Thursday, May 1, 2014

Making May Baskets

On this dreary, rainy week, I decided to make May baskets.

 I remember making them as a child and leaving them on friends' door steps on May 1st. I even remember dancing around a Maypole festooned with streamers in elementary school.
The celebration of May Day seems mostly forgotten now.

The tradition of the May basket, as my British-born Mom and grandmother explained it, was to leave a basket at a friend's door, knock or ring the bell, and run away. May Baskets were supposed to be given anonymously and, if you were caught at the doorstep, you had to kiss...which could have been a good or bad thing, I suppose...but, as a kid, kissing sounded pretty scary. So, we ran as fast as we could.

Nope...I'm not quite old enough to be in this photo!
I don't know if it's the "occupational therapy" aspect of crafting...the concentration and busy hands...or the fun of surprising people but, the May Baskets cheered up both the crafter (me!) and the twelve people who received them this morning.

To make them, I started with a package of 12" doilies and  2 large sheets of poster cardboard from Walmart. I had ribbon and a bin of odds and ends of silk flowers on hand.

I used my Mexican casserole dish as a pattern for cardboard circles a little smaller than the doilies...
And rolled each cut-out cardboard circle into a cone shape, about the size of a good-sized ice cream cone.
The next step was to glue a doily segment to each cone, creating the "basket" part of the May basket. White school glue or Modge Podge works well for this step.

When the glue dried, I punched two holes in each cone, opposite each other at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock. Later, a loop of ribbon will be pulled through these two holes and tied off to make a "door hanger" for each May basket.

 Now the fun begins...filling the baskets. I used a few drops of hot glue in the bottom of each "basket"
 to hold the flower stems in place. Some people add little candies to the baskets too.
The printer came in handy for making little "Happy May Day" tags to tie on each basket. I found that  colored oak tag worked better than printer paper for the tags.

And that's it...a ribbon for a hanging loop, a bow or sticker for embellishment, and the baskets were done.
The plan was to follow tradition and hang the baskets on doorknobs but pouring rain forced me to improvise. Some of the baskets were left in mailboxes or hung inside screen doors in plastic bags...some were just handed out...and a few times I was "caught"...but it was all good!
 Here are my May Baskets ready for delivery.  

 Are you wondering who got the baskets?
Here's my list:
The nice young woman who gets my coffee every morning at Dunkin' Donuts, my 94 year old (very sweet) mother-in-law, my daughter and two of the amazing staff members at her group home, my sisters and sisters-in-law, my hairdresser. and my macho-man trainer at the gym (he's going to "pay it forward" and give it to his girlfriend).
It was so much fun giving the May Baskets away that I only wish I'd had time to make more.
Happy May Day!
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