There’s a tradition forming between the ChickenGoddess and myself, in which we spend Easter with each other and our husbands, doing something or other and overeating delicious food (isn’t that what you do on holidays anyway?). Generally the “something or other” involves knitting and Bollywood, but I had emailed her a photo of a Dalek pysanky egg, and we got excited about making really groovy things.
For those folks not in the know, pysanky eggs are traditional Ukranian Easter eggs, decorated using a wax-resist technique and brilliant colors. I think they’re supposed to be whole eggs, and you let the insides dry out over time, but in the south of the US, that’s a bad idea. So we used pre-blown eggs (I got a big ‘ol goose egg, because this was my first time ever making pysanky). The CG, who is an old hand at this, used a teeny chicken egg, and of course made it amazing. Apparently if you’re a young girl, you give your best pysanky to the boy you fancy. I am not a young girl, and I should hope my husband knows I fancy him, and this is far from my best pysanky, so I kept it.
Anyway. I chose a geometric blue design from a book of pysanky designs. I thought it would be pretty easy for a first-timer.
You start out by drawing your design onto the egg with pencil, and then once you’ve got a guide, you lay down wax for everything on the egg that will be white. Here’s the first layer of wax on mine:
Then you dip the egg into the first color. The trick is to dye the colors from lightest to darkest, so that they all show in their most vibrant, pure state. For example, you wouldn’t dye a yellow over a dark blue, because you would not get any yellow at all. I started with a cerulean color (light blue):
Then you lay wax down over the parts you want to stay that color, and dye another layer. The next layer of mine was actually a rinse; I put wax down and then ran it under the tap for a second or two to wash off a little dye. Then I covered some of the lighter color with wax, and dyed the egg with a deep blue:
I think there was supposed to be another cover/rinse after the dark blue, but I didn’t want to do that. Of course I had to get all creative with it.
Then you go through the harrowing process of holding the egg to a flame to melt the wax, so you can rub it off. This has the added benefit of removing pencil lines and sealing the dye onto the surface of the egg, which is groovy.
While I was waiting for the dye to dry, I found at least 15 other eggs I wanted to do. I sense another hobby coming on (yikes).
The next day we made a trip to Patel Brothers, our favorite Indian grocer, and on a whim I picked up these amazing cookies:
They’re wonderful. The outside is a flaky, buttery pastry, and the filling is a rich date paste. It’s like what fig newtons should be, or what they would be if they were buttery and flaky and full of dates. In other words, not fig newtons at all.
There’s another book project in the works, and I’ll keep folks posted on its progress. I’m very excited to work on it!