Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Easter Tree (Osterstrauch)

Earlier in the week I blogged about Easter traditions including recipes for a special Easter Sunday Brunch,  healthy and delicious Green Thursday soup and casserole recipes, a fabulous Good Friday Brotzeit, a cute Easter Craft  project and great Table Decorating ideas for this special spring holiday.

Today I am going to share a tradition that has been in our family since I can remember. As part of our Easter decor, if you will, I always include an Easter Tree or Osterstrauch.

This tradition is popular in Germany and some other parts of Europe as well as the Ukraine, where they paint elaborate and intricate designs on the shells of hollowed out eggs. The Easter tree symbolizes new life, with budding branches and vibrantly painted eggs referring to fertility. As much as there is no more great need for fertility in this house...(hubs and I have two boys who are now in their late teens) this tradition is still happily observed.

This craft project doesn't involve rocket science of any kind, just a few unconventional tasks to ready the eggs for painting, a few supplies (usually on hand) and a visit to the garden centre or nature to obtain some budding branches on which to display your eggs. Its easy and fun, costs next to nothing and the result is a beautiful addition to your Easter decor.

For the Easter tree you will need these supplies:

Raid your childrens' art drawer for leftover school supplies like a paint box and paint brushes.

You'll need a pin, a thin metal skewer, a hot glue gun and ribbon (I used satin Christmas ornament hangers). And as many eggs as you can muster.

To hollow out the eggs, you will need to poke a hole in each end of the egg, using a pin. Carefully make the hole slightly larger by inserting the skewer and picking some of the egg shell away, while at the same time breaking the yolk inside the egg. Now...blow through one of the holes to remove the egg into a bowl (use for Easter baking later).

Here is where you can use your imagination and creativity. Paint your favourite designs onto the eggs - you can choose colours that coordinate with your home decor, or mix and match to create a rainbow of colours!

Using a hot glue gun, fasten the ribbon or hangers to the top (the rounded side of the egg), making sure the ribbons are straight - you don't want the eggs to hang crooked on the branch.

Hang the beautiful egg ornaments on the branches of your favourite twigs. I use pussywillows, but you can really use any budding branches - like forsythia, apple or cherry. Be sure to add water to flowering branches, but omit if using pussywillows, as the buds will quickly sprout and you will lose those pretty little furry catkins.


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