Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trying too hard

Ah, Spring is in the air.  It is the time of year when all good crafters have so many creative juices flowing that if you poked 'em with a pin they would leak Alizarin Crimson Acrylic (that's red paint, for all you craft virgins out there).  I guess that would make us craft-floozies.  Yup, me and the bishop's wife, we are craft floozies.

Actually, I have only recently allowed the word craft into my vocabulary.  You see, I am a child of the 80's, a time when every good housewife had a grapevine wreath bedecked with giant silk flowers and pastel plaid ribbon, hung in the living room.  Some of them still hang there, all faded and under a 20 year old layer of dust and kitchen grease.  Nasty.

I actually refused to own a glue gun for the first 10 years of my marriage.  Find a woman completely devoid of skill or talent, give her a glue gun, and suddenly she thinks she is Coco Chanel.  Well, then I had a cub scout and, let's just say, I now own a glue gun - and the boy's patches never fall off anymore. 

 I also found that if I didn't want to do crafts, I didn't get invited to many social events that centered around them.  Add to that my disdain for any household item that can be acquired through a "party", and I was nearly a recluse.  Now, I am no scrapbooker, but I have learned that I can still make handmade cards for a card trade once in a while.  They are painted, not stamped, but no one seems to mind. 

So Floozie Kathy and I decided to get all jiggy with Easter eggs this year.  She came packin' heat (a totally different kind of gun, but alas, a gun nevertheless) for embossing, and we attempted to re-create the beautiful eggs featured in Martha Stewart's April issue of Living. 

Stupid Martha.

Did she, or any one of her craft-minions mention that the stamps slide all over the eggs when you try to stamp the embossing adhesive onto them?  Um, no.  They did not.  Probably because they paid some grad student minimum wage to make, like, 500 eggs that they chose from to get the 4 that turned out nice enough to put on the cover of the magazine.  Somewhere in East Hampton there is a grad student in the fetal position in her closet, rocking and mumbling something about a student loan and scrambled eggs.

Next, we tried our hand at onion-skins and old-silk-necktie wrapped eggs.  It turns out that rubber bands melt and break in boiling water, effectively allowing the cloth to fall off of the eggs.  Who knew?  We succeeded in producing a lovely pot of brown eggs.

Last, we moved on to Ukrainian Egg dying.  This is an ancient art form that began centuries ago when the good people of the Ukraine realized it would be a few hundred more years before they invented TV and the snow plow.  After making our eggs, I began to understand why these folks invented Vodka.  The eggs are dyed in a series of intense colors between being drawn on by a stylus tool filled with wax called a Kiska, that is heated over a candle every few seconds. 
Yes.  Every.  Few.  Seconds. 
After about 4 or 5 layers and a hand full of hours,
the wax is removed to show you that you totally did it wrong. 
 It is awesome. 
Or rather, великий.

Seven hours after smiling arrival, Kathy staggered out of my house with a tiny clutch of colored eggs and slight eye twitch.  I set about tidying up the table for round two... we had yet to dye eggs with the kids.

The kids sat down and, as kids do, made a dozen gorgeous eggs in about 15 minutes.  I was awestruck at the pure simplicity and beauty in them.  My favorite was one that Ethan did by "trying to see how ugly I can make it" by putting it in all of the colors.  It looks like an amazing ancient stone.  Adam made one that looked like the sea by a beach, Tess made one that looked like rosy granite, and Ellie produced one that looked like a sunset.

When they were done, my eggs looked so contrived and naive next to their spontaneous and rich ones. 
I need to try harder not to try so hard. 

Just getting started.  She looks so happy, doesn't she?  If only she knew...

You are supposed to be able to transfer the pattern from a silk tie onto an egg. It worked a little, but that darn rubber band had to go and act all...ya know, rubbery and melty and all. 

Are they eggs, or are they a science fair project?

 Doesn't she have healthy cuticles?

Masters at work...

Which came first, the stained fingers or the eggs?

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