Last year on May 1, a tiny basket festooned with crepe-paper ruffles containing pink tulips, glossy green hypericum berries and homemade sugar cookies was left on our doorstep. I half expected to glimpse woodland elves scampering off down the block trailing pixie dust in their path. I wasn’t too far off on the magic bit, as the source was my friend Jessie, one of the most incessantly creative people I have the good fortune to know.
Jessie and my pal Brian are the husband-wife-team behind, Loeffler Randall, the dream of a footwear company that they spun into a remarkable reality. As dedicated as they are to this successful business started in their then Brooklyn garden apartment, they have another thriving venture: raising three sweet boys (5-year-old twins and a 19-month-old).
While Jessie obviously has an incredible talent for sublime design and high fashion, she equally adores hands-on crafts that involve paint, glue, stamp sets and her curious boys. The May Day basket is just one example of her many thoughtful, homespun projects.
I asked Jessie to share a little bit about these baskets of bliss in honor of the ancient spring festival of May Day tomorrow.
Until this treat landed on our doorstep, I had no idea about May Day. Is it something you celebrated growing up? Yes, when I was little we used to make May Day baskets for our neighbors, particularly older ladies who lived in the neighborhood. We’d make little bouquets out of the wild flowers we’d find around the neighborhood.
What materials did you use to create last year’s baskets? Plastic tubs I found at the hardware store; streamers (to make the fringe); more streamers to braid for the handle; glue to secure fringe to the baskets; a glue gun to secure the handles; little tags from the hardware store to write “May Day”; rubber stamps to stamp out the letters and ribbon to tie the tags onto the baskets.
What sort of treasure should fill a May Day basket? Flowers in a little bouquet and something sweet to eat.
How did you get your boys involved with this thoughtful project? The boys helped me glue the fringe to the baskets, select the flowers and make the bouquets. And they were my delivery team!
We sadly missed the best delivery service ever, but how did people react? People were completely delighted. When I was growing up we did this every year, but these days I don’t think many people do it. So it was a real surprise and it felt like an old fashioned treat.
What did your boys learn from this act of giving? It’s always nice to come up with a project around giving. Sharing and giving is a tough concept for 4-year-olds. Of course, my boys were very vested in making their own baskets, but they were even more thrilled at the reaction the baskets received from others. They loved the project!
I love this project too. It’s perfect for all ages, and any chance to spread spontaneous, unexpected joy should be taken. Thanks Jessie!