Check out Out: Blooms a folded sheet away in ‘Paper to Petal’




After 20 years of living in Washington, I continue to be dazzled by Northwest summers. Mother Nature’s bounty shines this time of year as fruit trees, vegetable gardens and meadows burst with color and flavor. It can be easy to take all this beauty for granted, especially in these warm, summer days, but in just a few months — a blink of the eye, really — autumn will return. Flowers will fade as the nights turn cooler, while the skies start to dress in hues of gray, silver to slate. I do love the seasonal transition even though I sometimes wish I could hold on to the colors of summer during the darker months. With a little creativity, perhaps I can do just that by following the advice and instructions found in this week’s book, “Paper to Petal.”

Turning ordinary, flat pieces of paper into three-dimensional beauties need not be complicated according to Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell, a husband and wife team who work together at their design firm, Thuss + Farrell. And after perusing their beautiful book, I am reassured that even I, unskilled as I am in the world of paper crafting, can create botanical wonders from ingredients found in my office. With a selection of colorful paper, scissors, glue and paint, I can re-create the blossoms of May and June during a rainy October afternoon. Or, when November weather becomes wearisome, I can arrange a sunny bouquet of sorbet-colored paper flowers, taking myself back to warm, summer evenings, eating cool watermelon and rainbow sherbet.

Broken down into five sections — flowers, materials, skills, how-tos, and templates — 75 flowery projects await a budding (or fully grown) artist’s ability to prune tissue, crepe and wrapping paper into poppies, tulips, chrysanthemums and water lilies. Not to mention cherry blossoms, roses and hellebores! And in case I’ve given the impression that spring and summer are the only seasons included in “Paper to Petal,” there are autumn and winter arrangements aplenty. After all, nature has its beauties all year long.

So, enjoy our spectacular summer weather and revel in nature’s generosity. It may not last, but remember, extending summer’s good vibrations won’t be a problem this year because you’ll have the knowledge and the tools to “plant” a warm weather garden inside your home — no watering required.

Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at