One of my FAVE hangouts online, Haunt Forum, is having a little contest called Monster Mud Mayhem.  I normally don't do the contests because I have a hard time finding original ideas for them, but this time I was sitting at my desk and was looking at a little gift my 10-year-old daughter made me for this past Mother's Day and the light went off in my mind's eye and I had my inspiration!

 

My favorite flower is the daisy and the phrase "pushing up daisies" seemed to swirl around in my head.  Thus the seed was planted and this is what grew from it:

"DAISY"

 

I started with a 5 foot section of 1/2 inch PVC and used the heat gun to bend the bottom into a circle, and the rest of it into a curved "stem".

I broke up some pieces of cinder block that one of my neighbors gave me last year and cleaned up an old terracotta pot that she also gave me a plant in that I replanted out in the yard.

I placed the circle shaped end of the PVC stem into the  pot and placed the pieces of cinder block op top and around it.  This is to weigh it down and hold it in the pot.

Then I filled it up with Great Stuff expanding foam to hold it all together and fill in the spaces and sat it aside to cure.

I decided to use a paper mache copy of a Bucky skull that I had on hand to keep weight and cost down.  I cut the mouth apart down the jaw line, stuffed some phone book pages inside it, and then I sprayed the inside of the mouth with Great Stuff.  Once the Great Stuff cured, I carved it out a bit with a Xacto knife to look normal.

I cut a crosswise split into the back of the skull so I could attach it to the stem.

The I just slid the skull over the PVC until it wouldn't go any farther.

I dug some soda boxes out of the recycle bin and cut some flower petals out.  

I cut slits in the skull that were about an inch long with a knife.  Then I folded the ends of the petals and inserted them into the slots.  Once I had all of the slots and petals cut, I used Gorilla Glue to secure them in place.  The Gorilla Glue works very well for this part since it expands some and creates a nice tight fit.

Kinda reminds me of one of those spitting lizard dinosaur things on Jurassic Park at this point.

While I was waiting for the petals to dry into place, I took the head off and started working on the stem.  I drilled holes through the middle of the stem and inserted some 14 gauge wire.  Then I decided I needed something stronger, so I climbed up in the attic and got out the 9 gauge fence tension wire.  (This is the thick stuff used for holding fences to the poles and stuff.)  I drilled another set of holes and inserted that under the thinner wire as a support for the heavy mud to come.  I bent the wires in a kind of drooping leaves shape.

Then it was time for mudding!  I cut some burlap into strips and weaved it onto the thinner wire section to make leaves.  Then I coated it with monster mud.  I went ahead and started coating the petals and skull as well.  The weight of the mud made it start to lean forward, so I had to keep the heat gun handy to make some adjustments to the PVC at the bottom. 

I cut more burlap into strips and dipped it into the mud and placed it onto the back of the flower.

I cut some more strips of burlap and dipped them in the mud to place around the skull at the base of the petals.

After I made the necessary adjustments to the PVC to account for the newly added weight, I then started adding more strips of mudded burlap to the base of the stem and over the top of the pot.

Finally, after all the mud dried, I took her outside to paint.  I used the automotive paint sprayer and compressor to apply coats of black latex paint.  Of course, sitting outside in Florida on a sunny 95 day made her a bit soft and the PVC inside started to droop.  So now she has to be propped up under her flowers.  2 sections of rebar will be used to display her outside.

All that was left was dry-brushing some green on the stem and leaves, some yellow and brown on the skull, and some very light gray on the petals. 

She is 4 feet 4 inches tall.  Here is Emily holding the tape measure for sizing.  The whole thing took me 4 days from start to finish, which is pretty much a speed record for me to do a project that involves drying time.

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