Sparkles & Dirt

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Ducks & Geese

About five days ago, my family hitched up our big camping-trailer to our mini-bus, packed them both up with blankets, pillows, food, books, clothes, and a few extra mattresses, and set off for four days of adventure!

We drove for about two hours, until we got to our destination; the Meyers’ house.  The Meyers are great friends of ours, and they also have ten kids (and happen to own a mini-bus almost exactly the same as ours!). We set up the camper, unpacked a bit, and played for a few hours, then went to bed.

In the next three-and-a-half days, we had a great time; making dioramas (more about that later!), foraging for fiddle-heads, ‘garage-saling’, making dandelion jelly (that didn’t actually work very well), making apple-crisp and strawberry-banana ice-cream, playing uncountable games of ‘kick-the-can’ (kick the soccer-ball, actually 🙂 ), kayaking, canoeing, playing with Guinea Pigs, taking care of little children, swinging in hammocks, doing the horse’s hair, and playing one, epic, late-night game of ‘Capture-the-Flag’ with both the dads!

There were a few not-so-enjoyable parts as well, like burning myself multiple times on a hot glue-gun, or when I tripped and grabbed the nearest tree, which also happened to be covered in inch-long thorns, but I personally think that the god times utterly drown out the bad.

One day, me and my two friends, Piper Meyer, and Winter Meyer, walked for about a kilometer, in search of fiddle-heads – fiddle-heads are baby ferns, that are still rolled up. We sold them to a man who sold them to fancy restaurants. We found a really good place for picking them, and were probably gone for two or three hours, just picking and picking! In the end, we had about eight pounds altogether.

Also, Me, Piper, Winter, and my little sister Snowy, all went boating in the river in a kayak and a canoe; we paddled for a long time, probably and hour, until we came to a bridge, where we stopped and pulled the boats up on land, and the two dads picked us tired, black-fly covered girls up (I actually put a bag over my head, to keep black-flies out of my face!).

Me and Winter also put up the mini-horse’s tail, mane, and forelock, I braided her mane, Winter braided her forelock, and I did a fishtail-braid in her tail. That was fun, as none of my little sisters have hair that long or that thick!

We did a bunch of activities like those, but the one craft we were mainly working on, was making dioramas. A diorama is a mini-landscape – ours were made out of foam, glue, paint, glue, wire, tooth-picks, glue, hairspray, kitty-litter, glue, a few materials made especially for diorama-making, and some people used glitter. Oh, and lots of glue!

First, we cut out our platforms, and rocks out of foam, then, we glued the ‘rocks’ to our platforms with a glue-gun.  The thing is, if you want it to look more realistic, you want to cut out tiny little pieces, to look like rises and hills. Next, we glued on burlap, with the glue-gun, and pushed it into all the cracks we wanted to see, then, with a paintbrush, we painted white glue all over it, to make the burlap hard.

Once the glue was dried we painted whatever color each person wanted. I painted one of mine white (for snow) and the other one dark-green, light-green and gold. We also painted our rocks grey, though I painted mine silver (most of us left our rocks alone, not covering them with burlap). Then the fun really began! We sprinkled this powder-dust that looks like moss when you put it on, and then we sprayed hairspray on it to make it stick!

We made trees from tooth-picks, wire, paint, and another kind of chunky moss-like stuff, that was for making trees and bushes. I made two rivers, out of glue-gun glue, white glue, and blue and glitter, and it turned out better than I thought it would! It was really fun to be so creative, and be able to make your own little world!

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All of the people who made dioramas!

After four wonderful days and four tired nights, filled with the noise of two large families, we are back at home again. I personally, looking forward to my warm, cozy bed, because every time I woke up on the little pull-out couch in the trailer, I would feel really cold!

After four amazing, dirty, muddy, wet, happy, fun, slimy, cold, windy, sparkly, warm, sticky, dusty, cozy days, with twenty-three amazing other people, I’m glad to be home!

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Home at last!

 

Flower Press

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My Flower Press

First of all, I should probably explain what a flower press is; it is made out of two boards, two or four long screws, and the same amount of nuts, corrugated cardboard, and paper. My neighbour uses paper towel, but I find I like paper more, mostly because it helps make flat flowers or leaves, and doesn’t leave patterns, the corrugated cardboard lets air flow throughout the press, helping to dry the flowers quickly. The press can be used for flower or leaves, but thick stems, leaves and buds may mold, not dry well, or not flatten out nicely. Many people use large books for this, but I really like using my press 🙂

Last Summer and the one before that, I used to go out and pick a basket full of the crisp, colourful flowers that were blossoming all around, I would bring them inside, lay them all out, and inspect them for bugs! Then, if they were wet, I would gently pat them dry with a tea-towel. After the bad ones were thrown back outside, I would fill my press with the flowers, and tighten the knobs as much as I could, then I would wait for a week or so, (sometimes it would take a lot longer!) and once the flowers were dry and flat, I took them out and laid them gently into my ‘Flower Book’, made out of a cardboard box and paper towel.

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My ‘Flower Book’

Just a few days ago, I was walking outside, when I noticed a clump of brilliant purple crocuses that had pushed through the dense layer of periwinkle leaves, they were the first flowers to bloom at our house this Spring! As I looked around, I saw some bright white crocuses, as well as some with a mix of white and purple, I thought about my flower press, and ran inside to look for it. I found my flower press, and went back outside, to start pressing the crocuses.

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Beautiful purple crocuses!

Pressing the flowers brought back memories of bright, sunny days picking flowers, and dark, rainy days, opening my press to reveal flat, dried flowers, not like before, but still beautiful. I like to use pressed flowers for bookmarks, or other crafts like that. pressed, dried flowers can be really pretty to use in so many ways!

A few things about flower pressing that I’ve learned so far are these:

One; Don’t expect a dried flower to be exactly the same as the fresh one; most times they will fade, and get vary fragile after pressing.
Two; You shouldn’t press wet flowers or really thick ones, they can mold easily.
Three; Check your flowers for bugs before pressing them, squashed bugs do NOT look pretty in your flowers! 🙂
And Four; Try new things, experiment! But don’t expect everything you try to turn out good, it it better to be nicely surprised by success, than it is to be dissapointed by a mistake.

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Crocuses!

If any of you have tips, or things that you have found out about leaf or flower pressing, please comment!