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    “The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”
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    Location: Colorado, United States

    I'm a wife, a mom, a dog lover, a complete lefty, a true scorpio, and I'm on a creative journey. I welcome you to join me.

    Sewing Southpaw...

    Is the place where I share my creativity, my hobbies, and other stuff!

    03 October 2006

    Another Use for Perle/Pearl Cotton Thread

    Easter Baskets

    I recently learned that the string (as I call it) that I use to make these baskets can also be used for embroidery. Those who use it know it as Anchor Perle or Pearl Cotton.

    This little tidbit bit of information is pretty exciting considering that I have a huge box of this stuff and I just don't make that many baskets anymore.

    It's also very cool to keep finding out that so much of the 'stuff' I really had little or no particular use for is so great for crazy quilting and embellishing.

    Oh, it's the simple things that make the biggest impact. LOL.

    To make this basket:

    First, you will also need an area where you can tie a piece of twine onto the top of the balloon and hang it (just off of the floor). Choose somewhere without a lot of traffic. You will also need some plastic (bags, sheets, etc.) to place underneath it. And finally, if you are doing this in an area that the sugar will attract ants or bugs. You'll need some ant/bug spray.

    Ok, let's begin... Start by blowing up a balloon. A regular/standard size is best. You can use smaller sizes as well as larger sizes, depending on what size you want and also how much wrapping you are up for.

    With the 'string' begin wrapping the balloon. You will need to wrap it heavily enough that it will remain fairly firm after you pop the balloon later on. The balloon will need to be nearly solidly covered. Some gaps, spider-webby or stained-glass looking. It might be a little difficult to get it started but it gets easy after just a few strands are on.

    Next step. In a double boiler (or similar pot) heat granulated sugar up to near boiling. I would guess-timate about 1 ½ to 2 cups of sugar per basket (I never measure anything). Let it cool enough not to pop the balloon but not so much that it solidifies again. When it's cool enough to work with (and this is the fun part), take your sugar, your wrapped balloon, a metal or glass pan (large enough to lay the balloon down into), and a wet cloth over to where you will hang the balloon.

    Tie a knot with twine to the top/tied part of the balloon. Set the balloon in the pan and begin covering the balloon with the sugar mixture. BE VERY CAREFUL that you don't cause the 'string' to shift or bunch up. When the balloon is completely covered, and don't be afraid to use your hands as a scoop to get full coverage (just pretend you're finger painting), lift the balloon by the twine and tie it onto (or secure it otherwise) to where it will hang. I use a portable clothes hanger from my washroom or sometimes the poles from my quilting frame.

    You will need to allow it to dry for 2-3 days depending on where you hang it, the temperature, and the humidity. Don't forget to place a drip catcher underneath it for the excess sugar. And especially don't forget to spray around the area with ant/bug spray if necessary. BUT DON'T spray the balloon.

    When the basket is dry it is now a basket. Cut the twine and remove the basket. You will notice that the basket is oval and will not stand on its own. So, set it on a flat surface, preferably about waist high. And somewhere that you don't mind getting sugar flakes on. You can also place a paper towel underneath it to help catch the sugar.

    Now, pop the balloon with a needle. Some of it will stick to the sides of the balloon. That's okay, you can peel it away later. With the balloon popped you can flatten the bottom of the basket. To do this press slowly down on the basket, keeping you hands around the basket (just above the middle). Be gentle because if you press too hard the basket will collapse. Remember, it's sugar soaked 'string'!

    When you get the bottom to your desired flatness you can cut a hole/opening to the size you desire. Decorate the outside with lace, silk flowers, or whatever. It's okay to use a glue gun to attach items. Put some Easter grass in it, along with some candies and a small stuffed animal and you have a terrific gift that will become a treasured keepsake.

    ALSO remember that these are relatively dainty items, meant for show or for gifts. THEY ARE NOT MEANT FOR CHILDREN TO PLAY WITH OR EAT!!!!!

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