Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sugarless Easter Basket Ideas

 (that are just as sweet!)  
 I’m not a complete scrooge when it comes to candy and sugar, but I know that my kids will accrue plenty of sweets between church and Grandma’s house on Easter Sunday.  They really don’t need me to give them chocolates and candy too.  Do they really need a mountain of sweet treats that will last until Halloween?  There are lots of fun alternatives to sugary treats like outdoor toys, art supplies, gardening tools and bath items.  This year I plan to fill plastic Easter eggs with puzzle pieces in lieu of chocolates. As they find their eggs they can put the puzzle together and when the puzzle is complete, they’ll know when they’ve found all the eggs! (I’ve found that pieces from a 48 piece puzzles are the right sized to fit a jumbo plastic egg.  Oh, and I’m going to put more than one piece in each egg!) 
Below are a few lists I’ve compiled plus some project tutorials for chalkboard paint flower pots and felted soap eggs that you can do to surprise your little ones on Easter morning.   

Felted Egg Shaped Soap
(not for little ones who are allergic to wool)
Felting Wool is fast and fairly easy.  Wool roving is available at most craft stores now, it is wool that has been cleaned, carded and dyed but not spun into yarn.  Felting wool is an amazing process.  Seriously, it’s like magic!  The fibers are transformed by heat and friction.  As you gently rub the wool with warm water tiny barb like structures interlock (think Velcro) and the process shrinks the material until it mats together into an entirely new medium.  I made one on a plain bar of soap for myself and love it!  It’s great for gently exfoliating and I will be totally ready for flip flips when the weather finally decides to warm up!  The felted soap is nice for kids because it’s a little easier to grip and the bright colors make them easier to find in the tub.
I started this project by making my soap into an egg shape.  I grated one bar of my family’s favorite soap.  Then I divided it in half, sprayed it with warm water and pressed it together to form the shape I wanted.  I got two, life sized, eggs out of one bar of soap.  I let my soap dry over night before continuing the project. 

The next day I started by pulling the fibers of wool roving apart.  Do this by grasping the wool with my hands about 5-6 inches apart and pulling.  (If the fibers don’t pull apart easily your hands are too close together.)  Then using small pieces of the wool I covered the soap with thin layers, criss-crossing them in different directions, until there was a layer of wool in an even thickness (about an inch thick) around the whole thing.  (You shouldn’t be able to see the soap through the fibers or you’ll have holes in the felt.)  Then I put my hand into a nylon knee high or cut off portion of panty hose, gripped the wool covered soap gently with my hand in the toe of the nylon and pulled the nylon inside out over the soap encasing the soap inside.  I wrapped the excess nylon around the soap and set in a bowl of very warm water (not too hot to touch) for about five to ten minutes. 

Then I gently massaged the soap, (imagine it’s a fragile egg), by rolling and spinning it around in my palms and changing directions every so often. 

After about 5 minutes I carefully removed the stocking.  Some of the wool fibers migrated through the nylon.  Gently, I pulled them back through and continued the felting process in my hands.

At this point I used more pressure, without the stocking.  Occasionally, remember to dip the soap into the hot water to keep the temperature from cooling too much.  Once it was complete the wool was snug and did not shift around over the soap.  Let it air dry.  This project is easy enough to do with a child or is great as an easter basket stuffer.

Flower Hooded Towel Available at
Chalkboard Flower Pots
I tried a fairly inexpensive recipe for chalk board paint and mixed up three bright colors in glass lidded jars.  I used the recipe below to paint 10”diameter terracotta pots.  Be sure to seal the inside of the pot to prevent moisture from seeping through and causing your paint to bubble and peel! (Apply a few thin coats of Thompson's Water Seal which is specifically formulated for sealing terra cotta pots so they can be painted.)  The kids will get these as Easter baskets this year along with a pack of marigold seeds, some gardening tools and cute gardening gloves.  I’m going to write their names on the pot with chalk for Easter Morning, but a swipe with a wet cloth will clean it away and then they can draw and write whatever they choose. 

1 comment: