Saturday, March 28, 2015

Easter Traditions

I'm having fun today making these little bunny bags.  They are just the right size to hold a handful of something sweet and delicious!

I'm using a pattern by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield which is on her blog here:  They are very easy to make and go together in a jiffy.  All you need are 4 charm squares and a little ribbon!  I think these will be cute on the Easter table, sitting on the plates.  Caroline has a new book out on Amazon, 

Just for You: Selfish Sewing Projects from Your Favorite Sew Can She Bloggers: 24 Simply Stylish Projects 

Holidays and traditions go hand in hand it seems.  This picture by Norman Rockwell pretty much sums up my childhood and probably that of many others.   I think back over the years and all the holidays and the attendant chaos that seemed to go with it.  My mother in the kitchen cooking, her table was always set just so perfectly.  Stay out of her kitchen and don't touch anything on the table, we're going to eat soon. There would be trays of food out on the coffee table for "company". We had to look just so in our holiday outfits.  There would be the typical family arguments that would ensue and finally we would all sit down to the holiday meal. It was always delicious. Whew, glad that's over. And she would always be angry during and at the end of the whole ordeal.  It seemed she felt that no one appreciated all the effort that she went to. And there was always the perfunctory "I'm not doing this again!"  She just could not relax for a moment poor thing. Expectations.

Gramma's house, right next door, was different...there would be crafts leading up to the gala event, painting, cutting, pasting, general mess making accompanied by cake and tea.  Gram always had a cake and tea.  She loved pudding cakes. She was from England and I'm sure this was from her upbringing.   There would be bible stories, Gram knew the bible forward and backward,  the bear and the jello stories, the bear and the jello stories...Oh, did I repeat myself?  Now you have the flavor of the day...Gram had great stories, we all heard them a thousand times and never got tired of them...she was a great story teller.  Even my son remembers her stories.  The food was okay, she wasn't fussing and a good time was had by all.  Gramma was a product of the roaring 20's, she knew how to enjoy life, she was artistic and she let that spirit soar.  And after dinner and desert we would gather at the foot of Pop's recliner and he would cut apples for us while we watched tv together and if we were very good, there might even be a candy bar.

I didn't get to spend much time with my father's mother.  Baba lived in New York and we moved out to California when I was 7.  I never saw her again.  She passed away when I was 9 and I lost my father at 10.  But I can remember her like it was yesterday.  She was an amazing cook.  Ukrainian food, Polish food, Russian food. Thanks to my mother, I have some of her recipes and I make them to this day.  I remembered the beautiful Ukrainian Easter eggs and made it a point to learn how to make them.  Mine are not elaborately detailed as some that I have collected over the years but they are incredibly fun to make.  

The process consists of heating a copper stylus in a candle flame and then scraping it across the bees wax, heating it again until the wax is flowing and then waxing the portions of your egg that you want to be white.  Then you dip your egg in your lightest color, wax again those portions that you want to be that color, dip into the next darker color and continue until you have completed your design.  Then you hold the egg up to the candle flame to melt off the wax and wipe it with a soft cloth.  This is the result below.

These are just a few of my eggs in my collection.  Mine along with some that have been intricately decorated by others.  Each village has their own style.  The wooden objects in the front of the case are the hand carved top two sections from the last Christmas tree that we had just before my father was killed.  They were carved by his father, my grandfather and are just incredibly special to me.

The first time I decorated one of these eggs was many years ago, when I was visiting my son who lived in Brooklyn at the time.  We drove over to St. Mark's place to the Ukrainian store and got all the stuff we needed to make the eggs.  We had a ball, sitting on the floor in his apartment, wrapping rubber bands around the eggs to section them and then drawing our designs.  It is a long and tedious process but so worth the effort.  It was a bonding experience. Just the two of us, decorating eggs together.

If you want to get your own kit and try this out you can get one here:  Your local library will have how to books. You only need to google Ukrainian Easter Eggs and look at the images to see the thousands of ways that people decorate their eggs.

Here is a little video showing you how to make a beginner egg.

Here is video showing you how to make an intermediate egg.

So family traditions, a way of honoring and remembering our past...they are what you want them to be.  It doesn't have to be stress filled.  Take your time, enjoy your family and friends.  And make things that you enjoy!  Remember the most important thing you can give your family is you!  We wish you a joyous Easter!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your story about your grandmothers. I am Ukrainian and I am very surprised and very glad that Ukrainian traditions are known in US!!! Thank you again. :))