Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wednesday Poll

It's Wednesday and I need some motivation and thought I would conduct a poll to determine my next egg design.  I recently completed most of the normal designs I like to have for craft shows.  Now I need to make some new designs that are a little different from what i usually do.

Check out the Poll on the left side of this post and vote today!

Here are the options:

1. Celtic Green Man:  The Celtic pagan green man has a face made from leaves, branches, nuts, and any natural elements.  I see oak leaves and acorns as the usual elements.  Lithuania was the last pagan country and has strong connections with oak leaves and acorns.  I thought molding these two pagan elements together would be interesting and fun.  Here are some ideas for the egg:

2.  Wolf:  Lithuania has a special relationship with wolves.  There is the iron wolf as well as the attraction to nature again.  I was hoping to do a new wolf design with howling.  I did a howling wolf in the past but I do not have a photo of it to replicate. 

3.  Poppies:  Maybe its the fact I'm listening to the music from the Wizard of Oz lately or maybe it's because Spring is finally popping out all over.  Either way, the idea of a poppy egg sounds bright and festive.  I never attempted this flower and it may be a nice change from the lilacs and roses I usually do. 

So what do you think? Green Man, Wolf, or Poppies?

The Poll is up and I cannot wait to see the winner! I will close the poll Wednesday of next week! Thanks in advance for voting!

Don't forget to vote on the poll to the left of this post at the top of the page!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Egg Etching Step by Step Instructions

In 2015, I was lucky enough to supply a Lithuanian Magazine "Bridges" which step by step instructions for etching eggs the Lithuanian way.  For today's Thursday throwback, I though I would provide those photos and instructions once again. 

1. Egg Preparation:

I personally like to etch blown out eggs.  That means the inside contents are already removed.  The contents are removed first, the egg is cleaned, and finally the egg is dyed and dried.  

When choosing my eggs, I look for eggs with no pimples, grooves, or unsightly bumps.  Not only do they make the egg unattractive, but they also create areas where the blade could catch and crack the egg when etching. 

After the egg is blown out (I use an egg blower), I clean the inside of the egg with HOT water.  This ensures all the egg insides are out so the egg will not smell later. The egg is cleaned with a baking soda and water paste, then washed in vinegar.  This will give a clean surface for the dye to adhere to. 

I hold the egg in a dye bath with tongs. When the egg is the color I want, I dry the egg on a drying board. 

2. Draw and Outline Design: 

I draw the design I wish on my egg with a pencil.  This gives me an outline to follow with the blade.  

Then I take the blade, hold it like I do a pencil.  

**You will see in the photo I hold the blade backwards.  This is not preferred by many people.  Hold the blade the way you feel comfortable.  The key is to simply have the blade to the side as to not dig into the shell, cracking it. 

I use a towel to push the egg on, giving me stability that is still safe for the eggshell. 

3. Shading: 

Once the egg is outlined, I shade the egg with either the same blade or another blade that was recently opened.  The sharper the blade, the easier it is to shade detailed lines. 

Once complete, I use an eraser to clean up stay pencil marks. 

At this point the egg is complete.  You can spray the egg with acrylic or another clear protection layer.  I personally do not do this.  I am not a fan of shiny eggs and like the look of a matted finish.  

If you put another hole in the top of the egg you and string a ribbon through to make your creation into an egg ornament. 

Now that you know the basics of egg etching, I will be excited to see if anyone would post an egg they etched here!  I see creations online far better than my own, and would love to see yours. 

This type of egg art is dying.  Not many people try it as much as pysanky.  I started seeing more people learning this craft in the past couple years, and I hope the interest will continue to grow. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Networking 101

Today I am excited to discuss networking... how does this connect to eggs? Well turns out a friend of mine Mike McCay, trades green eggs with me for etched eggs.  He told a friend of his who raises geese about my work. She gave me 31 goose eggs on Sunday!! I am in heaven!  These eggs are goregeous!!

I cannot wait to empty these eggs out, clean them, dye them, and etch new designs onto them! 

I am grateful that a friend thought of me when speaking with someone else. I gained some eggs, a new contact, and potentially another friend who has an interest in birds and eggs. 

The next post will be devoted to Mike McCay and the green chicken eggs he collects! Check back soon!

Monday, March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring!

First Day of Spring!! This means if egg artists have not been in full swing, they certainly are now!  Egg items are in stores for Easter, chicken eggs are flying off the shelves at grocery stores, and farmers are making a killing with their egg sales.  

