What’s in my boxes? Part 1

This post is inspired by another internet community than the reenacting community, namely the fashion and beauty community. I’ve seen posts flashing by on Instagram, or on suggested videos on Youtube, so I decided to do my own take and reenactify it on the way. I noticed that the post got very long, so I divided it into parts. Here is part one!

The original idea…

What I saw was a trend of photos and videos with the title “What’s in my bag/purse/handbag?”, where the blogger went through the content of their handbags. You could find anything from make-up, jewellery and painkillers to books and even a time-turner in one case. For me it’s a glimpse into the persons life, showing something very personal. What you bring with you everyday, what you can’t be without, is very different from person to person.

I thought I would show you what my medieval persona can’t be without. It will both be a small glimpse into my personal life (after all, it is I that choose what to bring with me), but there is also a story told about my medieval counterpart – what does she bring with her to feel satisfied in a camp like the ones we have. In this case I have chosen the boxes of my noble persona, and I might do a smaller one for my soldier’s wife persona in a later stage.

To illustrate a medieval version of a handbag, I have chosen to show you the content of my wooden boxes. They are not as portable as a handbag, but they are in my tent at all times and they contain all my important “smaller” things.

Vad har jag i mina lådor? Här kommer en kort serie inlägg om vad jag har i mina lådor när jag är ute på event och porträtterar Märta, min riddarfru. Jag blev inspirerad av skönhetscommunityn på Youtube och Instagram där jag sett en trend med bilder och filmer där olika personer visar upp vad de har i sina handväskor. Det är rätt intressant, för man får en liten inblick i personens liv och vem den är. Därför bestämde jag mig för att göra en medeltidsversion på det hela och visa er vad jag har i mina lådor. 

The boxes

I have got four boxes to show you. They are all made of wood, but only one is plain. Three of them are painted and contain my hair kit and and hair accessories kit, and the plain one contains my sewing kit.

The first painted box is the one to the right in the picture above. I bought it in 2015, at the reenactment of the Battle of Azincourt, but I can’t remember from who. If you know, please tell me so I can credit the craft here! The maker’s mark is a L, which you can see in the photos below.

The other two boxes are both painted by my dear friend Cathrin, who runs the blog Katafalk. Both are birthday gifts, and I’m astonished by her work and happy to own them.  The smaller box’s painting is based on a marginal creature from the Maastrich Hours (The Maastricht Hours, Liège 14th century British Library, Stowe 17, fol. 197v).

The bigger box has a lot of images on the side, but they are not really based on any manuscript – they are depictions of real life happenings. They are depicting me, Cathrin, Annette and some more of my friends, based on photos from events. On the lid you can see me and Cathrine. It’s a beautiful gift, well thought trough, and as I said – I am so grateful for this gift.


De lådor jag kommer visa er i den här lilla serien är fyra stycken ovala eller runda trälådor. Tre av dem är målade och den första av dem är inköpt i Azincourt 2015. Den innehåller mitt vanliga hårkit. Två av dem är målade av min kära vän Cathrin på Katafalk och är födelsedagspresenter. Den lilla är baserad på en marginalfigur från the Maastricht Hours, medan den stora är bilder på henne och mig, samt bilder på mig och mina vänner på event. En är ofärgad och enkel och innehåller mitt sykit. 

The first box

So to the content of the first box, which is the painted box of unknown origin. This is my hair kit, which also contains some religous items.



– These are so-called “ear cushions”. They are an experiment, which comes from me wondering what the things between the braids and the chins are on many effigies. I have not come to any conclusion yet, but they still sit in my box, and they are used sometimes when I wan’t to look a bit “silly” (which is something I enjoy quite often – medieval hairstyles are very silly to modern eyes).
2 – This is a small, beautiful mirror, made by Lisa Hjelmqvist. I use it in lack of other mirrors in my kit, but in real it is a religous item, meant to capture and store the reflection of a relic or something like that. So I cheat with it, using it as a mirror when I’m in private, but for public events I keep it closed, to give the illusion of me having captured a reflecture that needs to be stored.

Fancy, polished silver mirror made by Lisa Hjelmqvist

3 – Naalbinding needles for sewing braids to the head, and to make straight parts in the hair.
4 – A comb made of horn, bought from Bikkel en Been I think.
5 –  This is something special. These are actual period pins from London. I don’t use them, but I keep them in my kit to show the public or other interested people. They are a treasure of mine, and even though all of them probably aren’t from the time I reenact, they are very similar to the style from the period. 


