Redecorating Again

We've been living in this house for almost 7 years and we are still not done renovating and decorating. It's a large, old and worn down house. See it like this; you have a real deep cut and it needs stitches, like a lot of stitches but instead you put a plaster on the cut and you keep putting plasters on it. But under all those plasters the cut is getting worse and worse. Eventually you'll have to remove all the plasters, get the help of an expert and get it cleaned, sterilized and stitched up. Because you have waited so long the healing takes a lot longer and the cut will leave a really nasty scar. So you'll need plastic surgery. That's what our home looks like because the previous owners have been using plasters for the past 119 years.

Most of the plasters are gone, stitches have been made and plastic surgery has been undertaken but there's still a whole lot of healing to do. We took a break last year to work on some personal stuff but now we are back in swing.

There's this new cupboard in the dining room. I've been searching for it the last few months and finally found a perfect match. It's from an old school and now stores china, tablecloths and glassware. Nicely tucked away as I like it.

I love how this red bench raised so much conversation over on Instagram and on Facebook. It's really good to engage again, we need to do that more often.

Happy Tuesday, it's almost May!

Sweet Potato and Cannellini Bean Burger

The sun is out! It's almost 20°C outside and I'm having a great week. I even found a penny and picked it up today, it worked. I found two beautiful Leonardo Da Vinci roses on stem for just €9.95 each. To me, that's a damn good day! And tonight we are going to save a cow and have veggie burgers for dinner.


Ingredients for the burger

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 can (310 gr) cannellini beans
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 20 gr bread-crumbs
  • 50 gr white flour
  • 1 eg
  • 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black peper
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 wholegrain buns

Ingredients for the dressing

  • 6 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • salt and black pepper

Cut the sweet potatoes in half and place them on a paper towel in the microwave. Cook for 5 minutes, turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes. Allow the potatoes to cool, remove the peel and mash the potatoes with a fork in a large bowl.

Rinse the beans with water and drain them well. Mash the beans with a fork and mix them with the mashed potatoes. Crush the garlic and add to the purée . Add the breadcrumbs, egg, flour, paprika, salt, ground pepper and ground cumin and stir well through the purée.

Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let it cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by mixing 6 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt with 1 tablespoon maple syrup and freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste. Place in the refrigerator and cut the avocado into slices.

Heath the olive oil in a skillet. Remove the mash from the refrigerator and make 4 equal balls. Lay them on a flat surface and pat them flat, about 1 cm thick. Fry the burgers first 5 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other side. Use more oil if you think it is too little.

Place the avocado slices on the buns, put the burgers on top of the avocado, pour the yoghurt dressing over the burgers and tuck in.

Makes 4 burgers (and a bit)

Maker Spaces

My good friend Emily wrote a book, that alone is already an achievement but she wrote a beautiful book and that's an over-achievement! Maker Spaces is a book about the spaces where like minded make and create. What I love about the book is that all the makers get their own pages whereas we used to write books about inspiring places but the images would be scattered all over the book, not in Maker Spaces. The places are not overly styled, they are as they are and that's what's so good about the book.

As an extra bonus two of my friends (well actually three, Emily included) are featured in this book. Erika form Mikodesign and Inge from Ingevilt. Remember this Instagram shot? It was that day that Emily was in Rotterdam with the talented and lovely Helen Cathcart who did the photography for the book.

I've been working really hard to get my own "maker space" in order. I was so fed up with the Cath Kidston shop style of my basement studio that for a long time I didn't even bother to tidy it up and left it covered in a mountain of fabric, wading myself through it each time I had or wanted to make something.

It was not a creative space any more. It also stored all the empty yarn closets that I didn't bother to remove after I sold the shop to my friend Ilaria. I now have a make room and another create room where I'm planning on hosting summer workshops. I'll give you a proper tour another time.

You might like to have a look at all the other blogs who make part of the Maker Spaces blog tour.

Embroidered Napkins for Easter

Sunday it's Easter, spring's Christmas ... or it feels like that these days. The supermarkets were packed today and also IKEA. Those ball pools always freak me out as it's a pool full of germs. I'd never let my kid play in a ball pool if I had one.

I bring you embroidered napkins today for Easter breakfast, lunch or brunch. You can download the alphabet template here.

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I've used a simple chain stitch and a transfer pencil to trace the letters on to the napkins.

