Thursday, 31 January 2013

Mail Art

I've been admiring the art of Vivienne Straus through Flickr for quite a while now. I love her paintings. The style somehow reminds me of Charlotte Salomon. Although Charlotte Salomon's work is a bit heavier, but she lived during the second world war, so no wonder. So when Vivienne offered to do a mail art swap last week, I jumped at the chance. I was working against a deadline and finished work for that yesterday. The first thing on my (mental) list to do was to start making some mail art. I also thought BricolageLife would enjoy some swapping of mail art and when I asked her, she did!
Several years ago I used to do a lot of mail art swaps and other round robins. Unfortunatly not everybody holds their end of the deal and a lot got lost, so I sort of stopped doing it.

  Mail Art

Now that I've done these I remember how much fun it is. I use my watercolours for journalling, but swapping art is a different fun altogether.


Monday, 28 January 2013


I don't think there is anybody who wouldn't get excited over a publication that features your own photograph, especially when it comes delivered to your door by registered mail. When DHL rang, I was wondering what it could be. I hadn't ordered anything. As I walked inside with the parcel I noticed the departure address which is Solms and I immediatly knew it had arrived.

The parcel

I haven't had my Leica for that long. Not even a year. I got it in March last year and when I saw this submission for selfportraits taken with a Leica camera, I submitted my very first self portrait with my own Leica. I never thought it would get published in their book, but see now a real Leica publication and I'm in

That's my picture

Of course it had to be recorded with an SP. Actually taken on the same spot as the featured picture.

[5] The Book

Thank you Leica!


A few posts ago I was talking about my apple cake. After three batches I'm happy with the outcome now. I've edited the initial recipe I put down there. It might not be the traditional, traditional Dutch Apple Pie anymore, but I do think taste for food changes over time, so adjusting recipes to what people like nowadays is only making life better.


Another favorite recipe of mine are Madeleines. I've made them many many times and this too is a recipe I made several times in a row to get it just right for me. It was ages ago that I did that trial run and I've made them many times since. For me Madeleines is a quickly made homemade snack that everybody will like. Even my oldest son who is not much of a sweet tooth will devour a few of these. Sometimes I hear people say they can never get their Madeleines right and I think it's because of my secret ingredient. Well not so secret as I always gladly share my recipes with anybody who asks for it. I think it's much nicer to share your recipes as you will be thought of fondly whenever somebody decides to make one of your recipes. So my secret ingredient is to add a tablespoon of milk. It deviates from the original recipe, but I think this is what makes it foolproof.


The recipe:


90 gr butter
3 medium eggs
85 gr sugar
140 gr selfraising flour
1 tbsp milk

baking pan needed

2 Madeleine shaped baking pans, which make a total of 24 Madeleines. Of course you can use any regular cupcake baking pan for this recipe, but it defeats the purpose of being able to call them Madeleines, for this you really need a Madeleine shaped pan. I can really recommend the Williams Sonoma one. It is costly, but very much worth its price. The coating stays beautifully and after baking it's so easy to get the Madeleines out without being damaged. Of course it's no problem if you only have one pan, you'll just need to bake in two batches. Don't forget to leave a little butter to rebutter the pans after the first batch


Preheat oven to 185C/350F. Melt the butter. Meanwhile beat the eggs for a few minutes. Gradually add sugar and keep beating till the sugar is dissolved and the egg mixture gets a bit thicker in consistency. Most likely the butter will have melted by now. Butter the Madeleine pans with a little of the melted butter. Add the melted butter and milk, no need to mix or fold, but this needs to be done before you sift in the the selfraising flour. So that is the next step to sift in the selfraising flour. Now you need to fold over the mixture gently. Make sure all flour gets incorperated in the egg mixture and while you do this also make sure you go all the way down to make sure the same thing happens to the butter, which will have sunk to the bottom. By now the batter should have thickened a bit more. If it is still a bit too runny, add a little more flour. Depending on how big your eggs are, it might need just a little extra flour. If you prefer you can add the flour in two batches. Pour the batter into the pans. Bake for 11 minutes. Optionally sift some icing sugar over the Madeleines after they have cooled down. They don't need the extra sweetnes, but they can take it because my recipe is slightly low on the sugar as I like mine not too sweet, but it looks so much prettier. Enjoy

Friday, 25 January 2013


I was born in Korea and my parents moved to the Netherlands when I was one. Occasionally we would visit Korea. One of the things I have loved about Korea ever since I was young and continues till this day and will never change is the colourful, playful things they have with anything that has to do with stationery. Tapes always caught my attention. I would always bring back a few rolls with cute little drawings and kids would want to play with me, so they could use a bit of that tape. Nowadays a Japanese company has made decorative wasi tape very popular and you can even find it in Italy in the shops (now that is saying something according to a lot of my crafty friends here). But I was in Korea last fall and there is a Korean company which has a lot of very cute decorative masking tapes.


