As you know crafts are my passion. This is why I strive to find the best places and websites to supply myself. I like when it is good quality but also at a good price. In this article, I will tell you my favorite places in Utrecht to shop for equipment. I hope this will help you get started in some DIY projects.
Best places for sewing materials
Ria’s fournituren: a small shop hidden in the city
A very small shop in the city center and yet very very well equipped. Ria’s fournituren is located in the alley that starts from the Vredenburg place and joins the famous Oudegracht street.
Its entrance is barely noticeable and yet the shop will provide you with almost any sewing accessory: bias binding, lining, lace, scissors, buttons…. The only item I can't find there are the sewing machine feet (only sold in stores that sell sewing machines).
The prices are reasonable and the quality is very good. If this is your first time sewing, I suggest you bring your list and stock up there. You will be very well received, with sellers who speak Dutch and English, who will be able to advise you and present you with the different options. It is also appreciable because we do not have this luxury when we buy at the, often crowded, fabric market.
Lapjesmarkt: the famous fabric market
The famous fabric market in Utrecht and the biggest in the country, the Lapjesmarkt is 400 years old now. It is held every Saturday from 9AM to 1PM on Breedstraat and Begijnhof.
You will find dozens of stands every week. From one end to the other, you will be able to supply yourself entirely for your sewing projects. They sell accessories, fabrics of all colors, all materials and all prices. The quality is there!
Some stands even sell coupons for €1 or €2. Enough to carry out beautiful projects without having to invest a lot of money. A little break on the sunny terrace of the Café De Stadsgenoot is in order, or for those in a hurry but the gourmands, it will be the opportunity to have a hot chocolate and a pastry to take away at Life's a Peach at Hardebollenstraat which is located at the half of the market.
For sewing enthusiasts, I advise you to take large bags to bring back your finds, it is sometimes difficult to resist these pretty fabrics at 2€ per meter! Go there around the 9-10 a.m. opening, to avoid the crowds and therefore long queues at each stand.
Crochet and knitting materials
Zeeman, the budget chain
This inexpensive chain store offers many possibilities when it comes to crochet or knitting. Indeed, you will find yarns varying from 1 to 5€. The value for money is quite satisfactory. Restocking is random so if you see any yarn you like, make sure you have enough to complete your project.
Sticks and cups: the little wool shop in the city center
A small shop in which you will find everything you need for your crochet or knitting projects. Quality balls of all colors and materials. On the other hand, the prices reflect the quality of this store.
Crafts of all kinds
Sostrene Grene - especially for wool, flower wreaths and paint
When you enter a Sostrene Grene shop, it’s almost impossible not to buy something! I really like this store because it is dedicated to creative arts and at a lower cost. You can find a lot of things there at a reasonable quality and a low price. I particularly like to buy yarn of wool there because they sell beautiful colors and interesting textures (Wool, Mohair). I also supply the wreaths when it comes to the flower wreaths or christmas wreaths workshops.
Of course the Pipoos store which is located on Oudegracht in the city center is a store 100% dedicated to crafts of all kinds. You will find anything to do any creative activity there. The prices are not very competitive, it must be admitted, but the quality is there. Although the store may seem small, it is very well stocked and has a great variety of products.
Action stores are not specialized in crafts and yet they have a whole department dedicated to DIY. You will find anything you need to knit, crochet, paint, make collages, write on textiles, make bead jewelry, create personalized cards, draw, etc. All Action stores offer this crafts department. In Utrecht there are several shops, in the city center the store is located inside the Hoog Catharijn shopping center, on the Centraal train station side. The prices are really competitive. Attention they work by arrival and by season. So if you see something you like, stock up!
Intratuin, gardening store
To make the floral crowns, I advise you to buy plants from Intratuin. a rather well-known gardening store, which offers affordable solutions for decorating wreaths.
The city's unmissable flower market, located on Place Janskerkof every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Whether in summer or winter, this is where I get my plants and flowers all year round. The prices are average and the flowers are fresh and beautiful.
During the Christmas period, you can also find everything you need for fir branches and other Christmas wreath ornaments.
Enjoy your crafts shopping!
With these few store tips, I hope you will find what you are looking for for your creative projects this year. Do not hesitate to share with me your finds and your favorite stores, I am always curious to discover new places in the city.
Vegetarian Christmas dinner
Let’s be a bit more inclusive this year for Christmas by providing vegetarian options!
As a vegetarian of course I wanted to write this article but also because I can see a lot of people struggling for the Christmas dinner when they invite over some vegetarian guests.
I wanted to give you some options to cook a very easy and simple dinner for your friends and family, with maybe less animal products. Of course it’s not part of my usual craft field, but it’s part of the creativity you have to develop.
The classic French menu for the end of the year celebrations
Christmas is a holiday in France during which we usually dine on a lot of dishes rich in animal products.
As a starter there are often oysters and seafood, accompanied by salmon or shrimp. Then there is the traditional goose or duck foie gras. A delight for the taste buds but a terrible breeding practice for poor animals. Then the main course is usually made up of poultry: turkey, capon, goose… it all depends on the number of guests. Accompanied by potatoes. This is followed by the cheese platter with good bread, and the sweet ”bûche”/cake made up the dessert.
In short, Christmas is very plentiful in France and it is not always easy for a vegetarian like me to find something savoury and indulgent to eat.
The vegetarian menu for the holidays
So here is a gourmet and vegetarian menu that should delight you for the end of the year celebrations (but not only!). The idea is to adapt your usual meal to the vegetarians who are at your table.
As a starter or as an aperitif, you can offer eggplant caviar or tapenade toast. I often find eggplant caviar finer and tastier for a holiday menu. This will easily replace foie gras toasts. There is also “vegan foie gras”. A kind of vegan foie gras. Each brand has its own recipe but my favorite is the faux gras from the Gaia brand. It is sold in the Netherlands, France and Belgium.
The main course
Rather than making a special dish for your vegetarian friend, why not just take the poultry off their plate and replace it with some mushrooms and chestnuts? This is usually hearty and tasty enough for your guest. Being vegetarian does not necessarily mean that we want to replace meat / fish in our dishes at all costs. We are happy to only have what we consider “accompaniment”: vegetables and starches.
Cheese and dessert
As for the rest of the meal, if your guests are vegan then there are various vegan cheeses on the market. Do not ruin yourself, very often at this stage of the meal the guests are not really hungry anymore...
Finally, the dessert can consist either of a traditional yule log, or of fruit and chocolates. It is increasingly easy to find vegan products (like logs or vegan cakes) in stores, but you can also make your own vegan dessert.
I hope that through this article you will find the inspiration you need to cook vegetarian or vegan for the holiday season.
As Christmas is this Saturday, I think you will enjoy putting yourself in a christlassy ambiance by cooking these little Christmas biscuits.
If you’ve come to one of the wreaths workshop in December you might have tried some of these… and it’s all about butter and sugar!
250g sugar (brown sugar if you have is better)
10g baking soda
30g vanilla sugar
5 drops of orange blossom
Melt the butter
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, with your hands or an electric mixer.
Let it rest for 1 or 2 hours.
Flour the surface and pull out the dough. Make the little biscuits using cookie cutters to make any shape you want.
Bake in the oven for 10minutes at 210C
Let the cookies cool down for a bit. You can decorate them or just enjoy them like that!
You can store the biscuits in a metallic box or a jar for approximately 2 weeks… but you might eat them all before that
Tell me if you tried them and send me some nice pics!
The Vision Board
What is a vision board/ a dream board?
The vision board, or dream board is, as its name suggests, a picture in which you will express your wishes, desires and you dreams for the near future.
The more precisely these are expressed, the more likely you are to see them come true. In general, we make a vision board for the year that is about to begin or for the months to come. We can put absolutely anything we want in it.
The law of attraction
The vision board is a practical exercise in the law of attraction (The more positive you think, the more positive you attract. The more negative you think, the more negative you attract). It allows us to visualize our objectives in order to achieve them. This is a collage of visuals that represent our goals.
For example, my goal is to eat healthier. I'm going to put images of healthy dishes, vegetables, fruits, but why not also healthy people on my vision board… this will increase the chances of seeing this new healthy habit appear in my life. I will draw him to me.
How to achieve it?
To make a vision board it is important to be quiet, away from everyday life or noise. Do not think too much about your vision board in advance and above all do not set limits on what you want to put in it.
to start the vision board, you can either list the things you want for the coming year for example on a sheet of paper, or simply take random magazines (and of different types) and leaf through them.
You will thus gradually cut out images or words, or even just shapes, which speak to you and attract you.
It is not necessary to always see a meaning in it, sometimes it will reveal itself during the following year!
Be careful, the more specific you are in what you put on your board, the more likely you are to attract it to you, so don't hesitate 🙂
After selecting the images and words that speak to you, you can cut them out and paste them on a large sheet. Add, if you wish, textures, paint, colors, drawings etc. Anything that seems important to you and that you want to attract to you.
Why is it important to display it at home?
Once the vision board has been created, display it in your home. It's important to put it somewhere you'll be looking at every day.
The more you look at it consciously, the more likely you are that these elements will come true. So it is not enough to take a look at it, but really to observe it for a few moments each day.
Coming to a Vision Board workshop
let yourself be carried away by the instructions to build your vision board step by step. During a 4-hour session, you will let your creativity and your dreams shine through.
I'll walk you through the process, and we'll share this sweet moment together.
You will therefore have the opportunity to create your own vision board, by making collages, drawings, writing on a large poster. You can then take it home and display it proudly in a place you come to look at every day. Throughout the following year, you will be able to see and attract these dreams to you.
