...And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good...
-Genesis 1:11-12

Monday, March 18, 2013

Special holiday post! Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs!

I thought it would really fun to do a special post for easter/ressurection day about  naturally dyed easter eggs! Since discovering my little brother's extreme intolerance to artificial colorants (food coloring), and further discovering that this intolerance was still severe even when absorbed through the skin, we kind of gave up coloring eggs for easter. Last year though we decided to try something different and we did naturally dyed easter eggs! The process was a bit different than setting out mugs of vinegar and water and plopping a colorful disc into the mugs and then dipping the eggs for instant gratification. This process takes quite a bit longer, as the natural dyes need time to seep into the egg's shell, but I garantee it's worth it. They are so amazingly beautiful and it's wonderful to see how the colors change as they dry and age a little.
Now, I didn't plan to write this blog post, and we came down with a cold on easter day last year so I was a little distracted and I can't remember for the life of me all the different things I used, but I know for sure I did frozen maine blueberries for the deep blue, and that was the dye that the eggs took the most. I also used juice from a jar of pickled beets as well as boiling down the actual pickled beets a little too. For the brown I can't remember if I did tea or spinach. Perhaps both? I seem to remember boiling lavender so I may have used that too. When I do these again I will definitely update with my choice for dyestuffs this year, but as I'd like to have this up before easter I'm going to go ahead and post now even if it's not perfect! The best way is just to dedicate a day to making natural dyes and figure it out for yourself (and write down what your favorites are, so you won't have to guess again next time like me!) This year I know I really want to try something for yellow eggs. Preferably tumeric!

I gathered inspiration for colors from these two articles,http://twomenandalittlefarm.blogspot.com/2011/04/dyeing-easter-eggs-natural-way.html  http://www.marthastewart.com/267850/dyeing-eggs-naturally
and used the recipe from Better Basics for the Home for the ratios of plantstuff to water to make the dye, and then added a spoon of vinegar to the dyes after they cooled. The first link has a great chart of what dyestuff makes what color.

We set out the boiled eggs and some white crayons to make designs and then got out the dyes for the intial dipping. We dipped and marveled at the amazing earthy colors, we double dipped some and then decided which ones we wanted to use and left them to soak. The lighter colors only sat for a half an hour to a few hours but the rich vivid ones (like the deep blue) sat over night.  One thing that I didn't do was wash the eggs before hand, which you can see meant that the dye did not "take" in some places, but personally I loved the effect this had.

the waxy crayon keeps the dye from taking,
we always enjoy making a few like these

these are the ones that sat over night

Fully dried and weather-beaten from being hunted 
Plant-Based Juice Dye
1/4-1/2 cup plantstuffs
2 cups water

I believe I cut the water in half for smaller batches of dye and used 1/4 cup of plantstuff

Boil until it reaches a nice rich shade, and strain into a container that will fit an egg. Cool and add vinegar (it doesn't really matter when you add it, you can add it when it's hot too. I just forgot about it until it had already cooled)

Place cooled hard-boiled into dye and leave for however long you wish. The longer they soak the more           vibrant the color. Make sure to check often and be amazed ;) Also if you don't want rotten eggs on your hands - let them steep in the refrigerator! Also, try moving eggs from one color to another every so often, this results in surprising results. Once you are satisfied with the color remove the eggs from the dye and if you like pat dry with a paper towel or let them air dry (try both as each choice will lend a different result. Air drying will lend a more drippy design with color concentrated around the base of the egg, and patting dry may remove some of the vibrancy)

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