How to Create an Easter Centerpiece in 3 Easy Steps

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Good Morning! I’m working on some Easter decorations and thought I’d share my 3 step method for those of you that might get stuck and need some inspiration. Breaking it down into 3 simple steps makes things so much easier!

Things you already own can be used as a container!

Step #1 Pick a Container

I “shopped” around my house for options to use as a container for a centerpiece. These things all seemed to have Easter-like colors or inspired me with an idea. The clear glass kitchen canisters can be purchased at Walmart. They are made by Anchor Hocking and you can find them in the kitchen storage section. The antique Ball jar, jadeite bowl, Brush McCoy bowl, and milk glass sugar bowl were all items that I’ve picked up over the years.

For help finding these, check the floral department of a craft store.

Step #2 Pick a Filler

Most Easter decorations are inspired by nature: rabbits, chicks, eggs, carrots. I tried to keep in this mindset while I picked up some dried moss, raffia, Easter grass made of straw, and natural looking eggs. I found all of these at Michaels. The Easter stuff was all 40% off, plus I had a 20% off everything coupon. Sweet!

My cast of Easter characters that I used for focal points.

Step #3 Choose Your Focal Point

Find something to be at the center of your centerpiece. 😉 I’ve had the ducks for years; I think they actually came from Party City. The lamb has been around a while, too. Hobby Lobby, maybe? The rabbits are all new from World Market. (Oh, I love you World Market.)

Put the filler into the container and arrange the focal point. That’s it!

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1. Jadeite bowl 2. Straw grass and eggs 3. Bunny
1. Cake plate for a container 2. Moss and straw grass 3. Egg holder (World Market)

Same as above, except the focal point is the lamb.

1. Extra large glass canister 2. Dried moss and eggs 3. Rabbit (I did add some ribbon to this one.)
Same as above except I put in an antique book and the smaller bunnies.
1. Antique Ball jar 2. Straw grass 3. The eggs are the focal point in this one!
//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.jsI truly hope this helps you create some lovely decorations for your home. I’d love to see your creations or to know what was helpful for you.

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A History of Country Easter Egg Decorating: a Pennsylvania Dutch Tradition

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An introduction:

Today most families decorate their Easter eggs with store bought kits. I know we certainly do! The more advantageous egg decorators may even use natural dyes they discovered on Pinterest. I would like to share with you the history of how my grandparents and great-grandparents decorated Easter eggs with their kids, my dad included, while they lived in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Their ancestors were Pennsylvania Dutch and these methods for Easter egg dying most likely came with them from Pennsylvania to Virginia over a century ago. I post this here in the hope that this history will not be lost. Thank you to my aunts Gail and Martha who humored me a couple of years ago with my questions, and my apologies for taking so long to publish it here.

Easter was an important part of growing up in the country — not only did we see Easter Sunday as the most important Sunday in the life of the church, it was a time when we kids could take part in coloring Easter Eggs, and at the same time we heard stories of an even older time!  Here is the sequence of how we did our eggs:

First, on Good Friday Mama (Grandmother Polly Will Lytton) would boil several dozen eggs — sometimes 3 or 4 dozen depending on how many were at hand.  Once the eggs were boiled they were placed in colanders or pans — nestled into old cotton of some sort (old dish towels, clean rags of every kind) and ALWAYS with very clean hands — Mama did not want any oil or grease to spoil what would be the final product.  The pans of eggs were then put on the back screened porch to cool overnight — never into the icebox (or later the refrigerator) where if cooling too fast they would “sweat”.

On the Saturday before Easter, after supper, Mama would gather all the things needed to “spot eggs” — vinegar, suet, dyes, old woolen shirts or sweaters — she would have everything ready before she brought the eggs in from the porch.

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 With all us kids hovering around and Grandma Edna and Granddad Carson near by we would start (I can’t remember your Granddad Ty Cobb Lytton being involved at all — maybe he was doing final outside chores …or taking time to just sit aside and read the paper!)

