Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pressed Flowers

When I was young, I loved to walk around our house clipping my mom's beautiful flowers for my flower press. I would lay the flowers out between pieces of paper and cardboard and screw my press together tight...and then impatiently wait for 2 weeks to see the magical creations. Sometimes they turned out great, other times they were a little moldy or brown. Now, my press is packed in some random box at my parent's house. I hadn't used or even thought of my press in years until my parents sent me a birthday package this summer. There were a few art/crafting books and a microwavable flower press!! No more waiting! I went slow this first time, so it took a little longer than it should, but I didn't burn any flowers and I could press them and make a card in the same day!

I spritzed the cloth with a little bit of water, put the flowers and leaves in the press, and microwaved them for not more than 30 seconds at a time (so you don't burn them).

Between each heating, I opened the press to let the hot air out, which aids in the drying process. I repeated this process (in shorter episodes as the flowers were closer to being pressed) until they petals and leaves felt like paper and could not be bent without breaking off.

I decided to make a birthday card with one of the flowers. I used tweezers to handle it because of it's delicate nature now. The flower is stiff and does not droop when picked up.

I used Elemer's glue to secure it to the paper and then added a little note!...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

For the Love of Food!

It took me MONTHS to make Usman's (my husband) birthday present. I've been cooking like a mad woman and taking pictures of all my meals since the spring, with the idea that I would make my husband a cookbook for his birthday. Both of us are somewhat disorganized with our recipes. I have a recipe box with some written down, some are printed and then folded up in the box or stuff inside books, others I go look on the website I found them. Usman usually cooks his mom's recipes, which are typed in Word, with his laptop sitting on the kitchen counter, just waiting for a spill! He also has some written in his college poetry book, and other folded up and stuffed in the book. Needless to say, it can sometimes be hard to find the recipe we are looking for. Even if I know that it is in my recipe box, there is not system and I proceed to take out all of the index cards and flip through them to find the recipe I want. There's also the problem of me not remembering which recipes Usman likes and which he thinks are my "bland farm food."

So, I set out to fix this problem and began documenting my delicious creations (and some not-so-delicious creations which didn't make the cut). When Usman was home and I was forced to take the picture with him in the kitchen, he would roll his eyes at me and ask whhhhyyy I have to take pictures of every single dish I make. He would also politely remind me that the food was getting cold. :)

Finally, I could stall no longer and had to put the book together with the recipes I had. I used Tastebook and found the site quite simple and the finished product is neat and visually pleasing. The only thing I didn't like about this site is that you cannot use your own photos for the cover or the tabs. You can add more recipes though, which I will definitely be doing in the near future, as a friend just recommended 101 Cookbooks to me and all of the recipes I have tried are FABULOUS!

I believe Usman likes the finished product as well, although he was a little skeptical as to why I was giving him more work to do! ;)

Here are a few pages from the book...

Of course, I had to include a recipe for my special popcorn so Usman can make it when I'm not around!

I had to start getting creative with the pictures after taking so many!

IMG_7943 well as creative directions for "serving"!