Puttery Treats

Curtains56

All the puttery treats, all in one place.

Download all the puttery treats here…

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Save Our TeaTowels.

Cut up your old ones and make a patchwork tablecloth.

Thread them onto cafe rods for  sweet little curtains.

Upholster your kitchen chairs with scrumptious stripy cooks tea-towels.

Sew three or four together in a loop, then thread onto a paper towel holder, for a permanent rolling hand towel.

Sew two together, add a ribbon drawstring and use as a peg-bag.

Make a cushion from one too delicate to use.

Cut them into triangles and make bunting.

Line baskets with them.

Hell, you could even dry the dishes with your favorite!

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Scrumptious Treats For Autumn.

Start squirrelling away some groceries for
the times later on in the season when it is just too cosy to leave your
house and face the flourescent horror of the supermarket. Add gingham
tops to jars full of homemade jams and display on your counter tops.
Autumn is all about abundance…

Change all the bulbs in the house to low wattage, peachy coloured ones and enjoy the soft glow of the early evening light…

Spend baking day this week filling your freezer with warming soups.
Nothing is more homely than having a big vat of chunky vegetable soup
on the go: the smell alone is enough to make you never want to leave
the house. Serve with heavy multigrained homemade bread and lunch in
the glow of candlelight.

Subtly change the signature scent your
house wears to something a little less fresh than that you chose in the
summer. Add amber, musk, orange, eucalyptus, pine, cinnamon or other
spices to your base fragrance (mines lavender and I use amber, musk and
cinnamon) to gently mark the change of season. Bake thin slices of
fruit for hours at a time to fragrance the house for a special
occasion, or burn incense for the sheer smoky scent of it.

Harvest the apples on your trees and spend an afternoon making puree,
chutneys and pies. Leave a basket in the garden for collecting the
fruit. In fact Autumn is the time for going kind of basket crazy: leave
them by the front door for wet shoes. Line them with a crisp floral
teatowls and fill with the apples you have collected. Tip red fruit
into old fashioned pottery mixing bowls and bring a little autumnal
colour into your kitchen. Buy colourful seasonal vegetables at the
market and create autumnal still lifes and re-invent baking day for
Autum, caramalise onions and serve rich mustard mash and roasted
peppers with gourmet sausages…

Get out into the garden and
sweep away every last trace of Summer: then make a ritual of it every
morning, to have your breakfast on the step, and brush away the leaves
crowding your deck (just don’t get too carried away, leaves are the
most gorgeous of natures carpets!). Paint your broom handle moss green,
powder blue or baby pink to inspire you and trim bare branches and take
into the house to use as sculptural still lifes or to hang across a
window and display a little collection of sepia photographs or seasonal
foliage..

Coffee is deliciously Autumnal isn’t it? Get yourself
to a fabulous coffee emporium and choose a signature coffee for the
season. Vanilla anyone? Then search out an old enamel coffee pot and
make a date with yourself to have coffee and homemade shortbread when
your morning routine is done and dusted. Add opera music and a letter
from a friend for the perfect Brocante morning..

Old films just
smack of cosy afternoons curled up on the sofa. Go through your
collection and choose a little pile you haven’t watched for a while, or
better yet, sign up to one of the online dvd hire companies and get old
films in the mail, as and when they unexpectedly arrive. Failing that
choose a deliciously old fashioned radio station and listen to the
afternoon play as you potter around the house. I use Sky radio (on the
Tv) to select from a variety of BBC radio channels most afternoons…

Seek out a length of tweed or boucle wool and drape over the back of
your sofa. Go treasure hunting for welsh blankets, crocheted square
throws or the rich paisley brushed wool shawls that are going to be
huge this Winter. Keep to one colour palette and pile into baskets in
the living room and snug. Add lots and lots of blankets to the bottom
of your bed and drape the landing bannister with patchwork quilts.

Remember Autumn doesn’t have to be pumpkin coloured (though it is so
evocative isn’t it?). Damson, plum, moss green,maroon, honey, and even
a certain shade of petrol blue will all  bring the richness of autumn
into your home, and even just the teeniest accents will change the
atmosphere dramatically. Tie curtains back with long lengths of rich
velvet ribbon, or thread it though  crocheted or lace cushions or
throws for glimspe of Autumnal hues.

Sunflowers are
scrumptiously autumnal to me. There is a huge field just around the
corner here positively beaming with them. Mix them with red berries,
twisted willow and peacock feathers for a lovely seasonal ring. Hang
them upside down in the kitchen and dry them amongst bundles of herbs.

Start winterising your home: change sheer nets for lined curtains,
check insulation, reseal windows, sew yourself the vintage housekeepers
equivalent of the sausage dog to prevent door drafts. Order yourself a
scrumptious sheepskin liner for your bed. Change your cotton sheets to
flannel or cosy brushed cotton. Cover tables with vintage chenille
cloths or small quilts (very Provence!),  hang scarves around the
bannister or in the hallway and go mad with scatter cushions (you can
never have too many!) . Hang cosy gingham in the kitchen and put out
lots of colourful teatowels for visual warmth etc, etc…

Allocate  a fabulously snuggly jumper or cardigan as your house jumper.
Leave it folded in the basket next to your armchair for long cold
nights. Mens oversized jumpers work best. Go root through his wardrobe
now. In kids rooms dig out winter jumpers and hang on their wardrobes
as  a visual reminder of seasonal change. Change lightweight dressing
gowns for snuggly flannel, and tartan jarmies and slipper socks.   

