Thursday, February 28, 2013

DIY Teacup Bird Feeder

Even though it is nearly spring (at least in my head) it keeps on snowing every now and then. And since we have such nice Teacup Bird Feeders for the large birds, and a Teapot Birdhouse, we needed something for the little birds. So, I went to the second hand store and bought this teacup and saucer for only 50 cents.

Then I used the Dremel with a diamond bit to drill two holes in both the cup and saucer. I made two holes so I would not have to stick both parts together, but could tie them with a bit of wire. Make sure you have enough wire to make loops on both sides to hang the feeder and the food. Use pliers to pull the wire tight. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dog Scarf

Yesterday I saw this amazing dog scarf tutorial at A Pair of Pears, and I decided to rush to the store for some yarn. After knitting a couple of hours yesterday evening while Tom was watching YouTube videos of trucks stuck in mud (cooler than you think it is), I finished my dog scarf. This morning I stuffed it in an envelope and sent it to my dog (in The Netherlands). When it arrives I'll post the pictures so I don't spoil the surprise just yet.

However, if you are just as enchanted by the picture form A Pair of Pairs, have a look at their tutorial!!
I can't wait to show you my version!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DIY Eraser Flash Drive

This morning I found this amazing instructable to DIY your own eraser USB flash drive. I'll post the pics below, but for the whole tutorial take a look at the link above.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bicycled (recycled bikes and upcycled cars)

Wow! Bicycled Bikes is making bikes from junkyard cars! What a terrific idea! To be honest, it's not really new for me. My grandpa used to be a car mechanic, the type who could put two cars together into one 'new' car (those were the days) and who also made my fist bikes from car parts. Although my grandpa did not use a transmission belt as a chain, they were very sturdy bikes! I can't wait to see these new and fully recycled bikes on the streets!!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kitty Birdhouse

It's looking like Friday is becoming birdhouse-Friday. After last weeks rooftop birdhouse to keep the kitties out, I found a pro-kitty birdhouse for sale a Modcloth. I am sure that there are some of you who can easily DIY this cutie! I can't wait to see your results!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Balcony Herb Garden

The last couple of days have been such sunny and spring-ish, that I decided to fill the pots on the balcony with herbs and flowers again. I'm pretty sure they will all be killed very very soon (good weather never keeps up in Belgium), but it is worth a try.

(parsley, thyme and rosemary)


(basil, oregano and chives)

Friday, February 22, 2013

DIY Teapot Birdhouse

Do you remember the teapot birdhouse I mentioned two days ago? And do you remember my shopping spree in the second hand shop where I was looking for a teapot? You can guess what I've been up to!

This is the teapot (1.50 €) I bought at the second hand shop. Although I would have preferred a more kitsch one with some gold and flowers this was the only one they had. In the end it did not even turn out to be such a bad choice.

When I finally figured out how to operate my Christmas present Dremel (thanks Tom < 3) I drilled a hole in the bottom with a diamond bit. At first the drilling didn't go so well (it sounded like the dentist), but then I remembered reading somewhere that you should add a little water to the porcelain surface you are drilling, and it flew through. 

At around 2.5 m we had a lonely and useless peg in the wall outside that looked perfect for the new birdhouse. With a little wiggling and enlarging the hole it even fit! And look how cute it is (the fake bird (aka geocache) for the pictures was Toms brilliant idea)!!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I should not go shopping

 There is a reason why I shouldn't go shopping at a second hand shop, most importantly I come home with stuff I don't need. Today I went out to find a teapot (next post will show you why), and I came home with a 'new' sweater, skirt and plate. and of course the teapot :-)

Vegetarian Mushroom Lasagna

This is one of the dishes my boyfriend has perfected in the last couple of months. He found that when you add all the leftover vegetables in the fridge it becomes quite a large lasagna  However, not all vegetables can be added to this lasagna  cabbage for one is not one of them. You can add corn, carrots, aubergine and bits of pumpkin. In my eyes this is an ideal recipe to play with and perfect over time.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 forest mushroom mixture (200 g), sliced
1 container mushrooms (400 g) sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 packets of pasta sauce (about 750-800 g)
1 pack fresh lasagna sheets (250 g)
1 cup light sour cream (125 g)
50g semi-matured cheese, grated

Baking dish 30 x 40 cm

Preheat the oven to 180 ยบ C. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the mushrooms for about 4 min. Spoon in 2/3 of the garlic and cook for another minute. Add pepper. Pour a thin layer of pasta sauce into the greased baking dish. Put in 2-3 lasagna sheets. Spread some mushrooms and a few spoonfuls of sauce. Cover with 2-3 lasagna sheets. Make more layers with the rest of the mushrooms and sauce. Finish with a layer of lasagna sheets and sauce. Mix the cream with the cheese and the rest of the garlic. Spoon onto the lasagna and spread out. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden brown.

You can prepare the lasagna half a day in advance (up to step two). Store the lasagna in the fridge until you are ready to continue to step three.

Original recipe is {here}.

