Author Archives: Laurel



Frisian Flag

Opa is still most comfortable gardening in his wooden shoes, or klompen. Wood or not, over time holes are worn right through the wood in the vicinity of the toes. When that happens, it means it’s time to get new klompen.

But what of the old ones?

make a planter

This works best with two wooden shoes, because they can be hung from the string that ties them together.

If you want them to last, start with a plastic bag ~ milk bags* work quite nicely. It works best to start with a seedling that will fit into the bag with a little extra soil, and then the bag can be inserted into the wooden shoe. I expect you could do this without the bag, but then the klomp will break down much faster.
Flag og Groningen
It is important to pull the tip of the bag through the opening worn through the toe. Once a corner of the plastic bag is outside the shoe, it can be punctured for drainage. When you water the plants (best done daily, and carefully) the excess water drips out the wooden shoe toe.  (As you might imagine, this type of planter is best employed out of doors.)

Naturally, they can be decorated any way you like. I chose to paint mine with flags from the Nederland provinces of Friesland and Groningen.
wooden shoe hanging planters

Milk bags* are the most common way milk is sold in Ontario. Originally, there were three 1 quart clear plastic bags of milk packaged together in a larger opaque bag. When Canada went metric in the 1970’s, they started selling 4 litre bags of milk, but they kept three interior clear plastic bags inside, now each holding 1 1/3 litres of milk.

In case you’re wondering how we get the milk out of the bag and into our cereal without making a horrendous mess, you’ll be pleased to know the milk bags fit inside handy milk pitchers. Once the sealed bag of milk is settled inside the pitcher, you cut off the top corner of the bag and pour from there. It works a treat. 🙂

As you can imagine, these bags are durable and if washed out immediately, can safely be reused as a freezer bag for storing food… or as a planter bag for your klompen.

deviled eggs

devilled eggs

I was around eleven years old the first time I ever tasted deviled eggs; they’ve been a favorite ever since.

how to make

hard boiled egg whites, cut length wise with yolks removed
Steam eggs (over boiling water in a vegetable steamer)
for ten minutes until they are hard boiled.
Remove from heat.
Cool: pour out the hot water and cover the eggs in cold water and repeat when the heat from the eggs warms the water. This cools them down quickly, and prevents the gray ring around the yolks from over cooking.[1].

stirred wit a fork Cut eggs in half lengthwise (a butter knife should do),
drop the yolks into a bowl
and set the whites on a plate or in a container

Stir the hard boiled egg yolks
until they are all crumbled

per whole egg yolk

Add one rounded teaspoon of mayonnaiseegg yolks with mayonaise and  black pepper added
and a dash of black ground pepper
(or two if using more than a dozen eggs)

Optional: I used to add salt to taste, sprinkling on roughly the amount of salt I would have added to my dinner but since I began reducing salt in my diet,
I simply left it out to no apparent detriment.  egg yolks, mayo and pepper mixed together
I’ve since entirely eliminated salt from my deviled eggs and had no complaints. You are welcome to add some if you like. If you want to add spices (perhaps garlic powder) or anything else (maybe finely chopped onions or peppers) this would be the time to do so.
Some prefer the whipped mayonnaise substitutes, but I find the resulting deviled eggs are too sweet.

Stir the yolk mixture until creamy consistency.
egg yolks and whites reunited
Scoop yolk mixture back into the egg whites.
The final step is to lightly sprinkle on the paprika; this is what makes these eggs “deviled.”  The red spice isn’t just an aesthetic garnish, it adds something extra to the flavor.

what to do with leftovers

Even in a sealed container, deviled eggs are no longer at their best the next morning, so on the odd occasion when there are left overs,  stir them together into egg salad.

devilled eggs

[1] Anyone who has ever hard boiled eggs has probably encountered the a green/grey film around the egg yolks. This isn’t harmful, just aesthetically displeasing. This is caused by a chemical reaction:

The egg yolk contains iron and the white (albumen) contains sulfur. During boiling the sulfur atoms are liberated and react with hydrogen ions in the white to form hydrogen sulfide (a gas). As gas forms, it diffuses in all directions and some reaches the surface of the yolk, where it encounters iron and reacts to form dark particles of ferrous sulfide.


magnetic pincushion


Sewing isn’t my strong suit, but I do it when I need something made out of cloth.

sewing boxBecause pincushions have never worked very well for me, I devised a better way to keep track of my pins and needles.

make it:

Place a reasonably strong magnet inside the metal lid from a glass bottle. This is much easier to get pins in and out of than any other pincushion.

pins in a magnetic pin cusihion

making drawings


We were always making things when I was a kid. My parents were creative, and they certainly encouraged us in this. These are some of my pencil sketches from when I was three and four years old.

a bunny drawn when I was about 4 and a half

Paper was expensive, so we drew on whatever we could get our hands on. When I was a little older, I rememberwe used to go through our notebooks at the end of the school year and liberate any unused pages for drawing paper. That’s why a lot of our early drawings are on lined paper.

primitive pencil drawing of a lion

my dad, drawn when I was almost 4

I never felt I was a good artist, because my older siblings drew so much better than I did. I was never very good at colouring inside the lines.But it never stopped me from making art, because making art was fun.

pencil drawingsfrom when I was three years old