Deer Tag Christmas Cards

Each year I make my own Christmas cards as a tradition. Sometimes I design them in Illustrator and let them print off, but they are always designed by me. This year I used my Silhouette Cameo. I drew the moose heads in Illustrator and send them off to my Cameo. Boy do I love this piece of equipment. It does not only cut paper, but also fabric and vinyl. The decals were made on the cameo as well. For those who have one at home, you can download the moose tags right here.

Download Moose head tags for Silhouette Cameo

I've used 220 gr A4 card-stock to cut out the tags using a 12" x 12" mat for the Cameo. I've made the felt balls for noses myself using this technique.

I've used bakers-twine for strings and I wrote a short message on the back, as simple as "Boris and Yvonne" - we don't do long Christmas letters in this household. Pop them in a cute envelop and send them to those you love. I never over send my Christmas cards, just to family and to people who float my boat.

Circus Letters Yvestown Style

I'm not one for following trends or styles as I like what I like and a trend can't force me to like something else. I had plants in my home before the whole plant trend broke out and I don't like to buy and hang the same art prints as everybody does on my walls. How uninspiring it that? I find it silly.

As you may notice I'm apologizing for what's to come next; I have bought circus letters form HEMA. If there was an emoticon that showed an icon that hid under a big rock, I would use it now.  I'm not a big fan of this store and there were a whole lot of wrongs with these letters too. I love circus letters and when I bought these and brought them home I was at first all like aaaahhhh and ooohhh until they were popping up all over on Instagram. Bo wasn't so keen on them either as they work on batteries and he's unconditionally against anything that works on batteries. But I bought them and I didn't want to return them. They needed to be proper circus letters with happy colours and they needed to be more me.

So I took my trusty spray paint cans and had a go at them. The whole painting process is just a minute, it's the taping that's very time consuming.

circusletters03.jpg

Left is what the letter first looked like. You want to only paint the inside around the bulbs.

Use masking tape to tape everything that you don't want to be painted, so insides and outsides. Use aluminium foil to cover the bulbs. Just wrap them tightly around the bulbs, use a small kitchen knife to tuck the foil securely under the bulbs.

Lay the letter flat on a table covered in newspaper. Preferable spray paint indoors with the windows shut, open the windows after painting. You don't want to get wind in the mix. Also use a fair amount of distance. The closer you get your paint will not even out smoothly. I prefer to walk around an object I'm spray painting. Let it dry and take off all the masking tape and foil, now you've got yourself some cheap personalized circus letters - don't tell anyone ;)

De B is gold, the Y dusty rose and the E is in baby blue. All by my favourite spray paint brand PlastiKote.

FIY: our initials are BYE - Boris Yvonne Eijkenduijn

The First Signs of Christmas

So it has started.

Last year I bought the Christmas trees around this time but it proofed unsuccessful, because by the time it was Christmas the branches looked sad and it was raining needles. So this year I'm going to wait for another 2 weeks. I've started decorating the outside of the house instead.

This is the back porch we use in winter as the other kitchen doors lead straight into the kitchen and turns the kitchen into a freezer. This is also the "pet door" as I like to call it. It goes straight into the back garden where Whopper wanders around and were Moose goes in and out.

Like every year I've made a garden leftover wreath on a straw wreath base. In January I can compost the whole wreath, it's perfect.

This year instead of drawing a wreath on my doors I've decide to cut them out on a plotting machine.

I've actually plotted a whole bunch and you can buy one for just €8 shipping included in my Etsy Blog Shop. This way you can add some Christmas to your doors, windows or walls.

En de winnaar van de Quooker Fusion is ....

Marieke van Dulmen is de gelukkige winnaar van de Quooker Fusion inclusief installatie!! Wat een zalige prijs om te winnen net voor de feestdagen.

Ik wil iedereen die heeft meegedaan (maar liefs 557 deelnemers) hartelijk bedanken. Het is altijd zo jammer dat maar 1 de winnaar kan zijn, maar dat is allemaal cliché geneuzel.

Dahlias

Each year I plant dahlias but it's never enough. I really thought I had it covered this year but yet again I've failed miserably. In my wildest dream I have a massive plot of land I can just grow a cutting garden on with hundreds of dahlias and sunflowers in autumn and peonies, delphiniums and foxgloves in spring. I can see myself strolling through the wild flowers, basket in hand.

Oh .... this sounds like a good retirement plan.

I start planting them in April, in pots indoors. I wait until they are quite big and leafy before I plant them outside. This is around the end of may, early June. I mix it up with roots I plant straight into the ground.

I colour coordinate when I shop for roots. I don't like orange, purple or bright yellow dahlias. I go for soft and bright pinks, sometimes red (they always turn orange), white, soft yellow, peach and burgundy. I try to mix shapes like pompoms, spiky ones, leafy ones and petals. 

I grow them to cut them but I'm always quite sentimental and leave them outside as my garden looks so colourful and cute with all the happy flowers growing here and there. So next year I definitely need to plant more so I can enjoy them outdoors and indoors.

Enjoy your Wednesday. At my end we are blessed with the most beautiful autumn weather, I hope it is as beautiful at your end.

Koken met Behulp van Quooker

Over the next few weeks I will be writing about my experience with a Quooker tap. It's a Dutch product so I'll be writing these posts in Dutch. I can highly recommend Quooker taps and boilers for gardeners, cooks and people with old large homes as Quooker taps and boilers come with EU energy label A and they are awfully pretty. Check out www.quooker.com to see if they sell Quooker taps in your country.

