Saturday, 31 December 2011

More Than 25 Reasons Why You Should Write Pysanky!

It's the eve of a new year, and the impetus to reflect on 2011 is all around me.  Looking back not only on the past year, but also on the past 50 years, I consider all the things that pysanky have meant to me.  It makes me think about my grandmother and mother.  I remember my old friends for whom I made and gave pysanky as gifts.  I am grateful for my new friends who augment my collection.  I think about my grandparents who were Canadian pioneers and am thankful for my upbringing in a family that inspired me to be a pioneer on the world wide web.  I am rewarded with the reaction I get from people at my demonstrations and workshops.  My heart fills when children discover the magic they can do with eggs, beeswax and dyes.  My legacy is the writing and publishing of a children's activity book dedicated to my own child and I am proud of receiving a mark of distinction from the Library of Congress for my bibliography.  And, most recently, my foray into filming video clips has presented me with another experience.  I am astonished at the number of words that appear in my journal. These words describe why I love pysanky!
  1. relaxing
  2. therapeutic
  3. intricate
  4. creative
  5. inspirational
  6. energizing
  7. fascinating
  8. inheritance
  9. heritage
  10. custom
  11. tradition
  12. Easter
  13. Spring
  14. fun
  15. affordable
  16. artistic
  17. sensory
  18. unique
  19. spiritual
  20. talismanic
  21. symbolic
  22. colorful
  23. rhythmic
  24. calming
  25. rewarding
  26. pattern
I would love to hear what pysanky mean to you.  Comment with your own experience.

Happy New Year!


Saturday, 26 November 2011

About the Pysanka—It Is Written!

Responding to inquiries about my YouTube photo montage on the Pysanka Symposium, I have posted a video clip of the Book Launch and the resulting mark of distinction announced by the Library of Congress.  It's here for you to enjoy.

Post a comment to this blog, and I'll send you a Christmas present!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Better Late Than Never!

It's been over 3 years since I attended the 2008 Pysanka Symposium and launched my bibliography, "About the Pysanka--It Is Written!" in Washington, DC.  The event and the city had such an effect on me that I vowed to return.  And I'm happy that my dream was fulfilled (see my March 30, 2011 blog).

In the meantime, I've put together a photo montage of the event and have posted it here for all to enjoy.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Back to School

September means back to school, not only for students but also for teachers!  Now is the time to plan your upcoming pysanky workshops.  This activity is fun for all grade levels K to 12 and integrates with multicultural and language arts, social studies, math and science.

If you're a teacher and haven't received your Newsletter from Baba's Beeswax, here it is.  All the best for the 2011-2012 school year!

2011 Fall Newsletter

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Keeping the Spirit of Pysanky Alive

This year, 2011, marks the 20th anniversary of Baba's Beeswax and the 120th anniversary of Ukrainian immigration to Canada, both of which are dear to my heart.  Our community celebrations started at the European Festival in May, continued throughout the summer at the Canada Day Festival followed by the Ukraine Pavilion at Fusion Festival in July, and this month at the Arts Alive Festival.  These outdoor venues with their traditional performances, activities, street vendors, music and food married with people of all ages and terrific weather to make for fun family celebrating.  We plan to party for a few more months this year and will keep posting our photos and comments to keep the spirit of pysanky alive in 2011.  While surfing, be sure to check out more photos on our website link "In The Community".

Have a great day!

Monday, 11 April 2011

A is for Arbutus and Awesome!

Had a great time at our 12th annual event at Arbutus Village mall over the weekend.  Chatted with a fellow merchant who quoted me for his Slogan of the Day:  "It's nice to have a job that makes people happy".  That's exactly how I feel all the time that I'm promoting pysanky. 

It's so nice to see people returning year after year, and how the kids do grow!  Also met some very interesting new patrons, including 5 year old Jaclyn Chan of Vancouver who has already authored 2 books!  She has an amazing, vivid imagination.

Thanks to my friend Marcella, and my husband Tom for coming out to help with the throngs.  Somehow he managed to make a pysanka for the coffee kiosk owner who kindly supplied us with java throughout the weekend.  He, too, is an accomplished artist, and his art work fit in nicely with the exhibition of the Western Art Circle that displayed throughout the mall.  Last, but not least, my friend Marcia (, came by to take some photos. 

