Flower/Foliage Easter Eggs

Flower Easter Eggs

After our success with the Tie-Dyed Easter Eggs last year, Cait and I decided to make it a tradition, just like our Christmas baking, and do it again this year. Obviously, we would do something different  (the tricky thing about this blog is I can’t ever really do the same thing twice).

Flower Easter Eggs

So after looking at this post and this post on dyeing eggs with natural dyes and using plants to make impressions on them, I knew this was something we needed to try – FOR SCIENCE. However, with Indy now part of the family and requiring our 100% attention at all times to avoid him being eaten by Gren, I knew we didn’t have time to set up natural dyes for the eggs. We would do that next year.

Flower Easter Eggs

I had some Ukrainian style pysanky dye that I purchased when Cait and I had a different plan for science-y Easter eggs (maybe we’ll do that another year as well), so I figured we’d use that instead.

Flower Easter Eggs

So all you need for this is whatever dye you’re going to use, some rubber bands (again, leftover from the Tie-Dye incident), some cheap or old pantyhose (the Pie bought this for me at the Dollarama and said it was an odd experience), and some flowers or plants. The plants that work the best are really floppy ones that are thin and pliable.

Flower Easter Eggs

Use scissors to remove the legs from the pantyhose and cut them into small sections large enough to wrap around whatever eggs you’re using.

Flower Easter Eggs

You can either leave them as a tube or slice them open – I found it was easier to open them up.

Flower Easter Eggs

Although I left the toes as-is.

Flower Easter Eggs

Oh and you need eggs, did I mention that? We’re going to hard-boil them in advance. Don’t worry if your eggs have those pink date stamps on them — that dye will come off in the boiling process.

Flower Easter Eggs

Set all your eggs in a pot of water and bring it to a boil, then turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner and leave it with the lid on for about twenty minutes.

Flower Easter Eggs

Now you can work on your dye. Cait and I picked out four colours to use.

Flower Easter Eggs

I followed the instructions on the packet, using distilled water (leftover from our soap extravaganza) and vinegar to prepare my dyes.

Flower Easter Eggs

Then I had to let them cool. And just a warning, powdered dye gets everywhere, as I learned during my Tintex experiment.

Flower Easter Eggs

Then all you need to do is take a piece of flower or leaf and put it on your egg. This is some cilantro that I’m growing on the kitchen table.

Flower Easter Eggs

If you dip the leaf in water first before you smooth it on it will stick better. Cait and I also suspect that the thin layer of water between the leaf and the egg provides a bit of surface tension or something science-y that will serve as a barrier for the dye later on.

Flower Easter Eggs

Then all you need to do is wrap it tightly in a piece of the pantyhose.

Flower Easter Eggs

The tighter you wrap it the wider the spaces between the strands of nylon and the easier it will be for the dye to get through – also it will press the plant closer to the surface of the egg and be a better dye blocker.

Flower Easter Eggs

Secure the ends with a rubber band.

Flower Easter Eggs

We tried it with some bigger flowers.

Flower Easter Eggs

And some wee small flowers.

Flower Easter Eggs

And just the petals of other flowers.

Flower Easter Eggs

Flower Easter Eggs

Flower Easter Eggs

This is less easy than they make it look on the internet.

Flower Easter Eggs

Into the dye. Leave it for however long you are supposed to according to your dye.

Flower Easter Eggs

We hauled ours out after a while and gave them a rinse – we probably should have let them dry in situ but we were under a time constraint.

Flower Easter Eggs

As you can see the ones with the floppy thin plant materials worked the best. The one on top here is a few sprigs of tender rosemary and we were both quite pleased with how that turned out.

Flower Easter Eggs

All in all, though, this experiment could have gone better. Part of the issue is that we couldn’t really find any nice slender foliage as Ottawa is still covered in snow. This is definitely an activity better suited for a more southern climate.

Flower Easter Eggs

Tie-Dyed Eggs

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Cait and I decided to get up to shenanigans on Monday night and so this is what we did: we tie-dyed Easter eggs.  Not “tie” like TIEd into knots (though you do that), but “tie” as in, dyed using a neckTIE.  Yes. Neat, huh?

