I like to collect things. I collect pebbles from the lake shore. I collect shells from the beach. And I collect leaves in the fall.
However, I don't really care too much about the collection once I have it; it's the act of looking and sorting that I enjoy. I have recurring dreams where I am sorting through a pile of junk and find some kind of treasure in the bottom. My biggest thrill in life! What does that say about me? I don't know for sure, but I sometimes feel like I should be one of those people who is satisfied to just take a picture or just look and appreciate. But, no - I want the physical object itself. Maybe it is pure greediness, but I like to think it is my attempt to hold on (literally, I guess) to those fleeting moments of beauty - so startling in everyday life, kind of electrifying really.
Anyway, some of you probably did this little project in elementary school but I didn't discover it until after college. It's pretty simple. All you need is:
2 sheets of wax paper
Lay down a sheet of newspaper to protect the table or surface you are working on. Put down a sheet of wax paper on top of it. Arrange your leaves on top of the wax paper - taking care to leave some space between the leaf and the edge of the paper (maybe an inch?). Place the other sheet of wax paper on top and another layer of newspaper over that. Then iron the whole thing for a few seconds. The wax will melt together and seal in the leaves. They still won't last forever, sadly (but if they did, then we wouldn't appreciate them so much probably). They will last a few weeks. I hung mine in my windows to allow the sun to shine through the leaves. I would think that this probably contributes to their eventual decay, but it seems to be the best way to display them.