We ended the weekend by collapsing at The Flying Beaver Bar and Grill with a tray of appies and a few cool ones, while the Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames hockey game played on-screen!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Washington Wonders

Celebrated some personal milestones in fantastic Washington, DC last week.  Just in time for their Cherry Blossom Festival.  Although the trip was too short, we were able to visit many of the major attractions.  Weather was beautiful and the sites from atop the double decker were breathtaking.  Unlike my previous visit which was for the book launch of About the Pysanka—It Is Written!  A Bibliography, when Library of Congress was closed for a movie shoot, we were able to actually get into this amazing place.  The librarian in the Thomas Jefferson reading room was pleasantly surprised that someone other than official readers, researchers or tourists were making inquiries.  Some pages of the bibliography were dog-earred, indicating a pattern of use. Glad the book is so popular! 

Maybe next trip we'll be in time for the White House Egg Roll!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Dye Happy

"My dyes have sat for some time between use and have grown mold on the surface.  Are they ruined?  If not, how can I save them?  How do I store them between use so this doesn't happen again?  HELP!
Beginner in the USA

Have faith!  No, your dyes are not ruined.  Here are some tips on how you can save them and store them between use:
  • dyes can last for many years
  • their two enemies are evaporation and mold growth
  • store dyes in airtight jars (glass or plastic)
  • freeze dyes when you’re not using them to avoid bacteria growth
  • if dyes turn cloudy (i.e. showing evidence of bacteria growth) simply strain them through  cheesecloth, bring to a boil, and add 1 tablespoon of vinegar
  • during your busy season add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to dyes to rejuvenate their dyeing power
  • do not throw away the instructions for preparing the dyes after you have made them--some dyes don’t require the adding of vinegar
  • save the instructions and tape them to your dye jars—or indicate some other warning on your jar such as “do not add vinegar”
I hope this info helps.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Orange you glad you asked me?

Erica, you said you are not "having good results with the orange dye.  Even leaving the egg in the dye all day, the color is light".  I'd like to comment on that and help you figure out what's going on.

I had the most amazing results with orange dye today, so it's not the dye lot.  However, that's of little comfort to you, so let me go through a process of elimination to help you with your situation.

Assuming the dye is mixed according to the package directions, here are a few things that could be happening:
  • it could be the eggs themselves, but unfortunately there's no way of knowing any adverse effects in advance
  • are your hands clean and/or free of hand lotion?  grease and oil can prevent the dye from adhering to the egg
  • are you using orange on a yellow egg?  a yellow foundation will help the orange
  •  are you using orange on a green or blue egg?  orange makes an excellent "wash" and removes darker colors (such as light green, light blue or turquoise) to prepare your shell for the brighter colors of red, pink or brick; however by doing this, your orange may not be as bright as you expect
  •  are your eggs fresh (I don't mean whole eggs versus empty eggshells; I mean freshly purchased)? over time an eggshell will dry out
Assuming you have taken care to prepare your eggs and dye, you could try a quick dip into colors such as red or scarlet, then back to the orange to see if you get more depth of color.

Let me know if any of these pysanky tips resolve your problem!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Rock a Pysanka

Our 2011 Spring Break pysanky workshops:

Pysanky4Kids – daily from March 29 to April 3rd at 2:00 pm.  Ask for our family rate!

Discover the Magic – evening workshops from March 29th to April 3rd at 7:00 pm

Friday, 4 March 2011

One small step for pysanky, one giant leap for iluvpysanky . . . .

Joan Brander here, on the launch pad of iluvpysanky.  Welcome to my first official blog!  I decided I needed to take steps to launch my Ukrainian pysanky egg decorating company, Baba’s Beeswax, into the galaxy of the contemporary social network rather than just think about it.  So this is my first step. 

I reflect on the journey that has brought me here, back to the days of the dinosaur, or at least to the last millennium in 1997, when I first created  I remember all those hours hunched over my keyboard programming html, and am amazed that today in just a few seconds I created this blog with a touch of a button! 

Blastoff!  As I thunder into orbit, who knows what the future of this blog will be.  Hang on for the ride!