Late last year, I got an email from an editor at Food Network Magazine asking me to decorate an Easter egg for the April issue. They were planning to feature an egg from each of the 50 states, and I was pleased as punch to be the chosen Missouri crafter (and a little surprised, considering my, er, colorful language).
Obviously, I was super into it from the get-go, but to be honest, the initial concept was a bit of a challenge. I had a hard time coming up with something that screamed “Missouri!” that wasn’t super city specific. Yes, everyone knows Kansas City barbecue, the St. Louis Arch, and Branson’s flashy everything. But other than weird weather, rivers (boring!), and I-70 (the most boring), there’s not a ton that ties the whole state together. I was seriously about to go with some tired-ass riverboat theme, but then I remembered that Missouri is the goddamn Cave State (seriously, my state is home to more than 6,000 caves) and I love making dioramas, so I pitched the idea of hollowing out an egg to make it into a tiny little baby cave. It took a little work to convince them to let me go this route (especially since I’d never actually made a diorama inside of an egg shell before). And yes, I broke more than a few eggs in the process. But I eventually figured out how to cut into and reinforce the shell, and somehow even managed to overnight my delicate little diorama to the Hearst offices in New York without a ding.
I encourage you to pick up a copy, because while mine may be the weirdest, there are some straight up works of art in there. And should you want to make a diorama egg yourself, it it’s actually pretty easy, as long as you’re not in a hurry — because it’s mostly a whole lot of sitting around waiting for paint to dry. Oh, and you’re going to break a lot of eggs at first, so you should probably just be prepared to make a frittata or something.
Now, before I get to the tutorial, my vanity (including my futile attempts to appear like one of those Instagram moms with long, pale fingers) has compelled me to point out that:
- These step-by-step pictures were taken immediately following my smash cake Blogiversary photo session. I only mention this because while, yes, I have kind of reddish fat fingers anyway, sugar causes me some issues with inflammation including puffy fingers.
- As of this exact moment, I’m now using all my fancy serums and creams on my hands, because damn.
- Since I just talked about my inflammation, it’s probably time to accept that my hands probably aren’t getting any younger. So somebody pass me the Metamucil already.
P.S. If you’re interested in decorating (much easier) Easter eggs with me and you live in or around Kansas City, join me at Boulevard Brewing Company on Wednesday, March 28 for the Easter egg edition of my Paper Crafts + Boozy Drafts event series.
How to Make a Diorama Egg
To make the base for a diorama egg, you’ll need:
- Eggs (I mean, you technically only need one, but you should definitely start with a full dozen)
- A pencil
- A thumbtack or X-Acto knife
- Cuticle clippers or small, very sharp scissors
- A small paintbrush
- Matte Finish Mod Podge
If you want to recreate The Cave Egg, you’ll also need:
- Green paint
- Black paint
- Some really strong glue that will probably give you cancer
- Tiny pieces of raw quartz or other crystals/rocks
- Fake moss
1. Draw a rough approximation of the area you’d like to cut. Apparently you need to do this with a very dull pencil. (Sober me totally would have insisted on a very sharp pencil for this picture, by the way. Drunk me clearly didn’t give a fuck.)
2. Firmly but carefully perforate the line (or the area fairly close to it) with a thumb tack or tip of the X-Acto knife. The X-Acto knife actually works much better, but you’re less likely to cut off the tip of your finger with the thumb tack so you should probably just go that route. Anyway, the perforation will keep the shell from cracking too much when you cut into it.
3. Starting at one of the perforation points, use cuticle clippers or very small, sharp scissors to make the first cut in the egg. Keep clipping — following the perforation with small, delicate cuts — until you’ve made it all the way around. And just to be honest: You’re probably going to screw up steps 2 and 3 a few times until you figure out the perfect pressure for perforation and clipping. But that’s okay and like I said, you can make a frittata, or even just salvage the whites for a delicious Rhubarb Whiskey Sour.
4. At this point, you’ll want to carefully rinse out the egg, and possibly kind of roll the inner membrane out with your fingertip if you feel it in there (if not, don’t worry about it). Then set the egg in a safe place to let it dry completely.
