My neighbor tends the neighborhood botanical garden (hers) and while she's lucky with plants and seems to have a golden thumb, she works very hard so the garden will thrive. My friend admired this plant, and later, I was able to ask the neighbor about it. The branches grow like some kind of scientific diagram or crystalline entity, and very angular, with tiny purple flowers. I told the neighbor I wanted to paint it. She let me clip off a few little branches. Some sources list it as "bachelor buttons" but it isn't. I think she said it is in the amaranth family.
Portfolio with ribbon tie. Since I painted the plant life-sized I wanted to be able to see most of it. The scale of this portfolio seemed about right. (Instructions on page 224-225 in Making Handmade Books.)
(glassine page with pressed gomphrena on the left)
Tiny Coptic. I decided that the scale of this book was so tiny that it would need a smaller pattern, so I added more plants before I cut the paper into smaller pages.
This structure and size are nearly the same as the one in this post, but with one subtle difference. Instead of taking the needle between the previous signature, I counted two gaps up before I took the needle through and made the link. I also measured out longer pieces of thread before sewing.
Here is a comparison of the Coptic patterns that can be made. Link on the left (linking through the gap immediately above the signature), and the chain on the right (linking through the gap two up from the signature.)
One natural inspiration. Three projects.
Now it's time to write a couple poems and add a title or ornament to the green cover.
Addendum, 8/3/14: full name of plant is Gomphrena Decumbens, also known as "Airy Bachelor Buttons" and because it is unavailable, I can only put it on my wish list at Annie's Annuals. Berkeley Horticultural Nursery gets it in April or May (from Annie's, I believe) but I was told that the 10-15 plants they receive sell out almost instantly.