Sunday, 12 April 2009

happy easter!

for me Easter is about colour - and lots of it! the weather normally picks up at that time of the year and the garden is more colourful as well. this year the garden is quite green already - in comparison to last year, when Easter was so early that I barely managed to scrape together a few twigs for our Easter deco! spoilt for choice I was - and the painted eggs are barely visible in all the greenery and flowers!

I also managed to get my plate of cress ready in time - after being either too early or too late in the last few years. mind you, it's not only decoration - we all like cress, be it with the hard boiled eggs (we have to dye eggs the evening before, even if it's already midnight:)), in salads, on sandwiches - or just on its own!

then there is the cake - I made a poppy seed cake with topping - but had a lot of yeast dough, too much for one baking sheet. it's quite difficult to find fresh yeast over here, so I was delighted when I saw some in the shop in Ballyhaunis, where they sell a lot of Latvian, Russian and Polish foods! the size of the pack is odd though - 100 g, too much for my usual recipes, so I cut off smaller amounts, wrapped them up and put them in the freezer - stash of a different kind:) I haven't used fresh yeast for a long time, so I was rather surprised how fast the dough rose - one time it nearly "crawled" out of my bowl! anyway, I made cinnamon swirls with the rest of the cake dough - and they went down a treat, even better than the cake!
a lot is happening in the garden, too! I was rather surprised to see one of my "bleeding hearts" in full flower, while the 2nd plant has only started to show some new shoots! the lockets look old-fashioned, but it's quite easy to grow and the bumblebees seem to like it too!
one of the typical irish spring plants is the wild yellow primrose - the yellow dots on the stone walls are visible all over. the cowslip on the other hand isn't as easy to find, but I raised several plants some years ago and they seem to like it here - they started to spread out a bit and I found those two self-sown plants in one of my self-built stone troughs (made from cement and some peat).

and this is one of the colourful delights I am waiting for each spring now - one of the berberis plants we grew from seeds. the leaves are dark green and the flowers and buds are such a bright orange, that the plant looks "on fire" when the sun shines on it! I love the contrast and also that this is the first very strong colour in springtime! usually the flowers of spring have lighter colours and this shrub really stands out. there are many other varieties though, another one has huge spines and bright yellow flowers, but somehow it looks pale in comparison. I tried to dye with the ripe berries (they are blue, attractive too!) of this plant - but they only gave a rather unspectacular beige, nothing worth picking the berries for. they are edible - but very acidic too, not surprisingly they are sometimes used as a replacement for lemon juice:)
not much is happening on the craft front. I have done a lot of spinning - but nothing new, I just needed more yarn for the grey jacket/coat i am working on. I also finished the first bobbin of merino/possum blend - and started with the brown BFL - all materials for a vest I have planned.
I am still waiting for the bobbins and stuff I ordered from Germany. though I wound all the free bobbins I have and prepared the pricking for the fan - I couldn't start the lace without the rest of the bobbins:(( I hope they'll arrive in the next few days... I also ordered the pattern for a shawl made in bobbin lace and a waistcoat - we'll see if I ever get around working the actual project!


Leena said...

Your berberis looks spectacular:) and the cowslips look just like the ones I have. Of course mine are not blooming yet, but there are small flowerbuds coming.

Have you tried to dye with berberis leaves? A Finnish dyer left a comment in my blog about berberis vulgaris, that she had dyed with it's roots, and got very bright gold, but the color faded very fast. I was surprised to read this, because the books say that berberis would be quite lightfast dye. Do you have any experience about it?

Woolly Bits said...

Leena, I didn't try them yet! I meant to last autumn, but then I had so many other berries and barks etc. that I didn't find the time to do it. I will do it eventually, because I read about the yellow too! mind you, DH wouldn't be happy if I used the roots:)) the berries were esp. disappointing, because the dye bath was a beautiful dark red - and the wool ended up being boring beige:(( but maybe the result would be different if I put them into vinegar - another thing to try out.

Janet said...

Hello Bettina - your cinnamon rolls look delicious! It's especially fun to read about Ireland while we are here in Seattle to welcome our 7th grandchild - Ethan, born this a.m. Lots of flowering shrubs here - I'll post some pictures on my blog, when I find time to do an entry.

Ladka said...

Hi Bettina! What a nice surprise to see your "bleeding hearts" on your blog! My mum also grows them but nowadays they are very rare in the gardens in Slovenia where I live. And they always bloom for my second daughter's birthday, 12 April, so she loves them!
The berberis you have are wonderful! My mum's, on the contrary, bear flowers that are nothing special to look at and they smell badly. The leaves are brownish-red and this is their attraction, not the flowers.
She also told me that the roots have a strong yellow juice so I'd already thought to try to use them for dyeing wool or silk (scarves) or cotton/linen (yarn for bobbin lace and fabric for doilies) but I'm afraid my mum wouldn't be happy if I used the roots either :-(

craftyrainbowhead said...

Your Easter eggs look absolutely lovely.


Must try my hand at dying eggs for next Easter with the girls.

Happy crafting to you :)

Leigh said...

What wonderful spring photos. Happy Easter to you too!

Jewel said...

Beautiful flowers and those rolls look so yummy!
Happy belated Easter!

Helen said...

What lovely photos- How lovely the cowslips are ,the banks around here are covered with primrose but few cowslips,however the primroses are making a spectacular display this year!
Your Berberis is quite gorgeous.
bw Helen