“The Falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold …….” Johnny Mercer Songbook
Red maple leaves are among the most brilliant right now. Most of them are already fairly dry but still pliable enough to be handled without shattering. If Hurricane Sandy is expected near you, maybe a quick leaf round-up is a good idea.
To keep their beauty, they can be preserved with wax. Melt some paraffin or beeswax either in a dedicated pan or in a makeshift double boiler arrangement as I have here. I have had this can of wax for a long time, not too much left.
Using tongs, dip the leaf quickly in and out of the wax Allow it to drip for a few seconds and place it on newspaper. The wax sets up very quickly and leaves a satiny sheen. The advantage of dipping them in wax is that they retain their natural shapes. Pressing between waxed-paper makes them flat.
Mama Nature creates the best designs of all. I’ve combined them with a stunning wood bowl from the Highlands of North Carolina on a old inlaid table. The first time I saw waxed leaves used in this casual, drifting manner was at Campo de Fiori (see “Shop Seven,” September archive).