Every year before Easter we have family at my parents' house to dye eggs. But these aren't just your regular PAAS. We try to practice the Ukrainian tradition of making pysanky eggs, a way to decorate eggs using beeswax and a spectrum of dyes. It's hard to explain so I'll map out the process for one I made this year:
  1. Start with raw egg
  2. Draw your design with pencil
    This was my second egg of the night and I was tired so I did something simple like a set of lips.
  3. Use this bad boy, called a kistka, to add wax to your egg. You heat the head of the kistka over a candle flame, dig the open end into a piece of beeswax, and heat it again over the flame to melt the wax. Then you draw like you would a pencil onto the egg and the wax comes out in a thin line.
  4. Cover whatever you want to be white with melted beeswax. The outline of the lips will be white at the end when I remove the wax.
  5. Place egg in your first dye. Start with the lightest color you are using. We usually have about 10 dyes starting at yellow and ending at black. I put it in pink for about 1 minute.
  6. Take your egg out gently, pat dry. Mine looked like this:
  7. Now I covered whatever I wanted to be pink with more melted wax.
  8. Repeat process and put in next color dye. Purple this time.
  9. Cover what you want to be purple with more wax. I just added a few accents.
  10. Place in dye again. I wanted everything that I did not cover with wax to be black so I left it in the black dye for about 5 minutes.
  11. Hold the egg over flame and use a paper towel to wipe off the wax. Burn yourself a few times and think about how pissed you'll be if you drop the egg. It's happened many a time, and expletives are not uncommon.
  12. Be proud of your creation and raise your nose to all of those phony egg-dyers out there.
  13. This is a tradition my family has been doing for about 10 years or so now. It's mostly my aunts and cousins that come but we've recruited outsiders like friends and significant others to give it a shot. We hand them this book for some inspiration.
  14. Some designs are super complicated and can take upwards of 5 hours to complete. It takes a lot of patience and snacks to complete an impressive egg.
  15. Tomorrow my mom will use a gross tool to essentially drill a small hole in the top and bottom of the egg and squeeze the yolk and insides out of it. She then coats them with a clear shellac spray and we keep the hollowed-out eggs forever. Here is a bowl of our past eggs that chills in our kitchen.
  16. This was my first egg I spent a couple hours on earlier. I made a similar one a couple years ago but stupidly gave it to an ex-boyfriend. Side note: Is it weird to ask for it back?
  17. Some others from this year's festivities:
  18. It's kinda weird and nobody really gets it when I try to explain how it works but I look forward to doing it every year.
    Gets so messy.
  19. Plus, wine.
  20. Now I hope you all dye!