I’ve been sitting here waiting for my new valentine box to arrive. It may still be another week or so before I receive it which leaves me with plenty of time on my hands. I did some measuring and I think I goofed in my earlier numbers. It appears my design could be half an inch or so larger than the box. For the next few days I’ll be resizing. I think the only part to suffer the most reduction will be the diameter of the center. I could, of course, simply order a larger box (more waiting) and try a different design in this smaller box. The idea for another one has already been tickling me.
Yes, I’m guilty. The next valentine I want to do is already in the planning stage. The general design idea is there but trying to take from thought to paper to actual design is being a little tricky. But I’ll get it. One day I’ll be sitting here and all of a sudden I’ll know exactly what I want and which shells would work the best. I’ll have to really think if I want to change directions or continue this course. Whatever I choose, the plan must be solid and well thought. I’m striving even more for perfection in both design and execution.
I have also been thinking about the Sanibel Shell Show. It’s an event held every March in Sanibel Island, Florida. It is my goal to not only go next year, but have a few entries. Well, three types of entries, depending on the rules. I’ve requested a brochure of this years show. I think I should learn what is involved and see what I am competing against. Since I’m still fairly new at this, I want to make sure my art is up to standard. I know it sounds silly plotting my entries so early, but this method of madness works very well for me.
Today’s post is about a flower arrangement I made last year. I’ve had requests to make bouquets for people and I have given several away. This grouping of flowers are mixed in color and variety. I made this to go on my breakfast bar. The earthy pottery vase felt like a good choice. Some of the flowers are completely made of shells. Others incorporate mustard or cardamom seeds for the center. I also dismantle silk flowers to use as parts. Years ago you could flower parts and make your own artificial flowers. Now I raid stores’ floral departments for their stems and leaves!
All of the flowers in this arrangement are natural in color. For fill, I use artificial greenery. Most greenery and fill can easily be adapted for shell use. I do attempt to keep my leaves semi matching the flower type. Not that my flowers can be called by any one species! Except for roses. So let me rephrase. If I am making several flowers similar in type, I make sure I match the leaves.
One of my books, Shell Art by Helen Krauss, helped me learn to make flowers that are fairly realistic. Through experimentation I’ve learned which shells make great flower buds.
I have to say there are certain shells I prefer over others for personal use. The pink and white tellins make beautiful flowers. The purple and white donax on top is very dramatic.
Beneath it is a purple rose made with violet clam shells. I ringed the base of the arrangement with the lavender flowers. For the flower center here, I used the beautiful cebu beauty. The shell already looks like a flower bud.
The cream clam shell rose is another favorite of mine. The shell makes perfect little roses with touches of purple on the hinge side. I also have a fish scale rose in the arrangement somewhere. That is soooo not a favorite material for me. Like the fairy tellin, it is too fragile for my heavy hand.
My goal with this arrangement was just to make a cheery bouquet to be seen from the kitchen or living room. I love the way it turned out. Each of my floral designs have been different. For example, I have one in girly pink, an exotic mix, roses, even a basket of spring tulips. I created one basket that I called my ‘madz’. A mum, aster, dahlia, zinnia mix. I gave it away forgetting to take pictures. Good thing I have a supply of them. I can make my spring blooms anytime!
I had received some tiny, dyed coquina shells. The colors, while jewel toned, looked gaudy to me and the shells were stuck together. After gently prying them apart, the colors were swirled over the surface. For months the shells sat here. I hated them. One day I wanted to experiment with a new flower. Rather than ruin good shells, I sorted these ugly things. Once I started making the ‘madz’, I realized that I had sold the tiny shells short. They were gorgeous. The colors just rippled and the effect was beautiful. Moral is, can’t judge a shell by its color! I know that was awful. I’ll do better next time.