I am so glad that we had sunshine over the Easter weekend. We were able to gather together with our children and grandchildren and enjoy dinner together, and an egg hunt for the littles.
A new interest of mine is dyeing fabric with natural dyes. To that end I have a collection of avocado pits in my freezer, and I dried marigolds last summer. As of yet, I've actually dyed nothing. Then I saw some naturally dyed Easter eggs, and thought, "aha!" I had already boiled 7 eggs in preparation for dyeing with food colouring, but my thinking took a hard turn toward natural dyes. I boiled some of my dried marigolds in one pot, a few avocado pits in another, and some Concord grapes from the freezer in yet another pot. Finally, I took the grounds from my husband's pour over coffee and added them to some boiling water. After simmering the dyes, I strained them and poured them into deep bowls or cups (large mugs work well), and added a tablespoon of vinegar to each mixture. I picked some botanicals from the garden and placed them against the shells, then tied some muslin around them. Into the containers they went.
Unlike food colouring and commercial dyes, natural dyes take longer. Mine sat for most of the day - 8 hours, I would guess. What lovely soft colours. The botanical prints didn't turn out very well, but the wrapping gave some nice effects. Can you guess which botanical dye gave which colour?
The pale peachy pink came from the avocado pits, the coffee yielded pale brown (the egg right under the flower at the top), the marigold yielded the strong yellow, almost greenish, and the concord grape dye, which looked purple as can be, yielded the blue. When I took the grape dyed eggs from the water, I watched them turn from purple to blue with some greenish spots, all due to oxidation. They also had a thin film of fine crystals on them. Fascinating!
The egg hunt had to be organized a bit differently this year. While the older grands raced around looking in, under, and over, the 22 month old wasn't up to that. So we "hid" some treats in plain view on the block border and told the older grands they were for Iris. That worked well. Everyone was happy with their treats. Rather than all sweets, we hid granola bars, individual packages of cookies and crackers like Goldfish along with the chocolate eggs. They can take those things in their lunches to school.
We organized tables for the couples, each with chairs, all socially distanced. The children shared a little table. It was great to be together to celebrate this special day.
Tomato seedlings are sprouting in the dining room where I have a corner window and lots of light. They are much further along than the above photo shows, and I expect I'll be potting them up towards the end of the week when their true leaves fully form.
Several times each day I brush my hand gently over the seedlings as I read that that mimics breezes and strengthens the plant. The distinctive scent of tomato plants is already evident. I like the smell, do you?
I've been watching Charles Dowding's Youtube videos about starting seeds and gardening, along with a site called "The Middle-Sized Garden." There is so much wonderful information available to anyone.