The days in my neck of the woods have been pretty gray lately. My usual coping mechanisms are tea, candles, and crafts, but sometimes the constant overcast weather just gets to me... like, ALL day EVERY day? Come on, New York... you're not selling yourself very well to this new comer. I find flowers are a great way to combat the waning daylight hours, but their brief lifespan means their contribution is equally short lived. I recently had a bouquet of rich fall colors with which I wasn't quite willing to part. Thanks to a suggestion from one of my long lost Philly friends I looked into preserving them. My first attempt was the old school book pressing method, but unfortunately it yielded mixed results. After a quick google, I came across Microfleur. With Microfleur you can dry and press flowers and leaves in minutes rather than weeks and it boasts superior color preservation to traditional methods. You can decide for yourself from the photos below...
I think it's pretty clear that I would recommend the Microfleur over traditional methods of flower pressing. With it I was able to press, arrange, and hang my flowers all in one day. Being an impatient person, this was ideal for me. Here's how I did it:
The Microfleur comes with two plastic plates, fiber mats, linen fabric, and plastic clips. To use it is pretty straightforward. You simply place the flower you want to press in the center with fabric, mat, and plate on either side, clip it shut, and microwave it for the specified time. I do, however, have a few caveats for you. Well... one really... try not to set the thing on fire... the reviews did warn me of this and I did really well avoiding it until I got too cocky and the very last flower went up in flames... I have some theories as to why this happened. I microwaved each flower several times in very short bursts based on my microwave wattage like the instructions indicated, however moisture levels vary from flower to flower, different moisture amounts are removed with each burst, and different parts of the flower retain different levels of moisture so it is difficult to pin point when exactly you've gone far enough. A pretty good sign you've gone too far is when a literal fire has started. So, you know... be careful. Microwave in 10-15 second bursts and allow to cool completely between bursts and you'll be fine! Maybe keep a fire extinguisher on hand just to be safe...
Also thanks to my dear friend, I found these vintage looking specimen frames at World Market. I thought tension would be enough to hold the flowers in place, but I was very wrong so I broke out my trusty E6000. Once I arranged the flowers in a composition with which I was happy, I used a dab of E6000 to secure them in place. I allowed them to dry before closing up the frames and then hung them on the wall. The space above my TV was the only viable wall space remaining in the apartment and luckily it doesn't receive any direct sunlight throughout the day so hopefully these flowers last long enough to help fight my S.A.D. symptoms until spring. They bring a nice pop of color to the largely empty wall and because I watch more TV than I should, I get to look at them all day!