Maple Wings From My Tree

Maple Wings, Pressed Plant Material From the Acer Family

Colorful Wings From A Maple Tree

Early each spring, my Maple trees wake up from their winter hibernation. As the leaves burst forth from the branches, these wings come in with them only to fall off and die a few days later.

I love these naturally bold, vibrant colors, and shape. This could easily turn into a dragon-fly, fairy, or fantasy flower… I know what I’m doing with my grand-daughter Rosie the next time she spends the weekend with us  <smile>

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Pressed Pink Rice Flowers

Pressed Pink Rice Flower

Pink Rice Flowers, in the Pimelea Family

 

Fresh from the press this week we have pink Rice Flowers. These are easy to press and turned out great. They came out of the press just like the color of the fresh Rice Flowers.

I’m looking forward to getting some fresh white Rice Flowers. I think they’ll keep their nice white color very well.

I really like these.

Pressed Mimosa Flowers

Pressed Flowers - Pressed Dried Mimosa Flower, Also Known as Wattle or Acacia

Pressed Mimosa Flowers, Also Known as Wattle or Acacia

As far as pressed flowers go, I’d have to say that Mimosa is one of my favorite yellow flowers to press. Mimosa, with its beautifully rich golden-yellow color, still looks as fresh as the day it came out of the press decades later. Besides “Mimosa” this is commonly called, Thorn-tree, Whistling Thorn, or Wattle. This is a shrub in the Mimosa family and has a very nice fern-like foliage, as seen in the picture below, so press the entire plant!

Pressed Acacia Foliage

Mimosa Foliage

Pressed Acadia Foliage also known as Mimosa

Acacia has a beautifully fern-like foliage and is also commonly called, thorntree, whistling thorn, or wattle. This is a shrub in the Mimosa family and is very nice to press. This natural green color does not fade; I have some that are over 20 years old and still look as fresh as the day they came from the press.

Pressed Pink Boronia

Pressed Boronia Flowers

Boronia is a larger flower in the Heather Family and Presses Nicely

Pink Boronia is an easy flower to press and has good color retention, keeping its naturally vibrant pink color for many years. Boronia is a member of the Heather family. The blossoms are about a quarter-inch, and when taken separately they remind me of tiny little rosebuds. I think this would be a nice choice for making pressed flower jewelry. I have some Boronia that I pressed about 12 years ago that still look as good as the day they came out of the press!

Pressed Oncidium Orchid

Pressed Oncidium Orchid

Pressed Oncidium Orchid

Fresh from the press, Oncidium Orchids

Orchids can be tricky to press but it can be done with a little practice and a fair amount of patience. Click the picture to be taken to a tutorial about how to press an orchid.

Heirloom Flower Press

Oak heirloom flower press made from salvaged Oak wood that was reclaimed from the bottom of a bog. The wood is estimated to be at least 800 years old, possibly older.

BOG OAK FLOWER PRESS – Limited edition heirloom flower press created from salvaged Oak that was reclaimed from the bottom of a bog in New England. The wood is estimated to be at least 800 years old, possibly older; centuries before settlers came to America. Click on the photo to see this press and the history it holds.
Image used with permission. © 2013 Lynette Breton and Patty Olds of Holding Patterns

Today I stumbled upon the website of a woodworker (I’d really call her presses art) who makes the most enchantingly beautiful flower presses I’ve ever seen. This artist creates limited edition heirloom flower presses using historical, reclaimed, and salvaged hardwoods and even gives an interesting and well written history of the wood used for each press and where the wood came from. I spent too much time on her website reading, re-reading and studying the photos… I had other things I should have done, but I just couldn’t tear myself away.

We all have presses that we use and have to put away when visitors come because they are just not pretty. However this press is such a work of art in itself that I’d be proud to display it where all can see, even if I’m not pressing anything in it at the moment. Knowing the full history, I imagine this beautiful flower press would be a great conversation starter. Using this press, you would be using art to create art and what could be better! I encourage you to take a look.

