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Anna G. Larson, Published March 23 2013

Handmade Easter décor adds personality to holiday

FARGO - Ashley Morken plans to decorate her home for Easter, but don’t expect any pastel plastic eggs and cutesy stuffed bunnies.

Morken, who owns downtown craft boutique Unglued, interprets holiday décor her own way.

The abundance of creative resources available online make it easy for people to create personalized, modern holiday decor, Morken says.

“Using more subtle and modern decor for the holidays allows you to keep your home more ‘you’ and is typically going to be less work – and storage,” she says.

For instance, Morken created a simple twig wreath with mint, yellow and pink felt flowers. She attached a removable knit bunny for Easter. Once the holiday is over, she’ll remove the bunny and continue to use the wreath all spring.

She also uses bold colors for Easter decor rather than faded pastels. Tangerine, saturated mint, bright pink and yellow or teal and red are fresh combinations that work year round.

But sticking with mostly season-neutral decor doesn’t mean foregoing traditions. Incorporating tradition with modernity and personal style creates a happy marriage of past and present, Morken says.

“Keep it modern-whimsical with that touch of tradition by using vintage pieces or something handed down to you from a family member or repurpose something that was previously used for décor,” she says.

Creating a mobile out of old Easter eggs unites tradition – the eggs – with modern ideas – the mobile. She also planted wheatgrass, a tradition from her childhood, to use in a centerpiece.

The trend toward subtle holiday décor stems from people more carefully choosing their home décor.

“I’m seeing overall, people are decorating their house to be meaningful, with each piece having its own function or being truly art and not constantly changing with holidays,” Morken says.

Holiday décor is also more likely to be focused on entertainment, such as specially decorated tables for holiday dinners, she says.

Adding only touches of holiday décor preserves personal style, and DIY projects can cost less than purchased items. They’re also likely to stay in your home longer, Morken says.

“Being creative, whether by creating something original or using a tutorial/example, is just so satisfying,” she says. “I just love creating and making with my own hands. It isn’t always the cheaper route, though it certainly can be, but DIY makes items in your home or that you are gifting mean more and become more personal.”

Morken and her mother-in-law, artist Carol Morken, shared with us DIY Easter home décor projects that come together quickly and don’t break the bank.

1. Wheatgrass centerpiece

Within a week, wheatgrass grows a few inches, making it perfect for a spring-like centerpiece that brings the outdoors in.

Morken recommends a skinny, long vessel to showcase the wheatgrass on a table.

The Hippocrates Health Institute’s website, www.hippocratesinst.org, has a useful tutorial for growing wheatgrass.

Wheatgrass seeds are available at health food stores like Tochi Products, $1.99 for a 2-pound bag. Shotwell Floral & Greenhouses also sells wheatgrass seeds and Water Gems, a special absorbent polymer that stores and slowly releases water. The price for each starts at $3.50.

2. Gilded or glittered eggs

Eggs decorated with gold leaf or glitter look modern and add extra shine to Easter.

Ashley Morken uses gold leaf to create a marbleized look on Easter eggs by dotting the adhesive on irregularly and then applying the gold leaf.

Gold leaf isn’t always gold – silver and bronze hues are available at most local craft stores. We found gold leaf, $9.99, and gold leaf paint, $4.99, at Hobby Lobby.

Carol Morken used glitter to add sparkle to the eggs on her table.

Roll eggs in glitter after painting on school glue thinned with water, or dot glue on to create a polka dot effect.

Sources: www.sheknows.com and www.hgtv.com

3. Yarn wreaths

Hay wreaths wrapped in yarn and decorated with handmade objects are popular on Pinterest, Morken says.

She suggests choosing bold pastels and making felt rosettes to stick on. How to:

1. Purchase a hay wreath and leave the plastic sleeve on.

2. Create a knot around the wreath and start wrapping yarn around the wreath until it’s covered, or hot glue the end to the back of the wreath.

3. Secure the end of the yarn with hot glue on the back of the wreath.

Adding rosettes or appliques to twig wreathes is an even faster DIY wreath idea (pictured).

