My love for Easter eggs started when I was a little girl. Every Easter, my mom would bring out her precious collection of eggs. She and a friend would make beautiful eggs adorned with ribbon and jewels and things like that, and every year she would add to her collection. I would look at them and try not to touch, thinking they were the most beautiful things I had ever seen. I have memories of blowing the yolks out of the eggs and about passing out. I loved dying them, too. Past that point, the process got too involved and I would disappear outside for a game of tag with the neighbors. This project would last for days. This was patience that I have yet to learn, but every year I dream I will get it. Now I think I’m a rock star if I even get an egg dyed.
The problem is I always think I will end up creating something beautiful, but it never turns out very pretty. I do have fun with the process, though. This year I bought a book with beautiful egg projects that reminded me of the ones my mom would make. I invited over family and friends and thought that somehow, in a couple of hours, we would magically create eggs just like the ones in the book. Uh, wrong!!! However, I’m excited to tell you all that, at the end of the evening, I looked at my eggs and thought: these are really nice and I’m proud. They didn’t have any gems or ribbons, but they were very pretty.
If you’re going to blow out the center of the egg, use a sewing needle and tap it into the egg with the back of a spoon. Make sure to keep the egg in the carton when you do this. Then take a wooden skewer and push it all the way through, making a hole in the bottom of the egg. Wiggle it around in the center of the egg to break up the yolk—the more broken up, the easier to blow out. We used regular straws to blow the yolk out. This created a big hole on the end, which is fine if you want to string the decorated eggs on a ribbon. If you want a smaller hole, try using a coffee stir straw instead of a regular straw. Next year I will try that for sure. Rinse the inside of the egg by holding the egg under running water, then putting your fingers over the holes and shaking the egg to clean the inside of the shell. Blow out the water and dry the egg gently.
Then it’s time to decorate. When I went to the store to pick up some Easter egg dye, I was surprised by the wall of boxes to choose from. I picked some random ones that looked interesting: 24K Eggs Coloring Kit, Candy Apple Easter Eggs, old-fashioned dye, and the No-Spill Egg Coloring Kit. If you’re doing this project with young kids, I recommend using regular dye and not one of the fancy painting kits—way too complicated. (If you’re looking for reviews of the different egg-decorating kits out there, there’s a pretty extensive article on the blog, Raising Maine.) The clear crayon that came with the dye pack was great in theory because I could write something on the egg or draw little designs before dying it, but in reality, it didn’t work out so well, because I couldn’t see what I was drawing. If you want to do more than dye the eggs, plan on making this a two-day project. You’ll need to let the dye dry overnight.
When I looked back at my collection of painted eggs from past years, I saw that, when I had tried to draw a pattern or do something geometric, it was easy to see my mistakes, and the end product wasn’t very impressive. But this year, I found that the ones that were more abstract actually looked pretty good.
Soon I will need to explain holidays to Hayden, so I have started paying a little more attention. Now that Easter is here, I’m focused on it. I’ve been wondering about this whole tradition with Easter eggs: why the egg? I get the religious aspects of the holiday and understand why we celebrate Jesus dying on the cross and then rising from a locked tomb three days later. A miraculous event like that deserves a holiday. But the egg part confuses me. After a little google-ing, here is what I discovered about the history of the Easter egg: For obvious reasons, the egg has been a symbol of new life for thousands of years, and it’s always been associated with spring festivals that happened around the equinox. As Christianity spread and Easter became a Christian holiday, the egg became a symbol of Jesus’ tomb, with the cracking of the egg symbolizing His resurrection from the dead.
For me, this egg-dying tradition is more about getting together with friends and family, enjoying the experience, and celebrating Easter than it is about the perfect art project. Does your family have any Easter traditions? I’d love to hear about them.