Get into the habit of making home from school/work time scrumptiously
cosy for the kids/partner, or even just yourself.  Choose a hometime
candle, bake biscuits and serve hot chocolate. Seek out all the board
games you own and add to your rainy day cupboard. On very cold days get
them into jimjams and slippers the minute they step through the door.
Memories are made of long, cosy evenings on the living room floor
playing snakes and ladders.

Make a ritual of taking a daytime
pine scented bath just before lunch, then wrap up snuggly and drink
soup for lunch in front of the fire. Leave the bath water for a while
after you get out and close the bathroom door behind you to make the
room smell divine. Then open all the windows downstairs and get out
into the fresh air to shake off the end of summer blues…

Start collecting twigs and berries and branchs and cones and conkers
and add them to your seasonal pot pourris, wreaths or displays. Fill
baskets with logs and put next to the fire. (Even if it’s electric.)
Dry huge bundles of dried lavender, basil and sage to use as smudge
sticks or to throw on the fire late at night.

Wrap your
Christmas list books in ribbon, add a  couple of glitzy pens, a box of
deliciously spoiling chocolates, a few pairs of snuggly socks, (yey its
sock time!!), a favorite novel, and some magazines and put with your
house jumper in the basket next to your armchair. Get yourself an
oversized vintage velvet cushion, choose a cranberry coloured juice
glass and a large decadant mug for long Autumny drinks and hibernate in
your very own corner of the house.

Change the wreath on your
front door to something fabulously Autumnal. Remember it doesn’t have
to be all leaves and pumpkins. Wrap in tattered lengths of tweed and
add a huge velvety corsage, or  cover in berries and add lengths of
rich brocade ribbon…

Overhaul your doorstep. Give it a coat
of tough varnish, then either buy a new mat, or give the old one a
thorough brush, shake and vacuum, them flutter a few coins onto the
ground and cover with your mat to welcome wealth into your home…

This is candle season. When it isn’t cold enough for the fire, use a
mantlepiece glittering with candles to trick the mind, simmer cinnamon
on the stove,  drink red wine and really good cheese.  Gather all
you’ve got: every candle, and holder and take a look at your stock.
Throw out whats past it’s best and then go candle shopping- buy them in
all shapes and sizes from tea lights to big fat pillar candles, but
remember you don’t have to buy expensive scented candles: scent can be
layered in so many other ways (Tuck oil soaked cotton wool puffs behind
hot radiators for a start). Ikeas range of standard candles are
extemely reliable and cheap enough to buy in abundance.

Enjoy!
Autumn is fun! Go puddle splashing, leaf kicking or play conkers with
the kids. Take an Autumn picnic to the park and drink hot chocolate on
the bare sands of the seaside..

*****

Pretty Things To Do With Vintage Postcards.

Punch holes through the top of a pretty card,  thread ribbon through the holes, tie in a bow and hang from the peg rail in the kitchen.

Clip then into the edges of your mirror frames.

Glue them into your illustrated discovery journal.

Frame them individually in twinkly frames and hang lots together on a dull wall.

Scan them and use them as calling cards on your email messages.

String a collection onto pretty ribbon and use as decorative bunting.

Use one you love as a bookmark.

Photocopy them and use them for decoupaging any flat surface.

Send them to people you love!

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Puttery Treats For Summer  Mornings.

Fill a basket with mis-matched china, vintage lemonade bottles and a pretty tablecloth ready for impromptu picnics…

Spritz areas prone to ant invasion with an equal mix of white vinegar and water. Keep a bottle handy for disinfecting decking and outdoor tables.

Pop  unprecious  flowery saucers under  little terracotta pots around the garden for a spot of vintage decoration.

Sew yourself an oilcloth tote, fill it with  sun-cream, towels, flannels and kids hats and hang it somewhere sheltered so protection is always on hand…

Oh I know  it isn’t fun (and can hardly be considered a treat!) but spend an hour or two disinfecting all outdoor bins and recycling boxes because there is nothing stinkier than household waste smouldering in the midday sun.

Steep garden herbs in water Laura Elsewhere style for a natural route to glossy hair…

Junk shop portraits look divine leaning against garden walls and providing a back drop to a collection of  gloriously  decadent  plants….

Cover pulp fiction, chick lit or cheap historical fiction with  pvc backing paper in one of the scrumptiously retro patterns they sell in Woolworths, and then and only then are you permitted to leave them around the house in delicious little stacks or carry them into the garden where they are at mercy of all manner of spills and suncream  (Otherwise they must live under your bed and receive their marching orders the second you turn the last page…)

Make blueberry and raspberry smoothies and freeze them on lolly-ice sticks. Yum.

Sit in the shade and turn lonesome vintage pillowcases into adorable handsewn little girls dresses.

Mix up a big batch of  home-made coleslaw.

Paint lolly-ice sticks in a  pretty  palette  of pastels, store them in an old tin and use them as plant markers…

Make some paper pin wheels to decorate the garden and keep the birds away from your precious plants.

Add ribbon or twine loops to all  your  hand held garden tools so you can hang them somewhere convenient.

Mix three drops of peppermint oil into water and decant into a spray bottle for use as a cooling insect repellant in the garden.

Tack a fringe to your garden parasol. Takes minutes. Looks fabulous.

Make a  habit of hanging quilts and duvets over the washing line to air in the morning…

Swing a vintage birdcage from the branches of a tree and light a candle in it early evening time…

Decant witch hazel into a pretty jar and keep close in summer heat. Nothing cools hot skin like it.

Age or fade fabric by leaving it out in the sun for the summer. Leave it over the line or peg it to the branches of a tree.

*****

Keep On Keeping On.