6 & 7
– Linen and woolen thread to sew my braids into place or tie the ends of the braids off.
8 – Bees wax to increase friction on my hairpins (which you will see later), or even to wax my hair to stay better.
9 – A pilgrimmage token, for Santiago de Compostela. I figured that my persona most likely have done some pilgrimages, and these shells are common finds also here in Sweden.
10 – My filet, which I have written about here.
11 – A rose quarts rosary, which I have written about here.
12 – I also wanted to show you the pillow I have in the bottom of the box. It is made of plant dyed wool fabric, and filled with raw wool. Below it I keep a modern hair secret, which is thin plastic hair ties, which I actually use some time when I’m lazy. I’m not a perfect reenactor (even though I wish I was!). 😀

Den första lådan innehåller saker som jag använder när jag flätar och sätter upp mitt hår. Kam, nålbindningsnålar och garn för att sy upp flätorna, lintråd att binda om slutet på flätan, samt ett par “öronkuddar”. Dessa är ett experiment jag kanske kommer skriva om mer en annan gång. Lådan innehåller också några saker som kan kategoriseras som religiösa. Ett radband, en pilgrimsmussla och en spegel som Lisa Hjelmqvist gjort, till för att kapsla in spegelbilden av reliker. Jag fuskar och använder spegeln som en vanlig spegel, men har den stängd när det är publika event. Till sist vill jag nämna mina historiska nålar, som ligger i ett fodral. De är från Themsens botten i London, och jag använder dem för att visa hur nålarna faktiskt såg ut under historisk tid. 

This was the first box! The other’s will be in one or more posts soon. Now I’m interested to see what’s in your boxes! Do a blogpost, a facebook post or upload a photo to Instagram and either link to in here in the comments. On Facebook or Instagram you can hashtag it with #whatsinmyboxes and tag me (@addelej on Instagram, Recreating History – by Andrea Håkansson on Facebook). I doesn’t matter if it’s medieval, 17th century, 19th century or viking or earlier – I wan’t to see all of your kits!

Nu vill jag gärna se innehållet i era lådor! Lägg upp på era bloggar, på Facebook eller Instagram och tagga mig, samt använd hastaggen #whatsinmyboxes
Det spelar ingen roll om det är medeltid, senare eller tidigare perioder!  

Regency (and late 18th century) mitts

First post at the new blog! ^_^


A while ago I made a pair of regency mitts. They were intended for an event last spring which I didn’t manage to attend as I went to Florence with my Chamber Music Orchestra instead. The mitts were the only thing of the ensemble that I managed to get finished, but I’m well on my way to produce the rest of the regency outfit as it is now. My goal is to attend the same event this year instead.

They are known from several regions in Europe, as well as Sweden. According to Berit Eldvik (an expert in Swedish “folk” fashion), the style is sometimes called “klaffhandskar” in Sweden, and the term is known from at least 1759 (see link in first photo below). The style is more or less the same in the Regency period, which means that the mitts are functional for a wider time-span than the intended one.

Förra året var min plan att åka på ett empir-event i Skåne, men en kammarorkesterresa till Florens kom i vägen. Jag påbörjade en ny dräkt, men kom inte längre än till ett par halvvantar. Nu hoppas jag på att kunna åka på årets version och är i full gång med min dräkt. Halvvantar i stil med mina finns i mängder, både från Sverige och Europa. Enligt Berit Eldvik kallas de ibland klaffhandskar på svenska och var en vanlig fästegåva (se länken under första bilden).


Half-mitts from Småland, Sweden. Dated 1760-1800, now at Nordiska Museet



A pair of yellow silk taffeta mitts, made 1780-1800, Great Britain. From the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum
Linen mitts with contrasting lining in green, European 18th century. Now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.











My mitts are made of a reddish-brown woolen twill, cut on the bias to fit snugly. They are stitched with a backstitch for both elasticity and duration, and the seam has then been felled to one side for extra strength. At the elbow there is a slit to accomodate for more mobility.

The thumb is attached to the mitt with an overlapping seam to reduce bulk, and is whip-stitched on the reverse side, but sewn together with a more decorative herringbone stitch on the right side. All seams discussed this far are sewn with two different kinds of waxed linen thread – an unbleached thread for the non visible seams, and a thinner, bleached thread for the herringbone stitch.

