May Flowers

This is one of those projects where I can only take a tiny-bit-o-credit for anything but putting two other peoples’ ideas together, and then asking the amazing Mary to make it happen.  If anything, I actually hurt the project a bit when I tried to help and discovered the best way to attach the 3-D flowers to the ceiling if our main goal was to have them randomly drop and startle both staff and patrons alike.  But the end results are absolutely lovely and just brighten my day every time that I come into work.

Here’s where I got my core inspirations:  Our 3-D Flower Inspiration.  Yes, this first one’s in Bulgarian – if your browser can translate, then great! Otherwise it’s pretty clear what to do based on the visuals alone. (Gosh, I love the internet!) Instead of sewing, Mary used quick-dry craft glue.  This second inspiration for our 2-D flowers made my mind go “gosh, that paper looks like it was color-washed with paint.”  It was a shazam-moment, because up to that point I was planning on using tissue paper again.  I excitedly called Mary when she was working at the Main Library and had her gather some larger picture books from our Book Sale that had been sitting there for months.  I explained to her that we could color-wash the pages pretty colors and then make all of our flowers, both 3 and 2-D, out of them.  She took those ideas and totally ran with them with magnificent results.

Basically, she used some liquid watercolor paints, a spray bottle of water, and a good paint brush.  She removed the pages out of some large outdated junior non-fiction books and she would add color, spray water, spread the color over the paper and sometimes spray one more time to create interesting patterns.  After the first side dried, then sometimes she’d repeat on the other side – usually using a different color.  Many times she left the other side as-is, which was equally pretty.

Once the pages were painted, then she either used a paper cutter to cut out strips of various sizes for the 3-D petals, or would freestyle the large 2-D petals.  Then lots of gluing.

Finally, minimal tape was used to hang-up the 2-D flowers.  She added a fun and unexpected 3-D element to the flower stems with the leaves naturally drooping over.  LOVE it.

The silly way that I had tried to hang the 3-D flowers? I poked a hole in one of the flower petals and stuck one end of some fishing line through it and taped the heckie-pooh out of the end.  Then the other end of the line was looped over a wooden beam and tied with a knot.  The majority of the flowers fell off the end of the line.  We had to go back whenever a flower fell and just loop the line around a petal (similar to the original inspiration blog) and tie a knot or two with the one end of line.  For good measure we’d also tape down the end of the line onto the petal.  We had the doors open the other day to let in the springtime breeze and the flowers looked so pretty twirling in the breeze – and NOT ONE fell down with the secondary tying method.

Mary also made a “May Flowers” sign in the front door (I couldn’t get a good pic of it due to all of the crazy reflections on the glass).

My favorite part of this whole thing?  I was checking out books to a boy (around 7 years old), and he was looking at one of the giant window flowers.  Suddenly he said in a somewhat awed tone “that’s like Eric Carle.”  That was never our intention, but it was one of the best compliments we’ve received about any of our displays.