Thursday, March 29, 2018

Naturally Beautiful Easter Eggs

How many fondly remember the magic of dying Easter eggs as a child? Simply dropping a store-bought pellet into a glass of water and vinegar produced vivid colorful concoctions in mere minutes. While admittedly quick and convenient, I thought I'd go with natural hues this year and dye my eggs with recipes using vibrant veggies, spices and fruits. 
A few attempts in the past have garnered murky lackluster results but after some more research I felt confident to give it another go and share the results, for better or worse. 
A trend for many years now, recipes for natural dyes are all over the internet and while they involve more intensive dying time, the formulas are fun and easy to whip up with many ingredients you may have on hand.
I started with a limited palette of blue, pink and yellow from recipes I discovered on the delightful sites Live Well Travel Often and thekitchn which used used beets, red cabbage and turmeric. I tweaked the pink formula by substituting a can of sliced beets for fresh. 
Most of the formulas I discovered simply involved boiling water, salt and the colorful natural ingredient of your choice, pouring the dye into large containers to cool, adding vinegar, and popping in the hard boiled eggs to soak in the refrigerator. Various sites recommend dying times of several hours to overnight for different results- (I dyed mine in the morning and let set in fridge for about eight hours) 
The dye colors were surprising vibrant 

The results are in and the winner is Turmeric with a bright vivid yellow and smooth finish! The cabbage yielded a lovely speckled blue and sadly the beets a drab khaki brown- (maybe I should have used a fresh beet instead of canned after all)
My eggs did seem to scratch easily while still wet, so next time I'll handle with more care and clean surface gently prior to dying.

On a few eggs, I tried a resist technique with letter stickers for a monogram and wax crayon swirl to add some flare. Several of these didn't turn out as the stickers floated off in the long dying process but I was pleased with this blue version with my husband's initials.
Either way, my "helper" Bijou was fascinated!
Bright Blue-red cabbage and Sunny Yellow- Turmeric
Since the blue and yellow hues were the most vibrant I thought I'd use them as my models and set them among some sunny yellow flowers in blue and white pots.

The conclusion: This activity was lots of fun and a nice way to get creative in the kitchen- next time I would love to experiment with some new and different ingredients - (cherries, berries and bright herbal teas come to mind)

Vintage image from the Graphics Fairy

Egg Fun Facts 
   Egyptians and Persians are among the people of many ancient cultures who decorated eggs in vibrant colors to symbolize Spring's season of rebirth

Early Christians dyed eggs red- often using onion skins - to represent Christ's blood

In medieval Europe pretzels with two hard boiled eggs were hidden for children to find on Easter, an event much like modern egg hunts today

The first Faberge Egg was created in 1885 for Tsar Alexander the third for his wife and opened to reveal an enameled yellow yolk, golden hen and small diamond and ruby crown

The world's largest chocolate egg measures eight feet tall and weighs 176 pounds. The sweet treat boasts pink and yellow polka dots and has a whopping 436,000 calories. It was created at the Fairmount Hotel in Dubai

for more eggstraodinary Easter facts visit the fun site theholidayspot

Wishing everyone all the Joys of Spring!
For links to more Easter recipes and crafts hop over to Easter at Pennywise

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

St. Patrick's Day: Whimsical Wee Folk

No matter one's heritage, the seventeenth of March is always a day to celebrate all things Irish. Whether whipping up authentic recipes from the Emerald Isle, imbibing in a hearty Guinness or adopting the wearing of the green, embracing a touch of Ireland, however small, on St. Patrick's Day is a fun way to brighten those wintry grey (at least here on the East Coast) not-quite-Spring days. 
Maybe it's the mystical magic of the Irish landscape, or its rich storytelling tradition, but few cultures share such an enchanting passion for whimsy and folklore, fairies and fantasy. This year I thought I'd create some Wee Folk of my own to join me in celebrating their homeland and add a little luck of the Irish to my day.

I can always count on The Graphics fairy for delightful vintage images to use in my projects and her collection of Irish images did not disappoint. While leprechauns are the norm, I chose some cheerful ladies in green along with the little seated gent.

Simply print out image and use as is or if desired embellish with your favorite craft or scrapbooking supplies you might have on hand.
after their makeover- I opted for gold and green puffy paint, stick on jewels and a dose of some glittery sparkle
I attached these Wee Folk to foam board for support. Impossible to cut neatly, I glued on a rough shape smaller than the image, adding a triangular prop. Not pretty but this works just fine to hold up these lightweight figures and remains unseen in the back.
Then simply set among your decor,
or add some Irish magic to teatime.....
with classic soda bread of course

or make a mini scene: One lass plays shepherdess under a cloche with some tiny white lambs
 (a wooly staple of the irish landscape) 

Short on time?- The original images feature charming sayings and backgrounds and can be printed out for quick cards, labels for baked treats, or festive decor. Find these and more on The graphics fairy

 You might recognize the same little gentleman in our Lucky Leprechaun Shoe craft from our past St. Patrick's post

Ireland, it's the one place on earth
That heaven has kissed
With melody, mirth,
And meadow and mist.
                                                         Irish Saying 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!