Natural Dyeing of Eggs

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Friends in town invited us for a natural egg dyeing date today. It was a new method to me and the results are beautiful! In years past we have water colour painted, drawn upon, dyed in stockings with onion skin and parsley, wax crayoned and dyed and more. something in the natural plant and berry dyes pleased me so much today. the shades are unpredictable and all the colors are well, edible.  it brings to mind my natural dyeing of silk joy which has been put aside for many months. i keep opening the carton to caress these wonders. thankyou hens.

it was a pleasure to share one of our/their Easter rituals as often I hold festivals for my family alone. we spoke about festival traditions in the family and I realised with the weekend approaching fast i am ill prepared! {apart from having lots of eggs}. I look forward once again to seeing what authentically comes for the festival this year. it’s an interesting time to marry Easter to Autumn and i have found a few stories and inner images which sit peacefully for me. our Autumn table evolves slowly and soon the Egg tree will appear.

this book Easter in Autumn is helpful for southern hemisphere dwellers. i am seeing how contributions can become tradition in a few short years and the grounding this gives my children and myself. if you want to bring more depth or tradition to festivals, i recommend beginning simply, or adding just one or two things you can easily uphold and add to over the years.  i enjoy Lily’s anticipation of events, Cedars current enjoyment, worry expectations {my own mostly} may not be met, {can i really make sourdough hot cross buns this year?} witness her recounting past festival highlights to others and propel myself to find my Zopf recipe!

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Natural Egg Dyeing/Eco printing method

Using just herbs, ferns, flowers and weeds from the garden; press the leaves and petals over the egg (white shells for best color results, this year i found them in the library, raised by the High School kids garden chooks) and carefully wrap with sewing thread. this is tricky with a T at first. so be patient and help the little ones. leave a tail of thread hanging at the beginning so you can use it to tie up at the end. the more you wrap and press the leaves onto the egg the better your chance of a print. leave the north and south pole of the egg bare so you can blow your egg out afterwards. {thankyou for your wise counsel today E}

carefully blow your eggs and then pop into boiling water/dye bath for up to 10 minutes. for the dye bath use any plant/food matter which has a great colour content such as berries, onion skins, coffee, tumeric, red cabbage, etc only 500 mls or so is needed to do batches of 4 eggs.

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a brew of red hibiscus flowers in water dyed the shells a subtle blue, the pot of mixed squished up berries had more success with mauve to rich purple. keep turning the shells in the boiling dye brew to get an even colour as they will float on top of the liquid. remove and once cooled remove the thread and plant matter with a thread cutter, unpicker, seam ripper??. (technical name eludes me right now) useful sewing tool. everyone needs one!

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so for our Easter tree we have these beauties. we will break up matches and tie string on them to slip inside the eggs tomorrow.

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after all that fine work the children gallop exuberantly around the field. picking up ticks no doubt….

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a natural dye note to myself for next year.

marigiold petals dyed a wonderful gold.

waxy ferns made a resist to the dye

basil made a resist

chocolate mint left a lovely green

hibiscus left blue

parsley left green

and there where many surprises.

try a tumeric bath

*let each child have a different colored thread so you can easily identify them and wrap wrap wrap them very well.

*have a dog handy to lap up any dropped eggs

*make a potato and goats cheese frittata with the eggs….

*if you only use edible plants you could hard boil the eggs to eat them. though who gets hungry at a blue egg….

i have this post on my Easter and blowing eggs from last year.

 

so, what are your Easter traditions?

have you natural dyed eggs or anything before?

x

ps is it as odd for you as it is for me to be here writing and sharing once more? many reasons behind my blog holiday and i have written eggsplicitly about it all. it just isn’t where im at today. call it writers block.

Benalla gardens Victoria

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We are en route from Bellingen to Tasmania for our summer adventures. It’s been hot and windy through Victoria. I’m flying between joy and anxiety as the trip begins.
We’ve found a new swimming respite in Wangaratta by Ovens River then explored Benalla for a camp. The official camp (470 in the free camps Australia book)is dusty and depressing today so we head into town to a promising green patch by the river. Locals are fishing carp out of the Benalla lake.
We are relieved by the green promenade of the Benalla gardens. Soft grass and immense rose gardens of beauty scent and vibrancy. Roses and succulents rule the plantings. A great surprise and delight for me.
The playground is a great combination of retro equipment of the type removed from other places (a real seesaw with no handles, exclaims L) and newer framework. Lily finds a tree to climb and all is well.

