Apr 11, 2010

Panorama Sugar Eggs

(Park Hill) Ah, The magic of eggs. As we all know, one can bake, scramble, boil, blend, whip, and much more with the ubiquitous egg. But, take just the egg white alone, mix with sugar, and mold it and you have recreated a long-time tradition of the season; the panorama sugar egg.

The hollow sugar egg, a vestige of Victorian Easter traditions, had a peephole at one end and decorated with springtime frosting flowers. Inside was a miniature, idyllic and elaborate scene of frolicking rabbits, mini colored eggs, ducks and maybe a tiny lamb. These eggs were once quite common in the aisles dime stores and drug stores. The details of the diminutive scenes made one want to climb right inside and become a part of this cute sugary world.

Sugar eggs today aren’t quite what they use to be. The ones sold through bakeries and online require that they have all edible parts, which includes what is inside and that isn’t very impressive either. Not that one would eat them anyway. These panorama eggs can last decades if stored properly and be taken out and cherished each season.

My mother made sugar eggs. She would clip tiny figures from old greeting cards, find miniature animals sold in a cake store and collect anything that might make a great spring time scene inside. I continue the tradition of the sugar eggs, using my mother’s 40-year-old molds. My search for tiny figures for my eggs seems to get harder and harder each year as everything gets bigger and bigger in our world.

The mixture of sugar and egg white creates a concoction almost like sand at the beach only white. Once pushed into two halves of the mold, the peephole is sliced and the sugar is scooped out of the middle. Royal icing, also using egg whites, is the glue that holds all the pieces together. (edible but not very tasty). The best sugar eggs take perspective into consideration by creating layers of items and details giving the impression for the viewer of a panoramic snapshot in time. The top shell gets attached to the bottom scene shell using more royal icing. The whole egg is then decorated using springtime colors, royal icing and cake decorating skills. The light penetrates the sugar egg and illuminates the figures inside. Scooping out the egg is a delicate balance: You want them diaphanous but hardy at the same time.

As panorama egg making season arrives, so does a thin layer of fine sugar on my kitchen floor. The search for greeting cards to use for the egg’s inner stage begins and a 25-pound bag of sugar is gone instantly. The magic of the egg is just the beginning, it not only helps to create a special tradition, but a tiny world that we all remember wanting to be within.

Apr 2, 2010

Illustration Friday "DIP"

I can laugh at myself. This one makes me giggle. My husband and I had been taking a stroll through Glenwood Springs one weekend and unbeknownst to me, snapped this picture of me ahead of the dip sign. Who exactly is the dip? This is a wonderful example of communication with few words. Not true-I will deny everything, but fun just the same!