Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eggs, the 2014 Edition

Happy Easter! I know today is Saturday, but by the time many of you read this, Easter Sunday will have arrived (and perhaps passed) and Christ will have risen again.

It's a rainy, misty day in our little valley. The cows and new calves across the road made for a pretty scene this morning:

Cows in the mist.

At long last, the promised pysanky photos.

What with work, a day in bed with vertigo (damned BVVP) and a short work week (courtesy Good Friday) with the pressure of early deadlines … well, let's just say the ol' blog was way down on the To Do List.

Last weekend I helped Katherine, daughter Sasha and friend Tristan make their very first pysanky. It was an interesting afternoon.

Sasha (in red shirt) took her egg writing very seriously … for about 4 seconds!
She did work hard on the design, though.

Katherine writing the white portions of the egg. Pysanka is reverse wax work
- you cover the colours according to design or whim, lightest to darkest.

Sasha excitedly waiting for one of her eggs to come out of the red dye bath.

Eggs in progress - white been done, yellow been done, and now they will go
into either the red or blue dye. I usually limit childrens' first eggs to three colours.

Katherine working on the red elements.

First eggs!! Katherine's are front left and centre.
Sasha's are the most solid red and blue eggs.

Katherine reflected on how the act of writing eggs is very 'zen' and I agree. For me, it's one of the strong attractions of the craft. I get totally immersed in the process, only to lift my head an hour later and note the passage of time with surprise.

On the other hand, when done with other people, it's also a very social activity. We chattered pretty much non-stop for the entire afternoon. I've worked with Katherine for almost 7 years and got to know her better last Saturday than in all the time leading up to it. I had a wonderful time.

Of course, I got no eggs done myself except a sample egg that's rather harum-scarum (you'll see it finished in a minute) and touching up the girls' eggs.

So I set up my workspace at home and have been ignoring most everything else while I indulge myself in this very seasonal craft.

My workspace: writing tools, cake of beeswax (black is from candle soot,
helps to see the wax on the egg), and candle to heat the tools and
eventually remove the wax from the finished egg.

It's been a few years since I wrote eggs. I'm not sure why. Lack of motivation, I suppose. Offering to teach Katherine and Sasha was the kick in the butt I needed. We've already agreed to do it again next year.

My lack of practice shows in the egg below. The three triangles are less than accurate! but that's OK. When the egg is done, the wax removed and the colours glow, no one but me will notice.

Egg in progress: everything in black wax is white in the design; it has
 been in the yellow dye bath (obviously) and ready for the
yellow parts of the design to be written.

Dye pots.

My daughter and her partner will be out this afternoon, and we'll get back to our tradition of many years, writing eggs on Easter Saturday. I still have eggs my son and daughter made 25 years ago.

Finished eggs. The wonky one with the deer, (back, right) was the one I used
to demonstrated technique to the girls last weekend.
I'm looking forward to the day when my granddaughter is old enough to write eggs with us.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why I Wish I Could Ski

OK, technically this isn't skiing ...

One of the entries in the Silver Star Mountain Couch Race, last day of the season.

but it's one of the great events that only happen on a ski hill and generally only on a ski hill in the spring when the runs are about to be closed for the season.

I wouldn't have to be a skier to be one of the people on the couch, but brave (or perhaps foolish or alcohol impaired) would be helpful. As in bed racing (please tell me you've been a participant or at least a spectator at a bed race!) there must be one person on the couch (or bed). Style is mandatory, grace is optional.

Perhaps this sums up my mental process most some days:

Every time I see a label that says 'Non-Flammable' the little voice in my head says, "Challenge Accepted."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Drowning Cell Phones and Orange Stories

Barb from Work told a funny tale one morning this past week.

Seems her recently-married daughter was doing the laundry and inadvertently washed her husband's quite-expensive cell phone as well.

Not only did he leave the cell phone in his pocket (which she will now check before laundering) but the phone was still on.

So, as it was churning away in the sudsy water, it was sporadically sending texts as well. Barb got some gobbledygook sent to her. Apparently so did the son-in-law's ex-wife and lawyer … ooooh, that's good.

I had a vision in my head of a panicked, drowning cell phone frantically sending out texts for help:
im drowning in bubble ...  help  cant see … send IT … oh the horror

I wish I was a cartoonist. The visions had me chuckling.

Yes, I chuckle.

On an unrelated but equally imaginative note, the Vernon Public Library is making the most of a recent flood. As a celebration of their rebirth, a literary contest has been launched for both children and adults. I particularly like the premise for the children's contest:

Vernon Library staff in the 'Big Orange Tent'

“The Vernon branch of Okanagan Regional Library is very orange these days,” said ORL communications manager Michele Rule.

“Big orange tarps cover most of the first floor. What is going on behind them? Is the world becoming orange? Are all the books going to taste like oranges now? Are the words extra juicy? Are the workmen building something extra special for us back there? Is it going to be a zoo full of orange animals? Only you can tell us, with your imagination.” 

If you are a kid age 15 or under, the library wants your stories and your poems, and your drawings of the world behind the big orange tent.

Doesn't that sound great?! What a wonderful concept. I look forward to the submissions.