This week marks the eleventh anniversary of my grandmother’s death. I still miss her like it was yesterday. Whenever I pick up a crochet project or a quilting needle I feel like she’s beside me. I can hear her voice, “Lord, those stitches, you could get a toe caught in them.” I miss her around Christmas, when we pull out her collection of copper cookie cutters for sugar cookies, but I really miss her around Easter. Grandma didn’t buy much she could make or grow or get by without. When we dyed eggs at her house, no fizzy color tablets were involved. She’d pull out her biggest cooking pot and a supply of onion skins she’d been saving. Any pantyhose that had outlived their usefulness were snipped into sections. We, my cousins and I, would be sent out the back door to gather bluebells, dandelions, wild green onions, and whatever else struck our fancy. Weeds and flowers were placed against the eggs’ shells and then everything was wrapped with sections of onion skin. Each egg was tied snuggly into a section of hose. We’d fill the pot with eggs and water and put it to boil for what seemed like hours. Once the eggs were cooked and cool enough to handle, it was time for the big unveiling. There were always a few stars and a few duds, but there were never any two alike. The colors were subtle, tone on tone browns mostly. Occasionally a bit of purple flower or green grass would transfer. I seem to remember the bottle of wash blueing being pulled out to accent a few.
Those pre-Easter afternoons were some of the best of my life. Three generations gathered together to share, laugh, learn, and strengthen the bond of family. I didn’t realize until I was much older just how special the way a grew up was. I am the only surviving daughter in my family, but I have cousins who are my sisters. I have aunts and uncles that love me like their own. I only ever got to know one of my grandparents, but she was a grandmother whom it is my greatest wish to emulate in any way I can. She was the strongest person I’ve ever met.
Onion Skin Easter Eggs
Eggs (however many you want to make)
Onion skins (I’ve always used yellow, but I wonder if red would work? You want the outermost papery skin)
Flowers and greenery (Look for interesting shapes. Little, if any, of the color will transfer)
Place flora over the eggshells in a pleasing arrangement. Form an outer layer of onion skins around the shell. Wrap the egg in pantyhose or scrap fabric and secure. (I used scrap quilting muslin and rubber bands.) When all eggs are wrapped, place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook about twenty minutes. Remove eggs from water and set aside until they are cool enough to handle. Carefully unwrap and remove organic materials. Rinse with cold water. Enjoy!