Decorating crafts: securing dried flowers in shadow boxes
These tips and tricks to securing dried flowers in a shadow box will assist in creating various and decorative displays. Drying methods for flowers and creative box ideas should spark the crafter in everyone.
To create and accent a photograph, invitation, child's artwork or selected piece of literature in a shadow box, experiment with dried flowers to frame or highlight the selected piece. These tips and tricks should result in assurance and crafter ideas that will result in a changeable and unique shadow box display.
Dried flowers, though typically thought of as an autumn decoration, can be used throughout the year for craft projects. Many florists and craft stores carry a large variety of dried flowers through each season; or you can dry your own flowers from your garden or from the wild.
There are many flowers that dry quickly and easily. Some of the easiest and most attractive dried flowers are violets, roses, carnations, zinnias, daisies, hydrangea and thistle, to name a few. Leaves such as fern, clover, oak, and maple maintain color and texture as well.
To dry flowers that have been collected from your garden, florist or next nature walk; you simply need a method of eliminating the moisture without causing rot. In general the thinner the flower, the less drying time is needed. However, thinner flowers become more fragile when dried. Try one of these methods; hanging, sand drying, container or pressing, to dry your flowers.
Hang flowers in a well-ventilated, dark spot, for about week. Simply tie the flowers in a neat bundle and hang upside down.
Sand drying allows the flowers to retain their cup shape. Fill the flower with sand and place it in a box of sand stem down. Allow to dry for about week. Use sand purchased from a craft store to ensure the sand is dry - sand from the outdoors will have moisture; even if taken from the beach.
Airtight containers also work well for drying flowers such as hydrangea, carnations and other bulky headed flowers. Just pop in a container, close and forget for about a week to ten days.
An unconventional yet effective method is refrigeration. Simply pop a bouquet or flower in the refrigerator for about two weeks and allow it to dry. Carnations do very well with this method.
Finally, flower presses are an easy way to dry relatively flat flowers. An actual flower press need not be an expensive contraption you buy in the craft store. It can be as simple as a few leaves in between sheets of newspaper, or a thistle dried in between the pages of a book.
Once you have dried flowers, cut the stems to within an inch of the flower and carefully arrange and re-arrange within the shadow box. A long-handled tweezer can be very useful with the very delinquent flowers. Regular tweezers and/or kitchen tongs can be of assistance as well.
Craft glue or rubber cement hold dried flowers in place best. Working in a small area, about two inches wide, will help eliminate errors and allow you to work around the shadow box. Place the flower stem or leaf in the glue/cement and allow to set for a moment. Stand back and analyze the results before working on the next two or three inch segment.
Putty such as florist putty can also be used to cement flowers in place. Putty works well if the dried flowers are to be changed from season to season. However, putty does dry and crack with exposure to the air and the sunlight, so be cautious to the location of the shadow box. Too much sun exposure will result in saggy flowers.
Patience is the key. Flowers can always be cut off their stem or pulled immediately from the glue/cement should the arrangement be incorrect.
Arranging the flowers as a frame within the shadow box around a wedding invitation or anniversary/birth announcement creates a very special remembrance and gift. To highlight a poem, photo or piece of literature that is meaningful, frame the piece in bold colored flowers. Children's artwork can be framed from season to season with daisies, roses and mums to highlight the theme. Experiment, create and never be afraid. The end results can give your home the warmth of your gardens you so carefully tend to during the growing season.
All about your outlook express address book: making it work for you
Can't figure out how to add new addresses in your Outlook Express e-mailing software? Here are some tips to get you started on creating and maintaining your address book.
Welcome to the world of e-mail, or electronic mail. You've decided to use Outlook Express to compose and receive your e-mails. Outlook Express has tons of valuable features to make e-mailing extremely easy. One of the first things you may be wondering is how you can start keeping track of all of your friends' e-mail addresses. It's easy with Outlook's address book feature. More than likely, when you first open Outlook Express, you will see four "windows." The window on the top left shows your different folders. The window on your top right is where your actual e-mails come in. The window on your bottom right is a preview pane. When you click on an e-mail, it will give you a small preview of what is actually contained in the e-mail. The bottom left portion is what we're interested in today, however. This window contains contact information, or your address book. If the bottom left window is not currently visible when you open up Outlook Express, click on the "View" menu on the toolbar and choose "Layout." Make sure that there is a checkmark by the "Contacts" option.
. Click on the "Add" button and it will add this e-mail address to the pane below. If Jane has many e-mail addresses (for example, if she has a different work e-mail address and a different home e-mail address), you can add multiple addresses by typing them in and clicking "Add." If you only have one address for her, it will automatically cause this e-mail address to be the default address. If you have multiple addresses for Jane, you can select the e-mail address she uses the most and then click the button "Set as Default." One important item to note is that whatever name you use for the "Nickname" box, you can simply type that nickname in the "To" portion of a new message and it will understand that you are sending a message to that specific person. There are several other tabs you can list properties for, but, for now, all we want to do is add Jane to your contacts list. Once you have entered Jane's information, click the "Ok" button to save your changes. You will see Jane's name in your Contact list. Now, whenever you want to e-mail her, you can just double-click on her name and a new message will appear addressed to Jane.
You can also do this same thing by going to the "Tools" menu and choosing "Address Book." Click on the "New" button and choose "New Contact." Then follow the directions above to add a new contact. This is more easily done by clicking the "Addresses" button close to the top of your screen.
Let's say you have a book club that has four members in it and you don't want to continually type in each of their e-mail addresses when you want to e-mail them all as a group. After clicking the "Addresses" button, click on "New Group." Enter a Group Name. For example, you can call the group "Book Club." Click the "Select Members" button and it will allow you to choose several of your existing e-mail contacts for the Book Club group. Once you have selected them all, click "Ok." Now, the next time you want to e-mail your Book Club group, you simply have to type in "Book Club" and the message will automatically be sent to all four members.
The Outlook Express address book feature is pretty intuitive if you just give it a try. Remember, if you ever get stuck and want to trouble shoot, you can always hit the F1 key or click on "Help" from the toolbar and then "Contents and Index." This will help you figure out anything you want to know about the address book.
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