This branch isn't just for Spring. It is a beautiful decoration for any time of year!



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Ahh, sweet summer is here and with it the glorious arrival of a everyone’s favorite flower – the peony!

 

With its spectacular display of colors (think pink, red, yellow and white!), lush, unbridled petals, and a delicate, intoxicating fragrance, it’s no surprise that the peony has been a delighting the senses for thousands of years. In fact, written records from as far back as 8 their enchanting beauty. Is it any wonder then that the peony is known the world over as “queen of the flowers?”

 

Today, peonies are just as stunning as ever and, thanks to new and improved varieties they're even easier to grow. There are three main types of peonies to consider when planting. The most common and widely available is the herbaceous peony (Paeonia lactiflora). Herbaceous peonies grow to about three feet tall, die back to the ground each winter, then sends up vigorous sprouts each spring. The other is the tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa), a slow-growing woody-stemmed shrub that can reach up to six feet. The third is a hybrid of the two. A combination of all three makes for a spring garden that darn near looks like it jumped out of a painting.

 

As dazzling as peonies are, they’re surprisingly no-fuss and require very little attention (I’m talking to you, brown-thumbs!) They survive the harshest winters, are practically drought resistant, and aren't bothered by deer or rabbits. Though peonies fare best in cool climates, early-blooming varieties with low-chill requirements can thrive in even some parts of the deep South.

 

 

From Blair: "I made this flower branch using the same method as I did for a Recycled Flower Mirror project in my new book, Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects Into Stuff You Love, only this time I used paper instead of fabric scraps. I think the result is just as lovely. Place this branch in a vase, but could also be hung from a ceiling, placed in a corner, or even wrapped with white lights."

 

You will need:

A variety of interesting paper. I found a book of sheet music at the thrift, then gathered some brown and cream packing paper. 

A fallen branch with an interesting shape (mine is about 3 feet tall)

Ruler

Fine line pen or pencil

Scissors

Craft glue or double-sided tape

Hot Glue

  1. 1. Remove leaves and undesirable areas from your branch and set aside.
  2. Make the recycled flowers. My flowers are 2 variations of one basic method:
  3. a) Flower with a single layer- Using your fine line pen and ruler, mark and cut across the longest side of your paper (mine started at 11" long x 3" wide for the first few, but the I varied the width and length with each flower for to create). Cut slits into the width of the rectangle, all the way across the length, but stopping approximately 1/4" from the opposite edge. Apply either craft glue or double stick tape all the way across the length of the uncut side. Roll into a flower by starting from one of the short edges, rolling on the taped/glued side, holding along its uncut edge as you roll, to create the flower.
  4. b) Flower with a double layer- Mark out your lengths and cut out, just as above. Fold the paper in half lengthwise. Unfold, and add either a line of craft glue or double stick tape all the way across one long side/edge. Fold the paper back in half again. Cut slits through the folded edge, stopping approximately 1/4" from the taped/glued edge, all the way across the length of the strip. Apply another row of either craft glue or double stick tape all the way across the length of the uncut side. Roll into a flower by starting from one of the short edges, rolling on the taped/glued side, holding along its uncut edge as you roll.
  5. Add a contrasting center, using the same method, described above (sort of a shorter, mini flower version). To create the flower, roll the mini-flower/contrast center first, and continue rolling onward using the main flower color until you are done.
  6. 3. Hot glue the flowers to the branch in small clusters until you are happy with the overall look. Be generous with the glue in order to hold these onto the branch securely.

TIP:

You can reuse wrapping paper, even the Sunday comics could be fun!

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