May 31, 2012

What I Filled My Flower Boxes With

I agonize every year over what flowers I want to fill the window boxes with. The front porch gets late afternoon sun but that is when it's the strongest. The first couple years I planted impatiens which seemed to do okay but then one year they all died and I had to replant.

I decided to go with sun loving petunias which require a bit more maintenance but seem to hold up in the sun. I rolled my cart around the plant nursery for quite some time picking up different color combinations and plant varieties and this is what I settled on for this year.

Shades of Lavender & Coral
  • Shockwave Electric Mix Petunia
  • Callie Orange Calibrachia
  • Mosaic Coleus
  • Sweet Caroline Raven Sweet Potato Vine
  • Margherita Sweet Potato Vine
  • Tidal Wave Spreading Petunia
  • Purple Verbena
  • Lobelia
Purple is usually not a color I gravitate to when choosing flowers because a lot of times they get lost in the green foliage but this years Shockwave Electric Mix was just so stunning I couldn't pass it up. I then added the Callie Orange Calibrachia which provides a beautiful contrast. The Mosaic Coleus was so lovely I couldn't pass it up and paired with the Raven Vine or the the Margherita Vine is stunning. Purple Verbena, Lobelia and the fuschia colored Tidal Wave Petunias are all accents.

My tips on choosing flowers for your pots, baskets and boxes:
  1. Find out what the nurseries have for the season first. I got into a bad habit of visualizing exactly what I wanted and when I got to the nursery it was always a let down because I couldn't find it. This year I went with what caught my eye first and then built around that. Sometimes the building part can take a while but that's okay.
  2. Look for contrasting colors and flower shapes. Once you have your main filler chosen find another variety that contrasts.
  3. Add some leafy taller foliage. The Mosaic Coleus is such a stunner I couldn't pass it up.
  4. Add some sort of vine to your planter. This year I put the Raven Sweet Potato Vine in two boxes and the Margherita Sweet Potato Vine in the other two. Ivy's are really hardy and vine really nicely. Creeping Jenny is another spiller that works well.
Play around with combining what your local nursery is featuring this year. I bet you will come up with some really beautiful pairings. Share them if you'd like on Blue Sky Confections Facebook page.

I've got some more front porch projects I hope to be sharing in the near future.

Thanks for visiting!

May 30, 2012

Front Door Decorating with Letters

I have been changing my front door decor out on a monthly basis it seems. I wanted something that would coordinate with my window boxes and hanging baskets and so this is what I came up with.

I used a combination of sheet moss and a loose moss found in the bags. The loose was to cover some of the cut lines with a bit more added for visual balance.

I could not find coral grosgrain ribbon to save my life, and I had to have coral, so I twisted jute twine with coral cotton hemp string to hang my letter "K". Then I took the same coral string and hand wrapped a branch. For added dimension I made some simple felt flowers out of some summer bright shades.

I hope to share a few more front porch projects. So come back and sit a spell.

I couldn't stop there of course, I was on a letter kick. My neighbor friend graciously remembers my birthday every year with a sweet gift and I try my best to reciprocate. However, last year I failed. I had visions of grandeur and I was going to make something that had to do with "coral" because her name is Coralyn. (love her name!) Time came and went and the busyness of life took over so this year I was on it and I made this for her door.

I didn't use coral colors but the yarn color is called beach. When I saw that I knew this was the right shade and it works really well with the color of their home. She loves daisies so I added that to make it a bit more feminine. Voila a great gift for a great neighbor!

Thanks for visiting!

May 29, 2012

For The Love of Turquoise

I thought I'd interrupt this long blogging pause and share the latest custom order bicycle basket liner.

I lovingly refer to her as "For The Love of Turquoise"!

These little pennants are still a big hit.

The zig-zag pattern on the interior accents the bright yellow daisy on a turquoise background quite nicely.

Here's a close-up of the sweet little pennants zig-zag stitched onto polka-dot ribbon.

I've got another inquiry from someone that has a green bike. I put together this fabric swatch selection for her. We'll see if any of these tickle her taste buds.

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections!

May 19, 2012

Beach Trip

I'm posting these a bit late. We headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for spring break in April. The weather was a bit on the cool side the first couple days but we found ways to enjoy the beautiful ocean side communities that are scattered along the islands.

My favorite boy is so proud of his oyster shell find. Just look at those little hands. They won't be little for long so I will cherish these photo's that are capturing every stage of my children's lives!

My oldest running along the beach enjoying the cool, crisp air. She gets more and more beautiful with each passing day.

She wrote her name in the sand and asked me to photograph her artwork. Pretty nice penmanship for sand writing if I do say so myself.

Here's a shot with all of my loves. Each one of us adores the beach and every time we visit I leave trying to figure out how we could make a life for ourselves there.

I captured quite a few shots of the wee one digging in the sand. She tells me every couple of days that she wants to go to the beach.

I agree. I want to go to the beach too!

I wonder what they're thinking about as they gaze out over the open water. I will cherish our memory making days—the days that I'm able to forget about everything that weighs on my mind on a daily basis and my focus is all on family time.

I have more pics to share so I'll be back soon.

Thanks for visiting!

May 15, 2012

Feather Making Tutorial

This tutorial was published last Tuesday on Infarrantly Creative. Thank you so very much Beckie for the opportunity to guest blog. Have you seen Beckie's blog? It is a must read!

Now I'll show you how to make handmade feathers here on Blue Sky Confections. Today I'll be using embroidery floss but I've made feathers using yarn and bakers twine. Try them all and see which you prefer.

