Last week I had a few spare hours and the perfect winter day to take a long walk. The sun warmed me, but the wind behaved like a naughty boy, throwing the tasseled ends of my scarf into my face, tangling strands of my hair around the frames of my sunglasses. No matter though, a sense of the glorious filled my spirit. God’s blue sky, the outdoors, paths to walk, a “pressing” mission to fulfill; even in the midst of January’s desolation I knew I would find something to put between the pages of my pressed flower books
I jumped a ditch of standing water, only to realize as I leapt over, the breadth was wider than my stride. My right foot mired in the muck, covering my favorite mesh slip-ons with mud. I shrugged away aggravation as the cold water squished into my sock with each step.
Slung on my shoulder lay an old crocheted bag for my finds. Inside I had added several plastic bags for items small enough to fall through the mesh. A pair of scissors, always a good idea in brambly woods, was another good addition.
A coppery notched leaf was the first good find.
Nearby I spotted a patch of wild onions. They gleamed bright green and lush against the backdrop of muted browns and beiges.
I picked out a few bits of sheet moss growing amid the grass.
Jackpot! Several fallen branches adorned with delicate green lichen lay in my path. Usually the lichen is impossible to remove without damaging the ruffles, but the recently melted snow kept the lichen moist enough to easily peel away from the bark. The gathering of these frilly, ribbon-like lichens filled me with immense satisfaction.
My walk led me back home where I picked a few pieces of ivy from the trunk of a tree. Winter painted the immature leaves bronze with chartreuse veining. I hope this gorgeous color combination holds true as the leaves dry in the book-press.
Laid out before me, the gleanings from the wintry forest and meadows filled me with pleasure. As always, I was surprised by how much I had in my bag. I realized I had gathered at least five pages of flower pressing material.
The winter has been a damp one. I made sure every piece of foliage was placed on the paper with plenty of space around it. When I finished arranging the pieces I covered the pressings with another piece of computer paper and placed all the layers between the pages of a large, heavy book.
Pressing Tip: Moss roots should be cut away before pressing. Separate each strand to press. Most thick mosses will not press well. Those with sprigs are the only type that will work.
Pressing Tip: When you press thin stems, such as onions or grass, always try to keep a natural curve along their length. There are not many straight lines in nature, curves and twists will add interest to your pressed flower compositions.