Monday, November 14, 2016

How to make a Topiary

Topiary is the practice of trimming and cutting living perennial plants into shapes of all sorts, like animals, or clearly defined shapes, either geometrical, or fanciful. The practice of using real plants is a huge undertaking that takes years to achieve good results.

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The use of topiary has been around for a very long time, believed to have been used as early as 7000 BC in England UK, based on pollen grains discovered dating to this time, these were destroyed by a glacial epoch. Many other examples of the use of Topiary are recorded throughout history, Egyptians clipped box hedges in 4000 BC, and all over the world some examples of topiary exist now and in the past. It is a very interesting art and takes a huge amount of effort and commitment to create and maintain a single topiary plant so most of us just can't devote the time and energy to create these amazing Living Sculptures.

There are structures that are made of very durable and long lasting materials that are assembled to resemble the finished design which then will allow the plants to grow in and around them and eventually cover the frame completely, then the trimming and shaping to achieve the finished appearance is done. Lots of things like lights, plumbing, and visible details that can not be made from plants which are often part of the projects that are behind the scene or take on a part of the topiary as a specific detail like the butterfly antennas seen above and the waterfall coming out of the palm of a hand see below.

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The great news is we do have the alternative today to make topiary sculptures out of artificial plants and other components that are used to assimilate real topiary plants. These artificial creations are usually able to be made in a few days depending on drying times for the paint and adhesives used, and the difficulty or complexity of the project, the best part is they will last for many years to come and require almost no maintenance or care, an occasional dusting is about all it takes to keep them fresh and ready to display.

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A potted homemade version will have much better potential for matching your colors and
decor since you will be able to choose all of the components that will be used in your project.
You have control over all sorts of design specific features like overall size, colors, textures,
flowers,plants, vines, berries, foliage, and assorted accessories like rocks, twigs, branches,
moss, and a planter or vase. If you need something that is already assembled and ready for
display then there are finished versions available like the ones you see below.


You will most likely find the other craft items at your favorite Arts and Crafts store. Items
like a hot glue gun and glue sticks, dry Styrofoam bricks, wire cutters, scissors, razor knife,
moss, or other faux materials for completing the look you want. With just a little time and
effort you can create a remarkable arrangement that you can enjoy for years to come!

Best creative regards,

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Natural Silk Flowers Are Awesome

Cleaning up the place a little!

To begin, everyone, please be safe, and care for one another as you would like to be cared for.
Sounds simple enough but when you see how quickly things change it sometimes is difficult to keep up.
When we buy something new or give a gift you never think about that day when it stops working and becomes useless but eventually we or someone we know will face that. On that day when it is new though, it is the greatest thing since sliced bread, perfectly clean and scratch free. Well as time goes by it changes, not because you want it to but because you can't stop it, so now maintenance and upkeep become necessary to help keep that new look. A few items you are familiar with that will be a big help to complete this project.

You must be careful to not cause damage to it, so now you are thinking, how do I do this. Well like most things nowadays you can find information on the internet, how did we ever get along without it. Usually the manufacturer of the item is a good place to start but somethings don't have tags or labels that clearly identify what it is and what it is made of. For example a silk flower, if you received a gift of a silk flower arrangement and after a few years it needed to be cleaned how would you do it? Now this is where the be safe part comes in, there are products sold that are for that very thing but please read the label and follow directions to avoid being hurt or causing damage to something.

Now: several recipes that I found on the internet are safer than others, and anything you buy in the store to provide this cleaning service is going to come with a warning label so be prepared with plastic trash bags and string or twist ties, clean towels, rubber gloves, and safety glasses would not be a bad idea in most cases. If you try a vacuum be very careful to control the power of the vacuum it could work well in some situations but not so well in others, definitely worth a try.

Recipe #1. Flammable Mixture: Do this outside. Before beginning, Spot Check your work in an inconspicuous place to confirm color fastness and the performance is to your liking. Mix equal parts of isopropyl alcohol and water in a (ie: re-purposed spray bottle) spray bottle and spray the plant starting at the top and work your way to the bottom.
For example: 1/2 cup of alcohol and 1/2 cup of water.
Re-purposed  Spray bottle
 It is recommended that you wrap the pot or planter with plastic (trash bag) to prevent it from being soiled during the cleaning process and to keep it dry. The alcohol and water work together to clean the surface, the water helps carry the dirt away while the alcohol helps it dry quickly.

Recipe #2. Mix equal parts of White Vinegar and Water in a spray bottle and use to rinse the plants from top to bottom. Spot Check your work in an inconspicuous place to confirm color fastness and the performance is to your liking. It is recommended that you wrap the pot or planter with plastic (trash bag) to prevent it from being soiled during the cleaning process and to keep it dry.

Recipe #3. Put it in the shower or outside in the rain.

Recipe #4. Go to Walmart and find a cleaner that you want to use.

Whichever way you decide to clean your silk flowers, be careful, use protective equipment, and follow the directions. If a silk plant is dusted frequently or whenever you dust, it will have less chance of getting a heavy build up of dust on it and will stay pretty longer. If a heavy build has been achieved then it may be necessary to use a small brush and brush each leaf and petal and all of the branches from top to bottom, sometimes a cool hair dryer can be useful to dislodge old dust. In most cases you should be able to revive the arrangement and bring its original beauty out again. It's just like keeping your car clean or your bedroom clean, its part of that discipline that comes with having anything nice.

Before and After images of a dirty plant back to a clean plant, to get that great job just apply some of these simple steps and have some gratifying success in your day,
That's Fantastic!!