I was about twelve years old when I first and truly felt bad about killing a plant.
But besides that minor murderous incident, I now look back on what might have been the best class trip of my school career.
Then in sixth grade, my class mates and I, plus two super-nice-people-but-very-strict teachers spent an entire week in a youth hostel in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. I now know that if it had been absolutely necessary, my mom could have come and got me in like two short hours. But back then, it felt like a long way from home.
Also, I want to be very clear that although there is no place like home, I did not tap my little red ballerinas and my mom did not have to come rescue me. Because I was a big girl, of course.
And I was no longer wearing glitterfied footgear.
The trip was designed to be somewhat of a scouting adventure including canoeing, tree climbing, trust and team-building exercises (my fave), geology and history lectures (my least favorite), nature hikes and survival training in the woodlands.
The latter of which was what seemingly awoke my inner demon and caused me to do harm to a defenseless bush.
We were divided into two groups and given the simple task to build a fort that would shelter us from a supposed storm. Needless to say no-one ever expected us to actually seek refuge, let alone spend the night in a hut made of tree bark, moss and tiny insect friends. Because I'm pretty sure my parents would not have signed that permission slip. Or so I hope.
So with our minds at ease we got to work. In a totally structured and well-prepared manner as twelve year-olds do of course...
When the designated thirty minutes had passed, the survival trainer (seriously, that can't actually be a job title, who was this lady anyway?) was presented with two fundamentally different results.
The other group created this mushy, brown thing that consisted of nothing but sticks and stones.
And our group? Well, you could say that we ran out of time just slightly, had a minor panic attack, recovered quickly and gleefully, in what seemed like a state of genius started ripping anything green from the grounds and throwing it onto our branch structure to cover up any patchy bits. In the end, 90% of the thing was covered in gorgeous fern leaves.
Let's just say, if the task had been to create something beautiful, we would have been the clear winner!
It wasn't though. Our trainer made that very clear to us by pointing out that
a) all 10 of us were meant to fit inside of our 3-person hut, and
b) in Germany, fern is actually protected by nature protection legislation.
If I didn't before, that is when I understood the term "to have a pit in your stomach".
I really don't think this woman realized how terrible her words would make me feel. Even years later. I can no longer walk by a fern bush without thinking of the many fern lives I took on that one summer's day. The day I became a vicious shrub murderer.
I don't think the information brought to us by our guide really affected anybody else in the group, but yes, I still feel bad about this instance to this very day.
So to make sure history doesn't repeat itself, and to put your mind at ease, let me assure you that for this project I only used fern from my very own garden! Any other leaves would do also, in case you want to be extra careful! Fake/plastic leaves might do also, but you want to look for something with a lot of texture that will transfer to the paper.
Personalized wrapping paper adds a beautiful, thoughtful touch to any gift and leaves have this beautiful texture that is just perfect for stamping.
HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- brown packing paper
- white acrylic paint
- flat paint brush
- plant leaves
Step 1: Roll out the packing paper and cut to the desired size. You'll want it to be large enough to fit around your gift nicely.
Step 2: Pick a single leaf in the size of your choice and cover one side with the acrylic paint. I find the top is easier to stamp with, but you can try painting the bottom side instead. To do so, lay the leaf flat onto your working surface. Be sure to lay out a sheet of paper for protection first though.
Using your brush dipped in paint, carefully coat the leaf starting on the thick end stroking outwards and towards the tip. If your paint is rather thick, you'll want to water it down slightly.
Step 3: Place the leaf onto the packing paper where desired, the paint facing downwards. Press down lightly.
Step 4: Lift the leaf back up starting at the thicker end and let dry.
Step 5: Reuse the same leaf for several prints until it starts to give up on you. In which case exchange for a new one.
Keep stamping until you're pleased with the result and wrap you gift as you would with any ordinary wrapping paper.
Tip: You'll definitely want to do a few test prints. The amount of paint you use, how much water you add and how much force you put into pressing the leaf onto the paper all affect the look of your print. Figure out what works for you, but remember that the prints don't all need to look the same.