The Falling Leaves Collection Wallpaper & Timeline Cover



Welcome to The Falling Leaves Project! While I've only been working on this project for about 3 weeks, it's been forming in my mind for a few years.

I used to study plant geography. What drew me into this science is identifying tree species by leaf anatomy, seed type, etc. Although I made the switch to artistic endeavors after graduation, I'm left with the life-long habit of checking out every tree I walk under.

I love living in Michigan where the trees shed their leaves every autumn. One part of The Falling Leaves Project is to collect leaves as they have fallen from the trees - I will not pluck leaves that are still attached. For that reason, not all of the leaves from my collection will be 100% perfect - there may be a tiny hole, a few spots, or a small tear. That's nature though, isn't it? These leaves go through a lot, so it doesn't make sense to me to alter reality in my collection.

The most difficult part of The Falling Leaves Project is identifying each leaf. A few of these I found in a forest preserve where the trees are dense and it's difficult to tell which tree the leaf came from. I have to rely on my leaf anatomy knowledge to get an I.D. Without a professor to correct me (like I had in the old days) I can only hope I'm right.

The bulk of the project - what this collection is actually for - I am keeping under wraps for the time being; but for now I thought I would share with you a sample of my collection.  Keep a little bit of fall with you, even when you're online!

Free Falling Leaves Desktop Wallpaper download

Click a link to download your size: 1280 x 1024 wallpaper | 1366 x 768 wallpaper

Free Falling Leaves iPhone 5 Wallpaper download


Click link to download: Falling Leaves iPhone 5 wallpaper

Free Falling Leaves Facebook Timeline Cover download



Do you have a favorite tree species? What are your favorite leaf shapes? I think oak leaves are really cool, but I think tuliptrees are my favorite.

A September Thank you!


September was a great month here on She Makes a Home, and I have three amazing sponsors to thank for that!

First, I want to welcome back Kreativ Case! Kreativ Case is a creative powerhouse for custom phone cases - you may remember seeing them in last year's Snowed In Magazine. It's hard to believe, but the holiday season is once again upon us, and Kreativ Case is getting ready with new selections of Halloween phone cases and Christmas phone cases!


I love the Aztec Christmas Case design - which one is your favorite?

It was also a treat to have Artsy Clay a part of the blog this month. Last month I gushed about their custom pet portraits, but this month I am drawn to these autumnal pendants:


The petite skull earrings are my favorite - they make me wish I wore earrings! There are many gift ideas in shop, and Artsy Clay is still running their special for She Makes a Home readers! 15% off any purchase of $12 or more. Use the code FALL2014 through November 30th. What would you gift with this code?

Finally, Picklist.me continues to promote Etsy shops, and you can join for free! With Etsy changing their homepage for most visitors and the future of promotion via treasury in the air, Picklist.me is a fantastic place to start promoting outside of Etsy. Picked items on Picklist.me also get promoted on Pinterest, so their service reaches an audience outside of the site.


Now it's your turn: if you're an Etsy shop owner, which items from your own shop would you choose to promote? Which products do you most want people to see? Share them below in the comments!

Three Things Thursday: Sugar Cookies, Flowers, and Agate


They're the top three things that I love this week. They may be sweet, they may be smart, or they may be just to eat... 

► Aren't these the most amazing sugar cookies? I'll admit that I'm a bit of a sugar cookie snob, and I stick to my family's own sugar cookie and buttercream frosting recipe; however, The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle blog features cookies that I can only describe as a work of art. There is so much skill and detail involved in this work, as you tell with these Mini Pumpkin Pie Cookies. I like that they don't even require cookie cutters, which is a nice time-saving aspect of the tutorial. 

Hedgerow Rose has been on Etsy almost as long as I have, so it's a wonder how I'm just now stumbling into this beautiful shop. I think one of the biggest mistakes an Etsy shop owner can make is to fill it with too many different kinds of products, spanning multiple categories. Laurie of Hedgerow Rose has found a way to carry jewelry, prints, photography, vintage items, crowns, and crafting supples in her shop so that everything looks like it was meant to be together. It's like a dream garden, where you might have tea, wear some fabulous earrings, and take a lesson in nature photography. My personal favorite item from her store is the Dark Florals stretched canvas print, pictured above. On top of all this, Laurie shares gardening knowledge on her blog - I found "Types of Roses" and "Roses 101" to be quite useful posts!

