Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Pumpkin Pysanky and Pysanky Pumpkins

In 2004 I was inspired by Martha Stewart Living magazine to try my hand at her delightful pumpkin pysanky designs and hung them on a craggy tree branch every October.  That month saw a sudden surge in Halloween workshops and a demand for black, orange and yellow eggshell dye. 

Martha Stewart Living October 2004

These jack-o-lanterns were just too cute to be scary. 

Pumpkin Pysanky

And so were the ghosts, spiders and skeletons.

Halloween Pysanky
Some years later I created a pysanka design for a miniature pumpkin decorating contest.  Those who know me know that I'm passionate about pysanky, so decorating a pumpkin this way was a no-brainer for me. But it surprised others and the cute little entry garnered a lot of attention.  

Pysanka Pumpkin
Halloween apples?  Tricks or treats?  Yes.  Memories of carrying pillow cases for treats?  Yes. Overturned outhouses?  Yes. Halloween pysanky? No.  Now I'm really showing my age!

It's time to bring out the craggy tree branch and welcome the other cute little jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and goblins who will show up at my door for candy bars!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Knowledge is Power--the Power of Pysanky

Fall 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.  What's in it for you?  teaching aids, money $aving tips for teachers, word scramble activity for students, and more . . . . All the best for the 2012-2013 school year!

2012 Fall Newsletter

And while I'm at it, here's a repeat of last year's Newsletter full of information, hints and money-saving tips!

2011 Fall Newsletter

Saturday, 28 July 2012

I Luv Canada!

It's July, and Canada just turned 145!  I started celebrating birthdays last month by taking a trip to our beautiful capital city, Ottawa.  I had been there only once before as a child, and was promised it would afford a fabulous visit.  I wasn't disappointed. 

It was a whirlwind trip, and I managed to sightsee many capital highlights, drive a country tour, picnic in the park, go to the theatre, watch a fabulous light show against a backdrop of parliament hill, enjoy a river tour, and play a surprise game of bowling.  The highlight was a fabulous tribute concert to ABBA, the songs of which I can't get out of my head!  But the most exceptional thing for me was that I was accompanied by my 4 beautiful sisters, as we embarked on a once-in-a lifetime commemorative soiree in memory of our mother.  The Chateau Laurier was also celebrating a birthday (100 years) and had our mother still been with us, she would be celebrating her June birthday in style.  My holiday was rich with history—both personal and national!

(photo taken in 1957)
July 1st is a grand celebration in Canadian communities from sea to sea to sea, and on Canada Day I joined thousands of people who attend the annual Steveston Salmon Festival.  Think sunny skies, red and white, and smiles all over, and you'll have a pretty good image of Canada Day 2012.

Whether I was returning home from Ottawa, or from a full day of teaching pysanky at the Steveston Salmon Festival, I returned home a happy, tired, and proud Canadian!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Our Tee Shirts Get Around

I can't get the Beach Boys song "I Get Around" out of my head as I blog this story.  Our tee shirt traffic at babasbeeswax.com is just as lively.  No sooner did we publish our tee shirt designs when one of our perennial customers in Toronto (what? no snow?) purchased our "logo" tee shirt.  Who says only people in Vancouver can wear tee shirts in the winter . . . . . . she luvs it and sent us a photo to show how pretty she is in it!  We luv it too!
Tee Shirt from http://www.babasbeeswax.com/
Most designs feature photos of pysanky with names like "Pysanky Symphony", "Beautiful Pysanky" and "I Heart Pysanky".  Can you figure out the whimsical design name "Ostrigooschick" conjured up by Tom?
Here is an audio story from the opposite coast of the country, Newfoundland.  Imagine the surprise when this passenger was approached by another bearing a big smile and hug to say Baba's Beeswax has great products!  Our tee shirts get around.

. . . . and beach weather is just around the corner!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hot Off The Press

I enjoyed meeting journalist Michelle Hopkins when she visited my pysanka studio and gallery to do a newspaper article on egging. With both our busy schedules (hers: performing at a local charity event Dancing With The Stars; and mine: spring workshop mania) we agreed to a visit on the weekend.  We had a lovely chat—and there was soooooooo much to talk about.  Here is a link to her story on Page A17 of the March 14, 2012 edition of The Richmond News.
With the sureness that "you can't believe everything you read", I can point out only a couple of mis-quotes. The statement that I use a "hollow, cooked egg" conjures up a comical image!  But I was relieved that the distinction between pysanky and batik-style eggs was clearly made, as pysanky are so often misrepresented in the media and online, and it's so embarrassing and uncomfortable when that happens.  And despite a 9-digit phone number instead of a 10-digit one I'm still getting a ton of phone calls and comments.  Ditto for the website name which has a typo in it.  All in all I'm quite pleased with her story and am as busy as ever.  Have you read it? 
More later on the resulting workshops.

