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.

dk-servet02.jpg

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.

Cleaning Basket

My home is rather big and although I have a busy schedule I love to clean my own home. I makes me feel that I'm on top of things and that I know for sure that everything is cleaned the way I want it to. Let's just call my fussy and a neat freak.

Cleaning 3 floors can be tricky with carrying all the cleaning stuff up and down, so I've invented this wicker cleaning basket. It holds all the stuff I need and I can add more stuff to it that needs to be on another floor. It works perfectly for me.

I've made fabric lining in the basket to hold all my bottles and brushes. The fabric lining is machine washable so I can easily keep it clean. Do not forget to give the fabric a wash before you sew the lining as it may shrink in the washing machine.

I've used a wicker basket and a table runner from Dille & Kamille.

Use glass buckle bottles for your liquid cleaners as the bottles they usually come in are quite ugly. I've made tags using a vintage tag maker.

You can find tons of cleaning supplies at Dille & Kamille.

To read this post in Dutch, head over to Dille & Kamille

About Getting Older

It's not a lie when they say that one will notice when one gets older. The other day I was chatting with my friends about an ex boyfriend when it dawned to me that the topic took me back 18 years. I totally freaked out at the thought as in 18 years from now I'll be 58 - almost 60!! Honestly I never thought that age would scare me, but it's really hitting hard.

I also notice it in my taste for music (it's mainly classical and the Frozen soundtrack now), I only like to listen to the news channel on the radio and start shouting at it when I disagree - hello dad! Also my decorating style matures. As I really liked bright colours and plastic junk before, I start to tune down to pastels and natural colours and products. I also kind of disagree with trends and plastic mass products. And I've stopped buying things just for the sake of buying things. This is such a revolution. I can now selectively buy things I really like.

Even my love for Cath Kidston is fading away as I really do not like their new design aesthetic. I didn't even renew my 35% off press card, and that's quite a big deal for people who know me personally. Bring back the CK from 2005 when all was beautiful and clean - my dear lord has this brand turned loud!

The Cath Kidston wallpaper I used to have in my kitchen was getting too childish for me (and for Bo) we were in for something new.

I fell in love with Studio Ditte tiles wallpaper. It so suits the age of the house better as it looks like it has been there ever since 1896, when the house was build. It also suits my personal age better.

We painted over the previous wallpaper with white latex and pasted the new wallpaper over the old one. No one can tell, it turned out great and it saved us a lot of time on awful wallpaper steaming.

This is the start of redecorating the kitchen. As with new wallpaper I need new curtains and I want marble on my island instead of the zinc. And the kitchen is in desperate need of a new floor as this one is cracking open.

I love getting older!

A Guide to Småland in Sweden

I was asked on Instagram to make a Småland guide.

We travel to Småland each year and if possible twice a year, in spring and winter. Eventually we'll move to Småland and retire there. Hopefully in 2016 we'll buy our first home.

The best (tourist) time to travel to Småland is between June and September as all the attractions are open. But I recommend to travel to Småland in mid May or early October as all the tourists will be gone and you have everything to yourself. I can also highly recommend the month December as "Jul i Småland" is so enchanting. Do bare in mind that in off tourist season you are really all alone.

Where to stay

We always stay in Andersborg, one of Junette en Inge's homes, in the small hamlet of Karlstorp. It's 15 km to Mariannelund and 30 km to Vimmbery. It's set in beautiful grounds and feels like home to us.

Astrid Lindgren related places to go

1. Astrid Lindgrens Värld in Vimmerby

Just at the end of the road where Astrid lived as a child and young adult lays a really adorable theme park all about the wonderful stories Astrid wrote. I can highly recommend this theme park for young and old as it's super cute and it takes you back to all the stories you fantasized about when you were little.

2. Astrid Lindgrens Näs in Vimmerby

This is a must do for all Astrid Lindgren fans. On the grounds where Astrid grew up you can find a beautiful museum, a rectory (which is decorated especially for Christmas in Noisy Town style - oh my), Astrid's Childhood home, the home Astrid later build for herself and all is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

aln02.jpg

3. Bullerbyn - Noisy Village

The small plot that was used to film the series. This is utterly cute and my favourite Astrid place.

4. Katthult - the home of Emil

Remember Emil and his sister Ida? Although Emil and his family lived in Lönneberga, the series were recorded in Katthult and you can still wander around the set. It's open all year long, there's no gate or admission to pay, so hop over any time you fancy.

Other places to visit

1. Virum Moosepark

This is a wonderful park run by a couple who really love there moose. You can actually cuddle, feed and even kiss the moose. It's wonderful!!

3. The many beautiful lakes (for swimming)

If you spot this sign in Sweden, take the exit. It will take you to beautiful lakes where you are allowed to swim in. There will be parking, most of the time a small playground and always a long jetty with steps. These lakes are breathtaking, in summer and literately in winter as they are freezing cold.

Cities

I'm not such a big fan of Swedish cities in general. There's something dreary about them that I can't explain. But nice cities in Småland are Jönköping and Västervik.

There's more to see, do and explore in Småland, but this guide is to my favourite part in Småland.

visitsmaland.se