Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Preserving Beauty from the Summer Garden...

Eden rose ready to cut for drying

The thought of dried flower arrangements probably takes you back to the country crafts of the late 80's, early 90's.  I wish I had a photo to share of my county fair blue-ribbon winning dried flower adorned straw hat from 1988.  Well, adjust your mindset because I have just recently started seeing dried flowers grace the pages of decor magazines and used creatively in beautiful vintage vignettes!  Yes, dried flowers are back in vogue, and crafty people are doing beautiful things with them!  

Roses, by far are my favorite flower to dry.  Even in the most shriveled and brittle state, they evoke a truly romantic, Victorian quality.  The key is to pick your roses at the peak time for drying.  If you wait until the flower is in full bloom, it won't hold together once'll have a pile of nice dried petals.  I prefer to pick the tighter, smaller buds.  Keep in mind that they will open up a bit more as they dry. 

There are several different methods for flower preservation and though I would love to experiment with them all...for the time being I use the simplest and most cost efficient one I know.  I bundle my flowers tightly with a rubber band, open up a paperclip, attach one end to the rubber band and use the other side as a hook to hang the bundle from a "drying rack." As long as the air in the space you choose to do your drying in is dry, and your flowers are kept away from direct sunlight, any room of the house will do.  You don't have to have a professional drying rack, anything that you can hook your paperclips to will work!  Get creative and re-purpose something you have sitting around your home!  Here you see I've used a vintage necklace display.  It looks so pretty with the little rose bundles hanging from it that I put it out where I can enjoy the flowers during the drying process.  A bare metal lampshade is another example of something that could be used for hanging flowers to dry.

A bare metal lampshade makes for a great
table-top drying rack
 I have found that roses typically take 1-2 weeks to fully dry, depending on the size of the rose and how dry the air is in your home.  So you have a bundle of dried what?  There are so many ways to use and display them that will give your home a real cozy, cottage feel.  Simply setting them out in a bowl to enjoy on your table during the months when fresh flower arrangements are harder to come by is one idea!  Tussy Mussies are small fancy bouquets of dried flowers that were popular during the Victorian era.  They are fun and easy to put together, make lovely gifts and charming little decorations to set out around your home.  My mom and I had actually planned to make them as wedding favors for my own wedding 9 years ago!  We even bought one hundred and some little doilies to use.  It seemed like a charming idea, and though they are not difficult to make, we soon realized that making well over a hundred of them would be quite time-consuming.  We opted for votive candles instead. 

There are so many great books out there that offer wonderful ideas for crafting with dried flowers.  In fact, I recently picked up several that I plan to offer at the shop along with some of the Bonica rose buds that I dried this summer.  The books have such beautiful photos and great information on drying all different kinds of flowers.  I am having a bit of a hard time parting with them!  So...I hope you'll pick the last roses from you garden before they are gone and hang them somewhere to dry where you can enjoy them!  It's a great way to hold onto the beauty of summer and decorate for Fall at the same time.
The large roses on the right are an example of the Eden rose once dried. 
The smaller are Bonica, a lovely shrub rose.

Here are a couple of great websites that provide useful information on flower preservation:

Thank you for stopping by! 
Best Wishes and Blessings,