Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter eggs

I've always liked the idea of Easter eggs, mostly because I'm a mad fan of the deviled eggs. The days after Easter are filled with deviled eggs at every meal. Mom made hers with finely-minced sweet pickle and the obligatory sprinkle of paprika over the top. They were enough work that they were special occasion fare, with usually a small tray at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The rest of the year? Nary an egg of the deviled variety to be found.

I was cruising around the web the other day and spotted an ad from Schillings for the custom colors you could mix using their Neon food coloring drops. I always wanted to do vibrant colored eggs just once. As a kid, we didn't use a high enough concentration of the stuff or have enough patience to really get bright eggs. So, I decided to have some fun. One of the things that attracted me to the ad was the lack of the usually obligatory Photoshop job that is rampant in advertising. For example, the white band on the egg from a thick rubber band used during dying wasn't a professional-looking, Martha Stewart perfect, crisp line. In fact, you could see fuzzy edges from bleeding dye and flaws where the band had shifted. Similarly, the white polka dots were more oblong and funky. I liked it. It seemed doable.

So, armed with two dozen white eggs I had cooked up the night before, I poured myself a cup of coffee and set about it. First thing I found? The instructions say, 'use 1/4 teaspoon food coloring.' However, their custom color recipes give ratios that come up to decidedly less than 1/4 teaspoon. So, I winged it. After the first color, I figured out that 1/4 teaspoon is around 26-27 drops. I just counted them out in the cup and went to whatever multiple of that color's ratio was close.

I'm funny when it comes to arts and crafts. My skill level is hit and miss. I can pick up one random project and knock it out like I've been doing it my whole life, and then pick up another and it ends up looking like a 5-year old given an espresso and a puppy did it while having a meltdown. Stylish. I decided to try the rubber band and rubber cement trick I'd seen done.

First of all, you cannot get a round spot from the brush in the rubber cement jar. I'm just going to say that right now. A half a dozen diseased-looking eggs later, it finally hit me. I needed a stamp. In true 'me' style, I looked around for whatever was handy. On the counter, not too far from where I left a pile of leftover parts and tools used in installing a power-outage night light in the kitchen (very handy for midnight snacks in an arctic hurricane, I highly recommend picking some up at Costco), I found this little rivet-shaped piece of plastic. You can see it up there on the counter to the left of the glass tray of dyed eggs. I dabbed the flat top into a bit of rubber cement and touched it to the egg. I found that if I didn't overload the thing and if I didn't mash it down too hard, it left a nice even disk of rubber cement that dried pretty quickly.

I lowered it into the dye and kind of bobbed it up and down for a while, working all the surface bubbles off in an attempt to get even color. I noticed that the instructions Schillings give say to mix your dye lot up with boiling water. However, I noticed that as the dye lot cooled to room temperature there were less and less bubbles forming on the eggs while they sat in the bath. The problem with bubbles is that they form after the egg hits the dye. So, when you pull the egg out to dry, everywhere there is a bubble, the egg is a lighter color. You can really see it in later pictures below. The egg I'm describing here was the last in the turquoise dye and didn't develop many bubbles at room temperature.

It worked! You can see the rubber cement is repelling the dye. Once it was completely dry, I pulled off the rubber bands and used my thumb to roll the rubber cement off the egg.

It didn't turn out too badly. Where the knots on the rubber bands were, to make them small enough to fit the egg snugly, dye seeped underneath. But, all together, I think it looked pretty good for a project to do while Pebbles napped. When she woke up, everything was dry and ready to hide for her.

And, by hide I mean 'put out in plain sight'. Hey, give her a break, she's not quite a year old! She did get one egg in the bucket that her Papa was holding for her, but mostly she picked them up and dropped them after drooling on them a bit. Several cracked.

Mama? Can I play with the dyes? I promise not to pour them on the dogs!

It was a pretty fun diversion from unpacking. I really didn't want to have to tell my parents that I didn't do anything for their Granddaughter's first Easter. I'm already having her 1st birthday party 2 weeks late, just to give me a chance to have a party with people not sitting on boxes.

As for the eggs?

Martha Stewart couldn't do better if you gave her an espresso and a puppy.


  1. They are fabulous! I'm so impressed that you did those by yourself, I am intimidated by dying eggs so never plan on it. But you did great and I'm sure Pebbles enjoyed finding them all. She is pretty cute in that Easter dress too. :)

    Keep the blog posts coming, I'm LOVING this!

  2. What pretty eggs!

    Pebbles is too cute! I love the picture of you two in the doorway.

    1. Also, I laughed at the caption of that picture. My sister had a white dog when we were growing up and it was piss her off to no end because my brother and I ALWAYS poured the leftover dye (vinegar and food coloring) onto the dog when she wasn't looking.

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