Crochet Foxy Scarf

Do you remember the foxy scarf I wrote about a couple of days ago? I just found an other super cute crocheted fox scarf from the BeesKneesKnitting Etsy shop. They even have lots of other animal scarves such as raccoons  seals, dogs, moose and pigs.  They are great for people who actually know how to crochet (unlike me). The rest of us can just gape in amazement!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Teapot Birdhouse

Everyone knows I'm a tea drinker and tea paraphernalia lover pure sang, that's why I instantly fell in love with this teapot birdhouse. It would fit so snugly with the teacup bird-feeders we made a couple of weeks ago! It looks like a great DIY, by mounting it to a wall it's out of reach of all kitties, reusing the lid as a roof keeps the rain out, and the spout is great for keeping it dry. We're surly going to try this out!

Have a look at my version and DIY HERE

Carrot and Ginger Hotchpot

And another great one for our healthy food week. Enjoy!

1kg floury potatoes
3 large carrots (600 g)
4 cm ginger root
1 onion
25 g butter or margarine
2 cups sausage (200 g)
150 to 200 ml milk

Peel the potatoes, cut into small pieces, wash and boil for about 20 minutes. Peel and dice the carrots. Peel and grate the ginger. Peel and chop the onion. In a different pan, heat the butter and cook the carrot, ginger and onion softly for about 10 min. Meanwhile, cook sausage according to instructions. Drain the potatoes and mix them with the carrot mixture, puree it and season it with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with sausage.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dutch Onion Soup

I once had an economics professor who loved to tell the story about how he got a girl (now his wife) to go out with him. At first she thought nothing of him, only after he made her 206 (!!!) different soups did she agree to go out with him. He would like to tell the story in such a way that it seems she liked his soups so much she just had to be with him. However, we (the class) had a different theory. We believed she was so fed up with his cooking she went out with him just to make him stop.

4 eggs
500 g of onions
50 g butter
50 g flour
Beef stock (cube)
3 teaspoons (white wine) vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
(Freshly grated) nutmeg
100 g herb cheese

Boil the eggs for about 9 minutes. Peel the onions and cut them into rings. In (soup) pan heat the butter and simmer the onion rings for about 5 minutes until they are golden. Add the flour to the onions and fry for another minute. Make 1250 ml stock from the cube(s) and bring to the boil with the onion rings. Let simmer for another 10 minutes and season with vinegar, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Grate the cheese and peel and chop the eggs. Divide the eggs over four bowls, add the soup and the grated cheese. Serve with bread and butter.

Original recipe is {here}.

Crochet Cacti

Do you know those days that you wished you had payed attention when your mum tried to learn you to crochet? I wish I could make these amazing crocheted cacti! For everyone who can crochet The Funky Fox added a great DIY (in Danish). The very best thing about these cacti is that they are truly not killable (very very very handy).

I should totally learn to crochet.. I should ask my mum, and pay attention this time!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Foxy Scarf DIY

After the foxy bookmarks of a couple of days ago, I've been browsing some foxy cuteness. Everyone knows fox scarves are a no-no, except when they are made from pure fabric and are seriously cute! Not only is this gorgeous design from Prudent Baby, it is also a tutorial. For everyone who wants a faux-foxy-scarf the tutorial can be found {here}. I can't wait to see your results!

Pappardelle with round steak

A friend of mine (also a vegetarian like me) once described this dish as ‘road kill’.

4 round steaks, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
75 g pancetta, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
50 ml red port
125 g mascarpone
250 g fresh pappardelle (pasta)
50 g grated Parmesan cheese

Sprinkle the steak with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the steaks until the outside is brown and the inside still pink, in about three minutes. Remove them from the pan onto a plate. Gently fry the pancetta in the remaining shortening gently. Fry the shallots with the thyme along for about two minutes. Add the port and cook for another two minutes. Add the mascarpone and bring to the boil. Bring the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to package directions. Drain the pasta and place it on the plates. Add the sauce and steak, and finish it off with Parmesan.

Original recipe is {here}.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Curly kale with chorizo

Curly kale is a real Dutch winter vegetable. I have found that although you can buy it in almost every country (including France), you cannot find it anywhere in Belgium. Believe me, I’m not the first Dutch person complaining about this. Traditionally curly kale mash is served with smoked sausage, however I find that chorizo gives it a nice punch.

1 kg floury potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 chorizo (sausage, 250 g), cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, in half rings
2 tsp paprika,
500 ml beef broth (tablet)
1 bag kale (500 g)

Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chorizo for about 4 minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently. Remove the chorizo and set aside. Fry the garlic in the remaining shortening for about 1 min. Add the onion and paprika and cook 3 minutes. Stir frequently. Put the potato in with the broth with the onion. Bring to the boil, put the lid on the pan and let simmer 10 min. Add the kale and cook for another 5 minutes, simmer without a lid on the pan. Add the chorizo and warm for 2 minutes. Serve.

Original recipe is {here}.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Birdhouse cookies!

Ooh look! Birdhouse cookies! They look like such a good idea, and so cute! Planning to make these very very soon!

