The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Our online shop is now up!

Posted in Cottage tales, crafts | 17 comments

Our online shop is now up!

  Wey hey. Danny has mastered the techie side of our on line shop and it’s up! Just a few items but we will be adding more over the next day or so. Click on the tab under the header marked = Gifts = to enter and have a poke around. I’m very excited about it. The start of a whole new Cottage Smallholder adventure.

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Handmade fantasty felt bird lavender bags

Posted in Christmas, crafts | 18 comments

Handmade fantasty felt bird lavender bags

  The small investment in the old sewing machine is paying off on the fun stakes. Absorbed by the possibilities that seem limitless from a newbie point of view. Yet alarmed that the precious needle might snap. Longing for small sharp scissors to cut a fine line (found them at Tescos and spare needles, just in case!). Practicing my curves, learning how to thread a bobbin and listening to the radio. Discovering that I had a whole load of inherited cotton thread on wooden reels. Bliss. I reckon that it’s at least 40 years since I last used a...

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The potpourri project: first outing with my smellies to the Withersfield Christmas Bazaar

Posted in Christmas, crafts | 4 comments

The potpourri project: first outing with my smellies to the Withersfield Christmas Bazaar

This summer I became interested in scent. I’d invested in The Scented Room: Cherchez’s Book of Dried Flowers, Fragrance and Potpourri. I wanted to use scent both to enhance mood and also battle with the pests that were chomping through our clothes. The latter was a big priority. I grew up in the era of moth balls. Ancient maiden aunts would arrive for family functions wearing clothes that reeked of these ghastly balls. It was evident that they clearly worked well on the moth population but also on every other thing that was alive in...

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How to make pomanders; part two

Posted in crafts | 12 comments

How to make pomanders; part two

  I got fed up with waiting for the pomanders to dry out – that I started making a couple of months ago . So I put them on trays in the only warm room in the cottage – the airing cupboard or as Danny calls it “the hot press”. This speeded up the process well. When we start lighting the wood burning stove this weekend they will be put near there to bask in the heat. Today it was wet and gloomy so I put made a big patch of homemade passata, put some bacon in to cure and discovered that the lemon pomanders had finally dried out. I...

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How to make green willow wreaths for Christmas

Posted in Christmas, crafts | 13 comments

How to make green willow wreaths for Christmas

  I’ve been ogling simple wreaths for weeks now. They are quite expensive but could be good for Christmas – small ones on the tree and a large decorated one on the door. But how were they made? A few weeks ago I cut some green willow from our tree and fashioned a little circle within minutes. I know that most things made with green willow split and bend in unconventional ways so I buried this little treasure in the spice bowl that is nurturing our pomanders. It is a seasoning and drying mix after all. Since then I’ve twigged that to...

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The potpourri project: urgent update on fixatives

Posted in crafts | 5 comments

The potpourri project: urgent update on fixatives

  I haven’t has time to make as much potpourri as I would like to – which is lucky as I’ve discovered that I’m allergic to orris root. Up until this week I’ve used a spoon to mix the potpourri and ladle it in and out of jars so I had no idea. It was only when I was working with Lynn that I scooped some rose potpourri into a pretty bowl for her to photograph. I stirred it with my hand and within seconds my  palm was burning. The agony was quickly flushed away with cold water. If Shill hadn’t mentioned that some people are...

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How to make homemade pomanders

Posted in Christmas, crafts | 8 comments

How to make homemade pomanders

  There are many beautiful moths that come into the cottage on summer evenings. They are welcomed and their beauty dazzles me and I hope that they will not drown in the washing up bowl. Then there are the clothes moths, the enemy that likes to guzzle our carpets and clothes. Any that I spot lolloping on the ceiling are killed by gently wiping my finger over them – yes our ceilings are that low. Despite the clothes moth murders hundreds of these greedy creatures manage to creep into our drawers and wardrobes each year with devastating...

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