Turn what over?

Oh yeah. A NEW LEAF.

Today was meant to be weigh-in day – measurement day? commune via text about houseplants day? revel in what strange lives we lead and then post about it on the internet day? whatever – for our Formula 1-1-1* Racing Figs.

You may recall that last time we checked in, Omar won it by a landslide of cuteness, by virtue of having a new baby leaf, which, let’s face it, trumped the heck out of Pudding’s paltry few inches of growth. I was ready to accept a second trouncing today, because I MAY have accidentally VERY SLIGHTLY let Pudding get scorched sitting in front of a window. And then it’s POSSIBLE I compounded the problem by going an EENSY bit overboard with the watering, because OH NO BROWN LEAVES, QUICKLY, TO THE FAUCET.

And people actually let me be responsible for animals, and ask me why I don’t have kids. Can you imagine?

Anyway, defeat was in the cards…except.

Hey.

You know what’s cuter than a baby leaf?

TWO BABY LEAVES.

leaf

leaves

You know what’s even more adorable than that?

When another leaf somehow managed to sneak its entire baby-stage right past you.

baby2

PUDDING WINS THIS ROUND, scorch marks and all!

pudding

* = it’s a fertilizer joke. No? No? Anyone? #plantnerdproblems, I guess.

ROSEBUD

I’m pretty sure that the number one sign of being a fully-fledged and committed grown-up is not, in fact, paying bills, or having a dentist, or knowing the name of your drycleaner.

It’s wreaths on the door.

Hear me out: when I was a kid, my mom’s need to have a seasonally-appropriate wreath just seemed weird. Christmas, I could accept, but who cares what a door wears the rest of the year?

Now, though…maybe it’s a pride of ownership thing; maybe it’s because my quirky house has two front doors, so it looks doubly-naked when the holidays are over and my super-glittery front door festivities get boxed up for the year. All I know is that my doors just look forlorn and unfinished all spring and summer long.

The thing is, there’s a huge gulf between conceding that what I really want is a non-Christmas wreath or two to tide me over til December comes back again and actually liking wreaths in general. Silk flowers? Fake birds? Sculpted confections of wired ribbon?

Have we met?

When we started talking about making plaster flowers, I thought I had the ideal solution – yarn-wrap a foam wreath form, and festoon it with tiny little plastered pieces of perfection. Simple color scheme and contrasting textures, all brought together in one playful nod to nature. Boom!

Foam wreaths were easy to find, and about $3 each. Yarn, I had in spades, and this was a great way to use up lumpy left-over grass-green acrylic yarn I would never find another a purpose for. I dressed those puppies up weeks ago, and left them to age while they awaited their finishing floral touches.

nekkid

Eh. We all saw how that plaster thing turned out, right? Not so much boom, whole lotta bust. Wreaths? Consigned to the Island of Mis-fired Projects, for good as far as I was concerned.

Tonight, I was working on another project entirely, involving felt flowers. I bought the materials for this other project rather haphazardly, and, since I had never actually made felt flowers before, had conscientiously bought a few extra sheets of craft felt to experiment with.

supply

Turns out, I can TOTALLY knock felt flowers out of the park, which explains why “make a few test ones first,” in the course of some absent-minded crafting to the dulcet tones of season finales on TV, turned into “holy crap, where did all these ridiculous little fabric plants come from?”

Extra flowers…sad abandoned wreath forms. Surplus test flowers…sad, neglected, abandoned rings of yarny goodness, desperate to bedeck bland, spiritless, front doors. Felt flowers just lyin’ around, doin’ nothin’, and…

OH HEY THERE, BRIGHT IDEA. WELCOME TO THE PARTY.

test

profile

Any time anyone wants to congratulate me on unintentionally buying scrap felt pieces in the same colors as my house, by all means, feel free.

insitu

Total wreath cost: basically $3. Everything else – yarn, felt, random old lace scrap, the quilting pins that are holding the flowers on because Hot Glue And I Do Not Get Along – came from shopping my own supplies.

Since I have two front doors and a roommate who frequently gets left out of some of my wackier projects and plans, I handed wreath #2 and a stack of felt to her and told her to go wild. Last I checked, she eyeball deep in little finished flowers, and still making more. I’m a little frightened of what she might produce, but don’t blame her for over-producing the flowers; they’re easy and error-proof enough to be wildly addictive. That, however, is a post for another day.

