Skeleton Leaves

 Greta and I played around with another Pinterest idea: turning leaves into skeletons. No, I don’t mean that they become the shape of a human skeleton. Instead, they lose the fleshy part of the leaf and all that remains is the skeleton of the leaf
It was fun to try it out, but I’m not sure it is worth it to me to go to all the work it takes to skeleton-ize them. 
The Pinterest pin was only in Japanese and photos so we had no instructions to read. But here’s what we guessed we were supposed to do: we put about one cup of washing soda (buy it in the laundry aisle) in a big pot, added a lot of water, and brought it to a boil. Then we tossed in leaves: dry, crisp ones; dry but not crisp ones; and even some green ones. We boiled and boiled them, two hours maybe?, until I decided that they would not come out of the pot with all the fleshy parts boiled away. 
By this time, the fresh green leaves had turned to mush – something like overcooked spinach. Well, that was a fail. Maybe they should have come out of the pot after 10 or 15 minutes.
I started taking leaves out one at a time, and laid them on a thick layer of paper towel. With an old toothbrush, I scrubbed on the backside of each leaf, up the center vein, and out each side vein. Eventually, I could see the fine veins appear. But it sure took a lot of scrubbing. And lots of holes appeared where, I assume, I scrubbed too hard.
I never got my leaves as “clean” as the Japanese photos showed, but maybe it was because I was using a different leaf variety. After they air-dried, I ironed the skeletons flat between sheets of waxed paper.
 
This isn’t a project that I plan to do again, unless someone can suggest a fabulous use for skeleton-ized leaves.
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