Just in time for Easter!
I never really understood the reason for Easter Eggs, I mean what do they have to do with Easter? The bunny too, but we can deal with that another time. Well, it seems that colored eggs have a long tradition as a symbol of Spring. Not always necessarily Easter, but of the growth and new life that happens in Spring. Eggs were mentioned in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, China and, of course, Russia. The bunny? I don't know.
Russians have traditionally given eggs as gifts to celebrate Easter. There are two main types of Russian Easter egg. "Krashenka" are a rather plain egg without decoration and usually dyed brown by boiling with onion skins. For the technique click here.
The other type are called "pysanka" and are very elaborately painted using many steps and special tools and wax. They are beautiful and these days are made on wooden eggs so they can be kept as treasures or sold as souvenirs. We are going to try to make some of these, but I think I have a much simpler way to do this----MARKERS!! Ahhh, isn't modern life grand :) Something that your Russian Babushka (Grandma) might have spent days doing can now be done in a few minutes with a sharpie and some colored pens.
There is also another type of famous egg in Russia- the Faberge. Gustav Faberge owned a jewelry shop in Russia in the mid 1800's and made beautiful jewelled and enamel eggs. Most of them were small and made to be worn as pendants, but for the Tsars he stepped it up a notch! The eggs he made for Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II were made of precious metals and covered with gemstones. They were larger and made for display. Some opened to reveal a figure or scene inside. There were a total of 44 of these amazing eggs made, of those, only 42 remain and they are in museums or private collections. The Easter Bunny probably has the other 2 in his private collection! We are going to try to see if we can make our own version of these too. Not real gems, of course, that might blow the budget just a little :)
For the project you will need:
- at least a dozen hard boiled eggs
- food coloring
- paper towels
I didn't dye our eggs first. I should have, it turns out. We made a few using just the markers and the eggshell absorbed the ink. They still looked pretty but in a strange, messed up way :)
I didn't feel like getting out the whole egg dying/vinegar/food coloring stuff so I just dropped a few drops of food color directly on the egg and rubbed it with a paper towel. Guess what. It totally worked and was hardly messy at all!! My new way of coloring eggs. After that, the marker didn't absorb and the colors stayed true. This was where our lack of skill started to show. We tried to recreate the intricate patterns, but by the end we had smiley faces and more simple designs.
For the "faux Faberge" we used sequins and glue. My daughter went for a more jewel encrusted look while I made a pattern with my sequins. My son stuck on 3 and then went to play. He's not much of an art project kinda kid.
Do our eggs look like they were made in Mother Russia? No, absolutely not. Did we have fun? Yes, undeniably. Will my fingers be blue for the next 2 days? Probably.
Easter Bunny eat your