Right now

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Right now. Play dough fun with cedar. Playing an imprint memory game. Taking turns to make prints or guess what made the print.
I make play dough by the recipe on the cream of tartar jar but just found this no cook recipe for the future. I usually add some essential oils. This time it’s lavender.

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Also making Swedish saffron buns for st lucia dec 13th and birthday cakes. The gnomes sing along for Cedar. Lily and I made them for him last year. A really fun craft. Supplies from winterwood crafts. Wool felt and wooden finger puppets.
Four candles, four crystals. Practicing for July!

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A favoured birthday song

Now on this day we celebrate your day of birth and we wish you a good and happy life on earth.

Our other birthday song we love is

Four years ago today today
Cedar came down from the heavens to stay
He came to bring gladness and joy to the earth
Kind people and angels attended his birth
So let us all join in the singing
Four birthday bells they are ringing
Happy birthday dear cedar
Happy birthday dear cedar

Interchange age and names. I’m not sure of the original authors sorry.
Xx

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Swiss Advent Biscuit Recipe

Each year for as long as I remember, my mama has made her traditional Swiss Christmas biscuits. a number of biscuit parcels have followed me across Australia! Lucky me! when I was seventeen and heading off into the sunset in my new yellow kombi, my mama tucked a parcel in my van to open for Christmas a month later. they store very well… Thankyou mama for these parcels of love and cinnamon. I inevitably cry and miss your hugs, and then i share them out to those lucky ones nearby xx

now i have taken up my own ritual Advent baking of biscuits. We bake on Advent Sundays these cinnamon stars and hearts. It’s the only time of the year i use this recipe and one other {after lots of experimenting}. the house smells of spices and sweets and we nibble them for morning tea through the week. We parcel them up in little paper bags we make, and leave them on our friends and neighbors door steps. this year we are using teeny tiny cutters and i cleverly saved a batch of rolled out dough and froze it last week so today i simply cut and baked…

last week i took some to my knitting class. one of my students said they looked like dog biscuits but tasted like the real thing!! ha ha!!

1st advent

My Adapted Traditional Swiss Advent biscuit recipe

Basler brunsli/Zimpt Sterne

{gluten free}

500 gm almond meal {450 gm for recipe and 50 gm for sprinkling paper when rolling out}

2 c rapadura sugar or less

31/2 tspn cinnamon powder

1 tspn clove powder

4 egg whites beaten stiff

baking paper

rolling pin

baking sheets

  1. blend almond meal and sugar
  2. add spices and beaten egg whites
  3. sprinkle a 1m stretch of baking paper with almond meal and squish your dough out in the middle length of it, press quite flat then sprinkle with almond meal and another sheet of paper
  4. roll out to about 5mm thickness
  5. let dry for 3 hours
  6. cut into stars and hearts
  7. bake at 150′c for 10-15 minutes til slightly puffed {mine took less than ten as very small, and i burnt the second batch! waahhh} really, bake them lightly. don’t get distracted vacumning…

share with friends and neighbours. leave goodwill packets on doorsteps… happy advent! i love all this memory making family activity amidst the deeper pathway of living through my own personal darkness and seeking the renewal of my inner light.IMG_0012

Baby Ochre

I had the honor recently of photographing new baby Ochre Rain. Healthy second son of the wonderful couple who create Drishti Candles here in Bellingen. Thankyou beauties for inviting me in to capture this precious moment xx
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peaceful birth, peaceful lotus baby xx well done family

Buckwheat pancakes

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We {read I} have been making regular batches of buckwheat pancakes. mm mmm

i’ve written about the origin of my recipe from lovely gluten free blog what baby{and boy} ate;  here…

and other pancakey berry adventures here…

for my non measure recipe; I use about 1 and a 1/2 cups of raw organic buckwheat and soak it in the blender overnight

in the morning add 2 eggs and some extra water and whizz it up smooth

cook in coconut oil

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I have better success if I heat the cast iron pan very well first and keep it well oiled. they take a little longer than wheat flour pancakes to cook. be patient, it’s worth it!!

Buckwheat is one of my favorite gluten free seeds for porridge {soak overnight with almonds, currants, quinoa and nuts, simmer about 15 minutes in the morning} and pancakes. I have done some sprouting of them but find the slimy tendency in this humid climate off putting!

a good protein source apparently and easily digestible for most tummies.

a nice buckwheat quote…

“The properties of buckwheat are: Neutral thermal nature; sweet flavor; cleans and strengthens the intestines and improves appetite..”  According to Paul Pitchford in Healing with Whole Foods (1993)

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notice the jar of rapadura sugar? this has lately replaced the maple syrup bottle while stocks are out. it’s been a good experiment to see that Lily can now self moderate a teaspoon sprinkle of sugar on her pancakes. Yay! it has paid off, all that strict mama monitoring of sugar … now i can relax abit about it and know she knows i know she knows; how to self regulate sugar intake and feel good in her body! luckily Cedar copies her…

what do you do with buckwheat?

oh my!! berries are sooo delightful! i sure am looking forward to another summer in Tasmania….

