The Egg Table

Today’s post comes from Verily Sherrilee

Most everyone I know understands what it means when I say “the egg table is up”.

I do Ukrainian eggs (no I’m not Ukrainian); I make ornaments for Solstice every year – it is my main gift. This year there were 36 to make – all the same design.  In addition, the last few years I have been replacing all my baby sister’s eggs that were destroyed 3 years by a nasty mouse invasion at her house; this year I’m doing the last six.  I also usually make 4-5 extra eggs as cushion, since making ornaments out of eggs can be a little dicey. This year’s design was a bit intricate so each egg averaged about an hour to do.  Since this is so much time and I do need access to the kitchen fairly frequently, I do this downstairs in the living room.  At the egg table.

The egg table is just the card table from the front porch, but it has to be set up just the way I like it: plastic tablecloth, desk lamp, electric kiskas plugged in my left hand side, candle, wax and non-electric kiskas in front of me, jars of dye in a semi-circle behind them, eggs to my right. Assorted paper towels, pencils, kraft knives, plastic spoons and other accouterments behind the dyes.

Once the table is set up the way I like, I can’t wait to take it down again – my main goal is to get done and get it all put away until next year. This means that I’m fairly fanatical about my time at the table; all spare minutes are at the table. I usually have the tv on or a book on cd and I tend to eat at the table as well. On most of the days the table is up, I drag into work because I haven’t gone to bed on time and my fingers are stained with dye because I don’t want to spend too much time scrubbing when they’ll just get stained again the next day. Once all the eggs are finished with their layers of wax and dye, I melt the dye off, varnish them, blow out the innards and then affix the ornament holder to the top. Since melting the wax off is actually the most dangerous (to the eggs, not to me) part of the process, I leave the table up until that step is done.  I’ve had it happen more than once that I’ve broken enough during the de-waxing that I’ve had to make a couple more!

This year the table was up a few more days than usual – lots of things going on (hosta digging, choir rehearsals I couldn’t miss, kitty sitting for a friend). But even though I can’t wait to be done and pack up all my supplies, I also miss it a little when I’m finished. I enjoy the relaxation that comes from sitting with a craft and not really focusing on anything else for a while, as well as having a beautiful gift to give for the holidays.  I have already started thinking about next year’s design!

50 thoughts on “The Egg Table”

  1. Good morning. My project that is sort of similar to your Ukrainian egg making project, Sherrilee, is seed cleaning. I don’t end up with a finely craft product, although I do end up with seeds that come in many colors and shapes.

    I enjoy shelling out seeds by hand. It is a good activity to keep me occupied while watching TV in the evening. If I don’t have something to do while watching TV I tend to fall asleep and then I don’t sleep as well as I should during the night. Also, for some strange reason, I find the work of hand cleaning seeds very satisfying.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jim, what’s involved in cleaning seeds? The only seeds I’ve ever cleaned are pumpkin seeds and I have to admit, I don’t get them all that clean!

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      1. For some seeds, such as beans, you just pop the pods open and separate them from the seeds. Some times screening to separate plant debris from the seeds is necessary. Also, fine particles can be removed from seed by pouring them in front of a fan. After separating the seeds from the plant material some of them, including pumpkin seeds, need to be laid out in a think layer to dry out before putting them in storage.

        Another thing you can do is submerge the seeds in water and pour off the water containing debris after the seeds have sunk to the bottom of the container holding the water. If your pumpkin seeds are a little dirty, it will probably be easier to separate the seeds from the dirt after the seeds are completely dry. If there is a significant amount of dirt that is smaller than the seeds you can screen out the dirt by using a screen that has holes that the seed will not pass through and that the the dirt will pass through.

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  2. i used to cleans the seeds out of the pot i bought as a kid. the top of turntable or a cookie sheet and a credit card with an incline so the seeds went to the bottom and the fluff was left at top.
    it was very mellow. i was always relaxed. maybe that should be plugged back into my agenda.

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  3. i love woodworking as a therapy for relaxing but it makes such a mess. sawdust over the room is a problem so it needs to be planned. listening to tunes with an activity where sitting at a table or the couch is nice.
    soaking in the tub is my main go to relax mode. the new house we are moving into has no tb refuge so we are discussing the move of our new hot tub this week. relax mode is required.
    sherrilee and her idea of relaxing is a little crazed to me.
    i tired setting up a painting suudio up by my bathtub so i could soak and paint at the same time but my wife couldnt handle it. she kept taking the supplies i had set up back to the basement and making it impossible to do what was required. i find spouses make relaxing a bit more challenging, they always seem to have ideas for the way time could be better spent. honeydos are not relaxing. they are exhausting

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  4. We have a vibrant community of Ukrainians here and a small but busy group of egg decorators. They have an egg sale every year at the Ukrainian Institute in town. We had one for many years that finally imploded. It was pretty stinky.

