Phantom or skeleton leaves are the ghostly remnants of the leaves that have waved on the trees in summer. They are troublesome to prepare, but are very pretty when finished. Gather the leaves when they are perfect, and then lay them in a large jar, filled with water. Leave them there until they decay, when the fleshy part of the leaves can be easily detached from the framework. The translucent, thread-like form of this delicate veined work is very beautiful. Having loosened the green part, bleach the remainder by infusion in a strong solution of soda. When quite white, bouquets or wreaths may be made of different leaves in combination, which may be arranged on a dark background, or set under glass.
Autumn Leaves and Ferns.
Happy hours may be passed, in gathering and pressing ferns and autumn leaves, with which to adorn the house when winter has made desolate the fields without.
Never have too many of these in one apartment, for ornament should always be subordinate, and no room should be smothered with either growing plants, or pressed leaves and ferns.
In preparing these, the brilliant maple and other leaves should be, after drying and pressing, dipped into thin wax, or varnished. When once safely prepared they may be hung about the rooms in such manner as may seem most ornamental. They can be, if desired, sewn on paper in suitable patterns, and framed under glass as winter pictures of the flown summer.
To prepare the leaves, press them immediately after gathering between old newspapers, or, if you have it handy, large sheets of blotting-paper, on which lay a thin, smooth piece of board. Take care to change the newspaper every day until thoroughly dry. Then wax or varnish as above directed.