In the spring of 1991 I opened the mailbox to greet the latest edition of Martha Stewart Magazine. It was the first year of the magazines publication and I couldn’t wait to each issue to arrive. I was newly married and eager to try just about anything which graced the pages. It was there I found instructions for ribbon trimmed Martha Stewart inspired Easter Baskets.
There they were on page 56. A (relatively) small article (4 pages) on Easter Baskets. Not just any Easter Baskets…The Easter baskets of my dreams. Up until that point I had never seen an Easter basket which wasn’t 10 shades of horrible. The main event was what was inside…peeps, jelly beans, chocolate bunny, the good stuff. The basket itself was usually either this strange plastic woven type (oddly trying to mimic something actually woven but in the most unrealistic way possible). Or an actual woven basket which looked like it was made from materials found by the side of a highway somewhere. I won’t say road kill. But close. In the spring of 1991 that all changed for me. The basket which in itself WAS the main event.
Okay. In retrospect those baskets were uber busy. A white spray painted basket covered in bows. Pattern on pattern on pattern. I think the thing which struck me however was the colors. Each basket had its own color way. Everything in the blue basket was some shade of blue, the same for the yellow, etc. Even the (overly to my eye now) decorated sugar cookies coordinated. Now that had style.
I set about to re-create this little lovelies. One for me. One for my new husband. Cute tiny little baskets filled with similarly colored treats. I varied from Martha’s example by making a collar of bows around the top instead of bows scattered all over. I used much more saturated colors than Martha. Bright blue for him. Raspberry Pink for me. Cute. I’m not sure how hubby felt about an Easter basket covered in bows but being a newlywed he didn’t say a word. Good man.
The following year when our daughter was born I gave her my little pink beauty and I made myself a purple one. The mistake I made in the beginning was that I selected baskets which were far too small. Not enough room for the Easter treats I wanted to fill them with. I wasn’t a problem until the kids got a bit older and the little treats got well, not so little. By the time we had our second I had re-made the baskets in a much larger format. Pink for her, yellow for the next little nipper. Blue for the third. Green for the fourth. I have even made them for my niece and nephews. So far I think I have made about 10 of them and each one is unique.
I love that they look festive and party like even with nothing inside. Each year I buy new eggs to add (after all those little plastic eggs don’t hold up forever). The great thing is that the hues of the basic colors always change…so after 13 years of eggs they are all different shades. I love that spectrum of color. This year I added a pack of large and small from Target. Beautiful colors. But the addition I am most excited about are the glitter eggs from Target. Haven’t opened one yet but they sure look great!
Each year I freshen the baskets up a bit. In recent years I have added a glitter initial to personalize them even more. I’ve also added little chicks tucked in here and there. Add more ribbon and plump the ribbon already there. It has led to an unexpected result. They have, in effect, become little time capsules of the kid’s childhoods. We called our #4 monkey when he was little….and so he has a bow with little monkeys on it on his basket. Our daughter went through a butterfly stage and on hers there is a glittery butterfly. On each of the baskets there is ribbon from an article of their baby clothing. Each has a snippet of ribbon from my Mother, who passed away and we all miss so much. I added darker more elegant tones of ribbon as they got older…ribbon which reflected their growing up. These baskets now function like sentimental Christmas ornaments on a tree…each with its own story. I especially love that it happened organically. There was no plan to have it happen this way. It just did.
I’m done freshening them up for this year. I added (three years tardy) my daughter’s sorority letters to hers and my son’s college ribbon to his. Easter is three weeks from today and the baskets are all laid out…bunny ready.
Instructions for making these are as easy as it comes.
What you’ll need:
- White Easter Basket (I got mine at Michaels)
- Bits of ribbon (all types, various shades, colors and widths)
- Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
- Chipboard Letters
- Glitter (I used Martha’s Awesome Glitter)
- Assorted Plastic Easter Eggs
- Make lots and lots of small bows
- Wrap a longer piece of ribbon around the handle, attach at the bottom with hot glue
- With hot glue gun attach bows around the edge of the easter basket, make sure the pattern in random
- For the monogram take a chipboard letter and paint a coordinating color
- Spread with glue and sprinkle with glitter. I used Martha’s glitter either Tinsel Glitter or One of these gorgeous colors or Iridescent Glitter (I think I used iridescent on the blue C and the yellow C and basic colors on the A’s.
Back in 1991 I don’t think Martha Stewart could have dreamed that a small 4 page layout on Easter Baskets would become the cornerstone of a family’s Easter tradition. Or maybe she just hoped it would.