Distinction between pysanky eggs and batik-style eggs

Photo by Michelle Hopkins

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Biggest Pysanka Birthday Party Ever

Passersby with birthday wishes
One busy spring, just when Jacob was turning 12 years old, our family business was offering yet another hands-on pysanky workshop at a local shopping centre.  Jacob’s annual woeful lament about spring workshops interfering with and/or superseding every birthday party he ever had his whole life did not fall on deaf ears.  Tom and I planned a BIG birthday surprise.  At 12:00 noon we halted the workshop, announced the BIG 12th birthday, had a BIG birthday cake with 12 BIG candles (the size used for pysanky) and had a BIG birthday party in the mall.  Hundreds of shoppers and passersby joined in singing “Happy Birthday” and offered kind words and greetings in a BIG birthday card.  Jacob passed around birthday cake.  Strangers even bought presents!  One elderly gentleman was also having a birthday that day and appreciated the public display of affection.  That was the biggest birthday pysanka party ever!  

2 birthday boys

Kids of all ages celebrate birthdays with pysanky and I want to share my party secrets  That's why I just published Pysanka Power! Birthday Party Ideas & Planner [ISBN 1-897253-24-9].  Check it out here.

Your birthday is coming up again, Jacob, as are more workshops and parties.  Our birthday wish to you is that you have a happy one and celebrate it your way!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The World Needs More Pysanky

Spring Break Pysanky Workshops

The world needs more pysanky.  Ancient legend says that "as long as pysanky are made, evil shall not prevail over good in the world". Learn how to make traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs with beeswax and dyes.

Link to a whimsical video clip announcing my annual spring workshops
Pysanky 4 Kids – Ukrainian Egg Decorating

With a few simple tools and the proper instruction, anyone from 6 to 96 can learn to make a beautiful pysanka the traditional way. This is a great activity to do with your family and friends. What is so unique about my workshops?  I have been teaching pysanky since 1991 and over the years have amassed many, many teaching aids (samples, models, posters, etc.) handouts and best of all—empty eggshells—so that at the end of the workshop everyone takes home a pysanka that will last forever!
  • includes inspiring video, folk history and culture, traditional legends, teaching aids, clear and concise instructions, one-on-one attention, unique hands-on technique
  • March 12, 13, 19, 20 and 21, 2012 - 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
  • all materials supplied
  • gift bag and certificate also provided
  • opportunity to see one of-a-kind Gallery and Library
  • pre-registration required 604-275-8169
  • all workshops at Baba's Beeswax Pysanka Studio, Richmond, BC

Pysanky Ukrainian Wax-Resist Egg Decorating

Cartons of eggs stand at the ready.  It's dyeing time at our annual pysanky Ukrainian Easter egg decorating workshops. Discover the magic of making pysanky the traditional way with beeswax and dyes.  With over 50 years of experience in making pysanky, I share not only the technique, but also the history and culture of this time-honoured activity.  I also share information, knowledge, hints and money-saving tips.
  • includes inspiring video presentation, folk history and culture, traditional legends, and unique wax-resist technique
  • workshops are from 7 pm to 9 pm on March 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21, 2012
  • all materials supplied
  • my workshops are very popular and fill up early
  • opportunity to see one of-a-kind Gallery and Library
  • pre-registration required 604-275-8169 
  • all workshops at Baba's Beeswax Pysanka Studio, Richmond, BC

Link to my Calendar or download a Poster to share.
Making pysanky has never been so easy, fun or affordable!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Roses Are Red

Roses are red
Violets are blue
I decorated these
And so can you

. . . . share your own Valentine here . . . .

This design is a February Feature on t-shirts and other products from Baba's Beeswax.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi—Year of the Dragon

According to a popular Chinese legend, the Universe was once an enormous egg.  One day the egg split open—its upper half became the sky, its lower half the earth, and from it emerged P’an Ku, primordial man. Every day he grew ten feet taller, the sky ten feet higher, the earth ten feet thicker. After eighteen thousand years P'an Ku died. His head split and became the sun and moon, while his blood filled the rivers and seas. His hair became the forests and meadows, his breath the wind, his voice the thunder.  Kung Hei Fat Choi.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Ukrainian Vancouver

My talented friend Myroslav Petriw (whom I have known and collaborated with for many years), author of Yaroslaw's Treasure, and my newly made friends, Vitaliy Kubatskyy and Valeriy Shevchuk (with whom I shared much merriment and exhuberance in celebrating the 120th Anniversary of Ukrainian Settlement in Canada) have been very busy!  In addition to their many personal endeavours and pursuits, they have collectively succeeded in developing an independent online bilingual Ukrainian/English newspaper.  Congratulations to them and to everyone else involved in this exciting project.  I look forward to surfing their site and watching the progress as it grows and develops!  Don’t take my word for it—check it out yourself at http://www.ukrainianvancouver.comCongratulations!