This is really my favorite time of year. Mid-September when the nights are so cold you need to keep the windows shut and toss another blanket on the bed but the days warm up in the sun back to tee-shirt weather. The skies are so blue and crisp with beautiful white clouds drifting in the sweet fall breeze. This is not indoor weather. (**okay, I’m finally getting around to publishing this almost a year later but it’s now just the BEGINNING of beautiful flower weather–what better time to get out there and preserve the early season beauty for the cold months that inevitably will come?! FYI the flowers are still in the cookbooks on my shelve that they were pressed in… apparently I’m saving them for some grand project at some unknown time, lol)
Taking four small children out into nature can be really fun but it can also be disastrous chaos. On this particular day I planned to go for a short walk on one of the town trails and then head to the library. I brought the stroller, Ergo, and Punkin’s scooter, planning on pushing the girls, carrying the baby and letting Punk scooter along. The path we chose was so wide and flat that the girls decided they wanted to run. Punkin was, as always, roaming off ahead of us. He found some “fire leaves” (his name for them) on the path and started a collection. Twinkle Toes began heading into the light brush to find some treasures too. I’m a go-with-the-flow kinda mom so if the kids want to collect leaves then let’s do it right! I happened to have some small diaper trash bags in my diaper bag that just happened to have handles–awesome! I gave one to each of the three big kids and got one for myself. An idea was blossoming in my mind. On past nature walks we’ve taken “notes” and collected artifacts which we stuck to the note pages. It wasn’t an ideal way to save our nature finds; leaves shrivel, flowers wilt and nothing seems to be worth saving by the next day.
So why not press the leaves and flowers?
Why on Earth didn’t I think of that before? With my new idea in mind I collected my own flowers and leaves alongside the kids.
Pressing Flowers and Leaves
Supplies–scrap paper/newspaper, big books, heavy objects (books), contact paper
1) Open one of the big books to almost the end and lay a scrap paper inside.
2) Arrange some flowers/leaves on the page.
3) Put another couple papers on top of the leaves/flowers.
4) Close the book (if you are doing more than one page of flowers flip a chunk of pages and repeat steps 1-3).
5) Place book under heavy objects (we use other books) for about a week **see below**
6) Open the books carefully and remove your pressed flowers/leaves. **When I opened our books up after a week they still felt cool which led me to believe they still had too much moisture in them. I added a sheet of newspaper–I should have used that in the first place instead of computer paper–and put them back in the books for another week! (or year, ha!)
7) Lay out your pressed flowers/plants on a paper. You can decorate the paper ahead of time or add words and information as you lay the plants down.
8) VERY CAREFULLY lay contact paper down over the page. The trick to this is to keep the contact paper folded onto itself as you lay it out. It has a lot of static electricity built up in it and can attract the items you have laid down on the page which can mess up your arrangement so work slowly and carefully.
9) If you want you can arrange your pages into a book by cutting out cardboard or cardstock for the front and back covers, punch at least four holes in the covers and pages and then thread ribbon or yarn through the holes to keep the book together. You can cover the covers with colored contact paper or fabric if you want to get fancy!