    I relax by listening to music and cooking. I don’t find playing music relaxing at all. I finally got my new fretless Fender jazz bass out this weekend and started rehearsing with husband and a fellow psychologist friend who is organizing a performance for our agency Christmas party. Husband is on harmonica and perhaps one number with his cello. I will have to sing a couple of songs and play the bass at the same time. That is not easy for me.

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        1. Our play list includes California dreaming, Stop in the name of love, Hard times come again no more, I belong to the band (the Mavis Staples version on which i will sing and play bass,) I will follow him, My guy, a funny song by Claudia Schmidt- the Strong woman has a bad day polka, and a few others. Our back up singers include two developmental disability program managers, the head of the acute care department, the homeless coordinator, and the Dual Diagnosis lead, along with a saxophone playing Master of Social work, a piano playing psychologist who played in dance bands in Michigan for 30 years before changing careers, husband, and the drummer son of one of our secretaries. It is quite fun, but stressful. I also have to play the clarinet on the polka song.

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  5. What relaxes me? I can readily think of three things, which makes for a clumsy answer. Let’s stick to one. So I won’t describe letter writing or assembling a jigsaw puzzle on a rainy afternoon. I can’t imagine doing a jigsaw on a sunny day. It is hard to imagine anything nicer than fitting puzzle pieces together while rain patters on the roof and rivulets of rainwater trail down the windows.

    That leaves me with “editing.” And by that, I mean editing something I’ve written or some image I’ve taken with a camera. They are essentially the same process and are equally satisfying. I’m fascinated by the tiny tweaks that alter the object to make it more pleasing, even if no observer would be able to identify the subtle alterations. Writing is work, usually. Photography is work. But editing either one feels like doing God’s work, starting with something flawed and improving it until it feels right.

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    1. im that way with the hat pictures i put up on ebay. the picture taking process is a pain the listing and plugging the info into the slots is painstaking. but the waxing poetic about the hat is my joy

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    2. I have a problem w/ jigsaw puzzles. I love doing them but I have a really hard time STOPPING. When I have a puzzle going, I often end up skipping meals (or eating crap at the puzzle table) and staying up way too late.

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  6. Driving. I really looked forward to the 4-1/2 hours on the way to my mom’s when she was still in Iowa – chance to just let the mind spin out… sometimes I’d have a notebook with me to write down ideas (at rest stops). I’m ready for another road trip.

    Sometimes playing solitaire, working a crossword, or even a joint venture like cribbage can diffuse a tough situation.

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  7. I would love to see the finished products. A woman I knew as a kid did the same thing- I was fascinated at what she could create. I wish I were creative in my relaxing, but either run or sleep. From one extreme to the other….

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  8. Relaxing helps me relax. I enjoy making jewelry, watching Netflix, reading or listening to music. VS, I’m glad you find such detailed work relaxing. I hope the recipients of your beautiful eggs appreciate what goes into making them!

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    1. I assume folks like them because over the years I’ve had a lot of folks sheepishly ask me if I can ever replace a broken one. Both of my sisters have had massive accidents. My middle sister lost 8 when the tree started to topple and my nephew stepped back onto the box of ornaments. My baby sister had a very hungry errant mouse.

      Many years ago I got the “smart” idea that I should do the Twelve Days of Christmas. So many darn birds in that song. I was very glad to see the end of that series!

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  9. Painting and drawing are very relaxing for me, but require a psychic space I can’t seem to often find. My book repair hobby is relaxing in that you can’t rush it; each step has its necessary interval. I have been working on a large 600 page book with hundreds of tip ins— maps and photo plates— that have all come unglued. Before I even started on the book I had to build an oversize book press to fit it. I don’t know how long the project will take, since I am only able to work on it in dribs and drabs.
    Robin and I are just ending a two week excursion in Wales. Incredible scenery. Terrifying driving.

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      1. That would depend on how long you are there and how far afield you plan to go. There are trains and buses, of course, but you are at the mercy of their schedules and range. Explore the transportation options online and make your plans accordingly.