Find a blackboard and write
yourself a daily maxim;  a  favorite quote or a  line from a poem that
makes you smile.  Make a commitment to yourself to change it regularly.

Re-arrange your bookcase.
The busyness of it has become commonplace in your minds eye. Find a way
to hush it. Chuck some paperbacks in the recycling bin (You are never
going to read them again) .Colour co-ordinate your hardbacks. Stack big
books on their side and use them to prop scrumptious little treasures
on, like a favorite postcard on a teeny easel.  An apparently
abandoned  pretty little cup and saucer.  A tealight on a rose
patterned plate…

Use
the stacks and stacks of vintage linens I know we are all hoarding.
Stretch scraps of vintage embroidery over canvas and prop them one
leaning against the other on your mantlepiece. Cover a pinboard in a
tablecloth. Peg a line of pretty hankies across your kitchen window.
Use crocheted table runners to scoop back your curtains. Decide to have
a fresh pillowcase daily. Just for the hell of it.  (It will be a teeny
bliss you will come to adore).  Use your bestest teatowels till they
are threadbare because that is what they are for- to bring pleasure to
something dull…

Move one item from every
surface in the house. Now. Frame things. Casually lean a pretty empty
frame over a favorite ornament. Create vignette of like objects. Add a
natural element to every display in the house (A perfect fig, a shell,
a bundle of ribbon tied twigs?). Remember to vary the heights of items
in any given vignette.

There is  a surface in
your house you see more than any other. Where is it? The mantlepiece?
The sideboard the TV sits on? The windowsill above the kitchen sink?
Your bedside table?  Wherever it is, decide now to completely re-invent
it.  Remove every object on it. Polish it to a shine and then give it
new life. Imagine you are setting up a still life for a painter. Add
quirky, silly temporary touches… an orange, or a bowl of apples. A
little bundle of handwritten letters and a pen. A branch of blossom
from the garden. Put a mirror behind the display to double its
deliciousness….

Create an inspiration
board. Display it somewhere you will see it regularly. Make it as
pretty as possible. Criss-cross dotty ribbon with glitzy paste brooches
holding it in place, and pile it with anything you adore: magazine tear
outs, cards from friends, things that make you happy, scraps of fabric,
vintage jewellery, old photographs, dried herbs, kids
paintings….anything, anything at all. Then resolve to add something
new every evening, so you are teaching yourself to find inspiration
daily. Oh and lean a gilt frame over the whole caboodle for added
vintage bling… 

Wear a beautiful piece of jewellery while you empty the dishwasher. Prop a little junkshop picture behind the stove.

Create a little altar to
your soul wherever it is you find yourself blinking at your reflection
most frequently. Steal the prettiest lamp in the house and put it next
to your mirror. Put a pink tinged bulb in it and decide to see yourself
through rose tinted glasses ever after. Stuff a picture of you at your
most beautiful into the frame of the mirror. Fill pressed glass bonbon
dishes with cotton wool buds, pads and erm, maybe a secret little stash
of lemon bonbons? Add a row of tealights in moroccan tea glasses and
voila, a beautiful cosy place to really see yourself. To contemplate
your face without suffering the harsh cruelty of flourescent lighting
and day glo bathroom mirrors. A place you won’t find yourself
scrunching up your eyes in order to avoid the oh too harsh truth about
wrinkles, unexplained blotchiness and nose hair…

Put something living in
every room in the house. Oh I know I always say it, but really: if you
do only one thing on this list, make it this one, because nothing makes
you really see a room more than something that demands your attention
for it’s very life force…

Change your brand of
soap powder or fabric conditioner. Mix up a new blend of air freshening
spray. Buy a bar of Pears soap and use it at the kitchen sink. Buy
lilies and put them in your entrance hall. Douse yourself in lavender
scented Johnsons baby powder. Grow basil from seed on your kitchen
windowsill. Seek out an exotic type like cinnamon basil and thrill (and
confuse!) your senses…

Frame the prettiest, most beautifully illustrated set of carded vintage buttons and lean them on the lamp next to your bed.

Rip your most favorite
page out of your scrapbook or illustrated discovery journal (trust me
it ain’t sacreligious!) and put it on the fridge. Remind yourself of
your dreams and goals daily so they don’t get lost in the humdrum of
another day…

Start  planning a
decorating project.  Focus all your decorative ambition on it even if
it  making it a reality is light years away.  Keep an eye out for
treasures  for it.  Choose  an item you adore to inspire your scheme
and carry a little book of ideas around in your bag. Sit in the room
concerned and think about every aspect of its use. If you can dream it
you can make it happen. One day…

Move the painting above
your bed into the kitchen.  Throw a snuggly fuzzy cardigan (too yummy
to hide in a wardrobe) over the arm of your hall chair.   Root through
your larder and fill glass jars with dried whatever, then fasten
vintage paper scraps to the outside of each with a velvet ribbon
flourish. (Who says you can’t have a bit of fripperie on your kitchen
shelves?)

Stir cardamon pods into
warm milk, pour it into your favorite mug, then sit cosy in your living
room and really try to see it.  Whats working?  What isn’t?  What’s
looking tired? Should this or that be put away for the season and
brought out again after a decorative vacation? Would anybody
notice/mind if you moved that chair into the spare bedroom?

Press flowers between
the pages of old books. Appreciate their beauty in a different way.
After all there is something kind of wonderful about finding the love
token that is a  faded flower in a forgotten book…

Banish ugly recycling
boxes from the house and use a collection of old straw shopping baskets
instead. You don’t have to endure council issued ugliness.

Have a row of scented geraniums in a window with no view. Scrumptiously retro country. Circa 1979.

