Monday, 28 January 2019

Best discovery of 2018: tapping

The previous three years I did best buy posts, but last year I didn’t really buy anything life changing (although I did get an InstantPot, which many people apparently find life changing, but so far I’ve only pressure cooked beans in it, so I can’t really judge that yet). But I did discover something that is really awesome and also (can be) totally free! It’s called EFT or tapping.

Tapping is a really simple technique in which you tap points on your head and body with your fingers, while talking about a problem you have, and which allows you to reprogram your mind and even your body to behave in a way that is better for you. It sounds really strange and I didn’t initially believe it could work, mainly because it seems too simple, but it does! When I tried positive affirmations before, my mind would immediately respond “no!” or “nonsense!” to anything positive I said to myself, but when I tell myself things through tapping, I actually believe them. This has made me feel much better. And there’s also scientific evidence that EFT works, so it isn’t a placebo effect (although I wouldn’t mind that much if it was, as there are no negative side effects, anyway!)

You can do tapping with a trained coach or therapist, but there are also plenty of YouTube videos which you can try for free. I find Brad Yates’s videos particularly inspiring – some almost seem to have been written just for me! And he’s got videos on just about any problem or challenge you could have.

Here’s one of my favourites:

This video on overcoming sugar addiction is also great:

Disclaimer: The information on this blog represents my personal views and it not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or to treat any medical or psychological condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician or therapist for any medical or psychological issues that you may be having. I cannot be held responsible for any damage arising from use of the information on this blog.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Edwardian petticoat

Pattern: improvised
Fabric: cotton lawn

A confession – I haven’t made many underskirts yet. I think wearing the right, authentic undergarments under historical clothes is important both for the right silhouette and posture, and for the right experience. But whereas the effect of a corset is substantial, you can’t really tell whether there’s an underskirt underneath a dress or not. And that’s why I’ve never managed to give them priority. But I always had ‘need to make a WWI underskirt’ at the back of my mind (and a WW2 one, for that matter!), and now I’ve made one.

Sorry, I can’t really get the skirt photographed properly, with this dark winter weather going on! And I did iron it; I always do, it just never shows :P.

I improvised this pattern. It is a very simple two panel skirt, with four darts in the back and a drawstring in a tunnel to make the waist adjustable. Also, I sewed on two hooks and worked two loops.

For the bottom hem I sewed together two kinds of lace, one gathered, both with a leafy pattern, and added a green ribbon to keep with the theme.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Almost Gordon 1940s Simplicity dress

Pattern: Vintage Simplicity 3417, bust 34”
Fabric: I had 3 metres; didn’t cut very economically because I pattern matched =)
Haberdasheries: Three buttons, a 30 cm zipper, a belt clasp and waist band

A few years ago I made a 1940s dress using this pattern and I wanted to use it again, but with some alterations. With hindsight, I find the bodice of that dress too long and baggy; even though it’s an authentic look for the 1940s, I just don’t like to look like I’ve got a roll of fat that I don’t! And since I don’t exactly follow today’s fashion, I hardly think I would have been without personal taste at the time ;).
I took 10 centimetres (!!!) out of the bodice width, despite this pattern being for a 34” bust, which should be slightly small for me. Simplicity patterns just had sooo much wearing ease! Because of the additional length in the bodice of my first dress, I expected that I’d have to take some length out as well, but I came to the conclusion that I must have added the additional length myself, which obviously I shouldn’t have done! So I only shortened the skirt, as I did for my first dress as well.

It took me a while to find a suitable fabric; most fabrics I saw in stores didn’t really have a ‘40s vibe for me. Until I read something about plaid (or tartan, as I prefer to call it ;)) fabrics being quite usual at the time, and I remembered this fabric that I’d seen at my local fabric store ages ago, but knowing their turnover rate, I suspected they’d still have. I like it because it’s almost Gordon dress tartan. The thin white lines should just have been yellow! And I already had a matching self-knitted cardigan.
According to the label the fabric was 80% cotton and 20% poly, but as I was working with it I thought: “yeah right!” Sadly, it doesn’t feel like cotton at all, although it can be ironed well without melting.

I pattern matched everything as well as I could, lining up the lines on the different pattern pieces by pinning them in place.

And of course, I had lots of feline sewing help! Thankfully she didn’t attack the fabric and make loops in it.

Because of the colour scheme of this fabric, for once I didn’t have difficulty finding a matchting zipper, buttons and belt fabric!
The buttons are vintage, from about the 1960s, and have a nice story to them. My grandfather was director of a button factory at the time, and my mother was sewing herself a green skirtsuit. So my grandfather had buttons made to match her fabric! I guess these were the surplus buttons; in any case, I liked using them on my dress.

I first wore this dress to an event in remembrance of Market Garden 1944. The re-enactment group War Department did a stunning and impressive portrayal of a field hospital, and I even got to depict a Dutch civilian helping there!

