Making pressed gladiolus drink coasters

It started with a Biology lab where we were asked to dissect flowers. Naturally I was more interested in “what happens to the flowers when you’re done with them?” AKA CAN I TAKE THEM?

I was able to take one home. Then I tried out my microwave flower press for the first time! I use the Microfleur 5" flower press (about $25 on Amazon.com) and it worked very nicely in about 2 minutes. They offer larger sizes but since the largest thing can make at the moment is 3.5" round it doesn't matter much to me.

The flowers smelled awful in the microwave. I’ve been told it may just be the flower type—this one is gladiolus—but it was just terrible. I had to cover my mouth and was cursing the entire time. It took a few 20 second sessions (but that is compared to 3-4 days to let it dry naturally, ain’t nobody got time for that!) and I watched as the vibrant red darkened to a beautiful, deep purple.

I waited a few days (homework, classes, the weekend) and then decided to pick out a background. I thought about several colors. Would blue be a strong contrast? What about black? I had a blue tile print I was interested in until I came across the white brick and just fell in love. The contrast of deep red against the white was really nice.

I decided to give this set a bit of a visual story. I started with the full part of the flower, two of the largest petals and trimmed the peduncle (if Biology has taught me anything, it’s that I’d rather say peduncle than stem). One petal was pulled slightly over the edge (which is my artistic preference).

Normally I'd include a border (since my scrapbook paper is cut to 3.5" instead of 4"), so this actually has a white ring beneath the paper around the edge but it is nearly invisible. I don't normally like the borderless style, but this time it really worked well!

The next coaster had only three petals remaining and I wanted to split them up—so I used two, in a sort of fluttering, falling motion.

The third I had a single, lonely petal, right in the middle of the brick.

And the fourth, I wondered—how about no petal at all? Maybe you’ve got someone in your family who is repulsed by flowers, or just likes plain, white brick? Maybe they don’t care at all. At least in a set of four they could find something they liked. And so it became a kind of death of the flower, going from the fullest petals to gradually less until… nothing was left.

And now this set is listed on my website for sale!

4 pressed gladiolus drink coasters for $12.50 and FREE SHIPPING within the United States!

If you prefer to go straight to Etsy, you can do so here.

My coffee mug is the a collection of art from Stephanie Skiles and you can view her RedBubble store here!

Let me know what you think in the comments! I also do custom drink coasters (and buttons, keychains and magnets), and have a lot of other designs on my website (and on the sidebar!): http://www.distracteddragon.com Yes, it's another shameless plug but it pays the bills. Or, it would if anyone bought something. So go and buy something. :)

6 month vacation

"6 month vacation" sounds better than "my life went to hell for about 6 months and I couldn't write a damn word." Or edit. Or think straight. Let alone focus on much of anything. But I'm done complaining now! No later than the end of June, I'll start writing again. And editing. And making progress towards getting The Trials of Blood published. I'd also like to focus on editing and publishing Earth Borne.

I'll have a new address soon, in a new city, 4 miles away from an Arby's (yes, that's important!), a 2 minute walk to a pool and a hot tub and the best room mates I could ever ask for. My cats will be at peace, my office will be safe. My writing will return.

I have decided to call the apartment complex pool "The Office." And you can bet your ass that I'll be editing and writing the second half of The Burning City... right beside The Office.

I've managed to focus a lot on the bad parts of the past few months. My silence should tell you everything you need to know: it was rough, and now it's over.

I've discovered new friends and rediscovered old ones.

I took a trip to Montana for Mother's Day and it was the best trip I've made in a long time.

I made a new friend from South Australia - a sparky woman named Sabina. She started the South Coast Derby Crew (https://www.facebook.com/pages/South-Coast-Derby-Crew) and single-handedly inspired me to start a Facebook and Etsy page for my custon buttons. With a new apartment around the corner, and bills closing in -- the extra money always helps. I wanted to thank Sabina for being awesome, supportive and just damn nice. If you like Roller Derby, or just bad ass women in general... go and check out her Facebook page. If you're in Southern Australia, go and watch a match!

So I have a Facebook page for PinJinn ( http://www.facebook.com/PinJinnMichelle ) and it links straight to my Etsy.com page ( http://PinJinn.etsy.com ).

What Is PinJinn?

My little tagline is "Custom pin-back buttons... as you wish."

It's a combination of "Pin-back Buttons" and the concept of a Jinn, a type of genie/demon.

A short story:

I watched a movie called "Empire Records," as a teenager. I wished for a button maker... Many years later, I granted my own wish and bought one. And now I make buttons for people who wish they could make them, too! It's a lot of fun to see people's artwork, ideas and dreams jump from the computer to a button they can carry with them. I've done business with intriguing people all over the world: from a beautiful artist in West Virginia, all the way to the South Coast Derby Crew in South Australia. Buttons are fun, easy to wear and fun to show off. Custom buttons... as you wish.

pinjinn2c

That's Nice But... WHERE IS YOUR STORY?

Well.

Ahem.

::looks away::

It's on my "To Do" list. As of yesterday. In the mean time, I've been re-reading The Burning City.

I also listened to "Sabriel" by Garth Nix (narrated by the talented and wonderful Tim Curry). It is my favorite book ever. Except maybe my own, someday. But the simple act of listening to the book helped to inspire me.

My sister-mine Stephanie is constantly working on her own story LINES, and editing, and if she finishes her book before me -- well, I'll be damn proud. And a little bitter.

As of late, the best I can do is print out a chapter, read, take a few notes and continue on. But once I finish re-reading, I'll re-make my outline and I'll be good to go. I'm confident enough in my own ability that I know once I have an outline, I won't get stalled again.

I bought two new coffee mugs in antici...pation of writing. I did not expect them to be so beautiful that I physically cannot drink from them.

I've been playing The Sims 4, Mass Effect 3 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - even went so far as to stream on #Twitch a few times. I'll wait until I'm settled in to the new apartment (and writing again) before I share that hobby with you all.

Saw Avengers: Age of Ultron, and because of that - 13 Going on 30, which I had never seen before. I actually didn't know Mark Ruffalo as an actor before the Avenger films. And then I saw Mad Max: Fury Road and holy shit... it's now my new favorite movie. Go and see it. Seriously.

I'm certain I'm leaving out details but those are the highlights recently. Proof that I haven't fallen off the edge of the world, or completely forgotten about Malisyn and Nox.

My life at the moment is calm. I have friends, supportive parents, a job that I enjoy, a vehicle that runs, a roof over my head and chocolate milk and Mt. Dew within reach. I have the best sister the internet could have delivered to me... and I love my cats.

And it's 1:00 AM and I'm officially rambling.

Thank you for reading, for sticking with me when you should have left, and for being here when I decided to return.