Decorating with Autumn Leaves; Door Garland and Candle Jars

I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on God’s green earth, who appreciates the foliage that Autumn brings, more than I do.  I am mesmerized by it, from beginning to end.  Ask my kids.  They are often amused at how taken I am, with the beauty of this season.  And they’ve certainly come to understand that I don’t want them to miss one bit of it, any more than I do. I get especially excited when we are driving here and there, which with 4 kids I can tell you, we do a whole lot of.  “Oh!! There’s a tree starting to change right there! Do you see it guys?” And as fall progresses., each week is more full of awe than the last. As we go along, I’ll burst out “LOOK!….at that GORGEOUS tree guys!! LOOK AT THE COLORS ON THAT THING!!”  I’ve startled them. And they’ll be like, “We know Mama! Watch where you’re going!”  It’s true. I probably shouldn’t be driving at all in the Fall. Certainly not during peak foliage week.  There is just a span of weeks in this season, where the trees are all I can talk about, everywhere we go. Sometimes, I feel God made Autumn, just for me. Perhaps not. But gosh, it sure feels like such a gift of love.

The peak beauty of the season, is really all too fleeting for me.  I want it to stay just as it is in those weeks, forever.  At least, I want to save as many beautiful leaves as I can.  But I’ve never found a great way to preserve them for a while, until this year. Oh yes, there was the waxed paper trick but, I heard that never worked all that well.  And besides…..Confession of Domestic Shame:  I really hate ironing.  So when I learned that using Glossy Modge Podge really worked well, I was so excited to try it.  And I immediately started dreaming up a very simple, very rustic leaf garland for my home.

The kids helped me Modge Podge countless leaves they had collected for me, over the weeks.  We had them drying and being pressed between the pages of newspapers and magazines all over the house. I’m willing to bet we’ll be finding several we missed finding again, well into spring.  But I found you can actually Modge Podge a fresh leaf right away, anyway.  I do recommend the Glossy medium. I tried the Matte finish just as a test, and it seemed to strip the color, and not look very impressive once it was dry either. Something about the Glossy really does enhance the color of the leaf, and add lustre.  To Modge Podge (MP) the leaves, we just poured some MP in a non-pourous bowl, and used foam brushes to apply it to our leaves, doing the back of the leaves first.  Then you can lay them on newspaper or whatever, until they dry. They don’t really stick anywhere as drying, because they are not flat or heavy.  MP is so easy to clean up anyway.

I wanted my garland extremely simple and rustic.  Jute was just the kind of string for the job. I love this stuff.

I took 4 pieces of equal lengths of the jute, knotted the ends, and twisted the quadruple strand quite a bit before push-pinning it over the frame of our sun room french doors.

Then, I just stuck my leaves in between the twisted jute string, arranging as I wanted to, all the way across.

There it is. Done in like, . . .a couple of minutes.
And I didn’t fall off while standing on the chair I had to keep moving, even once.
(Although I think I had my husband and kids nervous, because they kept reminding me to be careful. That might have to do with the many happenstances I have had. But not this time!)

Look how pretty!  Honesty….my heart is racing a little bit right now, just looking at them. 
No two alike….such beautiful shapes and colors.

Do you see that long pointy leaf? After being out and about collecting leaves, the kids came running in, so excited to give me that one. They call it my giraffe leaf.  I love giraffes, and they saw a giraffe skin pattern in it. I do too now.  I felt the love, and that leaf makes me smile even more than all the rest now.

I also used the glossy Modge Podge to apply more leaves to jars.  I love that you can just slap that MP all over the jar with a foam (or flat bristle) brush, and everywhere it dries where there is not a leaf, it looks like frosted glass.

Isn’t it beautful?
I’ll warn you that this project took a little more patience than I had anticipated. Certainly not as easy as my garland! It’s worth the little bit of trouble I think though! It’s just that the leaves, which I had MP’d the back of, as well as the jar, don’t want to lay down flat right away. It’s all kind of slippery. It’s only once the MP glue starts setting a little, that is starts sticking as you need it to.  You need to MP over the leaves too anyway, so I kept kind of poking the leaves down where they were sticking up. Once the whole jar was dry, I did one more final coat.  Oh and I just let stems hang free off the glued down leaf. I liked them that way anyway, if they didn’t want to stick.

They give such a warm glow of radiance.

