For the past couple of weeks I have been collecting and pressing the many beautiful leaves I have seen fluttering on the trees and lying on the ground. Of course I had a project in mind. So yesterday afternoon I sat down and began creating. It was a moment found between wrapping a birthday gift and waiting for a load of laundry to complete its dryer cycle. While of course I wish it had been a long, lingering moment during an even longer, quiet fall afternoon, to say that would be a total lie. I haven't had an afternoon like that in as long as I can remember. Since Chicago, really. But I digress. The purpose of even mentioning this is to share with you the simplicity of this project. Anyone can do it anytime and it will turn out beautiful! I read about the idea on a Waldorf early childhood blog and was excited to find this simple version of the autumn lanterns I have made year after year since my children were little.
The idea came back to me when a beautiful young mama wrote about an afternoon spent enjoying the beauty and peace of their backyard with her very sick and very brave child who is struggling with brain cancer here. I had begun lighting a little candle when I prayed for him. A simple little beeswax tea lite, a pure and natural, sweet smelling flame to take my words to heaven. And then I envisioned the flame of my little tea lite shining through the red gossimer leaf...
You begin by collecting leaves of all shapes, colors and sizes. I spent days scoping the lawns, curbs, parks and trees of my everyday life. I began carrying a book in the car so that I could press them immediately - because I learned the hard way that even the most perfect leaf still hanging suspended from the branch will curl quite quicly. For me, this book happened to be a second hand copy coffee table book I pulled off of my bookshelf called Sacred Places. I smiled at the thought. Serendipity.
I then perused several Goodwill stores and collected old fishbowls, jars and vases. They are a dime a dozen, believe me. I have enough for me and anyone who wants to make one of their own now! I had fun creating a stash of all shapes and sizes. I also went to JoAnne's and bought a jar of Mod Podge and a package of very inexpensive paint brushes. And that's it for supplies. Simple Simon, right?
I put a paper grocery bag on the table and painted a thick coat of the Mod Podge onto the vase. (I chose the glossy finish, but there is matte too if that is more to your liking.)
Then came the very fun part of choosing and positioning the leaves around the vase. I remembered reading not to worry if the whole surface of the leaf refused to adhere. The edges often popped up, but the Mod Podge would seal the leaf too. I did end up clipping most of the stems because they were totally unruly!
Then I immediately began painting the top coat of Mod Podge. I was pretty free with the amount I used to make a good seal. I basically just avoided so much that it began to drip. In some places I needed to carefully hold a leaf in place with a fingertip to get it to stay put while I top coated. You also need to be mindful that the Mod Podge doesn't go too far down and pool at the bottom of the vase, sticking onto the table.
Then you let them dry (I left the house for 4 hours to visit my Mom and when I returned they were completely dry). I put a beeswax tealite in each one and voila! I highly suggest beeswax as opposed to parafin candles to get the golden glow, not to mention the subtle, rich, natural fragrance that will fill your home!
If you try this project, please oh please post photos for me to see!
Happy Sunday. Please pray fo Ty and his family. Thank you...