Monday, January 5, 2009

Rolling It Old-School

Have you seen those knobby brown beads used as prayer beads or on rosaries? Those are imitation rose petal beads. Hence ROSArie -- get it? Yeah, well, you didn't need much of a sense of humor in the Middle Ages, ok? So if you are feeling at a loose end, or just want to fulfill your New Year's Day resolution of being more crafty or spiritual or something, here is a very simple recipe for making these beads. They smell lovely, and look fabulous. Much nicer than the imitations. These will be black, because we are using a cast iron pot and the magic of ferrous oxide. Aren't you glad you didn't skip chemistry now?

Remove outer petals from a dozen roses, and put the rest of the petals into a food processor, blender, or mortar and pestle. Add some water and grind into a paste You should end up with grains about the size of couscous.

Put the paste and add water to cover in a cast iron pot over low heat. Don't let it boil or the scent will evaporate. If you use another type of pot, like steel or enamel, the beads will be brownish instead of black.

Simmer for about 3 1/2 hours, adding water as necessary so it doesn't get dry. Dump the petal mush into a wire mesh sieve over a bowl and press down on the mush with a spatula to squeeze as much water out as possible. It will take on the consistency of clay.

Put on some latex gloves. Then hold a paper towel in one hand and squish a pinch of the petal mush into it, and form into a ball. The more water the towel absorbs, the easier it is to shape the bead. Beads will shrink by half when fully dry, so make the bead twice as large as you want.

Thread the bead onto a hat pin or wire and hang in a 200 degree oven until they are as hard as a dried bean. Twist the beads on the wire every half hour so they don't stick. Store dried beads in a soft cloth scented with rose oil.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Power of Greyskull

Man, I feel like I've been sick for ages. Two months is a long time. BUT. I have not been idle lo these many empty weeks. I have been designing (and modeling for) some trading cards for my art group, WAM. That's the Women's Art Movement for the uninitiated. Behold the wonders of my new project!