquets and mostly lavender hat bands. 

I have made many of these hat bands out of lavender and it is really nice to wear, I get the heavenly scent of lavender, plus nice comments and the surprise expressions from people who hear that I made it.

To make a hat band, you need:
- A hat.
- Fresh lavender with stems at least 6 inches long - trim the leaves off of the stems. I don't have a quantity, it depends on how big your hat band will be - one big bunch should be plenty, plus give you extra for decoration.  
- 24 gauge wire.

Prepare your lavender, trim and take off the leaves from the stems and set aside. I used 5 different kinds of lavender (all home grown) and alternated them by color.

It’s best if your wire is on a bobbin of sorts. Mine was in a coil, and I just wound it around a clothes pin 
- this makes for easier use. Anything short can be used as a bobbin - small dowel, pencil or a popsicle stick.

What your wire bobbin will look like.

Take your hat, and if you have a hat stand or a wig head, place your hat on it - or you could just put it on. Take the wire and wrap it kinda loose around the base of your hat and secure (twist) - don’t cut the wire, from here, you will be placing and wrapping your lavender.

Take the wire base off your hat (it won’t be perfect) and place 2 stems of lavender on top of the wire base, gently hold the flower head and wrap the wire about 3 times. The wire on the bobbin should just roll right off in your hand.

Take another 2 stems and place the tip of that head close to the base of the 1st head. What you want to do is cover up the stems and have just the flower showing. 

Gently hold the head with one hand while wrapping with the other. The wire is very malleable, so you can manipulate where you need it to be. 

Now you just place and wrap like previously.

What it will look like after a few wraps.

When you get to the end, just tuck the last few stems under the first few that you placed.

Here is the finished head band - you can gently manipulate it into shape. 

Close up shot - so pretty with the different mix of lavenders.

Finished hat.

This is such an easy project. I have done it in the past with 3 flower heads and I think that looks better - a little fuller. I have also done this without using a base and just wrapped the flower heads to the previous stems. Experiment with what works best for you. You can do this with any flower with at least a sturdy 6" stem, not with just lavender. If you made it thicker and added different flowers, it could be a wreath.

I hope you give this a try the next time you have an abundance of flowers.

Thanks for reading!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Preserving Your Acrylic Ruler

Many crafters have their favorite tools that they use all the time. One of mine is an acrylic ruler, I like this one by Omnigrid - it has measurements down to 1/8", which I use in both sewing and paper crafting. It is because of this 3" wide ruler that I have been able to finally get a grasp on working with fractions (my algebra teacher would be so proud - lol!).

Because I've had this ruler for years and used it all the time, the numbers and lines on the backside (the side that is always on top of the fabric) have worn off (it's only painted on) and the first several 1/8" measurements are gone, which makes it difficult to use.

A while ago, I did buy a new, identical ruler (because I liked this one so much) and I have decided that I want to preserve this ruler so it will last a while, my first ruler has lasted more than 4 years or so. As I was planning to preserve the new ruler, my first ruler broke around the 13" mark, so I cut it off and sanded the edge smooth. 

I took the new ruler and placed the worn ruler face down on top of it - basically, they are face to face. With the new ruler on the bottom, I can see the 1/8" measurement lines and using a sharpie, trace those missing lines.

See the newly drawn lines? (I didn't say they were straight)

Now, to preserve those newly drawn lines and to preserve your new ruler - take some clear packing tape and using the 1 1/2" horizontal measurement line as your guide (half of the ruler), place the edge of your tape on that 1 1/2" line and do the same for the other side - doing it in the center will avoid having a tape line where you don't want it, and will be unnoticeable. There will be an overhang on each side which you can cut off with a craft knife or scissors. You can do this with any size ruler - for the real narrow ones, just use a single piece of tape and place ruler in the center of tape .

Here, the packing tape was placed off center, I figured out how to center the tape after I stuck it on the ruler so if you look close, you can see the tape at the 1-1/4" line from the left side.

My worn out ruler is now back in business and my new ruler is ready for a lot of cutting and measuring. My new ruler should last me a long time - plus, with the tape on the backside, if it should ever crack, it won't separate because of already being taped. How cool is that?

So if the lines on your ruler get worn out, use my simple tips to get it back in action again and if when you should buy a new one, be sure to tape up the back so you can preserve it for many uses.

Happy Cutting!!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this tip or any of my other posts. Thanks!