Edible Art Project for Kids

children's kitchen art project
Egg and tomato mushroom centerpiece

I‘m always looking for child friendly projects that my girls can make; this one takes place in the kitchen. These cute little mushrooms are made from eggs and tomatoes! It’s an easy thing to make with a little adult supervision, adorable and the kids can eat them when they’re finished. The deviled egg version can be served at dinner parties as a festive appetizer.

Egg and Tomato Mushroom Recipe
4 boiled eggs
4 medium sized tomatoes
mayonnaise
mustard (optional)
salt and pepper (optional)
toothpick
wheat grass or lettuce leaves (optional)

Simple version
1. Boil and peel the eggs, cut off the tip of the widest part so they’ll stand up.
2. Cut off the rounded ends of the tomato and hollow them out.
3. Position the eggs in the wheat grass or a platter and put the tomato halves on top.
4. Dot mayonnaise onto the tomatos with a toothpick.

Deviled egg version
1. Boil and peel the eggs, cut off the tip of the widest part so they’ll stand up-put cooked egg yolks into a bowl.
2. Cut off the rounded ends of the tomato and hollow them out.
3. Mix the cooked egg yolks, 2 Tablespoons of mayo, 2 Tablespoons of mustard, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper together. Fill the eggs with this mixture.
3. Position the eggs in the wheat grass or a platter and put the tomato halves on top.
4. Dot mayonnaise onto the tomatoes with a toothpick.

great kid's project
It's an egg, it's a tomato, it's a mushroom!

Putting small cherry tomato halves on top of a cheese sticks also make tall, skinny edible mushrooms.

egg and tomato mushroom detail
Eggs and tomatoes that look like a mushroom are a simple, healthy kids' snack

I’d like to thank Neroli, the natural food market on Shabazi street in Neve Tzedek for giving me the remains of their wheat grass. I used the square of wheat grass as a prop for my mushrooms, but after the photo shoot, I planted it outside in a big planter. I think the planted wheat grass looks like a mini lawn. If you put the wheat grass square upside down in your garden or planter, it will serve as a great compost for the soil.

By the way, these (real) red spotted mushrooms in the wild can be poisonous to eat, but they are a delight to see.

mushrooms basking in the sun
Edible mushrooms (eggs and tomatoes) on a spring day.

Fairytale Mushrooms and Tutorial

Alice in Wonderland mushrooms
Giant Alice in Wonderland mushrooms lit up at night

 In the middle of September, it was still boiling hot here in Israel and I was hiding inside in the air conditioning, working on my website. My neighbor stopped by and told me she was planning a big, fancy 40th birthday party for herself, with an Alice in Wonderland theme, Fun! She hired me to make four GIANT  (3′, 4.5′, 6′ and 7.5′ tall) mushrooms as decorations for the party. I’d never made giant paper mâché mushrooms before, but when I had my store, we made lots of big props, so I was confident that I could do it. I went shopping at a hardware store and a fencing shop for supplies.          

Alice in Wonderland base structures
base structure of chicken wire, tape and paper mâché

 Each mushroom was made with chicken wire, masking tape, electrical tape, sewing boning, newspapers, golf umbrellas, sheer fabric, twinkle lights, paint and varnish.          

Alice in Wonderland mushroom, base
6' tall base structure

 It was important that the base of each stem was wider than top part. This stem had to be reinforced with 2 broom sticks and a big flower pot after it was finished because the weight of the cap started to make the chicken wire buckle.          

Alice in Wonderland mushroom, caps
building the mushroom caps

  The mushroom caps proved to be the most challenging part to build. Because each cap was built on an umbrella, many paper balls were needed to fill in the spaces between the umbrella wires, or each cap ended up looking exactly like an umbrella!          

Alice in Wonderland cap
The mushroom caps were built on top of umbrellas

 Many layers of paper mâché were needed for the cap to keep it’s rounded shape; the caps became very heavy in the end. The dried, paper mâché cap shapes were pulled off the umbrella before the cap was put on top of the stem.          

