Autumn is a great time for crafting. Nature helpfully provides endless free crafting supplies in the form of pine cones, twigs, seed heads and more. Here are just a few crafts to try this autumn.
Leaves can be used to make leaf rubbings, fairy doll outfits, fairies (use an old fashioned clothes peg with leaves for wings and clothes, and an acorn cup hat), wreaths and even chocolate leaves.
For the latter, paint the back of non toxic leaves with chocolate then peel the leaf away for an edible replica. Raspberry leaves are good, as are mint leaves. Only use fresh leaves to ease removal. Leave to chill in the fridge then peel the leaf away and decorate a cake with them (a chocolate cake with blackberry jam is a delicious alternative to Black Forest Gateau.)
Alternatively, make a chocolate wreath from them, on a base of chocolate sponge. The middle of the cake can be used to make chocolate truffles – just crumble and mix with melted chocolate and ground almonds or chopped nuts/dried fruit.
Apples are central to many folk traditions. Peeling an apple in one strip, in front of a mirror, then throwing it over your left shoulder apparently reveals the initial of your future spouse.
Apples are also associated with love, knowledge and abundance. They’re seen as magical fruit, in part because the fruit reveals a pentagram of seeds if cut in half.
Apple doll making is a fun autumn craft that’s also a great way to use maggoty or otherwise inedible apples.
Peel an apple then carve facial features. Use exaggerated strokes as the apple will shrink, resulting in a wrinkly face. Cut deep sockets for the eyes to allow you to insert either apple seeds, beads or googly eyes as the apple shrinks.
Soak the apple in a mixture of salt and lemon juice overnight to help preserve it, then thread a string, stick or pipe cleaner through the head and leave to air dry for a few weeks.
Alternatively, place the apple (without string/stick/pipe cleaner) in the oven on a low heat if you’re cooking a slow stew, or put it in a dehydrator to shrink.
Make a body for your apple doll by stuffing old tights, using pipe cleaners to strengthen the body/make poseable joints. Use fabric scraps to make clothes, and wool or thread for hair. Knot it in hanks then glue the knots to the doll’s hairline. I separate the threads of string to make curly hair.
Apple dolls are great for a Halloween display. They can also be great gifts for grandparents – if they’re not sensitive about their wrinkles!
Pine Cone Ornaments
A pine cone on its side makes an excellent hedgehog, with the addition of googly eyes. Upright, it can become a Christmas tree if you add beads. Glued together, you could even make a dragon.
You can also tie pine cones together to make festive wreaths, pile them up in bowls with fruit and nuts for festive centre-pieces or glue them to round plastic packaging to make a wreath.
Smaller cones can be used in autumnal bouquets.
Seed Pods are also beautiful in seasonal bouquets. They look lovely mixed with hedgerow berries; or paint them to emphasise their beauty and add colour.
Windy days are particularly good for finding natural crafting supplies – and if you litter pick too, you can help spread #LoveNotLitter – and get free bottles for making elderberry port.