The gardens here have numerous, interesting specimen trees, such as unusual Japanese Maples. It does not seem right to not share the beauty, whether unusual or simply the beautiful, typical, gorgeous leaves that we find in any locale. Although note cards may be time consuming and passé as a means of communication, they are invaluable as means of letting others know you care for them personally, tangibly, timelessly.
First, collect the leaves when they are in most beauteous color and some life remaining. To press them, I put leaves in between the pages of books, stacking even more books on top to add pressure, and letting them remain between the pages for a few days.
Then I remove all the leaves and place them on wax paper in the bottom of a shallow box. Carefully spray with polyurethene. I mention carefully, for if you hold the spray nozzle down full force, the spray will toss the leaves about in the box. Just do it very gently, with light pressure. Turn the leaves over after they have dried on one side, and spray the other side…gently, gently. (I did this in ventilated garage.) As the reverse sides are drying, you may assemble note cards and ready the glue.
At times I use card stock remaining from other projects and spare envelopes. Other times I use fine stationery purchased on clearance at such stores as TJMaxx or Tuesday Morning. Sometimes it is envelopes only or cards only; then make do with whichever is missing, as the partial boxes are “dirt cheap.” I make my own envelopes by using a ready-made as a pattern. It takes time, but time is a holy gift often squandered in worse ways.
I make these note cards over time, in fact. Since I do not watch TV or play tech games, it is amazing how bits of time show up here and there. Just keep the leaves in a container and mix the glue with water and keep covered in a bowl, always on the ready. I used a small brush with some note cards; but next time I’ll use an even smaller one or a Q-tip, or put thined glue back in a bottle.
Brush, dab, or squeeze out just enough glue to cover the leaf. Then place the leaf on a piece of card stock and cover with wax paper enough so that the glue will not seep out. Yes, each leaf-card will be placed between books or in pages with more weight placed atop while they dry. Let them dry for a few days. See what happens when they are not given sufficient time to dry? Fortunately, these lovely Crane brand note cards only cost me 99-cents; but sadly they are all bubbly because I took them out from under the piles of books too soon, on a sunny day. They finished their drying without necessary pressure. I tried re-pressing to no avail.
However, I have a good supply of note cards that did turn out well, and I have yet a pile of dried, polyurethened leaves with which to attempt many more natural note cards. Already some of these good ones have been sent with messages of loving well-wishes, sharing the gardens and God’s glory in beautiful, tiny leaves. Yes, writing a note and mailing it takes time, but those who receive such timely missives have time to see, touch, and appreciate the unique nature card, time and time again.
Note: If you do not have time to make Nature Notes, you may purchase from Joyful Hermit by emailing request: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consider donating a minimum of $1.00 per card which covers the materials used. Thank you.