PS: the recipes below can be found in my book Yvestown in the Kitchen. Available through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

In het begin was ik nogal sceptisch over het koken met een Quooker. Ik dacht; “wat maakt het uit om wat langer op kokend water te wachten, dat doe ik toch al heel mijn leven?”, maar het scheelt enorm veel tijd. Ook zal het mij op de langere duur energie en water besparen. Zo blancheer ik mijn groente en gaar ik couscous en noedels heel eenvoudig in van die suffe glazen Pyrex schalen. Gewoon onder de kraan en deksel erop. Het werkt echt geweldig. En natuurlijk drinken wij nu liters thee en dat is weer goed voor het vocht verlies. Ik zeg de Quooker is een zeer geliefde nieuwe huisgenoot.

Courgettesoep met Hollandse Garnaaltjes

Ingrediënten

  • 2 grote courgettes (of 5 kleine)
  • 1 bosje verse koriander
  • 1 rode peper
  • 1 theelepel zeezout
  • 3 eetlepels olijfolie
  • 1 eetlepel kurkuma
  • 200 ml kokosmelk
  • 100 ml water
  • 150 gram Hollandse garnaaltjes

Bereidingswijze

Snijd de courgettes in grove stukken, hak de koriander en rode peper en doe alles samen in een grote pan met het zeezout en de olijfolie. Zet het vuur laag en doe de deksel op de pan. Af en toe goed roeren. Wanneer de courgettes goed zacht zijn, voeg je de kurkuma toe. Goed roeren. Zet het vuur uit en pureer de inhoud van de pan. Voeg de kokosmelk en het water toe. Serveer de soep met de Hollandse garnaaltjes.

Tip: Wil je een pittige soep, voeg dan ook (een deel van) de zaadlijsten en zaadjes van de rode peper toe.

Quooker tip: de 100 ml kokend water kunnen rechtstreeks uit de kraan op het vuur waardoor het kook proces sneller gaat.

Surinaamse Pasteitjes

Ingrediënten

  • 2 kipfilets
  • zout en peper
  • 2 tenen knoflook
  • 1 witte ui
  • 2 tomaten
  • 250 gram waspenen
  • 250 gram doperwten
  • 50 gram kappertjes
  • handvol verse platte peterselie
  • 2 hardgekookte eieren
  • 1 pak bladerdeeg
  • 1 geklopt ei
  • 12 vuurvaste schaaltjes

Bereidingswijze

Verwarm de oven voor op 200˚C. Bestrooi de kipfilets met zout en de peper en kook ze gaar in een diepe pan met een bodem water tot er bijna geen water meer in de pan staat. Houd de deksel op de pan. Snijd ondertussen de ui en de knoflook. Haal de pitjes uit de tomaten en snijd het vruchtvlees in blokjes. Snijd de waspeen in smalle plakjes en kook ze samen met de doperwtjes beetgaar. Haal de kipfilets uit de pan en snijd ze in kleine stukken. Bak de tomaat, ui, knoflook en kipfilet stukjes samen in een koekenpan. Voeg de waspeen en doperwtjes toe. Roer goed door elkaar. Haal de pan van het vuur en voeg de kappertjes en fijngesneden peterselie toe. Snijd de hardgekookte eieren in smalle plakjes. Bekleed de vuurvaste schaaltjes met 1 vel bladerdeeg en vul ze tot aan de rand toe met het mengsel. Leg 2 plakjes ei bovenop en sluit het pasteitje door het bladerdeeg met de punten naar elkaar toe te leggen. Smeer alle pasteitjes in met geklopt ei voor een goudbruin resultaat. Plaats in de oven voor 25-30 minuten.

Quooker tip: om de kip te bereiden kun je direct kokend water uit de kraan in de pan doen, zo fruit de kip super snel.

Vergeet niet mee te doen aan de Quooker Fusion win actie. Van Quooker mag ik één Quooker Fusion t.w.v.: €1395 inclusief montage weggeven. Klik op deze link om de voorwaarden te lezen en om mee te doen.

This post in sponsored by Quooker. A brand I love, use and can highly recommend.

The Front Garden

When we moved to this house in 2008 this is what the house and garden looked like. It was actually worse as the whole house (roof included) was covered in ivy. As you can see the ivy was growing back.

Although the whole house was in desperate need of renovating we started to plant a garden first. That way the garden could grow while we were renovating the inside. We took out all the ivy - boy ivy is a scary plant. It's something out of a horror movie. There where root stems as big as proper trees. They also leave spores so we had to brush all the spores off of the house, it was a nightmare.

We didn't have a clue what to do with that front garden so we started by just taking everything out and putting grass down. We also had to consider that pine tree, but eventually the ants got it so we had to come up with a new plan.

I like organised but wild and messy gardens. So after 7 years of having just grass and gravel I've started to plant a formal garden. Using wee boxwood bushes, lavender, hydrangeas and roses. We've also planted a wisteria to grow on both sides of the door as a house like this needs a good wisteria. It will need time to grow but so far I'm really pleased, it suits the architecture of the house.

When we will finally put a new roof up the plastic black gutter will be replaced by a white wooden one so it will only get better. I love how the wild acacias on the plot next door have grown higher and how autumn makes everything colourful and wild. I can't wait for the garden to grow even more.