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Enjoy fall leaves throughout year

Colorful leaves are made into magnets.
Colorful leaves are made into magnets.
King Features Syndicate

It's autumn! I love to walk in my neighborhood this time of year and take in the breathtaking, colorful foliage bursting from the trees. A drive through the countryside can be even better. But the season always breezes by too quickly. All it takes is a windy day or a sudden downpour, and those crimson leaves on the trees become a wet, soggy carpet of yuck on the street and sidewalk.

Before the leaves in your area are blown away and gone, collect your favorites and turn them into these beautiful and personalized leaf magnets to enjoy year-round on a magnetic notice board or your refrigerator door.

Choose colorful leaves with stems, such as maple, oak or aspen. Press the leaves by first spreading them out between sheets of smooth paper toweling or newspaper. Then place heavy books on top and let the leaves dry for about a week. (If leaves aren't available in your area, you can still make the magnets by cutting out colorful construction paper in leaf shapes.)

Draw pictures on the pressed leaves using nontoxic paint pens, acrylic paints or permanent markers. You may wish to draw a fall scene or your house, or simply follow the interesting patterns on the leaves and highlight them. If you use the leaves for refrigerator magnets, draw a picture on each one to illustrate the themes of particular notices. For example, draw a sports logo for a football schedule, an apple for a grocery list, a school building for special events, etc. Let dry.

Place each leaf or paper-cutout leaf between 2 adhesive laminating sheets (available at office-supply stores). Trim the laminate around the leaf with scissors. Place 2 or 3 short strips of self-sticking magnets on the backside. Hang on the refrigerator door.

Note: You may also create the real-leaf magnets with clear varnish instead of laminating paper. An adult should paint 2-3 coats of varnish over the leaves and stems, one side at a time, in a well-ventilated place.

Write Donna with your questions and ideas at Donna's latest book, "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families," is available in bookstores nationwide. © Donna Erickson Distributed by King Features Syndicate