To me the holidays have always had a magical pull of tradition laced with new traditions. In other words, anything fun and new is added to the stack of holiday traditions, and nothing is EVER removed. It's a one way pot of fun goodness that is truly more than anyone could logically handle, and yet it drives me and my family to the point of sheer exhaustion topped off with a permanent smile. I am convinced it is a form of civilized, and socially acceptable, insanity that really should be prohibited. But the question is - what to give up?
It all starts in October with visions of pumpkins dancing in our heads and by December we are in full-on frantic holiday mode. The days are a filled with a combination of good food and fun crafts. With time being one of the most limited resources of this festive season, this is a craft that you can do once and it will last for years.Leafing Supplies:
30-40 leaves, fresh so that they can be pressed flat, once they are curled they will fragment
1 heavy book, or phone book to press the leaves (1 day minimum)
50 count of 9x12 one-sided clear laminating sheets, 2 mil thickness
1-2 pairs of scissors
1 Sharpie pen (optional)Leafing Directions:
Before you start the project, you will need to collect and press some leaves. You can see that we pressed our leaves in the phone book, but any heavy book will do the job.
Fitting and/or layering leaves on the laminating paper, before removing the paper backing. While layering leaves can create a fun burst of color, you need to make sure that there is very little overlap as it is the air tight seal that keeps the leaves looking fresh from year to year. We also found that these leafy decorations look best when the leaf stem is shortened or removed. To do this you will want to clip the stems off before you place them on the lamenting paper. As you can see from the photos, we did a sampling of both.
Place leaves, top side down, onto the sticky laminating paper, being careful to press all of the air out of them.
Be certain to leave ample space between the leaves so that you can make a good tight seal and have plenty of room after to cut them out once they are sealed. It works best if you do not try to move them around the page once you have attached them to the lamenting paper.
Once leaves are well pressed against the laminating paper, take a second sheet of lamenting paper and lay it on top. Match up the lamenting sheets as close as possible. Do not worry if the pages do not line up perfectly, as you will be cutting out the leaves once they are well sealed and all air pockets are removed. Start at one end of the paper and press down as you go. Then working from the center of the paper out, gently move out all of the air bubbles that have been accidentally trapped inside.
Once both pages of the lamenting paper are secured, you can work to cut out the leaves.We worked in teams of one adult and one child to keep the little hands busy and less frustrated with the perils of lamenting paper.
When cutting out the leaves, be sure to leave a bit of an edge around each. If you cut too closely to the leaf itself the air tight seal will break and the leaf will not be well preserved.
We also decided to put our initials on the back of each leaf with a Sharpie pen so that when we tuck these away before pulling out our Christmas decorations we can remember and admire the work we each did the year before.
If you have a laminating machine you can certainly use it but it is not necessary. The leaves my friend originally sent me still look perfectly preserved and they are now 10+ years old. Preserved leaves also make a nice adornment to gifts, preserves and hand written cards.
For other great posts on holiday traditions be sure to check out Yahoo! Mother Board page.
About Gina von Esmarch: When Gina is not talking tech or winking at a Campari she can be found cooking North of the Golden Gate Bridge at www.bowllicker.com. Come by for a visit and holiday recipe ideas.