April 16, 2014

Attending a Pysanky Workshop


After writing my previous post on the Ukrainian art of Pysanky Easter eggs,
(see that post HERE), I knew I'd just love to try my hand at it!
As luck would have it, I heard about a workshop offered by our township's
Parks & Recreation department and signed right up!

Above are samples that Jenn, our instructor, brought to show each step of the process.
We were each given a kit, containing instructions, dyes,
a square of beeswax and the stylus tool, called a "kistka."


We were asked to bring our own candle in a holder.
Jenn gave us each an egg, which she had "blown out" ahead of time.
Also due to time limitations, she had pre-measured and marked our eggs
with simple geometric designs to be used as guidelines as we were learning.

Paper plates became collectors of excess wax drippings,
and, with wires fitted through them, stands for the eggs at the final stage.

Although this post is not meant to serve as instructions on how to make Pysanky,
I hope that you'll enjoy seeing the process and maybe be inspired to try it yourself!


The metal funnel end of the kistka is heated in the candle flame.
You can then shave off a bit of the beeswax to fill the funnel.
The melted wax flows through and allows you to sketch the wax onto the egg.


As I began, I noticed that the beeswax turned black from the soot of the candle.
No worries; this will later be removed, and in the meantime, is easier to see on the shell. 

I found it wasn't easy to keep a steady hand
and quickly saw wax blobs foil my plan for thin straight lines!


 Keep in mind that Pysanky is a wax-resist technique.
You may be familiar with this as "batik."
Where ever you place wax, the color under that wax is what remains.


On to the first round of dye.
Notice the white plug that is used to fill the blowing hole
to prevent the dye from leaking inside the shell.


Next came green...


 ...and then orange, as I gradually added wax to build the design.


 Hmmm. It's starting to look quite ugly!


And uglier still.
I was hoping for a swan underneath this duckling.


A crafter's heat gun tool was used to melt away the wax
and reveal the beauty underneath.


 Holding my breath as I waited for Jenn to unveil my egg.
I was quite happy with the results!


Next came the final step of spraying a coat of shellac
to give it that high gloss finish that looks fabulous!

And there you have it - my first attempt at Pysanky!


Here are the lovely results from some of the ladies around the table~





What a fantastic experience!
I got to hang out with friends and meet a few new ones.
Each of us had a unique type of creativity.
We cheered each other along and were excited to see one another's final results!

Jenn, thanks for showing us the ropes, for your patience and encouragement!
And thank yous to Lynne, Jean, Debbie, Stephanie, Darlene & Rachel for the photos!

I quickly realized that in contrast to those exquisite works of art featured in my other post, 
how awfully brave I must be to share my beginner's attempt with my blog friends. ;)
And as if I didn't have total respect for Pysanky artists before, I sure do now!

A shout-out to Northampton Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania,
and its Parks & Recreation department!

April 14, 2014

Peeps & Company


A road trip to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania!
How timely that, only a week before Easter, we'd come upon a store 
made famous by none other than the Easter Bunny himself!

Peeps! Those sugar-coated marshmallow treats,
without which, no Easter basket would be complete!

Here's a quick history of Peeps, and Just Born, Inc., the company that makes them:
Sam Born came to the U.S. from Russia in 1910.
He invented chocolate sprinkles (aka jimmies),
plus a machine to insert the sticks into lollipops,
 for which he was given the key to the city of San Francisco!
The Just Born, Inc. manufacturing company began in 1923.
In 1953, Sam acquired a company that made marshmallow chicks by hand.
A year later, his son Bob started mass-producing them much faster by machine
and officially trademarked them as Peeps.
In the early 1980's the Peeps marshmallow bunnies were added.

Sharing my photos of this bright, colorful, super-sweet shop!


Rainbow gift-packs of Peeps ~ "It's not a party without the chicks!"


A Peep mug-shot.


Lots of Peep novelties: magnets, stickers, socks, key chains, and more.


Plenty of plush!



