Odin bag finished!

Yay! It's the first day of our Christmas holiday and I was indeed able to finish the bag today!! I'm quite pleased with the results. The shoulderstrap is about 4ft long, long enough for both Einarr and myself to use it as a "shopping bag" ;)

Oh and yes, that is REAL snow on the plant.... MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!!

cheerio, Arda


Museum visit

Last Sunday our club went to the Viking Information Centre on the ex-island Wieringen. It is a tiny museum about the excavations and finds on this small former island. The Vikings used the island as a stop on the way to Dorestad. There were plenty of coins, swords, bones, jewellery and such on display.

A personal favourite was a replica of this tunic and tablet woven trim. This trim is beautiful! I don't know if it was actually found here on Wieringen but that didn't dampen my spirits.

As you can see, the clothes are made in an authentic Viking way and this dummy even wore nalbound socks!!



Last year we spent a lovely weekend at the Open Air Museum in Eindhoven. One early morning, after breakfast and before the museum opened its gates, a mother duck and her baby duck approached our table and begged us for bread. Well... begged.... they practically stole it off the table haha! They were very cute and it was easy to feed them; the baby duck wasn't shy at all.
This little bit of footage still brings a smile to my face, I hope you enjoy it too.

This is one of the best things about re-enactment... the environment and the animals...


A new bag

During our Vinter Natten weekend (winter nights) which we annually hold at the end of October, Einarr did some experimenting with leather decoration.

Click on the photo to get a better look of his Jelling style dragon!

Vinter Natten is something I can recommend to every viking. It is a weekend without audience so enough time to try some new projects or crafts and there's always too much food and talk were Tjursläkter is concerned.

greetings, Arda


A bit of progress

With our schedules being so hectic, I can only show you a little bit of progress on the bag I am making. The design is now finished, I hope to be able to use the Christmas holiday for some finishing touches and stuff...
Will keep you posted
greetings, Arda


A bit of news...

Hiya folks,

Well, this blog has been silent for too long; this is because we are both swamped in work. Money-that-pays-the-rent-work that is, so boring and stressful but necessary nonetheless!

There is not much time left to finish our projects and/or take photos of the finished results. We did find time, however, for an Herb Workshop last weekend and I am happy to post two photos here.

Here's Einarr making a Calendula cream to heal and disinfect small wounds. He works with his hands and also his craftwork is all done by hand as you might know, so small scratches and scars plague his hands often.

Here I am making Rose Showergel. The focus of the Herb Workshop was Scandinavian Herbs, so herbs the Vikings might have used as well.

Take care, we'll post again when things at work settle down.

Greetz, Arda


Bag lady...

Like most living historians I have way too many projects. When you start something new your mind immediately thinks of a thousand other things you can do or try. I guess this is one of the downsides of a creative mind!

I like bags.... I like making bags and when we went to the Moesgard Museum in Arhus, Denmark two years ago I absolutely adored the runic stone you see hereunder. They have a fabulous collection of runic stones and this one is by far the most famous. Of course I saw a bag in this but I have waited two years to start it.

While working on my other projects (yes yes I will finish all of them soon haha!) my mind figured out how to make a nice sturdy bag to use in camp. The "leftover bag" I made several weeks ago was just for me, but this bag is something Einarr can use too without looking too feminine. After all, folks, the man is a VIKING.

I bought a really thick piece of dark brown felt and some lovely colours in bright blue, yellow and happy red, similar to the colours you see on the stone. I could not find a light colour felt that was strong enough so the design is slightly different than the stone. The good thing is that this way the bag is a quickie to make!

Here's a picture of the bag-in-process. The yellow outline is in chain stitch and the eyes and mouth will be in blue and red kloster stitch. After carefully looking at the runic stone we decided to leave out the white corners of the mouth, we think it'll be too much and we prefer to keep this design simple.


Finally! The decoration on Lars' cloak

Well, here it is, finally, the decoration for Lars' cloak I showed you in June! Click on the photo for a larger image.

Thanks to my good friend Annemiek S. for this great photo!


No progress, but a good photo anyway!

The toilet bag is not finished in terms of decoration, meaning the trim I intended to weave, but it was ready for use during the last Archeon week.

Here it is next to the lamp Einarr made last year, it looks quite good huh? Nobody knew it hid my toothbrush and stuff!

With regards to the lamp, keep an eye on this blog because Einarr will make a new one this winter and we'll be posting photos and work-plans for you to use.

greetz, Arda


More progress

As you can see, I have removed the light yellow chain stitch and I have replaced it by the darker yellow I had already used in the bird's neck. This actually makes the bird more "elegant" and less noisy in terms of different colours.

This is a detail on the toes and beak, I have used the same bright yellow. All colours used are natural wool.

I hope to show you the finished banner soon =).


Progess on Lindisfarne needlework

It took me a while to decide on the next steps to take in the Lindisfarne embroidery piece, because initially I wanted to leave the bird's wings "open". What you see hereunder is just an experiment.

The pictures are not too fancy, I'm afraid, and therefore the yellow looks way too bright but it is actually a nice soft colour. To give it a more "wing effect" I did not use the Bayeux stitch but a chain stitch in two strands of thread.

Winter tunic finished

Well, I am proud to be able to show you the finished winter tunic! The fabric is very warm and cozy and weaving the trim was a quick job luckily.

As you can see, the garment is a bit creased because I am not the only one who thinks this tunic is warm and comfy...
The pin is forged by the Kinheim Blacksmiths group, one of the groups from the Open Air museum in Eindhoven. It has a lovely spiral.
I have used very cheap wool from Zeeman for this trim, because I didn't feel confident enough to use expensive wool. Now that I look at the tunic and the trim I realise that is a ridiculous statement, but hey I am only human. At the last Archeon market I bought lovely wool dyed by Una from Muninn, so I am going to be brave for my next tape! I'll keep ya'll posted as usual.

greetz, Arda



Ok, ok, this is not authentic at all but these three planks are great storage space in your viking tent. You can keep your plates and such within reach; if you have a bunch of vikings running in and out of your tent you really want to find your kitchen items quickly!

Cute neighbours

Last week we spent the entire week in Archeon to participate in the International Viking week. For the most part of the week these two cuties were our neighbours.

These pigs are called Ot and Sien, which is particularly funny to the Dutch because the names refer to old primary school reading books.


Toiletries, part 2

Here's a bit of progress on the toilet bag I am making. I've already shown you the cord I braided, but now I finished the top with a small blanket stitch. The thread is a nice linen in darker yellow.

I already made a tunnel for the cord but I "covered" the modern machine stitching with a back stitch and I have finished the holes with a buttonhole stitch.

Winter tunic

Although tape weaving does not give you much room for experimenting with patterns and such, it does give you a good looking trim in a really short amount of time. So if you need something nice quickly, tape weaving might be a good suggestion and it is easier to do than tablet weaving.

Here's a trim I am making for my new winter tunic. Enjoy the pattern!

Despite the rumours that tape weaving is NOT viking, since nothing has been excavated (yet) I think this technique produces beautiful decoration and I am happy to share my knowledge of it.


Mustard soup with parsnips

2 large parsnips
1 "sharp" onion
50 gr butter
3 teaspoons of spicy mustard
0,5 l vegetable stock (or meat stock if you are non-veggi)
pinch of salt

Peel and slice the onion and parsnips very fine and bake them in the butter until the onion is glassy. Stir the mustard through the parsnips and onion. Cook everything on a high fire and add the stock. Stir until smooth and let it simmer for about 20 minutes on a low fire. Add some salt and serve hot!

This is what a parsnip looks like, it is a "white carrot". Thanks to Wikipedia for this photo.

Shield wall, well almost

Einarr made two new shields this week and painted them as well. The smaller shield had our own bird on it but the bigger and newer shield shows our Tjursläkter bull.

The bull is not perfectly Viking, since it was found in Scotland in a cave and it is believed to be Pictish... but it does make a smart logo, doesn't it?

The third shield you see here is for little Lars! It doesn't weigh much, which is perfect for him.


Roasted chicken....

Last May we went to an Iron age farm with the entire group of Tjursläkter to enjoy a simple weekend together. Guess what hopped on my lap when I was sitting by the fire....

I am glad I have the picture to prove it!


Bowls and such

Few wooden items have been excavated in the past few decades, here's a photo of a some bowls and spoons which were found

It's tricky to find something that resembles these items but if you go to fleamarkets and yardsales you should be able to come up with a few nice looking ones, like you see hereunder.

These items make great camp decoration to give it all an authentic look. You'll never be able to create perfect authenticity, but this beats plastic! The spoons you see are made of horn.



This is Einar's helmet and it's a copy of the 10th century helmet which was found in Gjermundbu in Norway. This particular helmet was excavated with chainmail protection attached to it but only at the back.

A helmet with chainmail attached to it completely like you see here was found in Valsgarde in Sweden but it is dated roughly 200 years before any "real" viking activity.
This helmet is very effective on the battlefield where safety is concerned.

The book "Die Wikinger" by Nurmann, Schulze and Verhülsdonk (isbn 3-932077-01-6) shows these helmets on page 28. The book is also available in English.


We sleep like babies...

... in this bed...

This is one of Einar's projects from last year, making a bed-frame.

