Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ten Things To Do With Autumn Leaves

Autumn is falling upon us once again, gifting most of us with more crispy, colorful leaves than we know what to do with. Sure, they make a decent mulch additive, but wouldn't it be great if there was something creative we could do with them besides rake and burn?

We thought so, too. To that end, here are ten things you can do with those crunchy bits of red, yellow and orange:
  1. Stuff a scarecrow. Instructions below.
  2. Spice up a BBQ supper. Apple and Maple leaves make a flavorful addition to an outdoor cooking fire.
  3. Bag 'em up and send to a friend living in Hawaii or Alaska; they always get a kick out of such "exotic" treats.
  4. Hot-glue dozens of leaves to a wreath base, easily obtained at any craft store. Add a few seed pods for an especially lovely door decoration.
  5. Make a bouquet by attaching single leaves to a straw or bamboo skewer and arrange in a vase.
  6. Slip one special leaf into a grandchild's Halloween card.
  7. Pile the prettiest leaves into a basket for an instant Fall time centerpiece.
  8. Fill a clear glass lamp base with leaves for timely, temporary decor.
  9. String leaves, alternating with cranberries, for a gorgeous swag which can be draped over a curtain rod or wrapped around a banister.
  10. Powder especially fragrant leaves into an incense, which can be burned on coal disks.
Scarecrow Instructions:
  • Old pants, shirt and gloves. A funky straw hat, too, if you have one.
  • Broom handle
  • Safety pins
  • Old boots
  • Brown paper grocery-store bag or burlap sack
  • Acrylic or poster paints
  • All the Autumn leaves you can find
Begin building your Scarecrow by jamming the broom handle into the ground or a large, dirt-filled bucket. Cut a 2" hole in the crotch of the pants. Safety-pin the pant legs closed. Slide the pants onto the broom handle and generously fill the legs with leaves. Jam the ends of the pant legs into the boots. Safety-pin the shirt to the pants, button it to the neck and stuff it with leaves. Pin gloves to the ends of the sleeves. Stuff them with leaves.
For Scarecrow's head: A burlap sack is best, but a brown paper grocery bag will do. Stuff it full of leaves and form into more or less the shape of a head, tuck the bag end into the shirt then safety-pin to into the shirt. Use acrylic paints to make a face. (Poster paints will suffice if you live in a super dry area.) Attach the hat to the head with safety pins and there you go - an easy Scarecrow to guard your yard from all those scary ghoulies and ghosties.

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