Betty Reed loves crafting and making something beautiful out of what some people might consider scraps. Reed turns ordinary eggs into works of art. Her lifelong hobby has turned into a passion.
“It is a labor of love,” said Reed. “And, I do mean labor goes into doing this. But, I love doing it.”
Reed takes an egg and hollows it out by cutting a hole with manicure scissors. Then, she lets it dry on the inside. She coats the inside with glue three to five times. She then does the same to the outside of the egg, which makes it easy to maneuver.
Tiny holes are usually punched in the top for a wire ornament hanger which makes the creations easier to display. She normally uses ordinary chicken eggs, but has used larger duck and emu eggs. She has also decorated tiny hen eggs.
Reed said she accidentally lucked into the craft which has brought her and others so much joy.
“I was working at CHEER Mental Health helping with crafts out there,” said Reed. “One lady’s mother lived in Florida. Her mother brought a carton with one or two eggs in it one day. She very hurriedly told us how to decorate the eggs. I started with those eggs. That was back in 1971 or ’72. I kind of taught myself. I learned a lot just by doing it. I say it takes guesswork. I guess I can do this and I guess I can do that. I use items like broken jewelry, fabric, trim used to trim dresses, upholstery trim and tiny gold thread. I learned to decoupage flowers onto the egg shells. After a very long time, I learned I could buy scenes at Walmart to put inside the eggs. They don’t carry those any longer. After I could no longer buy scenes, I started putting children’s pictures inside. Those work really well.”
“I have the first eggs I made for my two sons. One son cut out a little snow scene and made a path with a tractor in it. My other son said he didn’t want a tractor in his. He wanted Santa Claus holding a Bible. So, I had to figure out how to make Santa Claus holding a Bible. My sons are grown men now and they are grandfathers. But, I still have those eggs,” said Reed.
One fan of Reed’s artwork is Betty McCormack. The two women attended church together at Rolling Acre Brethren in Christ Church years ago.
“Betty would make eggs with a kid’s picture in it every year for everyone in the church. I started putting them on a small tree. Over the years, my family has grown to four kids who are now married. And, I have six grandchildren, one of whom is married. My little egg tree is now a six-foot tall tree,” said McCormack. “My youngest child was born in 1982 and I have an egg with his picture for every year since he was born.”
McCormack’s collection of Reed’s eggs has grown so large in the last 40 years that a six-foot tree permanently displays over 300 eggs she has acquired throughout the years. Eggs that show how her children and grandchildren have grown and multiplied fill the tree from top to bottom.
“Sometimes, she does more than one egg per person per year. She has done eggs with sports photos and marriage photos. I watch my kids grow on the tree. My grandkids love to come and see what their new egg looks like. No one has a tree like mine. Now, I leave my tree up all year long and I will leave it up until I’m gone. Betty has taught me how to make the eggs. I have made some but the majority of the time, I just help her,” said McCormack.
Reed’s love of crafting does not stop with decorating eggs. She is an avid quilter and has a quilt displayed in her home that depicts scenes from the Bible in needlepoint. Scenes include Daniel in the lion’s den, baby Moses in the bullrushes and baby Jesus in the manger. The top center of the quilt shows a cross with a Bible ... an empty cross.
“One of my friends wanted me to make her a quilt with Jesus on the cross. I wouldn’t do it. My Jesus did not stay on that cross. My Jesus rose again. I ended up quilting her a Jesus separately like a little pillow. He has Velcro on the back. That way, he doesn’t have to stay on the cross,” said Reed.
Another friend asked Reed to make her a smaller version of the Bible scenes quilt. “She said she wants the quilt folded on her casket when she passes away. That is so special,” said Reed.
Reed’s years of crafting and quilting have given many of her loved ones and friends hours and hours of joy.