Saturday, March 17, 2012

Eggs, Spring and yet another creative distraction

Mother Nature decided to make spring come to Michigan during spring for once. It's kind of crazy, because in all my years this has never happened. We might not have snow, but it's still cold and usually raining.

With the first day of Spring coming in just three days, we're (vastly) enjoying temperatures in the upper seventies. I've even cleaned out a few of the more protected flower beds close to the house (because this IS Michigan and for all we know, we might have two feet of snow by next weekend). Crocuses and daffodils are flowering. Have I mentioned how crazy this is? We're several weeks ahead of schedule here.

And so am I.

Easter usually hits me as an 'oh crap, that's next weekend?!?!' event. Which means our Easter decorations usually sit out for a whole two weeks (maybe). This is a little sad, because we have a long running tradition of painting wooden Easter eggs every year and I'd prefer to enjoy them a little longer after our effort in creating them. This year, we're on top of things!

When my son was born fourteen years ago, I had this grand idea of painting an egg for him every year so he'd have a little memento to take with him when he eventually moves out. Yeah, I was kinda planning way ahead, but this comes from a similar thing my mother did for my sister and I when we were little. We picked out a new Christmas ornament each year, and when we moved out, we had a pile to start decorating our own tree with. Well, I do that too, but the overachiever in me had to one up my mother and pull in a second holiday.

But now I have two kids and a lot less time. You can probably figure out which years were more of a last minute rush than others from this photo. We've done glitter, and little designs. That second one in the bottom row was finger painted by one year old fingers. And some years, I've actually had time to sit down with my tiny paint brushes and have some fun.

My son is rather past the excitement of painting eggs. In fact, he'd probably much rather calculate the number of eggs he'd have by the time he moved out by pi and multiply by the circumference of Jupiter and then applying that to some ungodly number theory game he learned in math.

Thankfully, my daughter is my mini-me and loves painting so she paints her own eggs now, which frees me up to take over the task of creating one for Mathboy. He also loves Nerf guns, which is why, this year, I decided to use that particular phase to decorate his egg.

Ok, so it's not particularly Easterish. I gave up on that years ago and went for documenting what ever they are into at the time.

My daughter has hermit crabs. So yep, we have a hermit crab egg.

A dragon egg? Sure, why not.

Swords? Definitely.

My daughter was a little easier. Some flowers, glitter and more glitter! That worked for several years before she started painting her own.

A couple years ago it occurred to me that I should make a few eggs for myself or I'll be left with none when these kids finally do move out. Tie dye was fun in egg form for something different.

So how does one make one of these things? 

It's pretty easy. First, get thee to a craft store and buy a bag of wooden eggs. You might notice that mine are different sizes. Some years I had left overs. The medium size come four in a bag. So do the small ones. The large ones are sold individually. Some years I had to go with whatever size was still on the peg a week before Easter. Hence, we have an assortment. 

If you're fortunate, you might find a brand of wooden eggs that are round on the bottom. Most are not. This is ok really because it makes it much easier to stand on the table to paint and dry. Look for ones with the smallest level of flatness on the bottom. You won't notice that once they're all painted and piled in a basket.

 Then you'll need some acrylic craft paint. Just a little goes a long way. Gather some brushes, water and some inspiration and you're ready to go.
 Paint a base coat. You can either paint a solid color or water the paint down a little and do a wash. I'm rather fond of the wash so the wood grain shows through a little. For this year, I did a wash of mix of pearl white and pearl blue. If you opt for the wash, it dries very quickly and you can get right to painting.

If you're going to add glitter, you'll need wet paint to for the glitter to adhere to. Be aware that painting over glitter isn't the easiest thing so only put glitter in the areas you don't plan on doing anything else with. You could also add the glitter to smaller spots at any point by shaking it onto any wet paint area - making little dots or squiggles of paint works wonderfully. 
 And then paint your design. Yep, it's pretty simple. I'm a fan of long, thin bristled brushes, mostly because it better hides the shaking my hands do these days. I usually do something more in the random design arena on the opposite side of actual painting so it can look Easterish if it ends up with right way in the basket.

And then there's the other side. 

At this point, I write their names and the year on the bottom and bring it outside for an overall shot of Krylon clear coat. The clear coat also seals in any glitter.

Once it's dry, it goes in the basket--where it will come out several times as the kids go through the pile and organize them by year (as my daughter did in that long picture), and chat about which ones they painted, and hide them, and find them (or I find them a month later). The best part about them is that they don't chip, they don't rot, you don't have to find a way to eat a dozen hard boiled eggs and they make a great conversation piece year after year. 

And now I can check that little project off my mommy list for year. Hooray!


  1. You are just too darned creative, Jean. Those look amazing. I'm glad you answered a couple of questions along the way: I wondered where you got wooden eggs from, and how you remembered which belonged to whom.

    I also think it's good to have an assortment of sizes. Kinda adds to the charm of the collection as a whole.

    1. If you came over and said that, I'd totally tell you that was my plan from the beginning. ;)

  2. P.S. I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I hate word verification, especially since Google changed it. It makes commenting much harder for old fogeys like me with fading eyesight.

    1. I didn't used to have it on. I don't know when Blogger decided to default that to required. Stupid blogger. I shut it off. I hate word verification too.

    2. Thanks! Now you've worried me. Does my blog have word verification switched on now too? It never used to, and it doesn't when I reply to comments, but I wonder if it would show up for me on my own blog.

    3. It never showed up for me so I never realized it was on. It's not on on your blog so you're annoyance free. :)

  3. LOL, I love the Nerf gun!! And obviously, why not swords and dragons?? What a sweet thing to put together for your kids. :)

    1. Mathboy just returned from his long weekend in Washington DC and was rather impressed with his new egg. I'm calling it a mom win. :)

  4. Cool eggs! I still love decorating them. I suck at it, but that's not the point, is it? I remember one time painting mine to look like a hand granade, and my mom freaking out because she thought I'd turn out to be violent when I grew up.

    1. I love the egg hand grenade! I'm going to have to remember that for next year. Really? A painted egg indicates a future of violence? *looks at Mathboy's room full of swords and nerfguns.* Hmm, I guess I better start saving up the bail money now...


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