Thursday, November 8, 2012
Nieces, leaves and lots of wax
Not too infrequently, we get to have my brother’s two girls spend the night and this week we got to keep them for a few days! They love to come over, which makes me so happy. We usually always bake something (pizza this week) and then I try to have a ‘craft’ they can take home. It’s the teacher in me, I guess.
When I know they’ll be coming, I start searching the internet for something fun to make. One of my boards on Pinterest is dedicated to these visits! Just as with recipes you try for the first time, things don’t always go perfectly smoothly.
Monday we picked the girls up from school and headed home for a snack. The minute they walked in the door, they started asking what we were going to make. I told them we needed to take a walk first to collect some leaves and we headed out into the sunshine carrying leaf-collecting sacks. The only rule was you couldn’t pick anything from someone’s trees or bushes.
Someone in our neighborhood has this ‘Little Free Library’ attached to their raspberry trellis. How cool is that? When the girls opened the door, they were a little disappointed that there were only ‘baby books’ inside. We’ll check back and take some books to leave inside for someone else…
Of course Uncle Jeff brought his camera and had lots of help finding things to take pictures of.
“Jeff! Take a picture of this leaf with these drops of water on it!”
“Jeff! Look at these berries! Take a picture of these!!”
“Oooooh! A spider web with rain drops on it! Take a picture of this!”
That’s the fun thing about doing stuff like this with kids – they see things you might have missed.
So we filled several bags with leaves and headed home for step 2.
After we washed and dried several hundred leaves (okay, maybe only 100 but there were leaves everywhere), we melted a brick of household wax on the stove in one of those disposable foil baking pans. No one told me you should probably use two, one inside the other, just in case you might have bought the cheap ones and it might have a hole in it. We watched in fascination as the wax melted and then smoke began rising from the burner below. Before I realized what was happening, wax had melted through the undetected hole in the pan and dripped into the interior of the stove and all over the stovetop.
We don’t have any photos of this.
We quickly got a second pan under the first and managed to keep enough wax in it to complete the project. Clean up would happen later after a different internet search on ‘best way to deal with melted wax spills.’ Let’s just say that wax might be second only to tree sap on the list of the worst messes in the world.
Anyway… I stayed calm and carried on.
So each leaf was held by its stem and dipped quickly into the wax. The goal was to get a light coating on both sides. Some had more than others which makes them turn sort of opaque and white and I may have said with a little too much enthusiasm “Take it out! Take it out!”
The girls kept wanting to shake their leaf after they dipped it - probably because it looked exactly like it had water dripping from it - and when droplets of wax were flying onto the counter, canisters, cupboards and anyone walking by, I may have whispered “Try not to shake it!” I was on wax overload by now.
I’ll admit it - I have issues in the kitchen.
The coated leaves were laid out on waxed paper, ready for hanging the next day.
We tied the stems along a piece of thread for hanging in a window… the leaves shine with the light behind them and they’ll last until it’s time to decorate for Christmas! Each girl took home a garland and a box full of waxed leaves.
So if you’d like someone to come over and help your children create a beautifully preserved window display… don’t call me. I may not have my technique down pat.
But I’d do it again with these two!