Everyone is looking for chicken, duck, goose, turkey, and other types of eggs.  More and more articles are coming out about how to cook with eggs, how to store eggs, and all around egg information and recipes.  

Quiche once again has become a popular french dish to prepare and serve (and not just for breakfast and brunch).  

I personally bought goose and turkey eggs from an egg farm and recently received them.  I even bought my first rhea egg to tackle.  

Although I am a fan of fall and winter, the beginning of Spring has its own appeal.  The air is crisp and I can smell life.  Even the smell of dirt smells amazing because it is teaming with potential.  Soon the last of the snow will be gone, buds will form, and grass will grow.  Green will emerge and colors will come back to the world.  The flowers will come up, and the idea of an afternoon stroll with the dog sounds like the best idea one could possibly have.  

I am an impatient person.  I want immediate gratification.  Spring could not come sooner.  Should it race here over night, wearing bells and whistles, I would wake up one happy camper. 

Right now, my goals are grand and impractical.  I hope to etch eggs with all my spare time, and reap the pleasures of Spring as soon as they present themselves.  We shall see how much I accomplish and enjoy in the days to come.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Luck of the Irish!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! I forgot just how much I love wearing green!  I have my 3.00 bargain bin green glasses on at work, and feel like a pot of gold! :-) 

Above is my Shamrock egg.  I had forgotten about this design and am glad to resurrect it.  Hopefully a Celtic design is in my future. 

Today I received a call about goose eggs! I am excited that a friend of mine was kind enough to mention my egg passion to another person who raises chickens and geese.  The barter system is amazing! I will get gorgeous goose eggs in exchange for an etched goose egg!  That is a perfect trade in my opinion.  

After talking with the lovely lady, I very much want to raise my own hens with colored egg shells.  I think I need to embrace the fact I cannot do everything and be content in meeting new people, building eggs related friendships, and acquiring eggs that way. 

I worked on a new goose egg design last night ironically enough.  It turned out very well if I do say so myself.  I have not had a chance to shade it yet, but when I do, I will post it here.  I like it enough that I already outlined a second, and I will outline a third.  That way, if my mom wants it (which she usually does when it has to do with Lithuanian designs), she can have her pick and I still will have two for craft shows. 

This weekend there will be no craft show.  Although I am a little bummed about it, I am excited that I will have a weekend to stay home, clean up the house after Snowmageddon, etch eggs, and all around relax.  I want to drink an entire pit of tea while making earrings in front of the fire, and watch a musical.  Maybe "Hello Dolly."  Yes, I am a real party animal. 

The corned beef is in the crockpot, I will head home for lunch to have a bowl of potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and corned beef.  Then when the day is done, Carol (sister), Jess (friend) and I will go see Beauty and the Beast.  We cannot wait, and I am sure the experience will be magical! 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Snow Day Means Egg Day!

March 14, 2017 - lovingly dubbed Snowmaggedon was a fun day for me!  Not only was the office closed (though I brought some work home to do, since I am so responsible), but I finally had some time to photograph all my egg designs to date for my portfolio. When I say, I had time, I mean I was able to convince my husband to take the photos while I worked on other things, like office work. 

I now have the job of photo shopping each photo, cropping the images, and posting them here.  The suspense is killing me.  Although the office is once again closed today, while the plow people figure out where to put 24 inches of snow around the entire time, I am still in the office getting a few things done.  When I get home, I will be working on all the photos so I can post them here for your viewing pleasure.  

Here is a sneak peek of the photos!  I even had the ability to use the light box I bought roughly 2 years ago.  The box was very easy to use and I am pleased as punch with my purchase.  

Once the photos are tweaked, cropped, and posted, I will get back into etching more eggs.  I started remembering designs I haven't done for years.  Isn't it funny how designs sometimes just fall out of your memory bank.  Some of the designs I started recollecting are old favorites that I cannot believe I forgot in the first place.  

Once those designs are completed, I will be working on newer and larger designs.  I have an idea for a Lithuanian sash design to put on a goose egg.  I started outlining it last night, and when it is done, I hope to share it with you on here. 

I hope everyone on the East Coast is snug and warm in their homes.  Please be careful if you are driving at all in the snow.  If you are not affected by Snowmaggedon, please pray for those who are. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

TGIF and NCCC Craft Show Bethlehem

Thank goodness it's Friday! 

Finally, the week is over and we can start thinking about the crafts we will complete over the weekend!

Will tonight be a few etched eggs?  Maybe some soap and earrings.  Or perhaps a few cards for Easter. 

I hope to make some cute HOPPY cards and Easter related eggs this weekend. 

