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When things go off the rails
What could possibly go wrong when making pearls? Here are some of my real life scenarios and how I handled them.
- You run out of thread or your threads are broken in the middle by a leaf or petal. If you do something exotic and use color-matched thread, you can wrap the thread very tightly at the top of the piece and enjoy the asymmetry of the piece. The other option is this: wrap the thread in the bottom of the piece as if you are done with it. Then use a new loaded paddle or thread reel and pull the new thread up the piece's main threads and continue as usual.
- Your bench with beads is unbound at the top. You can take half of the top threads in each hand and tie them together. You can also tape them together with floral tape. If you do, make sure to fold the tape and threads over and around each other so that the threads do not come loose again.
- There is a black bead loaded among your yellow beads on your bobbin thread. Sometimes a bead of the wrong color will appear on a bench or in a bag of beads and be loaded onto your thread before you notice it. You don't want to unload all the beads that followed it. Just take a pair of pliers, not a thread cutter and gently smash the black pearl. Alternatively, you can leave it on the thread and process it in your flower. Flowers often have a place or other piece of a different color in their petals.
- Your flower band leaves too much sticky residue on your hands. Sometimes you get a roll of tape that is exceptionally waxy, and simple washing does not get the wax from your hands. Rub some baby oil on your hands and then wash again with regular soap.
- A finished flower petal is for the dish. Use lacing thread and a plain sewing needle to "sew" the base row of each petal into shape. This is an extreme example of jump lacing. For a flat and open flower, like a lily, work on the outside of the petals. For a vertical and closed flower, like a large crocus or tulip, work on the inside of the petals. This is so that the lacing thread is not visible.
- A flower is too heavy for its stem and the stem is bent under the weight of the flower. Tape two or three lengths of family thread and tape them around the flower's existing family thread. For a thinner stem, use the long piece of a wire coater instead of more stem threads.
- Your clay is too stiff to shape and place in your vase. Assign a plastic or glass container and microwave clay at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds. The inside of the clay block will heat much faster than the outside and it can become liquid. To avoid this, cut the clay into small pieces before heating it. Allow to cool before touching. Alternatively, you can use an old, clean coffee can and heat the clay slowly in the oven.
- Your Spanish moss does not stay in your vase. Cut a piece of stem wire about four inches long. Bend it in half. Insert it into the moss and slide it well into the mud as if you were using a bobby pin.
- Your wreath frame will break when you mount your wreath. Cut a piece of heavy family thread that is longer than the space between two cross threads on the wreath. Pull one end of the stem thread all the way around a cross thread. Hold the wreath in its proper shape and wrap the other end of the stem thread completely around the next cross thread. For extra reinforcement, wrap in the X shape around the joints with 24-gauge wire.
- Your arrangements or wreaths become dusty over time. Whatever you do, don't dip your flowers in water! Also, do not spray them with any liquid. This will rust the wires. Clean the petal rows between your fingers with regular cloths. It takes some time, but your flowers look beautiful and fresh, and you don't risk to rust the wires.