5. Once the egg is fully dry, inside and out, give the inside a coat of matte finish Mod Podge. Let that dry (at least to the touch, about 20 minutes minimum) then coat the outside as well. This reinforces the shell and the somewhat precarious opening you just created, making the whole thing less susceptible to cracking. The Mod Podge also acts like a primer, creating a nice base for paint. Once the Mod Podge is dry, you can turn your egg into any old tiny diorama your little heart desires. If you’re interested in recreating The Cave Egg, keep reading.
6. Now it’s time to paint the egg. I chose green for the outside and black for the inside (because cave). Like with the Mod Podge, you’ll want to let the paint dry on one part before moving onto the next. (See? I told you this was a whole lot of waiting.)
7. When the paint is completely dry, you can begin gently gluing your small stones inside the egg (I used E6000, which is a super-strong craft glue that’s probably going to turn me into a giant cancer). At first I’d planned to just put stones on the bottom, but then I remembered learning about stalactites and stalagmites in fourth or fifth grade, and decided I needed some quartz on top, too. I’m still debating whether or not this was a good idea — especially since my demo egg (not the one in the mag) looks kind of like the mouth of a monster badly in need of dental work. If you do decide to add some rocks hanging from the top, definitely make sure the ones on bottom are fully dry so you can let the top stones dry glue-side down (more waiting for shit to dry, I know).
8. Finally, glue some fake moss to the outside of your egg to make it all earthy and shit.
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you’ve just read the world’s most detailed tutorial for a craft you’ll probably never make. Still, I’m so glad you stopped by. And see what I mean about the monster mouth? Luckily, this was just my demo egg, and Food Network Magazine has the nicer one that looks much more like an actual cave.
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Holy shit, you guys! Festive AF is an entire year old today. I mean, if you want to get technical about it, I bought the URL (well, thatsfestiveasfuck.com) and reserved the Instagram handle years ago, but I made my first post exactly one year ago today.
I was bumming after the inauguration, and couldn’t quite get out of my funk. So I told my friend Monte, “I’ve been talking about doing this for years. I’m either going to do it this week and it’s going to be a thing, or I’m not going to do it and I’m going to give up on the idea.” So I put up a fucking post and made it a fucking thing. And I’m really glad I did! Is it exactly where I thought it would be now? Not even close. I was sure I’d have 10,000 Instagram followers and even be making some decent income from it at this point. I’ll blame all of that on Instagram’s stupid algorithm, and not my fabulous content (or the fact that I don’t post as often as I should since I now have a big-girl job — well, if you count being the world’s oldest social media manager as a big-girl job). But, hey! It definitely got me out of my funk, I’m hosting badass events, I get to spend more time than I should making crafts and cocktails, and I’m even making a liiiiittle bit of money.
To celebrate, I decided to do a little smash cake photo session. And, yes, I absolutely matched my cake to my lipstick and my champagne (well, brut rosé) to my shoes. So there.
Thank you so fucking much for following along, and for sticking around.
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Unlike people who actually make money on their blogs, I don’t have an editorial calendar, and I don’t really work ahead. In fact, last Thursday, I was just wandering around the grocery store, waiting for something to inspire my Friday cocktail. It turned out to be a two-pack of vanilla beans for 14 fucking dollars. I decided right then and there I’d make a vanilla Old Fashioned, since Vanilla is perfect with both orange and bourbon. And I figured now’s the time since winter is almost over. (I also thought it was a pretty unique idea — that is until I got home and googled it just not make sure. Nope. Not unique at all. Oh, well.)
Anyway, Friday turned into a long day of taking pictures for people who do pay me, and I saved my cocktail for last. I just couldn’t get a picture I liked. So, I said “fuck it” and posted a ridiculous shot to Instagram with a promise that the recipe would follow soon. I mean, since nobody is paying me I can skip a week whenever I damn well please, thank you very much.
But, I like to keep my promises, so here’s my recipe for a Vanilla Old Fashioned. The thing that sets mine apart from the variations I found online is Licor 43, a sweet Spanish liqueur with notes of citrus and vanilla. I first tried to make a pretty standard Old Fashioned and add a quarter teaspoon of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract, but that just wasn’t doing it for me. Then I remembered I had a bottle of Licor 43 on my bar. I bought it thinking I’d use it around the holidays but it never quite worked in anything I was making. Well, it fucking works for this. Get it.
