I saved an article from the newspaper for several years about a nun who made a rosary from a dozen roses. I memorized the "recipe" as well as I could with the intention of trying it out. I'm not religious, but I love the idea of the traditional - those symbols and elements that have been practiced over the course of centuries. this is something that takes patience to create. the heady aroma that filled my house, and the delicate, beautiful end result was worth it.
Step 1: Patience.
these are the petals of eight roses, not twelve. it made 109 beads, although I'm told most rosaries are around 189. you can dry roses by hanging them upside down if you want the petals to keep their shape, but that isn't necessary. mine were dry petals that were kept in a cigar box for a few months after they fell off the stems. so this is proof that you can use dry petals when you're good and ready for a two-week project. yes, you do need a couple weeks. as I mentioned, you need patience for this project.
Step 2: Patience!
you don't need fancy equipment. I chopped them as finely as I could with a very sharp knife. I tried a mortar & pestle, but it didn't grind the dry petals. some recommend using a food processor, but I want to keep this as simple as possible, with very little required to make it. chop chop! grab a small handful at a time and chop away.
Step 3: :patience:
set that handful aside and chop more. I put them into a small pan, one with a lid, that will be used to simmer them down. use ceramic if possible, but keep in mind that it will likely stain. you can use cast iron to turn the pulp to a black bead. I'm keeping the natural color. chop until you have gone through every last petal.
Step 4: ...patience
this is day one of simmering. cover the petals in water, maybe two cups or so. every day for 20min, I simmered the pulp uncovered. this went on for eight days. a week should do, but I like the number eight... hence the eight roses I received. you can speed the process by simmering on warm-low all day for a couple days. like potpourri. but I like the commitment of doing this once a day and working on being patient.
Step 5: (((patience)))
this is eight days into simmering. see the lovely change in color? after each day, I would turn off the heat and cover it to keep moisture in. you may add water as needed, but I didn't find that I had to add any.
Step 6: - Patience -
on day eight, I used a paper towel or two, and pressed into the pulp to pull out the excess water. I also pressed into the pan over the sink, and tipped it to let the water drain out. then I made pea-sized beads of the pulp by rolling them in the palm of my hand. grab a pinch of the clay-like dough and begin shaping them. they'll feel like little mud balls. they will still shrink considerably, so keep that in mind as you shape them. clean your hands of the moisture every few beads or so - it will help in shaping them, because they will stick less to your hands and more to themselves. drop them onto a sheet of wax paper to dry, not touching.
Step 7: Paaaatience
allow the beads 24hrs to dry, not in sunlight. they will still be moldable, as they are not entirely dry yet, but will be mostly hard on the outside. at this point they are sturdy enough to make the holes. I used a thick needle to puncture through, and then slid them onto a 2ft piece of wire of similar gauge.
Step 8: / Patience /
once they're strung, continue the drying process. I placed them in sunlight for another 24hrs. spin the beads to prevent them sticking to the wire. I only had to do this twice.
Step 9: How Is Your Patience Now?
transfer the beads onto a durable strong thread or fishing line. use a smaller needle than before. if you want more length, try tying a knot between each bead. this string of beads does fit over my head, but just barely. I love the soft color of the rough beads, it's very alluring and beautiful to look at. it turned out to be a cool project that brought me a lot of peace in my hard work and determination. making a choker would be cool, using the right clasp. what about hiking beads, to pace yourself on how many meters you've covered? or maybe different flower petals for a different color. I'd be curious to see your variations, if you have the patience for this project! :D