The first time I travelled abroad was as a sixteen year old on a student exchange to Germany. I arrived the night before Easter Saturday and when I woke up the next morning, my hosts had left a little surprise in my room for me: an Osternest (easter nest, a presentation basket of easter chocolate). When I got up and went downstairs, I was served a traditional homemade chocolate cake for breakfast. Obviously anything that involves being given chocolate is a joyful experience, but given that this was my first experience of another country, those are some very special memories.
Perhaps that's the reason why, when I travelled after that, I often picked up easter trinkets as souvenirs.
I have a few wooden eggs that I bought in Prague - the smaller white/blue and burgundy ones as well as the brown, navy, and pale blue ones that have colourful flowers hand-painted onto them.
But most are real hollowed-out egg shells that I bought in Budapest. Some of those have patterns painted onto them, like the larger blue and white egg.
Others - the purple, yellow, and red - are coloured all over with the pattern either etched into the surface or created with a resist.
And one of the real egg shells even has holes punched in it as part of the decoration!
That anyone has the patience to hand-decorate something as fragile as an egg shell mesmerises me.
When I was in Prague, I also picked up a couple of these cute little ceramic birds that I think fit very well with the springtime theme. And, well, you know my penchant for birds!
The thing is, I've had these for years, but never did anything with them. They were just wrapped in the tissue paper they came in and kept in a little box. Every so often - always at the wrong time of year - I would rediscover them and promise that next year I would make a feature of them. Finally this year, it happened.
I bought this White Decorative Twig Display Tree on ebay and I love it! It's an impressive 76cm tall and has wired rubber branches that look like real twigs that have been painted white. But even better, the wires in the branches allow them to be arranged however you like and the rubber twigs won't snap and break like real wood. There is a sturdy pin in the heavy wooden base that slots up inside the centre of the main stem to hold it upright. Not only will it provide a means of displaying my egg collection in springtime, but I can see so many other uses for it throughout the year and I look forward to coming up with creative ideas for it.
For now, it sits in the middle of our dining table, where it makes me smile every time I walk in the room. Seriously, it does! Hubby thinks it's hilarious and likes to watch me walk into the room so he can see my reaction when I look at it.
I picked up the little shabby-chic white ceramic bunny in TK Maxx in Galway a few weeks ago and he's become another favourite - so much that he might even find a permanent home somewhere in the house that extends beyond the easter season.