The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Here’s a sneak preview of some exciting new gifts for The Cottage Smallholder shop!

Posted in crafts | 6 comments

Here’s a sneak preview of some exciting new gifts for The Cottage Smallholder shop!

  It’s been all quiet on the eastern front for far too long so I thought that I’d show you what I’ve been doing while there has been a break in blog transmission. Actually it’s been quite noisy here with the whirr of my sewing machine. The Min Pins want to sit with me as I work but the sound drives them dotty. They also hate the foot pedal and have a tendency to take a short cut over this. Sometimes with disastrous results and always evoking a roar from me. Their response is to stare into the middle distance and refuse any attempt...

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Update on the chicken wings post

Posted in Chicken, crafts | 1 comment

Update on the chicken wings post

Ooops! I made a vast mistake on my chicken wings post. I blame the fact that I’ve been immersed in my new activity of painting on silk. No this is not 17th century style miniatures of Danny and The Min Pins, beautifully exercised with teeny tiny brush strokes. Rather this is me having primary school fun. Splish splosh daub. If you buy the neutral, washoutable gutta, you can control the soakability of the silk. Suddenly it was like using the Magic Painting Books that I loved as a child. But I’d created these designs myself. Armed with a...

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You still have time to make an Easter Tree!

Posted in crafts, Easter | 6 comments

You still have time to make an Easter Tree!

Some years we skip having a Christmas tree but we always have a living Easter tree, since we were introduced to them a few years ago. An Easter tree is such a vibrant symbol of new life and hope for the forthcoming year. An Easter tree can be made from anything. Wire coat hangers, twiddly twisted willow branches even a pieces of string slung across a wall. The main point is to create something where you can hang things that are special to you. In fact, until I discovered that you could have a living Easter tree – I’d spotted carved...

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Making Your Own Cheese: How to Make All Kinds of Cheeses in Your Own Home by Paul Peacock. A review

Posted in crafts, Reviews, Vegetarian | 8 comments

Making Your Own Cheese: How to Make All Kinds of Cheeses in Your Own Home by Paul Peacock. A review

  This year is the year that I’m determined to start making my own cheese. Ever since I’ve watched the progress of Suzanne McMinn who writes the addictive Chickens In The Road blog describing her progress on the cheese making front, I’ve been curious and a bit envious of her endeavours. Last year her partner bought her a cow for her birthday. Now let’s get things straight immediately, I do not want to actually own a cow and would be horrified if Danny led one up the drive on the next big birthday day. A cow is a massive...

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In praise of Salley Mavor

Posted in crafts | 10 comments

In praise of Salley Mavor

  Have you heard of Salley Mavor? Looking for books on needle felting and working with felt I came across her stumpwork and appliqué  illustrations for children’s books. Her work intrigued me and I spent hours reading her blog  and examining her expert needlecraft. Superb and awe inspiring I just had to delve in deeper and deeper. Just before Christmas, I invested in two of her books Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects and Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes. I must admit I never thought that I would be ordering a book of...

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The embroidery stash

Posted in crafts | 15 comments

The embroidery stash

  Just before Christmas Shereen emailed me and asked if I would be interested in giving a home to her embroidery stash. Of course the answer was Yes Please. There’s nothing like examining someone else’s stash let alone being given one. I was thrilled. I used to do quite a bit of embroidery as a child. In fact I made this embroidery thread roll at some stage back then for myself (photo below). It even has a little lint book inside to store the needles and a row of soft compartments to store threads. The material is Swiss and from an old...

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Catnip filled bird toys to delight you and your cat

Posted in crafts | 11 comments

Catnip filled bird toys to delight you and your cat

  Danny and I designed these little birds together. I wanted to make gingham birds but D reckoned that a heavier material would give the birds a longer life. We eventually chose this sturdy cotton upholstery material. The birds are filled with 10g of dried catnip. The beaks and tails are made from ribbons which are secured safely within the inner seam. The eyes are indelible ink dots. These will be available in our shop when Danny has a break from work later today. The Min Pins are fascinated by them –The Contessa stole one and hid it in...

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Behind the scenes: update

Posted in crafts | 13 comments

Behind the scenes: update

  Our online shop is buzzing and that’s why you’ve heard nothing from me for a few days. The lavender birds and hearts are going very well and the last few days have been awash with felt, gingham and ribbons. Our local shop has had to order in more supplies to keep up with our demand! Exciting stuff. The most heartening thing is that we are both working on the online shop. Designing the products together – Danny has a good eye for colour and detail. At the moment I’m responsible for making up the stock and Danny manages the orders and...

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