Monday, September 24, 2012

Welcome Fall: Creative Leaves


beautiful fall colors

   Fall is a season full of warm, rich color. Various hues of autumn gold, warm browns, and crisp red trigger a sense of comfort and calm. When the leaves start to change on the trees near our farm, the woods beckon us to come- to stroll among them and view their glory. Dawning our hiking boots, a tote bag, and a camera, the family gathers near the edge of the tree line- adventuring into the deep mystery of the wood.
   Gathering fall leaves is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family. Tall to small, teen to tot, everyone can join this activity. Nature is full of amazing color, contrast and creature. On a walk, we often discuss: habitat, environment, ecosystem, diversity, forestry and the effect of man on this- God's purpose and command concerning nature. Leaves are gathered from every shape and color available- pictures are taken; of the trees, creatures, fungi and flora around us. Memories are made.
   Returning home is not the end of the journey, but the beginning. Leaves and the pictures thereof are now at our whim- available for a myriad of display and decor. Nature items are so versatile and inspiring; the possibilities seem nearly endless.

Ten things you can do with or concerning leaves:

1. Display. Leaves scattered about a mantle or around your table centerpiece not only add beauty, but remind you of the wonderful time your family spent gathering them. Place them in a basket or bowl with gourds, pine cones, acorns for a natural centerpiece.

2. Garland. Strung together with: other items from nature, fall fabric strips, purchased decor shapes, popcorn, or by themselves- leaves make an attractive garland to drape along the window frames, the doorway, the entry to your home or an alcove area--even your porch.

3. Wreath. Tucked or tacked on a wreath base- grapevine or straw are my personal favorites- with acorns, pine cones and ribbon. Beauty will adorn the door of your home with delightful memories of your stroll through the trees.

4. Create creatures. Using acorns, pipe cleaners and other crafty items- let your littles craft some cute leaf people, pets or imaginative creatures for play or display. Another great afternoon memory making moment.

5. Make leaves yourself. Be inspired by the colors of fall and gather colorful bits of tissue paper, some wax paper and your iron. Swirl some glue on a sheet of wax paper, lay bits of tissue paper on the glue, top with more wax paper and run your warm iron over it. Cut the design into a leaf shape or use construction paper with a center cut out of leaf shape or shapes to make a window-style frame.

6. Make leaves another way. Grate or shave some old crayons between two sheets of wax paper and run your warm iron over it. Use the cutting or framing methods mentioned above to finish the project.

7. Learn about leaves. Let your walk through the woods inspire a study of leaves. In the past we studied tree identification using leaves, types of leaves, and the purpose of leaves in the life cycle of the tree. Many resources are available online, at the library or your local bookstore--or be creative and develop your own.

8. Make a card. Adhere your leaves to blank cards to send family and friends. Grandparents and relatives that live far away would love to hear from you around the holidays. Send this cute card and tell them the story behind it- share the fun!

9. Decorate clothing. Let the leaves guide you to paint or fuse colorful leaf shapes to t-shirts, sweatshirts or overalls for a cute seasonal outfit. Last year we cut various leaf shapes out of felt and stitched them onto tote bags for ourselves and for handmade gifts.

10. Feed them to the animals. This may seem strange, but our farm animals love leaves as a treat. When we rake our yard, the leaves are gathered up in bags and cans to feed our animals during the winter. Leaves make good bedding in the hen house or dog house, and when they pets are done with them, they go great in the compost bin.

   Simple and sweet; fall crafts do not require expensive supplies or tedious directions. All you need is a little time together, a little imagination, and some energetic children- the rest will do itself. God painted a beautiful pallet just for us- enjoy it with your family this weekend by ushering in the fall season with leaves.

Growing Home


Leigh said...

Our goats love to eat dried leaves too. And fresh! I read in Pat Coleby's Natural Goat Care to gather and save them for winter variety in their diets. Leaves are loaded with minerals.

You're ahead of us for fall color. We won't get changing leaves until later next month. I love seeing reminders of what's to come.

Simply Scaife Family said...

Leigh, that sounds like a really good resource to have..I will look for it. I think the southern heat tends to set out trees into change earlier than many glad you dropped in.