Mina halvvantar är sydda med lintråd och efterstygn i en rödbrun yllekypert. Sömmarna har sedan fällts åt ett håll. De går upp över armbågen, och just vid armbågen är det en slits. Tummen har sytts omlott med huvudtyget, från avigsidan med fållstygn och från rätsidan med en dekorativ söm av fiskbensstygn.

This mitt is made of yellow silk taffeta, with herringbone stitches. Probably French, late 18th to early 19th century, now at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston:

The lining is made of a piece of gold-coloured silk taffeta. They are only lined at the very end, so the lining can be visible when you fold back the top. It is sewn with self-fabric thread and then stab-stitched to add neatness.

The golden silk lining

These mitts are based on both extant examples from Sweden and Europe, as well as paintings from the period and the social class I’m hoping to recreate. The main inspirations are the mitts shown here above as well as the Copenhagen Girls, which are portraits of a social class, girls and maids, close to what my plan for my costume is.

Fodret är av gyllene sidentaft som är fastsytt med tråd från tyget. Mina halvvantar är baserade på svenska och europeiska bevarade original, samt på koppartryck från Danmark som porträtterar kvinnor från ungefär samma folkliga mode som jag försöker efterspegla. 

Girls from Copenhagen, by G.L. Lahde around 1810 (image source)
Tjenestepige (maidservant) by Johannes Senn and G.L. Lahde. Danish, Ca. 1810. “Klædedragter i København”. Københavns Museum.

These three ladies have the mitts, and some very pretty dresses and accessories. They are, together with campfollowers from the period, my main inspiration for my costume.

Dessa tre kvinnor har halvvantar som ni kan se, och även mycket fina klänningar och accessoarer. De, tillsammans med kvinnlig tross från härläger är min främsta dräktinspiration.

En av anledningarna till att jag har varit dålig på att blogga det senaste året är för att jag tycker att det har tagit så mycket tid att skriva på både engelska och svenska. Nu har jag bestämt mig för att fokusera på den engelska texten och istället bara skriva kortare sammanfattningar på svenska. Detta för att majoriteten av de som läser min blogg inte har svenska eller andra nordiska språk som modersmål. Förhoppningsvis leder det till en ökad uppdatering från min sida. Vad tycker ni om denna förändring? 

New blog?


This is Recreating History in a new suit. How do you like it?

The content will be the same in time – I’m moving all the posts from the former place here. There are still some links that go to the old place, but I hope it doesn’t bother you too much

Why did I decide to move the blog? I’ve thought about it for a while, and when my friend Mervi had her blog removed several times, and people having other troubles, at the host I had before I was even more keen to move. The final push came when I got a memory update from Facebook that it was six years ago I moved my blog the last time. Why not do it again? As far as I’ve heard, WordPress is a really nice host.

I hope you enjoy the new format!


Some Hair Care

A woman combing her hair.
Paris, circa 1400, from a pen and ink drawing in the Staatliche Museen, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin. 

I’ve been experimenting with some of the recipes in the Trotula for a while now. The Trotula is a manuscript on women’s medicine that originates from the 12th century, but was copied and used during the whole middle-ages. It contains recipes for make-up, anointments and other fun things concerning the female body and looks. One of my favourites is this one below (I think it was Cathrin that brought it to my attention):

When she combs her hair, let her have this powder. Take some dried roses, clove, nutmeg, watercress, and galangal. Let all these, powdered, be mixed with rose water. With this water let her sprinkle her hair and comb it with a comb dipped in this same water so that [her hair] will smell better. And let her make furrows in her hair and sprinkle on the above-mentioned powder, and it will smell marvelously.
– The Trotula

The spices can be found quite easily in Swedish stores, except for the galangal which I had to buy from a webshop. The watercress was the hardest thing to get a hold of – I actually had to buy seeds and grow it myself on my balcony. The watercress I have in my powder I grew last year, but I also have some growing right now for future use.

Part of my not so very well-kept watercress plant

The spices were already ground down to a fine powder when I bought them, but I had to dry and grind the roses and watercress myself. That didn’t turn out perfectly – they didn’t grind down to that fine powder I had wished for. I probably didn’t dry the leaves enough before grinding them. It still works fine when I use it in my hair, but the small bits of watercress and roses can be seen if you looks closely.

I use it as you would use a modern day dry-shampoo that isn’t in a spray bottle, parting the hair and sprinkling some of the powder, and then repeating the process in different parts. Then I massage the powder into the hair, and then sprinkling rose water all over the hair – both at the roots and over the lenghts. After this I comb through the hair and then it’s ready to be made into beautiful and/or funny hairstyles.

