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The Everyday Home Newsletter
Spring 2000

Page 4

I made these eggs years ago, and especially love to use them during Easter and Springtime, but I also leave several of them out all year, in nests as shown in the pic on the left. It is a simple reminder during the long and cold winter months of the promise of Spring. Once you make them, you'll want to make more and more cause they're so quik 'n easy!!!

Your eggs will be high on grass...

Create a unique centerpiece for your eggs using Spring decorative items and a layer of grass! Yes - real grass! All you need is a large platter or flat basket. Place a layer of soil in the bottom of the platter or basket about 1" deep. (The basket may require that you line it first with plastic.) Sprinkle the soil generously with rye grass seeds or any type of fast growing seed. Sprintz the seeds with water, and lightly tamp the soil. Cover with plastic wrap for germination. In a few days, you will see the grass sprouts. Do not remove the plstic wrap until that time. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can remove plastic wrap and place in a sunny spot. Spritz daily with water after the plastic has been removed to keep the soil from drying out. The grass seeds will require about 7-10 days to reach full height, so if you plan on using this idea for a centerpiece, plan early. Also, I like to plant an egg carton or other disposable container with extra seeds as back-up, which can be transplanted into your centerpiece container if the first batch does not work out. Add a paper mache bunny, your eggs and some spring flowers. Make a sign with "dot writing" that says "Eggs for Sale", etc.
Also, instead of buying the plastic grass for baskets, I plant my son's basket each year with the real stuff! Much better for the ecology! Also, plant some egg cartons with seeds in each individual space, and place candle eggs inside.

Plaster of Paris Eggs

I made these eggs several years ago, and each year I try to make a few more to go along with my present collection - with the intention of one day having a large overflowing basket. I also make some to give as gifts. The first batch of eggs I made was with my son, so they are special. Its a project to share with kids or grandkids on a cool or rainy Spring day. They're so easy, they just might become a tradition in your home as well. I like to leave a few out year round, nestled in a small nest in the base of a silk ficus tee, or sitting out on a table as shown. they serve as a simple reminder during the long and cold months of the promise of Spring.
Here's what you'll need...
-Plaster of Paris -water -measuring cups -funnel -a large bowl or sink of water -small balloons(in shape of egg when inflated) -plastic squeeze pop or water bottle with squirt cap -container of water large enough to hold the squeeze bottle (for rinsing plaster from inside of squirt bottle before it sets) -newspaper -water colors, paints (opt)

Here's How...

Before you begin, cover your work area with newspaper and have all your ingredients at hand for more ease. One cup of plaster to 1/2 cup of water will make two eggs. Pour the water into the squeeze bottle. Using a small funnel, pour the powder into the bottle, using a pencil or skewer to help push the plaster thru. (see hints about plaster/water ratio below) Place the cap on the bottle and shake vigorously to mix the plaster and water.

Next, place a balloon over the squeeze cap, turn bottle upside down and squeeze about 1/2 cup of plaster into the balloon. Pinch the tip of the balloon and pull away from the bottle. Keeping the mouthpiece of the balloon pinched, swish the tip of the balloon in water to remove excess residue of plaster. Quickly submerse uncapped squeeze bottle into water to prevent plaster from hardening.

Inflate the balloon by blowing air into the mouthpiece. Plaster is not toxic, but tastes bad, so rinse mouth if necessary. Tie off the balloon and roll from hand to hand to entirely coat inside. Continue turning gently until you can feel a heavy side developing. Float the balloon in a bowl or sink of water to prevent a flat side. Do not disturb the floating balloon eggs for at least 15 minutes.

Once the plaster is set, cut the tip of the tied balloon and peel balloon away. Shave or sand the "navel" or "tied-off" point. Let egg dry or cure for several hours more, then paint if desired. Use a light color wash and flecks of brown, etc, achieved with a toothbrush for an authentic look.

Some important tips: The ratio of plaster to water is important to achieve the right hardening effect. DO NOT add water to powder, add powder to water. It is important to pinch the mouthpiece closed prior to removing the balloon from the bottle to prevent the plaster from spilling out. As plaster hardens, it will release a gentle warmth. Do not be alarmed. Make sure the egg cools prior to unwrapping it. If you remove the egg from the balloon or the plaster/water ratio is wrong, it will not set up correctly and will most likely crumble. DO NOT pour plaster/water mixture down your drain as it could block pipes. Dispose outside - its good for the soil.
Plaster is easy to clean up and flakes off easy from clothes and furniture.

Photographs and directions are courtesy of Southern Living Magazine. For more Spring ideas, purchase their recent issue at your local grocery store, or visit their site.

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