Add just one new cushion cover to the collection on your sofa  and make the entire room seem scrumptiously fresh.

Add a touch of yellow
into every room, for the tiniest touch of spring. Even if its only an
old lemon rose postcard. Replace your yellow tchoikes with damson bits
of this and that in the Autumn…

*****

Lovely Puttery Treats For Your Bookcase…

Take the books off each shelf one by one, and using a feather duster, dust the shelves and the books themselves, ever so gently.

Paste Bookplates into the left hand inside cover of your most precious books.

Cover ludicrously ugly, but essential books in pretty vintage paper.

Take off battered bookcovers and display older books in all their dusty coloured loveliness as part of tabletop displays throughout the house.

Store the paper covers themselves flat and if they are particuarly lovely, frame them and hang them near your library or bookcase.

Revolve the books you have by your bedside, in the loo, in the kitchen and by your favorite armchair so there is always something new to inspire you.

Re-arrange your bookcase, in alpabetical order, subject matter, or for a real visual treat, in rows of like colours.

Intermingle tiny little objet, jewelled photo frames and sparkly bits of this and that with your books.

Take yourself on a creative excursion for a new bookmark. Vintage postcards are divine.

Buy yourself a reading pillow. Stuff a little basket with bookmarks, reading glasses, post-it notes, a little notebook, some pns, a dictionary and a little box of violet creams, choose a book you love and retire to bed early…

Paint the back of your bookcase in a dramatic shade for glimpses of colour and line the shelves on which the books sit with vintage paper cut with a rick rack edge.

On special occasions, light up your bookcase with oodles of teeny little glass teaholders, glittering prettily amongst the matt covers of your vintage book collection.

When you have finished puttering, choose an old favorite, make tea the old fashioned way and put your feet up for an hour or two of fabulous company.

*****

Halloween.

Brush the path leading up to your house. Scrub your doorstep, leave your broom leaning in your porch and light a candle on your path to how good spirits the way into your home…

Turn out every light in the house, but leave the curtains of the room you are sitting in wide open, all the better for spotting any spooky passers by.  And light just one candle. Perhaps in the pumpkin you carved with the children.See how it feels to experience darkness. To not rely on electricity or the glow of the television.

Open a window in every room to allow free access to the spirit of magic. Ring a bell to welcome the angels and scare away yukky things…

Serve something suitably spooky, but elegant all the same. Cook black squid ink pasta (or add a few drops of black food colouring to a pan of tagliatellie) with scallops, or as I will be doing, with pancetta and parsnips. Drink deep, dark, syrupy red wine and gorge on a sliver of pumpkin pie…

Simmer a mixture of nutmeg and cardomom and nutmeg on the stove to warm and scent the house, or burn frankincense and myrhh to offer peace and rest to uneasy souls, and leave bowls of hazlenuts around the kitchen as an offering to the spirit of magic,as hazlenuts ate commonly believed to hold the wisdom of the future…

Take a long candlelit bath in winter spiced red water. Then create an altar on your bedside table. Choose one perfect flower,( a yellow marigold is thought to welcome the souls of lost ghosts home…) a candle,( purple for pain, white for hope and pink for celebration) an apple, an image of something you dream of, your journal, some coins and a handful of hazlenuts. Close the door on your bedroom and let magic get to work…   

Dress in something scrumptiously spooky. Waft about the house in a long black negligee. then accessorise it in demented Brocante fashion with a flannel dressing gown, and some yummy, snuggly socks  so that as it nears midnight you can open the back door and make a wish on the moon and stars…

Wear amber around your neck as a talisman against evil for your children…

Arrange bowls of apples (said to tell the future on Halloween night-particuarly if you are willing to sleep through the discomfort of having one under your pillow!), nuts, and marshmallows on a small table, and feast on toffee apples and tangerines…

Make some Mexican hot chocolate (unsweetened chocolate with cinnamon, vanilla and a dash of salt). The  secret is to make sure that your chocolate is frothed to a frenzy, because the Mexicans believe that the spirit of magic exists in the froth…

Serve in huge mugs, with a cinnamon stick to stir and snuggle up in front of the dying embers of the fire with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow..

Read each other ghost stories out loud, and peel an apple as you read- the person with the longest unbroken length of peel will live the longest…) or when you have eaten and bathed, curl up on the sofa and watch the spookiest movie you own in the pitch black of night…

Bring journalling night forward and use tonight to create a collage of your dreams for the future. Or write a letter to yourself, a letter stuffed full of hopes for the future, then wrap it in a plait of purple ribbon and tuck it away somewhere, where only magic can find it….

And if you are really up to it, stand in front of the mirror in the witching hour, as you brush your hair and look into your very own future, then make a wish as you blow out your candle…

*****

Bling.

Dangle crystals from pretty ribbons and hang in your windows to catch the light…

Tie back curtains with extra wide pale coloured ribbon tied into huge floppy bows (Ribbon is going to be huge over the next year!)

Change knobs and door handles to glass or crystal versions, Rachel Ashwell style.

Get pastel coloured baubles out of Christmas storage and add them to bowls of rustic pot pourri for glitzy contrast.

Add scrumptious feathers to flower arrangements…

Look for gypsy style scarves with deep fringes and divine scarlet roses and drape across heavy furniture…

Fill bowls with vintage buttons or sea glass.

Revive tired cushions with old paste brooches, glitzy little buttons or diamante belt buckles.

Dangle gorgeous necklaces from picture frames, door knobs or ornaments…

Go vintage clothes shopping and buy something so utterly glamorous you couldn’t possibly wear it, then hang it from a padded hanger in your boudoir…

Gather your cutest, twinkliest little bags and display on a wall together or hang them on the stair bannister or from the backs of chairs.

