Pass the Doily From the Left-Hand Side

Spring Craft Shows Offer Easy Gifts and Local Support

Whether you’re seeking some homemade candles, a huggable handcrafted toy or two, or just something made with absolute love and care, spring craft shows are the places to go. Unlike fall craft shows, which are usually held outdoors in the Midwest, spring craft shows often take place inside high schools, YMCAs, or other local centers in order to protect patrons from falling rain. This also allows patrons a place to safely browse without worrying about dropping a wallet or money outside, or having a gust of wind whisk it away.

This weekend, Lindbergh High School in St. Louis, MO is one of many schools hosting a spring craft show. My best friend will be there helping out, and she tells me that it’s a wonderful place to get little surprises for the perfect Easter basket. It’s also the perfect place, she points out, to simply wander around and browse during a rainy weekend, checking out each vendor’s wares in a more personal version of window shopping. These can also be fun events for girls’ days out, or for the whole family to enjoy.

The candles are always my favorite craft show attraction. There are two local candle makers that I happen to love very much. One of them, Harvest Glow, even has a website. They both create natural soy candles that smell better than any other I’ve ever encountered, and they burn for longer as well. We buy them in mason jars; my aunt buys them by the box! Although they tend to be more expensive, they are well worth the price.

When you attend a spring craft show, be sure to bring a few totes along to carry any purchases you might make. While some sellers may have bags or boxes available for you, others may not. You might also want to be sure to have cash on you since many do not take checks, either. Be sure to take any business cards of sellers that you really like; they may have stores on websites such as Etsy as well.

Something else to keep in mind is that many of these events help support local school programs like choir and drama. While it would be nice if these programs could get as much funding as the sports teams, if you can donate please do so. These arts programs are integral for the kids—and who knows? Maybe they will grow up to have their own local small businesses.

How to Make an Easter Piñata

Piñatas aren’t just for Birthday parties. Since Easter is known for its abundance of candy, you can make a piñata that is in the shape of an Easter egg. Kids will love helping you with this craft, as it is quite messy.

You will need the following items to make your Easter piñata:
  • An oval shaped balloon
  • Water
  • Large bowl
  • Flour
  • Newspaper strips
  • Scissors
  • Tempera paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Individually wrapped pieces of candy

Follow these steps to make your Easter piñata:

Step 1:
Blow up an oval shaped balloon and tie the end tight so that it doesn’t come undone.

Step 2:
Lay the balloon over several sheets of newspaper. The messy part is coming up.

Step 3:
Pour 2 cups of water and 1 cup of flour in a large bowl and mix them together. This is your paper mache paste.

Step 4:
Dip your newspaper strips into the paste one at a time and set them on the balloon. You want the strips to overlap. Keep doing this until the entire balloon has been covered in newspaper strips.

Step 5:
Set your balloon aside until all of the newspaper strips dry. This will take between 24 and 48 hours.

Step 6:
Repeat steps 3 through 5 to give the Easter piñata a second layer of newspaper.

Step 7:
Cut three sides of a rectangle out of the top of the piñata. This will pop the balloon and create a space for you to insert candy. Turn the piñata upside down and shake it until the shriveled up balloon comes out.

Step 8:
Paint the piñata to look like an Easter egg. You can make any pattern that you wish. Be creative.

Step 9:
Wait for the paint to dry.

Step 10:
Fill the piñata with candy and hang from a tree limb.

Easter Bunny Potato

Sometimes the best crafts are the ones you create while improvising. I found an Easter Bunny craft that was made out of Play-Doh. Unfortunately, the Play-Doh we had was old and dried out. That is when I took stock of my resources and decided to use a potato.

Keep in mind that potatoes will eventually begin to sprout and go bad. Using a potato to create an Easter Bunny is a temporary craft. I take great pleasure in creating memories with my girls, which is why we do so many crafts together.

To begin you’ll need to cover your kitchen table with several sheets of newspaper. Place your potato on the newspaper and then paint it white with tempera paint. Let the paint dry before continuing.

Next, you’ll need to give the bunny two front teeth. I found white chicklets work best as teeth. You can glue them on, or use vanilla frosting. After the teeth, you’ll need to add a nose. I used half of a black olive to do this. Make sure you wipe all the olive juice off first, or it won’t stick to the potato. A set of googly eyes will do to finish off the Easter Bunny’s face.

Finish your Easter Bunny by giving it a set of bunny ears. I used a baby carrot. Just cut the baby carrot in half and glue one half to the top left side of the potato, and the other half to the top right side of the potato. Wait for the glue to dry before making the potato Easter Bunny your dining room table centerpiece.

Tissue Paper Easter Egg

There are so many different ways to create an Easter egg decoration. This time I’m going to focus on a tissue paper Easter egg. Children between the ages of 5 and 10 will especially enjoy this craft. I found younger children may get a bit frustrated with how long it takes to complete one egg, so I don’t recommend it for kids under the age of 5.