I haven't seen those here in Italy so I brought some back from Korea. My daughter and her friend love them and I gave them a few. My collection of masking tape is still very considerable despite giving some away.


My daughter and her friend like to tape them to their study books, diary and all sorts. I like to use them to tape polaroids I take here.


Apart from masking tape, they also have fabric tape. Now that is something lush. I brought several of those back as well. The thing with the masking tape is that it is translucent. This can be an advantage, but sometimes a disadvantage. You can't see the design too well if you tape it over something busy. But this fabric tape feels like taping down a fabric band aid. It is a joy to use. If you ever see some, I can recommend you buy some if you like tape like me.


I wonder if in the old days they would write real letters, not so much today as mostly things are done by email (I'm mostly guilty of that fact too), they would enjoy this type of tape as much. I'm sure everybody would agree they would!


Tuesday, 22 January 2013


Yesterday somehow I had the urge to photograph our dinner. There are a lot of dinner photos out there, but nobody's dinner photos inspire me as much as those of Astrid.


As it turns out, today I was very glad I photographed that dinner yesterday for several reasons. I was actually never really attached to that table. We bought it because if you move as much as we do, you sometimes quickly need a table and in that case Ikea does a really good job. Ever since I've been looking for a table which had certain requirements. I was looking for certain dimension and character. Can a table have character, well if you listen a lot to the Beautiful South, it can. This table had it all, the correct dimensions (75x180cm, well 179cm to be exact) and character.According to the lady of the shop it is 19th century, my husband dryly remarked that if so, it was the last part of the 19th century, meaning doubting the age of the table nonetheless a table with character. Hurray for Facebook, as we didn't have a need for the old table, I put it on Facebook and it was gone within 30 minutes. Even though I was never attached to the table to have photographed it's last dinner by chance, turned out to be special after all.

Dinner Time

Having done that yesterday, of course today the same thing needed to be done. While doing so I thought I might as well give you our recipe for Kimchi Bokkum bap. I always freeze any white rice I have left and if you would ever have some kimchi leftover which has gone too sour, it is still perfect for this.

The recipe:


1 large knob of butter
1 onion (big or small doesn't matter, you'll know whether you like a lot or a little onion in your dish)
1 medium/large carrot
half a cup frozen peas
4 cups previously frozen rice, defrosted (defrosted rice works better than fresh rice as there is more bite to it. Fresh rice is too soft, although if you don't have otherwise it will work fine. That goes for any dish of fried rice)

2 eggs
1 cup of kimchi (again a bit more or less doesn't matter too much)

Chop the onion in small pieces. Do the same with the carrots. Melt the butter in the pan, fry the onion till soft. Add the carrots and rice. Meanwhile lightly beat the eggs and cut the kimchi in smaller pieces whilst occasionally stirring the rice. When rice is heated through, make a little room to scramble the egg in the same pan. When lightly scrambled stir it through the rice (it's all a one pot dish). Add the kimchi and peas. 

Voila a very Korean Dish

Monday, 21 January 2013

walk around town

Yesterday we had a bit of snow. Nothing much though and when we went out for walk, it was also raining ever so lightly.

We passed the old preschool our youngest used to go to. It was nice to see some colour on this otherwise grey and dull day.

