Mary Beth Lopresti: Hi! I am Mary Beth Lopresti with All Seasons Floral Preservation and today, I am showing you how to press flowers. Right now, I am going to show you how to take the flowers that we've prepared and put them in a phone book for phone book pressing. One of the first things you want to do is take your phone book and put some tape on the side so that you can mark either the event or the type of flowers that you'll be pressing and also the date. It usually takes about two weeks for the flowers to completely dry in the phone book press, so by having a reference label on the side of the phone book, you are able to know the date that the flowers went into the press. Another idea is if your children like to press flowers, each child could have their own phone book with their own flowers in it. And that way, they are able to keep separate the flowers that they pressed either from an event or the flowers that they just chose and want to keep and to do crafts with at a later time. So here I will put that we pressed these flowers for our monkeysee video and the date. Now we take the phone book and this is just a regular phone book, it's a great way to recycle and we open it from the back, we want to use the back pages, we start in the back of the phone book to load and these flowers, I prepared previously. In this case, I have ivy, so when pressing the ivy you want to use the leaves and press them, we want to be sure that the stems are going to press down like so. So we just placed the leaves here and as we close the book, we'll just be sure that the flowers are pressing properly. Because we don't want the stems to press that way, we want to be able to use them that way in our floral art. So it helps to pick up some of the pages, put the phone book, put the tissue into the crevice of the phone book and just guide the leaves as you are closing the phone book, so that the weight of the phone book is going on, you make sure your stems are down and you just press it. And it's also nice to press it so that the leaves are all facing up when you are doing a stem of ivy in this way, and that way you know that the flowers are going to look nice when they come out. We usually put but about a half inch of pages between each segment of flowers because the ivy is a little bit bumpier, we may actually put a little bit more, when they are very smooth flowers you don't have to put as much, but when you have something that is kind of lumpy, you want the flowers to be able to pressed smoothly. One of the other tricks that we do is the tissue paper is hanging over the edge of the phone book and that's intentional because we want to when the phone book is closed, you want to be able to see where the tissue paper and the flowers are, if the tissue paper is smaller than the page then you won't know which pages your pressed flowers will be on. So here we are going to do the rose leaves. It's the same simple method, I will just lay that on these, you can just lay the tissue down and then close the page. Our next page was the hydrangea that we had cut. And with hydrangea, it's usually best to have them facing down with the stem side up and we just space them out onto the page. In this case, this little petal had folded over, so you want to be sure they are at least flat. And the next that we'll be doing are yellow rose petals. Now we did our red rose petals previously in the microwave. Lighter flowers like lighter pinks and whites and yellows have a better result in the phone book pressing. When we microwave a light flower, there are very small little veins in the flower and when those are microwaved, the veins become very prominent and so you are not able to use nearly as much of the rose petal, really only the edge looks nice. Now in some cases, the rose will turn a little bit like that and that's absolutely fine because it adds some interest because that's the way the roses look when they are alive. So some rose petals will lay flat and others will have a little bit of a ridge on them and in the case of roses, that works out just fine. Now for this page, I have too many, that's too many petals. When working with these light flowers, we generally just go with roses around the edge because when we put them in the silica to dry, the silica is sprinkled around the edge. So any petals that are in the center of the phone book, they don't dry as quickly as the ones on the outside. So we found that we have much better results if we just put the flowers on the perimeter of the page. And our final page is our baby's breath. And again, these can be spread throughout the page. This is all that I had cut but this page could probably have about twice as many baby's breath on it. So now our flowers are loaded into the phone book press and it usually takes about ten days to two weeks before the flowers are completely dried to where you'd be able to do a craft with them. When we talked about microwave pressing, we talked about how it dries the flowers very quickly and that works very well with some darker flowers. There is a lot of moisture in the buds of the baby's breath and that seems to do better drying, not quickly in a microwave, it almost has a burned look to it because there is so much moisture and the microwave press heats it up so much to get the moisture out, that sometimes you can have that kind of result. So we prefer to use a phone book press for baby's breath. Part of the fun in pressing flowers is experimenting to see which methods work best with which types of flowers.
Another example would be our hydrangea. This is blue hydrangea that we had pressed. These are all from the same blossom and the top flowers were pressed in a microwave press and it brought out more of the green in the flower whereas the phone book pressing had a result with the flowers looking more like they did when they were fresh. Just for a point of reference these flowers were actually pressed in May of 2006. So you can see that over time the flowers do retain their color. Now that we have loaded our flowers in the phone book press, I am going to show you how to use silica gel on a drying box in order to dry them quickly so that they will have a beautiful result.