It's a funny old time of the year to think about pressing flowers ... . I'll grant you that.
The thing is I've been very efficiently killing my lovely poinsettias all over the holidays. They've been left at home, all alone, and the deficit of love, care and affection has taken its toll ... .
Or, to put it another way: if that sad little poinsettia had any civil rights I'd have Social Services all over me like a bad rash.
The truth is that, even if I had been at home, actively taking care of it, it would have still ended up looking more or less the same. When it comes to pot plants indoors I'm a bit of a homicidal klutz.
But, out of all this Christmas carnage a few bright rays of positivity shine through the cracks of disaster. You see I was able to salvage some rather lovely red petals - or, are they really leaves? I never know with poinsettias.
So what? Big deal! I hear you saying to your computer screen.
Well, fair enough. Green-fingered maven I am not, but I do have a cunning plan, a very cunning plan indeed... .
Let me introduce my super-duper, home-made flower press:
Can you believe I made it myself? (!!!)
I know it's all a bit Heath Robinson. I'm a regular wizard with one of those jigsaw thingimigs.
OK, so I may not be about to knock Thomas Chippendale off his perch as the making-things-out-of-bits-of-wood supremo, but believe me this baby works. It presses flowers with the best of them. Just look at my lovely flower girl in the opening photo of this post to see what I'm on about.
You could go down to the shops and buy one for yourself, but there's no fun in that when you could spend a death-defying afternoon playing with a jigsaw thingimijig, and then have full boasting rights about how you not only survived the experience, but also made a super-duper home-made flower press.
Assuming that I've persuaded you to take up wood-work all you need to make the press are a couple of squares of strong marine plywood, drilled in each of their four corners to take long bolts. Just to give you an idea of dimensions, my plywood squares are 9"/ 23 cm each side and my bolts are 1/4"/ 1/2cm diameter and 5 1/2"/ 14 cm long.
When you've got all your bits made and drilled you simply put square A on top of square B, insert your bolts and screw them down, one on the other, to exert a wonderfully even pressure on all the lovely flowers you're going to press between the two. It's a good idea to splash out on a few large washers so that your bolts on the top won't cut into and contort the wood that they close directly down on (have a look at the photo of my press above to have a decko at my washers - ow my golly gosh that sounds pervy!).
Then you just sandwich your flowers - and/or leaves - between sheets of old newspaper, which in turn you sandwich between squares of cardboard to keep the whole thing stable and tidy. It's so easy.
And here I am laying my lovely poinsettia remains out to be pressed. I find that the dark coloured flowers press best. Whites, delicate pinks and yellows all tend to emerge a few months later in various shades of brown and drab. Bleuch!
Anyway, once you've got them all nice and flat and dried - about a couple of months after you've put them into the press - you can start to have fun.
Have a look at some more of my lovely flower girls:
Aren't they a bunch of sweeties?
I was short of a few thank you cards so I made some up. All you need to make your own are a few blank cards, your pressed flowers, some paper glue that dries clear, a fine-line pen and some colouring pencils.
I've got a many thanks stamp that I used to write many thanks on the front. Then I had a go at figuring out how my lovely ladies would look. Petals to drapery is such an easy, fun thing to visualise in your head.
Here's a work in progress that's been stamped many thanks and has all the lady's bits drawn in minus her pink cheeks, which I'd forgotten about at that stage. Note to self: flower girls need pink cheeks.
All I had to do after that was give her a hat and a nice twirly skirt. Here she is fully dressed, and wearing some pink cheeks.
Here's her friend as a work-in-progress:
And here she is after she's got dressed:
Would you like to see my line-up? Well, ok, here they are:
So now you know my cunning plan and how I'm plotting to snatch a small victory from the jaws of defeat that are my poinsettias!
All the best for now,
As shared on Friday Finds