I can see myself doing these same projects with leaves every year, from now on. And other preserved leaf projects I’ll think of I’m sure now too. 
I so enjoyed every minute of working with the leaves, and I am so very happy I found a way to preserve them, and let the beauty live on in my home, as the world around us outdoors drains colorless.

Thanks for coming by, and listening to me go on and on about my love for the colors of Autumn.
It sure was an amazing Fall season this year, and I thanked God for it every day.
Do you get a colorful foliage season where you live, in the Fall? And if so, have you done anything with the leaves?

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  1. 5
    Irene Michelle says:

    Hi Laura, I just found your website and I enjoyed it very much, I, too, am mesmerized by the beauty of Autumn, the vibrant colors that bring peace and joy to my heart, just the entire flavor of the gorgeous season. I wish it was Autumn all year long, the serenity that it brings would make the world a better place. I can’t wait for the leaves to start changing so I can takes walks to enjoy it all,
    It’s exciting… husband thinks I’m nuts……who cares, I love Autumn! Thank you for sharing,
    God bless, Irene

  2. 4
    Sylvia says:

    I like your candleholders and I have a question. You indicated that you pressed the leaves and then used it for your project. If I pick up the leaves in the fall, do you think the color would remain in the leaves if I would use them in the Spring? I am doing a Girl Scout event in May and if the color would last, I will bring this project to the committee. Thanks for any insight you can provide!

  3. 3
    Another autumn lover says:

    I just found you, too! I have always been an autumn lover. Orange is one of my fave colors, and I’m always looking at the ground, looking for pretty leaves, colored or green. I press them in phone books and later paint scenes on them and frame for craft shows. Speaking of orange, I also collect pumpkins–fabric, wood, carved, ceramic, twig. Have about 20 now, and I keep most out all year. My ceramic ones I display above my kitchen cabinets. Most of my friends just roll their eyes at me when they see them in the middle of summer! They know how I operate and still like me anyway!!!

    toodle-oo, kathi

    • 3.1
      Laura says:

      Well orange is a great Autumn color for sure! It is hard ti imagine pumpkins all year round, but I always say, surround yourself with things you truly love! Your leaf paintings sound amazing. I’d love to see some.
      Thanks so much for coming by, and telling us about your passion for orange, pumpkins and Autumn.

  4. 2
    Bev says:

    Thank you for the sweet comments that you made and I will visit often.

    Blue leaves would be awesome but I was thinking more along the lines of a nice lavender…lol. I agree with you on not wanting to change the color of the awesome fall leaves unless I did try some totally funky color for experimental purposes only…lol. Try googling preserving leaves with glycerine and water and you will get tons of info concerning how to do it. Let me know if you try it and I’ll let you know if I try it.

    Hope you are having an awesome day and I will be dropping by again. Thanks again for the warm welcome! ttys and have a great day!


    • 2.1
      Laura says:

      We have a deal, Bev! We’ll let each other know if we try coloring leaves! It might be something we share on Facebook with a photo, so be sure to be following us on there, if you are on there too. : ) ~Laura

  5. 1
    Bev says:

    Just found your website Laura and I love it! I, too, feel the same about those few weeks in the fall that the leaves are so awesome. I told my dh just this week that no one on earth can paint a leave like God can! I can not remember where I saw it but yesterday I found a site that said to make the leaves last to place them in a vase with glycerine and water. It went on to say if you wanted more vibrant colors to add food coloring in red or yellow to the mixture and that the stem would suck it up into the leaves. Not tried it yet but I plan to do so. Anyway just wanted to let you know I am your newest follower and thank you for sharing your love with leaves and the color change also.

    • 1.1
      Laura says:

      Hi Bev! Well first of all, I’m so glad you found us! You sound like someone I could happily chat with for a good spell-so I hope you come around often! You are so right….I’ve said the same kind of thing to my kids about God’s painting, in reference to the dusk skies and sunsets. His works truly do AMAZE us, and keep us in awe, season to season.
      I have never heard of the glycerine and water trick. Now the food coloring trick sounds very familiar, although with white carnation flowers. I’m not sure I’d want to change the color of the leaves on purpose, except maybe as an interesting science experiment with the kiddos. Maybe with blue. ; )
      Thanks for reading my post, and sharing your thoughts and ideas! Happy to have you!!


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