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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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