Wrap cushions up in ribbon, parcel style and tie in pretty bows.

Buy multi coloured crystals and add them to your light fittings, tie them around muslin bags filled with lavender and dangle from your bath taps or thread them onto the skinniest ribbon you can find and dangle them from plants or bare twig style arrangements…

Just think of it as house jewellery…

*****

Christmassy Treats.

* Hang a little bag on the Christmas tree and ask everyone to write their favorite  Christmas memories  in it, to be told over Christmas dinner…

* Tie Christmas cards in bundles and display in a bowl (thus saving the necessity to display anything hideous!)

*  Hide Christmas presents all over the house so your children have to go on a treasure hunt…

* Save  a few presents to be opened before they go to bed on Christmas day…

* Make a Gingerbread Baby House.

* Make French Christmas crackers (more like favours), by wrapping tiny little gifts in vintage handkerchiefs, scooping up and tying with a ribbon…

* Wrap tiny little gifts for each member of the family and put them at their place on the Christmas table…

* Throw  a  Christmas Eve candlelit tea for the kids after the Childrens service: I am serving cinnamon flavoured warm milk, a selection of cheese, some peach chutney, gingerbread men and one tiny gift in front of the fire. Invitation only. New pyjamas essential.

* Organise a vintage hospitality table. Choose a sideboard and pile it with vintage saucers holding candy canes, tiny teaspoon’s and  fircones.  Put baubles and those scrumptiously wrapped  amoretti  on three tiered cake stands. Wrap linen napkins in velvet ribbon and lay them on a stack of your favorite plates, next to a small plate of sugar dusted mince pies.  Fill jars with mini gingerbread men, biscotti and star shaped biscuits. Add glasses,  a choice bottle of something Christmassy, a few emergency wrapped bottles or gifts, some kids christmas chocolate, and a few whimsical decorations, some fruit, dried fruit and nuts- and voila you have a table of scrumptious offerings for everyone from your milk man to your next door neighbour…

* Add a touch of whimsy with some vintage kids toys mixed in with your more serious grown up decorations…

*****

More Christmassy Treats.

Sit down  next to the tree this evening and open one of the teeniest little parcels addressed to you.  You are a grown up now. It’s allowed.

Leave a candy cane, little bar of chocolate, christmas cracker or titchy treat outside your kids door every morning between now and Christmas morning.

Gather all the family games you own and leave them in a basket ready for impromptu festive fun…

Iron your Christmas morning jim-jams with cologne,  wrap in tissue paper sprayed with something christmassy, and tuck into a drawer with a bundle of cloves, cinnamon and dried oranges.

Wrap a selection of small gifts- little Christmas cakes, bottles  of mulled wine, brown paper bags full of bulbs to force, or mini christmas puddings, ready to grab for hostess gifts, tips for tradesmen, treats for carol singers, or gifts for unexpected present bearing visitors…

Polish your vintage cutlery and tie into bundles with pretty ribbon ready to decorate the christmas table…

Fold vintage wallpaper into party hat sized cones, add a frill of fine tinsel, a ribbon tie and  a festive greeting or tiny vintage photo and stack on the fireplace ready to be worn while sipping bucks fizz in your dressing gown on Christmas morning.

Can’t find crackers you like? Buy the plainest ones you can find and wrap their centres in vintage paper. Add co-ordinating ribbon and whatever little glueable fripperies your heart desitres, but refuse to take responsibility for the bad jokes inside…

Wrap little bundles of tangerines and gold chocolate coins in tissue paper and stash in your children coat pockets, just before you leave for church on christmas eve.

Write a love letter to your partner dated Christmas day and resolve to make it a yearly ritual.

Hang small stockings on the back of every chair at the christmas table, and make opening the tiniest of presents inside a ritual between courses.

Arrange to send your Mum a bouquet of gorgeous greenery on Christmas Eve. There is nothing purer than flowers…

*****

Sniffles.

Bed socks. You must have bed socks. Ok so they are not remotely sexy but they can look effortlessly vintage chic with a too big for you white Victorian nightie and a snuggly cardigan. Hunt some out, stitch yourself a little sock bag and hang it from your bed-post.

The Blanket Cardigan. Fold the top quarter of a blanket over and stitch 35cms in from each side to make some makeshift armholes. Adorn as desired et voila! A pretty blanket that will stay sitting round your shoulders and guaranteeing warmth through another episode of Ugly Betty. So you look like a Granny. What the hell, you are warm.

Herbal Cold Tea. At the slightest sniffle of a cold, make yourself some herbal cold tea, then take to your bed and refuse to budge.

Candles. Now I have no idea whether I am right or wrong here,  but I will argue till I’m blue in the face that lighting lots and lots of candles warms you up. My Dad says I am talking nonsense, but whether the effects are purely psychological or not,  I find that lighting, cinnamon, clove or  other wintery spiced candles  makes me feel cosier. As does a red blanket or two. And the scrumptiously cosy red floral bedding I am currently retiring to…

Mustard Foot Bath. Warm feet, warm heart. Or something like that. Mustard oils are absorbed through the skin and elimanated via your lungs, promoting a beneficial anti-bacterial action and causing skin irritation mild enough to make you feel warm. Warm towels and socks on the radiator as your feet soak then snuggle up your tootsies and I guarantee you’ll feel better…

Bake  Bread. Nothing makes me feel more homely than the smell of bread baking. Make soda bread and serve it with crispy bacon and mushrooms swimming in garlicy oil.  Set the breadmaker to wake you with the delicious aroma of hot flaky bread  ready to be served with big bowls full of hot chocolate. Or eat makeshift suppers of warm ciabatta sprinkled with olive oil and sea salt, melted brie and red wine to warm you up from the inside out.

