A personalised handmade card is something to treasure and pressed and dried flowers and herbs are perfect for decorating them

If you want the cards to last a long time, use acid-free paper, cardboard and cardstock. There is a vast range of beautiful papers and cardstocks available, and many of them are handmade. For example, unryushi paper, handmade in Thailand, is semi-transparent and contains short and long fibers. Mulberry paper comes in a range of textures and thicknesses. It is meant to be torn, not cut, producing a pretty frayed edge. We have given finished measurements but you can adapt them to any size you wish.

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The traditional method of pressing flowers is to place them between layers of absorbent materials in a book or flower press. While this is an enjoyable way to go about things, it is quite time-consuming. You can now buy flower presses that enable you to press and dry flowers in the microwave in a process that takes only a few minutes or less. Presses are available from craft shops and via the Internet.

For best results, pick flowers and leaves in the morning when they are fresh but free of moisture. Give some thought to how they'll look once they are flattened: heartsease will flatten much better than a rose, for instance.

Lavender card

l/Jhat i^ouy need

□ 4 x 5'/i in. (9.5 x 13.5 cm) purple spot scrapbook paper

□ 3 x 47, in. (8x12 cm) textured mauve decorative paper

D purple sewing thread

D sewing machine

□ dried lavender sprigs and leaves

C tacky craft glue

Pressed flower wreath card lAJkat yew need

This card measures 5 in. (12 cm) square.

□ 5 x 10 in. (12 x 24 cm) pale green cardstock

□ 5 in. (12 cm) square pale green unryushi or mulberry paper

□ spray adhesive

C: deckle-edge scissors

□ dried herbs and flowers (we used chervil, heartsease and chamomile)

I Score the pale green cardstock in half crosswise and fold it in half to make a single-fold card.

1 Score the purple cardstock in half crosswise, then fold it in half to form a single-fold card.

2 Secure the mauve decorative paper to the center of the scrapbook paper with just a dab of glue.

3 Using purple machine thread, work a line of zigzag around the edges of the decorative paper to hold it in place. (It's a good idea to lest your stitch width and tension on scraps of paper before you start.)

4 Glue the stitched unit lo the center of the cardstock card.

T) Carefully glue lavender sprigs and leaves in place on the front.

2 Using deckle-edge scissors, trim the square of unryushi paper to 4'A in.

;t Use spray adhesive to glue the unryushi square to the center of the card.

1 Arrange dried herbs and flowers into a wreath shape and carefully glue each piece in place.

Orange blossom wedding card, Scented Valentine card in front (instructions overleaf), Lavender card and Pressed flower wreath card.

Dried Flower Card Designs For Valentine

scented Valentine card iAJkat t^cou need

purchased trifold card with heart

1 Cut a rectangle of scrapbook paper X in. (5 mm) smaller all round than the size of the card front.

2 Using the card as a template, trace the heart outline onto the wrong side of the paper rectangle. Now add 3 to 5 mm all round the traced outline and cut out carefully with a craft knife.

3 Using spray adhesive, glue the paper rectangle to the front of the card, taking care to position it accurately.

-I Glue a small piece of organza behind the heart-shaped opening by running a thin line of glue around the edge of the heart. Don't stretch the fabric too

lightly across the opening - it needs some give to contain the herbs.

~> I'lace a small amount of dried lavender and rose petals on the organza, and use tacky craft glue to secure the card flap, enclosing the herbs.

Orange blossom wedding card lAJk&t you/ need

This card measures 57; in. (13.5 cm) square.

3'A in. (9 cm) square firm cardboard

47) in. (11 cm) square pale green silk dupion

C spray adhesive

C tacky craft glue

4 in. (10 cm) square olive green cardstock

C small amount white cardstock

□ daisy punch (from craft and scrapbooking stores)

yellow stranded embroidery cotton

C large embroidery needle

C small pressed leaf sprays (we used new shoots from murraya)

C craft glue

C orange essential oil (optional) C cotton bud (optional)

1 Score the cream cardstock in half crosswise and fold in half to make a single-fold card.

2 Lightly spray the front of the 3^-in. (9-cm) cardboard square with spray adhesive and place it facedown in the center of the wrong side of the silk dupion square. Fold the edges of silk to the back, folding the corners neatly, and secure in place with tacky craft glue.

