Flower Soft is a new company to the United States but has been around for a while in the UK. I got my first look at their products in July during CHA. I was so taken with it all I immediately knew I had to share it at some point with all of you. I received my box of samples from Susan on Friday and have already fallen in love with the stamps and "flowers"! I was even more surprised to find the return address right here in Indiana! YES, their first warehouse in the US is less than 3 hours from my home :) Doesn't get much better than that!
O.k. o.k. enough with the teasing...I know most of you are wondering exactly what is Flower Soft???? Well, it's an amazing little pot of colored "sprinkles" that you turn ordinary designs into a garden of color, dimension and fun! I'm not exactly sure what it is made out of but when it's in the pot it feels a bit like peat moss but Flower Soft is even better because it is acid free and perfectly safe for scrapbooks, cards and more!
I love the story of how Flower Soft came to be...it's such a neat story of how this little company turned lemons into lemonade! In Susan's own words..."We used to have a small business making miniature porcelain dolls and we wanted to make a move from this business into something less labour intensive. After researching we found that card making was a growing hobby in the UK and was something that would still require us to use our creativity. We designed kits that used elements from our doll making and by working with a the world's best doll manufacturer we were able to produce small cameo busts that were made of resin, but actually looked like porcelain. The cameos were beautifully dressed and to finish them off we wanted to add tiny flowers to their dresses and hair. This proved quite tricky to develop and took months of work to get right, but eventually Flower Soft was developed to fulfill this role. Beautiful as the kits were, we soon realised they were just too expensive for the craft market.......which left us with a lot of Flower Soft! Our design team wondered what on earth we would do with it, but I realised that it would actually make a very exciting embellishment in its own right. To persuade them of its merits, I took some paper wrote my daughters name in glue and sprinkled over the Flower Soft......IT WAS FANTASTIC! and we then put all our efforts into developing it further."
Now, talk about a success story! Flower Soft is a HUGE hit in the UK and now it's finally on our shores!
Flower Soft also has a new line of stamps which were developed by popular demand...another fun story so I'll let Susan tell the story ~ "A bit like Flower Soft our journey into stamps was not intentional. We are known for producing card toppers and papers (beautiful designs and backgrounds specifically created for use with Flower Soft, so that texture and dimension can easily be added). We sell a lot of our card toppers through the TV shopping channels Ideal World and Create and Craft and they constantly want new things. Late last year we were half way through designing the Country Collection of card toppers when we were asked for something new. We weren't prepared to rush the designs and so came up with the idea of taking two of the finished one's (The Bicycle and Wishing Well) and turning them into stamps. We released them to the show, which sold out and then into our retailers, who also sold out and this went on for about three months until we were able to stabilize our production. We have sold alot of stamps! All our designs be it toppers or stamps are a team effort. We have three people dedicated to design two on computer and my Mom (Doreen) who is our Creative Director and main Ideas generator.....but we all have input and that includes our customers who will often make suggestions."
Flower Soft Stamps come unmounted and need to be cut & mounted (as desired) to use. The great news is they already have plans to turn the Alpha Pots into stamps and more in the works! The creative minds behind Flower Soft also have some exciting things in store for 2009!! I can hardly wait to see what they come up with next.
Now, since this is a fun new product as I stated before I'm going to split this up into 2 parts. This week I want to talk about the flower embellishment side of Flower Soft. Next week I'll go more in depth incorporating the use of the toppers and stamps.
Today the supplies I will be using include the Spring Mix, Flower Soft Wires as well as the specially formulated Aleene's Flower Soft Glue. You will also need a piece of craft foam or in my case a piece of foam that some deco brads came in. This is to stand the flowers up in while the glue is drying.Just a note about the glue...."The glue you use is really important, we recommend Aleene's tacky or Aleene's Flower Soft Glue (only available from us). The Flower Soft glue is in a wonderful soft small bottle with a fine applicator, so if you have dexterity problems it is easy to use....and as you only use a small dots of glue to highlight a design (big splodges of the glue will obliterate the design!) this works very well."
As you can see the Flower Soft is really packed in there tight (Spring Mix shown)! You'll need to do a little prep work before you begin using it.
First, dump the Flower Soft out into a storage container. (Christmas Green shown) Told you it was packed in there tight! I wasn't kidding... Looks like a little moss covered hockey puck doesn't it - LOL!!
Now, simply break it apart and fluff. You'll be surprised how much was in that little jar. Trust me, a little bit of this stuff goes a long ways!
Now it's ready for use. Just a note ~ the label from the jar is actually a clear acetate piece just tucked inside the jar lid. It can be removed and adhered to the lid of your storage container for easy identification :)
1. Remove a Flower Soft Wire from the package and straighten....There are 10 Flower Soft wires in each package and they are very long. Each wire will yield anywhere from 5-10 individual flower wires depending on how long you cut them.
2. Cut to desired lengths. I cut my wires anywhere from 1" - 2" long. I tried to vary the lengths so my flowers would be taller and shorter as needed. The wire is easily cut with Tonic or like shears.
(No, that's not dirt under my finger nail....it's a blood blister from earlier this week when I was flattening bottle caps! Warning, do NOT miss the bottle cap...it could result in bodily harm!)
These stems were inked using Peeled Paint Distress Ink. The lighter colored stems were made by pouncing the ink onto my Non-Stick Craft Mat. I added 1 squirt of water and simply placed the wires in the mix turning until completely covered. Place in the foam to dry. The darker stems were made by placing the wires directly on the Distress Ink Pad and rolling around until completely covered. Yes, this will result in Ink Stains on your Fingers but that's o.k....we like Ink Stains right?!?!? LOL!!! You can wear gloves if so desired ;)
3. Now apply a dab of glue alone the upper portion of a stem. You can be generous, this is a specially formulated glue and it won't drip or run like other glues.
4. Hold the glued stem over the bowl and sprinkle the Flower Soft over the wire. Remember to turn the wire as you go to ensure an even coverage. (the photo is a bit blurry...action shot you know!)
5. Shake off any excess Flower Soft and place in the foam to dry.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 making as many flower stems as desired.... Be warned though ~ this can be addictive! I made 12 flowers stems in very little time and ran out of foam to stick them into - LOL!!
Now that we've made the stems, what do you do with them?!?!? WELL, here you go....
Gather your stems, adhesive and a little tissue cone. (Notice how I bent some of the wires...you'll see why in a minute)
Place a dab of glue down in the center of the cone and start adding your stems. Here is where the height difference of your stem length comes into play. Just like arranging real flowers you'll want the taller "flowers" in the back, shorter in the front and to the sides.
Beautiful isn't it? I told you that you'd be amazed by it once you saw the finished project! If you like this are you even in store for a treat next week!!! I will be using the flower soft on the Page Toppers and using it pared with the Flower Soft Stamps so you'll definitely want to check back next Sunday!!
If you like what you've seen here tell me what you like best about Flower Soft...the colors, the styles, ease of use, whatever you want. As long as you post you're entered to win!
Win what you ask?
WELL, how about "The Lampost" set of stamps to start off with...
as well as an assortment of wires, card toppers and samples of 9 different Flower Soft colors!
Sound like something you'd like to win?
If so, remember to post a comment here and/or on Part II next weekend to be entered to win. You'll have until September 13th to post you're comment at which time I'll pull out the name of one lucky winner (using Random.org).
Good Luck Everyone!!