or, “what to do with all those conkers the kids keep bringing home!”
All through the summer, butterflies have danced across our wall, joined by some doves dangling from branches that the littlest two made at playgroup. But as the butterflies have gone from the garden so too it’s time to swap our bunting for something a little more seasonal. I keep trying to find somewhere where we could have a nature table, or some little collection of bits and bobs to mark the change in seasons, but anything on a surface low enough to be reached (and with Kitty that means almost all of them) gets co-opted back into their games, and there seems little point in having it too high for anyone to see. So bunting it is, hung between the two curtain rails in the lounge, visible, but not terribly touchable for tiny fingers.
I’ve been having a think about what to do for autumn for a little while but when the girls announced their intention to go conker hunting last weekend it all slotted into place. Conkers and leaves, perfect to take us through to Halloween and then the winter.
My first idea was simply to string up the conkers but beautiful though conkers undoubtably are, that’s just not enough colour for us, and as our latest Staedtler Try-it Tribe parcel came with vast amounts of FIMO I thought we would see if we could put it to good use.
The leaves are made from Orange, Green and Glitter Pink FIMO, mushed together to make a slightly more autumnal swirl of colours. We rolled the FIMO out to 1-2mm thick, popped it on a sheet of tin foil (top tip to stop it sticking to the tablecloth), then pressed leaves of various shapes and sizes down into the FIMO.
If you very carefully cut the FIMO away around the edges using a modelling tool or a blunt knife and then peel up the leaf you’re left with a beautiful print of all the veins underneath. For a final step I added two little holes at the top so that we could string them up, and into the oven they went.
That’s the short version anyway; I decided to have a first forray into vlogging and make a little how-to video on how to make the leaves. Does it count as a vlog if you can only see my hands? Anyway, all the details are here
Though it’s obviously me in the video, Kitty and Elma made most of the leaves for our bunting. Kitty at six could do it all herself, and Elma just needed a little help with cutting the edges away.
With the leaves cooking, we took our conker collection out into the garden and I ruthlessly stabbed them with a braddle to put holes in them. The holes were just big enough to fit a large darning needle threaded with the green and red stripy butcher’s twine that Father Christmas put in my stocking last year (having previously gone shopping at Berylune), although I found it handy to have my jewellery pliers to hand to pull it through if it ever got stuck. You do want to use something sturdy like butcher’s twine to string them up; conkers are pretty heavy en masse and even sturdy sewing thread would be unlikely to be able to cope.
Put it all together, and you have a very autumnal bunting.
As to how long it will last, well I’ve kept conkers around the house for ages before, but never conkers that have holes in, and realistically I doubt that this is going to last for ever. I have high hopes (based on childhood conker games) that it won’t rot and fall to pieces before the end of the autumn and then if I need to I can rescue the leaves and use them again next year.
But for now it’s hanging happily along the wall, a little autumn celebration for October.