Apologies but this blog entry may distress those who do know what they are doing as it contains lots of messy work.
Went out on a limb as it were the other day and bought myself two plant kits from The Miniature Garden on Etsy. Fancied a change of pace and some sitting down jobs.
Even in the act of buying I had my doubts. Don’t get me wrong, the kits are wonderful, well designed and cut, with brilliant instructions. However, taking into account my aging clumsiness, inability to see what is in front of my face and general ‘glue to the elbows’ methodology I employ, I knew it would be a gamble. I don’t think I’d ever attempted a plant kit before so it would be fun.
I set out to use each kit as an exercise in organisation and keeping track – the keeping track bit being a particular something that I’m failing at these days.
Trying to keep control
I counted where I thought it necessary and kept counting each time I handled them. For instance, the flower head main piece on the hydrangea – twelve small circles just bigger than a half centimeter – which have to be handled for each of four stages. There were more often eleven with one gone AWOL (never the same one), and I’d finally become resigned to eleven, when, suddenly up the last one pops. It had fallen face down and I no longer recognised the dark green back surface.
Great things about working with these kits
Beautiful, fairly simple, very well cut and prepared pieces for very carefully designed items with great instructions, all of which leave you with sufficient flexibility for final full shaping/placing so that they can be individualised.
Not so great things
All of these are caused by me and basically boil down to problems handling the smaller items which can be a strain (along with keeping track of them).
And of course my personal glue issue.
Took me some time to build up my own way of handling and threading those stars and I very nearly gave up right at the beginning but I kept breathing; then they suddenly started to work.
I think I got better in handling the ‘over’ petals but could do better still I think. Have ordered a further one to add to this in an attempt to both make it a little fuller and also to balance out the arrangement.
The Miniature Garden example photo on Etsy shows a plant tumbling over the sides of a chimney pot style holder where it works very well. As I was wanting something showing contrast up against brickwork my preference was for climbing rather than hanging. As with actual nasturtiums, it doesn’t take kindly to being directed. Hopefully I can get more of a mix of climb and hang by adding further stems/flowers.
Nasturtium disappointment put aside, I rested my hand for a couple of days and then broke open the hydrangea kit. Another wonderful design with great instructions and pieces. Well, at least until they get into my hands 🙂
Working on the hydrangea
Broke open turned out to be an appropriate term as it happens as some of the pieces are in those very small self-sealing bags. Good fastenings they had to them too! Always a bit careful with these as, when they have extra firm seals it’s so easy to rip the bags in trying to open them. The pieces inside each bag are so small, the resultant explosion of bits would have been disastrous. I find the small ones particularly hellish as I can’t grip them and I finally resorted to making a small slit down the side of the lip of a bag so that I could actually get my fingers nearer the press seal itself and force it with a finger nail. I could have cut the bottom and decanted them into a larger bag with a looser seal, I suppose, but I reckoned that would be a total recipe for losing things.
Got it planted
Overall would I do kits again? Well, yes, I enjoyed the concentration if not the cramp in my fingers and I’d really like to get better at controlling the smaller bits and just possibly achieve a better balance between just and only just enough and too much glue!