Lots of novelty tee-shirts!



Our favorite~ Imagine World Peeps!


The shop's centerpiece is this display, topped with a giant, lighted...


...color-changing Peep!


Peep-mobile sighting!


The Peeps & Company store is at 77 Sands Boulevard in Bethlehem, PA.
There are 2 other locations:
Mall of America in MN
National Harbor, MD.

Here's the Peeps & Company website!

April 11, 2014

The Art of Bianca Green

Bianca Green's art is a patchwork of bright prints and patterns.
A clamor of colors that meet in a style that is relaxed, lighthearted and, above all, fun!

In addition to art prints, Bianca's work can be found as fabric, cell phone cases, 
shower curtains, pillows, clocks, note cards, t-shirts, mugs and more!
Superstar New York is above, with lots more to follow.

I Don't Know What to Write You

Picture This

Bella the Happy Butterphant

The Way I See It

I Can See in the Dark

Follow Your Own Path

Her Point of View

Pineapple Party

Seeing Sound


Here's where to find more Bianca Green Art:

Images used with direct permission from Bianca Green.

April 9, 2014

Jesus is Loving Barabbas

Sacrifice by DoulosArt

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
2 Corinthians 5:21

As we celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of Christ,
listen to Judah Smith's contemporary, spot-on explanation
of what it all means, and just why He did what He did.

Judah Smith is a pastor at The City Church in Seattle, Washington.
Here's his Facebook page.

April 7, 2014

Found Objects Art Mosaics by Jane Perkins

Mona Lisa, after Da Vinci

The Mona Lisa. Highly recognizable. 
But you may not have seen her interpreted quite like this! 
A conglomeration of little what-nots arranged in a mosaic.
On closer inspection, you'll see the likes of, to "B" specific:
 buttons, bananas, Bristle Blocks, beads, bubble wands and Barbie arms!

Jane Perkins creates phenomenal art by selecting each doodad from her collection,
finding just the right item in just the right shade, then placing it in just the right spot.

Jane finds most of her tiny treasures at flea markets and yard sales.
How about this example of reusing, recycling, and re-purposing?

A quote she used on her website, so very apropos, is this one from David Mach, sculptor:
"Every artist needs to find the right material through which he can express himself."
I do believe that Jane has found hers!

Sunflowers, after Van Gogh

Sunflowers for Hospice - Copy

Girl with a Pearl Earring, after Vermeer

Girl with a Pearl Earring, after Vermeer

Orange Marilyn 2, after Warhol

Orange Marilyn 2, after Warhol

Einstein 2

Einstein 2

Afghan Girl

Afghan girl

Here's Jane's website!

Want more "Mona Lisa" and "Girl with a Pearl Earring?"

With my thanks, Bev! :)

Images used with direct permission from Jane Perkins.

April 5, 2014

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars


My daughter and I are Cookie Dough Fiends.
Naturally, it's our favorite ice cream flavor.
We have a cookie dough pact.
When either of us bakes cookies, we have to save a chunk of the dough for each other.
She even named one of her kittens Cookie Dough. Seriously.

Now you understand why this recipe was a "must try."
Not to mention, it's in combination of another one of my faves, peanut butter.
It's a no-bake bar that's less cookie and more fudge.
Cookie Dough Lovers - unabashedly unite!


Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bars
Cookie Dough Layer~
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C light brown sugar, packed
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
2 C flour
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 C mini chocolate chips

Frosting Layer~
3/4 C creamy peanut butter
3/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat butter with brown sugar until combined.
Add vanilla and peanut butter, beat until fluffy.
Add flour and sweetened condensed milk, beat until well-blended.
Fold in mini chocolate chips.
Press into an 8x8 baking dish.

Now for the frosting-
In a microwave safe bowl, add peanut butter and chocolate chips.
Melt for one minute. Stir and spread over the cookie dough.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Cut into bite sized pieces. 


Thanks, Aimee, of Shugary Sweets!