You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2012.

National Geographic photograph on my ASN Bank calender today:

photograph by Joel Sartore, Nebraska 1995 for National Geographic.

Dusting the sheep diorama in sporting goods shop Cabela’s. Picture by Joel Sartore, Nebraska 1995.


Make flamenco skirt in 5 steps
Finding the perfect flamenco costume hard because you don’t live in Spain? Despair no longer. With these easy steps you can now simply make a flamenco skirt yourself.

Performance by Camine Flamenco at Maison des Cultures (picture by Lieven SOETE).

Performance by Camine Flamenco at Maison des Cultures (picture by Lieven SOETE).

Step one: choose the style
Starting from the hip or in the waist, wide or narrow, with or without ruffles, little or lots of polka dots. Most flamenco skirts and dresses are divided into panels called godets that become wider towards the floor to create width. To make a skirt even wider, triangular inserts (or gores) are added. Ruffles can be places around the bottom or as a waterfall in the back. Look at examples from for inspiration.

Step two: draw the pattern
It’s good to have a flamenco skirt pattern to start from. Elaine Fraser explains how you make one. Her site lets you calculate the dimensions for the panels of the skirt. These panels look something like upside down funnels. This diagram shows how the numbers transfer to the shape:

Picture from Elaine Fraser

Flamenco pattern and calculator by Elaine Fraser

Her pattern calculator also advices how much fabric to buy for the panels. But be careful! You might want to add some ruffles to your skirt. You can calculate your need for fabric for these too with her calculator for circular ruffles. Making them looks like creating several donut shapes that you sew together to create beautiful, high volume frills.

Cut donuts to make flamenco ruffles

Flamenco ruffles in steps: I) donut shape II) cut through II) stretch out

Advice: plan how you will take the panels and ruffles out of the fabric. You might be able to put more panels and ruffles next to each other (if you make decide to make them of the same fabric) than the calculator advices you. I was able to make a skirt with 6 panels and 2 ruffles with 4,5 meters of fabric for the panels and upper ruffle and 2 meters for the lower ruffle.

Step three: find your fabric
The fabric you choose will define the character of your costume; it can be traditional black and red with polka dots, or it can be outrageously bright with flowers. For a light and easy moving skirt, ideal for dancing, I advise you to look for fabric called polyester crepe.

Flamenco fabric

Crepe polyester by

Step four: use lots of thread
Take out your sewing machine or ask a friend who has one. Put together all the sides of the panels, leaving room for a zip. Add the ruffles on the bottom. To finish your flamenco skirt, cut off the ruffles evenly. And put a zic-zac stitch at the edge. Use a serger (or overlocker) for a professional finish. You will be sewing lot’s of meter’s of fabric. So take your time, and thread!

Step five: enjoy and dance!

In his article Community Mapping, Chris Perkins describes the goals of community mapping as a democratic form of mapping. It enables individuals to express their own perspectives on an area instead of relying on institutional maps. Through five case studies, he demonstrates the struggles in having a really democratic form of mapping:

  • initiatives organised by existing organisations (church, tourism office, pressure groups, etc.) lead to greater participation, but they have their own agendas
  • participants are likely to have contrasting views, resulting maps are compromises
  • maps that could serve as a starting point or ground layer, are often protected by intellectual property rights
Picture taken by foto.bulle.

Old Ordnance Survey map (photographed by foto.bulle).

Have you ever had the experience of coming home around dinner time and smelling delicious aromas? Of a meal you would be very happy to eat right now? Upon reaching your own door however, the odour has faded. Against your hopes, your neighbours are having a wonderful dinner and you still have to cook yourself.

All of this can be over if you visit the website “Home Take Away” (Thuis afgehaald). Home cooks in your own neighbourhood offer food cooked with love for pick up against a small price. An efficient way of using ingredients, an opportunity to learn new recipes, and to meet the people who live close to you.

It’s time to connect those tasty aromas to a door near you!

Picture taken from

Home Take Away – Sharing meals with those around you.

Thuisafgehaald was founded by Marieke Hart.

Limbo is a game that is both cute and sinister. Combined with the uncomplicated controls (left, right, down, up and action) this makes for fantastic gameplay.

Game overs are gruesome but not ruthless. You get respawned just before your mistake at a location that might give you a better view on the task.

The game made me think of a children’s television series:

Screenshot taken from

Animated series “Stories of the angry witch” (click to watch).

Dutch children used to learn to read with these wooden boards (leesplankje) that display a fixed row of words and pictures.

Picture taken by Admiraals Weblog on

Dutch reading board, photographed by Admiraals Weblog on

To make learning with the combined pictures and words more individual, Biggle Toys has developed a digital reading board called i-blocks. Children can spell the words they see and will then hear the words pronounced as feedback.

It helps to connect the different senses: children hear the words and see them at the same time. An advantage is that children do not need teacher supervision while using the i-blocks. It can thus be used to provide extra training for those children who need it.

Picture taken from

i-blocks material.

The concept resembles the ideas by Waag Society to develop intuitive, physical toys to support spelling education by combining sight with sound, as worked out in the Spelling Factory.

Tweets (Dutch and English)