It’s not often I get the compliment that I smell nice during events, but when I’ve used this powder it’s a reoccurring comment. 😉

Doing Annette’s hair at my workshop at Battle of Wisby
When I got back to Sweden after visiting Middelaldercentret I felt very inspired and made my own rose water. As far as I’ve understood, actual rose water is derived from distilling rose petals, whereas mine was made by pouring boiling water over the petals and letting it sit for 24 hours and then straining it. It turned out fine, with a lovely colour and scent.

My own rose water 

To end this short post – here is a way to get smooth and soft hair.

If, needed, you wish to have hair soft and smooth and fine, wash it often with hot water in which there is powder of natron and vetch.”
– The Trotula

Green, M. H. (Ed.). (2001). The Trotula: a medieval compendium of women’s medicine. University of Pennsylvania Press

A Visit to the 1910’s

Snart har det gått tre månader av det nya året (redan?!) och jag har inte fått tummen ur att skriva ett blogginlägg till er. Hemskt ledsen för det. 😉 Som ni antagligen märkt händer det mycket i mitt liv.

Almost three months of the new year has passed (already?!) and I haven’t got around to write a blog post for you. Sorry for that. 😉 There are lots of things going on in my life which you’ve probably have noticed.


En av sakerna som hänt den senaste månaden att jag blev vald som ordförande i min reenactmentförening Fraternis Militia Carnis. Yay! I augusti ska vi organisera ett event i Linköping. Det är en stor bankett med torneringar och en mindre fest för de som inte har lust att vara överdrivet uppklädda. Läs mer om det på http://carnis.org/banquette-2017/

One thing that has happened in the last month is that I was chosen as the new chair(wo)man of my reenactment group Fraternis Militia Carnis. Yay! In August were hosting an event in Linköping, Sweden. That event is a big banquette with tournaments and a smaller feast for those that doesn’t wan’t to be too fancy. Read more about it at http://carnis.org/banquette-2017/

En annan sak som hänt är att jag och några vänner besökte Tjolöholms slott och deras afternoon tea i 1910-talet. De har en utställning med en del av kostymen från Downton Abbey just nu och i samband med det har de några afternoon tea där de har serien som tema – man får alltså gärna komma dit i dräkt. Jag, Annette, Cathrin, Ida och Andreas åkte dit i söndags, men dagen började med att vi intog brunch hemma hos mig. Sedan fixades dräkt och frisyrer innan det var dags att åka till slottet och njuta av en fantastisk eftermiddag med riktigt gott afternoon tea. Såklart tog jag en hel del bilder under dagen!

Another thing that happened is that a couple of friends and I visited the Swedish castle of Tjolöholm for an afternoon tea in the 1910’s. They have an exhibition with some of the costumes from Downton Abbey at the moment and therefore had that theme on their afternoon tea. Me, Annette, Cathrin, Ida and Andreas were there this Sunday, but first we had brunch at my place, then got our hair and clothes in order before going to the castle where we had the most fantastic afternoon tea. Of course I took some photos during the day!


Här är några av mina foton – resterande kan man se på min bloggs facebooksida:

Here are a few of my photos – the rest can be found on my facebook page:


Until next time!

Recreating History Wishes You a Happy New Year

Gott nytt år, kära läsare!

Happy New Year, dearest readers!

Som ni kanske har märkt så har andra halvan av 2016 varit en väldigt stillsam period för mig. Både här på bloggen och när det kommer till sömnad. Jag har inte gjort eller sytt något under hela hösten utom en maskeraddräkt till Carnis årliga höstmöte. Om jag ska vara ärlig så kan jag berätta att jag inte ens packat upp mina grejer från Battle of Wisby än, och det är snart fem månader sedan… Jag har mått lite sådär under hösten och har inte haft någon energi till att varken sy eller hålla på med något annat hantverk och det har gjort mig ganska ledsen. Det är såklart helt okej att inte vara på topp hela tiden – vi har alla perioder där vi inte mår så bra – men det kändes konstigt att inte ens sy. Men! Nu mår jag mycket bättre och jag ser väldigt mycket fram emot det här året.

As you must have noticed, this second half of 2016 have been a very quiet period for me. Both when it came to blogging, and also when it came to sewing. I havent made anything other than a masquerade outfit for Carnis annual autumn meeting during the whole autumn. To be honest – I still havent unpacked from Battle of Wisby and that’s soon five months ago. I haven’t been feeling all that well this autumn, and I haven’t had any energy for crafting and sewing which have made me very sad. It’s of course perfectly fine to have low periods – we all do have them some times – but it felt strange to not even sew. But now it’s much better and I’m very much looking forward to this coming year!

