Kids can make these in five easy steps.
1. Entirely cover a fairly deep cereal bowl or small mixing bowl in plastic wrap, shown at right.
2. Cut strips of paper packing material (newspaper or brown paper bags will also work) and dip each strip in a solution of half water/half Elmer's glue.
3. Lap paper strips over plastic-wrapped bowl and pat to shape of bowl, shown center.
4. Let dry 24 hours, then pull bowl away. Leave edges fringed.
5. Fill nest with Easter grass and miniature eggs.
Using any hurricane glass you have on hand, pack the bottom with a layer of malted-milk bird's eggs in pastel colors to form a firm base. Top this with a line of Peeps around the interior of the container. Then fill the remainder of the glass with more bird's eggs.
Easter is a week away and, in many regional school systems, the kids are out for spring break, so why not combine the two for some decorating fun?
Everyone knows how to make an Easter egg tree by gluing lengths of ribbon to the tops of plastic eggs and tying them onto tree branches, but there are plenty of other options for decorations. And they offer endless possibilities to mix and match natural materials with collectibles you may already have on hand.
East Ridge resident Amy Byrd says she mingles Easter candies with rabbit-themed ceramics she has collected to create a seasonal design for her buffet.
"It's made from just pulling and repurposing plants, vases and serving pieces, like a cake stand," she says. "I add some craft moss, decorative eggs and Easter candies to fill bunny or bird figures, which are available at home decor stores like Pottery Barn."
Joe Jumper, owner of The Clay Pot for 21 years, has suggestions for some hands-on seasonal projects that are uncomplicated but creative and result in fresh, colorful decorations for your home. These are crafts that he's tested in the children summer camps he has run.
"I like using natural materials because it's a simple way to keep an Easter table dressy," he says, pointing to fresh green sprigs of wheatgrass and chartreuse sedum in rustic wooden baskets and trays. "These are all ideas kids can help do."
• Wheatgrass centerpieces: Choose containers such as shallow wooden trays (sides must be at least 2 inches deep), wooden baskets or Easter baskets. Measure the container and line the bottom with aluminum foil. Cut wheatgrass — available at many local nurseries — to fit.
To grow your own grass, soak the desired amount of grass seed overnight. Choose a container, fill with dirt and plant wet seed in a layer on top. Mist the seed every two days. Grass should be growing within a week, Jumper says.
He suggests growing grass in squatty, glass containers. Not only is the glass vase more decorative on the table, but Jumper says kids enjoy seeing the grass grow.
Bird's nests: Cover a bowl in cellophane, wrap it in papier mache, let it dry overnight and remove the bowl for a bird's nest with fringed edges. (See full directions with photo on E1.) Let kids fill with it colorful grass and mini eggs.
Seasonal place settings: A popular table decoration is a row of flower vases lined along the center of a table. Jumper's spin takes short glass bottles (bud vases would also work), fills each with a couple of colorful tulips and clips a notecard with the guest's name to the bottle's rim.
To complete the look, he takes the notecards' coordinating envelopes and combines them into a complementary table runner. The designer lays out the colorful 4-inch-by-6-inch envelopes, three rows wide, to achieve the pattern he wants, then tapes them together on their back sides. He flips the row over and spreads out the runner.
Favors: Place a small urn or pot about 4 to 6 inches in height at each table setting and fill it with Easter grass, candies and a packet of seeds to send home with guests, suggests Jumper.
Hang a wreath: Laura Williams of Designs by Laura in Dalton, Ga., says she doesn't do as many Easter designs as she did years ago, but wreaths are still popular.
"I do something springy that is an Easter theme on front door," she said. "Maybe a door pocket or door wreath [with] bunnies or a bird nest.
"I also do a lot of things for the cemetery. People don't always think of that, but it is a good time to do something."
Pinterest.com also offers some Easter decorating ideas for adults and kids to do together.
• Make a carrot centerpiece. Start with a tall, clear, glass flower vase that's deep enough to hold a half-dozen real carrots. Cut the carrots' greenery, leaving about 1 inch at the top. Tie a rubberband around that inch to keep carrots in a cluster. Fill the vase with water, sink the carrots into the water, then insert a bouquet of white or yellow daisies to top the arrangement. Cut the daisies' stems long enough to reach the water, but not to cover the carrots. Use enough daisies that their blooms cover the width of the vase's opening. Tie a festive bow around the neck of the vase and the centerpiece is complete.
• Nosegays in eggs. Place violets or other small flowers in white, porcelain egg cups at each place setting.
• Make "bunny bait." It's the same idea as trail mix, except bunny bait combines peanuts or pecans, mini marshmallows, raisins and jellybeans — or any other ingredient your kids think is fun. Place the bait in small cellophane bags and tie them with pastel ribbons. Put one at each place setting.
Here's a clever idea from Pinterest. Help your kids plant jellybeans in your yard or indoors in a decorative pot. When children wake up the next morning, they find lollipops have "grown" where the jellybeans were planted (thanks to a little late-night assistance from the Easter Bunny.)
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...