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

4. Yarn ball garland or chandelier

Yarn transforms into a whimsical creation with the help of balloons and glue.

Supplies

Yarn

Cornstarch

School glue

Balloons

Dowel to hang drying balloons on

Cooking spray

How to

1. Blow up balloons. Use varying sizes if creating a chandelier. You may want to use smaller, more uniform-size balloons for garland.

2. Place a long dowel between two chairs to create a drying station. Put something below to protect your floors from glue drip.

3. Use cooking spray to lightly coat the balloons. This ensures that the yarn won’t stick to the balloon once it dries. Some tutorials use petroleum jelly, but it’s more difficult to apply.

4. Mix half a bottle of school glue with ½ cup cornstarch and ¼ cup water. Add more cornstarch for a thicker consistency.

5. Dip the yarn into the glue mixture, squeeze out most of the excess and wrap it around the balloon vertically and then horizontally. Once the balloon is well covered, cut the yarn and tie it to a surrounding piece. Doing it near the stem makes it less obvious if creating a chandelier.

6. Allow the yarn balloon balls to dry for 24 hours. Don’t be tempted to pop them before the time is up – they may deflate.

7. After 24 hours, pop the balloon. The yarn will have dried, and any glue crystals left behind will easily flake off when tapped. Hang or string the yarn balls with fishing line or colored string.

Tip: This project takes time and patience. It can take a few balloons to get in the groove of wrapping the yarn so it stays. Reuse the yarn globes after Easter by hanging them in a cluster in the corner of a room.

Carol Morken suggests using the same method to create a nest to showcase your gilded eggs.

Source: Hostess with the Mostess blog

5. Marbled Easter bark

No holiday is complete without something sweet. The marbled bark gets a hint of color from candy and food dye.

Ingredients

1 package dark chocolate chips

½ package white chocolate chips

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Food dye

Pretzels, broken into small pieces

Candy for toppings (We used Cadbury eggs and Reese’s Pieces eggs)

Directions

1. Melt the dark chocolate with one tablespoon of oil. Use a microwave-safe bowl or melt it on the stove top but be careful not to burn the chocolate. Add the pretzel bits to the chocolate mixture.

2. Pour the mixture onto a sheet pan covered in parchment paper. Spread it as thick or thin as you’d like.

3. Melt the white chocolate with remaining oil. Stir in dye if desired.

4. Spoon drops of the white chocolate mixture over the dark chocolate. Use a toothpick or knife to swirl it to create a marbled effect.

5. Top with candy and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Tip: This candy melts easily so keep it refrigerated until ready to serve.

Adapted from www.ABeautifulMess.com

6. Origami chicks and bunnies

Carol Morken makes origami chicks and bunnies to use as place cards at her Easter table.

Video instructions are available on numerous websites. We used www.origami-instructions.com.

7. Easter bunting

A “Happy Easter” banner is festive and easy to make.

Carol Morken found one at Pottery Barn for $18.99 that DIYers could easily recreate using fabric paint, letter stencils, burlap, fabric and string.

Ashley Morken created a mini bunting out of felt.

8. Book page napkin ring

Morken created napkin rings using old book pages. The simple rings add a vintage feel to Easter tables.

Supplies

Book pages or other printed materials

Clear contact paper

Ribbon

Hot glue

Directions

1. Cover the book paper on both sides with contact paper, basically laminating the paper.

2. Cut the laminated paper into strips, about an inch wide. Create the napkin ring by securing the strip ends with hot glue.

3. Cut ribbon to fit the circumference of the napkin ring and hot glue it on. The ribbon could also be tied on once the napkin ring is around the napkin.

Source: www.thecountrychiccottage.net

If you go

What: Modern Gold Leaf Easter Egg Party

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Unglued, 408 N. Broadway, Fargo

Info: Attendees will gold leaf six eggs and rose cabochon earrings. Class cost is $12 per person. If you sign up with a friend, the cost is $10 per person. All supplies and treats are included in the price.

Online: Pre-register for the egg party at www.ungluedmarket.com/events.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525