a small flowering tree …
… is sitting upon our table on the back porch. I’m very fond of it. I made it for Easter. Now, despite it being Autumn, I so enjoy its spring prettiness each morning. Can it stay on the table? Why not, only five more months and it will be spring. :-)
The white “tree” is the branch I brought home from Wellington Point. I painted it with an acrylic white undercoat – it took hours! – all those little protruding branches!
With Julian’s help, I plastered it into a pretty galvanised bucket from Ikea with plaster of paris. His help consisted of, “Blimey, don’t add the water to the plaster until you’ve cut the branch the right length!” and “Hang on! You’ve got to mix the plaster where you intend to let it dry. I’m not carrying it through the house all sloshy and heavy!” and most valuably, he set up a marvellous construction of fine ropes to hold the tree in the perfect position whilst it dried.
The best bit about the tree, of course, is all the sweet flowers that hang from the tangle of little branches. I spent a week making them – I intended making just 12 but became completely smitten with their simplicity and colour. And I thought you might like to give it a go too – so I put together a little photo tutorial. A few weeks late, but better late than never :-)
Pom Pom Flowers
Heavy cardboard for pom pom circles – heavy but still with a bit of flex.
Scissors for cutting cardboard
Sharp pointy end scissors for cutting the thick layers of fabric on the pom pom maker
Rotary cutter for cutting fabric
Cutting board and quilting ruler
Assorted fabric – full widths (i.e. 42-45 inches) and at least 3 inches for each pom pom flower
Crochet hook for pulling fabric strips through the pom pom maker
Crochet cotton for tying off the pom pom and hanging
From the heavy cardboard, cut two circles with diameters of 2.5 inches. The cut a 1 inch diameter circle in the middle – now you have two cardboard donuts which when laid one on top of the other, make a pom pom maker. Lay aside.
From your assorted fabric, cut 10 1/4 inch strips from selvedge to selvedge. Trim off the selvedges. For the first few pom poms I used only one colour at a time. But you can use a mix of colours, alternating the strips as you wind. It’s great to include patterned fabrics as well as more solid colours, as the patterns, after being cut into 1/4 inch strips, add lovely flecks of colour through the flower.
Take your pom pom maker (the cardboard circles), and holding the cut end of fabric to the outer edge of the cardboard circles, starting wrapping the fabric around the donut – through the whole in the middle, as per the photo. Place your wraps roughly side by side to ensure an even distribution of fabric.
When you come to the end of a strip of fabric, make sure the cut end of fabric is on the outer edge of the pom pom maker (as per the above photo). This ensures that you end up with no little strips, but full length ones. If the fabric is too long to finish on the outer edge, trim it off.
Repeat with ten strips of fabric. When the hole in the middle of the pom pom maker becomes too small to push your finger through, use the crochet hook to poke the strip through. Avoid using the hook end of the crochet hook because this just tends to fray the fabric excessively. If you can fit more then 10 strips of fabric, do so – this will just give you a plumper flower.
When you have wrapped all ten strips of fabric, take your sharp fabric scissors and begin snipping through the layers on the edge. I start in one spot, and burrow my way down to the cardboard edge of the pom pom maker.
Then, when there is enough room, slide the scissors under the layers of fabric and begin cutting carefully through all ten layers, around the cardboard edge of the pom pom maker.
Ease apart the cardboard circles, creating enough room to wrap and tie the crochet thread around the middle.
I wrapped it around once – tightly – and then tied a tight double knot, then wrapped it around again and tied another knot. Then trim the crochet thread to the desired hanging length, and make a small loop at the end with which to hang it.
It is essential you make the above step before moving on! Or else your pom pom flower will be a sad little pile of scraps – and that would be such a shame. You have been warned!
Now we will remove the cardboard circles. Starting with one side, wriggle one circle of cardboard off. And now you have a little sheaf of coloured wheat. I find if you hold one end of your “sheaf” firmly – but DON’T pull it – and turn the other end like a bolt, it comes off with ease.
Repeat with the other end. And yep, you still have a little sheaf of wheat – this in itself is quite cute and I reckon, sprayed with a bit of stiffy (isn’t that a disgusting name for a product – but I’m told it’s highly effective), you could make a dear little farm scene for harvest time! Not to worry, we are now going to perform some flowery magic.
Holding your pom pom “sheaf”, begin to fluff out the little strips of fabric, all around, creating a little ball. And voila! You have a dear little Spring/Easter flower. Looks a bit like a lovely little chrysanthemum doesn’t it.
Hang and admire. Then, turn back to your cutting board and make another one. I promise you’ll want to – they are so sweetly addictive. :-) I even took pre-cut fabric to the beach and sat making them in the sand!
Now, I have written this after a day in bed with a HORRIBLE cold (thank goodness I took all the photos weeks ago) - my Mummy has just come home with some cold and flu tablets and served them to me with a cup of hot tea. So I’m feeling a wee bit more alive but pretty dreadful really. My current state was certainly not helped by last night’s late adventure!
Poor Nanny took an accidental overdose of her blood pressure and pain relief tablets (she took Monday morning’s tablets instead of Thursday bedtime’s) so Mum and I spent the wee hours of the morning at the hospital with Nanny whilst the darling Carolann snoozed on our sofa looking after Abby (Julian is in Melbourne, of course). Let me assure you, bad cold + four hours in the emergency room + not collapsing into bed until 3am = bloody awful cold the next day. Nanny, thankfully, is now fine.
So, if there is some glaring error or omission in the above instructions – or some rambling nonsense – please drop me a line and I will look at it with hopefully less bleary eyes and concrete-filled head tomorrow. And if you make some darling little pom pom flowers, send me a link or photo! I’d love to see how you go.