Today is Good Friday and it's been raining almost non-stop since early morning. Due to an administrative error we got up as early as for work and got to see a beautiful sunrise. After that, the dark clouds moved in and are still here.
As has become a bit of a tradition, Lundulph's family come over on Easter Sunday and we do all sorts of Easter activities then. Unfortunately my nieces Lou and Falbala won't be able to make it this year and I was going to skip the egg painting. But then again...
These are the candidates. Some will be used on Sunday as a starter, the others will be given a make-over they'll never forget.
First of all, I made small holes at the bottom end of each. I have a special drill that came with an egg blowing kit I bought from a hobby shop, but any darning needle will do. The idea is to prevent the eggs from cracking when they are boiled. I'm not sure if it makes any difference, but I thought I'd do it just in case.
Then I lined my pressure cooker pot with a tea towel and placed the eggs in it. Topped up with lukewarm water and put on the hob on fairly low heat, so that they would heat up slowly - also to prevent cracking. I left them to simmer for some 30 minutes - hard boiled definitely. Then allowed them to cool in the pot, as I was already working on my next project. A way to speed up the cooling is to put pot, eggs and water under the cold water tap and let it run and thus cool the eggs fairly quickly, but it's wasteful on water, so I only do that in emergencies. Only one out of 18 had cracked! Result! And the stamps disappear during the boiling too.
Once cool, I set aside 7 for Sunday and prepared the paints. These are small packets with 4 colours each that my Mum gave me years ago. She'd bought them in Bulgaria, where everyone pains eggs for Easter. They are powdered food colourings, so quite safe to use. The instructions were to dissolve each colour in 100 ml warm water, add two tablespoons vinegar and start painting. Well, dying more like it really. Lundulph joined in to help on this one. The vinegar in the paint made the eggs produce bubbles, so we didn't keep the eggs in for too long, but the colours came out OK, given the brown shells. It's these brown shells that are my main annoyance around Easter. It's not possible to get hold of white shelled eggs. There are of course Bantam eggs, but they are tiny. There are also some blue shelled ones from the Old Cotsworld Legbar, but they don't give good enough colours either. I complain about this every year and Lundulph explains that when he was young, there were only white eggs and then someone introduced brown ones and for some reason people started believing that these are better and healthier etc. Of course there's no difference between white and brown eggs, apart from the shell colour. Bah! And unfortunately we don't have the facilities to get hold of a couple of hens that do lay white eggs, I'd do it otherwise. So the colours are a bit dodgy.
Of course any food colourings will do the job. In previous years, I've used the standard ones they sell in the baking section of the supermarket, dilute in a little water and add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar. But as you can see in the photo above, the colour of the liquid needs to be a lot "stronger", remember the egg will soak up some of the paint, so if it's too weak, there won't be much to soak up.
I also have friends that use textile paints, these give fantastic colors, but are not edible and since the shell of an egg is porous, I don't think they should be eaten. I've polished the eggs with a bit of cooking oil, it makes quite a difference - dab a bit of oil on one piece of tissue and use that to transfer onto the egg. Then use another clean tissue to rub it off.
These cute chicks and bunnies are the latest collaboration between my Gran and my Mum. They've produced hundreds of them over the past weeks and they are basically tiny egg cosies. We got 6 in a small package a few days ago and I suspect they've sent sets to all their friends.