I discovered my grandmothers leaf press when I was somewhere around the age of ten. My “Pa” made it according to my “Ma’s” specifications. Simple in its design, just two pieces of plywood connected by four screws that tighten sheets of cardboard to preserve even the most delicate leaves and flowers. In true crafty fashion Ma added a peaceful scenic picture to the top, sealing it with shellac, keeping it looking new forever.
When I first saw my Ma using this contraption, it was being “pressed” into service preserving ginkgo leaves and fragile queens Anne lace. I was invited to choose some leaves from her expansive garden and give it a try. In my naïveté I choose oak leaves. Little did I know that they would just be brown and crackly, not holding any of their lovely-on the tree color, when they came out of the press weeks or months later. I was thrilled just the same though. It wasn’t about the leaves or even the press, but more about entering a little piece of my Ma’s world. Learning the plant names and maybe hearing the history of where she found certain plants, how to best tend roses or perhaps how to deter the many deer that eagerly gobbled up many of her fruits and vegetables. Ma isn’t around anymore, but her impromptu lessons sure are, alive in my head.
For this project I will be using bits of nature that my daughter, Sarah, and I pressed back in October. Simple supplies…Notecards, maple leaves, tiny flowers, modge podge and perhaps a bit of fancy ribbon to tie them up into gifts. But no oak leaves! 😉