Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter 2013

It was on Easter, two years ago, that I first started this blog. I am amazed, looking back, at the changes I've made in that time in my life, both personally and creatively. I have continued to try to make more, buy less, and cultivate the creative spirit of my family life, and this blog has helped me stay true to that pledge to myself. I've also had the amazing fate and fortune to find myself living some sort of crazy city girl's dream; of settling into life on the farm here in beautiful England, and raising my boys among our growing menagerie of farm animals. All of which means that this year I colored my Easter eggs without the help of Craypas, and with eggs laid by my very own chickens. Right off the bat I must credit Megan Anderson of radmegan for the inspiring post she did for Easter last year on natural egg dyes. I used several of her recipes, and experimented with a few colorants of my own.

First a word about the eggs: our hens are Light Sussex and while they're beautiful birds (see two photos up), their eggs are kind of meh. In the box above, the tan colored ones are from our chickens. But just for some variety I also tried some Old Cotswold Legbar eggs (readily available in the supermarkets around here), which have a slightly blue tint to them. 
In addition to the red cabbage leaves, yellow and red onion skins, tumeric and beet dyes that Megan suggests, I tried a moss bath, hoping for a lovely green egg. Henry is the one who suggested this to me, swearing that Scottish wool dyers used urine soaked moss to get their best green tweeds. I couldn't quite bring myself to get a sample from anyone, and lo and behold my moss dye failed completely. Then I googled "moss dye urine", only to discover that Henry was totally right. (Never doubt an anthropologist whose uncle lives on a sheep farm in Scotland.) Look for a future post on green textile dye baths.
Above is a tumeric dyed egg, below it is one dyed in both tumeric and paprika. The blue came from red cabbage leaves, the brown from (I think) yellow onion skins.
I can't remember the dye I used for this amazing speckled creation, which makes me think of a dinosaur egg. It was my hands down favorite. I think its from a combination of Nigella seeds, tea bags and onion skins.
This chalky looking egg was dyed in a bath of blackcurrant tea. All eggs were dyed for about twenty four hours.
I also made the boys some new easter baskets this year, using the pattern I already had from designsmayamade on Etsy. The pattern is for four different sized baskets, I used the medium one here.
We had Easter lunch with Henry's brother and his wife and their kids, and broke from tradition by roasting a leg of venison. Henry shot this deer himself a couple of weeks ago, and we've been eating a lot of it lately, buying less and less meat from the grocery store. We're so lucky that we have easy access to local meat that's raised by people we know, or in this case, wild game.
Obviously, we couldn't have lamb for easter lunch. But we did take them on a walk.

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