Alice in Wonderland, umbrella base
The paper mâchéd umbrella was too heavy for the mushroom stems

 I started working on the mushrooms early in the morning so that the first layer of paper mâché would dry and I could apply at least one more layer that day.         

Alice in Wonderland mushrooms
Building the mushrooms

 I started working on the mushrooms mid September and by the end of October, the weather each evening was very humid. I carefully carried each mushroom piece into my house so the layers of paper mâché would dry completely.         

Alice in Wonderland, stem and cap
A stem and cap in their begining stages

 Sometimes people would be walking by our garden as we were coming in our out of the gate. They would stop and stare at the mushrooms and ask why we had giant mushrooms in our garden. It was quite a site to see as each mushroom “came to life”.         

Alice in Wonderland party mushrooms
The mushrooms were all very different shapes and sizes.

 I had envisioned the mushrooms looking very geometric, but in the end they were all different sizes and shapes and not so perfect. I liked the way each mushroom was a different shape and the imperfections took on an organic/realistic feel.         

Giant mushrooms
The 7.5' mushroom as seen from my kitchen window.

 My neighbor wanted the mushrooms to be psychedelic. I used tie-dyed looking fabric for two of the smaller ones, the tallest one was red and yellow and the 6′ mushroom was painted in natural colors. At the party, the mushrooms colors couldn’t be seen because they were set up in a dark corner 🙁 but the twinkle lights that I put inside the gills were beautiful and the best part of the mushrooms.          

Party mushrooms
The two smallest mushrooms with tie-dyed fabric tops.

  The small, delicate layers under a mushroom are called gills. I made gills for each mushroom from sheer, gathered fabric. I gathered about 5 to 6 meters of fabric for each section of the gills. The gills for the biggest mushroom took about 20 meters of fabric!         

gills of a mushroom
It took 20 meters of fabric to complete the gills of this mushroom!

 I thought the mushroom gills were beautiful; it took a long time to gather and sew the gills. I made the gills from sheer fabric so the twinkle lights could easily be seen through it.          

white mushroom gills
White mushroom gills

 It was getting very near party time, December 18th. By this time, I’d been working on the mushrooms for 3 months. Every morning I would carry them outside and every evening, I’d carry them inside so the dew wouldn’t make them soggy.         

Mushroom gills
A close up of the white mushroom gills

 By the first week of December, the mushrooms were almost finished and I had pneumonia. I did a little more work putting the twinkle lights inside the gills and putting wool around the bottoms of the stems. The girls posed with the mushroom so you can see their scale.    

Giant mushrooms, party
Elli is standing under the tallest mushroom, 7.5' tall
giant mushroom
The girls are showing you the scale of the biggest (not tallest) mushroom.

 I wasn’t able to attend the Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party to see my mushrooms twinkling in the background, but I know they were wonderful!        

Alice in Wonderland mushrooms at night
Mushrooms at night

 I’ve been asked how to make the giant mushrooms, so I’ve included a tutorial at the end of this post. Continue reading “Fairytale Mushrooms and Tutorial”

Forest Friends, Waldorf Dolls

Forest Friends, mini wooden/needle felted Waldorf dolls

I started making wooden/felted Waldorf dolls using a wooden base for each doll, a felt “outfit” and needle felted head covering and tail (if applicable). Forest friends seemed like a good place to start since the forest is  a familiar place to many of us and there are so many characters that live in the forest. As a little girl, I lived in a rural area of Indiana; my woodland adventures took place on my grandfather’s farm. As I created these dolls, I imagined all of the characters that fit into the forest group because I like to make groups of things.

Tree kid

My grandfather’s name was Forest and he adored nature. He delighted in sharing magical places with us and showing us the little things that make nature wonderful. My parents, siblings and myself boarded a hay wagon, pulled by a tractor driven by my grandfather; he navigated the forest, pointing out interesting sites like the old log cabin where he was born. I was amazed at the way he found his way through the trees, without a path or road, he knew his way through these forests from growing up in them. We stopped at a slate bed creek, deep in the woods; my grandfather jumped off the tractor and waded into the creek. My brother, sister and I followed him into the water.