This is how it would go:   Grandma had boiled some onion skins to make brown dye; Granddaddy would be standing by to mix the toxic black dye (kids not allowed to touch – it was cloth dye and it was toxic!); Mama would set old cups or those stained from previous Easter dye sessions around the table and carefully put the dye tablet, some vinegar, some hot water in each cup and each of us would take up a space around the table and try to stir and melt the tablet without spilling a drop (not always successful at that).  With that accomplished Mama would carefully put an egg in each cup and we would try to made sure that each egg was evenly colored.  Each colored egg was laid again in clean cotton cloth to completely dry and wait for “spotting.”  We kids of course would try to outdo each other in whose eggs came most perfectly out of the dye — not a quiet discussion.
When we were very young we would be sent off to bed to wait for Easter morning where we would find baskets of the decorated eggs — as we grew older and stopped believing in the Easter Bunny WE were allowed to help and this is how it went:

Once the eggs were cool and colored, Mama would melt the suet in a pan on the stove — this really was beef tallow that she saved from year to year —  from Easter to Easter — with very clean hands we would each take an egg and using our fingers — or for more intricate designs a straw from a REAL broom — and dip into the tallow and make spots of tallow all over the egg — or dip each end of the egg in tallow and put a design in tallow around the middle –or use a straw to make a design;  Mama ALWAYS took the green eggs and made a  wheat design [shafts of wheat, little tadpoles, crosses, bunny tracks, spiders] up and down the egg w/tallow using a broom straw   — Granddaddy used the black dye to make “baldies” by dipping each end of the egg in the tallow — then he would take a black egg and with a straw draw spiders all over the egg — somehow I cannot remember if we decorated Grandma’s onion skin dyed eggs –maybe we just admired them as brown — I’ll have to ask one of the “Lytton girls” about that …anyway  we could make any design we could manage — as you can imagine some of us had much more artistic talent then others!!

After the tallow hardened on the egg — and it hardened quickly on the porch-cooled eggs — and the older the tallow the more quickly it hardened — Mama would place the eggs in a bowl of water and apple vinegar where they would sit for a few minutes — then out she would take them and rub with the woolens she also kept from year to year — all the color would come off EXCEPT for that under the tallow — can you picture that?  Of course the tallow came off too but the color underneath did not and formed the design.

Preparing/decorating Easter Eggs in this way was always attributed to our Pennsylvania Dutch/German ancestors — I like to think of them as folk art — while those of the Ukraine are/were much more complex and sophisticated — I do not know of anyone who decorates eggs “our” way now — Some of us have tried  over the years — but the eggs are treated/coated when they come from the store – so you need straight from the hen — the dyes are much too harmless nowadays so the color won’t stick – and the tallow must be heated again and again to render it to the point when it will harden quickly –“
The eggs were a simpler version of traditional Dutch decorated eggs such as these.

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This process must’ve produced the most beautiful and unique eggs. I don’t think that I will ever actually be able to take these steps. The tallow and fresh eggs aren’t realistic ingredients for me to come by. But I do think it is important for this history to be written down and remembered. There is a lot of art lost in convenience, don’t you agree?

Southern Easter Traditions

Does your family ever play “remember when?” “Remember when Momma and Dad would take us to see Santa Claus every year at the mall?” “Remember when we would drive around looking at Christmas lights?” Traditions are important. Most families, regions, and countries have traditions that feed the culture of its people. The South is no different.

Easter is a special time in the South. For generations every good and respectable family in the Bible Belt belonged to one of the town’s many church congregations. UMC, FBC, A&E, or Presbyterian – it wasn’t just a church. It was and is a community centered social gathering place. Easter being the most holy time in the church, Easter is also a time for Southerners to entertain, socialize, and carry on with traditions.

  • New church clothes are a given. Girls get new dresses. Always. And sometimes a sweet hat, too. Boys get new suits. In the South we love seersucker and bow ties. That’s as southern as it comes. 
  • Egg dying is done every year. Now there are kits to glitter and glitz your eggs or wrap them in camouflage shrink wrap. But egg dying used to be an art form that took hours, even days to complete.
  • Easter baskets that the Easter Bunny hides are essential for the kids. A chocolate bunny, jelly beans, and a sweet stuffed rabbit are most likely to be found in one of these.
  • Egg hunts are an opportunity to socialize, show off your Easter finest, and take priceless pictures. If you’ve seen the movie Steel Magnolias, you have seen what a true southern egg hunt is like.
  • Easter dinner. In the south we feed you. We’ll feed you at every opportunity. We love you with food. Easter dinner is a tradition all in its own. For more details on that check out my post here.
  • The highlight of Easter is our time spent at church. Families bring flowers from their gardens to add to the cross at church. Sunrise services are popular all around the South.

