decorated eggs

April 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had so much fun trying my hand at decorating eggs – not the typical holiday egg coloring we do with our kiddos around this time of year, but something a little more crafty. It’s impossible for me to even think about Easter eggs without thinking of my Aunt Doc. When I was little and we’d go to Indiana to visit my grandparents, we would always visit Aunt Doc and Uncle Mac. Lifelong friends of my grandparents, they were more family than friends and definitely earned their affectionate “Aunt” and “Uncle” titles.

Visiting their house was like going to a museum. Besides her doll collection, which in itself was amazing, Aunt Doc decorated eggs and had all of her unbelievable egg creations in glass cabinets displayed throughout the house. Describing these eggs, it’s impossible to convey their detail to a degree that would do them justice. To say that some of them had hinged doors or lit up or played music wouldn’t even give the full picture – they were truly works of art. Just search the web for pictures of “hand decorated eggs” to see some of the amazing creations people have made. The one of Aunt Doc’s that I remember most was Cinderella’s coach, a large ostrich-type egg with golden wheels. The sides were cut out – the doors even opened – and tiny figures sat inside on plush seats. It was amazing!

Upstairs Aunt Doc had an entire room devoted to her craft. There were at least two long tables filled with supplies, and I loved looking at all the tiny specialized tools, like the little drills, tweezers, magnifying glasses and detail cutters. There was equipment to blow out the eggs, painting supplies, hundreds of tiny embellishments and the eggs themselves: from tiny quail to large emu, a lot of which had to be special ordered. She had taken classes on egg decorating – believe me, I now know from experience that blowing out the eggs is tricky to do without breaking the shell – and even competed with some of her masterpieces. I remember how fun it was to look at the eggs that were still in progress, and I loved talking to her about what was going to happen to them and imagining how they would turn out. It was inspiring.

That’s the thing about inspiration, it’s everywhere. Every source is like a tiny seed – maybe not much to begin with or even something you can recognize, but those seeds begin to grow. The seeds for my creativity came from a lot of places. My dad is great at drawing, and a painting he had done – a copy of an old National Geographic cover photo – hung in his apartment when I was little. I remember being so impressed that he had painted it himself. And my mom, who has always loved to sew, was constantly creating sewing, cross-stitch and crochet projects. She loved making things for us and for others, giving away beautiful gifts.

It is no coincidence that 30-something years later I have a room in my house filled with specialized tools and embellishments to craft to my heart’s content. It’s not by chance that I love the entire process of creating my own projects, from gathering the supplies and coming up with the ideas to admiring the finished work and giving away some of my favorites. Being creative makes me happy. So thank you to everyone who has inspired me, including Aunt Doc for her beautiful eggs – her inspiration and creativity planted a seed that helped to grow into something that brings me so much joy. I could never decorate an egg like her, but I know there’s a part of her that helped spark my own creative passion.

sewn bunnies

March 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

This week we’ve been busy sewing adorably abstract little bunnies (our own homage to the Ugly Doll craze) for Bella to “sell” at her upcoming school Marketplace. I loved the way they turned out and the fact that this was a really simple project that my beginning sewer could definitely be successful with. We made a template of our bunny shape out of paper and traced it onto a cute assortment of Spring fabrics (folded in half so we could trace and cut both sides of the bunny at once). Then we sewed them together inside out on the machine, leaving a little opening at the bottom. After turning the bunny right-side out, stuffing and hand-sewing closed, we added button eyes. I have to say that choosing the fun fabric and button combos was my favorite part. I collect buttons so we had a lot to choose from. Our funny little bunnies are so cute that we are sad to part with them this week. “That’s OK,” said Bella, “we can always make more!”

easter jars

March 14, 2012 § 3 Comments

I am loving this sweet, and incredibly simple, Easter craft I just discovered in my new Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts book. I’ve saved most of my back issues of Martha’s holiday editions, but with this book so many great projects (225 to be exact) are all in one place. Martha Stewart always has great ideas – even the over-the-top ones get my creative juices flowing – but it’s the easy-to-perfect, simple projects that really make me happy. And with this one, what could be easier? I put small chocolate bunnies in Mason jars with a few Easter M&Ms and some edible candy grass, and I added a couple of pretty ribbons. These make great centerpieces and would be perfect for gifts. I made one for each of my girls. We will leave them out as decorations for the rest of the month, and then they can get to the absolute best part of this project: eating it. Yum!!

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