Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves
by Michelle Jones

Many children have completed a leaf collection for a school project, it can be a lot of fun for their siblings, parents and grandparents too. And it's practically free! So, here's a great idea for Fall - just think how pretty an Autumn array of red, orange and yellow leaves arranged in a leaf collection album would be, simply beautiful!
And instead of just drying the leaves between sheets of paper under a heavy book, here's a few more tips for preserving those beautiful colors...
Wax Paper:
Take the leaves and place them between two paper towels. Dry one side of the leaves by ironing them for 10 minutes, on medium heat without steam (move iron continuously). Then turn the leaves over and using a fresh paper towel, repeat process for about 5 minutes.
Now take the dried leaves and place them in-between two sheets of waxed paper, waxy side against the leaves. Add another sheet of waxed paper to protect the iron and press them again for a minute or so, until the leaves are coated with wax.
Now, peel off the waxed paper and see how the leaves have become beautifully preserved.
Microwave:
Try drying your leaves in the microwave oven, by placing them between double layers of paper towels. Start with 30 seconds and continue until the leaves are completely dry (please use caution as leaves can catch on fire.)
Glycerin:
We found two ways of using Glycerin to preserve leaves, the first is to place the leaves in a flat pan in a single layer, then cover with a mixture of one part glycerin and two parts water. Then weight the leaves down to keep them submerged for 2-6 days. Remove the leaves and dry with paper towels.
The second way is to bring the mixture of 1 part glycerin and 2 parts water to a boil in a saucepan. Pour the mixture into a heat-proof container and submerge a few leaves. Keep in a dark, cool place until the leaves begin to change color slightly. Remove the leaves and dry with paper towels.
Going, Going...
Whichever way you choose to preserve those beautiful Autumn leaves is fine, just make sure to get outside and collect them before they're gone!
If you live in an ever-green area like Florida (where I grew up), maybe you can ask family members who live further north to collect and preserve some leaves for you and your children. Or, maybe you can schedule a weekend trip up here to see the colors yourself, I promise you it will be worth the trip!

Copyright by Michelle Jones. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.