The first year Mark and I lived in this house we planted a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’) on our wedding anniversary. We spent over $100 on that tree, but it’s been worth every penny. It’s gorgeous and has grown tremendously in the past six years (you can see a photo of it on this previous post). It also remains Mark’s hands-down favorite thing we’ve planted in the yard. Last summer he said to me, “No matter what is going on in my life, when I look at that tree I can’t help but be happy.” Now Mark is not a tree-huggin’, nature-lovin’ kinda guy, so that statement was pretty darn powerful. In fact, it planted the seed (ah, clever pun) for his Valentine’s Day gift this year.
The Japanese maple is stunning in the fall; its leaves turn a deep crimson. So when the leaves started changing last October, I began plucking some leaves off the tree and tucking them in a thick book. I collected leaves over a few weeks to make sure I had some representing the peak of fall color. Then I just left the leaves alone (or, I “leaved” them alone — I just can’t stop the puns today!) in the book to dry out.
For Valentine’s Day I gathered all the leaves I had tucked away in the book.
Then I grabbed a frame we already had.
I picked my two favorite leaves, arranged them on the glass, cut some pale green card stock to serve as the background, and put a piece of cardboard behind that so that the leaves were pushed snug against the glass (I didn’t want them slipping).
Mark was really touched by the gift. He even put the frame on the bookcase right next to his most beloved collection of Michael Chabon novels and his Edgar Allen Poe action figure. I feel so honored.