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        1. Thanks. Our geographically challenged daughter tells us she wants to go with us and go to Ireland, Norway, and Italy. Husband wants to see Wales and Lanarkshire in Scotland, and son and DIL want to go along and see Bremen and Hamburg. I have no idea where we will end up.

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  10. I meditate; have for 45 years. When things get really stressful, yoga is also helpful. But, generally my life is pretty relaxed most of the time.

    Update on the pooch. I think I now know why he was up for adoption. He’s a runner, and if he gets off his leash, or under the fence, he’s gone. He doesn’t come when called, so we have some serious obedience training to do. In the house, he’s perfectly well behaved and a joy to have around; even Martha is realizing that he means no harm when he chases her (although she still doesn’t appreciate that, and who can blame her). Dog obedience 101, here we come.

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      1. As of yesterday, husband changed his mind (yet again!), and Fred is now Bernie (the underdog). I’ve finally put my foot down and said, No more changing the dogs name. Pick one, but stick with it. How am I supposed to train a dog when neither the dog nor I know who he is?

        This evening, after I had fed him dinner, but our dinner was still on the stove, I took him out into the back yard. Stayed with him the entire time, yet he managed to crawl under the back gate before I could stop him. Fortunately I saw his tail end disappear, so knew to look for him outside the yard. I couldn’t tell whether he’d gone East or West, but soon spotted him heading West. He went through a neighbor’s yard, but was distracted by their dog in the fenced in part of their yard, so I almost caught up with him. When I got close, he scooted again. This time onto the front sidewalk. Once again he was distracted, this time by the enticing smells other dogs had left on the boulevard plants. That’s where I caught him. I was petrified, just as I was approaching, a school bus was rounding the corner and headed our way. The last thing I need is a dog run over while I’m trying to corral him. We love this little guy. Why is he trying to run away?

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    1. We have lived with a terrier like that for 13 years. You just learn to keep them on leash and stop up all the escape routes in the yard. I would think, though, that a dachshund would be far more compliant than a terrier.

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        1. Terriers always take off, in my experience. He needs the training you plan, as well as needing to attach to you and Hans. It will be ok in the long run.

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        2. Daisy, our 14 year old yellow lab had a propensity for meandering off pretty casually. She never ran away; rather she sauntered away having everyone lulled into the belief that she wasn’t interested in going anywhere. I’d take her to the big open field by the Boys and Girls Club, and have her chase balls for half an hour. When she looked good an tired, I’d head for the car, and she’d usually follow. But occasionally she’d casually saunter off into the surrounding wooded area instead. It’s one thing to be trawling the neighborhood trying to find a slow, 80 lb. dog; another trying to finding a swift 12 lb. fugitive, close enough to the ground to hide under almost everything. Maybe I should get a goldfish.

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  11. A bubble bath is always a good way to go. The heat from the water tends to make me mellow and a little sleepy.

    A friend of mine got me hooked on cryptograms. There is an online site that I like because it has a very interesting collection of quotes – literary, political, sometimes humorous. There is something relaxing about solving puzzles of all kinds. There is a right answer and it’s rewarding to find it.

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  12. VS, those eggs are beautiful and I am amazed at your creativity. I would be driven and anxious doing what you do with them. I realize as I type this that I really do very little to relax except, perhaps, what I have already mentioned as well as crossword puzzles. Sometimes just sitting in a quiet room is relaxing for me.

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  13. Can relax doing any number of things, as long as there is no deadline/schedule.

    Absolutely nothing is relaxing when there is a deadline involved (and then another, and another….)

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I suppose one of the most relaxing, (moving) meditative thing I do twice a day is feed and care for my animals…especially now that I don’t have to be somewhere in a timely fashion.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. My wife made some Ukranian Easter Eggs years ago. They turned out well and are very artistic … we thought, until we saw some “good ones” in a museum of some sort. WHOA, NELLY! Now those were artistic!

    Chris in Owatonna

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  16. OT – On a happier note, I’ll soon be the owner of a 2008 PT Cruiser, Touring. A friend has just had to move his mother into a Memory Care Unit due to Alzheimer’s. She can no longer drive, so he’s decided to sell the car he and his brother bought for her in 2009. I’m the lucky person to get first dibs on this car that has only 22,200 miles on it. Pretty nice little car for the money. It has a working radio! Alas, no heated seats – it’s a car from Tennessee.

    Liked by 1 person

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