This weekend was so beautiful and uplifting. Andrew was out of town Friday and most of Saturday running a marathon in Indianapolis with one of his brothers (their second in less than a year!), the boys had their open houses at school on Friday night, and we found ourselves surrounded by neighborhood friends on Saturday morning. As we waited to hear from Andrew, we milled around the back yard and eventually went for a walk around the block to collect leaves. The colors of fall are in full swing, so we decided to take advantage. And as soon as we finished this activity, Andrew’s message popped up on my phone: he had qualified for the Boston Marathon! We were so proud and happy we started cheering right then and there in the kitchen! Way to go, Andrew!
And the leaves, wow! We enjoyed this activity so much, we knew we’d have to share it. I ordered a 1-lb bag of beeswax online (it was about $11 and we only used half the bag) and we had some yarn leftover from Oliver’s and Milo’s finger-knitting and God’s Eye activities (look for a post on the God’s Eye activity at some point soon) that just happened to be in the same tones as the leaves we collected.
Full disclosure: I would not recommend doing this with children under 7, as the possibility of getting burned by the wax is too high with little ones. In fact, Milo got burned when I accidentally bumped the table while his hand was low in the pot and some wax splashed up onto his fingers. He’s okay and you can’t even see where it happened, but it was painful and scary for him!
Aside from that small mishap, the activity itself was fun and relaxing, and such a good way to be together as a family. Plus, the house smelled amazing all day after doing this, like some kind of honey cake was baking in the oven all day- just sweet and warm like honey. Here’s what we did:
First, melt about 2 cups of pure beeswax in the top of a double broiler pan. Once the water is going at a low boil under the top pan, melt the wax until it is completely clear and flows freely. Never let the beeswax come to a boil! Very carefully transfer both pots (you want the hot water under the pan with the wax so that the beeswax doesn’t cool and harden during the duration of your dipping process) to a hot pad on a table that you have previously covered in parchment paper.
Carefully dip each leaf into the wax, completely submerging up to the stem, and hold up the leaf above the wax to allow drips to fall into the pan. Do not shake the leaf too hard, or the wax could splash you!
Lay each leaf on the parchment and allow to cool. This will happen almost instantly, then you can pick up the leaf and feel how “rubbery and fake” (Oliver’s words) it feels! The wax will prevent the leaves from losing their vibrant colors. As a result, you can preserve them for awhile and decorate your house for Thanksgiving!
Another option is to use a small thrifted crockpot (I’m totally going to pick one up next time I’m at Goodwill) to use only for crafts like this. That way, you don’t have to deal with any dried wax on pots and pans. The way I cleaned our pan was just reheating it until the beeswax melted again, pouring the excess into a jar, then wiping the pot well a couple of times with paper towels. If you do use a crockpot, clean the same way.
Now you can use the leaves however you want! Some ideas are to prop them up against the windowsill so the light comes through, or place them in a glass bowl as a centerpiece, or, if you’re like us, hang them from strings and as garland around your home! They lighten and brighten a room with their glowing warm colors.
I hung a bunch from our chandelier in our dining room and along the windows downstairs. I love how warm and cozy they look when the lights are turned on!
I am already looking forward to Thanksgiving, and getting ready to share another good project with you next week! Hope you have a wonderful Monday.