Easter Basket

You will need: a ball of string or yarn, a balloon, three deciliters (about one cup) sugar, 1.5 deciliters (about 1/2 cup water), a large bowl, scissors, scraps of decorative trim, and glue.

Blow up balloon almost full and tie it closed. Wrap string around the balloon, crisscrossing until the string evenly covers it. To form a handle for the basket, wind string around the length of the balloon until a two centimeter (3/4 inch) band is formed; then knot and cut the string. Wind string around the width of the balloon to form a top border for the basket; then knot and cut the string. Add a temporary loop of string to use while making the basket.

Dissolve sugar in water. Heat the sugar mixture until it simmers, then remove from the heat and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes. Hold the string-covered balloon by the loop in a large bowl, then have an adult help you pour the warm sugar mixture over it several times until all strings are saturated. Hang the balloon by the loop over the bowl and let it dry for 24–36 hours.

When the string is dry, use scissors to cut out the two quarter sections between the handle and the border (see illustration). Also remove balloon remains and the temporary loop. Glue ribbon, rickrack, or lace to the handle and border; then attach a ribbon bow to the handle. To keep the basket from tipping, a base can be made by cutting a strip of cardboard 28 centimeters (11 inches) long and 2.5 centimeters (one inch) wide. Glue the ends of this strip together and cover it with decorative trim. When the basket is completed, you can fill it with flowers or treats.

[photo] Basket by Denise Kirby; photograph by Maren Younce