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Fall has been just spectacular in the Berkshires. In the leaf-peeping industry, bus tours to the New England area always try to come during the two traditional peak weeks (second and third week in October), when most of the trees have turned their vibrant colors and the trees are still full with leaves.   This year, the entire month of October was peak viewing!  The moderate temperatures kept the leaves in the yellow-orange color spectrum with an occasional fire red tree tossed in for a surprise.  Week after week, the leaves refused to fall off and I kept on taking picture after picture of beautiful trees.  I selected a variety of leaves for my art class to use when we did leaf rubbings with crayons and then the children filled each leaf in with watercolors.  My son collected (ok I collected most of them!) over ten black and rust brown woolie bears for a school project, created a habitat, and faithfully fed them apples and dandelion leaves and soaked white cotton balls with water so that they could drink. In this spirit of fall, I created my second treasure box from a recycled cigar box.  I kept it simple at first with a golden orange maple leaf on the top with a dark brown border.  If you look closely, you will see a woolie bear on the front right of the box.  Inside, I continued the fall colors with four more leaves in a pile. I imagine someone using this treasure box to keep those mementos that help us remember the passing of the seasons.

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Monarch butterfly treasure box

Monarch butterfly treasure box

Two summers ago we spent a wonderful week in the Adirondack Mountains at Fourth Lake http://www.viistadirondacks.com. Besides keeping busy with swimming, tubing, fishing and boating, my youngest sister Jeanette created a treasure hunt for her nieces and nephew. They all had fun following the clues to the final treasure box. My sister had purchased four different cigar boxes at antique shops and my mom painted an Adirondack scene on each one. Inside the treasure boxes the kids found special items including a teddy bear the size of a quarter! My children still keep their treasure boxes on the top of their desks and they will always remember their Adirondack treasure hunt.
Inspired by these boxes, I recently ran across a cigar box at an antique shop and decided to put my artistic skills to use creating a treasure box. I selected a Monarch butterfly to adorn the top because not only are they a beautiful butterfly with their vibrant orange color, but it seems like they keep on popping up – I just saw a cluster of wooden Monarch butterflies in the window display at Anthropology http://www.anthropologie.com in NYC this weekend. While creating this treasure box I incorporated the original cigar box label as the background for the butterfly, and I mimicked the bold white dots on the Monarch’s wings on two black designs that wrap around the box. What treasure can you imagine being stored in this treasure box? It is my latest addition to http://www.mjnicole.com