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Colorful leaves in faux leather vase can be part of a fall craft this weekend.

"The leaves are definitely turning in New Hampshire," friend Judy Barlow reported to me this week in an e-mail, "and my three kids are always the first to point out the beautiful reds and golds in our neighborhood. But to the kids, it's not really an appreciation of nature — it's more a signal that their favorite holiday is coming (Halloween) and their favorite season (winter) is just around the corner.

"We take them for lots of hikes in the woods at this time of year," she wrote. "They collect the most beautiful leaves, and then we iron them between two sheets of wax paper to preserve them. Or they build fairy houses in the woods with leaves and twigs (dead materials only), and we check back later to see if any 'fairies' have visited."

If you are as inspired as I was by Judy's description of fall in New England, turn a new leaf on your family activities this week and enjoy the unparalleled entertainment autumn brings.

Get outside with your kids or grandkids, and if you come home with an armful of leaves, arrange them in a snazzy faux-leather vase — one your kids can create with a recycled jar, masking tape and shoe polish.

Here's how to make the vase to show off your fall finds: Save a glass mayonnaise or pasta-sauce jar, or you may prefer a taller vinegar or salad-dressing bottle for your leaf bouquet.

Wash the jar with sudsy water and remove labels.

When dry, tear off 1- to 2-inch pieces of plain masking tape and overlap in a random fashion, jagged torn edges and all, to cover the entire outside surface of the bottle.

Use a soft cloth to gently rub brown, tan or black shoe polish from a can over the masking tape to create a faux-leather finish. Arrange leaves and other finds in a bouquet and set in the vase. 

Find more recipes and family fun at donnaerickson.com. Write to Donna at Info@donnaerickson.com. © 2021 Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Synd.

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