Photo by Menno Bausch

Thursday, 20 September 2018

On making flour for baking

In my previous post I shared a recipe for Dutch pancakes. I don’t make them that often, and one time when I wanted to make them I found that some of the flours I needed had gone stale. I think it’s hard to stock many different flours and use them all up before they go off. I don’t want to use only wheat flour because I think a more varied diet is healthier and also more fun – but yes, it is hard to keep an eye on all those flours.
I read about milling your own flour somewhere before, but I thought that would be a lot of effort. However, since I already owned a coffee grinder (which I had only used for grinding seeds, not coffee!) I thought I’d just give it a go, and it was surprisingly easy and fast! Buckwheat ground down in a few pushes of the button, so a few seconds. Porridge oats did as well. And my simple and cheap grinder didn’t even have a problem grinding whole oats, although the flour from them came out a lot coarser. I’ll probably grind them for a longer time next time.

Buckwheat groats and homemade buckwheat flour

Millet and homemade millet flour

The type of coffee grinder I use for milling flours

Bottomline: if you want to bake with lots of different flours and you don’t need very large amounts of them, try milling your own! Especially if you already have the whole grains in stock, anyway.

N.B. I have tried making quinoa flour but the texture turned out much coarser than that of bought quinoa flour, and it also had rather a strong quinoa flavour, which wasn’t very nice in baking.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Echte meergranen pannekoeken (Dutch pancakes recipe)

This post contains a recipe. In case you're confused about what kind of blog this actually is – I’ve stated that I share my creative projects here, and cooking is also creating, so this isn’t stretching things too far, right? ;) As this is about Dutch pancakes or pannenkoeken and may appeal mainly to Dutch readers, I’m continuing in Dutch. But scroll down for an English translation if you want to try this traditional dish from the Netherlands!

Best raar om voor het eerst in het Nederlands te bloggen! Goed, vroeger kocht ik ‘meergranen pannenkoekmeel’ omdat ik dacht dat dat gezonder is. Niet alleen maar tarwe, maar wat meer variatie. Nu weet ik dat ingrediënten op verpakkingen staan in volgorde van de hoeveelheid die erin zit, en op een gegeven moment viel het me op dat de andere granen dan tarwe ná het zout genoemd werden. Dat wil zeggen dat er meer zout in het mengsel zat dan boekweit, maïs en haver. Er werd dus alleen een snufje van de andere granen toegevoegd, om het product meergranen te kunnen noemen... Tegenwoordig lezen steeds meer mensen de verpakking van een product, en dus heeft men een nieuw trucje bedacht: het geheel aan granen noemen en daarna het zout, waardoor de afzonderlijke percentages niet meer meewegen. Slim... Maar van dat soort misleiding houd ik helemaal niet, en dus ben ik zelf mijn pannenkoekmengsel gaan mengen. Echt meergranen, met gelijke aandelen van elk graan! Het recept is bijna zo simpel als het gebruiken van pannenkoekmix; je hebt alleen wel vier soorten meel nodig – of zie mijn volgende post voor nog een tip!

Recept meergranen pannenkoeken (2 personen)

50 g volkoren tarwe- of speltmeel
50 g boekweitmeel
50 g havermeel (ik vind het lekker als dit wat grover is)
50 g maïs- of gierstmeel
½ tsp zout
¼ tsp bakpoeder
1 ei
400 ml melk (of non-dairy milk)

Meng de vier meelsoorten*, het zout en het bakpoeder, en voeg daarna het ei toe. Kluts even met een garde, en voeg daarna, al klutsend, beetje bij beetje de melk toe, tot een vrij dun beslag is ontstaan.
De pannenkoeken bakken zoals gebruikelijk, en beleggen met je gebruikelijke beleg!

Ik vind deze pannenkoeken echt veel meer smaak hebben dan die gemaakt van een standaard meergranen pannenkoekmengsel. Aangezien dat dus vooral uit bloem bestaat, vind ik de pannenkoeken nogal klef. Daarnaast is mijn versie volkoren en dus ook nog veel gezonder. En dit mengsel heeft ook nog minder de neiging om te klonteren! Wat mij betreft dus alleen maar voordelen.

* Minder soorten meel gebruiken, bijvoorbeeld 100 g tarwe- of spelt en 50 g elk van twee andere soorten, of 67 gram elk van drie soorten, kan natuurlijk ook! Dat maakt niet heel veel uit voor de smaak.

I've never taken a photo of my own pancakes! But they look something like this :P (from
Dutch multigrain pancakes recipe (serves two)

The recipe is almost as easy as using premixed flour, but you will need four different flours. Or see my next post for a tip!

50 g whole wheat or spelt flour
50 g buckwheat flour
50 g oat flour (I like this is a little coarser than the other flours)
50 g corn or millet flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
1 egg
400-450 ml milk (or non-dairy milk)

Mix the four kinds of flour (you can also use fewer kinds, or different proportions of flour; this usually doesn’t affect the flavour that much), the salt and the baking powder. Then add the egg and whisk for a while. Next, while you keep whisking, slowly add the milk until you have a rather thin batter (it should be much thinner than that of American pancakes!). Bake quickly on quite high heat, using your cooking fat of choice.
This recipe makes several pancakes. These are traditionally eaten with bacon, apple and cinnamon, cheese or syrup – bacon and apple can be added to the pan before the batter, cheese after baking the first side and flipping, while syrup is added once the pancake is on the plate. Enjoy!