Here in Italy sometimes you pass a building and you just wonder why. Wonder what it is that they plan to do with a building and why did they paste this doorway up like this

We came down these slippery steps

And when I came down the kids joyfully screeched, don't worry mamma, we will catch you when you fall

Luckily we all survived

Friday, 18 January 2013

Levitated apple pie

Wel actually the apple pie wasn't levitated, but I did some levitation. I didn't quite dare hold the apple pie while levitating. It takes quite some concentration. I'm doing a weekly SP on FLickr and I might post the occasional one here. Red Coat But I also wanted to share my apple pie recipe. There were 6 kids over the floor today. Not so difficult if each of my kids brings a friend. They enjoyed the apple pie a lot. Anybody associated with the Netherlands, should eat at least the traditional Dutch one at least once and preferably with a big dollop of whipped cream. I forgot to buy the latter and the cake is still good without it. I've researched many recipes and to me it is unclear whether custard powder is traditional or not. But I quite like it with, so I always add it. Traditional Dutch Apple Pie

The recipe:

250 gr flour
125 gr butter cut in small blocks
125 gr demerara sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 medium egg whisked
1 kilo sour apples like Granny Smith
handful of currants
100 gr regular sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp 75 gr custard powder

baking pan needed
springform 24cm

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put all first 5 ingredients together, leave a little whisked egg, to make a soft dough. Form into a ball and refrigirate. Meanwhile (how I love that word as it is the title to a book where the main character tries to get out of the chores and discovers her can tranport himself to different scenes by writing meanwhile, but in the end he keeps getting in worse situation and in the end is qutie relieved he is back with his mom who asks him to take out the trash)... Sorry I got distracted, meanwhile peel and cut apples in small blocks. Coat the apples and currants with the remaining three ingredients. Get the ball of dough out of the fridge and roll out 1/3 to put int he base of the springform. Then roll out another 1/3 and roll out to cover the side. What I do first is to roll it out in a long snake and then roll out flat. Leave the remaining 1/3 for now. The first 2 2/3-rds should be slightly bigger than the last. Put in the apple mixture in the springform and then roll out the last 1/3. Cut into small strips and put it in a lattice shape over the top. Brush with the remaining egg and put in oven for 45min. Turn off the oven and leave another 15min. When the cake is finished whip some whipping cream and enjoy with preferably slightly warm cake. Enjoy

UPDATE 22 Jan: I've changed a few things in the recipe as I'm trying to make a good cake even better

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


I remember when I was younger my mom used to make erwtensoup. Obviously it's not a native dish to Korea, but she picked it up from a friend. In my memory it used to take forever, al though I realise now looking at recipes that it is mostly time spent by the pan on a low fire. I've never made it and it is on my to do list. Meanwhile we took quite a few packages of soup back from the Netherlands. I love to cook elaborately for dinner, but for lunch I like to keep it simple. Everybody in the Netherlands knows Unox and they are the best as soups go (and rookworst for that matter, but that's another story). I thought though if I'd write about the making of the soup being on my todo list, it would have more chance I'd actually make it.

Another thing I do make a lot, which really takes forever is yoghurt. Luckily the forever part is only the waiting and keeping it at the correct temperature. I have to make it often as my sons love it and they both have a lactose intolerance. I make it with lactose free milk and everybody is happy. The good thing with this winter weather is that the chilling can be done outside.


Monday, 14 January 2013


I like doing all different sorts of creative things. Certain periods I sew a lot, Mary detail
then other times I do a lot of
mixed media. This is one of my favorites I bumped into today.


or paint.


But one thing that is always present is my photography. In 2008 I officially started professionally and as I like designing myself, building websites is also something I like doing myself. At the time I was too busy and had it done by somebody else, but now this year I've decided to take it back into my own hands. I love writing websites in flash. The effects you can create are more seamlessly done than in html, well at least with my knowledge of html. There is still a lot to be learned and I'm already thinking how I can improve the site, but I'm proud of the fact that I'm mostly selftaught. I hope you'll have a look and any critique is more than welcome. So here goes with ShinY New Pictures

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Eye candy

I don't remember how I bumped into this one, but as soon as I saw it, I fell in love. It's a magazine about food, but not just recipes. It combines all I love, good photography, delicious food to be enjoyed with friends and family. It's not your usual food magazine which are normally bought to get some interesting recipes. It's more about stories how people have enjoyed it. When I buy cookery books, I enjoy more the stories aobut food than just getting another recipe. Depending on what you like to get out of a cookery book/magazine, you'll like this too or not :)

Sunday, 6 January 2013


2012 has been a mixed year. On one hand I'm grateful for life giving us health and much happiness, last year we had a lot of sad moments as well, losing friends and friends having serious ilnesses. Hopefully 2013 will continue to bring much happiness and not so much sadness. We are full enthusiasm.

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