27 March 2016

How to Make Your Own Natural Easter Egg Dye while also Struggling with Doubt - in 14 easy steps!

1) Find a recipe for all-natural dyes using any of the bajillion links on Pinterest. Choose whichever recipe you can find quickly before your demanding children distract you from your quest with an urgent need. (I used this one from kitchn.com. Because it was the first one that popped up in my Google search.)

2) Stop by the store to get an assortment of vegetables to make dyes (assuming you weren't able to grow and harvest all your own organic vegetables in your backyard).

3) Gather every single pot or lidded pan that you own and boil every drop of water you can find. Boil all your farm fresh brown and green eggs. (I used eggs from Green Gate Family Farm located in Wheatland, Missouri.) Don't watch the pot.

4) Start peeling, chopping, shredding. Get your first batch of dye material onto the stove top (and fast since you'll have to do this again to make 3 more colors. Since apparently you only have 3 pots and pans with lids).

5) Find an activity for your children to keep them busy while your dyes are cooking (and while you figure out what in the sam hill to do with 4 whole, peeled onions and half a cabbage). May I suggest the following activity for your kids: dying Easter eggs with artificial colors from PAAS. Why not a bit of nostalgia, right? You know you love it - that octagon-shaped bendable egg tool, those little tablets (especially that orange tablet that strangely makes green dye). Memories! I know, I know. It's artificial. (Gasp!) But isn't that part of growing up? Realizing just how much artifice there is around you? And looking for something a little more real even while you hold on to your past because it's simple and comforting?

6) Go ahead and get factory farm eggs for the PAAS project - you know - the white eggs sold in grocery stores that come from undisclosed locations.

7) Trade some of your brown eggs for some of the white eggs from your children's batch - that way you can really test both the artificial and the natural dyes. Kids always love a good experiment.

8) Marvel at how little time the artificial dye project takes while you are using your bare hands to wring "blue" dye from a hot wad of boiled purple cabbage.

9) Hustle all your eggs (brown and white) into their little dye baths in mason jars. Because seriously - what else would you use for a project like this. And also because if you're interested in natural dyes you probably already have a supply of mason jars that multiplies constantly in your cabinets (not unlike bunnies - Easter bunnies, perhaps). Leave the bathing eggs in the fridge for hours on end.

10) Spend some time while you wait thinking about the enormity of the Easter message and about how joyous Easter is supposed to be but also recognizing how sometimes Easter arrives in a cloud of bad news and about how sometimes that joy doesn't come out just right.

11) Check on the natural eggs and see how strange and weak their colors are compared to the bright, confident, unwavering, familiar pinks and blues, etc. of the PAAS project. Put the natural ones back in the fridge for more dye bathing. Keep trying, okay? Don't give up!

12) Wait a few more hours for things to sink in (including the colors). Look to some deep thinkers while you process what Easter means for someone like you. (I used some work by Rachel Held Evans whose chapter on Easter in Searching for Sunday is spot-on perfect.)

13) Unveil the naturally dyed eggs at last - remark on how well the colors actually worked! Combine these eggs with their artificially dyed friends and be amazed at what a rich array of character this motley crew exhibits - even though, quite frankly, none of it looks like the pictures on the Pinterest board or the PAAS packaging. Notice how downright lovely your family's Easter eggs look - irregularities and all.

14) Remember that even if things don't turn out exactly as expected, there is joy to embrace and beauty to behold and so much to be grateful for. And you'd better do that whenever and wherever you can.

Happy Easter. 

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