For weeks now, Rosebud has been asking when we could color Easter eggs. This is the first year she’s been able to understand the idea; it’s been several years since I’ve colored Easter eggs myself, so I was pretty eager to color eggs, too. I’ve always enjoyed making them from when I was little, and my sisters and I would get fairly elaborate with all kinds of patterns.
If I had a little more time, it would have been fun to experiment with making homemade natural dyes, but instead we used a kit. Next year, I’m going to try making natural dyes.
If you know me fairly well, you may have learned at some point that I really hate eating eggs. I always think eggs look appealing to eat, but both the scent and texture of eggs makes my stomach turn. And I’m honestly sad about that fact, because I think dishes like omelets look amazingly delicious. But due to the fact that I don’t eat eggs, they are one of the few foods I haven’t learned how to cook. I’ll readily admit that I had to look up directions on how the hard boil our two dozen eggs for dyeing. It was surprisingly easy (imagine that!), but the smell of the eggs still put me off.
Rosebud and I simply dyed our eggs solid colors. To give the eggs a bit of shine, I rubbed a smidgen of vegetable oil on them. I also found some mini Easter stickers for Rosebud to put on the eggs, but they didn’t stick too well because of the vegetable oil. No matter; Rosebud still greatly enjoyed looking at the stickers and deciding where to place the stickers. I briefly thought about using a white wax crayon to draw designs on the eggs before dying them, but since Rosebud was eager to get started (and Superdude was fussing and wanting to be snuggled with Mama), I tabled that idea for next year. Rosebud dropped one egg, which cracked, but that gave me the opportunity to see that I at least had correctly cooked the eggs. I offered Rosebud some of the hard boiled egg, but apparently she feels the same way I do about eating eggs. I can’t blame her in the slightest!
While we were working on our Easter egg project, I thought about how I once learned to make Ukrainian Easter eggs, or Pysanky; here’s another link about Pysanky. When I was about 12 or 13 years old, there was a Pysanky class offered at the public library in the town where I grew up. For awhile after that, I was really interested in making my own Ukrainian eggs. It’s a creative and fun process. The websites I linked describe making Pysanky really well, but here’s what I remember from when I did it. First, you take a stick of beeswax and melt it into a miniature funnel (using a candle), and draw your design by carefully dripping the wax onto the egg; the lines you draw should be delicate and of course you want to use as little wax as possible. Then, you dye the egg, starting with the lightest color you plan to use. Then repeat the process to add to your design and the colors you want. Finally, once you’re happy with all the patterns and colors on your egg, you melt the wax off, gently using the candle, and wipe the wax off which reveals your finished egg.
After I took the Pysanky class, I talked my mom into buying me several colors of Ukrainian egg dye. I believe that I proudly displayed several of my creations in Mom’s china cabinet, and the eggs are probably still there. They’re not at all authentic in terms of design, but it was really fun. Maybe when Rosebud and Superdude are a bit older, I can do this again and teach them, too.
Speaking of Easter eggs with intricate designs, we visited the Ostermarkt, or Easter market in Bad Tölz yesterday. We only had about half an hour to look, as we needed to catch a bus (great cheap thrill for Rosebud, taking the bus!). One of the artisans at the market had a stand of gorgeous painted Easter eggs. I let Rosebud pick out one for herself (a kitty) and I bought an owl one for Superdude. You see, when Superdude coos, he sometimes sounds like an owl. I had a nice chat with the artisan, who told me she studied fine art in Krakow, Poland. I plan to go back and buy a few more as gifts, because they were amazingly beautiful.