14 May 2013

Guerilla knitting in Amstelveen

I'd read about guerilla knitting (or yarn bombing) in books and online but had never seen it live... Until I came across these trees in Amstelveen. I love it! Its so colourful and looks nearly natural. It reminds me I'd like to learn to knit...

02 May 2013


Spending Queensday in Texel away from the crowds is the best decision I could make! It was sunny and calm. The nature was beautiful, varying so much from one place to another on the island. The strong wind reminded me I am alive! It was the perfect getaway to get grounded again.

25 April 2013

I love rust

More pictures from Sugar City. Rust cames in all colours and textures... I love rust! I wrote about it here last year. At Sugar City so many surfaces are at different stages of rust and decomposition.

24 April 2013

Back to Sugar City

I went back to Sugar City on my way home from work today. I had less access to the site than last time.  Since it has been renovated to host offices and the station has been built at Halfweg, gates and barbed wire have been put up. But the zone is still as beautiful and fascinating, modern and decrepit
Easy to believe: Unauthorised access prohibited
Harder to believe: Watch out! Machines operated remotely

24 March 2013

My own greenhouse

Yesterday despite the chilling cold wind, the sun was shining and inside my flat and I enjoyed seeing all my plants bathing in the sunlight. A simple pleasure of life.

12 March 2013

Help someone for free

Chris Guillebeau from Art of Non-conformity is trying a social experiment to get people to help each other for free: http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/help-someone-for-free/. The diversity of people's responses are amazing:-) so curious to see how much beauty and sharing comes from this experiment!

Here is what I have to offer: I have some small seeds of this cute plant, it's super easy to take care of. I don't know exactly which plant it is (I've been told it's from the family of the Plumeria (frangipani)...  Post a comment if you would like some seeds:-)

09 March 2013

Beans and more

Since many years on my Mondo Beyondo list I have written that I want to have a garden and grow my own food.  The spring is arriving and this year I've decided to do something to make those dreams come true:-)  I don't have my own garden, but I do have a north-east facing balcony.  I have a lot of decorative plants in my flat but I haven't grown anything from a seed since avocados and peas when I was about 5 years old! Why don't we get taught these things all throughout school? Imagine how much knowledge I would have by now...

My first action was to follow a 4 part course called 'Get down, get dirty' to learn to grow my own food, I had my first class and am stoked to see my first seeds growing on the window sill. Here they are:
Oost-Indische Kers / Indian Cress
Today I went to volunteer at De Brede Moestuin in Zuid, between tall office skyscrapers. It was raining the whole time (gotta love Dutch weather) and I definitely was not well equipped (next time I will bring a real rain jacket, waterproof pants and wellington boots), but it was so much fun! This was really getting down and dirty! First we weeded and aired the beds, we made holes at regular intervals with our thumb, then we planted the beans and covered the beds with plastic mesh to avoid pigeons getting to them.

We had a delicious break at restaurant Bolenius which uses local products including some from the garden we were working in. I ate my first bitterbal since becoming a vegetarian, made from Jerusalem artichoke (also called topinambour), delicious and much needed considering the cold outside. Then I harvested some veldsla (corn salad, mache) and some rode mosterdblad (mustard greens) that had been planted in November.

I didn't think to take any pictures unfortunately... just my muddy jeans and boots when I got home. I've rarely been this soaked but despite the weather I had a wonderful time and feel I've learned so much. And... I got a small bag of duivenbonen (pigeon bean) to experiment at home and around.

04 March 2013

Making jam - part 2

I like making jam as small gifts to friends. I save especially my quite small pots as they make for cute little gifts and it means I can make more pots. The last touch once the jam has cooled is to make the labels. I like to make them all unique and state the date so I remember when I made them. The trick to stick labels onto glass is to take normal white paper, write on it and dip it in milk. Then place it on the side of the pot and let it dry, it will stick nicely. Sometimes I also cut a circle of fabric to decorate the top of the pots.

03 March 2013

Aquaponics at Mediamatic

Yesterday I went to discover an exhibition at Mediamatic, I was attracted by the fact that the website stated they were builing an Aquaponics culture. In short, it is a sustainable set-up where you can grow fish and small lobsters in water, and plants on the other layers, without any waste. The fish excrement is used as nutrients for the plants and the plants in turn filter the water.

I have to say it seemed to me like a very complex setup, for which you still need electricity to pump the water (so not entirely sustainable) and the vegetables were not yet impressive. However the idea is interesting and there were these magnificent mushrooms growing in the humid air. They're edible, and apparently the people working there help themselves when they want a snack.
Mediamatic is a great place because it is always in transformation and the projects get you thinking. Yesterday there was not yet much to see, but soon this huge warehouse will be full of projects: t-shirt design station, a restaurant (serving those veggies), a distillery making jenever from waste and the 'Tosti factory' where the whole process of producing a Tosti (toasted ham and cheese sandwich) will be explored from beginning to end. A field has been prepared (in this old shipyard) to grow grain for the bread, a cow will be kept for cheese as well as 2 pigs. The whole process will take 7 months. I think this is a wonderful way of creating awareness about where our food comes from and what it takes to prepare it from scratch.

All this was very kindly explained by an intern working there who took the time to show us around. I look forward to going back there to see more when the projects will be more advanced.

17 February 2013

Making jam

Making jam is one of those indoor house activities that I love. I save all my little glass jars in order to have them on hand when I want to make jam.

Yesterday I went looking for a seasonal ingredient for my jam, pear seemed to be the winner. So I went to the market, bought 4 tasty pears (mine were Comice pears, though the recipe I found recommended Williams), 2 kiwis and 2 bananas.
Simple recipe, I just cut up all the fruit (without skin and seeds), put everything in a pan with about 700g of sugar, let it cook for 12 minutes, stirring regularly. Then I let the fruit cool a little, before blending the mix (not too finely, because I like my jam with bits of fruit in it).
I then put it into the jars (cleaned, boiled and dried beforehand). I close the jars and let them cool upside down until they are cold. Taadaah! This morning I indulged pancakes with the fresh jam and I found it delicious. The fruit mix really well together, and I could really taste their different flavours.