Casserole with sauerkraut and minced meat

In our healthy food week there should be some space for sauerkraut (event hough Tom hates it). By adding the applesauce to the sauerkraut you diminish the sour taste and make it edible, even for those who hate it!

300 g minced beef (or veggy minced seitan)
150 g applesauce
250 g sauerkraut, drained
550 g mashed potatoes
50 g cheese, grated

Step 1: Preheat oven to 200 ° C. Fry the minced mead in a dry nonstick skillet  on low heat for about 5 min unitl loosened, add salt and pepper to taste. Mix the applesauce with some salt and the sauerkraut.
Step 2. Place about half of the mashed potatoes in a greased baking dish. Spread the minced meat out over the mashed potatoes and cover it with the sauerkraut mixture. Spread the second half of the mashed potatoes on top and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Step 3. Slide the dish in the over for about 25 minutes until golden brown.

You could also stir in some sambal with the minced meat to make it a little more spicy.

Original recipe is {here}.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Foxy Bookmarks

I accidentally came across these seriously cute foxy bookmarks. Not only is the fox om nom nomming the page you mark, but if you close the book its cute little ears keep sticking out!

Lonnie Jacobsen (from Lonnies) designed them and offers them as a free printable on her blog {here}. She has made two designs the red and the grey fox, both are cute as could be.

The tutorial is easy, print them on heavy paper and cut them out.

Cut open the fox's 'jaw', place them in your book, and be adored!!

Rooftop Birdhouse

I found this in my pictures file! It sounds like such a nice and space-efficient way to have a birdhouse. The only problem I can imagine is the cleaning out. I'm really not prepared to climb on the roof to clean it out, far to high!

Spinach lasagna with goats cheese

In the name of "healthy food week", today's special: Spinach lasagna with goats cheese, another definite keeper.

250g mushrooms, quartered
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 packs creamed spinach,  (+/- 900g total, frozen)
1 pack lasagna sheets (250g)
2 bags of goat cheese, grated (150g)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. Grease a baking dish. Fry the mushrooms and onion for about 5 minutes in the oil, add the garlic during the last minute. Spoon in the frozen spinach and stir the mixture until the spinach is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Place 2 lasagna sheets in the baking dish, spread 1/4 of the spinach on top and sprinkle 75 grams of grated goat cheese. Repeat this 3 times. Slide the tray into the oven and cook until golden in about 30 minutes.
Step 3: Cut the lasagna in the dish and enjoy!

The original recipe is {here}

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Pasta with mozzarella and dried tomatoes

We tried this recipe out two nights ago and it was really good! I have come to the conclusion that we have been eating quite unhealthy lately so I came up with some healthy and new recipes to try out. This one is definitely a keeper.

1 large broccoli (600 g)
400g tagliatelle
1 bag of pine nuts (65 g)
3 cups mini balls of mozzarella (cheese, a 125 g)
1 jar of dried tomatoes (320 ml)
1 bag rocket salad (+/- 75 g)

Cut the broccoli into small pieces. Bring water to a boil and add the pasta with the broccoli and a tsp salt, until the pasta is ready. Drain and leave in pan. In dry skillet stir fry the pine nuts until brown, place them on a plate to cool. Drain the mozzarella and the semi-dried tomatoes, cut them into mixable pieces and add them to the broccoli and pasta. Warm the mixture through and serve with the pine nuts, rocker and ground pepper.

Original recipe is {here}.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Teal & Yellow

For some time I have been looking for some color to fit teal, especially the darker, fuller version of teal.. and it turns out it's not brown, purple or grey.. its a bright yellow!! Thinking of it, maybe oker could suit just as well.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Google birdhouses

Seriously clever birdhouses!! More pics {here} !

Monday, February 04, 2013

When in Brussels.. Go to the hammam

Part of the post-exam tradition is a long day at the hammam with the girls! A day of total an utter relaxation, lots of gossip and a good new haircut. For the past couple of years we have been going to Hammam Le Riad in Schaarbeek, Brussels. Not only is it not far from my old place, it has that oriental feel to it and the accompanying warmth from the steam baths and sauna, so we keep on coming back!

The stairs to heaven

The washing basins

The sitting area

Friday, February 01, 2013

Reupholstering the couch - After

Because we had two different fabrics we decided to make the cushions in two colors. So that if there are people coming over that do not appreciate big flowers, they can look at the boring white side. 

This is what we ended up with:


Reupholstering the couch - Before

This is our couch. I hate it! We bought it for 30€ in a second hand shop when we were in desperate need of a couch. It sits and lies great but I absolutely hate the cover. Once upon a time they were black, but the previous owners left it out in the sun. The result is horrifying. 

So, I tried staining it 'olive green', and failed. I misjudged the absorbentness off the covers and the couch turned out even worse than it already was. 

Even Tom did not mind reupholstering it. So, yesterday evening we went to Ikea to get some sturdy fabric. We came away with 2,5 m each of Frederika and Minna, total cost 22,25€. 

This morning I took the ugly covers off and what came out was not that bad!!

Keep in mind if you are doing this that you don't:
- only measure once (and cut twice)
- prick your finger with every pin you put in
- sew back to back
- let the cat help