Megan Smith’s pysanky eggs, the reader’s choice winner. (Allie Ghaman/The Washington Post)

When Megan Smith was in high school, she spent a month living with a host family in Ukraine. It was there that she first discovered pysanky, a Ukrainian craft that involves dying intricate wax patterns onto eggs. “I was captivated by them,” she said of the eggs. “They were just amazing.”

Upon her return to Philadelphia, she was introduced to a neighbor who was familiar with the craft and taught Smith. But it wasn’t until she was in graduate school at the University of Michigan that she really got hooked. “At that point, it became a method of stress relief,” she said. “Like craft therapy.”

Now 38 and a lawyer with the Education Department, Smith lives on Capitol Hill and enjoys doing pysanky in the winter. But it takes patience, she warned. Although simple eggs can be completed in an hour, intricate designs can take six or seven. The eggs are traditionally made for Easter, but Smith designed a holiday batch specifically for The Post’s Holiday Crafts Contest. It was these eggs readers chose as their favorite in online voting.

After entering, she sent an e-mail to her friends asking them to vote, and it circulated quickly. She received so many responses from people inquiring whether the ornaments were for sale that she decided to open an Etsy shop after the holidays.

“I told my friend that, due to popular demand, I was going to be selling my eggs. . . . And she gave me this strange look.” Smith said. “I finally realized what she must have been thinking. I said, ‘No, my Ukrainian eggs!’ ”


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