Friday, January 25, 2013

How to preserve those lovely fall leaves: puzzle glue

I wanted to create tree costumes with real fall leaves. So I looked up how to preserve leaves. I found several  websites/blog posts that described how people did this, such as


I was apparently too late for the glycerin, where you allow the leaves to suck up the glycerin, thereby dooming (or deeming immortal) the leaves to perpetual natural beauty. I thought laminating would give an  artificial look. Dipping them in wax sounded, logically, difficult, as liquid wax is, necessarily, HOT and destructive to fragile tissues. So I decided just to press them in books for a start and then decide after how to continue.

Into the books they went, for about two weeks. Then I pulled them out and they looked wonderful. Flat, unbroken, not yet brittle. Seeing them like that, I decided go for what sounded like the most natural-looking result: wax them.

I went to the trouble of getting waxed paper (they seem to not have this in Germany) and proceeded to iron them between two pieces of waxed paper. With this method, you leave the leaf between the two sheets of waxed paper and cut around the leaf. This looked like crap: the colors were muted and the feeling of the leaf was lost. So I removed the paper and discovered that the wax left on the leaf from ironing was enough to preserve it (albeit for an unknown period of time). And since I was left with just a leaf, it looked completely natural, as if I had picked it directly from the tree.

However, since it was going to have to live a little as a costume, I wanted to give the leaf a bit more strength. After wandering around my house a few times looking for inspiration, I thought of the puzzle glue we had once used: it was a milky liquid that dried clear and flexible. Sounded perfect.

And it was. Quick and easy, with the natural-looking result I wanted. Everyone complimented our costumes - some people even thought our trees were REAL TREES!

Just kidding.


A new year, a new post. I guess I figured I've got 12 months in this "new year" - so why hurry??

I just told my daughter that if she practices singing with the karaoke player, she'll get better. WHAT AM I THINKING??!!

Just kidding. I love it that they want to sing. Those voices will not frustrate me. The screaming and fighting voices, though, I could do without. So I will support the lesser evil.

No, this post will not be about the lesser evil. Although, it's true, I've got that "gun guntrol" post that I am working on/haunts my brain, and I'm sure there's a "lesser evil" theme in that one somewhere. But it's not even CLOSE to being finished yet.

Hmmm...So what will this one be about?

Rambling nonsense. Could be a good goal. Should probably keep it brief, then.

That's it. I'm still alive. Still writing. Schimpfwörter on my phone for the gun rights people, mostly. But writing.

So you'll hear from me soon.