Descanso Gardens

Have any of you other Angelenos been to Descanso Gardens? If you’re into flowers, this place is incredible. A coworker mentioned it to me a month or so ago, and I checked it out for the first time a couple weeks back. I signed up for a membership that day – I knew it was a place I’d have to visit over and over.

It’s peaceful, beautiful, and relaxing. I love being outdoors and wandering the various trails and paths. And when you think, “Maybe I’m not supposed to walk here?” chances are you’ll look up to find a bench a bit further down the way. It’s wonderful. I’ve taken in the views from some of the benches, parked myself on a rock to watch the koi and turtles in the pond, and have grand plans of bringing a book next time I’m there and possibly claiming a patch of grass in one of the many open fields.

This past weekend in particular, I was excited to return to see the cherry blossoms blooming. As magical as promised. I took lots of pictures in the short time I was there (bonus of a membership – I can come whenever I please so I don’t feel the need to make my time spent there worth the admission fee, which is a reasonable $8) – and want to share a few of my favorites with you below.

They’re all pictures of flowers, and you’ll see one of my (dare I say?) signature “bee butts” in there as well. Enjoy, and if you’re in the area be sure to check out the gardens yourself!

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Paisley Cut-Out Flowers

I was really into creating these flowers recently. I used colored pencil to both outline and shade in some paisleys of varying sizes, cut them out, then glued them as floral arrangements onto a card for my mom.

I think the texture the watercolor paper adds underneath the colored pencil, combined with physically layering the cutouts onto another piece of paper gives it an enhanced sense of dimension. Considering this design came together on a whim, I was pretty proud of how this card turned out. (Mom liked it too!)

Scrapbook Paper Flowers

I was totally inspired by Cally at Cally’s Creations for this next project. When I saw her post about the 3D flowers, I knew I wanted to create some of my own. Following her basic guidelines, I put my own spin on these, and it resulted in some fabulous decorations for both my walls and curtains!

You’ll need:

  • Paper – scrapbooking, tissue, card stock, construction, printer, etc
  • rhinestones
  • glue
  • scissors
  • small or medium safety pins (if you want to hang them on curtains)

Basically, you want to cut out concentric circles of differing sizes and glue them together in the middle. Callie used adorable brass fasteners (split pins) with flowers to join hers together, but I used some glue and a plastic rhinestone to finish mine. I also found I didn’t have the patience to cut out more than three layers for each flower, so I didn’t!

The only rules I had for these flowers were that they be comprised of purple and teal layers to match my living room. I actually didn’t even pay attention to the hues and whether they went with each other, and the colors still look fantastic together. I used both plain and patterned scrap-booking paper, as well as some patterned tissue paper I had leftover from my garlands.

If you’re going to do more than 3 petal layers, I’d recommend making your outside circle larger to start with. I think mine averaged around 3″ in circumference, but I didn’t measure. To more precisely cut out circles you can fold paper in half and then cut out a half-circle, but I liked the organic, imperfect shapes I managed to freehand with the scissors. I then crinkled some of the paper, per Cally’s instruction, to give it more texture.

As you can already see, I added my own flare to some of the flowers by cutting out triangles to form separate “petals.” This is easily done by folding your flower in half, and snipping two small lines to make a triangle. Remove the cut paper.

While I wanted some wall decorations for my walls (I used painter’s tape to apply it), I also wanted to put some up on my curtains, so I got the idea to glue a safety pin to the backs of some flowers. This was really easy to do – just make sure that you don’t glue down the side of the pin that opens! I took about a one inch strip of scrap-booking paper, placed the pin in the middle, then added 2 dabs of glue – one on either side. (As my kindergarten teacher taught me, a little dab’ll do ya.) Then I placed the strip onto the back of one of the flowers. Let it dry, and voila!

These came out awesome, and I’m already planning to repurpose them by combining them into some bigger art project. I’ll post the updates whenever that happens. For now, check out some of my gorgeous results!

And here, you can see the safety pin idea totally worked! (They’re still hanging on my curtains because they compliment the dining room so well.)

Have you done a project like this one? How did it turn out?