Thursday, July 29, 2010

Visiting Washington

Hi guys! Guess what, I'm on vacation up in beautiful Washington!
I love coming up to visit my grandparents, who live right next to a little lake, called Phantom Lake. I love the way it smells up here, and listening to the geese honk at nights. Once I saw a sea otter in the lake while I was out canoeing! Sea otters are one of my favorite types of animals. I kept an eye out, but didn't see any this year.

It's not as hot here as it is back home in Utah! And everything is so green because they get so much rain. My grandpa loves to garden, and there are so many fun places to explore in their yard. There is a little pond there too, with frogs in it!

I love going down to the dock to look out over the lake. In the afternoons it's warmer and we can go swimming, but the mornings are a little chilly!

Guess what I see?

A whole bunch of beautiful water lilies!

I'm having such a wonderful time! We're planning a hiking trip soon, I can't wait to show you pictures!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pressing Flowers

Back in January, my good friends in Colorado gave me a beautiful flower press. Have you ever pressed flowers? Before people had cameras, they would press flowers from special occasions to help preserve their memories.

This evening I went to a nearby field to see what I could find. If you're going to press flowers, you shouldn't pick them from a neighbor's house or anything. People might be very angry at you, because they work hard to grow their gardens! If there is a specific bloom you want, you should always ask for permission first.

It is so beautiful here in Utah during the summer. Look at the pretty mountains behind me! We were up pretty high in the foothills, so I could look out over the valley.

And look at these beautiful flowers I found!

I gathered up a big armful and we headed back home.

With my flower press came this wonderful book, all about how to press flowers correctly. It even gives information on what different flowers mean.

In her book, Caroline Tiger says that it's important to press the flowers as soon as possible after picking them. This helps them to keep their color and shape better. She also says you might want to avoid picking flowers after it has rained. If the flower is wet, it will take a lot longer to dry in the press. Lucky for me, it has been hot! hot! hot! here, so I didn't have to worry about that.

First I laid a piece of cardboard inside my press, and a piece of blotting paper. The blotting paper helps to absorb the moisture in the flower and dry it out. I arranged my flowers carefully, it's important to help them lay as flat as possible.

I put another piece of blotting paper on top, and did another layer of flowers.

Then one more piece of blotting paper, another piece of cardboard, and it was time to close the press up! My dad helped me screw on the wing nuts really tight.

The flowers will probably take over a week to dry completely. Every day I have to tighten up the wing nuts even more. Tightening them will help to keep my flowers from wrinkling up as they start to lose their moisture.

I put them in a dry place that didn't get sunlight - our closet!

Did you know that you don't need a special press like mine to press flowers? You can use a big book instead - like a phone book! Make sure to get permission from your parents, because thicker flowers can ruin the binding of a book. Put paper towels around your flowers just like I did with the blotting paper, and spread them throughout the book. You can stack more books on top of your phone book to add more weight and help really flatten the flowers out. Caroline Tiger says it's okay to check the flowers to see if they are done, but be careful because they can rip really easily. She says they are ready to be removed when they are stiff and don't wilt when lifted up.

I can't wait for my flowers to be done! I'll let you know when they are, and show you how to mount them in a display book called a herbarium.