Hibernate For The Weekend. While my Mum has something of a dicky fit if I stay in the house for longer than twenty four hours at a time, I am a great believer in the healing powers of hibernation. Don’t feel like going out much? Don’t. Fill the pantry with staples. Arrange to have a box of organic veg delivered. Keep a vat of scrummy soup on the go. Go the library and take out a huge pile of books. Don’t bother going out for the daily paper. Don’t spend hours on the phone. Stay in till you feel better and enjoy the peace of your own or your families company.

Curtains. Close every curtain in the house as soon as the afternoon sun dies. Both in an effort to conserve heat  and to trick your mind into thinking that the house is warmer than it is. It may not be terribly green but keeping a lamp on in every room and every passage way- in fact setting timers so they switch themselves on as dimly as possible as soon as dusk settles, will reinforce the feeling of welcome and warmth in your home and you will not experience the disconcerting jar of switching overheard lights on as you go about the house in the early evening…

Draft Excluders. Can’t be bothered stitching vintage fabric wrapped draft excluders? Fold a blanket in half and roll it into a sausage, then tie both ends christmas cracker style with a length of thick velvet ribbon and press your home-made door snugglers up against the drafts creeping through every entrance way in the house.

Thermal Vests. Now the problem with thermal underwear is this: once you move into it for the Winter you have to expect to  freeze should you decide to venture out without it till around about July. But oh my  it is just so yummy. Buy a selection with lacy edges pretty enough to peep out of layers of fine knit woollies and make handwashing them in lavender and letting  them dry on padded hangers a quick, but really rather scrumptious evening ritual.

Nursery Suppers. Give up dinner for a few nights and instead offer the kids a  very old fashioned high tea when they come home dithering from school and a light nursery supper  (boiled egg and soldiers?)  an hour before they go to bed..

Handcream. Stand a tub of handcream in a bowl of boiling water while you wash the dishes then treat yourself to a warming hand massage when you  remove your Marigolds…

Water Bowls. Fill pretty little bowls full of water and a few drops of aromatherapy oil and leave them in the vicinity of every radiator in the house ready to counteract the dreadfully skin wrinkling effects of central heating.

Early To Bed. Set the scene right and your bedroom is the snuggliest place to be when it is very, very chilly. Line the sheet you lie on  with a wool blanket so the bed feels warm on your skin, switch the radio to Classic Fm,  spritz your pillow with eucalyptus,  pile an extra quilt or  two on top of the bed (I do adore burying myself in  a muddle of cosy blankets) take a cup of chamomile to bed and snuggle up with an old fashioned love story or a thoroughly modern man.

*****

Spring.

Bake a Gateau Breton and eat it with the first  decent (the smaller the better) strawberries of the season.

Paint your broom handle the colour of an Old Cotswold Legbar Hens egg.  (And watch the hencam while you are there!)

Fold a pretty teatowel in half and sew together. Make half inch hems either end and thread elastic through, before adding a ribbon loop and feeling virtuous because now you have a pretty place to store them, you have no excuse not to  recycle any plastic carrier bags that make it through your door.

Line a few deep flat baskets in oilcloth and put them in the boot of your car ready for bringing home all the scrumptious bits of this and that you will find on  your Summer treasure hunts..

Make yourself a dolly peg lady. Wrap her in a vintage hankie. Add a paste brooch and lips with a cupid shaped bow and declare her Queen of The Laundry Room.

Spray your watering can ointment pink. Distress it till it looks fifty years old and make watering your plants an early evening ritual to savour.

Bake individual Spanish omelettes loaded with chorizo and leftover potato, (in a muffin tin) and serve them with a huge green salad and chilled white wine, for an early taste of Summer.

Chop up some old vintage scraps of embroidery and string together some bunting to hang along your washing line. It’s there. You might as well make it pretty. Oh and while we are on the subject keep an eye out for 50’s floral plastic covered hangers to leave swinging on your washing line for drying shirts and blouses without those bothersome peg imprints…

Demote a blanket to garden duty and leave it folded in a basket near the back door for chilly Spring evenings outside. Allocate a garden pinny and hang it from a ribbon tied laundry peg on your doorknob.

Cover a scrapbook/photo album in something heartbreakingly gorgeous and resolve to record every scrumptious moment of another glorious Summer the old fashioned way…

Recover your ironing board in a fabric that makes you smile. Out of pure laziness my cover is simply drawing pinned over the board. On warm days there is no reason why the whole caboodle, iron, linen water, extension lead et al can’t be dragged into the garden so you hang clothes straight onto hangers and let then waft about in the breeze, while you enjoy the gentle joy of sun on your face and watch kids unlikely to do themselves a damage while you are keeping your beady eye on them..

Sew yourself some new teatowels. Choose any cotton, linen or linen union fabric and if you don’t have a sewing machine, handstitch the edges et voila! instant freshness for your kitchen.

Line window ledges with crocheted doillies to keep your precious little seedlings warm on chilly nights.

Hang a Springtime wreath on your front door and watch passers by smile or tie big sashes of ribbon in happy bows around your chair backs and celebrate Spring all by yourself.

Plant teeny succulents in vintage teacups and colanders, and old tins, and teapots and child sized watering cans, and ummm, anything pretty really, then use them to fill the gaps between bigger containers in your garden.

Fill a great big white tin jug or bucket with gorgeous pink blossom, grasses and strands of ivy and place it on a tea stained crocheted tablecloth on your garden table.