To begin you’ll need to cut a large egg shape out of a piece of construction paper, or poster board. I prefer the poster board because it has a thicker back. Once you have your egg shape, you need to cut a large amount of 1-inch squares from various colors of construction paper.

Next, you’ll want to generously apply glue to one side of your egg shape. You must use school glue, as a glue stick will not offer enough glue to hold the tissue paper in place. Now you can crumble up each square of tissue paper into a ball and press it down into the glue. Repeat until your entire Easter egg is covered with pieces of tissue paper.

I prefer to create a pattern out of the colors of tissue paper, but my daughter likes to make half of her Easter egg one color, and the other half another. You can make a zig zag pattern, create stripes, or even turn your tissue paper Easter egg into an animal print. The best part about this craft is that each child is free to express his or her creativity.

Set your Easter egg aside until all of the glue dries. Then you can hang it up, or attach a magnet to it so that it can decorate your refrigerator.

How to Use That Leftover Easter Ham

Since I usually cook a turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, I tend to lean toward ham for Easter. I usually have a decent amount of ham leftover, probably because I prepare a large amount in fear that I will run out. This past year I decided to use the leftover ham to make a delicious egg dish.

First, I prepare my vegetables. I cut up a small onion and half of a green pepper. You can use red peppers as well if you have one on hand. Then, I add a tablespoon of butter to my frying pan and begin cooking the vegetables for about six to eight minutes.

Next, I prepare my eggs in a large bowl. I use a dozen eggs, a splash of milk, and a little pepper. I don’t add salt because the ham is already salty. If I left this recipe up to my sister, she’d add garlic powder. According to her, everything should have garlic powder in it. If you want to add garlic powder, feel free.

Now you can take your leftover ham and chop it up into bite sized pieces. I tend to use between 6 and 8 ounces of ham for this recipe. Toss the ham into the pan with the vegetables. Let the ham heat up. It should only take about one to two minutes.

Pour the egg mixture into the frying pan. Cook until the eggs become fluffy. As soon as this happens, sprinkle 2 ounces of cheddar cheese and 2 ounces of Monterey jack cheese over the top. Remove the pan from the heat and wait for the cheese to melt. Serve while hot.

Faberge Easter Egg

There are many different types of eggs that you can make during the Easter holiday. When my daughter was studying Russian culture, she took the time to make her very own Faberge egg.

In order to make your own Faberge egg, you’ll need to empty the egg of its contents. You can do this by poking a hole in each vertical end of an uncooked egg. Blow through the top hole so that the contents come pouring out the bottom. You may want to do this over a bowl or a trash can. I prefer to drizzle some water through the holes to clean the inside of the egg out, but this is not necessary.

Paint your egg and then wait for it to dry. I prefer using a gold color, but you can use any color you desire. Some children even choose to use a few different colors to create their Faberge egg base.

Next, you will need to decorate your egg like the Russians did. This means attaching fake jewels and using glitter. Beads, lace, and sequins can also be used to create that special look. I simply use white school glue to attach these items, but you can use decoupage glue if you want.

Create a small stand to place your egg on, and display it within your home. You can cut a section out of an egg carton and use that if you wish. You can also sew a small pillow to rest the egg on. Even stores like Wal-mart sell fabric, and you can choose cloth that compliments the color of your Faberge egg.


Top 10 Easter Basket Trinkets

I don’t think much of filling a basket full of candy for a child. I’d much rather add trinkets that the kids will find amusing. These trinkets can have educational value, meet a need, or just offer some good old-fashioned fun.

1. An Easter Story Book: I love to purchase an age-appropriate Easter story book for each of my girls. I stick with resurrection stories, but you can always purchase a story about the Easter bunny if you wish.

2. Bunny Slipper Socks: It’s still cold in southern New Jersey at Easter time. Since we wear our slipper socks on a regular basis, I go on the hunt for some bunny slipper socks. Of course, if you live in a warmer climate you’ll want to shop for just a thin pair of socks that is covered in bunnies.

3. Easter Pencils: I usually pick-up a pack of Easter pencils from Oriental Trading Post, but you can get them at any department store or Dollar Store. For some reason we always seem to be short on pencils and pens so this makes for a good trinket to add to the basket.

4. Playdough: There is never a wrong time to give Playdough as a gift. The only thing I do differently is purchase a pack of pastel colors instead of the darker red, blue, and green colors.

5. A Stuffed Animal: Almost every store offers a wide variety of small stuffed animals that are made for Easter. You may find a bunny, chick, or a teddy bear carrying an Easter basket.

6. An Easter Bonnet: My oldest daughter loves collecting hats so I usually purchase one for her at Easter. Last year I bought her a Kermit the Frog hat. If you want to stick with an Easter theme, however, an Easter bonnet is the way to go.

