I’m leaving Utah just when it’s at its most beautiful. Nothing beats the Autumn colors up the canyons.
I have two work trips this month, both solo, both West, and both more than an overnight stay. I’m excited for them for lots of reasons but I always get a little blue right before I leave these faces.
So, the kids and I decided to take a long morning to hike up the canyon a bit and do some leaf hunting.
Eva is crazy into both collecting and nature so I knew she’d get a kick out of collecting leaves. Calvin is less of a collector, but he likes to do anything his sister likes to do so he was happy picking leaves up and putting them in his bag. He got some pretty good ones, in fact!
The canyon is full of different kinds of plants, but the kids were drawn to the maple leaves in particular and eventually even the maples lost out to the joy that is fallen logs full of mud and bugs. Ah, nature.
(Bath time quickly followed.)
Our haul included a fair amount of wet and muddy leaves so I rinsed them off and popped them onto a cookie sheet covered with construction paper to dry them off a bit in the warm oven. I would have used paper towels, btw, but we were out of them. Note: you don’t have to “bake” these for long and if you leave them in too long they might get kind of curly and the colors will fade. You just want to get them as dry as you can.
I wanted to preserve the leaves so the kids could look at them in more detail after their naps, but I knew that if I just left them out Calvin would turn them into leaf confetti. Plus, Eva is allergic to all trees but Elm as far as we can tell, so I didn’t need a bunch of leaves floating around the house. I had read about Mod Podge and glycerin as possible preservatives, but ultimately we went the quick and easy route with the laminator.
This was very easy. I just trimmed the stems down, put the leaves in the laminating pouches, and ran them through the machine. I did put them a little too close together, though, so when it came time to cut them out I had to leave a few of them in pairs. Next time I will only do 4-5 per page.
Even so, they came out very nice and the kids are having a good time comparing colors, sizes, shapes, etc. I like that the laminator captured all the little chipped and spotty pieces because those elements actually make the kids like them more and they turn up well in rubbings.
I thought we’d hang them up in the window as a garland because I like the colors, but right now the kids are having too much fun messing with them. I’m excited to keep adding to our collection…maybe we’ll finally hang them up around Thanksgiving to see leaves from all over Salt Lake.
In the meantime, I’ll be sneaking one into my carryon to keep in my pocket while I’m gone. Just a little bit of home…
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