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Family & Friends Thanksgiving Book – Part I

I grew up in the Air Force. My family moved every  two to four years, and many times we were stationed far from where our extended family lived. My father was away for many holidays, leaving just my mother and me to celebrate alone.  Mom always tried to make the holidays special, but there was always an emptiness at the holiday table, or when we opened our gifts on Christmas morning. 

My fondest memories as a child being stationed close to where the extended family lived and we would celebrate the holidays with them.  My maternal grandmother was an excellent cook and she loved teaching her recipes to anyone who would spend time in the kitchen with her. (Needless to say, that is where I spent my time during those visits.) These were my favorite times and they are memories I will always cherish.  Unfortunately, my family wasn't a huge photo-taking group, so I don't have many pictures of those times. It saddens me that I cannot share those memories through pictures with my grandchildren.

This time of year those memories come out of hiding and I sit and reminisce about all those happy gatherings of days gone by.  Now, I have my own very large family, and the holidays are a special time when I can spend a few days with ALL the grandchildren gathered around me. Family is important to me, and as I was thinking about those cherished holidays of yesteryear, it occurred to me that I could make memories for our family now that my grandchildren can share with their children in the years to come. Thus, came the idea for my Thanksgiving Book.

We are going to make this book together; you and I, step-by-step over the next days. And after our Thanksgiving is over, I will finish the book with photos and share the end results with you.  I hope that this project can inspire you to come up with ideas to create projects that your family can look back on years from now with nostalgia and happy memories.

The Clay Leaves

1 block of Pearl Clay (Sculpey)
Leaf mold/cutter - large, medium & small (Lisa Pavelka)
Pasta Machine set on thickest setting (Amaco)
Acrylic Roller (unknown)
12" x 12" ceramic or marble tile
Clay Slicing Blade (Amaco)
Craft sheet (Ranger)
Chalk Inks: (Tsukineko)
     Red Brick
     Thatched Straw
     Pumpkin Spice
Perfect Pearls: Perfect Bronze (Ranger)
Small Paint Brush
Stove oven or Toaster oven
Semi-Gloss Acrylic Sealer (Krylon)


  1. Turn the oven on and set the temperature according to the manufacturer's directions. You can also use a toaster oven that you have dedicated to use for your craft projects.
  2. Condition the clay by working with your hands to soften it up a bit. Set the pasta machine on the thickest setting, then run the clay through the pasta machine several times.  On the last run through the pasta machine, take the clay and fold in half and lay on the tile. Use the acrylic roller to roll over the surface of the clay to bind the two layers together.
  3. Spritz the clay slab with water and cut out multiple sizes of leaves. (The water helps keep the clay from sticking to the mold.)
  4. Set the teflon craft sheet on the oven rack and place all the leaves on the craft sheet.  Bake according to manufacturer's directions.  Let cool.
  5. Using the chalk ink pads, apply several colors of the inks directly to the leaves to make them look like fall leaves. Use your finger to blend the colors - be careful not to muddy the colors.  Allow to dry overnight.
  6. Apply the Perfect Bronze Perfect Pearls to the leaves using the paint brush.  Brush off excess powders. Spray with Krylon Clear Acrylic sealer to finish. Let dry thoroughly.
  7. Set leaves aside to use as embellishments on the book.

Stay tuned for the next post where we will make the cover for our book!


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