Crochet baby cardigans

….Because babies are always fun to crochet for.Tiny projects like these, or a nice, comfy babyblanket…..

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…Because once you’ve found a pattern you’re happy about it’s a shame to use it only once……

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….Because handmade gifts are always a good idea….

 

 

 

 

Book 1: Lost and Found

 Well, the first book of 2016 is a fact!
And it was one that put a smile on my face, and made me think.

Brooke Davis’ debut: Lost and Found is the story of Millie Bird who travels all across Australia looking for her mum, who left her behind in a department store after the death of her husband.

On her somewhat surrealistic roadtrip, Millie is accompanied by her elderly neighbour Agatha and Karl the typist, each of them struggling with the loss of their loved ones and with life itself.

The story of their journey is told from the perspective of Millie, and of her two elderly companions.
I took this book along from the library, mainly because I fell for the cover, and the brief description on it. I had no idea there was a complete website behind the book (which is where I found this little film too).
If you are looking for a book that will put a (sometimes sad) smile on your face,and will keep you reading, here is one.
What’s the first book you’re reading this year?

New years resolutions

A new year, time for some resolutions!

What is it with January that it makes one want to start all over, do things differently…and better?

While I write this post, my two youngest kids are cleaning out their bedrooms, spontaneously and all by themselves. Must be those January vibes, because this is so unique!

I sit quietly, afraid of spoiling the magic, thoroughly enjoying the sight of those little kids walking through the house with the vacuumcleaner, and a smile on their faces.

A clean slate, a fresh start……….. So, why don’t I share some of my resolutions with you?

In 2016, I want to:

  • Reduce the amount of plastic used in our household. I’ll try to keep you posted on my successes and failures. Any suggestions on how to go about are welcome!
  • Craft more. It is hard to find the time in between work, kids and household, but it’s such a necesary thing for me to do. I just feel better when the creativity is flowing. So why are my crafty moments always on the bottom of my to do list?
  • Read more. More even than crafting, reading is a life necessity. I can’t be happier than when I’m lost in a book. To keep me reading, I will keep track on this blog of the books I’ve read. I’d appreciate it if you’d share the most beautiful and inspiring books you’ve read in the comments below to give me some reading inspiration.
  • Blog more frequently.
  • Take further steps to reduce our ecological footstep and live a greener life.
  • Discover new recipes

And in 2016, I will go to bed on time, keep up with the laundry, be a patient mom, start running again, spend more time with the kids, read them all those nice childrens books that are still waiting for them, participate in their school activities, sew their carnaval costumes, plan their birthday parties on time, and cook them wholesome meals they’ll eat with a smile……………Ok, wait….let’s not set the aims too high, let’s go with the flow, see how we roll?

Either way, let’s have fun in 2016!

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What are your resolutions?

 

DIY playdough

When the kids where younger, I often made their own playdough.

Now they are older, they play with playdough less often, but it’s still a success during the holidays! This time I made a cinnamon scented pink batch. Fun ( and a few quiet moments for me) guaranteed!

 

You will need: one cup of salt, 2 large cups of flour, 2 large cups of water, 5 tablespoons of sunflower oil, 1,5 teaspoon cream of tartar, a large pan and a wooden spoon. Optional: foodcolouring, scents).

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Put all ingredients (except the foodcolouring) into the pan, and stirr above medium heat. Stirr well!  Within a minute or two you will see your mixture changing into a playdough-like ball.

Remove from pan and place on your workspace. Allow to cool, kneed thoroughly and add foodcolouring according to taste.

Now, let’s play. When done, store in an airtight container and use again and again.

playdough

You can use this recipe for very young children too. They love to feel, kneed, smell, touch….taste….., and you don’t have to be afraid they put anything poisoness in their mouth if they decide to taste it!

Happy 20 sweet 16!

No better place to spend the first day of a new year, than on the beach!

We didn’t jump into the sea, like so many others do for a real ‘Nieuwjaarsduik’, a dive into the new year, but we did get our shoes and socks wet.

 

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Happy New Year to all of you, let’s make it a good one!

Vegan ‘oliebollen’

It’s a Dutch traditon to eat oliebollen (fried dough) on New Years Eve, and in our family it’s a good tradition to bake them ourselves.

You can buy oliebollen everywhere these days, but if you’re a fan of homemade, of a morning  spent behind the frying pan, hungry kids swarming around your legs, clouds of icing sugar and batter everywhere…the 31st of December is the best day of the year!

This year I used a recipe of the ‘Nederlandse vereniging voor Veganisme’, that I came across on Facebook:

oliebollen

375 gr flour, 375 ml water, 30 gr sugar, 7 gr dried yeast, 3 gr cinnamon, 110 gr raisins, a few drops of lemon juice, 4 gr salt.

Mix all ingredients into a sticky batter, cover your bowl with a damp cloth and put in a warm spot. Allow to rise for 45 minutes.

 

Meanwhile heat the oil in your frying pan. Use 2 spoons to place drops of batter in the oil, fry for about 6 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius, or until crispy and brown.

