Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Easter Tree and Baking

Nothing will ever come close to a Christmas Tree in my books. When I put all the decorations away back in January I counted how many I carefully wrapped in tissue paper and stowed safely in shoeboxes, I've close to 200 now. I've been collecting Christmas tree decorations for 14 years, so it's no wonder really.

I've always loved the little wooden painted eggs and rabbits you see at this time of year and I finally got round to getting a couple of sets a few years ago. And now, every Easter I have an Easter tree! It's just a twig arrangement in water, but I enjoy the same aspects of it that I do with my Christmas Tree. Choosing the right twigs has become an art - I look for hazel branches in the forest that have shed their catkins and whose leaves are just beginning to unfurl. Then the Easter decorations are hunted down (never a mean feat, they always seem to hide!) and the tree is assembled.

I have eggs, rabbits and few larger wooden decorations in pastel colours. But I'm always on the lookout for more - I have some way to go with Easter decorations before I have a collection to match the Christmas ones.

I'm of the opinion that chocolate Easter eggs are a complete rip-off and so every year I like to bake something chocolatey on Easter Sunday. Last year I made a huge chocolate cake, topped with primroses, which was really a bit too extravagant! This year, I just made cupcakes - Chocolate, with chocolate icing, and topped with hundreds and thousands and a mini egg, and Apple and Lemon curd ones too - topped with tiny sugared violet flowers.

They almost look too pretty to eat, sitting under the Easter Tree, but, I can be persuaded.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Mad Bunny Bonnets!

Aren't these the silliest Easter Bonnets ever?!

Me and my little friends had a lot of fun making them this afternoon - and even though the skies outside were grey, their millinery creations were the brightest and sunniest imaginable!

We started off with paper plates for the brims and small paper dessert bowls for the crowns - lay the plate face down, put the bowl upside down on top of that and draw round it. Cut out the centre of the plate about 1cm in from the circle you just drew, then poke the bowl through from underneath and fasten with sticky tape. Then you and your little pals can have fun sticking scrunchy tissue paper flowers, ribbon bows and pictures cut from plant catalogues all over the little hats. You can attempt to add an element of education here as you can see how many of the flowers they cut out they can identify. For the bunnies - draw a basic bunny outline on another paper plate and let your friends colour them, when they have finished, cut the bunnies out and fix them to the top of the hat with tape and a piece of folded card to make them 'boingy'. When you are sure you are done with decorating, punch a hole either side of the brim with a holepunch and thread with ribbon long enough to tie under the chin in a big fat bow.

A very happy, funny, bunny, Easter!

Top right: Miss H opted for a viola picture on the top of her bonnet, the other girls sported jolly bunnies. Bottom left: Miss L and Miss J modeling their bonnets, with jaunty side bows.