Plants, eggs, mother birds, and art.

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Easter eggs and red cabbage, carrot top, and a turmeric dye bath.

Happy Easter. Today, my family will be dying a few hard-boiled eggs for Easter, using some red cabbage (for a blue), and possibly carrot tops and a bit of turmeric (for yellows).
As the dyes are translucent, the whiter the egg, the closer the color to the dye in a white pot it will be, and it will appear more like watercolor on white paper.
A light tan egg dyed with the translucent dye will also be beautiful, but not like a vividly colored cloth nor a pale light pastel – the colors will all essentially have tan added to the dye colors. For the beauty of a variety of color hues, use both white and brown eggs.
Today we are using brown eggs. Which actually means that the yellows might not change the egg color significantly, but the subtlety might be pretty.

QUANTITY OF WATER:PIGMENT – If you want to dunk in the egg, the recipe I reference at has a good proportion of 2T turmeric, into 1 cup boiling water, with 2 t vinegar. I will be halving this. For just a little dye, if using a paint-brush on a white egg, maybe scale back the recipe (or to vary the color, change the proportions as the intensity of color will vary with the amount of pigment:water). For example, one could start with a quarter t, and just a little water – a T or 2, and an eyedropper or two of vinegar.
Any leftover water can be re-used, as can the cabbage water, in a recipe for the family, or for turmeric a tea (well, maybe cabbage too, but haven’t thought about the taste of cabbage as tea).
If not to grind up and use as a source of supplemental calcium (careful about that though – 1 eggshell has a whole lot of Ca in it!

AND a treat FOR the BIRD IN THE YARD)?
Plant dyes might make eggshells which are healthy for birds, especially mother birds, and soils. There are quite a few articles about mother birds and their need for calcium (see Cornell Lab of Ornithology reference below).
Although, one wonders, if putting out too many eggshells might increase their risk of predators, if put under a tree too close to a nest? Also, maybe like for puppies, too much calcium might not always be good. Some plants might be very happy with the added calcium, others, not so.

AND a treat FOR the FAMILY DOG? Eggs and eggshells, and vegetable water, all good.
Note of caution: Adding eggshell to a dog diet must be done carefully – too much is not good, especially for growing puppies – and is not suggested for puppies and dogs eating all meals with a balanced food. For adding eggshell to a puppy that does eat a little homemade dog food, verify the amount is a safe and healthy amount.

Eggshells can also be used for making art – as pigment, in paintings, and in a larger form, as larger bits of pigmented chips to glue to a substrate such as a panel. For children, just use a child-safe glue (glue is a topic best another day).

Here is a reference for eggs and calcium (although, I first heard the suggestion from a friend):
Kast, T.L., Allen, P.E., and Dhondt A.A.  1998.  Birds and Calcium. Birdscope, Volume 12, Number 1:  7.

And a reference I am looking forward to reading, but have yet to read on Herbal ink, possibly for further decoration of the egg??:
Powar, P.V. & Lagad, S.B. & Ambikar, R.B. & Sharma, P.H.. (2014). Herbal ink: Safe, easy and ecofriendly alternative. International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research. 6. 146-150.

For more on natural pigments, there are several fine natural pigment stores that have great online stores – for example, see Kremer Pigment:

And my mother found a Better Homes and Garden article on dying Easter eggs:

References on vegetables ok for dogs: – there are many – I will compile a list of some. For carrot tops, here is one google brings up from Purina –