Monday, October 3, 2011

Bringing Autumn Into Our Home

As we're all enjoying the arrival of autumn, I thought it would be fitting to share an oldie (but a goodie) from my old private blog Blue House Blessings that was written three years ago.

Let's celebrate this season, shall we?

My favorite way to decorate my home is with natural materials gathered in our yard such as flowers, branches, leaves, garden items, and pine cones. We also like to craft with things we've collected on nature excursions, whether in the canyon, around a park, on a walk, or stopping the car on a roadside. There is something special and beautiful about nature. We can bring a special peace and loveliness into our homes with these simple gifts. Having these items displayed in our homes helps ourselves and our children appreciate the beauties outside our doors and awakens a sense of the natural rhythms of the year.

One of the special places in our home is our "nature table". This is a place that is specifically designated for the items of nature we gather or upcoming holidays we will celebrate. We like to place a cloth underneath the display that coordinates with the season, and if possible, a small framed print of some kind. The children look forward to showcasing their special "treasures". Mom can make sure this area doesn't become a dumping ground for other items and can maintain some general tidiness.
There are so many things to do with pressed leaves. If you don't have a flower press, (they are easily made or can be purchased at craft stores) any large book will do. Just take the most lovely, fresh leaves you can find and lay them between the pages. Place another paper in between to blot if you are worried about damaging the pages of the book. Place a heavy object on top and wait a few days up to a week. Once the leaves are somewhat dry and flat, you are ready for the fun!

One of the things I've done since the children were very small and even back when I worked with the Cub Scouts was making "sun catchers" to hang on the window. The effect is like stained glass. We took our leaves and placed them between two pieces of contact paper, pressed firmly, and then cut around the area with scissors. The same thing can also be done to make placemats, but on construction paper instead.
Here, I took a very long piece of thread and a needle and made a "necklace" by poking two holes in the center of the leaf and then pulling the thread through. We just taped it to the side of the mantle to form a very lovely, natural garland.
The same procedure was done for the mobile. Here, I liked to showcase different colors, sizes, and shapes of leaves. They are so beautiful hung up over the table with the little movements and flutterings...especially with the light of the chandelier shining nearby.
Bookmarks, cards, and stationary bring a practical aspect.
Eliza had a great idea this year for her nature notebook. She designed "leaf fairies" using pressed leaves as clothing.
Below, Eliza and Jane used acorn caps to become hats for their little folk they constructed out of bent pipe cleaners, embroidery floss, wooden bead heads, and woolen felt clothing. They are so adorable and addicting to make...
I hope these ideas have inspired you to take the special children in your life for a walk with bag in hand and come home ready for an afternoon of fun and beauty.

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