One fun way to preserve the colours of summer (or in today's case winter pansies!) is by pressing flowers and leaves to be used on cards, bookmarks, or sealed onto just about anything with a bit of Modge Podge.
I have made presses in the past, they are super easy to make and there are scads of tutorials all over the web. You just need some thin plywood, a drill, 4 carriage bolts and wing nuts, scraps of cardboard and blotting paper (I use thick watercolour paper).
The little press in the photos I picked up at the Thrift Store for next to nothing but it's great for small projects. When we have a larger flower garden I will make a larger one.
Layer the flowers between two layers of blotting paper separated by a layer of cardboard. The paper absorbs any moisture from the flowers as they dry.
You can stack as many layers as you can fit on the length of the carriage bolt. This press has fairly short 'wooden tighteners' so I can only press 3 layers at a time.
Add the top piece of wood and tighten it up! Flowers and leaves dry at different rates so I usually take a peak in about 2 weeks....
...unless I forget that I've put in some flowers and then, like today, I'm surprised with some ready to use!
Here are a few links to some really inspiring natural cards made with pressed materials...
~ joey ~