This crafty goodness was actually a happy accident. I was trying my best to make a hot air balloon decoration for my sons room out of yarn using liquid starch, a balloon and a wire frame that I had created. Because the project was taking me much longer than anticipated I had to stop about half way through. The first part dried, the balloon shrunk, and I was left with deep disappointment. I had failed and the project sat unfinished for weeks. I finally decided to cut the yarn off the frame thinking that I might make a fabric cover for the wire frame. As I was snipping I saw what looked like gorgeous feathers but because the wire was smooth the yarn would not stay put.

So this is what you'll need to make your own:
Cloth Stem Wire - Very important to have the "cloth" variety. You can find this in the floral section of your local craft store.
Liquid Starch - This is what makes the magic happen
Wire Snips
Glue Stick
Sharp Scissors
Yarn, Embroidery Floss, Bakers Twine or even Jute

  • Using your wire snips cut the cloth stem wire to the desired length and apply glue to one end
  • Begin winding tightly starting about a half inch from the end
  • Once you reach the end begin winding back all the way to the other end of the wire
  • Before you reach the end
  • Apply more glue wind all the way to the end and then back about a half inch
  • Once you've wound to the end and back about a half inch snip the floss and glue in place
  • Cut several pieces of floss about 3 inches long
  • Begin single knotting each piece of floss starting about a half inch from the end (that portion will be the stem of the feather)
  • Follow through all the way to the end
  • Pour some liquid starch in a shallow container and submerge
  • Once fully soaked gently squeeze excess starch out of the floss
  • Lay out on a piece of plastic (I used a kitchen trash bag) shape with your fingers and let sit until completely dried. Yarn will take at least 48 hrs.. Floss and bakers twine dry in about 24 hrs.

So now that you've got your feathers made take your sharpest pair of scissors and trim to desired shape and dimensions.

You can use these little lovelies in wreaths or...

make some really stunning garland for Christmas or anytime of year really. They could be used in your table settings or even make really long stemmed feathers and add them to a flower arrangement or wedding bouquet.

Smaller versions can be used to make jewelry, like these earrings I'm in the process of finishing that were made using bakers twine.

But don't stop here. I've got some more feathers drying that I plan to make into hair picks and maybe even a necklace.

Color options are endless. The feathers below are two shades of coral but the photo is making them appear more red.

Experiment with your feathers by adding a pattern using paint pens. I applied a chevron pattern, by hand, using a gold leafing pen. Don't you think these would make beautiful earrings?

Thanks for reading! Now go make your own feather creations!

Jenn K.

May 8, 2012

Handmade Feather Hair Picks

Somebody pinch me! I can't believe that I'm guest blogging over at Infarrantly Creative! Beckie asked me to share a tutorial on how to make the handmade feathers I featured on my blog a couples weeks ago and I gladly and gratefully excepted! Thank you so much Beckie!

While putting the tutorial together for Beckie's Blog I made a few more feathers in addition to those used in the tutorial. These took longer to dry because they're made out of yarn but were ready this morning. I just finished photographing them outdoors and I tell you what natural light is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. It really makes all the difference no matter what kind of camera you use.

Without further ado here are a few more feathers...
These have become addicting to make and I've got so many more ideas swirling around in my head. Here's one of them... I made hair picks using bamboo skewers. I cut them down a bit in size used a gold leafing pen and painted them and then attached small handmade feathers with a bit of hot glue and some additional tangerine colored yarn. I also added a gold chevron pattern to two larger feathers with a gold leafing pen. I think they would make a beautiful necklace. What do you think?

The sky is the limit with these little pretties! I'd love to see what you create. Come back and share if you make some for yourself. Now what are you waiting for? Head over to Infarrantly Creative and see how easy it is to make your own.

Thanks for visiting!

May 4, 2012

The Horse Farm

I am working on the feather tutorial for those of you that have inquired. That is coming soon.

This spring is shaping up to be one of our busiest yet. I have yet to plant my window boxes and hanging baskets but I did manage to pick up a 1/2 dozen heirloom tomato plants last weekend along with some beautiful herbs. My own startings are coming along but not quite ready for the garden.

What's kept us so busy. Graphic design projects have kept me working day and night—literally. Our son is in soccer and my oldest is taking riding lessons. Combine all that with the day-to-day and it makes for a very stressed mama! Going out to the horse farm makes me forget everything and it's very nice to decompress and watch my oldest ride.
We heard this big, beautiful, paint named Aiden might be up for a partial lease and inquired. Yes, he was and now my daughter is the proud leaser of a horse. I wish I could say owner but baby steps are probably the best thing for us at this point.

So now we get to spend more time out at this beautiful farm. I'm beyond grateful!!! All of my kids love it and it affords them a little piece of what I had growing up. Lots and lots of gorgeous, open land. It feels like home!
I usually always have my camera in hand when we go. There's always an opportunity for a great photo of the littles. Here's my wee one with a friend of my oldest daughters. She rides as well. I have a feeling it won't be long and the wee one will be in the saddle. She's fearless.

Trees and dirt is what my favorite boy heads for when we're at the farm. Here he is with a big grin, just as happy as ever doing the stuff that boys do.

We had to decide whether or not we were going to get more serious about riding or find another sport for our oldest. More riding time was a must if she was going to show. Leasing Aiden will give her more hours in saddle, which will build confidence. There is also the benefit of added muscle conditioning to do consecutive, and higher jumps and the added bonus of bonding with one horse rather than riding someone different each time.

Now to buy show gear. Yikes! We will be looking for consignment for sure!

Thanks for visiting!
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