Thursday, March 11, 2010
I made this cute garland for my craft space:
And this one for my patio:
(Don't laugh - I kill plants and need all the positive input that I can get to help them out!)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Here is some information about cascarones, and even a place where you can purchase ready made cascarones if your local grocery doesn't carry them. Here’s a great painting of a family making their cascarones. I love that boy who’s bored at the table – it’s always someone, isn’t it?
A couple of years ago, while living in a cascarone-free land, I decided to introduce this custom to my children. Having a houseful of said children, we go through eggs like crazy people, so there were plenty of empty eggs to be had for the filling and decoration. Here is my process for making some - maybe you'd like to make your own, too. This is a great activity for a warm spring afternoon that even the littlest ones will enjoy. Aside from the cost of the eggs (which were groceries to start with, so it doesn’t count for “crafting” cost!) this is a nearly free craft using things you most likely have on hand!
You'll need to take care when cracking your eggs to save most of the shell. I have found that the contents are most likely to end up as scrambled eggs or omelets when cracking this way, as the yolk will probably break when you are shaking the contents out. If you crack the smaller end of the egg you will have a smaller hole and a neater cascarone.
Rinse out the remaining goo from the eggshells and set out to try. Shake out any extra water and leave them for a couple of days.
On a side note, I've found that "store eggs" (you know, the eggs you buy at a grocery store as opposed to the eggs you buy from your friends with free range chickens) have thinner shells, which are more fiddly to crack, but which cause less pain to the one upon whose head the cracking is done on. Just saying.)
Store these empty clean and dry eggs somewhere safe so that 1)an ambitious partner doesn't toss them into the bin while he helps clean up the kitchen, 2)so that curious little hands don't do so much cascarone cracking before you have all had a chance to make them into the cascarones. I keep them in a plastic basket on top of the fridge. You probably don't want to put them in sealed zip-style bags, just in case there is a little water or residual egg goo and you find a moldy surprise in a week or two. I keep cracking lots and lots of eggs so I have more than we’re going to end up with because it is inevitable that several get busted in the process. We make lots because there are lots of us in our family, but you should make lots, too, because they are just lots of fun!
Gather the rest of the supplies you need:
- Empty egg cartons
I like to have more egg cartons than I'll need in order to keep my little assembly line going smoothly.
- Tissue paper (whatever was left from the last birthday party is fine – you won’t even use up an entire sheet, probably)
- Paints (again, whatever you have on-hand - I use acrylic craft paint)
- Permanent Sharpie-type markers
It's best to work outside, especially for the filling of the eggs.
Stand all your clean, dry, and empty eggs up in the extra egg cartons with the openings that you cracked pointing toward the sky.
Did I mention you should try to do this part, at least, outside?
I distinctly remember the first time when we made them inside. It was not good or fun. This should be fun, so just go outside!
Keep in mind where you will be when you are cracking the cascarones and use confetti that is quick to decompose. Sure, you can use that cute shape confetti from the party supply section with those pretty metallic plastic pieces for a nice sparkly show, but they will be forever embedded in the lawn or driveway or the grandmother's lawn or drive. And no one wants to be picking up confetti parts for the rest of Easter day! One day I hope to get my cascarone making so organized that I can order some of this great confetti in time to make them BEFORE Easter, and not just the week of, like I usually do. Of course, if you really want to get crazy you can make your own confetti , but seriously, I’d be doing all the punching and not get nearly enough for one egg by doing all the punching myself, then the cascarones would never get made, and we’d all be sad. I found tissue paper confetti at a small card and party store that didn’t have plastic in it.
There was this one time when we filled the eggs with birdseed
The cracking was to happen in my own yard, and we didn’t have much grass to grow anyway, and we had plenty of birds to help clean up the birdseed.
Your grandparents may not want sunflowers and millet sprouts in their carpet grass after Easter, so you decide if this option works for you.
Set the eggs upright into those egg cartons when they have their confetti. .
Cut tissue paper from various colors into rough 1 and 1/2 inch or 2 inch squares. Apply some good old Elmer's glue all (school glue works, too, I just like the thickness of the glue-all) around the opening of the egg, being sure none drips to the inside.
Maybe everyone has gone off and you are left alone finishing the eggs. So it might be a good time to close up all the cartons and start another day. You can leave them plain, especially if they've been topped with fancy tissue paper - they already are pretty! But you can get creative with additional decorations, too!
My favorite part is the decorating of the cascarones. The eggs which have been filled with confetti and closed with the tissue paper can be decorated in endless ways. In the past we have painted the ends as flowers, polka-dotted them, painted cute spring motifs (bunnies, snails, flowers) or painted them all with pastels or metallic paints.
This past year we made lots of extra eggs so I didn’t get to obsessive with the painting. This was probably the most fun, because I didn’t do all of the extra work of going back over everyone else’s eggs with my painting to neaten them all up (I mean, they are going to get cracked anyway! See how relaxed I am about the whole process now?)
You can see lots of other people’s painted cascarone’s here and here, in case you have time to accomplish something on a grander scale. I have a feeling that this loose painting will be our standard for the next few years, until my little painters either grow out of the tradition or decide to paint more intricately themselves
Another side note - the more layers of paint are applied will definitely affect the "crackability" of your cascarone. (I think I just made up a new word, again!) That means more pain for the upon whose head the cascarone is cracked. So use a light touch with the paint!
See here - thick paint + zealous brothers leads to tears on Easter afternoon. Keep the paint to a minimum!
To add finer details, use a permanent sharpie-type marker to outline or accent areas of your painting once the paint has dried.
Put all the eggs back into their cartons to store them until your appointed egg-cracking time. Ours is usually after the finding of the eggs on Easter Sunday afternoon, but really, any springtime gathering is a good time for cascarones!
Thanks for reading and have a truly wonderful Easter celebration!!