► Finally... I love this DIY Gold-Brushed Agate Napkin Holder kit on Darby Smart. I've placed a couple of orders with Darby Smart already, and I'm quite impressed with their customer service. Customer service is a HUGE deal to me, so I'm more likely to keep shopping with a store that treats me as well as they do. There are quite a lot of craft kits to choose from on Darby Smart, including a $19/mo mystery box subscription (which I have yet to try). This craft caught my eye because it is one of those projects that is super-simple, but has lovely results. I'm doing all handmade gifts for the holidays this year, so I think the agate napkin holders would make a beautiful gift to my newlywed sister, or as a housewarming gift for a friend. 


Interested in trying out Darby Smart? You can get $10 off your first order with the code "howdydarby", and I get a few bucks to spend on Darby Smart, too, when you use my link!

20 DIY Projects & Recipes to Welcome Fall


I'm a typical Great Lakes girl who loves having her four seasons, my favorite being fall. To celebrate the beginning of cooler weather and a changing menu of in-season items, here are 15 projects and recipes to inspire you.

Taste of Autumn Scone Recipes; + a Sunday Brunch Menu


As part of the September Sunday Brunch bridal shower I threw for my sister last weekend, I wanted to share with you the full brunch menu, as well as the scone recipes I used. This menu was for 30-40 people:


The Menu
  • 20 tortellini skewers
  • 20 caprese skewers
  • 3 quiches: spinach and feta; cheddar; crustless parmesan asparagus
  • Doughnut "cake" with diamond cutout topper: 12 large, assorted doughnuts, 12 assorted smaller doughnuts
  • 45 scones in 3 flavors: pumpkin spice; maple & brown sugar; lemon rosemary
  • Fruit tray of assorted apple slices, grapes, and caramel dip
  • Bagel bar: 26 large bagels from Big Apple Bagels, cut in half. Homemade pumpkin cream cheese; plain cream cheese; garden vegetable cream cheese; apricot jam

Drinks included: 2 gallons of ice lemon water; 1.5 gallons of iced coffee; 2 gallons of orange juice; 1 gallon of apple cider; plus 4 bottles of champagne for those who want mimosas.

To preface: these recipes are meant to make 8 regular-sized scones. I actually produced 16 scones from each recipe, as I split the dough in half to make 16 mini scones:

Pumpkin Pie Scones

ingredients
2 cups of flour
1/3 cup of brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg

* don't have pumpkin pie spice? Try a mixture of nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Add cold, thinly sliced or cubed butter, and mix into dry mix with a pasty blender. You can use a fork or your fingers if you don't have a pastry blender, Mix until it is uniformly course.

Mix the pumpkin, milk, egg, and vanilla together in a smaller bowl; add wet ingredients to larger bowl of dry ingredients, and mix until fully incorporated.

Using floured hands, remove scone dough from bowl and place on floured surface. For 8 large scones, roll ball into a flat disk, and cut into 8 equal wedges. For 16 mini scones, break dough into 2 halves. Roll into a ball, and flatten each ball into a disc. Cut discs into 8 equal wedges, for 16 mini wedges.

Place wedges on parchment-lined baking pan, and bake for 8-10 minutes for mini scones; 10-12 minutes for larger scones; or until toothpick comes out clean.

Maple & Brown Sugar Scones

ingredients
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add cold, thinly sliced or cubed butter, and mix into dry mix with a pasty blender. You can use a fork or your fingers if you don't have a pastry blender, Mix until it is uniformly course.

Next, add maple syrup and eggs; mix to combine fully.

Using floured hands, remove scone dough from bowl and place on floured surface. For 8 large scones, roll ball into a flat disk, and cut into 8 equal wedges. For 16 mini scones, break dough into 2 halves. Roll into a ball, and flatten each ball into a disc. Cut discs into 8 equal wedges, for 16 mini wedges.


Place wedges on parchment-lined baking pan, and bake for 10-12 minutes for mini scones; 12-18 minutes for larger scones; or until toothpick comes out clean.

Spiced Icing Drizzle

This drizzle can be poured onto both flavors of scones.

ingredients
1 cup powdered / confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk


Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a glass measuring cup. Gently pour icing in thin, drizzled strips across tops of scones when they are cooled. Allow icing to set and slightly harden before storing scones.

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