As the temperature cools and the sun sets earlier, the gift giving season is creeping around the corner and staying inside with my art supplies is both inevitable and exciting. Fall is, personally, my favorite time of year. I love the crisp air, the leaves changing colors, warm drinks, and of course, crafting. This fall, I want to share with you a variety of activities and crafts that I love to do during this time of year. A gentle reminder for those of you who are making gifts this year: there are roughly 60 days until the holidays, so make sure to pace yourself!
Leaf Garland is a tradition that my partner and I started a couple of years ago. One of our favorite things about the fall are the beautiful leaf colors. When we see a particularly bold colored tree we’ll take a small paper bag and collect leaves off the ground that are still bright, whole, and not crunchy yet. We try to make the garland the same day we collect the leaves to avoid them drying out and becoming too crispy to work with. We’ll then thread a needle (the thread can be any length of your choosing) and then start poking the needle through a thicker part of the leaf stem. We’ll usually keep about 1.5 inches between our leaves, but there are no rules and you can choose the spacing that looks best to you. Once all the leaves are threaded all that’s left is to hang your garland!
Carving Pumpkins is a classic for a reason. Whether you make it an event and go to a pumpkin patch, or if you just run to the store, picking up a pumpkin to carve is one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes I go in with an idea of what I want to carve and I look for a pumpkin that will fit my needs. Other times, I pick the pumpkin first and then decide what I’ll carve later. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it. Next up is your design. I either freehand my design if it’s simple like a face, or I’ll buy a pattern to use if it's more complex, though if you’re confident you can also freehand a more complex design. When I cut open the top, I’m mindful to make sure the opening is big enough to fit my hand in (while you can always shave more off, it can make it difficult to fit the top back on so try to make it big enough the first time), and I will also add a notch so that I can easily see where the top goes back on. Gut out your pumpkin (keep the seeds to clean and bake if you'd like some yummy snacks later). Draw, punch, or tack your design in place and start carving! Once done, add a candle (real or fake) and set it up in a good location for showing off your project such as a step or a windowsill.
Soup Making is a favorite fall activity here at Craft Theory. Every Thursday, we here at Craft Theory take turns making soup at work (tune into our lives on Craft Theory’s facebook every Thursday at 10:30 to see who’s making what soup that day!). My favorite soup to make in the fall is a vegetarian chili. I love to mix both pinto and black beans in mine as a protein, plus a few other ingredients such as carrots, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and bell peppers. I'll add chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and bay leaves as well. Toss everything into a crockpot and add some water to get your desired thickness. Let it sit for a few hours and then enjoy. Add some cheese, sour cream, or cilantro on top for a little extra flavor at the end. I love this recipe because it can be as simple or as complex as you'd like, and the ingredients are adjustable to almost any diet or preference. (Question for the reader: is Chili a soup, stew, or its own thing?)
Textile Crafting is a broad category of activities, and is one of my favorites especially on those rainy cool days that are a little too chilly to be outside. I’ll light a candle or two, crack the window for some rainy ambiance and pick a playlist to fit my cozy vibes. Some of my favorite textile crafts for the fall include crochet, knitting, embroidery, and hand mending. Mending in particular has become a fun fall tradition. Throughout the spring and summer I’ll put aside any clothes that need repairing. If they need to be hemmed, darned, or have a stain that needs to be covered, I set them to the side to work on during the fall and winter months. This has been a fun thing to do that also helps the environment by extending the life of clothing I already have.
Watercolor Painting is an activity for any time of year, but I enjoy doing it in the fall because of the vibrant colors. When there’s a sunny day in the fall and I’ve got the day off, I love to try and go to the park with a sketchbook and watercolors to practice recreating the rich colors and cozy beauty of fall. I can practice bigger shapes like multiple trees, or I can focus on something a little smaller like a single leaf. Though I use watercolors, this technique is adaptable to a variety of mediums. Other good options are paints, markers, colored pencils, and crayons. Choose whichever medium you like best, or branch out and try something new. This can be fun by yourself or with friends and family! My favorite park for the colors is Wright Park in Tacoma. Where is your favorite place to see the colorful fall trees?
As the crisp autumn air settles in and the leaves transform into a vibrant tapestry, it's a great time to embrace the cozy comforts that this season brings. Whether it's collecting some leaves for a garland or going to a park to create fall inspired art, autumn offers us an opportunity to appreciate the beauty around us. As the days grow shorter and cooler, I invite you to think about what sort of endeavors you enjoy in the fall, and let us know in the comments what some of your favorite fall activities and crafts are!
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