Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall Leaves Garland

As many of you know I love collecting fall leaves. Last year I learnt that if you Modge Podge the leaves after they have been pressed for a few days in a book they will last for a long time. It occurred to me while I was thinking about Hanukkah garlands that I could easily glue Modge Podged leaves to some natural twine that you get at the hardware store to make an easy "natural" looking fall garland.

Between finding and identifying the leaves with my new book the National Audubon Society Feild Guide to North American Trees: Eastern Edition to Modge Podging the leaves and gluing them onto the twine this makes a great extended project for you and the kids. Below is the tutorial.

Things you will need:
Fall Leaves
Heavy book for pressing
Modge Podge (I used satin this time but I like the way the matte looks better since it is a little less shiny)
Wax paper
Hot glue gun or Tacky Glue

1. You need to collect leaves and press them for 3 or 4 days in a heavy book. You don't need to put them all between different pages but make sure they lay flat and are covered when you close the book.

2. Spead out wax paper to apply the Modge Podge on the leaves and spread out another larger piece for the leaves to dry on.

3. Apply Modge Podge to leaves and stems and let them dry on the big piece of wax paper. Make sure to do the other side right after the first side dries. If you don't do it with in an hour or so the leaves may wrinkle up.

4. When dry apply the Modge Podge to the other side of the leaves. If you don't plan on gluing the leaves to the twine you can layer the pieces of wax paper with the dried leaves on each other. If you layer the leaves directly on each other they might stick together.

5. When the other side has dried cover a long area on the floor or on a table with wax paper (you can reuse what you've already used) and spread out the string on the wax paper. Then place the leaves where you think that you will want them. I started from the middle and went out towards the ends to make sure that the garland had a balanced look to it.

6. With a glue gun or Tacky Glue glue on the leaves. If you use Tacky Glue you will need to wait for the glue to dry before moving it or hanging it up.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leaf Rubbings

I love the fall. Each year I am amazed at how beautiful the leaves are. In the fall you will find me picking up leaves from just about everywhere. If I go out for some milk I'll come back with some leaves. If I take the dog for a walk in Central Park I'll come back with a lot of leaves.

One of the things the girls like to do with the leaves I bring home are leaf rubbings. They are easy and fun. All you need to do is put a leaf under a piece of paper and rub the area over the leaf with the side of a crayon (it's helpful to hold the paper for younger kids). While you can use any crayon I like to use the square Stockmar Beeswax ones best.

A few days ago I was trying to figure out what kind of leaves we had had found when I came across a tree leaf key on I thought that it would be fun to do some leaf sleuthing with D. We were able to figure out the kind of leaves they were and decided to do a rubbing and write what kind of leaf we had rubbed on it (D also thought some hearts would look good on the red oak rubbing too!).

I am quite sure that we will be spending lots of time this fall collecting and learning what kind of leaves I've been bringing home for all these years.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jewish Crafts: Etrog Pomander

At the end of Sukkot each year one has to dispose of their etrog, a citrus fruit that is one of the Arba'at Ha-Minim/Four Species. Since the etrog is used for a mitzvah one can't just through it in the garbage when they are done with it. You need to wait until it can no longer be used for a mitzvah to dispose of it. This means that one should wait until it is dried up before they through it in the garbage.

There are other ways that one can get rid of their etrog respectfully. A lot of people make etrog jelly out of their etrogs but because etrogs are so fragile and because they are not used for "food" they are spayed with tons of pesticides.

Another option is to make a pomander out of them. To make one you need to poke holes in the etrog with a sharp object like a fork and then you fill in the holes with whole cloves.

Every few days one should squeeze the etrog to make sure that the cloves stay in tight. In a few weeks the etrog dries up and the cloves are dried into the etrog. You can use your pomander for Havdalah. Etrogs are beautifully fragrant and when combined with the cloves they smell unbelievable.

We used our not yet dried pomander for Havdalah this week and it was so lovely. Eventually the areas that are yellow shrink away and the cloves take on the shape of a small etrog. I will try to post a picture of our pomander when it has finished drying.


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