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!  

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