7. Cards: A game of cards doesn’t take up much space in an Easter basket, and there are a wide variety of games to choose from. You can get a game of Go Fish, Old Maid, Rummy, or even a set of cards to play the game Memory.

8. An Easter Craft Kit: Stores like Michael’s and A.C. Moore have craft kits specifically for Easter. They also have kits for a wide range of ages, including adults. These kits are great for keeping the kids busy in the afternoon so that I can prepare Easter dinner.

9. A Gift Card: A simple $5 gift card to Wawa, Dunkin Donuts, or Starbucks is a great Easter Basket gift. My daughter loves being able to purchase her own smoothie, donut, or snack when we are out running errands, and the gift card gives her that freedom.

10. A Movie: Toss in an Easter related film, such as The Easter Story Keepers or Peter Cottontail the Movie.

Paper Plate Easter Bunny

There are many creative ways to make an Easter Bunny, but younger children may have a hard time with some of them. That is why I decided to share our paper plate Easter Bunny craft. It is simple enough for tiny hands to put together, and makes a great decoration whether it is hung from a doorknob, or placed on a refrigerator with a magnet.

You will need the following items to make your paper plate Easter Bunny:

  • A paper plate
  • Construction paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Cotton ball
  • Black marker

Follow these steps to create your paper plate Easter Bunny:

Step 1:
Cut two oval shapes out of a white piece of construction paper. Then cut out slightly smaller ovals from a sheet of pink contruction paper. Glue the pink pieces inside the white pieces. These are your Easter bunny’s ears.

Step 2:
Glue the ears so that they come up from behind the top of the paper plate. You could staple them in place if you don’t want to use glue, or find the glue isn’t strong enough.

Step 3:
Add the googly eyes to the top portion of the paper plate just below where the ears stick out.

Step 4:
Glue a cotton ball in the center of the paper plate so that the Easter bunny has a nose. You can dye the cotton ball with a little bit of food coloring first if you want the bunny to have a colored nose.

Step 5:
Use a black magic marker to add whiskers next to the cotton ball, and a mouth just under the cotton ball.

Step 6:
Wait for the glue to dry before displaying in the house.

How to Make Marbleized Easter Eggs

There are so many different ways to create an Easter egg. This version uses oil to create a marbleized look. You don’t need to purchase any egg dye either, as food coloring works just as well.

Follow these steps to make your marbleized Easter eggs:

Step 1:
Pour half a cup of warm water in a plastic cup that can be thrown away later. You will need one plastic cup for each color you plan on using with your eggs. I suggest at least six-one each for the colors yellow, green, red, blue, purple, and orange.

Step 2:
Drip 15 drops of food coloring into each cup and stir until combined.

Step 3:
Set one egg in each cup so that it is completely submerged. Wait at least one minute before removing the eggs. Keep in mind that the longer you wait, the darker the egg will become. If you like your eggs dark, let them sit longer.

Step 4:
Remove the eggs and set them in an empty egg carton until they dry. If you don’t have one then you can use a paper towel or even a few sheets of newspaper.

Step 5:
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to each cup. Stir just before you place the egg in the cup. Quickly coat the egg without letting it rest in the homemade dye. You do not have to use the same color dye as you did the first time. For example, you may have dyed the egg yellow in the beginning. Now you can dip the egg in the blue dye with oil to create a blue swirl pattern over the yellow background.

Step 6:
Set your eggs aside to dry one final time. As the eggs begin to dry, you will be able to see the marbleized pattern appear.

Homemade Easter Decorations

It is important to me that I spend time with my kids while they are young. One way to create good memories is to lead the kids in crafts. Easter is a great excuse to make crafts together. One thing we like to do is make our own Easter decorations.

The first thing we do is cover the kitchen table with several layers of newspaper (we are messy). If the kids don’t put on a set of clothing that I don’t care about, then I will make them wear art smocks.

Next, we cut Easter shapes out of white poster board. They can cut the egg shapes out themselves, but I’ll help with other shapes, such as a bunny, basket, and a cross. Then we outline the shape with permanent markers. For example, the egg may have a design on it that can be outlined, or we would outline the features of the bunny’s face, etc.

When I think of Easter, I think of light colors. That is why I provide my children with watercolor paints. They paint inside the outline to give each decoration color. Then we set the decorations aside to dry.

I have a small laminator to laminate the Easter decorations to make them last longer than one season. I use it only after the decorations have completely dried. If you don’t have a laminator, you can get your decorations laminated at stores like Staples or Office Depot. Please note that they do charge a small fee for this service.

Finally, we punch a hole in the top of each decoration and thread some yarn through it. Then we can hang the decorations around the house. The kids like to see them hang from the ceiling fan, but you can put them anywhere.