Vanilla Old Fashioned
¼ ounce simple syrup
4 dashes orange bitters
2 ounces bourbon
¼ teaspoon good vanilla extract (not that cheap shit)
½ ounce Licor 43
Orange twist or vanilla bean, for garnish
Add the simple syrup, bitters, bourbon, vanilla extract, and Licor 43 to a mixing glass with a handful of ice. Stir and strain into an Old Fashioned glass. Add one large ice cube (or another handful of ice). Garnish with an orange twist or vanilla bean and enjoy!
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Get your hot glue guns ready (kidding, I’ll bring them) for my next craft event in Kansas City. Paper Crafts + Boozy Drafts (the hoppy, malty version of Crafts + Cocktails) is coming back to Boulevard Brewing Company‘s new Tours & Rec Center on Wednesday, March 28. And if you can’t tell from the picture, this time we’re dyeing and decorating Easter eggs! Once again, I’ll come up with a boozy beer cocktail you can enjoy while crafting.
Unlike last year’s Easter egg event (which was wonderful, and it was my very first event for this nasty little baby blog) Boulevard is going to take care of dyeing the eggs. Seriously you guys, the night before that last one was a total fucking shit show. And my house and car smelled like literal shit (well, sulfur, anyway) for days. I had to hard boil 420 eggs AT MY FUCKING HOUSE and then load them into the car the night before. And you know how many eggs you have to boil in bulk to get 420 that aren’t cracked? About 600. SIX HUNDRED FUCKING EGGS. Luckily, I got smart at the end and used my sous vide and behemoth stock pot, but holy fuck that was horrible.
Like last year, the tickets are a mere $25 — and include a half dozen hard-boiled eggs, all the sparkly washi tape and pastel poms your lovely little hands can handle, an egg-white beer cocktail (developed by yours truly, of course), and an additional beer. Want to dye more than six eggs? Bring ’em! We’ll have plenty of supplies.
Here are some eggs I made last year that you can totally copy and I won’t even get pissed.
If you’re in Kansas City, I really hope you’ll join me for this super fun Easter egg and cocktail event!
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Oh, hi. I can’t even believe it, but there are a few (a couple?) days left in February and I somehow managed to get your free printable March 2018 calendar done! And contrary to what you might expect from someone as festive as I, this calendar isn’t all shamrocks and leprechauns. In fact, you won’t find any of that shit on it (unless you include the little clover I put in the March 17 box). That’s because there’s more to the third month of the year than corned beef and green beer. But honestly, it’s mostly because I kind of hate St. Patrick’s Day. As I said in one of my very first posts on this here blog, it’s just a “holiday” Americans use as an excuse to get shit faced, barf in the street, and swap vom-flavored spit with horny dudes wearing “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirts. And you know I’m all for getting drunk and making out, but I prefer to do it in the comfort of my own home and avoid the vomit, crowds, and drunk drivers.
No, instead of all that fucking festivity, you get another vision of March: An array pretty little spring flowers in mustard and pink tones. And because I am fully aware of the fact that most personal printers are total shit (seriously, why has printer technology not improved since 1999?) and some people like to hoard their color ink (that shit’s expensive, I get it) I’ve made this one available in color and black and white. You’ll get both files with your “purchase.”
As always, the calendar is free and as you may or may not know by now, the only catch is that you need to “buy” the file from my store before you can download and print it. You don’t have to pay any money or give any credit card info or anything like that. Nope, you just have to plug your information into some little boxes. But I promise I won’t sell your email address, or stalk you, and if you create an account it makes it really easy to download it next time — as well as go back and re-download your previous purchases. Some people plug fake information into those boxes, and while it is slightly annoying, as long as you follow me on Instagram in return, I don’t really give a fuck. But if you do plug in firstname.lastname@example.org, you won’t get the email with your download links or my newsletter (you know — when I finally get my shit together enough to do it in, like, three years). So there.
And, really, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. Honor system. Don’t be a dick.