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So what you need to do is go through your tie collection or go to your local thrift store and pick up some silk ties (I used 8 ties).

Tie Dyed Eggs 1

There will be a tag on the skinny end of the tie that will tell you if it’s silk or not.  You can also do this with silk scarves, but I couldn’t find any at the thrift store that were 100% silk.

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Having done this project now, I’m going to tell you to look for ties that are made of printed or painted silk, like this:

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And to avoid jacquard-like woven silks, like these:

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I’ll show you why later on.

Tie Dyed Eggs 3

Then you will need to dismantle the ties, removing the satin lining and the foam or fabric insert.  Ties are not sewn in a particularly sturdy manner, so it won’t take you long.

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Tie Dyed Eggs 7

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Now you need some eggs.  We used 2 dozen white eggs.  You don’t have to use white ones, but the colour will transfer best to white.  With 24 eggs and 8 ties, we planned to have 3 eggs of each pattern.

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Cut a segment off your tie that will wrap completely around your egg.

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Wrap the fabric tightly around the egg (you can do it at any angle, but just remember that the smoothest side of the fabric is the part of the egg where the print will be the best) and fasten the tail with a rubber band. Make sure to do it so the “right side” of the fabric is touching the shell of the egg. I kept messing this up and Cait kept yelling at me. She’s tiny but mean.

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Do this with all your eggs.  We adjusted the angle at which we tied on the fabric, because we were going to display our eggs all higgledy-piggledy in a bowl.  If you’re going to display your eggs in cups or something organized, you might want to consider tying them all the same way.

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This is one of the jacquard ties.  Much harder to get the fabric close to the egg.

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After explaining to Cait that the egg was one of the structurally strongest shapes in the world, I promptly put my thumb through it.

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Because we were now out of white eggs, we replaced it with a brown one as a scientific experiment. It’s actually frightening that one of our most oft-uttered phrases to each other is “For SCIENCE!”

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Once you’ve got all your eggs wrapped in tie scraps, you need to find some white or plain pastel cotton or muslin or similar scrap fabric.  Old pillowcases work pretty well.

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Cut the fabric into slightly larger pieces than you cut the ties.  Wrap the muslin around the egg and fasten it with another elastic over the previous fabric tail.

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This is definitely a time consuming job.

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We were, however, entertained by our rubber bands.  I picked up a bag at Dollarama, and I guess they got the rejects from various other manufacturers.

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Plop your eggs in a large pot and cover with water so they’ve got about 2″ of water above them.  Add in a cup or two of white vinegar, depending on how many eggs you’re doing.  For 24 eggs we used 2 cups white vinegar.

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Bring that to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.  When it’s done, scoop out the eggs into a bowl of cool water so they chill out faster.

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Carefully unwrap the eggs and store them in the fridge if you’re planning on eating them.   They tend to look a little sharper if you rub them with a little bit of vegetable oil to get a nice shine.

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Here are the eggs, next to their various tie patterns.  You can see that the jacquard ties (at the end) didn’t come out half as bright as we thought.

egg08

egg07

egg01

egg06

egg03

egg02

egg05

egg04

And here is the brown egg!

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I think it looks really neat with the red.  Here it is next to its white counterpart, for comparison.

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Chocolate-Filled Eggs

Happy Easter!  And happy birthday to Kª, no longer the Lady Downstairs, but now the Lady in Russia!

Chocolate-Filled Eggs

I never do things and post them in time for the holidays, so this post is coming from you from the distant past … Easter 2012 to be precise.

I wanted to have a bit of a take-away goodie for our Easter dinner guests, and a cute little place-marker in the bargain, so I thought, why not give everyone a chocolate egg — inside a REAL egg?  There are lots of great tutorials out there on how to do this right: both Martha and Not Martha have good ones worth checking out.  Me, on the other hand?  I didn’t look at any of them, except to find out what not to do.  So your options here are simple: you can do it the right way, or you can do it my way.  This is your choice.  Let the chips (of eggshell) fall where they may.

