Make sea­sonal jour­nals from flow­ers

Ex­plore your nat­u­ral sur­round­ings and record your thoughts, feel­ings and ob­ser­va­tions in a na­ture jour­nal. Col­lect flower and leaf spec­i­mens and place, trace or press them in­side.

NZ Gardener - 365 Days of Flowers - - Crafts & Gifts -

Whether it’s a sim­ple pressed flower jour­nal or more de­tailed ob­ser­va­tions or a day-by-day diary, keep­ing a na­ture jour­nal en­gages your senses, en­cour­ages in­quis­i­tive­ness, and al­lows you to re­ally see the wilder­ness that sur­rounds us. Sherlock Holmes in The Ad­ven­ture of the Blanched Sol­dier had it right: “I see no more than you, but I have trained my­self to no­tice what I see.”

Take a note­book and head out into the wilder­ness – be it the bush, the coun­try­side or your own back­yard. You’ll need a bag, bas­ket or other means to col­lect and trans­port your spec­i­mens. A bead or­gan­iser, with its sep­a­rate com­part­ments, works well as it keeps spec­i­mens from get­ting crushed. Larger con­tain­ers and bas­kets ac­com­mo­date larger spec­i­mens.

There are no set guide­lines to the process of mak­ing a jour­nal. You can trans­port your find­ings home and press them be­fore in­sert­ing them into your jour­nal (the best op­tion to avoid mois­ture wrin­kling the pages), or you can ad­here them to the page as you find them in the field (make sure flow­ers are dry when picked), then place the jour­nal un­der a heavy press (or bricks) when you re­turn home. Place pa­per or flat card­board over your spec­i­mens and be­tween pages be­fore press­ing.

MOUNT­ING SPEC­I­MENS

Your pressed spec­i­mens can be af­fixed to the pages of your na­ture jour­nal us­ing archival white-gummed tape or cleardry­ing glue. Use tweez­ers to pick up the spec­i­men, ap­ply a small dab of glue to the back of it with the end of a tooth­pick, then gently place the flower or leaf onto the page. Press with your fin­gers to en­sure it ad­heres prop­erly.

FRAMED BOTAN­I­CALS

These framed art­works are easy to cre­ate and make great gifts for the botan­i­cal lover. 1. Press flow­ers and leaves. You can use a flower press, though it’s just as ef­fec­tive to place your spec­i­mens in­side the pages of a book and place heavy ob­jects on top to weight it down. Se­lect the new­est and fresh­est flow­ers and leaves from your gar­den, and pick them on a dry day with­out any mois­ture on them. Press straight away, be­fore they be­gin to wilt. Dry sim­i­lar flow­ers or leaves to­gether so they dry at the same rate. 2. Place your spec­i­mens be­tween two pieces of pa­per (blot­ting pa­per is ideal) or flat, non-glossy card. Avoid pa­per tow­els, as many have tex­tures that may end up im­printed on petals. Write the name of the spec­i­men on the back of the pa­per and the date you started the dry­ing process. Write these de­tails in the top cor­ner so that if the pa­per sticks out of the book you are press­ing it in, you do not need to open the book to iden­tify the spec­i­men. Set heav­ier books or bricks, on top, and leave for four weeks. 3. Once pressed and dried, the spec­i­mens can be sand­wiched be­tween two pieces of glass and framed. 4. Po­si­tion your botan­i­cal art­work out of di­rect sun­light to avoid fading – or sim­ply make another if fading be­comes an is­sue.

DIY PA­PER LAN­TERN

To make: blow up a bal­loon and place it over a bowl, with the neck in­side the bowl. Cut pieces of tis­sue about 6 x 10cm in size. Us­ing PVA glue, ap­ply a sin­gle layer of tis­sue pa­per over the top of the bal­loon in a bowl shape, over­lap­ping the edges of each piece of tis­sue. Al­low to dry, then ap­ply dried, pressed flow­ers and leaves on top of the tis­sue. Ap­ply another layer of tis­sue and al­low to dry. Pop the bal­loon and re­move it. If you wish to hang your lan­tern, thread it with wire. Use an LED tealight can­dle for light rather than a flame.

FLOWER TOP­PERS

Top a gift-wrapped present with fresh or dried flow­ers for a touch of el­e­gance. For a sim­ple dis­play, tuck a sin­gle flower be­neath a string tie or bow. Or cre­ate a small posy with the flow­ers fac­ing up. Fas­ten stems with florist wire but leave the ends of the wire free. Po­si­tion the flow­ers over the knot or bow and wrap the wire un­der the bow. Use long-last­ing flow­ers, like lisianthus and sea holly.

MAKE MAKE YOUR YOUR OWN OWN

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