12.27.2016

Pressed Botanicals

There is a story behind this:
My friend KC gave me this most beautiful gift for Christmas.  A lovely framed pressed fern she made herself.


This means alot to me and I'll explain why.

My friend KC's daughter just moved into her new home.  KC , being the creative artist that she is, created these beautiful pressed botanicals on these lovely frames her daughter had gotten on line.  She sent me a photo one night of one of them and I was in awe.  It looked like the pressed botanicals that go for hundreds of dollars in all the major stores and websites.  When I called her to compliment her, she told me the fern had come from her own pressed flowers and leaves.  I began to tell her about my mom and how she was always pressing flowers and leaves.  When I was a child my mom had a book that was filled with photos of various trees and flowers and their names were below in Latin and in English.  Anytime we would go on an outing we'd take the book and we'd search for different and peculiar kinds of flowers and trees and then we would take a sample, sit somewhere, find it in the book and she would immediately press it inside.  This happened for years until I became a bratty teenager and no longer wanted to go around and be a botanist nerd with her.  (sigh)
The book became fatter and harder to close and the spine broke in a few places.  But she remedied that with a really large rubberband.
It was something that looked like it was right out of Indiana Jones.
She would scribble on it, add photographs we might have taken on one of our trips and always samples of the varieties she would find.
My mother never went to college or high school.  She graduated from 8th grade and went straight to help her mother.  But her mother and my great grandfather would give my mother books to read about everything and anything.  I always said my mom new so much for someone who never finished school.
Anyway. . . back to my point.
That night after I ended my converstation with KC about how it used to make me angry that my mother was spoiling all my good cookbooks by putting leaves and weeds in them, I began to cry over my cookie dough and cookie filled counter.  I remember speaking to my mother in the quiet kitchen at night telling her what I would give to have one of her pressed flowers or leaves to create something beautiful like KC had made for her daughter.
I felt ashamed of complaining about my moms obsession with pressing and realized how artistic she was and creative and how lucky I was to have a mother who had such a broad sense of knowledge and love for poetry, art, and always was looking for a project to invest in.
I remembered my mom taking the tiny little flowers off of my hydrangeas and pressing them and thought how pretty they would look if I had them.
It wasn't even two minutes after I finished speaking out loud in my silent kitchen when I felt a need to look through this one cookbook that I had.  I remember distinctly years ago making my mom take out all the leaves because they were leaving moist rings around my pages.  I remember making sure they were all gone.  They had been taken out long before my mother became ill.

I bent down and pulled the fattest book out.  I placed it on my counter and could feel my heart racing.
It was as if my mom was right there smiling at me in the flower petals and ferns and leaves.  Page after page they fell unto my countertop.  The white quartz showcasing each color that had been carefully preserved by the pages in my book.  I had red, yellow, green, blue.  My tears fell down my face as I counted, maybe 13 to 15 different ones all on my counter.  I immediately took photos with my iphone and text them to KC.  (Unfortunately those first photos were not saved because the iphone 6S doesn't let you save them if you send them through the text camera.  It makes no sense to me and I didn't know that.  If I had just clicked on the camera icon and taken the photos and then text from my library I would still have them.

Well below are photos that I took of the ones I made with all my mom's pressed flowers.  The first one did not come out like I had wished.  I should have used a lighter background paper.  But I don't want to try to fix it because the hydrangea leaves are too fragile to pull out and re do.
 Do you see the difference with the one below that has the lighter paper?  So much better.

 Below is what remains.  I need to get a few more frames.  You can buy the frames here: https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/hinged-hanging-picture-frame2?category=SEARCHRESULTS&color=028
Even now as I was writing this post I was looking through a little book my mom put photos in of my sons.  I found this in the last page.  She glued these in.
My friend KC text me a little while to tell me that she still had the original photos I sent her via text.
Here they are.  Thank you KC.
These were taken moments after I found them.





3 comments :

Kathleen George said...

A beautiful and heartfelt story about your mom. There was a time when pressing flowers and leaves was a skill for young ladies. I know what you mean about being a bratty teen too. I'm happy that you are hanging your moms fragile treasures in beautiful frames.
Kathleen in Az

Marilyn said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. Our priorities change over time and experience. Your cookbook has been elevated to so much more. It's now the place holder of a special moment in your life. What a wonderful surprise to find these precious fragments and now to honor them in a frame.

They are truly special treasures!

Marilyn (in Dallas)

Julie said...

Just another way we're alike: I press flowers and make notecards.

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