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A DIY Fall-Inspired Gift: Painted Acorns, Leaf-Shaped Gift Tag and a Box of Autumn Harvest Ginger Cookies
It's during this time of season that I can't help but gather fallen acorns and leaves in order to make a few crafts. Fall is my mother's favorite time of year and because she lives in Florida, my findings make for a perfect gift.
Gifts Made More From the Heart, Than From the Wallet
One of the great things about gifts partly created from nature is that they are inexpensive. I had most of the supplies on hand in order to make this present. I only needed to buy a few additional items, but those, too, cost me very little money.
While taking our dogs for a hike, my husband helped me fill a small bag of acorns. I gathered more than what I would need (just in case). I plucked a few leaves from the trees that lined our hike and set out crafting after we arrived back at home.
The first thing that I needed to do was separate the acorns from their caps. I wanted to be certain that I could later fit the correct cap back on each acorn so I lined the acorns next to it's partner.
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Painting the Acorns
We had collected quite a variety of acorns. Big, tiny, narrow and a few small clusters. A few of the acorns were beginning to rot, so I discarded them. (1) I made a pile of the acorns that I would use and began to (2) gently unscrewed the cap.
(3) As I mentioned, I lined the acorns along with their suitable caps in a row.
(4) I selected the paint colors that I wanted to use (I chose three different colors) and began (5) painting each acorn. It was necessary to paint the acorns a few times with the latex paint in order to get the acorns a rich, solid hue. I placed the acorns on a torn sheet of aluminum foil which prohibited the drying acorns from sticking.
After 3-4 coats of paint, the acorns were completed. (6) Using a glue gun, I glued the caps back onto each acorn and let them dry while I prepared to paint my gift box.
Painting Your Gift Box
(1) Plain white gift boxes can be found at your local craft supply store. These types of boxes are useful for so many purposes, that I often have a few on hand.
(2) If you don't have leaf punches, like these, or you can't seem to find shapes that you like, you can print shapes from your computer (Google leaf shapes, for example) and then simply cut them out. I have two leaf punches, one that's an inch large, the other a half inch.
(3) You could use a single color for your painted leaves or combine several colors to create your own. Rather than purchase another green shade, I took the two bright greens that I had and added a touch of black to deepen it.
(4) Before I began to paint my gift box, I practiced on a piece of scrap paper. This is a step you may not want to avoid, especially if you are mixing your own paint color. I also wanted to be sure that my paint wouldn't leak through the template because I only used a medium stock paper from which I punched the leaf shape. It worked well, although, I did need to let the template dry every now and again.
(5) I began to randomly paint leaves around each side of the box, as well as, (6) the lid. I was sure to paint a few of the leaves on the box corners. Before I could continue to paint more leaves on different sides of the box, I needed to let the paint dry. By allowing the paint to dry slightly, I didn't risk smudging and ruining my efforts.The entire box took me less than an half hour.
Painting a Corner Leaf
I was able to use the same leaf punch-out for the corners of my gift box. Once you've made sure that the template is dry, place it along a corner and hold down snugly. Rather than draw your paint brush over the template, blot with your brush instead. This will help prevent paint from seeping under the template.
Making a Leaf Gift Tag
This gift tag is very, very simple. Trace a leaf that you've collected from the outdoors onto a piece of cardstock paper and cut it out.
Another idea that would have been nice; Press a real leaf within the pages of a heavy book for a few days until dry.
Once I had finished painting the acorns and the box and making my gift tag, I was ready to assemble my package. I found a coordinating ribbon at my nearest arts store and tied it around the lid of the box. Then, using a glue gun, I fashioned the acorns on the top, securing them both on the box lid and the ribbon.
When I'd glued all the acorns on, tucked the gift tag under the ribbon and folded it slightly over the box.
Molasses, Ginger Cookies:
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/ 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon minced candy ginger
- sugar for sprinkling
- Mixing Method - Creaming | baking911.com
Creaming is one of the most important steps in baking. It incorporates the maximum amount of air bubbles created by the sugar as it's beaten with the butter or shortening, so a recipe will rise in the oven and be light in texture when baked.
- Cream together the 1 cup of sugar and the shortening.
- Mix in remaining ingredients (except the sprinkling sugar).
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Heat oven to 375. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a well-floured counter (this dough, although refrigerated, is quite sticky).
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut leaf shapes into dough or use a leaf-shaped cookie cutter.
- Place cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet approximately an inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. There should be no indentation on the cookie when touched.
- Allow cookies to cool on wire rack before packaging.
The Faceted Flavors of Ginger
For this recipe, I've used three different kinds of ginger. Minced bits of candied ginger remain after the cookies have finished cooking and add a nice texture.
Fresh ginger has an element of heat to it, as does the ground ginger.
This is a spicy cookie that is delicious with a hot cup of black tea.