Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Eliza's Cherry Trees: a Cotton Candy Craft

If you've ever been captivated by a flowering tree in the spring or wondered how the cherry trees ended up in Washinton D.C. you should run to go find this wonderful book.

Eliza's Cherry Trees: Japan's Gift to America tells the story of Eliza Scidmore, world traveler and photographer in the early 20th century.  In her travels to Japan she fell in love with the flowering cherry trees and was inspired to bring them to our country's capital.  The problem was that nobody agreed with her.  The book tells the story of Eliza's persistence over the course of many years (over 20!) and the woman who eventually became her ally

The illustrations are a pleasing combination of light filled, impressionist paintings and pencil sketches of historical places and people.  I kept going back to look at them, over and over.

The author manages to tell a worthwhile story without using too many words per page; so it can hold an interested kindergartner's attention, but could also work for a fourth grader or above.

When the girls and I read this book last month,  I remembered that I had been to Washington D.C. once as a young child when the cherry blossoms were in bloom and that I still have images in my mind from that time.  There's definitely something magical about all those trees with their fluffy blossoms and hardly any leaves showing.

Of course, to a child there's something magical about cotton candy too and the two things don't look too terribly dissimilar.  We decided this was the perfect opportunity to buy some cotton candy and to use it for an edible craft.

What we used:

  • Pretzel rods
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Marzipan dough (find it in the baking section)
  • Cotton candy

What we did:

1.  Wrapped the pretzel rod in a thin layer of marzipan.  Added a little extra for sturdiness around the base so it could stand on a plate.

2.  Covered the marzipan with pretzel sticks to form the bark.

3.  Added a little glob of marzipan at the top so we could stick pretzel sticks into it to form branches.

4.  Using a very light touch (cotton candy doesn't respond too well to squeezing) we fluffed the cotton candy around the tops of the branches to make the blossoms.

We had to eat it quickly because cotton candy is unstable stuff.  Honestly, though, I have to say I'm a fan of edible crafts that have to be eaten quickly.  It solves the problem of what to do with all those crafts that are fun to make but difficult to part with!

No comments: