Donnerstag, 28. Juni 2012

Tutorial: Kabyle Wool Belt

 The process of learning a new folklore dance is not completed for me without making an authentic costume for myself. This usually includes a lot of costume research, fabric and jewellery purchases from the originating country via internet or in persona, and often the making of a whole costume with all of its regalia.
Fortunately I share this passions with my lovely dancing colleagues Lenajaan and Melanie and our newest treasure is a dance from the Kabyle (Berber) region of Bedjaia, Algeria.
I brought the costumes from our last visit at our in laws, but then I felt that somehow something was missing.
Flipping through pictures of other dance groups I frequently saw woolen belt with pompons and tassels and finally I also found a specimen I thought I could imitate (picture credit: here)

So here comes the process; not particularly difficult but quite time consuming.

I collected wool from my stash in the typical colours white, black, red, yellow and turquoise. Make a couple of tassels and pompons.
Measure the length of the belt generously. Calculate that you will like to have the tassels dangling in front of you and / or sidewise.
Cut 20 sections of yarn of the desired length of the belt.

Start decorating the belt with wool straps securing them with a knot at the desired place and winding it around the belt creating contrasting sections.
You can also braid  some sections using contrasting yarns. Then add tassels and pompons.

Here are the belts for the three of us:
And here we are "in action": :-D
(its me on the left)

Sonntag, 17. Juni 2012

Sunday of the Frugal Housewife

Partly probably due to my Svabian ancestors (they are the Scotsmen of Germany when it comes to parsimony), partly due to vital necessisty in the years I have perfectionated my habit of never ever throwing away anything that is still good, exspecially regarding food.
So today we have an extraordinary frugal Sunday with homemade marmelade from garden strawberries and a cocktail of very ripe fruits from the kitchen:

Venetian bread cake with apples. A recipe from my mom who taught me never to throw away bread ... "because the child Jesus ("Gesù bambino" is a very common figure in Italy that sees Jesus Christ predominantly as a human being. Its the poor little boy that was born in the hut, a very well known situation in after war Italy) climbed down from his donkey just to pick up a tiny crum of bread." This used to be told to children that (quite naturally) refused to eat bread from the day before.
Additionally the women of the Padan Plain, once a very poor region where my mom comes from, created a lot of delicious ways to use day-old bread. One of our favourite is the bread cake:
You need: 
day old bread cut in cubes (as much you can put in a salad bowl
1 liter of milk
3 spoons of sugar
vanillia essence
3 spoons of butter or vegetal oil
3 eggs
3 peeled and diced apples
raisins (if you like them. My kids are unfortunately rather picky with them)
Heat the milk until it begins to boil. Be careful to stir it while heationg, otherwise it tends to stick on the bottom of the pot. Add sugar, vanilli essence and butter in the end. Then pour it on the bread dices and cover the salad bowl with a large lid. Leave it while you prepare the apples. Mash them with the bread that should have absorbed the milk by now and add the eggs. Butter a casserole and bake for 25 min.
With vanillia sauce it makes a whole meal!

 And finally some pasta al forno, an absolute classic for reusing leftovers from the previous day. Mix them and add eventually tomatoes to make a sauce. Cook some pasta, add the sauce and cover everything with a bechamelle sauce. Done! Super quick and easy.
And how do you celebrate frugality? I'd love to know!
Have a great sunday!