Merchant Kitty
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Baskets

I love making baskets.  Handmade, personalized baskets are so much  better than store bought baskets because you can fill them all the way with wonderful things (no Styrofoam filling or empty packaging in the bottom to fool you.) and you can choose only those things the recipient will enjoy, for the same amount of money you can buy a pre-made you can have so much more good stuff, and they are beautiful! 

I like to make fruit baskets for Christmas each year.  The heat shrink wrap makes them look store bought so I like to put some personalized item inside so that they know they were hand made.    If you have never used heat shrink wrap, you have got to try it.  You wrap it up just like regular wrap securing the edges with clear tape.    Then it shrinks to fit as you heat it evenly with a blow dryer keeping everything in its perfect little place looking gorgeous.  Be careful of soft fruit like pears though.  A bit of evergreen garnish will squish into its delicate skin and bruise it. 

Start by placing the shrink wrap under your basket.  (I always forget this step)  I usually put some items like boxes of crackers and sausage or chocolates at the bottom to lift everything up so it gets that dome shape.  Then I pile some shreds or tissue paper on top to cover it up and give a cushy place to lay the fruit.  After I stack my fruit so that it looks good from all sides, I fill in the gaps with silk poinsettas or evergreen pieces and a personal item like a card or hand made ornament.  If you skip the very first step of placing the shrink wrap underneath, you're in for a fun time balancing all those tediously stacked fruits that want to roll away.  I fall for the same trick EVERY year!  Tape the edges of your shrink wrap.  They will melt together and you can take the tape off when you're done.  Sometimes I will spray it with glitter.
This basket was for Mother's Day.  After making this basket I decided that all baskets MUST have lights!  This one just plugs in, but they make battery operated Chrismas lights that you can leave just the controls out of your wrap so you can turn them off.
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