When you ask crafters where they find inspiration you get the standard answers of nature, other crafters, family, etc, etc. Makes sense. We are products of our environment and what we surround ourselves with. Which is why I decided to focus on my grandmother as a source of inspiration this week. My grandmother just celebrated another birthday this past Sunday and I am continually amazed at how spry she is. Since I am trying to be a good grand-daughter, I won’t mention her real age, but let’s just say she was school age during the depression. I won’t say which school *grin*.
This is as messy as her work area gets.
Anyway, she is such an active person. Still heads up a local group for women trying to lose weight or keep it off (I’m convinced she joined because they get to put on little plays at the larger gatherings and she is in charge of the putting together the script and the costumes), works with the volunteer fire department and takes care of my grandfather, who is somewhere in the range of 10 years younger. Every Christmas she makes ornaments for the entire family and custom makes boxes for each of them. For holidays she has been known to make Santa or Easter Bunny place card holders for the dinner table and has sewn curtains to match the custom made sheets for the beds. Yes, she can make fitted sheets. My favorite is the ginormous Last Suppers she crochets during the winters for family member who are getting married. They are large enough to cover a good sized wall. She also keeps scissors all over the house. There is always a pair just a step away. She made holders for them all using those cheap pot holders you can get anywhere. She folded them into a cone, sewed them up and used the existing loop to hang them by.
To me, she is summed up by looking in her spice cabinet. She makes labels for all the jar lids, has them on a tiered shelf and each row is alphabetized. This is my grandmother. Organized, neat, precise and just a little spicy.
I figured I’d celebrate Good Friday and the upcoming Easter Sunday with a few fun facts I’ve collected along with a little peek into my own family traditions.
A Pysanka is a Ukrainian Easter egg, decorated using a wax-resist (batik) method. The word comes from the verb pysaty, “to write”, as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax. (from wikipedia). This image is of the world’s largest pysanka. It was erected in Vegreville, Alberta in 1974, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Norway has to have my favorite Easter tradition. In Norway, in addition to staying in mountain cabins, cross-country skiing, and painting eggs, a contemporary tradition is to read or watch murder mysteries at Easter. All the major television channels run crime and detective stories, magazine stories where the readers can try to figure out “whodunnit”, and new detective novels are scheduled for publishing before Easter. Even the milk cartons are altered for a couple of weeks. Each Easter a new short mystery story is printed on their sides. I couldn’t find the origin on this tradition. One can only speculate.
Easter candy facts:
- Easter is the second top-selling confectionery holiday behind only Halloween.
- 88 percent of adults carry on the Easter tradition of creating Easter baskets for their kids.
- 76 percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first.
- Red jelly beans are kids’ favorite.
- According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest Easter chocolate egg ever made was just over 25 feet high and made of chocolate and marshmallow. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs. and was supported by an internal steel frame.
My own family tradition was pretty normal. We went out the day before Easter and picked wildflowers, usually on my family’s farm, to make Easter nests. We would all pick a spot near the house and build our nests out of the flowers. Then that evening the older grandchildren would decorate eggs after the younger ones had gone to bed. We would wake up extra early to go to the annual Easter breakfast at my grandmother’s church. I still crave that wonderful food every spring. We would get hurried along to the cars so we wouldn’t peek into the Easter nests before we we got back from church. The older kids would skip Sunday School and head back to the farm to hide the eggs. Before we had the house out at the farm, we would do all of this at my grandparent’s house in town.
Anyway, the aunts would head to the kitchen and finish up the Easter meal. Sometimes we barbecued, sometimes we had a ham. We always had “sweet rice” and my grandfather’s green beans. Everyone would go outside for the egg hunt and the kids would finally get to look in our nests. It was always filled with lots of candy, at least one giant chocolate bunny and all the rest of the Easter prerequisites. The eggs we hunted were always the real thing—hard boiled and decorated with dyes. We were so excited to go look for them, though none of us ate hard boiled eggs. After we compared baskets and figured out who found the most we turned the eggs over to our mothers so they could work their magic on them. We might not eat plain hard boiled eggs but we all stuffed ourselves on the deviled eggs. I loved it when the dye worked it’s way through the shell and died the egg itself.
My aunts would always go through all the eggs before peeling them and select the two prettiest eggs to take to my grandmother’s aunt later that day. She was elderly and rarely left her house at that point so after the meal, we would pack up some leftovers and the winning eggs and go visit. Aunt Babe had a knick knack shelf in her dining area where she kept all the eggs we brought over the years. Some were old enough you could shake them and hear the powdered residue of it’s contents still inside. Luckily, I don’t think any were ever accidentally broken. The smell would have been much worse in her small house than it was out at the farm when we would finally come across those few eggs that had been forgotten outside in the hot Texas spring weather.
I always wished that the youngest of our cousins had been able to experience that time in our family history. After our grandfather passed away so many of our traditions died out and the younger ones were too small to remember any of them. We all celebrate separately now, with a watered down version of how it used to be. It is bittersweet. I am thankful every year when I am reminded of my childhood and a little sad that those days are gone.