Turtle kid
Turtle kid, back view

My grandfather fished out several tiny, brown lizards, he called mud puppies. Being a tom-boy, I loved all the “pets” that he brought to us; I was the proud “parent” of a menagerie of animals and reptiles . I put the mud puppies in a plastic cup and carried them home to my aquarium. Turtles were another favorite gift from my grandfather, my turtles lived in a big sandbox in our yard. On this particular woodsy outing, he continued to search in the creek.

Butterfly kid

My grandfather pulled several pieces of what looked like rectangular rocks out of the creek, he handed my brother, sister and I each a piece. These rocks were pieces of petrified wood, pieces of wood that had been in the water for so long they had turned to stone. We all got back on the wagon and my grandfather continued his nature tour.

Fox kid

Chugging through the woods on our hay wagon and tractor, my grandfather pointed out a huge hornet’s nests in the tree branches above and drove safely around them. We stopped a few times and turned off the noisy tractor to observe the wildlife that wondered by during which time my mother worried that we would get poison ivy standing in the tall grasses. It seemed much later than it really was in the sunfiltered forest, but once we hit the clearing, we realized that it was only midday.

Mushroom kids

We headed through the clearing back into the trees, being careful to close the gates behind us so the cows wouldn’t get out. We drove down a steep hill to the edge of the lake and stopped. My grandfather handed each of us kids a cane fishing pole he’d made for us, we baited our hooks with worms and set out to catch dinner. My dad caught most of the fish on his own pole by casting, once we had enough to eat my dad and I started cleaning and filleting the fish. My mother and grandmother cooked the fish over a campfire.

Rabbit kid

After dinner we swam in the lake and then everyone headed back to the farm house before it got dark. Smelling of lake water and mosquito spray, I tucked away my petrified rock and made sure my mud puppies were o.k. , I laid in the big feather bed listening to the crickets chirp before I fell fast asleep, exhausted from my adventure in the forest.

Rabbit kid, back view

Magical Mushrooms

What is it about mushrooms that we all find so enchanting? Is it the colors? Is it the many shapes and sizes? Is it that our imaginations see these fat little fungi as trees in fairy landscapes? I have been particularly taken with the delicate underside of the big umbrella part of the mushroom. I’ve needle-felted quite a few mushrooms and used them as Christmas ornaments, but this time I decided to go beyond my ornament designs and add the many layers of the underside, called gills. I felted the mushroom cap as usual, starting with a felted ball, I cut the ball  in half, hollowed out the half circle, I felted the underside of the half circle and then I attached the felted stem to the middle of the cap.

I cut the gills from cotton felt. I cut a felt rectangle for each gill. The length of the gills are determined by measuring from the middle of the cap to the outter rim of the cap. I sewed all the gills together on one end till I could wrap them around the stem. I sewed every gill to the underside of the mushroom at the stem and at the outter rim of the cap.  

Sewing the gills to the underside of the cap is very time consuming. After I sewed the gills to the underside of the mushroom cap, I trimmed each gill from the outter rim of the cap to the stem, so the gills are rounded.

Fairies, Elves and Sprites!

Little Elf hat

I think this is my favorite costume that I’ve designed for my store. The little elf works for all ages, boys and girls. The funny hat can be worn as a costume as well as a winter hat and the elf shoes make great house slippers! The kids love all the magical and make-believe costumes.

Little Elf

Can’t you just see the sun rays streaming through the tall, green trees and far below, on the mossy forest floor, a little elf  is sitting under a big, red mushroom. There are fairies, sprites and elves luking in the nooks and crannies of this beautiful world.

Magical Mushrooms

Oh! Look! Here are the big red mushrooms of the fairy forest.

 

Our imaginations can take us anywhere we’d like to go, just notice your children and listen to their private, play conversations. No one can see these fairies, elves and sprites inside their little worlds. Elves, fairies and sprites are free to do as they please;  This is why they are sometimes cheeky and mischievous.

Elf and his pet frog

Fairies are easy to find if you know where to look. Outside, in the trees, in the tall grass, inside the flowers and blooming vines, look very closely. Sshhhhh!

Beautiful Fairy
Flower Fairy