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Fall Foliage

You Don't Have to Leave Those Gorgeous Leaves Behind. Preserve Them and Take Them With You.

It's oft been said, "You can't have your cake and eat it, too," but with leaves, you can enjoy autumn's gorgeous landscape of multi-hued leaves, and have them, too. You simply pick some that you like from a tree or off the forest floor and preserve them. How?

Easily. It's a low-maintenance treasure to remind you of your fantastic New England fall foliage getaway. There are a couple of ways to preserve leaves and their color.

Most leaves, when they fall, lose their water supplies within a day or two, making them brittle and hard to save, so if you take one off the ground, make sure it's still pliable.

The first step in leaf preparation is to put them between the pages of a thick book to flatten them and preserve the color.

When we first moved to Vermont from Connecticut, my wife was so taken by the colors during our first fall she picked a few leaves and placed them between the pages of a book. Not just any book, mind you. She put them in my thesaurus, a book as vital to a writer as is a scalpel to a surgeon.

There have been those times when I've opened the book to find a synonym for, say "platypus" only to discover a perfectly preserved leaf. But, she didn't know that the leaves could discolor the pages. "Icky to "illation" now have strange red hues on the pages on which those words appear.

Ideally, you should use a large book and keep them about fifty pages apart Putting them on contiguous pages won't flatten them as desired.

Thesaurus Leaf
This is the leaf my wife put in my thesaurus. Though she didn't follow the steps outlined in this story, the leaf, picked in 1999, still has its color today. It is brittle, but it survived being scanned, and, although it's lost some of its color, it's still pretty close to what it was like when picked.
If you go this route, you want a large tome that isn't often read—the biggest cookbook in your kitchen will do—but you should not just put them between the pages with nothing between leaf and page.

Sandwich one or two leaves (not overlapping each other) in paper towels for three days to keep the color from leeching onto the page. On the third day, replace the paper towels with fresh ones or use wax paper.

After seven to ten days, the leaves should be both flat and dried with the color preserved.

You can also dry them out in a microwave, but be careful. If they get too hot, they'll dry quickly and catch on fire.

Once you've done the initial work, you can keep what you've got, or, if they're not flat enough or you want to take their preservation to a higher level, you can put them between pieces of wax paper, and then place them and the wax paper in a cloth towel. You then iron them for a few minutes on both sides. This melts the wax from the paper, and that coats the leaves to further preserve them.

If you're new to great fall foliage, you can have your leaves and preserve them too.


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QuickStart Guide

Four Simple Steps to Planning the Perfect New England Getaway or Vacation.

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