DI-Why Not? #4: Pom Poms, Martha Style

I took on the the (in)famous Martha Stewart flower poofs for DI-Why Not Challenge #4.

Here's a very simple recap of this challenge:

Martha 1, Foxy 0

For all the gory details, read on, my friends:

Halfway through Christmas shopping at Eastern Market on Sunday morning, I turned to Mr. Foxy as we considered breakfast and said "Gah! My flower poofs!" Ever patient, my husband sighed, we cut our breakfast plans short, piled in the family truckster, and headed for AC Moore (doppelganger to Michael's).

The list of supplies was pretty short:

* Tissue Paper (20x30)
*24 gauge white cloth covered floral wire.

Nice. The how-to pictures look pretty simple, too!

At AC Moore, I could find hide nor hair of 24 gauge white floral wire. I could find only green ($1.79). Tissue was available ($2.19 a packet), but only the folded up version, and you know Martha doesn't use any kind of creased paper for her flowers. Plus AC Moore's tissue came in one size - 20x26. Close enough, right? I chose colors I thought would be OK with the green wire, some sharp scissors on the recommendation of one of my more crafty friends (also my ex-shop manager), and scrammed.

Laying out everything out on our standard issue rental apartment carpet, I prepared to embark on a flower making bonanza, visions of fluffy balls of joy to give away on Foxy Wedding dancing though my head. I kinda got the hang of Origami...this shouldn't be that bad!

Martha Poms

Think again.

The first set of directions instruct to "stack 8 20x30 pieces on top of each other." Check.
Next, "create 1-1/2 inch accordion folds creasing with each fold." Right. My extra precise folding skills are mediocre at best, and I wasn't entirely sure what "accordion folds" were. From the picture, I deduced that Martha wanted me to make a big old paper fan like I used to make at camp.

Folding attempt #1

The many sheets of thin paper shifting each time as I folded and then flipped to create another layer, combined with my inability to make each section exactly 1-1/2 inches wide resulted in a messy looking closed fan. Nothing at all like Martha's picture.

Clouds began to build on the horizon. As a precaution, I turned on some old school angst-y art school '80s pop, The The, to try and channel my older sister, a bonafide artist. She would have no trouble with this mess.

Folding attempt #1

Folding attempt #1

Bending the wire in half and twisting around the center was straight up the easiest part.

Wire Twisted around the center

The next step: "With scissors, trim ends of tissue into rounded or pointy shapes." Sounds cute, right? Not so much. Again, little resemblance to Martha's example. Even with my new scissors (thanks, Kori!), my ends look like a wild animal gnawed on them. They are also neither rounded nor pointy. Fighting off defeat, I forged on.


However, it was separating the layers by "pulling away from center one at a time" that made me lose it. I must have torn the ****ing tissue paper 15 times.

A highlight montage:

Poor Poof

Pom attempt #1:

Pom #1

Forlorn, no?

Perking up, I told myself that the first attempt is almost never perfect, and I owed it to myself and to you (maybe I can still make poms to give away!) to try again.

Pom attempt #2

I tore the bottom layers on one side of Pom #2 immediately. I don't even know how it happened.

Pom attempt #2

Pom #2: slightly less woebegone than the first, but not by much.

Pom #2

Tissue paper is delicate, ladies. I was extra special careful, but it appears that my best wasn't quite good enough. Despite their cheerful colors, both my big poms look like sad, deflated versions of Martha's. Poor little guys. They had such dreams!

Sad, large poms

Large Pom completed, I took on the petite pom.

This was less painful, probably because there were fewer layers to deal with, although the first instruction that reads "make 3/8 inch wide accordion folds" made me irate. 3/8 inch? Really? Mine wound up more like a 1/2 inch, although they started smaller. Frustrating.

Mini Pom attempt

I 100% tore the little guy, too, but soldiered on. My small flower is not as aesthetically challenged as its larger siblings, but it's nothing like Martha's perfect blooms.

Mini Pom

It took me almost two hours. That's how deliberate I was lifting each thin layer in an effort to not rip it. More skilled and patient hands than mine are required. Someone like an artist, or maybe a doctor, engineer, or architect.

I am sure my poms would have gotten better if I kept at it, but it felt wrong to waste perfectly good tissue paper, so I stopped. I paid a total of $19.02 for four packets of 12 sheets of tissue, one sleeve of floral wire, and one pair of scissors. I plan on returning the remaining unused tissue, and am now the proud owner of multiple pieces of green 24 gauge wire.

Honestly, unless you are a crafty, artistic person, just buy the freaking things on etsy.

Check back later today for my next challenge, where I will take my poor paper skills into account and choose something less delicate in a (futile) effort to redeem myself.

*all images my me (except the one from Martha, of course)

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