Sew rick rack onto your little girls ankle socks. Or your favorite gingham pinny.  Or a pile of pure white handtowels. Soooo Springy…

Loop a lacy tablecloth or shawl across your more utilitarian shower curtain.

Sew yourself a fabric envelope, use a vintage button to fasten it  and fill it with good quality white notepaper, envelopes, a little collection of pretty postcards, some stamps and a pen that isn’t an effort to write with, then climb into bed early in the evening and write somebody you love a Happy Spring card  or pour your heart  out in a letter you will never send.

Chill fruit tea in the fridge as you do your housework, then sit down with a pretty little cup and the morning paper as reward for scrubbing the bath so wonderfully well you can see your reflection in it.

Plant cress in broken eggshells and display in a fine little collection of glass eggcups on a sunny  windowsill.

******

Ribbon.

Loop short lengths together to make a ribbon chain and drape it up your bannister, or decorate a basket by weaving a ribbon border.

Unpick an ugly lampshade and then thread ribbon round and the bare frame to re-invent it.

Sew onto the edges of pillowcases or handtowels.

Thread charms onto a few lengths then either wear around your neck or dangle from your headboard for good luck.

Use as drawer pulls. (Unscrew existing fittings, feed ribbon through holes and tie in a knot on the inside of drawer)

Add loops of pretty ribbon to tea-towels to hang them up.

Create ribbon “clothes-lines”  across windows and use to peg your kids drawings up.

Plait together and use as tiebacks: or find the finest ribbon you can to do the same thing to girly fragile effect…

Use to hang keys off wardobes or on peg rails, or as a keyring in your bag (long as you like!)

Thread loops and loops of ribbon off a chandelier to soften it. Add twinkly crystals to some…

Add ribbon loops to utalitarian objects like dustpan’s and brooms..

Tie around the pages of a book to mark your place, or stiffen and use to frame a picture.

Make ribbon rosettes or gorgeous ribbon roses ( be very careful and use sparingly: too much and your home will reek reminiscently of peaches and cream and ruched curtains.)

Award yourself a ribbon rosette.

Make a ritual out of tying your old love letters together, bundling your childrens first drawings or making pretty piles of scrap fabric prettily wrapped.

Use a marker pen to write your dearest wish on to a length of ribbon and tie it somewhere meaningful, or wrap it around a special book (Romancing the Ordinary anyone?)

Let the kids tie a welcome home ribbon on to a door wreath each evening.

Use short lengths as napkin rings.

Criss cross inside your larder door and use as your housekeeping bulletin board (Hang your HouseKeepers Creed there!)

Wrap around your wrist in the spirit of the charity bands currently popular and use to quietly, and privately, commemorate the memory of a loved one or remind you of a personal goal or promise….

Thread an old watch face onto a piece of grosgrain ribbon and wear around your wrist, dangle a pocket watch from a long pretty piece of ribbon, or wrap a decorative ribbon around your waist.

Punch holes into photographs and hang individually from lengths of ribbon.

Thread loops through little use teacups and hang in your kitchen.

Now go tie yourself a bow.

*****

Things To Do On Summer Days.

Fill a tub with sudsy water and let the kids wash dollies clothes the old fashioned way in the back garden.

Sleep with the curtains open so you wake with the sun rise.

Take the kids scrapbook shopping and help them create  journals of their summer holidays.

Throw a laundry powder party: get your girlies together, fill a
table with natural cleaning product ingredients, essential oils, pretty
bottles, ribbon and labels and spend an afternoon mixing up some
homemade cleaning recipes in the summer sun.

Have a breakfast
barbeque…  bake brioche in tin foil,  and serve with  creme fraiche
and  berry compote. Or do baked haddock, roasted bananas, or grilled
mango with mint. Eat in pyjamas and sunglasses.

Set yourself a book
challenge… choose six books you want to read by the end of summer.
List them on your blog and make a committment to your readers to review
them.

Throw caution to the wind and hold an afternoon cocktail party.  Pretty hats obligatory.

Buy a croquet set, and drink Pimms with cucumber on the lawn.

Decide not to cook,
bake or heat anything for three days… feast on salad,  smoothies,
fruit  and raw vegetables and feel strangely wonderful for it…

Record your entire Summer with a camera. Post a new summer photograph on Flickr everyday.

Sew vintage fabric
cuffs onto the top of your wellies and go splashing in summer puddles.
Goodness knows theres enough of them!

Coat your hair in a mix of coconut oil and cognac for a hydrating mask that is the very essence of Summer.

Put together a Summer soundtrack and let the songs remind you of Summer 2007 ever after.

Dig out your gorgeous
collection of vintage headscarves and make wearing them Turban or
Jackie O style your summer accessory of choice. Sooooo chic or sooooo Hilda Ogden.

Give yourself a pampering pedicure in the garden using rock salt, olive oil and a good old fashioned pumice stone.

Give the kids chalk and let them play hopscotch on the patio.

Drag your mattress outside on a sunny day and let it breathe for a  few hours.

Put a big quilt on the
grass, fill a bowl with hot soapy water and  scrub your vintage crystal
till the sun throws rainbows across the garden.

Serve iced tea in french enamel coffee pots. Crush fresh mint into white sugar and serve with strawberries.

Let rose petals steep in boiling water, then mix with vodka and store in the fridge for a cooling astringent…

Pull the plug on the tv
and insist kids play outdoors. Pipe music into the garden and play ring
a ring a roses. Skip rope. Dance. Splash in the paddling pool. Be a
child again…

 

That Back To School Feeling.

