Saturday, April 4, 2009

Make Something Cool Every Day: Pysanky Ukrainian Decorated Easter Eggs

Second day for me in the Make Something Cool Every Day challenge.

Today I went to a crafting workshop and learned how to make Pysanky (or Ukrainian Easter Eggs) The class was offered at the Wistariahurst Museum (which is a gorgeous historic mansion) and was taught by a wonderful woman, Carol Kostecki.

This was probably one of the best classes I've ever taken- It was so much fun! Over the 4 hours we each decorated our own egg (we all did the same pattern) step by step.

Here are the first wax lines. These will stay white once the egg is all done.

After drawing the wax lines the egg was dyed it's first color.

Here it is after I put the egg in yellow.

Then I made green dots and covered them with wax and dipped in orange-

I drew tear drops, then dipped it in red.

I filled in the star pattern- so this part will stay red.

Then the egg went into black- the final color.

After I melted off all the wax- the layers of color were revealed!

This was the best part, seeing all the colors appear as the wax melted off.

Traditionally the pictures and colors have meaning. The pine needles symbolize youth and health, and yellow means fertility.

I love to decorate Easter eggs but have only every used a basic kit from the grocery store- this was so much more satisfying! The egg turned out better than I could've ever expected. And I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it turned out to be- the eggs look so complicated (and some no doubt are) but this pattern and technique really was easy once it was broken down into steps.

Carol brought some examples of her own decorated eggs that were incredible (and way more difficult).

I could totally see myself doing more of these...we got to keep the stylus (called a kistky), wax, and instruction booklet so all I need do do is order dye and I'll be able to try my hand at a few more designs.

I know that yesterday's MSCE post was about eggs too, but hey it's April...and maybe I'm on an egg kick. I still have my grocery store dye kit to use so there's at least one more egg post to go!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Make Something Cool Every Day: Felted Eggs

Dot at dabbled is doing this really fun make-along. It's a great way to make an effort to do something creative everyday- which is a big part of why I started this blog in the first place. So I'm in!

Everyday in April I will try to make something creative (I don't know about cool, but at least creative) My something for today is- Felted Easter Eggs.

For the blue and yellow eggs- I started by wet felting. I put a wool covered styrofoam egg in a small piece of nylon hose, wet it down and added a little hand soap. 10 min and a lot of rolling later I had a solid colored felted egg.

Once it was dry I did my first ever needle felting to add the lines and dots. Needle felting is sooo fun I could really get addicted to it!  : )

For the pink marbled egg I experimented with using both wool yarn and un-spun wool (not sure if that the correct term or not, but probably not). I didn't needle felt here just did wet felting. This one came out OK, I don't think it's as nice as the others you can still see some of the twist in the yarn (and took longer to felt).

The blue one was the last one I made and I think it's my favorite- I really got the needle felting of the lines and dots down by this point.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

So Long Nashville...

We had a great time.

Today I went to the Cheekwood Art & Gardens. Spring was in full bloom and it could not have been more beautiful. The art museum on the property was great- I'm so glad I went for a visit.

I even found a gift for my mother-in-law. I thought this pin was so pretty. The woman in the gift shop told me it was Russian in origin.

Here are a few more pictures from the gardens:

We fly out tomorrow, back home, back to reality, and for me back to work to finish out the week. (And back to crafting -hopefully some felting of bunnies!)

Monday, March 30, 2009


Well it's been kinda quiet here on the blog front for a few days- thats because we're in Nashville! I've never been here before- or actually to Tennessee at all, 

but hubby was coming here for a conference and I decided to tag along. Boy am I glad I did- it's been great here! The first full day we were here (Saturday) it was 75 out and sunny! Being from the Northeast I was beside myself at the site of green, and flowers. And giddy with delight about not needing any sort of jacket what-so-ever!

Did a bit of knitting on the plane- 

Yup more bunnies (read more about the bunnies here, here, and here). I really have to finish knitting them all up so I can felt and finish them before Easter. (I thought I had all this time on my hands because I started them early and here I am on the brink of April! I think it's going to come down to the wire.)

We are staying at an amazing hotel- but if you ask me everything from the parking (yes they charge you to park here even if you are staying here- $18 a day) to the all of the food is really, really overpriced ($7 for a slice of cake) - but I will give them this- The atriums are AMAZING. It's like being transported to another country. Hubbies conference is here so it's convenient and really gorgeous. 

I can't believe how huge the atriums are- you could fit several full sized houses into each one. See-

 This is a gardener's paradise- all real plants- all perfectly manicured- all just unbelievable.

See what I mean about another country- actual coconuts!

Hey and look- they used some of the same exact faux flowers I used for my spring wreath
in this front desk arrangement!

Yesterday I went to a great yarn store- Bliss Yarns. And as if a foreign yarn store wasn't enough fun- to top it off they were having a one day 75% off sale room! I got 4 balls of this really really soft yarn in two beautiful colors for a steal!

 I also picked up some gift yarn for my mom (not going to show you so she doesn't see too), a few needle holders, And this- Stix Fix.

I've never seen this before but the inventor should get an award. It's a fix-it kit for wooden needles that takes care of nicks and also conditions well-worn needles back to a glossier finish. If you, like me had never seen this before, and you, like me, have a cat that likes to chew on wooden needles. After they picked you up off the floor where you lay from sheer surprise and joy- you were ready to fork over whatever necessary to obtain this small miracle. And now wish you had purchased two- just incase this fabulous little item doesn't exist in Massachusetts and you will be stuck with chewed up needles again once it's gone. 

I haven't tried it yet- so I'll let you know how it goes. But they assured me it was great and I believe them because...

They were so welcoming- offered to let me hang out and knit if I had needles or to come back on Tuesday when they are open again to and hang out to knit before I go home. Really great home-away-from-home yarn store. And to be honest they were way more welcoming than the small shop around the corner from my actual home. I can't say enough good things about Bliss- if you are ever in Nashville go and visit!

I will leave you with two really neat things we did already.
A visit to the Parthenon- yeah they have one of those in Nashville too!

And the gorgeous Belmont Mansion 

Where we had a wonderful tour guide (J.C. I think) who told my husband almost everything he wanted to know about this house.

P.S. We had one of the best breakfasts I've ever had at the Pancake Pantry (Hillsboro Village in Nashville). I don't think they have a website but the sweet potato pancakes alone are good enough to take a plane ride back here. Seriously.

And a great dinner/live music show (thanks to the amazing G.M. who went above and beyond her job) at the BB Kings Blues Club

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