The mannequin leg that sits atop my blue dresser has been with me for years. Sometime around my sophomore year of college, I saw a leg lamp (à la A Christmas Story) at a friend’s apartment and thought it was completely awesome. I thought maybe I’d try to DIY one for myself and ordered a mannequin leg from eBay but, alas, I was a big procrastinator back then and never got around to it. I considered tossing it when Nick and I moved in together, but my sister gave me the genius idea to use it as a vase. So smart, that girl.
My style has changed since then, though, and while I’m still into the kitchiness of a fake leg, I’m sooooo over those fake flowers. My new philosophy is that faux flowers shouldn’t look they are trying to be the real thing. They should just give the idea of flowers, while still saying, hey, I know I’m not a real flower, and I’m okay with that. Kinda like the yarn pom flowers I made for my laundry room.
I like using fake flowers to add height and dimension, so I’m really glad that my new philosophy doesn’t banish them altogether.
So, if the purple and white fake flowers that have been living in the leg vase for years had to go, I needed to find something else to stick in there. I wasn’t really down with the idea of a leg just hanging out with nothing sticking out the top of it. That would be weird. My first idea was roll some book pages up into cones and stick ‘em in there. So I ran out to Goodwill and looked for a book that was A) tall and B) didn’t have glossy pages (as many taller books do). I found this one about the Civil War for $1. I would have preferred a book without any pictures, but this was the best that Goodwill could do.
My friends Cassie and Sarah were over the next day and were joking that because of me some child won’t get to learn about the Civil War. My bad.
I ripped out some pages that didn’t have much color on them and rolled them up into cones, securing with hot glue.
Then I just stuck ‘em in there.
Pretty. I played around with some fall-ish accessories and ended up with this: some hardback books turned outward and a little pumpkin dish that I got at an estate sale last Spring.
The more I looked at it, though, the paper cones just weren’t doing it for me. I decided to try something else–paper flowers. My friend Sarah was visiting me from out of town so I put her to work helping me (after all, I did help her with fabric flowers for her apartment back in August).
I wish that I could give you a detailed step-by-step of how we made these flowers. but it was really just a lot of trial and error. Mostly error. I took inspiration from a few internet tutorials (seen here, here, and here), but none of them worked exactly right for us so we just tweaked and experimented until we were happy with the result.
I cut spirals and kind of rolled them up, securing with glue.
Sarah cut out these pointy little petals and gathered them together into kind of a messy, crazy, lovely little flower.
And I started out this big flower with a bunch of 8-shaped petals, then used an upside-down bowl to shape it into a nice curve. I glued the petals together to hold the shape and then just kept adding more and more petals until I was happy with it. A little rolled piece from a particularly dark picture in the book gave it a defined center.
Once we had about ten flowers made, I took some thin gauge wire I had leftover from hanging my bird house and made stems by twisting two lengths of wire together. This made it a little bit stronger while still being pliable enough to easily manipulate. Then I just hot glued a wire stem to the back of each flower and started arranging. Sorry, I didn’t take any pictures of the process. I was in the zone.
Once I was done twisting, gluing, and tweaking, I had this. A bouquet of flowers made from the pages of a book.
I’m completely obsessed with it.
I’m seriously so in love with it. The arrangement is a little bit whimsical, which is fitting since the flowers are sticking out of a mannequin leg. And I like how it kind of plays off the more classic and traditional collection of plates.
This might just be my favorite room in the house, but it’s ridiculously hard to photograph because of the big window. There’s no natural light coming from the other side of the room to balance things out, so things end up looking really dark on camera.
Here’s a close up of the shelves on the left. They’re also tough to capture accurately because of the light streaming in from the side, but I love using them to display pretty things.
I’d still like to replace the barstools and open up the pass-through to the kitchen, but other than that the dining room is pretty close to perfect in my mind. Which is good, since there are about seven other rooms that still have a loooong way to go.