Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easter

Easter
The weeks are flying by. The days pass so quickly. I measure my life in semesters, 16 weeks of school--go, go, go. We are nearly at the end, only two weeks of class and a week of final exams left. My students are  completing what they think is one of the most rigorous classes they have ever had to take, and it probably is since most are first year freshmen. As tough as I make it for them, it means work for me, too. Lots. Lots of reading student writing with the goal of trying to get them literate and thinking like scholars rather than just students. We have wonderful students. These young people are the future and they deserve the best that we have to give them, but boy do I get tired. I am ready for the hot days of summer where I can retreat to my gardens and nurture my flowers. So this will be my last post for a couple of weeks. I will be grading 10 page research essays from 100 students, but I will read my followers, commenting along the way.

I love Easter. We begin the day with Sunday Service and this year a prime rib dinner, followed by the Easter Egg Hunt where the 4 grandchildren scurried from tree to fence post to plant to rock in search of plastic eggs filled with coins and chocolate. The girls' mamma sews their Easter dresses each year and they always look so adorable. If you look really close you can see that Mother Nature isn't wearying her pretty white sandals that we shopped for weeks ago. No. Both girls chose to wear their John Deere Lady cowboy boots. The boys are always well dressed and not nearly as creative (or as difficult as Mother Nature and Little Sister when it comes to fashion). None-the-less, they are sweeties and such fun. Once the eggs were all gathered, it was kite time. None of them had flown a kite before. Regrettably the breeze was too quiet, though Barbie did fly high. Cars 2 never really got off the ground.

Barbie Flies High


The daffodils and tulips have been so wonderful this year. They came out early and some are still blooming. I took these shots with the telephoto lens. I am always sad when the daffodils are gone, and they are whithering now. I do still have some yet to come. They may have been planted a little deeper, slowing their growth. I am waiting on the Mt. Hoods, a snow white daffodil that will make its first appearance at The Garden Spot this year. As the spring bulbs die back, the iris will begin.

Sundance glows in the late afternoon sun. He is shedding his winter coat then he will glisten golden
 We havent' had near the rain that we should, but with the help of a bit irrigation, the spring bloom never ceases to please. I do cut a few flowers, but I prefer to see them in the yard rather than on a table top, but I also like preserve them. We all take hundreds of gigabytes of our prized flowers, but there are other ways to preserve our beauties.

How about scanography? I stumbled across a blog on how to scan objets on the scanner bed with amazing results. Check out Scanography: The Art of Scanning to see the beautiful artwork that can be created by bypassing the camera and using your scanner.




The steps are easy: arrange your flowers on the scanner bed. The glass must be spotless because every little speck will appear in your photo.


Cover your flowers with a black cloth. The professionals say to use black velvet, but I used what I have on hand with not the best results. Black felt blocks are not large enough to cover surface, letting light seep in around the edges, nor is the felt dense enough to keep light from filtering through the fibers, so I used two layers, which worked okay, but the heavier the material the more weight on the flowers.


Here is the rough scan. I am not very good yet.


I edited the photo in iPhoto to straighten it then cropped and blurred the edges. Not at all prefect or professional, but fun. Photoshop offers much better results, and I know that you all have your favorite editing tools.  Give scanography a try to. I do think that flowers with flatter faces work better. I played with pansies last year. The idea is to get the face of the plant to lay flat on the scanner bed to get a really good image. Try it. You just might like the results

Drying flowers is another way to preserve your favs. I learned the art of drying flowers when I was just a little girl from my grandmother. She used sand from the White Sands National National Park in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Yes, we all know that it is illegal to take souvenirs from national parks, but you know how some grandmas can be. I do remember she also used Twenty Mule Team Borax as a drying agent. You can still buy the laundry product or you can use cornmeal, or very fine river sand. But why go to all that trouble when you can purchase silca gel. I bought mine years ago at Hobby Lobby.

So. Spread a layer (an inch or so) on the bottom of an air tight container. Place your flower in the silca gel and begin covering it with the gel, making sure that you pour it in every crack and cranny of the flower. Gently lift petals to pour gel underneath them to support them so that they don't bend. Try to keep the petals in as original angle as possible. Once you have the flower completely covered, place the lid and let the flower dry for several days. I have always let my flowers dry for 30 days, but some web sites say it only a couple of days depending on the density of the plant and the humidity.   Or you can place the container in an over (not plastic, of course), or even in the microwave. Neither of which I have tried--yet.



The dried flowers will last for years. Grandma always made beautifully framed dried arrangements that she placed in shadow boxes under glass, which really is the best way to protect them from the ravages of dust. These daffodils will retain their color; I may buy a clotche to put them under. We'll see. There are other ways of drying flowers: hanging them upside down works for some flora. Visit the University of Missouri Extension for their guide to drying flowers.



And another glorious sunset, ending a beautiful spring day in Northern Colorado.

Have a splendid week I hope that the awful spring weather that parts of the mid west and south are suffering though misses everyone.  Do try some scanograpy or flower drying and share your results.


6 comments:

  1. We loved flying kites with the kids and now our grand kids. What a neat thing to do, I've never done this, or ever heard of scanography, I just might have to try it.
    Good luck on the grading, I can't imagine reading all those papers.

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  2. Hi Ann!
    Oh, I feel so sorry for you, grading all those research papers! Argh!
    What a great idea you share today - scanning flowers! I love it!
    Soon we'll have our summer! I can't wait!

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  3. Hi Ann, sounds like you're going to be mega busy in the coming weeks. Your students are lucky to have such a great teacher. Thanks for popping a comment on my little blog. I search high and low, in every charity shop I come across for flower paintings, so the outside comes inside :) Hope your cat is ok, a puncture wound is no joke. I found one on Billyboy, he is missing a chunk of fur and there's a wound in the middle of the bald patch. It must have really hurt. I want to go out as body guard, lol. Love the effect of the flowers on the scanner, a really cool effect. Take care of yourself and look forward to seeing you back blogging x

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  4. Well I hope you get through your 'marking' season quickly and can get into the garden and relax for the rest of the summer break. Thankyou so much for the scanner link. Nearly 2 years ago I got out our old scanner to do this but I still can't find the lead to plug it into the electricty. Hopefully someday we'll get a new scanner and I can try this as I'm desperate to try it. Your scanner photo turned out so well............and I'm admiring those little grandkids of yours and those beautiful dresses. My mum always made me a new dress for Easter.

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  5. What a beautiful horse. Often wish I had purchased one.

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  6. Looks like you've had a really enjoyable Easter. The scan of the flowers is really interesting and looks good. Quite a creative idea. Hope the paper grading goes well - that's a lot of reading! Maybe find a nice corner in the garden to do the reading.

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