Friday, April 18, 2014

Project: Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs


Unlike Pat, I've went out of my way to make sure that I get to dye eggs every year. If that meant boiling eggs at 2am after a long night of studying or working, I still made sure it would happen. There are so many different ways to do it--and they all have varying degrees of difficulty and success. As a kid, I remember an intense apparatus that suspended the eggs so you could draw on them with water based markers and a very disappointing glitter kit that that produced sloppy, inedible eggs. (Do NOT think for a second that I'm anti-glitter. There's nothing further from the truth.)

Throughout this year, we've been experimenting with very folk-sy sorts of projects; cinnamon dough ornaments, sourdough bread, and beer (very shortly). I wanted to keep that rustic vibe alive by experimenting with naturally dyed eggs.

I used the Martha Stewart source as a primary resource, and expanded that knowledge with ideas from other blogs and trial-and-error. Some things went well, some did not. I've included a cross section of all of the methods we tried so you would be able to anticipate (or avoid) similar results.

I always use the Martha method, and it produces perfect eggs every time. I intend on eating a large majority of them, so they have to look palatable. Essentially, the eggs go into a pot of water with a little vinegar (the vinegar will help prepare the eggs for the dye). You bring the pot to a full (not rolling) boil and place the lid on top. Remove it from the heat and leave sit for 12 minutes. Move eggs into an ice bath, and you'll have perfect yellow yolks under those colorful shells.

Blue was the easiest and prettiest color that we achieved. I shredded an entire head of red cabbage into a stock pot and covered it with roughly 8 cups of water and brought it to boil. I'm pretty sure I walked away after turning down the heat and forgot about it for at least half an hour. The darker the water, the better! your eggs will be a few shades lighter that the dye. (You can test the color by putting a few drops on a white plate.) Once the dye is ready, pop in your eggs! 15 minutes seemed like enough time to produce an amazing light blue!

Another easy dye bath to prepare! Chop up around 3-4 beets. I didn't peel them or anything extreme. Just toss them in a pot with enough water to cover all of them. Cook them for the same amount of time, and put the eggs in once it cools a little. Again, 15 minutes should be efficient.

Turmeric and water! You don't even have to cook it! Just make sure it is mixed well. Unfortunately, these eggs took quite a while. Leave them in the dye bath for at least 30 minutes. When the come out, the ground turmeric is going to have settled on the eggs. Wipe it off lightly.

Green didn't go as well as the other colors. After waiting the full 30 minutes for the yellow dye to set, the eggs was supposed to be placed in the blue for 5 seconds. 5 minutes was barely enough. Nothing in any directions said to let the eggs dry between baths, but i now find that suspect. If you look at the photo on the bottom you'll see that there were spots where the dyes did not work well together.

You don't see any in the picture, do you? This was our least successful color. This was supposed to be achieved by placing a pink egg into the blue dye for 5 seconds. NOPE. We ended up with a handful of pink eggs with blue spots. It's okay if you know that going in--which you do now--but initially it was a little disappointing.

Different sites suggest different mordants, but we found that vinegar in each stage was more than enough. Finished eggs will look very matte--almost dusty--but, they can be polished with a paper towel and a little olive oil to make them look fresher and more photogenic.


I'm so glad that I was able to share one of my own personal traditions with Pat, and I can't wait to build on it and share it with our family in the future.


Project: Paint "Dipped" Easter Basket Planter


On a recent thrifting adventure, Robbie and I found a basket that reminded us both that Easter was soon. It has been years since I've dyed an egg or received an Easter basket, so I thought it would be fun to do an Easter craft. After seeing a paint dipped tote online, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try this craft.


I originally loved the idea of dipping the basket in a container of paint, but the amount of paint necessary to do this was anything but economical. The two of us went to hardware store, so we would have plenty of options when it came to the color of paint. We decided on a light lilac color that we thought would provide the perfect contrast against the dark brown of the basket.


Taping and painting took a lot of patience. The spiral of the basket made it difficult to keep the tape in a straight line, but Robbie came up with the idea of using his finger to make sure the tape was at the same height all the way around. If I had to do it again I would have used a brush with bristles, rather than a sponge. Bristles will make painting every part of the basket much easier. Once the basket was painted and had dried, we used coconut hair to line the basket. After placing the hyacinth and pansies in, we filled the gaps with potting soil. For a final touch we topped the soil with moss that we used to line our terrarium.


We used our basket to hold our naturally dyed Easter eggs, tips for which will be in our next post!


Friday, April 4, 2014

Cocktail: Mexican Sage Fizz

Our most recent mission has been to begin building a bar by choosing a new liqueur or liquor each week. This week we decided to get a bottle of reposado tequila. It has a distinct barrel aged flavor sets it apart from its more popular silver counterpart.

The first cocktail that I chose to create with our new acquisition was inspired by a recent trip to a local Italian restaurant. Robbie's cocktail contained muddled sage--which is easily his favorite herb. Herbal cocktails are some of our favorites, but most are flavored with mint or basil. Neither of us are frequent tequila drinkers but the combination of sage and tequila was perfect! Our success with his cocktail has me excited for our future tequila based cocktails! DSC_0764DSC_0766
Mexican Sage Fizz

1 lemon wheel
5 sage leaves
1.5 oz lemon sour
1.5 oz reposado tequila (we used Milagro)
Soda water

Muddle the lemon and sage in the lemon sour. Be rough; the sage should be thoroughly muddled to release its flavor. Add ice and tequila, and shake. Strain over fresh ice into a tumbler and top with soda water. DSC_0771DSC_0753
Sweet potato-mushroom tacos from The Kinfolk Table went perfectly with this drink, but any earthy novelty taco will do. :)