April 5, 2012

How to Make an Old World Easter Basket
(On a Bargain Store Budget) #KmartEaster

Holidays like Easter are what nostalgists like me live for!  For this vintage-junkie, Easter evokes memories of time-worn wicker baskets, fluffy chenille chicks, handmade chocolate bunnies, and the rocky road eggs that my mom had personalized with our names by a local sweet shoppe.  There was a look and a quality to those understated yet artful treats that can be hard to find in today's mass-produced, bright and shiny, commercial world.

Recently, I had the opportunity to shop for an Easter basket on a budget through a Collective Bias campaign on behalf of Kmart stores.  I knew that this project would be a terrific creative challenge to put my flair for the "vintage" to the test. 

Following you'll find some easy and inexpensive tricks and tips for putting together an Easter basket that looks like it came right out of the Easter Bunny's workshop or an expensive boutique, but at a price that is as easy to swallow as a jellybean!

You CAN find charming, old-fashioned style Easter treats at your local discount store.  Here's what to look for:

Entire Basket for less than $30 at Kmart:  Wood basket $7.99, Large Chocolate Bunny $4.99, Wash Cloth Cupcake $2.99, Paper Easter Grass $1.50, Plush Bunny $4.49, Crochet Napkin $2.69, White Chocolate Duck $1, Cadbury Mini Eggs 18 oz. (not pictured) $5.99

Baskets -- Wood and wicker with minimal embellishments.  Avoid synthetics.

Chocolates -- Look for detailed molded chocolates in traditional shapes.  Avoid "chocolate flavored" candies.

Plush Toys -- Look for traditional characters like bunnies, lambs and chicks in soft, natural colors and with cute faces.

Candies -- For me, nothing beats Cadbury mini eggs for maximum charm-factor.  These tiny speckled eggs are delicious too!  Stay away from boldly branded or novelty candies and keep an eye out for sweet, old fashioned designs (keep in mind that they can be repackaged).

Novelties -- Browse other departments for items with which to fill out the basket.  I found a lovely little crochet lace napkin in housewares and a wash-cloth wrapped up to look like a cupcake on and end-cap.

Before you shop:

1. Jump online and visit the website of the store where you'll be shopping. Look up specials and print out coupons. I was able to check out all the deals at my local Kmart and joined the "Shop Your Way" rewards program for free. I earned 647 points from my shopping trip and walked away with a $5 gift card (for spending $50).

2. Make a list of ideas and inspirations.

You take a virtual shopping trip with me by viewing my Google Plus gallery HERE.

Now for some vintage transformations...

If you start with a basket with good "bones" it'll be a cinch to embellish.  Use found objects from around your home. Rummage through old ornaments, silk flowers, jewelry, etc to find some old fashioned adornments.  Start by removing any newfangled bling from the basket.

These little wooden egg ornaments came from a dollar store a few years ago, but with the strings snipped and hot-glued to the basket, they take on an Old World charm.  

I finished the arrangement with a tiny nosegay of millinery flowers.  I lined the basket with the crochet napkin and filled it with the shredded paper Easter grass.

A simple, but effective upgrade -- replacing the stock bow on the bunny with a velvet ribbon and a vintage flower.

Factory-made to Easter Bunny-made
 If you start with real chocolate molded in a classic shape, transforming it into a chocolate store showpiece is simply a matter of repackaging.  I took the bunny out of the original packaging, re-wrapped in a piece of cellophane and tied with a piece of vintage seam-binding tape.  The right ribbon can make all the difference!

Factory-made to Easter Bunny-made

Same technique with the duckie!  I used a tuft of the paper Easter grass, arranged the duck and grass in a small cello bag, and tied with the vintage-looking ribbon.

Factory-made to Easter Bunny-made

More simple repackaging so that all the treats are coordinated.

Factory-made to Easter Bunny-made

Here's my favorite bit of repackaging.  I took a small peat pot (you can also use a paper cup) and used a glue stick to wrap a vintage Easter image around its base.  Using my glue gun, I applied a ruffle of crepe paper streamer (from the party section of any store) around the rim. 

I love the way the Cadbury Mini Eggs look when grouped in one or two colors.  For this basket, I gathered a handful of blue and white speckled eggs, placed them in a cello bag, and stuck them in the pot.  You can get around 4 pots out of one 18 oz. bag of mini eggs.

From shopping cart...
...to old-fashioned Easter Whimsy for less than $30.

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias.  All opinions are my own


  1. Jenn! This basket is so lovely! What a wonderful job you did...and on such a small budget! Just beautiful...

  2. Excellent post! You have some adorable ideas...love the rubber duck. Please pass the mini eggs. ;)

  3. Sweet Jenn! I love that ducky (i resisted him when I went shopping but am sad I did). Love the your spin on the Easter basket!

  4. This is so many kinds of wonderful. Everything is just perfect and so so special. Who wouldn't love to get this amazing basket!

  5. Presentation is everything. This is charming (I would love it).

  6. what you forgot to add to your price list.
    ..hand embellished basket with curated goodies from none-other than jenn erickson...

  7. Such a beautiful basket and I just love all those personal touches. Shall I send over my address so you can have the Easter bunny deliver it to me? ;)
    I just LOVE vintage goods.

  8. Very, very cute!

    I don't get as creative with the Easter baskets now that my kids are older. When they were younger, I used to buy unfinished wicker baskets, excelsior, raffia and white mesh fabric. Then I would dye them all in pastel colors with fabric dye. They were so cute and it was fun to do, but I had to plan ahead to make sure they had plenty of time to dry.

  9. How lovely! I love what you did with taking things out of the packaging! Very nice! :)

  10. I love how you turned the basket into truly something old-world looking AND keepsake worthy too! You brought back "simple" to Easter - so refreshing after seeing SpongeBob "rabbits" in the stores yesterday. ;)

  11. Lovely stuff here.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Happy Easter: http://secure.smilebox.com/ecom/openTheBox?sendevent=4d7a41354d5441784f54553d0d0a&blogview=true&campaign=blog_playback_link

  12. Absolutely, beautifully amazing! Jenn, I am so impressed with this. Next year, can you send me one please and thank you? No I'm serious...send me one!

  13. Adorable basket! I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

    Btw.. people are still pinning your macaroons like crazy!! :D

    I'm also stopping by to let you know that I've awarded you the oh so special Versatile Blogger Award:P (http://odetoinspiration.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/i-got-an-award/). Just for good fun, so no expectations to play along:) Have a wonderful day and week!

  14. I am of course late in this comment, but I LOVE the color scheme of the basket! So pretty!!!

  15. This is just wonderful. I enjoyed reading and appreciated all the ideas you shared.

  16. Some how I missed this post and saw it on pinterest today, but this is a great post on upgrading items for a basket ... it really is "all about the details" !! Easter Blessings 2013 :) Elaine


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