The fiery hues of autumn rival the intensity of any summer garden. They are the final flare of life before the forest goes to bed for its long winter sleep.
The leaves are bright for so short a time and once fallen they are lost forever. But I have bought old garden books and found leaves pressed between their pages long ago are still bearing their color. This old practice of pressing fall leaves in books isn’t done much these days, but it’s a wonderful source of free decorating and craft materials. Pressed leaves also make excellent additions to decorated garden journals and scrapbook pages. You can even drop them into a gift book or card that when opened rains down preserved autumn color.
Pressing leaves in books can, sometimes, damage a page, so I rarely use my quality books for this purpose. I do save super cheap hardcover books gleaned from thrift stores or garage sales to press both leaves and flowers. Very large coffee table style picture books are helpful if you want to press more than one leaf with stems attached, or for very large leaves. For most others my preference is for old medical books which tend to be unusually heavy because of the type of paper used.
I usually press a whole bunch of leaves at one time when their color is at its peak. I slide five or ten leaves between pages of one book, then do the same for the next book until I have a stack of them filled. I put the stack out of the way in the back of a closet for a few months. Then once fully dry I’ll slide the leaves into a “keeper” book to store for craft time.