 I hope that you will feed your family with tradition. Feed their memories and “remember whens.” But also important, I hope that you will feed them with the meaning behind the traditions and why it is important to keep our traditions and culture alive.

Hoppy Easter to you!
XOXO,
Abby

P.S. Here is one of my favorite things to bring as a hostess gift! If you’re celebrating Easter at someone else’s home, don’t forget to bring them a little something.

Photo Credits:  

The Southern Easter Menu

I love Springtime. If I could only find a sunny spot to sit in and let the warmth sink into my bones, I would. But this season of gray simply will not go away. Groundhog stew, anyone?

Here it is time for Easter, and all of the Easter dresses are sleeveless, the sandals are open-toed, and the suits are made of thin cotton seersucker. Oh, where are you warm rays of sunshine?

I wanted to share the traditional Southern Easter menu with you. Homes across the Deep South, as well as homes that long to be in the Deep South will spread these tried and true dishes on their family dining table to celebrate the Resurrection.

Ham – The star of the show, try this wonderful Brown Sugar – Bourbon Glazed Ham from Southern Living.

Southern Potato Salad – You simply must have this recipe in your back pocket for everything from Easter dinner to family barbeques. What makes it “southern?” Check out the recipe from Add A Pinch.

Deviled Eggs – The perfect solution for what to do with all those dyed Easter eggs! The folks at Mr. Food have an egg-cellent recipe. There are so many ways to prepare deviled eggs. In addition to this traditional recipe, this year I’ll also be making some with hummus and some with guacamole.

Ambrosia – Ambrosia literally means “food of the gods.” But if you ask me, it means “South in Your Mouth.” This traditionally southern food can be found at Easter dinner, picnics, barbeques, and bridal showers. Like so many of our southern recipes, this one varies from table to table. Here is a great version at The Country Cook that is simply lovely.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake – Don’t be fooled. The ambrosia was not considered your dessert. But a pineapple upside-down cake is! One of our family favorites and requested almost as much as banana pudding, here is a recipe from Southern Living that you can pass down to generations.

Sweet Tea and Lemonade – Don’t forget to quench your thirst with these two southern staples. Return to Sundays Supper has a sweet (pun intended) recipe for lemonade that can’t be beat.

Most of these dishes can be prepared in advance. If you are attending a church service, plan ahead so that you can come home and enjoy a beautiful stress-free luncheon.

Hey Y’all, if you like this post and found it to be even the teensiest bit handy, would you please “pin” it? Please and thanks y’all.

XOXO,
Abby

P.S. If you are taking deviled eggs to a dinner at someone else’s house, you really must have a deviled egg plate. Those suckers are slippery and won’t be pretty when you arrive. I like this one:

Easter Mantle Ideas



 I’ve decorated our mantle for Easter. And, as always, I’ve used a mixture of new and old. That’s the best way, don’t you think? If everything was vintage or antique, we’d be missing out on some of the great new decorative items out there. And I love shopping way too much to do that. 😉


I like how effortless it looks. A lot of it was pulled from “shopping” in other rooms in the house. The only things that are always on the mantle are the antique mirror and the clock, everything else was borrowed from other places in the house.



Here you can see how I combined new and old.
What’s “old?” The Fire King hobnail milk glass vase, the Brush-McCoy robin’s egg blue egg & dart dish, the picture of my great-grandparents.
What’s “new?” The garland, the eggs, the rabbit plaque, and the picture frame.



Sometimes when I am putting together a vignette or mantle, I simply walk around the house looking for certain colors. These old books were the perfect spring time color for the mantle.

Here are some other mantles that I found on Pinterest. I think they’re lovely, don’t you?

This one is from marthastewart.com. I like that it uses different shades of just pink and blue. 

This one is from Tattered & Inked. I love the mix of natural wood and burlap with the bright colors of the eggs.


Here is another one from Emerald Interior Design. It’s fresh, simple, not too busy, and it will definitely carry past Easter and through Spring.



Finally, this was was too bright and cheerful to leave out. It’s from Positively Splendid, and it is. Positively Splendid.



I hope you’ve been inspired to create a beautiful Easter mantle of your own. I found all of these lovely ideas on Pinterest. Join me there!

XOXO,
Abby








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