Fall has always been my favorite season. When I was young, I used to look forward to the start of school, not necessarily because I was an overachieving bookworm (though full confession – I was), but because it meant that soon the days would get cooler, the leaves would change colors, and the cozy half of the year would begin. My mom and I would go for walks in the woods behind the house, collecting leaves, acorns, or even just “cool-looking” branches with which to decorate the house.
Twenty years later, and while my dabblings into gardening have given me a fuller appreciation for all the seasons, there’s still a certain light that flickers inside me that first morning I wake up needing to draw up the covers, or seeing the first glimmer of red, orange, or yellow on the trees.
If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that I try to live intentionally. One of the greatest gifts that yoga has given me is mindfulness in my daily actions. I hate the feeling of waking up and thinking “where did the week/month/year go?” By making ordinary actions into a meditation, it makes it easier to live in the present, and have fewer existential crises (I try to limit these to, oh, once a month or so).
Which is why I still prefer natural decorations in my home than anything store bought or artificial. Natural objects, especially those that I have collected or gathered myself, give an intention to the decorations. Last fall was a season of new motherhood: It was a miracle if I even changed out of pyjamas on any given day. Those were blissful, heady times, but now that Little Miss is a little older and I actually have some space to breathe, I’m excited to get back to the seasons of the world. Plus I want to give Little Miss a knowledge of the seasons, and how they connect everything to Mother Nature.
So on our daily walking commutes to and from förskola, we have been collecting the bountiful gifts of fall: acorns, chestnuts, pinecones, rosehips, lichen that have fallen from trees. These we dry on the kitchen windowsill, then display in jars and baskets on the bookshelves to take down and explore together. Little Miss loves the different textures and colors, and I love expanding my knowledge of what grows in our little corner of the world.
Leaves are tricky though. Though beautiful and vibrantly-colored when we find them on the damp ground, they soon dry and fade once inside. When I was young, my mother used to preserve them with wax paper to keep the color, and so I thought I would try the same. After a few attempts, here is what I came up with.
Pictures coming soon!
- For this project you will need a leaf/leaves, wax paper, two hand towels, an iron and ironing board. Make sure there is no noticeable moisture on the leaves, but that they are still flexible and bendable (not brittle).
- Take your leaf/leaves and put them between two pieces of wax paper, making sure they are in a single layer, and there is at least a ½ inch / 1 cm space between leaves. If your paper is only waxed on one side, make sure the wax side is facing the leaf.
- Place this wax paper/leaf sandwich on one of the towels. Put the other towel on top, and press with the warm iron, holding the iron for roughly 2-5 minutes. Hint: The iron should only be as warm as needed to seal the wax paper together. Try it on medium-low heat first, and increase if needed.
And there you go! Wax-preserved leaves to decorate your home naturally, cheaply, and with intention. Use a bit of tape to adhere them to a window, or string them together in a garland, and reflect on the cozy atmosphere of the fall home.