Autumn is upon us once again, leaving most of us with more crispy, colorful leaves than we can handle. Sure, they make a decent mulch additive, but wouldn't it be great if there were something creative we could do with them besides the old rake and burn? Here are some alternatives.
Have Fun with Fall Foliage
Spice it up! Apple and Maple leaves can impart apple or maple flavors to a BBQ supper when added to an outdoor, cooking fire. Bag 'em up! Send some colorful leaves to a friend or relative living in Hawaii or Alaska; they always get a kick out of such "exotic" treats.
Hot-glue dozens of leaves to a wreath base, easily obtained at any craft store. Add a few seed pods for an especially lovely door decoration. Make a bouquet by attaching single leaves to straw or bamboo skewers and arranging them in a vase.
Slip one special leaf into a grandchild's Halloween card. Pile the prettiest leaves in a basket or in a clear, glass lamp base for an instant falltime centerpiece. Alternate leaves and cranberries on a string for a gorgeous swag that can be draped over a curtain rod or wrapped around a banister. Powder especially fragrant leaves into an incense and burn it on coal disks.
Last but not least, use fall foliage as the stuffing for a scarecrow.
Build Your Leafy Scarecrow
Begin building your scarecrow by jamming a broom handle into either the ground or a large, dirt-filled bucket. Cut a 2-inch hole in the crotch of the pants. Safety-pin the pant legs closed. Slide the pants onto the broom handle and generously fill the legs with leaves. Jam the ends of the pant legs into the boots. Safety-pin the shirt to the pants, button it to the neck, and stuff it with leaves. Pin gloves to the ends of the sleeves and stuff them with leaves.
For the scarecrow's head, a burlap sack is best, but a brown, paper grocery bag will do. Stuff it full of leaves and then sculpt it into more or less the shape of a head. Tuck the bag end into the shirt and fix it with safety pins.
Use acrylic paints to make a face. (Poster paints will suffice if you live in a super-dry area.) Attach the hat to the head with safety pins and there you go—an easy Scarecrow to guard your yard from all those scary ghoulies and ghosties.