Me and Cathrin as Disney villains at the Carnis autumn meeting/feast.
Maleficent and the Evil Queen in Snow White. 

Det var egentligen inte förrän jag hälsade på Cathrin/Katafalk  som jag fick någon egentlig inspiration till att göra saker, men å andra sidan hann vi med att göra en väldans massa grejer då. Under den helgen gjorde vi mönster till en 1600-talsjacka var, mönster till en 1600-talslivkjol till mig, färga tyg till jacka och livkjol till oss båda med krapp och valnötsskal, samt göra ett möster på ett empirsnörliv till mig.

It was not until I visited Cathrin/Katafalk that I got some inspiration and during that one weekend we managed to make patterns for a 17th century jacket each, a 17th century kirtle for me, dye fabric for kirtle and jackets to us both with madder and walnut hulls and also make a pattern for a pair of Regency stays for me.

Det innebär att det kommande året kommer innehålla massor av sömnad och annat hantverk. Både 1300-tal (såklart), 1600-tal och förhoppningsvis en uppsättning empirkläder till mig. Jag kommer också avsluta första delen på mina studier genom att ta min kandidatexamen i geologi samt påbörja min master inom samma ämne, samt arrangera ett event tillsammans med Carnis vilket ni antagligen kommer få se mer av under årets gång.

That means that the coming year will contain lots of sewing and other crafting for me. Both 14th century (as always), some 17th century things and hopefully a set of Regency clothing for me. I will also finish the first part of my studies by writing my Bachelor’s thesis and begin the second part by starting my Master in Geology, as well as arrange an event with Carnis which you might see more about during the coming year. 

Och till er, mina läsare, önskar jag er ett år med många roliga stunder, och att de bra saker ni väntar på ska ske. Till mig själv önskar jag ett år med mycket hantverk och sömnad, vilket det också ser ut att bli.

Ha ett fantastiskt år!

And for you, my readers, I wish you a year with a lot of fun moments, and that those good things that you wait for will come to you. For myself I wish that the year will contain a lot of crafting and sewing (which it will by the looks of it). 

Have a fantastic year! 

Me at Battle of Wisby 2016, photo by: Vera Bos

Workshop at Battle of Wisby: 14th Century Hair Styles and Hair Care

Hösten har varit en hektisk period för mig med mycket att göra i skolan där vi bland annat åkt på några riktigt roliga exkursioner i Sverige och Norge. Det har inneburit att jag inte haft någon tid eller energi för annat än skolan, men nu sista veckan har jag åtminstone gått igenom en del av mina bilder från Battle of Wisby. Första delen av mina foton därifrån att publiceras är mina workshopfoton.

It’s been a hectic period with lots of things to do at school, including some really nice excursions to places in Sweden and Norway. That has meant that I haven’t got neither time nor energy for other things than school, but this last week I’ve actually got around to at least sort through some of my photos from Battle of Wisby. The first batch to be published is my workshop photos. 


Under Battle of Wisby höll jag en workshop om frisyrer och hårvård på 1300-talet. Hela veckan var oerhört blåsig och dagen för min workshop var verkligen inget undantag. Istället för att ha workshopen under ett skärmtak i blåsten drog vi oss tillbaka till ett av Carnis stora tält, som väldigt vänligt lånades ut till oss av Martin och Martina.

During the Battle of Wisby I held a workshop about 14th century hairstyles and hair care. All of the week was very windy, and the day of my workshop was no difference. Instead of having the workshop under a sunroof all exposed to the wind we retreated into one of Carnis big tent, which very kindly was leant to us by Martin and Martina.


Deltagarna var duktiga och verkade ha roligt (det hade jag med). Fina frisyrer gjordes och vi delade tankar och en hel del skratt. Tack vare Elke har jag även foton från tillfället då hon lånade min kamera och fångade lite av trevligheterna.

The workshop was fun and all the attendants did great – some nice hairstyles was recreated, and we shared some thoughts and laughs. Thanks to Elke I got some photos from the workshop too – she was kind enough to take some photos with my camera. 

Och här är bilderna! De är hyfsat många, men jag har så svårt att välja vilka jag ska lägga upp vilket oftar slutar i att jag tar med alla.

And here they are! It’s a lot, but it’s so hard to choose which to put in the post which means I take them all. Enjoy!