Crafting Nature: Projects to Do in the Fall

Author's photo of leaf crayonI think it’s the stubborn in me, but at this time of year, instead of getting a jump on the Christmas season and having, oh, I don’t know, a RELAXED holiday for a change, I feel the urge to really dig down into the autumn leaves and embrace the glories of this season. I live in the north, and so the trees are a treasure to behold, the temperature is blissfully breezy and crisp, and I look dang cute in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt. So celebrate with me the apple harvest and my casual cuteness with these thematically-appropriate projects taken from some of my favorite Web sites:

  • If you’re ready to get your leaf on, sew up these simple but sophisticated leaves from Amy Butler Design. The fabric that’s used for the pattern photo is from the Amy Butler fabrics collection, and I like how it shows the interest that an unexpected fabric pattern brings to the leaf.
  • You’re not sick of pumpkins, are you? I think these Hostess with the Mostess paper pumpkin ornaments, which are unusual and really rather subtle, are not at all Halloween-y. They tell of the harvest season instead, a celebration of the bounty that will carry us through the winter–indeed something to give thanks for.
  • For more leaf worship, Plumpudding shows how to imprint leaves, bark, ferns, and other objects from nature into bakeable clay. I can imagine these as favors put next to each place setting at a Thanksgiving dinner, or grouped together in a dish on a coffee table, inviting closer investigation–perhaps with a good tree identification text?
  • I have a really problematic addiction to pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and one of my goals of the season is to find other delicious recipes for pumpkin, sort of to divert myself from those sugary, chocolately, oh-so-yummy fattening cookies–does that kind of strategy even work? Anyway, this recipe for Great Pumpkin Pasta from Posie Gets Cozy, even if it does not include chocolate chips OR sugar, is, well…great.
  • Man, is Martha Stewart all about the holidays or what? She really, REALLY wants you to use these paper turkeycut-and-paste stand-ups as placecard holders or a centerpiece for your “holiday table,” but I really want you to perch them all around your house in unexpected places–the back of the toilet, the sugar canister, the cubby that you put your car keys in. If you can make them pop out at people when they walk by, you totally get bonus points.

When I wrote my list of autumn art and crafts projects to do with kids, I spoke at length about how important I think it is for children to develop not just a sense of the seasons and how they ebb and flow, but also an awe for this process and a feel for it as something to be honored and celebrated. Bringing the seasons into our homes in a myriad of ways connects us to the earth, grounds us in its life processes, and brings us into greater touch with our own humble connections and seasonalities.

How do you celebrate the season?

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.


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