Bantam eggs, being almost half the size of hens' eggs, offer even less of a canvas, although last year I did manage to outmaneouvre "all the king's horses and all the king's men" and "put Humpty together again" for a dozen, well and truly broken, bantam eggshells. But you have no idea how fiddly it is trying to reconstruct a dozen eggs from pieces already discarded pell mell into the compost bucket because this brilliant wheeze only struck after they had been ditched and not before! A three dimensional jigsaw nightmare, let me tell you! And before you ask, yes, I did wash the shell pieces thoroughly, after their sojourn among the apple and potato peelings!
Anyway I digress. Move aside bantam eggs and indeed larger hens' eggs, enter goose eggs! Now we are talking! Goose eggs* being about 4 inches tall and a couple of inches wide offer a much roomier space to play with in terms of a canvas for design and what is more, the shells are considerably tougher than bantams' or hens' eggs, which diminishes the risk of your beautifully painted egg suddenly caving in under the pressure of being held while you paint. And being larger, the egg won't need to be hung up to be displayed nicely - it can sit in a basket with a few other Easter goodies and look pretty without any precarious balancing from a thread like some kind of Easter "Sword of Damocles".
*(Unless you happen to keep geese, these have to be obtained from a farm shop; they are not currently available at Waitrose, Sainsbury's or Tesco's, I am afraid, more's the pity.)
|Bantam egg on the left, goose egg on the right - no contest!|
|Hole at the top - quite neat.|
|Hole at the bottom - not quite so neat.|
The resulting egg contents were made into the most glorious golden scrambled eggs you have ever seen. No pic because they were eaten too quickly by my goose-egg-loving son!
I submerged the empty shell in some warm soapy water and swished it about a bit to wash out any remaining egg residue but the egg seemed to have come out very cleanly. I then left it to dry on its supporting glass before pencilling on my design.
I am not good at fiddly designs and wanted something fairly simple so opted for a handful of violets and their heart-shaped leaves. The goose eggshell is very good tempered and strong enough for you to rub out any errors in your pencil drawing without difficulty if, like me, it takes several attempts to get your drawing to look how you want it.
Now for the painting! I used water-based acrylic paints which give a good coverage. The background only needed one coat although I felt the flowers needed two, as did the leaves, which came out a bit virulent initially and needed another coat of a slightly subtler green.
Once fully painted - the trick with these things is always knowing when to Leave Well Alone - the question of to varnish or not to varnish arose. I could have gone the easy route and painted the egg with a coat of PVA glue which dries nice and glossy, but I wanted something a bit more permanent so that, if my egg was going to cosy up to cakes and sticky buns etc. it would be wipeable with a damp cloth. PVA doesn't really give that so I had to raid the Aladdin's cave of the model railway construction department for a can of spray acrylic varnish (permanent and waterproof according to the can) and a thin piece of flexible wire with which to suspend the egg during spraying.
I am a bit lethal with spray paints etc - the patio is still wearing a light dusting of white after my twig spraying some weeks ago! Varnish is at least mercifully colourless! Having, I think ingeniously, suspended the egg from the pear tree I sprayed on several coats of the quick-drying glossy stuff. The surroundings seem OK and not too much shinier than usual! And the egg is beautifully and evenly glossy.
I now have an Easter accessory to plant in a basket of hot cross buns or among a plateful of Easter cup cakes! Choices, choices! I know, I know - tiny things please tiny minds but this little project has been hugely satisfying and quick to complete in little odd spaces of time. I recommend it! Obviously you can use an ordinary hen's egg but if you can get hold of a lovely large goose egg, go for it! Of course better still would have been a nice ostrich egg, like this one S brought back from South Africa for H:
Already blown too! Temptation.....! But not mine to play with and it's so beautiful as it is, it would be a shame to gild the lily ... I suppose ...
... Yes, it would, Mrs T! Put your Paws In The Air and Step Away From The Egg!!!
Moving on quickly, before temptation gets the better of me ... here is my finished creation, perched slightly precariously in an egg cup! What do you think? Despite its imperfections and my somewhat simplistic painting skills, I like my kitchen table art! You can expect it to reappear in sundry photos over the next few weeks!
Have a go yourself over the weekend?