Flower Power–or How To Preserve The Colors of Summer
This post has absolutely Nothing Whatsoever to do with camping or traveling around Montana. That is because winter arrived here last night. And tonight the forecast is for a low of 21. I was walking around our local park ruminating on the fact that BAM summer is over. 78 degrees yesterday, tonight 21.
I started feeling sorry for all the lovely flowers that were still in their heyday sitting fat, dumb, and happy on their chlorophyll filled stems of green. By tomorrow morning they will all be frozen pops of curdled colors. So I did what any self-respecting middle-aged woman would do. I copped a few into a bag. What I mean is I snipped some posies with an idea to capture their colors for the future.
About 15 years ago my crafty mother told me about something called “flower pounding” where you take flower petals, flatten them into a design on some wax paper, cover the design with canvas or muslin, and then beat the living daylights out of them with a hammer. Surprisingly enough, this works like a charm and you end up with some very lovely watercolor looking floral designs.
So since the freezing temperatures will keep me out of the Burro for a while I thought I’d do a little step-by-step post on this floral preservation technique.
First, assemble the following items:
Hard surface (wood or concrete) to hammer onto (not your mother’s antique oak table)
Fabric (whatever 100% cotton fabric you want the design to be on. Canvas or muslin works well.)
Colorful flowers and green leaves
Cut wax paper to a size large enough for your design. I used 8” 100% cotton muslin since I intend on using these in a quilted wall hanging. Tape it down to your hard surface.
Place your flower petals and green leaves in a design you like.
Carefully and gently lay the fabric over top of your flower petals, taking care not to move the petals accidentally. Tape the fabric down to the board also.
Holding part of the fabric with one hand to keep the petals from shifting and start hammering with the other. Try to hammer as flat as possible if you want your flowers to look full. Hammer more on the edge of the hammer to make a more artistic impression. Practice and play with your techniques to see what you like. Count on your first few tries to just be a trial and not perfect or a master piece.
Once the floral prints have dried, iron on cotton setting on each side of the cotton for 2 to 5 minutes to help set the color. I also then rinse the prints in cold water with vinegar to help set the color.
There you have it. A way to preserve the Montana summers—even when it’s 21 degrees outside. Run, don’t walk, to your local park (or your backyard if you are a gardener) and pick flowers before Old Man Winter gets them first!