A gift for Cathrin

This year,one of my dearest friends – Cathrin who runs Katafalk – turned 30. For the longest time I was thinking about what I would make for her as a birthday present, since she always makes such beautiful things for me (like the painted boxes). Then I realised that I hade a project lying around, a part of a trade, that I thougt I would not only finish my part, but also embellish it. If only I had the time to finish it…

As you know, my lust for crafts has been lacking this past year, but I managed to gain some energy to actually finish the project. What was it then? It was a filet/headpiece. My part for the trade was to weave the base for a filet for Cathrin, but I did not only do that – I finished the whole piece as a gift for her.

14th century belt
14th century tablet woven belt with metal mounts, from the Colmar treasure Photo (C) RMN-Grand Palais (musée de Cluny – musée national du Moyen-Âge) / Jean-Gilles Berizzi


The filet is constructed in basically the same way as my own piece, woven as the filet described in Textiles and Clothing. Check that post for more information about the weaving details, sources, and such. At Battle of Wisby 2016 I bought some belt pieces from Lorifactor that I intended for a tabletwoven silk belt, but I never got around to weave one (yet). That meant that I had some nice flowers and lady-heads to put on Cathrin’s filet, together with some garnet-beads and pearls. Fun fact – you know I am a geologist, and my favourite mineral is the garnet (group), so it was extra fitting that I could put some garnets on my gift.

Since the metal fittings are pushed through the filet and the ends bent over on the back, I didn’t want them to be bothering dear Cathrin when she was wearing the piece. Therefore I lined the back of the filet with blue, plant-dyed silk, which also covered up the stitches from when I attatchied the beads.

The finished piece came out very good in my opinion, and I think Cathrin was happy with it as well, which of course is the most important part. I delivered the gift at her 1930’s themed party, which was amazing as well!



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!  

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

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!