Collect fresh fallen leaves that are still soft and supple. I snipped off thick stems.
Place between two paper towels, on top of a pad of newspaper, on an ironing surface. You won't want the leaves to overlap.
Heat iron to it's highest setting, and turn the steam off. You want a hot and dry iron.
Press (on top of the paper towel) from about a minute to five minutes, checking occasionally to test for dryness. When you feel that they are almost right, flip them over, and iron the other side.
Next, pull of a sheet of regular kitchen waxed paper, twice the length that you need. Fold it in half and crease it down the center. Place it on top of a paper towel, place the leaves inside, fold the top half of the sheet over the leaves, add another paper towel, and press for 20 or 30 seconds. Turn the whole assemblage over, and press for 10 or 20 seconds, (we're just trying to get the wax onto the leaves, here). Pull the waxed paper apart while it's still warm, and remove the leaves. I repeated this step twice, because in my Internet search, several people mentioned that waxed paper isn't as heavily waxed as it used to be.
Voila! You have preserved Autumn Leaves for decorating!
I don't know how long they'll last, I only did it yesterday, but I know that this is a time honored practice. I have spoken to a few people (specifically, my 98 year old Grandmother) who remember that this was done. Grandma says, people used to do a lot of things like this. They didn't have any money, and beautification projects like this were free. The discussion included yo-yo quilts, and a paper decoration called a wasp's nest, which I am going to have her demonstrate for me again this week, and maybe I can show you. (crossed fingers, here) She says that her Mama always made wasp's nests out of wrapping paper, which, I think means, from the grocer, so think craft paper, tissue paper, or maybe butcher paper. . . maybe all three!
In a couple of days, I hope to show you the uses I found for my collection of incredible colored leaves, in spite of our climate!