I have a show coming up tomorrow in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at NCCC.  Check Out Website Here!

The show will be from 9:00 AM through 3:00 PM. 

I am excited to be selling the following: 

  • Lithuanian Scratched Bantam, Chicken, Duck, Turkey, and Goose eggs 
  • Drop and Pull eggs (natural and colors)
  • One of a Kind Greeting Cards
  • Handmade Soap 
  • Earrings
  • Homemade Nut roll and Peanut Butter Eggs
  • Much much more!
Hopefully I will have the chance to take pictures when I am there and post about the fun my mom and I had.  

Until then... Happy Weekend Crafting!!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday!

Today let's look back at 2011!! Roughly 6 years ago my family and I were preparing for the 97th consecutive Lithuanian Days! 

We had a blast getting ready for the huge event held in Frackville Pennsylvania.  

Here is the gang with Father Wassel, my parent's childhood priest.  

I had my eggs for sale.  It is certainly interesting to see how some designs stand the test of time and how others are simply forgotten.  I should remake a few that slipped through the cracks over the last 6 years.  

Tonight I should try to get a few more eggs done and then I will be spending some time on earrings and cards.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring Egg Festival - PITTSBURGH

My mom and I had our first Spring 2017 craft show! We got our feet wet and had a blast in Pittsburgh, PA!
The Polish Group for the Nationality Rooms and the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral for Learning set up a wonderful Spring Egg event with craft tables and food from European Countries.  Lithuania, Poland, China, Ireland, Germany, Ukraine, and many other countries were represented!

The event also had an egg crafting station for people to learn some basic techniques with pysanky and the drop and pull egg art.  

People of all ages were having so much fun learning how to write with wax and adding the eggs to different color egg baths! I was hoping to work on an egg there myself since I do not work with wax traditionally.  Unfortunately I did not have the time, but here are some photos of one of the groups working diligently on their works of art. 

My mom and I had a blast setting up for the show! We were lucky enough to sit around other Lithuanian tables as well as some other countries.  

Even more awesome was the fact that we met face to face with some members of the Incredible Egg Group from Facebook!  There is a photo floating around out there of all 5 of us together for a picture!  I certainly enjoyed watching one woman work on her pysanky during the day.  Her work is impeccable! 

Throughout he day I worked on a few eggs and had fun talking with people as well as showing how I scratch designs onto the eggshell.  

I even sold my "Mistake" egg.  The egg was dyed pink.  When sitting on the drying rack, another egg dyed purple dripped some dyed on the the pink egg.  I could not wipe away the dye quick enough.  I huge purple dot ruined my pink egg.  I decided to dye it purple.  Later, when scratching the egg, I notice the purple would scratch away, but the pink would partially remain.  It made an amazing dual color look.  I loved it! The egg sold during the show, so I took a picture to try to duplicate it when I try dying an egg two colors again. 

Now I am preparing for another craft show this coming Saturday in Bethlehem.  Hopefully I will find time to work with my bud Jessica on some earrings and maybe soap.  I'm really having fun etching eggs right now. We shall see w

Friday, March 3, 2017

Egg Buying Bonanza

Now that I have a craft show this Sunday in Pittsburgh, I am working on eggs every spare minute I have.  As a result, there is little time for cleaning, cooking, organizing, or purging items for the infamous "Spring Cleaning." 

I have been dying the egg shells I collected over the past year.  I have over 600 eggs in the basement, cleaned and ready for an egg dye bath.  

In order to collect that many eggs, Rob and I tend to cook eggs for breakfast more than any other breakfast food staple.  We blow out the eggs as often as possible, though truth be told our favorite way to eat eggs is over easy.  What a bummer it is that I cannot empty an egg in a way that the yolk remains in tact.  Oh well.  

In addition, I love to bake cookies, cakes, and other yummy treats that require eggs.  Quiche will be the last ditch effort to use up eggs that have built up in the refrigerator. 

At this moment, I am trying to hold back from buying 4-6 dozen each time I visit the grocery store.  Sometimes I just forget about reality, and get lost in buying dozens and dozens of eggs.  My hope is always that I will have unlimited time to sit and etch 200 eggs this season, try countless new designs, and develop a new technique to improve my current artwork. 

Sometimes the conveyor belt at the store looks like this: 

Maybe today I will buy more eggs against my better judgment. 

Stay tuned for some photos of the completed egg collection I have ready for Sunday's show.  I am over 150 eggs at this point.  It took months for me to get this far, and who knows how many more eggs I can get done during this early Pre-Spring months.