In which I got totally plastered

In between our own personal projects, and the projects we decide to turn into random competitions, there’s the occasional project that Jenn and I both love enough just-as-is to commit to collaboration on. If I think really hard about it, plaster-coated silk flowers were the first project that we both saw en mass on Pinterest and thought “hey, we should save that for if we ever start the blog we keep joking about.”

Honestly, this had all the makings of a perfect project.

Supplies readily available and imminently affordable?

plastered

Check.

Internet rife with clear, consistent, and blessedly simple instructions, with universally successful outcomes?

Check, super check, checkity check check.

I feel like I should make some up-front disclosures:

One, I am not a big fan of fake flowers. Because…they’re fake. They’re fake and weird and fake and make me feel like I’m about to be thrown a retirement party and honestly I think I’ve satisfied my crazy-old-lady quotient just by having a cat, you know?

Two: I also don’t do candles, and actually, it’s because of the cat. Who habitually jumps onto counters. Where candles might be lit.

Trust me, the smell that happens when you shove a smoldering cat under a faucet because he crash-landed on your latest scented acquisition is enough to put you off for life, and if you’re lucky enough to have a cat stupid enough to do it twice? In the same week?

Well, let’s just say that there’s a reason no one makes a Scorched Feline scent. Yankee Catastrophe, for real.

Despite these fundamental facts, I had high hopes for this project. Had. HAD. Long story short: plastered flower tea light holders? I should have known better.

It seemed so simple:

Find some structurally-spectacular fake flowers.

fleur

Take 2 parts plaster of paris to 1 part cold water, add extra water to thin as needed. Dip flowers, shake excess, and repeat the ol’ dip-and-shake until PRESTO, MAGIC, A PERFECTLY COATED AND PRESERVED FLORAL FORM EMERGES.

Real-world instructions based on the actual events as they occurred in my kitchen:

Take 2 parts plaster of paris to 1 part cold water, add extra to thin to dipping consistency. Dip flowers, end up with near-immediate clotty seizure of white goo that looks like someone replaced my plaster with mashed potatoes. Panic, flail, shake, dip again, PANIC AND FLAIL MORE.

finished

Attempt to reshape the rapidly-hardening yet still weirdly-floppy plaster splodge back into a flower shape. End up with slightly floral pancake. Be amazed at how you can still see the flower’s original barely-there peach shade now blazing fluorescently orange through the inch-thick potato-chalk.

Realize you can’t take pictures because you’ve accidentally casted your own hands up to the elbow. Panic-wash hands, sparing a moment’s regret for the dishes you now wish you’d cleared out of the sink before starting this. Thin plaster more. Attempt dipping again with much smaller, less complicated flowers.

tinies

Fail only slightly less. Wash hands again. Discover that this second hand-wash took just long enough for the plaster to go from dippably-liquid to moldably solid. Give up and use this as an excuse to express your feelings on the project in freeform plaster format.

sadface

Go ahead and grade yourself on a generous curve for overall project excecution.

graded

Clearly, this plaster flower project was NOT the kind of “plastered” this girl was meant to achieve.

Life (and gin) get in the way

frog and toad are drunks

We would almost like to apologize for the lack of actual content today. Both content and contrition were, however, sacrificed in the name of a grand ol’ time last night.

The building we work in has been undergoing major changes – they closed our beloved downstairs dive bar first, and then in exchange have given us somewhere between 6 months and about 17 endless years’ worth of constant construction noises, smells, and interruptions.

Last night, all the inconveniences were forgotten when we were lucky enough to be invited to attend the soft opening of the new venue that took over our old haunt – the truly gorgeous and totally welcome – and welcoming! – new Elysian Bar.

It may not have escaped notice that we are fans of the ferment, and of course we are always willing and able to do our part when it comes to important matters like supporting new businesses and contributing to local culture and economy. We had fabulous food, even more fabulous beers, and the most sublime lemon-kissed concoction of a martini the world has ever known. Clearly, CLEARLY, that trumps petty concerns like wrapping up paltry projects around the house or posting pictures of plans-in-progress, right?

Yes, yes, alright, let’s be honest: what we’re saying here is that Shannon was maybe supposed to post something to wrap up her bathroom re-do, and she maybe was a little too gin-soaked to be coerced into it – and Jenn, for her part, was too steeped in stout to care or coerce.

And now? Well, now it’s a sunny day in May. Who has time to worry about April’s showers when suddenly the whole world’s full of flowers?