I have to be honest with you folks, but I know zip about wood. If I am to believe Einar then this is a relatively easy bed-frame to make.

You need four planks of sturdy wood, four pegs and four "side-wings" which you can decorate or not. This is again a technique found on the Queen's bed on the Oseberg ship.
Our bed is resting on the ground and hides our beds and sleeping bags pretty well, but I suppose the bed could have legs as well.

Here's an excellent link on Viking beds: http://www.ravensgard.org/gerekr/bed.html

Our chairs

Here's a photo of the two chairs Einar made last year. We have no historical proof these chairs were ever used since none resembling these were ever excavated, however, Einar has used the same technique which was used for the bed found on the Oseberg ship. In the background you can see our bed too.

Here's Lars doing some woodcrafting of his own, seated on one of the chairs.

click on the photo to get a bigger picture


We hope to be able to publish some of our favourite recipes here in this section, just click on Cooking! There will be plenty of veggi recipes too =)

What you see here is a simple bacon-pancake...surely you know how to make those!

Toiletries, part 1

Most women I have seen in Viking camps use baskets to keep their toiletries. It looks very cute, yes, but for some odd reason it does not work for me. I always seem to lose things from the basket so I need something with an authentic look that can be closed.

Of course nothing even remotely resembling Viking toiletries has ever been excavated and if I think of that scene in "The 13th Warrior" where they all share a bowl of water to clean faces and noses it still makes my flesh crawl... so I've come up with the following solution.

I bought one of those round wooden boxes you can find in almost any craft shop. I took one of the bigger ones, big enough to hold all those essential items you need to become a nice clean viking...

Then I took a bit of fabric which was left of Lars's small kaftan. It is a really thick wool so sturdy enough to make a nice big toilet pouch. The round box fits perfectly inside.

This is what it looks like so far, I still intend to decorate the top and perhaps make a nice tape woven trim to make it less boring.

I did not use a lucet to make a cord, instead, I braided three strands of wool together. I actually like braiding because you can use many different colours and my lucetting skills are not so fantastic at the moment... I am sure you will be able to forgive me.

Also, I recommend that you use a water sealer on the wooden box (inside and out!) so that it's protected from any leaky bottles and such....


Nice knife sheath

For his own dagger Einarr made this sheath. The happy little bronze goose foot you see attached to it, is not really male viking jewellery but it looks quite cute nonetheless.

Again, click on the photo to get a larger picture.

Leather pouches by Einarr

Click on the photos to get a larger picture!

Einarr made several leather pouches over the past few years and here are some of the ones he made. The one you see hereabove is my own pouch!

This pouch is based on an excavated pouch found at Sutton Hoo.

This pouch was made for the friend of a friend, no seriously!

Our new kitchen chest, made by Einar

Einar was not completely happy with our old "kitchen chest". First of all, it was not authentic at all... although it had an authentic look, and second it was just too heavy even when empty!

He decided to make a new chest over the weekend and here's the result. You will notice that the lid was inspired by the Mastermyr chest and the bottom was inspired by the Oseberg chest.

The iron hinges were bought from our Danish Viking friend Sören Nordekjaerd.

Here's a nice photo of the Oseberg chest. The original you see hereunder is on display in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway.

Bits 'n pieces bag

The thing with making Viking clothes, or any other type of clothes for that matter, is that when the garment is finished there are a lot of left-over bits and pieces of the fabric. After making several costumes I ended up with a basket with a lot of remnants and since (to my knowledge) Vikings didn't quilt I decided to use the rest of a winter tunic and what was left of Einar's legwraps into a bag

The broad leg wraps make this a comfy bag to carry around sore shoulders. After weaving and cooking all day, Viking women deserve comfortable shoulder straps, yay!

The tablet woven trim is not fantastic, but it's alright for a bag. This was just a trial piece for a nice trim I want to make for one of Einar's tunics. I've used a simple cotton here and as you can see it starts to wear quickly. The colours are white and burgundy. I am not going to use cotton on Einar's tunic, we are still looking for nice wool.

I've been playing hookey with this bag, to be honest, because I sewed a zipper inside to make sure my camera and such stay where they should stay.... inside the bag.... I've seen too many "accidents" with bags which were a bit too authentic. Well, I prefer to keep my belongings!


First REAL naalbound project!!

I'm so proud I'm about to explode!! You know I'm not very clever when it comes to naalbinding so I am very happy that I was able to make and finish this pouch in only two days, yay!

I've worked with a simple Danish stitch and the pouch is 14 cm high and 8 cm in diameter so big enough to hold keys or other modern items you want out of the way.

The wool is greyish/brown with white and it is again a little bit of left over wool my mother-in-law gave me, the orange is also cheap & simple wool... I had a few strands left to pimp this pouch up a bit :D