During the session, you will also share this moment with the other people in the workshop. You can come and help each other if you wish, chat, eat small biscuits and drink coffee or tea. The idea is also to spend a pleasant moment of sharing that cuts you off from your daily life. It will then be easier at this time to let your desires and your dreams speak, without thinking about it too much.
Christmas is a time of year when we tend to consume a lot more than usual. Although it is often part of the magic of this season, I like to think that it is also possible to minimize our impact on the planet.
A big impact on the planet
In a few figures, just over the 3-4 days around Christmas, the carbon footprint per person at 650 kg of carbon emissions. That's almost half of what we should emit in 1 year to stay on course for 2050 (during the Paris COP21 agreements in 2015, an annual carbon footprint target of 2 tons per person has been set for 2050)… In addition, this figure of 650 kg per person was revealed in a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute in 2007. We can imagine that with the explosion of the consumer society in the last 10 years, we have certainly exceeded this number to reach rather 1 ton per person.
Very often you will spend Christmas with your owns, i your family and it is completely understandable and part of the spirit of these end-of-year celebrations. This is why the Christmas period has such a significant impact on our beautiful planet. Indeed, while some will take trains and other means of public transport to join their families, most households will take their personal vehicle to get around. This will ultimately represent a very significant pollution during the holiday seasons, all over the world. Some families even travel by plane to join their loved ones at the end of December. On the other hand, given the number of journeys made by car compared to the plane, it is the use of cars that pollutes the most at Christmas, contrary to what one might think.
The impact of the Christmas holidays on the planet in terms of food is essentially reflected in a disproportionate overabundance and considerable food waste. According to a 2019 study by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), throughout the year, we throw away and waste almost 17% of what we produce as food in the world. In some areas this rises to almost a third, even 50%. Food losses and waste have an estimated impact on the climate of 3.3 giga tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
Gifts and packaging waste
The impact of the Christmas holidays on the planet is also present at the level of our garbage cans, since, each year in France and in other European countries such as Germany, we observe a 20% increase in waste at the end-of-year holiday season. In addition to food waste, the culprits are gift wrap and all cardboard and plastic packaging for gifts. Very often, the papers used are used only once and are crumpled up and then thrown in the trash. Imagine all the paper (and therefore the resources used) that we would save if everyone wrapped their gifts with recycling or reusing paper from other years. The madness of gifts and the very strong belief that "you have to give a gift and a new one" remains rooted in our society. Unfortunately, consuming only new products forces production and therefore the consumption of resources. According to a Kantar study for Ebay, in 2020, 18% of French people planned to resell the Christmas gifts that had been offered to them. According to the same study, no less than 363 million euros are spent on unwanted or unpopular gifts each year. In short, it is 1 out of 3 gifts that will be bought new but will never be used. Another waste of resources.Pay attention to the quantities this year, or just eat the left overs for a long time if you’d like, but don’t waste ! There’s always the option of giving to your invités the left overs of the big Christmas dinner, if you are not able to finish everything yourself before it gets too old.
The solutions available to you
A sustainable meal, but not in quantity
If you pay attention to the food you buy, you can mostly choose local products and vegetables that are suited to the season. You can also give an extra care in buying from local providers, seasonal products and organic veggies and fruits, and even cook a vegetarian Christmas dinner!
Pay attention to the quantities this year, or just eat the left overs for a long time if you’d like, but don’t waste ! There’s always the option of giving to your invités the left overs of the big Christmas dinner, if you are not able to finish everything yourself before it gets too old.
Buying eco friendly presents
Try as much as you can to buy eco friendly gift.
Second hand gifts: you don’t have to buy brand new things for your love ones, second hand is always an option and it’s more sustainable.
Do it yourself: you can also choose to make (#DIY) your own gifts, and it could even be personalized.
Support local businesses and handmade products: Think of how great it would be to buy a present from a local and sustainable business.
It’s a Japanese traditional wrapping cloth. It can be use to wrap a present or just transport objects. It will allow you not to use to much paper this year, and it is also part of the present. A beautiful Furoshiki is already a beautiful gift. And I will make some, only on special orders this year. You can ask me for the colors and patterns I have in stock or check out in the shop.
Avoid travelling miles
If you can, try not to travel too much for Christmas as it is part of a very big pollution. If you have to travel, prefer taking the train than the plane or the car. Think sustainability. Maybe this year you don’t need to go to see your family a cross the ocean?
What we should remember…
The impact of the Christmas holidays on the planet is huge and yet unsuspected. The most important thing is to be conscious and aware when we consume for Christmas.
It is essential to remember why we celebrate Christmas even without being religious: to rest during a break, to enjoy with family and friends, to share moments together and reunite, to create memories or to show gratitude for the past year.
These reasons are not supposed to harm the planet and the environment, they are actually opposed to it. Thus, remove all the superfluous that we added unnecessarily to Christmas, to find the pure essence of this holiday: gather with your loved ones and share a great time together.