The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Virtual cards and the Grand Cottage Smallholder Christmas Bran Tub Bonanza

Handpainted silk lavender bags with satin ribbons

Handpainted silk lavender bags with satin ribbons

In the past we used to send a Jackie Lawson New Year card to all the people that commented on our blog during the last year. The Jackie Lawson site is not designed for corporate bulk giving. So this took quite a while, two or three days in fact. Deleting my JL address book and creating another and another etc. But I enjoyed this ritual, knowing how much a surprise card has meant to me in the past.

After the second session I received a curt email. I can’t remember exactly what it said but it was something like this.
“I have received two unsolicited email cards from Jackie Lawson from you. Although I enjoy your site and occasionally comment, I do not want to receive these cards. If these continue I will be forced to stop commenting.”

I was surprised and hurt. And made the mistake of deleting this pouty email. If I’d made a note of the address, I could have deleted the name from our card sending database. Instead I stopped sending the cards to everyone.

This afternoon as I was pottering around the shops, looking for stocking fillers I remembered that email. I realised that I had been so stupid. One person has this attitude and I stop giving a sparkle of pleasure to everyone else. Crazy.

So this New Year I’m going to do it again. It will mean that if The Complainer has commented during the last year, another card will fly through the ether and into their inbox!

Men's anti moth fragrant sachets

Men's anti moth fragrant sachets

Moving from cards to presents, we thought that it would be fun to have a Christmas giveaway. We have hidden three £10 vouchers deep in our virtual bran tub. These exclusive vouchers can be redeemed in the Cottage Smallholder gift shop. This lucky dip is open to everyone across the world. To slip your hand into the tub, just leave a comment at the end of this post indicating what you would choose to buy with your voucher.

The lucky winners will be selected at random by Danny at 6pm on Monday 19th December and notified by email.

Wishing all those who furtle in our bran tub the best of luck!

Exciting update on December 17th!!
Santa  popped into the cottage to examine our bran tub. I’m on speaking terms with a bearded man who calls himself Santa Claus (I suspect that he might not be the real one – he was wearing the same clothes as D). Anyway, he furtled and found a small pack of home harvested sweet pea seeds nestling in the bran. So this will be our 4th  bran tub prize!

Thrilled to find some whacky marigold seeds on December 18th

Danny pushed me into the bran tub 🙁  But I found a small pack of mixed marigold seeds. These are great – a really good combo of fuzzy, fine and spectacular. Harvested by hand from our garden. This is our fifth bran tub prize. Good luck!

Keep checking back for updates. Our bran tub seems to be even more magical than we thought.

  Leave a reply


  1. GoodGardenGreenStuffs! The last thing I won was a knitted teddy bear in a raffle at the village fete when I was about 12. I was thrilled even though an uglier bear would be difficult to imagine. Thank you so much! Love to all at The Cottage. (Now, I really should renew that Jacquie Lawson subscription – they are beautiful and a joy to receive.)

  2. The cats and I are suitably ( in the case of the cats, UNsuitably) excited!
    Have a lovely Christmas.x

  3. There are some mean-spirited folks about aren’t there? The delete button eists for a reason. Sorry I missed the bran-tub fun,though I’d have felt a little guilty if I’d won, as I’m very guilty of reading but not responding…

    But your mention of home-harvested seeds set me thinking – is there anything special that one needs to do to get home-harvested seeds to germinate? A good friend of mine died a couple of weeks ago, and his last gift was a tub of sunflower seeds harvested from the sunflowers he decided to grow when diagnosed with cancer towards the end of last year. Needless to say, I want these seeds to grow if at all possible, but I have the exact opposite of green-fingers, so any advice would be welcomed.

  4. Maggie L.

    Oh dear – I am too late! I see it is the 20th already and I have not been checking your site for a little while, aaawwww. I did send a couple of comments before but never received an e-card… maybe too long ago and far away…or something?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Dear Maggie

      You will definitely get an e-card this New Year. Probably haven’t sent them for 2 years. Bad luck missing out on the bran tub. We’ll be doing more next year as they are fun!

  5. There were 56 entries (including Fiona’s 3 invalid ones)

    The method of selecting the winners was as simple as can be, technically speaking.
    I used Excel and the function =RANDBETWEEN(1,56)
    Every time you initialise the spreadsheet, it generates a different random number.
    Also, I printed off the comments. The printout shows them automatically numbered, which avoids human error.
    The winning numbers correspond to the comments where 1 = the first comment and 56 = the last comment.

    These are the winners in the order in which they “came out of the hat”:

    #18 £10 voucher: Barney

    #30 £10 voucher: Casalba

    #31 £10 voucher: KateUK

    #17 Home harvested sweet pea seeds: Sarah

    #28 Home harvested marigold seeds: Mhairi

    Congratulations to the five winners. Fiona will email you for your addresses and they will be in the post as soon as you respond.

    Commiserations to the disappointed people. But many thanks for joining in the spirit and thanks also for some enjoyable comments.

  6. I’m thinking catnip toys for my sister’s poor traumatised cat who was just thinking life was rather nice in her new home (my siser took her in when her orginal owners relocated to New York from Geneva) when the most adorable wire haired Jack Russell puppy arrived on the scene. Snowy the dog (yes my nephew and niece had just been to see the Tintin film) was not the least bit interested in the cat on their first meeting until the cat arched her back and hissed.

    Have a Merry Christmas Danny and Fiona.

    Love Pamela

  7. Ooh – some of the manly smelling sachets – they sound lovely. Of course a catnip mouse for my little Zeke for Christmas. Maybe 2 – he does deserve it!!

  8. We received a Jackie Lawson Village Advent Calendar this year from my sister in law. I was pleased as punch about getting it. I did not purchase one of those cardboard Advent Calendars with a piece of chocolate hidden behind the doors for the first time in decades. My children are too old and my grandchildren are too far away. The main advantage of the electronic version is that it has no calories!!!!

  9. Those silk bags are gorgeous. They would be perfect in a bedding box. Thank you for the chance to win a voucher.

  10. I love the Jackie Lawson cards you have sent in the past. For me personally, it meant that you took the time to think about us all. It was a lovely supprise so I find it hard to understand why someone was so upset at receiving one. Well each to their own I suppose!
    The felt birds are my favourite Fiona, so if I am lucky enough to be picked that is what I would like.
    Merry Christmas everyone xxx

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