I never manage to make perfectly round oliebollen, but the odd shaped ones taste just as good. This year I managed to bake a baby dinosaure !

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Sprinkle with icing sugar, eat and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Christmas decorations

It’s that time of the year again; time to bring out the Christmas decorations!

Not the most fashionable ones perhaps, just the ones that make us happy, and that make our home a comfy colourful welcoming place.

 

thrifted christmas angels

Our Christmas decorations are thrifted:

thrifted plate

Fairtrade:

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Made by the kids, throughout the years:

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And handmade by me:

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That Christmas tree is hard to photograph, but you get the idea I  guess: branches collected in the woods, dried, and tied together, hung on the wall and decorated.

 

…and it ain’t Christmas ’till I’ve had time to crochet some stars!

Vegan merengue, finally!

It was all over internet the past few months, vegan merengue. As sweet and tasty as the original, but made with an unexpected – and vegan – ingredient: Aquafaba, the water in which your chickpeas have been soaking; the water from the chickpea can. I used to pour this down the drain, just like most of you I guess, but now there’s a sweet alternative. Chickpea dinners now come  with almost instant sweet deserts.

Aparently, the chickpea water has the same qualities as egg white. Is it the proteins from the beans? or something else? I haven’t had time to look up the theory behind this, but I did some experimenting, and Oh boy! whatever it is that causes chickpea water to be turned into sweet tasty merengues, it must be a good thing!

If you want a tried and tested recipe, or if you want to be inspired by tasty pictures of numerous posibilities for vegan fluff, vegan marshmellow and vegan merengue, jus go to Pinterest! 

vegan merengue

Here’s how I made mine:  This is NOT a sugarfree recipe!

Drain the water of a 400 ml can of chickpeas. Make something tasty with the chickpeas.

Use a mixer or kitchen machine to whip the chickpea water into a smooth, white creamy substance. This is remarkably quick and easy.

Meanwhile, add 5 spoons of sugar, slowly one by one.

I also added 2 drops of vanilla essence, and for half of the mixture, some red, vegan foodcollouring to create pink merengues (too pretty, we ate them before I could take a picture).

Heat your oven up to 110 degrees Celsius. Place a sheet of baking paper on a tray, and  spoon small amounts of fluffy stuff on your paper (about a soonful each). Leave some distance in between. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour. Check if they are dry, and adjust baking time if necessary.

we like’m crispy on the outside and just a tiny bit chewy on the inside.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container….or eat…..

 

vegan merengue christmas

As you can see, we had company, enjoying this vegan merengue! Now where did they come from? I guess they have been hiding among the Christmas decorations for almost a year. They seem happy enough to be let out again!

Christmas decorations……. something to write about in a next blogpost, soon!

 

 

 

 

Laundry adventures

I named my blog ‘this green adventure’ because I aim at giving our live a greener, more sustainable twist. Discovering new ways to do so is an ongoing challenge and an adventure.

Today, let’s talk laundry. In a household with 3 kids, the laundrypile is an ongoing nightmare…a never ending story.

Laundry detergent is used, well, quite a lot as you can imagine, and for some time I’ve been wanting to step away from the regular stuff sold in the local supermarket. So, I started using vinegar as a softener, and decided to make my own laundry detergent. I collected empty bottles to store my homemade detergent in, looked up recipes on the internet and.that.was.that. Somehow I never got round to actually making the stuff. Was this to be the end of a greener laundry pile?

Well, no. Luckily I discovered Seepje, a laundry detergent made of the shells of the Sapindus Mukorossi fruit. The Sapindus trees grow in abundance in the Himalaya area, and the organic shells sold by Seepje are harvested by local Nepalese farmers who receive a fair price for their produce.

The shells contain saponine, a natural soap which is released once the shells get in contact with water. You simply put some shells in a cotton bag and add it to your laundry in the machine. You can even use these when washing by hand, and each batch can be used up to three times. For an extra scent you can add a few drops of etherical oil. just pick your favorite smell!

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There is also a  liquid version available which contains 70% sapindus shells, and is just as easy to use as your regular liquid detergent.

I am a big fan. I usually use the shells, and today I tried the liquid version for the first time. Probably not the last though!

Maybe one day I might still try making my own, but for now Seepje enables me to wash in a more sustainable way.

In The Netherlands, Seepje is available through the website and in stores like WAAR.

If you live outside The Netherlands, you can check at Seepje if one of the websites listed also ships outside The Netherlands. Or look for products containing Sapinus Mukorossi or ‘soapnuts’ near you.

Use what you have crafts #5

Using what you have, not running to the store for again, new yarn, makes creative and leads to surprisingly colourful combinations. It’s a challenge to get started sometimes, to make it work with what I’ve got, I will admit, but the result this time has made me very very happy.

crochet cardigan 2

A crochet bolero, made for my daughter’s 7th birthday. She wore it on her birthday and on many, many of the following days. The pattern was an improvisation on the pattern I used for this baby cardigan, the yarn 100% cotton, the hook 3 mm.

I completely forgot to blog about it once it was finished. I stumbled upon the pictures I took on my camera, and decided to share them anyway. Better late than never so to speak!