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Jessica’s Garden: Pressing Matters – Making Wax Paper Place Mats

Pressed Leaves for Kid Crafting

I think that most would agree, as Marylanders we have had a fantastic Summer and Fall. The Summer never got too terribly hot and gradually and gracefully blended into Fall. And here it is now, mid-November and we are still not only enjoying beautiful weather, but also all the lingering fall color.

My husband and I just recently reconnected with a couple of old high school friends, who have since married, by coincidence at the park a few months ago. Since then, we have been regularly getting our young families together. A couple of weeks ago on a Mommy-play-date disguised as a day for the kids, we wandered around their wooded property collecting colorful leaves for pressing. The kids enjoyed the mild weather, open running space and the clean fresh air. We spent some time milling around the yard before going inside to press the leaves in a heavy book.

The Kiddos and their Place Mats

This week we checked on the leaves and they were crisp and dry; ready for the next play date adventure. As a child, I remember making wax paper place mats with my mother from pressed flowers and leaves.

So with wax paper in hand, the kids designed their own place mats from the leaves and markers and afterwards my girlfriend Melanie and I gently ironed them, sandwiching the leaves between two same-sized pieces of wax paper, with an iron on a low setting and a tea towel buffering the wax paper from direct contact with the iron.

This turned into a great activity with the kids whose ages range from two to almost seven. We spread the leaves out in the center of the dining room table and let them sort through and create; a stress-free and easy clean-up project — my favorite kind.

This week was also very exciting for me as I conquered a ‘first’—I participated in my first craft show ever this past weekend at Behnke Nurseries 7th Annual Craft Show.

Craft Booth at Behnkes

Not only did I enjoy every minute, I was so pleased and proud to haul out all my crafting creations and let people sift through and see some of the little things that bring me joy. And I also want to say thank you to all the people who approached me and said such kind words to me regarding reading and following my articles. It means a lot to know that people get a spark of enjoyment from reading about my day-to-day mishaps and adventures.

Pallet Art Projects
Pallet Art Projects

After the craft fair this Saturday, I spent a portion of Sunday catching up on some of my promised pallet wall hangings intended for holiday gifts. Until recently, I highly underestimated the potential crafting possibilities presented by an old pallet. Who knew that a pallet was so versatile? One of my future pallet to-do projects is a bar/prep station constructed out a couple of pallets and some home improvement store hardware.

Land of the Free Pallet Art
Land of the Free Pallet Art

For now I’ve mostly been making wall hangings from them by breaking out a crowbar and hammer and a healthy dose of girl power. And a few bandaids. They require deconstruction and reconstruction before I paint, stencil and add hardware to them. I’ve been mostly making patriotic themed ones as they are what I most frequently get requests for. But I’ve been making others and attaching fun and funky ceramic and wood knobs. I should know better than to underestimate the potential offered by something old and rusty; it’s what usually turns out the most interesting and full of character.

Check out my Etsy shop ToadstoolsandThyme to see some of my most recent pallet creations.

Posted By: Jessica J. Crawford Behnkes Garden Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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