Happy Easter!

4 04 2010

More Easter crafts to share!  Having just discovered Google reader, I am inundated with Easter craft ideas daily, and BB is always up for a good craft.  The Crafty Crow was the inspiration behind all of these;  seriously, reading over that site will make you dizzy with ideas of things to try.

First up, growing grass in eggs… sounds a little strange but was so cute, and mixes dirt and growing things, so I thought this was one to try.  At Rosy~Posy, they used wheatgrass, which I would have known if I had read carefully, but unfortunately I am a little ADD and I just skimmed the pictures and went out and bought grass seed (I had wheat at home!  Note to self: read directions.)  I saved up some carefully cracked eggshells, BB filled them with dirt (that was the fun part), and I added the grass seed after reading that it was coated with fungicide (Note to self: read packages).  Here they are:

They need a haircut already!

Next up: yarn eggs.  Wow, this sounded easy but I don’t know why.  Click this link to Make Monthly to see their beautiful eggs, and the instructions to make them.  I had visions of decorating our house with these lovely eggs.  But, it turns out that string dipped in liquid starch is slippery, and BB just could not wrap it around the balloon.  I made one, and had to cut him off, because he was just making a mess of liquid starch everywhere.  Here’s mine:

Oh look, you can see the grass eggs growing!

True to my word, I did some more egg dyeing after the kids were asleep.  Let’s face it, eggs are fragile craft substrates.  BB broke a few in the process of dyeing, and those were hard-boiled!  And I wanted some I could set out on the table as decoration, so I blew out the remaining half-dozen and set about seeing if I could make not only red, yellow, and blue eggs, but also orange, green, and purple.  Just for fun, because, you know, I’m crazy like that and who really likes to sleep anyway?  I learned something that should have been self-evident.  Blown-out eggs float.  This makes them really hard to immerse in dye.  I was going to leave them overnight to get some darker colors, but I couldn’t get the darn things down in the dye, so I let them float, rotated them, and let them float some more.  The verdict?  I thought the plant-based dyes did a great job of producing the whole spectrum.  Interestingly, the float-and-turn method resulted in uneven colors, sort of overlapping stripes of darker and paler shades, that in the end I thought was even prettier than the solid color.  I took way too many pictures; I am way too excited about my rainbow of eggs. Here they are:

See the bands of color?

The orange and yellow didn't have that effect, but the red did.

Gratuitous egg shots!

I realized after the fact…what’s the point in dyeing blown-out eggs with natural dyes?  There’s nothing inside to worry about like with hard-boiled eggs!  D’oh!  Well, it was a really fun project and I’d just file it away as a proof-of-principle experiment (or should I say egg-speriment, mwahahaha!).  Plant based dyes are clearly all that and a bag of chips, but next year if I am doing blown out eggs I will save myself some time (and lots of beet salad and red cabbage coleslaw) and use food dyes like the rest of the world.  Happy Easter all!

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Easter Eggstravaganza

31 03 2010

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the bad pun!  In honor of Easter, we have been doing all kinds of egg-themed crafts.  First up, painted foil eggs, from Kids Craft Weekly.  This was great.  Just at BB’s level.  He loves to paint, and that’s really all this is.  I cut out the cardboard and covered it in foil, and he went to town painting the eggs.  Then, with a q-tip, we removed some of the paint so the foil would show through.  Easy and fun for a 2 1/2 year old, which proved not to be true of some other crafts we tried!

The artist at work!

Bonus: this is also a showcase of a quick sewing project… Remember the old flannel shirt I sadly sacrificed to be a smock?  Well, the sleeves were too long (duh) and it was dragging in the paint, so I did a little wardrobe refashion, made elastic-cuffed sleeves, removed a lot of fabric all around, and added snaps so it just snaps on.  So far it works a lot better than it did!

They were a collaborative effort.

Today we dyed eggs using natural dyes.  I found the instructions on Martha Stewart, so right away you know it’s going to be too much work.  But what the hey, we’re home all day!  So basically, you boil red cabbage to make blue dye (which looks purple, so confusing for a child), beets to make red dye, and turmeric to make yellow dye.  Now this was a LOT of fun.  Martha, I mock you, but you have the BEST crafts.  We did 6 eggs because that was all I could hard boil at once, but I can see myself making another batch tomorrow night after the kids go to sleep and just doing it myself.  I saved the dyes, so all the hard work and mess is done.  There is something insanely satisfying about extracting coloring from plants and then mixing it like an alchemist to get the perfect hue.  BB was just happy because he got to stir and things turned colors.  He’s easy to please!

Oooh, it's yellow!

After the first three, I decided to try wrapping one with a rubber band and over-dyeing it, but it didn’t turn out so well.  It’s interesting, I guess; it’s on the far left below:

So colorful! And not at all scary to eat!

You can change the depth of color by leaving the eggs in for different amounts of time, and like with all color mixing, you can get secondary shades by mixing the primary colors.  There are so many more egg-decorating techniques I would like to try (like all of these, especially the wax ones), but I think this year, just straight-up dyeing is as complicated as we will get.  The weather will be getting nicer for the rest of the week, so it’s time to start working in the garden, but we will have a few more Easter crafts to share!