Pressing Palm Areca

I really like this palm, but unfortunately it’s too big for my 18×24 botanical press. These palms can measure up to 22×30. Time to improvise…

Palm Areca Fresh From the Wholesale Florist

Palm Areca Fresh From the Florist

Pressing Palm Areca

How I Pressed My Palm Fronds

My husband cut two pieces of plywood sized 28×36. I had a couple of old thick wool blankets from my grandpa that he got during WWII which I cut to size to use in my new press. Time to start pressing…

From experience with this particular foliage, I know that just putting it in the press doesn’t work… as the fronds dry they fold up in the middle and there’s no stopping it no matter how much pressure you use.

So I made a “bootie” for my iron with heavy cotton fabric cut to fit with elastic for easy removal and reuse. I then individually ironed each frond open (wool setting, no steam) and they ended up looking good and open with no damage at all from the heat; they were then nice and flat, so into the press. Working in layers, I placed a piece of wool over the wood, then wool, then palm, then wool, then palm and so on till they were all nicely in the press. Then the top board went on weighted with a cement block.

Freshly Pressed Palm Areca

Freshly Pressed Palm Areca

One week later, the palm is flat and dry; ready to mount in a frame as a pressed botanical specimen or as a background for an exotic pressed flower art piece. This is what the palm looked like fresh out of the press. A nice vibrant green… this has not been color enhanced.

Experimenting With Color Retention in Pressed Flowers

Working on Poor Color Retention

Using Bad Flowers to Improve Processes

Having a bit of mad-scientist in me I am working with an expert in the floral field to improve color retention in pressed flowers using techniques that are formulated for both pretreatment color retention and post treatment color enhancing.

Pressed Flowers

Flowers That Are Well Pressed With Good Color to be Used for Experimemtation

Today I spent most of the day going through my pressed flowers looking for bad specimens to send off to the lab for testing. This is exciting for me and my friend in the dried flower industry. I’m happy to be involved in this research and will give periodic reports.

These flowers are good, but they all hold their secrets. Let’s see how it goes.

Pressed Pink Heather

Pressed Pink Heather Flowers

Pressed Deep Pink Heather Fresh From the Press


Fresh from the press, I have a lovely deep pink Heather. Color retention in Heather is excellent, and even the foliage keeps its color, I love it. Heather is one of my staples. It should be yours too!

Heather from the florist also comes in white, and also with great color retention. I’ve had some for years that are still as white as the day they came out of the press.

Pressed Solidago Dyed Red

Pressed Solidago Dyed Red

Pressed Solidago Dyed Red Using Floral Absorption Dye

Solidago, commonly called goldenrod, is in the aster family, Asteraceae.They are herbaceous perennials found growing wild in fields, meadows, pastures. I picked these myself from a nearby field and brought them home to press. This is an easy plant to press.

The Solidago flower is naturally yellow but this has been dyed using a red floral absorption dye.

Pressed Gerbera Daisy

Gerbera's From the Florist

Pressed Gerberas – This is a Florist Flower

Fresh from the press today, I have these vibrant orange
Gerberas. Gerbera is also commonly known as African Daisy and is a member of the sunflower family, Asteraceae. They are about 4″ across and really add focus.

Blue Spring Crocus

Blue Crocus From My Garden - Pressed Spring 2002

Blue Crocus From My Garden – Pressed Spring 2002

To start out, I thought I’d share a blue crocus that I  pressed in early spring of 2002, and to my surprise, it still looks pretty good! This crocus Is safely mounted in one of my journals of pressed flowers, where I keep a collection of one specimen of pressed flowers, herbs, foliage, mosses, lichens, and some pretty unusual botanicals.

My journals are made of high quality water-color paper and come spiral bound from the art store. I then decorate the fronts of the journals and cover with a few coats of decoupage. The results? Great!

This spring when the crocus comes up, I promise to write up a tutorial with step-by-step instructions and photos for pressing crocus flowers and foliage.

I decided to share this pressed flower first because people clearly like it… of all my images and writings, this picture is the one most often stolen and reprinted, violating my copyright; this is not nice. If you see this image somewhere else, please let me know.