Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Empty Vessels

Not that long ago, I had an epiphany. I was looking around my apartment, noticing that I had three empty vases. Each of these vases was given to me containing a beautiful fresh flower arrangement. Of course, the flowers were long since dead and I was left with an empty, but interesting glass or ceramic container. I guess I'm overly sentimental about these things, because I couldn't bring myself to throw away, or even donate, these objects because it had been so special to receive the flowers in the first place. I was looking through an old, silly craft book around that time and noticed a craft project suggestion: FLOWER PENS! Ahhhhhh! The craft of the late '90s has found its way into my life!

It took me a while to find the right flowers to use for this project. I knew I needed to have something with the thinnest possible stem. I also wanted something with a nice, full flower on top to fill out the vase the way I was hoping. Ta da!
The pink flowers are from JoAnn's, the white flowers are from Michaels. My other tools included a pair of heavy duty stem trimmers and a roll of floral tape.

The instructions for this project are really pretty simple. The stem needs to be trimmed so it's shorter than the pen. Then, the pen and the flower together are wrapped up in floral tape. The end result looks like this:

They look okay, but there was a problem that I couldn't really photograph. Floral tape feels nasty! I mean, it would be one thing if I was making a floral arrangement that happened to have pens in it. But that wasn't the situation at all. I'd realized that we always seem to be in need of a pen in a couple of different spots in my office. I didn't want to wreck the purpose of the project by making pens no one would ever want to use!

I found a solution.
Clover green duct tape.

From the moment I started working with it, I knew the duct tape was the solution. While I'd managed to wrangle those two pens I showed earlier into the floral tape, it was an enormous pain. Floral tape is equally sticky on both sides, which is why I wound up with a result I didn't like very much. However, floral tape isn't actually all that sticky anywhere. It was kind of like herding cats to get the tape wound around the flower stem and pen enough times that it wasn't inclined to go anywhere. Not so with the duct tape! What I'm trying to illustrate in the photo above it that the tape grabbed onto the pen and didn't want to let go. Perfect!
So, here are the same two initial guinea pig pens. They're not perfect - the duct tape is shiny, which isn't all that attractive, and because it's thicker, the whole pen winds up being fatter when the tape is wrapped around it from the bottom to the top. But, the duct tape is crunching down the more it squeezed, and the pens really do feel normal to hold. Yes!

Once I had everything figured out with the right supplies, this project wrapped up pretty quickly. I have plenty of green duct tape left over if I want to make more, but here are my first finished products!
I did buy some beans to put in the base, partly to keep things stable and partly because I thought it would help bring out the red tones in this dark, nearly opaque glass vase.

It didn't help a whole lot, but I think it works. Plus, when else am I going to buy a bag of something called, "Great Northern Beans." Seriously - chose them based on the name alone.

And here's the other one, with the white flowers and the eggplant-colored base. 

When I chose the flowers, I actually imagined them like this: with the white flowers in the dark red vase, and the pink flowers in the purple vase. I took this photo so I could share with you that the flowers go with both. Yay! I can switch them up at the office if I want to! Now, all that's left to wonder is how long it will be before my coworkers discover that these flowers are actually pens...

No comments:

Post a Comment