Dyeing the Eggs

Start with 12 large eggs.  You may break one or two, so work with more than you need.  Using a sharp paring knife, give the bottom of one of your eggs a hard poke.  Not hard enough to puncture the egg sac, but enough to chip through the shell.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Once you’ve got a wee hole, start enlarging it by prying up bits of shell until you have a hole about the size of a dime.  It doesn’t have to be perfectly circular, and don’t worry if you get a few hairline cracks.  It will all work out in the end.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Peel up that layer of membrane as well.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Once you’ve got a decent hole, take a syringe with a long tube attached (ear syringes and irrigation syringes work well here) and poke it through the egg sac.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Flip the egg upside down and push air through the syringe into the egg so that it expels all the goo into your waiting bowl.  Save those egg innards for something later on.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

When your eggs are all empty, you’ll need to give them a quick rinse to get rid of anything left behind inside.  I poured a bit of hot water into each egg, enough to fill it about half way, and then gave it a good shake to dislodge anything grody inside.  Empty that out and you’re ready for the next phase.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Now, if you’re going to do this the right way, you’re going to sterilize your eggs first and THEN you’re going to dye them.  This is because agitating your eggs during the dyeing process will result in a mottled appearance in the dye.

I, however, actually wanted to have a mottled look, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and dye my eggs while they were sterilizing.  Easy peasy.  So I filled a large pot with water and added a cup of white vinegar.  I submerged all the eggs, making sure to let each one fill completely with water so it wouldn’t float.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Then I added the dye — I used food colouring here, some green and some blue to create a turquoise colour.  Then I boiled it for about 10 minutes, making sure to give it a stir to agitate the eggs really well.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Make yourself a little drying rack by poking skewers into the bottom of your now-empty egg carton.  Tada.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Using a slotted spoon, remove each egg and drain it of dye before sliding it onto a skewer to dry.  Leave that overnight to make sure that everything is well-set.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

See that nice spotting? I like it.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Everything was great until I dropped a spoon on the eggs and smashed two to smithereens.  And then there were ten.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Filling the Eggs

This is the fun part.  You can go crazy and fill your eggs with whatever you want.  I am looking for some kind of fruit and nut combination in my chocolate.

First, weigh a whole egg to figure out approximately how much stuff fits inside it.  Then take that number, multiply it by the number of eggs you have, and that’s how much stuff you need to go in the eggs.

So for me, my average egg weighed in at 60g.  So I needed 600g of chocolate, fruit, and nuts to make this work.  I actually needed more than that, so I suggest you up the chocolate amount significantly.  It’s amazing how much an egg will hold.

I used cashews and a dried fruit combination of cherries and pineapple.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

I blended that sucker in the food processor to turn it all into tiny bits.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Using a serrated knife, chop up your chocolate.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Melt it in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water until it’s smooth and glossy.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Mix in your minced goodies.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Pull your eggs off your makeshift drying rack and line them up inside the carton again, hole-side up.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Now, set a piping bag or a regular plastic freezer bag in a tall glass or pitcher so that one of the ends points down.  Fill that sucker with your melted chocolate.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Snip the end, and, working quickly, fill each of the eggs to the top with your chocolate goo. You may need to use your fingers to encourage the solid bits to go through the bag if there’s a bottleneck.  Allow to cool and set completely.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Just make sure to clean the chocolate off the shells before it sets. If you’re at all like me, there will be chocolate everywhere.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

I was also a little bit of chocolate short, so I melted more (just plain this time) to fill the last little space in the bottom of the egg.

Chocolate Filled Eggs

Now feel free to decorate them any way you wish.  I used some acrylic craft paint to paint each guest’s name on the eggs.  It’s hard to have good penmanship when you are writing on eggs. Apparently I am incapable of following around in a straight line. It always came up slanted every time.

Chocolate-Filled Eggs

Then I set each one in a wee “nest” made out of a cupcake liner and some mini chocolate eggs.  Surprise!