It has been more than a year, but I've finally finished and delivered the Pay It Forward gifts! If you don't remember this little game I played with some friends, then check out the Pay It Forward post I did back in February 2009.
It wasn't difficult for me to decide what I wanted to make. I have an awesome botanical field press that I got for Christmas many years ago. Remember that store The Nature Company? Why I didn't choose a natural science career instead of a computer science career is beyond me. I would spend hours in that store reading about fossils and playing with the telescopes and studying the maps... oh, the maps. I am still a map junkie. But I digress... I remember picking out that botanical press at The Nature Company and thinking it was sooo cool.
Over the years I've pressed flowers, leaves , herbs, and ferns using that kit. Also, I've always wanted to try my hand at making decorative paper. So, I combined the pressed flower idea with the paper idea and handmade some pretty blank cards. I purchased plain, blank notecards made from 100% recycled paper from Greenfield Paper Company. Then, I jazzed them up with my own creations.
All of the pressed plants on my cards were grown in my garden. I pressed pansies, ferns, lavender, and daisies.
I didn't have a kit to make the paper, so I made my own deckle using an old wood photo frame, window screen, and a staple gun. By adding dried cilantro and dried onion skins to the paper pulp, I gave the paper some natural color. After the paper was dry, I ironed it flat and cut it to size. On some of the cards, I burned the edges for a natural look. On others, I used decorative scissors.
Pasting the flowers to the paper was the hardest part. It involved special glue, a paint brush, tweezers, and a very steady hand. Given that I grew and pressed all of the flowers and made the paper in the summer of 2009, you can imagine how time consuming it was to arrange the pressed plants perfectly on each card then glue them down just so.
In the end, I had ten cards, just enough for three cards for each of my three Pay It Forward friends.
I made a great new friend by playing this game. Fellow Mississippian and gardener Ginger signed up on my post, and I am so glad she did. She made me a super-cool birdhouse as her Pay It Forward gift to me. I love the birdhouse and even had a bird in it this spring! I hope that my homemade cards live up to that high standard!
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