A Dangerous Game: Ukrainian-Style Egg-Decorating

One year, Mama sent a kit for decorating eggs in the traditional Ukrainian style. A far more ambitious undertaking than our decoupage eggs, it required actual skill in addition to careful planning and immense reserves of patience.

We knew immediately that the intricate, perfect geometry of the typical Ukrainian patterns were beyond us, so we opted for simplified, free-form designs.  We diligently followed the detailed instructions, using the writing tool called the kistka to draw a design with hot beeswax.  We then immersed the egg in one of the dye colors.  This drawing and dyeing process was repeated several times.  Finally, we removed the wax by holding the egg near a candle flame.  We managed to create some attractive and unique eggs that bore no resemblance at all to those pictured in the kit.

We might have completed the project without incident had the eggs been less fragile.  As instructed, we used raw eggs.  And as we learned, one tends to grip an egg firmly while drawing on it with an unfamiliar, hot-wax dispensing tool.  Sometimes one grips too firmly, resulting in an egg being launched, missile-like, across the room.  The shattered egg stirred up the sudden and fiery wrath of my daughter.  Just as quickly, I was ignited by her anger.  Engulfed in a fit akin to spontaneous combustion, I hurled the egg I was holding onto the kitchen floor. I threw this egg (nearly-completed and painstakingly designed), with considerable force, making the inevitable clean-up all the more painful.  In a household of flammable tempers, holiday decorating has its perils.

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The kit, showing some ideal Ukrainian designs.

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 Only a few of our Ukrainian-inspired eggs survive.

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