3 Glue the silk-covered square to the center of the olive green cardstock square. Glue this unit to the front or the cream card.

I To make the orange blossoms, punch as many as you desire from white cardstock with a small daisy punch. Lightly score each petal from the edge of the center to the lip. (This will make the petals curve slightly, giving them a three-dimensional appearance.)

."> Using alt six strands of yellow embroidery thread in a large needle, push the needle through the center of a daisy from ihe front. Bring ihe needle back to the front, close lo ihe original entry poini (as though you were sewing on a button), leaving a tail of thread on the from (above). Insert it again into the first hole, then back to the front again. Unthread the needle and trim the loops and ends of thread lo about !< in. (I cm) long, creating a set of stamens. (They will be held in place when you glue ihe blossom to the background.)

<i fold up ihe edges of the petals around the center and along the score lines.

7 Arrange and glue the dried leaf sprays on ihe silk background in the desired pattern. (This can be quite fiddly — you might find it easier to use spray adhesive.) Add ihe orange blossoms and glue in place with craft glue to hold ihem securely.

it If you wish to add fragrance, dab the center and stamens of each blossom with a cotton ball dipped in orange essential oil or one of your choice.

cutout (or make your own)

gingham-patterned scrapbook paper fine craft knife and cutting mat spray adhesive small amount organza or other sheer fabric tacky craft glue dried rose petals and lavender

Herb tags lAJhaf you, ne&ct

This card measures 3'A in. (9 cm) square.

□ 2 x 27. in. (5.5 x 7 cm) fine corrugated board

37i in. (9 cm) square cardstock

O tacky craft glue

□ herb sprigs (we used chervil, rosemary, parsley and sage)

□ natural string

1 Glue the corrugated board to the cardboard square on an angle.

- Fray the edges of the calico a little, ihen glue it to the center of the corrugated board, off-setting it again.

!i Glue a sprig of dried herb to the calico background.

-1 Punch a hole in one corner and add a string lie.

Bay Ln> nuytfi

In Greek mythology, the bay tree was considered sacred to Apollo, the sun god, and later to his son Aesculapius, the god of medicine'. Apollo became infatuated with a lovely nymph called Daphne. She spurned him and begged the gods to rescue her. Their solution was to turn her into a bay tree.

While victors at the first Olympic games were crowned with olive leaves, later they were replaced with bay and dedicated to Apollo. The tradition is still retained in terms such as "poet laureate" and the important French secondary school examination, the "baccalaureate." .

Herb pot window box

Create a garden on your windowsill, outdoors or in. and enjoy the fragrance, taste and color of herbs through the seasons. Only basic carpentry skills are required.

To create, an intere^tiriy (^Jv- ^ » to rfifxple on a, contracting color offrtow

4 window bo* is a miniature portable /Agarden. Whether you sit it on a windowsill or attach it to brackets to cheer up an outside wall, this simple container is both decorative and practical. The design neatly accommodates three pots of herbs. Trailing herbs, such as evening primrose or nasturtiums look good when contrasted with upright ones, such as chives or dill. Try grouping herbs with different textures - for example, position velvety, furry sage alongside shiny basil and tightly curled parsley.

Customize your window box to suit your culinary requirements, teaming spicy Vietnamese mint with citrus-flavored lemon balm and pungent, peppery thyme. Color can play a part, too. Purplish-red perilla, cream-and-green variegated apple mint and bright red chilies all make a visually striking splash.

If you position your window box outdoors, it will be constantly exposed to the vagaries of the weather, so make sure you choose quality materials. If you decide to hang it on brackets, check that they are strong enough to support the weight of the pots and that the surface on which you place them and the box is not cracked or crumbling.

As for your chosen herbs, keep an eye on the moisture content of the soil in the pots. Wind and sun can quickly dry it out.

Other

• Try color theming your window box with flowering herbs. A mauve and purple theme could include herbs that enjoy a sunny position, such as sage, hyssop and lavender.

• Or plant a variety of the same herb. Try common mint, peppermint and spearmint, or sweet basil, Thai basil, holy basil and 'Red Rubin.'

• Choose a color theme that will complement your house's exterior paint scheme. For example, white-flowering herbs such as valerian and Roman chamomile look fresh with a blue color scheme.

Continue reading here: To make your window box AJkat you need

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