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May Baskets of Salvaged Finds

May Day, which marks the midpoint between the spring equinox and summer solstice, has been associated historically with ancient fertility rituals deemed vital for a favorable growing season. Celebration traditions weave through many cultures, but it was the druids in Great Britain who venerated the day by gathering flowers and branches; their floral tributes evolved into modern May baskets. Today, May Day celebrations are about the joy of giving. Devoted followers delight in a drop-and-run adventure, gleefully gifting goody-filled baskets as they ring doorbells and dash. Traditional May baskets brim with blooms of the season, but many givers stuff baskets with cookies or candy, typically targeting doors of loved ones, neighbors, and friends and leaving the anonymous gifts dangling from doorknobs or perched on stoops.
  • Photography by Krisada

    May Meat Grinder

    A wellworn meat grinder makes a clever (dare we say cuttingedge?) May basket. Dull blades won’t pose a threat; if you spy a sharp edge, file it down. Slip a ribbon through a few blades and line the container with sheet moss. Drop an old glass or jar inside (you also could use florist’s foam in a plastic bag) to hold flowers, such as these raspberry and white Ranunculus, chartreuse viburnum, and shell-pink apple blossoms. Look for meat grinders at flea markets and restaurant supply stores; they usually cost $5 or less. 

    Date Published: April 11, 2017
    Date Updated: April 28, 2017
  • photography by Krisada

    Funnel Flowers

    Finesse a rusty funnel with a fresh bouquet of springtime blooms. Select a funnel with a handle to make hanging easy. To assemble, tie a ribbon to the handle and hang the funnel from a doorknob as you work. Plug the spout with a cast-off cork to prevent water leaks. Cut florist’s foam to fit the funnel body, soak the foam in water until fully saturated, and slip it into a plastic bag before tucking into the funnel. Add stems that celebrate the season: tulip, pussy willow, lilyof- the-valley, white bleeding heart, and viburnum. Expect to pay $5–$8 for a small funnel. 

    Date Published: April 11, 2017
    Date Updated: April 28, 2017
  • Photography by Krisada

    Wire May Basket

    Draft a basket-style industrial light cover into service as a festive May basket. Line the fixture with sheet moss. If you use moss with a backing or lining, you can place soaked florist’s foam against the moss; otherwise, tuck the foam into a plastic bag and then slip it inside the moss cup. Tie a ribbon to the fixture sides, then thread the ribbon through a washer and two bolts to create a draw cord that allows you to tighten the hanging loop. A small light fixture costs about $12, but the current popularity of these items could fuel a price increase. 

    Date Published: April 11, 2017
    Date Updated: April 28, 2017
  • Photography by Krisada

    Bed Spring Flower Holders

    Layers of paper, a small glass bottle, a decorative brad, and a bedspring combine to create an easy-to-make, elegant basket. This twist on a traditional May Day basket suits any door style and easily translates to interior spaces with its tabletop-ready bedspring stand. Expect to pay $4 or less for a single bedspring. Look for springs that have already been cut from bed frames. 

    Date Published: April 11, 2017
    Date Updated: April 28, 2017
  • Photography by Krisada

    Spats with Blooms

    It’s easy to recycle Victorian Era spats into dapper May baskets. Before you replace broken or dull buttons with bright vintage ones in spring shades, insert a 3-inch-wide terra-cotta pot or similar container into the upturned spat. Tighten the spat to hold the pot in place, then position new buttons accordingly. Tuck florist’s foam into a plastic bag, slip it into the pot, and arrange flowers. Add a ribbon to the spat’s leather strap. You can often find spats at an antiques store; they range from $7 to $12 per pair. 

    Date Published: April 11, 2017
    Date Updated: April 28, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Twig Flower Holder

    The tradition of giving May baskets continues to this day. Branch out with a handwoven twig version—save those spring trimmings—filled with hosta leaves, pussy willows, sweet William, and stick candy.

    Date Published: April 11, 2017
    Date Updated: April 28, 2017

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