Hello Weekend DIY Book

And just like that I wrote another book, three books in one year! And some of you may wonder where I have gone off to. I've been writing books as I love writing books, I really do. As a kid I loved making assignments like big ones about sheep, cats, Laura Ashley and one time about my childhood Chow Chow, Pascha. I even took the dog into the classroom to show how fabulous she was and where all her cute stuff sat. I miss Pascha ....

This book is about DIY's. It's divided in 4 categories and covers crochet, sewing, embroidery, painting, paper-craft and woodwork. The 52 DIY's (one for each weekend of the year) are all easy to make, functional and efficient. We basically use all of the DIY's in the book ourselves or I make them as presents. It's a cute book.

It's the second book in the "weekend" series and I can already tell you that there's going to be another one next year. And that's it as there's no such thing as Spider-man 4.

Hopefully later this year or early next year the books will be translated to different languages and to English. We are still working on that. It's not easy as a Dutch/Flemish author to be published in foreign languages. Yvestown in the Kitchen, my first book, is published in English and for sale in my own bookshop and on amazon.com

Weekend DIY Boek (Dutch) - hard cover - 144 pages - €16.95

How to Make a Tea Crate

Last fall I was invited to the press day of Dille & Kamille to celebrate their 40th anniversary. In their Antwerp branch me and other press folk were treated to a great workshop on tea and flower and herb infusions. We were given the chance to make our own infusions and that was quite exciting as infusions tell a lot about one's personality. The infusion I made told me that I'm cheerful, hurried and suffer from inflammations and infections - that couldn't be more true. So if you  want to know who you truly are, book a infusions workshop. It's also really tasty ;)

Storing tea leaves, herbs and other leafy bits can get messy and I really dislike messy. That's why I invented not a tea box but a tea crate. I painted this wooden crate in F&B Vert te Terre (the same colour as my front door) and the lids of the jars with chalkboard paint.

Not only do I have room for tea I also have space left for honey, cute heart shaped dishes, spoons and sieves. It's home is in a cupboard in the dining room, so I can put the crate on the table and I (or my guests) can whip up a nice cup of tea.

Do you want to know my personal infusion ingredients?

  • Rosebuds - for the delicious taste and smell.
  • Marigold - disinfects and thus good for infections.
  • Nettle - for digestive disorders and good for anaemia and hay fever.
  • Elderflower - good for the immune system against colds, but also against headache.

And it looks really pretty too, right? I try to drink a cup a day, the taste is something out of the ordinary.

Leksands Knäcke Pizzor

When I was in Sweden last month I picked up a booklet by Leksands Knäcke on how to make pizza from knäckebröd - Swedish crisp bread. I thought this to be such a clever idea as I love pizza but I can't really cope with the flour and water pizza base al the time as my digest system is not really good with flour. The knäckebröd gives it a really healthy crunchy base. I love it!


Ingredients for the salmon pizza

  •  8 Leksands Knäcke slices or one round crisp bread (available at IKEA)
  • 75 gram grated mozzarella
  • 150 gram smoked salmon slices
  • 2 sprigs fresh chopped dill
  • 1 red onion (cut in rings)
  • ground black pepper and salt (to taste)
  • 1 handful of fresh rocket
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 225°C (437°F). Place the knäcke on a piece of baking paper on a oven tray. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the knäcke. On top of that the salmon slices, the dill and the red onion rings. Add salt and pepper and sprinkle the olive oil over the knäcke. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh rocket.


Ingredients for the chicken pizza

  •  8 Leksands Knäcke slices or one round crisp bread (available at IKEA)
  • 1 chicken fillet (300 gram)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon korma paste
  • 75 gram grated mozzarella
  • 125 gram sliced mushrooms
  • 1 white onion (cut in rings)
  • 2 sprigs fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 sprigs fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh chopped sage
  • ground black pepper and salt (to taste)

Mix 1 tablespoons of olive oil with 1 teaspoon of korma paste in a wide bowl. Rub the chicken fillet through the marinade and grill on a contact grill or in a grill pan until golden brown.

Preheat the oven to 225°C (437°F). Place the knäcke on a piece of baking paper on a oven tray. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the knäcke and the mushrooms. Slice the chicken fillet and lay on top of the mushrooms. Add the oregano, rosemary, sage and onion rings to the knäcke. Add salt and pepper and sprinkle the olive oil over the knäcke. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.