Tuesday, April 06, 2021

(nearly) A Week into April


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. 

Things I'm looking forward to this week:

* reading this latest issue of Country Living UK

* sowing more seeds indoors - Swiss Chard, various flowers

* spreading some compost from the bins onto the beds

* going for walks with friends and family

What are you looking forward to this week? 


Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

I loved your post, Lorrie. Loved hearing all about your dying experiments. I basically figured out which egg was dyed with which product from your lovely photo. Your eggs turned out beautifully, even if they didn't quite turn out as you'd hoped.

So glad you got to visit with your family over Easter. It's so good for the hearts! We were alone still, but the pair of us enjoyed our quiet celebration.

The sun is shining and it feels like spring today. At last! I hope it is a sign of warmer days straight ahead. I'm looking forward to shedding my winter jacket.

Wishing you a beautiful Tuesday.
Brenda xo

Marilyn Miller said...

I also loved reading about your Easter gathering, plus the natural dyed eggs. In the past I have dyed eggs with different teas and the natural colors are so beautiful all together in a bowl. I think next year I need to do this.
Our Easter gathering was similar and so thankful it didn't rain. There were 8 of us socially distanced in our pods at 4 tables in the yard. How wonderful it felt to gather together, as I am sure it was wonderful for you also.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How wonderful to have time with your family and the little ones grow up so fast! Love your ideas for dyeing! I'm looking forward to feeling better this week and going for hikes. We hiked today and felt almost back to normal. We had our second shot of vaccine and it made us feel bad for a couple of days. It was great to get out in the sunshine today! Hugs!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

The egg soft soft colors are lovely. Why the crystals on the grape dyed eggs is interesting. I saw a cooking show about using grapes for making sourdough bread, yeast thing. Might be at work on the eggs.

Beside a babbling brook... said...

Ohhh, your natural eggs are beautiful....

And so is your little Grand Daughter.

You figured out the Hunt, perfectly. -smile-

Delightful that you shared Easter with family.

What a lovely and delightful post, this is!


Marie Smith said...

Onion skins give yellow dye, even red onion skins.

Your Easter sounds great! Great idea to use school lunch snacks in the hunt.

We are going bicycling again. Yay!

ellen b. said...

Iris is such a cutie. Look at those natural curls. That's fun when the older grands can understand leaving some treats for the younger ones. Glad the weather cooperated for a nice gathering for you all. We are heading to the coast to see our coast kids and some friends and do some shopping. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Granny Marigold said...

Your experiment dying eggs resulted in some pretty ones. Your Easter egg hunt must have been loads of fun for all the grands including Iris. She looks so enthralled with her 'find' in the photo. So nice that we had pleasant weather.

Cheryl said...

I love your eggs colored with natural dyes. They came out so pretty! I have used natural dyes a few times. Onion skins produced a yellow, and red cabbage leaves dyed eggs a vivid blue. It has been a few years since I have dyed eggs, but your lovely eggs inspire me to do it again.

I am glad that you were able to gather with your family this Easter. It looks like you had a beautiful day. How sweet that the older children left the treats that were designated for little Iris! It is a precious thing to see older children tender towards the younger ones.

mamasmercantile said...

I like you have been interested in natural dyes and have had a look at what was used to dye tweed. There are several flowers and lichens on the moor and seaweed was a particular favourite. I have a fleece that I am going to experiment with once the weather improves. Love the eggs Lorrie.

Rosemary said...

This is such a lovely post - thank you it made me feel happy and that all is well.

Elizabethd said...

I did enjoy reading this, Lorrie. Your eggs look as though they should be on the front of Country Living, they are so beautiful.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Those eggs turned out so pretty. Your Easter sounded wonderful. I have a little touch up painting in our home and hopefully getting the tile floor in the kitchen repaired.

Gina said...

Dear Lorrie,
Your Easter eggs are beautiful. I love their delicate colors. My Mother used to use onion skins and beets to color eggs.

Ruth Hiebert said...

The dyed eggs are beautiful. I’m glad you were able to celebrate Easter with your family.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Lorrie, your eggs are lovely, especially the blue. It is such a pretty shade. I am a weaver, and once died much of my own yarn. I used onion skins for gold and baptisia pods for indigo blue. I enjoyed it - but it was work.
So happy you and your family could be together for Easter. Hope you are seeing pretty spring weather.

Happy@Home said...

Your eggs turned out so nice. I have always loved the look of eggs dyed with natural ingredients. I would have never guessed avocado pits could be used and produce a peach colored finished product.
Your Easter egg hunt was well thought out and looks like a fun time was had by all.

I never thought I'd be looking forward to a shot, but tomorrow will be my 2nd vaccine and I am looking forward to having that done. Perhaps I shall reward myself afterward :).

Martha said...

Your eggs turned out beautifully! So happy you were able to have a nice Easter celebrating with family. :)

Angie said...

Lorrie - kudos to you for working with natural dyes - I would not have the patience for that! How wonderful to have an Easter gathering with your family. Even though our son is 22, we still hid eggs for him around the house!!! Tomorrow all three of us go for our first COVID shot - so happy about that! And yes, I love the smell of tomatoes!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

I love the colors you've achieved from plants. I've also been experimenting with soaking various plant material for dyes after watching a video about it a couple of weeks back. It's good to return to this natural way of doing things. Glad you were able to enjoy a nice weekend of good weather and family time. Easter egg hunts in my Mammaw's backyard as a child, with all the cousins, family, big buffet lunch, are some of my favorite memories. I didn't plants tomatoes this year but did have a volunteer plant that grew. I got four tomatoes from it that I fed to Tofu to the tortoise. :) He loves tomatoes. I used to love buying the UK magazines here because they were much cheaper than the American ones. Can't even get magazines these days. Censorship made it to difficult for bookshops to have them so they just finally stopped bringing the all together. Disappointing for sure. Take care.

Anneliese said...

Those Easter eggs are so pretty! I never would have guessed that you cas use the avocado pit for dyeing. And pink, of all colors! Family times, especially making these traditional memories are so special. Our yougest (4-year-old) wanted to know if we would be hiding in our yard this year. Remembering that last year we went and hid treats in each of our kids' yards.

Margie said...

Your naturally dyed eggs turned out great! I didn't know that avocado pits could be used for colouring. I saw a tea blogger used different teas to dye eggs: https://theteacupoflife.com/2017/04/diy-tea-dyed-easter-eggs.html

I'm loving Iris' vibrant purple sweater...wonder if they make it in adult sizes? LOL

Decor To Adore said...

Hello dear Lorrie! I am catching up with you on an overcast morning tea in hand. I always so enjoy your gorgeous spring photography. Little Iris is such a doll. Enjoy these glorious days!

Anonymous said...

The eggs seem to be the stars of this post! It brought to mind my Grandmother who diligently collected brown onion skins and I remember her coloring the eggs in the cooked onion skins! I also remember hearing that some of her generation used the same as hair coloring for a kind of 'henna' look!!
I have so enjoyed your archives during this time since first bookmarking 'Fabric Paper Thread' ... such lovely photos of your corner of this continent. Thank you for your diligence and time well spent - God bless!
Betsy J in PA

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