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Crafts for Every Holiday

Easter: March or April

Bet You Didn't Know

St. Patrick's Day isn't really a holiday originating in Ireland, but one that began in America; it's celebrated by people of Irish descent — and anyone who wants to join in.

Bet You Didn't Know

Do you know how the date of Easter is determined and why it falls anywhere from late March to late April? Some people know it as the first Sunday after the full moon on or after the March Equinox, but most of us still would have trouble figuring that out. You can find a clear explanation on the internet.

Handiwords

Pysanky refers to the highly decorated Easter eggs from the Ukraine.

The word "Easter" means "new beginning," and actually coincides with a pagan celebration honoring the goddess of light. It's a true "good-bye to winter, hello spring" kind of holiday, as well as a religious observance for many. Whatever your beliefs, you can incorporate them into this festival of returning life.

This is the time, of course, for egg crafts. You can go from simple hard-boiled eggs and store-bought coloring kits all the way to highly detailed and beautiful Ukrainian eggs, called pysanky.

Pysanky is a craft that is thousands of years old. The method used to create designs is similar to batik. Designs are drawn on the egg with wax, which keeps the color from dyeing the area that is protected by the wax. By repeating the process and drawing with wax in different places, then dipping in different colors of dye each time, a multicolored design is created. When the wax is removed, the design is revealed.

The symbols and colors used on the eggs pre-date Christianity, although, Christian interpretations have been added.

For crafted eggs that last, try using wooden eggs, or making blown decorated eggs.

Project: Blown Decorated Eggs

Level: Easy to medium

Age: 5 and up, with this caveat: Some kids at age 5 just don't have a gentle enough touch to do this. You know your child.

Materials needed: Fresh eggs, a carpet needle, bowl, a beading needle, embroidery floss, egg dyes (either purchased or homemade), a white wax crayon, markers, paints (or whatever else you want to use for decorating), acrylic fixative

Directions:

  1. Make a hole on each end of the egg using the carpet needle. Make one hole larger than the other.

  2. Use the needle to break the yolk.

  3. Blow the yolk out from the smaller hole end. If you're having trouble getting the insides to come out, make the holes larger.

  4. Decorate the egg by dyeing and/or painting it. When done, "set" your child's work with acrylic fixative. Use the white wax crayon to keep thedye from adhering to a particular area and to "write" on an egg.

  5. Cover the larger hole with ribbon and a little silk flower or little chenille chick.

Another neat thing to do with an empty egg is to fill it with chocolate. Just make one fairly large hole instead of two. Rinse the egg out with hot water. Use a small funnel and pour melted chocolate into each egg. Let the eggs cool and harden (use the egg carton to hold them in the refrigerator). Cover the hole with a decoration and watch your child's surprise when she cracks the egg and finds a chocolate one inside!

Make eggs or other Easter symbols out of marzipan (you can find recipes in most comprehensive cookbooks for this luscious almond paste confection). They can be colored or painted with special food dyes and paints.

Use your seasonal tree to display your decorated eggs. Put a bunny at the top and hang eggs with bright ribbon loops. You can make little baskets from large pieces of shell (your kids are bound to break a few eggs while blowing them out). For a handle, glue on fine ribbon or fine wire.

You can also take a branch from a flowering tree or shrub and keep it in water indoors. This can serve as a tree for displaying your eggs, and will display some pretty blossoms when your branch is "forced" to bloom. Flowering cherry, dogwood, or pussy willow work well. (If you don't have some in your own garden, they can sometimes be purchased at a florist or nursery.)

Make Easter bonnets. You can get plain straw hats at crafts stores, or look for plain hats in thrift shops and at yard sales. Use silk flowers, ribbons, dried flowers, fake birds and animals, or anything that suits you and your child's fancy. Make it really something! Then dress up and have a fashion show.



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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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