Hooray, it's officially Fall -- my favorite season! We received some long-awaited rain a couple of weeks ago, which turned Texan grasses green again and ushered in some properly autumnal temperatures... for a few days, anyway. Although the thermometer's climbed slightly since, the scorching summer heat appears to have abated, and we've been enjoying these pleasantly warm afternoons outdoors, observing nature's subtle signs that the season is, indeed, changing. 
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Kaspar wants to wear his water shoes year-round.
We've been sending up some signals ourselves, as well, to encourage the weather gods along: purchasing pumpkins for our front porch, steeping chai all day in order to fill our home with spice-smells, hanging a fall wreath on our door, and creating a seasonal centerpiece for our table (the centerpiece was all Kaspar -- an entire afternoon's search and assembly went into this activity, by the way; totally recommend). 
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Thanks for the lovely wreath, Erin M!
Maybe it's my New Hampshire upbringing talking, but, for my part, I'm all about the leaves at this time of year. In the absence of sweeping hillsides drenched in oranges and reds, my new fall philosophy is 'put a leaf on it' (pretty much just like this Portlandia skit, but with leaves). I impulse-bought leaf-shaped soaps for our bathrooms, enthusiastically encouraged Kaspar's votive-holder choice for our table, and, today, busted out a bottle of bleach for a Put A Leaf On It Pillowcase Project.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for the Before. Observe, Kaspar's perfectly fine pillowcase, already improved upon from its white-with-blue-stripes beginnings during a day of hand-dyeing action way back when. But what better way to further improve upon a job well done than to put a leaf on it, right? (Exactly.) So I gathered my materials. 
Materials: An old towel, an old rag or washcloth, bleach, a sheet of sticky-back vinyl (available at any craft store) and said pillowcase. (You can use anything made of cotton -- t-shirts, kitchen hand towels, backpacks... go crazy... Put a Leaf On It!)

Next, I drew, and cut out, some oversized leaf shapes from the vinyl. You could certainly collect leaves with your kids and trace them onto the vinyl for a more true-to-life Put a Leaf On It project, but bear in mind that super-precise shapes (lots of little points and indents) won't necessarily translate through the bleaching process. (This is why I supersized... but experiment! See what works.)

I then removed the paper backing from the vinyl shapes and stuck them where I wanted them on the pillowcase. I also put the towel, folded, inside the pillowcase, so as to prevent soaking-through when it came time to bleach. You'll notice some stars among my leaves. Because Put a Star on It needs no season, or reason... hence my various star tattoos, general bias toward anything sporting stars and perhaps even our current state of residence. (Stars are EVERYWHERE in Texas. Woot! ... Then again, so are republicans. Whoops.)

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The vinyl cutouts on the pillowcase.
(Be sure to press your vinyl shapes down pretty thoroughly. They won't stick as stubbornly as, say, duct tape, but you at least want to give any pointy areas some extra love so the bleach can't creep underneath.) Finally, I wet a corner of my washcloth/rag with bleach and dabbed around each shape. The color started lifting pretty quickly, so I could easily see what I was doing. I also worked efficiently to keep the color from lifting more than I wanted it to, or from getting under the vinyl and blurring my lines.
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The bleaching begins.
After a good (immediate) rinse -- during which the vinyl shapes fell off of their own accord -- and a few minutes in the dryer, the pillowcase was finished! I'll wash it before he actually sleeps on it, but here it is (below) on Kaspar's bed. He loves it! 
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The After!
How do you spruce things up for the season? What are some fun projects you recommend? Let the Put a Leaf On It rampages commence!
 





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