What to Do When Stuck at Home (part 2)
You’re quarantined at home, and there are only so many movies you can watch. We’ve got some unique ideas for what to do when stuck at home, and of course they’re all related to flowers!
Dried Flower Projects
Drying the Flowers
There are three ways you can dry your flowers, depending on how you want to use them. The easiest way is to hang them upside-down in a well ventilated area. You can hang a single stem or several stems held together by twine or rubber bands.
A second way to dry flowers is to press them between absorbent paper using old books or an actual flower press. There are lots of instructional videos online showing how to do this, including this one from the University of Illinois. The best flowers for this kind of drying method are ones that don’t have a lot of bulk to them and will flatten easily. Daisies, snap dragons, black-eyed Susans, gladiolas, will all press nicely. Flowers like roses or carnations that have a bulky base do not press well.
A third way to dry flowers is using silica gel. This is a great method if you want the dried flowers to essentially look the same as the fresh flower version. You can get silica gel at any local craft store or through Amazon. Again, there are a lot of instructional videos online, including this one from MonkeySee.
Projects Using Dried Flowers
One of my good friends is a jewelry maker and just started experimenting with resin. Epoxy resin can be purchased at any local craft store or through Amazon. She has come up with gorgeous pieces from pendants to earrings. She has also created some beautiful serving trays and bowls. The resin allows her to embed different objects such as metallics, shells, and flowers.
What to do when stuck at home with your children? Take a walk around the neighborhood and collect wildflowers. There are a lot of apps you can download to your phone that will identify the flower for you. Wildflowers are intrinsic to our pollinators so it’s a great opportunity to help children understand the roll pollinators play. Some wildflowers are a source of energy for hummingbirds, some food for caterpillars, and some, like milkweed, are the sole provider of shelter and a place to lay eggs for the monarch butterfly. It’s amazing what flowers you will see once you start looking for them to collect.
Preserving Bride’s Bouquets and Corsages
A lot of brides want to preserve their wedding bouquets. The two best methods for this are the hang and dry method for a vintage look or the silica gel method if you want the bouquet to look similar to the way it did on your wedding day. The stems of a bouquet are wrapped very tightly. While air and silica gel will be able to circulate between the greens and flowers on the outer-most edges of the bouquet. Air and silica gel will not be able to get between the wrapped stems. Over time, moisture at the base of the bouquet and between the stems will cause mold and deterioration.
With both methods, you will need to take the bouquet apart, dry the individual stems, and reconstruct the bouquet. While there are several local companies that preserve bouquets, it’s a fun project to do, especially when stuck at home. Just make sure to take a photo of the bouquet before you take it apart and at various points during deconstruction. These photos will help you put the bouquet back together again once the stems have dried.
You can do the same thing with your corsages from Prom or Homecoming or Daddy-Daughter Dances. If you have purchased your corsage from us, the stems are already individually wrapped with floral tape and should dry well without deconstruction. I still have my corsage from my high school Prom. I hung it upside down from my mirror the night I got home. It’s a bit brittle now so I have it in the original clam shell, but I love the vintage pink color…and of course the memories!
Another project you do with your children is more long-term. I have several copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I loved exploring nature and “adventuring” as a little girl so this was a well-loved book. One of my copies is a big heavy large print book that became my flower press when I was a little girl. I chose it because it was the heaviest book I had that wasn’t a Bible. Now the choice seems so poetic–wildflowers from my adventuring pressed into a book about adventuring. I included little notes with the flowers indicating where and when I collected them. Now I can flip through the pages of Huck Finn and relive my own adventures.
One of the first arrangements I made at Fantasy Floral included peonies. I wanted to save the peonies as a memory and because they were so full and gorgeous. I just wrapped kitchen twine around the end of the stems and hung them from the curtain rod at our sliding glass door. As the peonies dried, they did lose some color, but that’s what I like about them–the vintage color look. It gives the room a cottage feeling.
Once you have dried your flowers, the projects are endless! You are only limited by your imagination in what to do when stuck at home!