Photos by Ma'ayan Rosenzweig
by Kendra Vizcaino, Epicurious.com
Moms are busy 364 days a year taking care of everyone else, but come Mother's Day, Mom gets to sit back and be spoiled. Well, at least that's always the plan. This year, show your mom just how much you appreciate her by giving presents that can be enjoyed every day of the year. From frames decorated with pasta to edible candied flowers, these five food-inspired crafts are easy enough for children to make with some adult assistance. With just a few household and pantry items, along with some basic art supplies, you can create charming gifts that any mom, grandmother, or aunt is sure to love.
Related: The Best Mother's Day Brunch Ever
If it's hard to keep track of cooking utensils, help Mom keep them organized with a decorative kitchen- tool holder.
Equipment: Wooden utensil caddy available at crafts shops or home stores, sponges, scissors, water, tempera paint
Appropriate for: Children 2+ years old, with help from a grown-up
Instructions: Dampen a clean sponge slightly with water, wringing out any excess liquid. Use scissors to cut the sponge into shapes; here, we made small rectangles, but you can also cut them into, stars, hearts, diamonds, squares, ovals, or any other shape you like. Dip the sponge in tempera paint, dab off any excess on a paper towel, and lightly press the sponge onto the caddy's surface. The texture of the sponge produces a marbled look when stamped onto the utensil holder. Layer various colors and use different shapes to make fun, vibrant creations. Older kids can enjoy making more complex patterns and designs.
These homemade place mats will make setting the table more fun, doing double duty by keeping the table clean while displaying decorative copies of the family's favorite recipes. This is the perfect project for Mom's little helpers who love to lend a hand in the kitchen.
Appropriate for: Children 5+ years old, with help from a grown-up
Equipment: Food magazines, newspapers, printouts of online recipes; construction paper; crayons, markers; scissors; clear contact paper; glue stick
Instructions: Cut out, photocopy, print out, or hand-write some of Mom's favorite recipes, and feel free to illustrate them if you'd like. Use scissors to trim the margins around each recipe (you can also try scallop-edged scissors to create decorative borders). Glue the recipes to sheets of colorful construction paper. Then use your scissors again to cut clear contact paper into rectangles slightly larger than the construction paper sheets and big enough to serve as a place mat (we made ours 12 x 18 inches). Remove the paper backing and lay the contact paper sticky side up on your work surface. Carefully place the construction paper on the contact paper, making sure that it's properly centered-the placement is final! Remove the paper backing from the second piece of contact paper, align it as closely as possible to the first, and then lay it sticky side down so that the recipes are sandwiched in between. Cut away any exposed sticky edges and smooth down the mat, pressing firmly with your palms to push out any air bubbles.
See also: Mother's Day Around the World
Pasta-Adorned Picture Frames
A framed family photo is always a safe bet for a Mother's Day gift, but make yours stand out by adding a personal touch. Dried pasta makes for great decorations, because it lasts for a very long time, comes in a variety of shapes, and can be painted easily.
Appropriate for: Children 8+ years old, with adult supervision (if using a hot glue gun); 4+ years old, with help from a grown-up (if using craft glue)
Equipment: Wood or plastic photo frame; pasta; glue gun or craft glue; spray paint or acrylic paint
Instructions: First, choose a frame with a flat front and wide border. Remove the glass from the frame and store in a safe place. Select pasta shapes for decorating the frame: Long, thin pastas like spaghetti, linguine, and fettuccine work well for borders, while smaller, more rounded shapes like shells, orecchiette, and elbow macaroni make great embellishments. We've found that a hot glue gun is the best tool for affixing pasta to the frame, but any craft glue will work. Once you've finished gluing the pasta and the adhesive has dried, about five minutes if using hot glue and about an hour if using craft glue, you can paint the frames as desired. Spray paint is quick and easy; it also ensures even coverage of pasta's small grooves and details (always use spray paint in a very well ventilated area). Alternatively, you can also use acrylic paint to color the frames. Allow the frame to dry overnight, replace the glass, and insert a favorite family photo.
Breakfast Tray Collage
One of the best treats for any mom on Mother's Day is to be served breakfast in bed. Make this magnificent meal even better by serving it on a tray covered in pictures of the family and Mom's favorite foods.
Equipment: Paper, crayons, markers; magazines; copies of family photos; foam brush; glue/sealer (we recommend Mod Podge); wooden or plastic tray available at home stores
Appropriate for: Children 4+ years old, with help from a grown-up
Instructions: Cut out images from old magazines, draw your own pictures, make copies of favorite family photos, or collect other images that have special meaning: Food and family are always good choices, but also consider pictures of family pets, along with images of Mom's hobbies, job, friends, or other interests. Create a collage by arranging the pictures on a plain serving tray so they overlap slightly. Use a small foam brush to apply the Mod Podge or other glue/sealer to the undersides of the images so they adhere to the tray. Once all the pictures are glued in place, gently brush a thin layer of the same sealer on top of the pictures. Allow the sealer to dry for about 20 minutes, then apply a second coat. The sealer will protect the collage, but just the same, try to avoid spilling liquids on the tray to ensure that your fun and festive handiwork lasts for many Mother's Days to come.
Handmade candied flowers will wow all the important women in your life. Not only are these sweet, elegant, and edible blossoms beautiful and delicious, but they're also surprisingly easy to make. Use them as decorations for an unforgettable Mother's Day dessert.
Appropriate for: Children 4+ years, with help from a grown-up
Equipment: Edible flowers, such as pansies, roses, and lavender; sugar; pasteurized egg whites; small food-safe brush
With just some egg whites and sugar and our recipe for Candied Flowers, you can transform edible flowers into delectable treats. A good source for edible flowers is MarxFoods.com, but no matter where you find or purchase yours, make sure they are pesticide-free.
Instructions: Use tweezers or your fingers to hold the flowers steady while applying egg white with a small brush. Alternatively, if you don't have a brush to apply the egg white, you can gently dip the flowers directly into a bowl of egg whites. Apply sugar per the recipe directions, and then set the sugared flowers on a tray and loosely cover them with plastic wrap or a light kitchen towel to prevent any dust or other contaminants from sticking to the petals. Experience has taught us that it's best to let the flowers dry for at least five hours, if not overnight, in a cool dry place. Once the flowers are dry, use these edible embellishments to adorn cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts.
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• Healthy Recipes for Spring
• Blue-Ribbon Chicken Recipes
• How to Grow a Kitchen Herb Garden
Photos by Ma'ayan Rosenzweig