 

Book list for early readers

The following Book list is comprised of chapter books which we have enjoyed as read alouds and autonomous reads since Lily was 7, and some for the future. They are presented in no particular order so don’t worry if you can’t decode my book list progression. Enjoy, share with your kids and everyone’s children. Reading is a lifetime enjoyment and a precious skill.

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Please mail me your favorites if they don’t appear here!

Little House on the Prairie series (particularly Little House in the Big Woods) Laura Ingalls

Farmer Boy also by Laura Ingalls

Enid Blyton Books

the children of cherry tree farm

the children of willow farm

Mr galliano’s circus series

come to the circus

the birthday kitten

Astrid Lindgren books

Pippi Longstockings

The children of noisy village

happy times in noisy village

Mardies adventures

Ronia the robbers daughter (older children)

Australian authors {I would love more Australian books if you know any}

Horse Crazy -Allison Lester

Kingdom of silk series-glenda millard(i have read first only so far, older kids10+)

the secret world of Wombats-jackie French

a cat called penguin -Holly Webb

Isabel Wyatt books

The seven year old wonder book-Isabel Wyatt

the eight year old legend book -Isabel Wyatt

the book of fairy princes-Isabel Wyatt

King Beetle tamer-Isabel Wyatt

other Waldorf type stories

The last little cat-Meindert DeJong

The tales of Tiptoes Lightle-Reg Down

The Voices of Nature-Anne Spotts

The secret Pet-Shelley Davidow

a mixed bag…

The worst witch series-Jill Murphy

Pollyanna

Dr Doolittle

Cloudberry castle series {grounded ballet adventures in an old castle}

mr Popper’s penguins {book immensely more fantastic than the film} i have my mama’s worn beautiful loved copy of this to cherish.

the secret garden-Frances Hodgson Burnett oh my what a delightful tale. though i still skip the early dramatic part of everyone dying of cholera in India and begin as she is travelling to her new home.

The Little Princess-Frances Hodgson Burnett

anne of green gables {older children}

the sheep pig Dick King-Smith

Heidi-Johanna spyri

Little women-Louisa May Alcott {older readers]

Unlikely friendships -Jennifer S Holland

Roald Dahl books

The BFG

Matilda

Charlie and the Chocolate factory

james and the giant peach

Little Fur series-Isobelle Carmody {older readers}

The Growly books -Phillip and Erin Ulrich brilliant first book (begin) (favorite! awaiting release of book two!)

Some titles I’ve been recommended or want to check out next are
Mrs Pepperpot series
Milly Molly Mandy ( my childhood but can’t clearly remember)
The owl who was afraid of the dark

Elsa Beskow books {lovely illustrations and good for pre-chapter book readers}

Pelle’s new suit

emily and daisy

the curious fish

the sun egg

peter in blueberry land

Hazel woody and pip

mother earth and her children

the flower festival

well did you click on any links? i painstakingly made a lot!! so much spare time obviously!! (LOL)

I confess I don’t mind abridged versions of some of the classics. It can make them more appealing and digestible for newer readers who may then later want to read the originals. I also unashamedly occasionally  edit as I read aloud. sometimes to keep it appropriate or sometimes to make it easier to understand for the listener.

when i say older readers i am thinking 12+ but you should discern for your own children. Lily is still sensitive so we still avoid  more suspenseful books. nurturing that precious childhood bubble by carefully editing the books she reads; while I still can. that is why you will not see a lot of mainstream popular books on my list currently.

I buy books from good bookstores when i can find one. Many Waldorf Steiner supply stores have books also, or natural toy stores. I also buy online from The Book Depository, Floris books or Amazon.

The more that you read

the more you will know

the more that you learn

the more places you’ll go

Dr Seuss

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ps you wouldn’t believe how long this blog has taken me! I told myself I couldnt post it without lots of beautiful photographs with all those lovely moments of bed, couch, outside, toilet, haircutting, garden, bus, hammock glimpses of reading nooks,but here it is.

simple and packed with ideas just in time for Christmas!!

peace and reading