Gather all your most precious Summer clothes, wash in scented water, sprinkle with peppercorns to discourage moths and then store between layers of tissue in a vintage suitcase on top of your wardrobe…

Sharpen every pencil you own. Then find a  pretty  little tumbler  to put them in and  leave  them wherever you usually find yourself grasping  for something to write  with.

Start a new diary. Find a blank journal and wrap it in a scrap of something beautiful or collage with vintage photo’s. Tie with a length of old  lace, find a postcard that makes you smile  to use as a  marker et voila!  A place to store your dreams…

Stock up your cupboards with wintery spices, yeast and bakers grade flour, the darkest most enticing brown sugar,  dried orange peel,  and all those other things that just spell cosy autumnal afternoons in the kitchen.

Put a few pieces of aluminium foil into a stock pan full  of water,  and  boil. Now  add your collection  of  vintage silver cutlery and  allow to simmer.  Then spend a  meditative  hour or two  gently  buffing  your silverware to a beautiful shine, before displaying it  in  something worthy of it’s shiny distressed glory…

Make a block of coffee soap:  melt old fashioned  household soap flakes, or grate a small bar of white soap into a pan and heat. Add four tablespoons of   rolled oats and four tablespoons  of finely ground coffee and allow to set in a mould. Then display on a tiny flowery saucer and use to banish yukky smells on your hands after baking…

Make a ready brek tray. Fill enormous glass jars with porridge, rolled oats and homemade muesli, along with a jug for warm milk, enough deep cereal bowls for the whole family, a crystal bowl full of sugar, and a pretty plate for fruit and leave on the kitchen table for impromptu cosy breakfasts…

Create coming home stations for the kids to dump their stuff as they run in from school. A couple of deep labelled baskets? Hooks tagged with their name?  Be strict with them about what is allowed to live there.

Get organised! Gather every piece of mail, bill, letter or coupon you have not got around to dealing with and sit down with a glass of wine and resolve to deal with it there and then, one way or another. One night- that is all it takes to stop the burden of paperwork weighing heavily on your mind and quite frankly no-one would blame you if you suddenly felt the urge to inspire more regular sessions by purchasing the kind of files, pens and paperclips that make your heart sin. Yes, I hereby give you permission to spend money on pretty stationery. It is I think essential for our welfare in September…

Sometimes the most refreshing changes are the teeniest. Swap tired old bits of soap for new blocks, replace blackened candles with fresh ones, remove at least one item from every surface in the house, throw a quilt over the back of your armchair for late night snuggles, buy a new toothbrush, get thee to the recycling station with every mostly empty shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath, or cordial bottle you own, (there is no room for dregs in this housekeepers life!!), and change the photograph in the frame beside your bed.

Get online and order all the catalogues you are going to need for the Winter: from traditional toys for stocking fillers, seed catalogues for next years planting, by post only boutiques for the occasional treats and  Christmas catalogues to wile away an hour or six dreaming of just how perfect you are going to make the festive season this year…

Start knitting snuggly hot water bottle covers  and scrumptiously silly bedsocks for when the world gets that little bit cosier in the coming month’s.

Get in the garden and cut some lengths of ivy. Add to boiling hot water and use to soak dark coloured delicates.

Wrap bundles of firewood in newspaper and string and soak in pine scented oil. Then store in a large box or tin in a dark place till the nights draw in…

Empty out your comfort drawer and start to fill it week by week with cosy autumnal treats. Re-line it with yummy paper, spray with scrumptious scented linen water, layer it again with all your old comfort favorites and leave space for new snuggly treats: a self heating face mask? Teeny tiny bottle of brandy? Rose scented turkish delight? A card to send to your loved one when you have finally got the time to tell him how you feel? A smily summery photograph of yourself for rubbishy days? Really decent cocoa? A book of poetry to make you cry…

Make brushing your path a morning ritual.

Buy yourself a pair of flannel pyjamas, or change your summery cotton sheets for wintery flannel because there is seriously nothing cosier…

Order personalised stationery (how utterly elegant!) for next to nothing at Vista Print and delight your friends by inviting them for an “after the school run, really rather formal brunch”  on the most innocuous of Tuesday mornings…

Mix up a brand new batch of Brocante Store Cupboard Recipes ready for the Seasonal Scrub coming very soon…

Bake batch loads of cookie dough and freeze ready to be whipped into the oven at a moments notice when the kids are on their way home from school. The scent of chocolate chip memories will forever after be associated with home…

*****

Delicious Doillies.

Aside from using them for all manner of crockery resting purposes, I’ve got them in the bathroom and the bedroom, and they decorate my kitchen a treat: looking particularly divine under my kitchen herbs…

Thread them on to ribbon and string across your windows so the sun makes pretty patterns on your walls.

Sew together to make tablemats.

Use them in the fridge (Who doesn’t want a pretty fridge?)

Stitch two the same together and stuff with lavender.

Scrunch them up to make gorgeous crocheted roses.

Wrap soap in them and display in a bowl in the bathroom.

Save them to decorate your tree at Christmas.

Wrap presents in them.

Thread ribbon around their edges and pull together to make pretty drawstring gift bags.

String them up and use them as curtain tiebacks.

Wrap tiny little cakes in them on a party table.

Use as jam jar covers.

Use as shelf trims.

Use soft ones as napkins at the table.

*****

Mince Pies and Feather Duster Day.

If you can’t bear mince pies, how about a mincemeat cake?  If  only because it will make your house smell festively divine as it bakes…

Failing that take a packet of shop bought mince pies and heat them gently in the oven for the same delicious aroma.

Simmer some  mulled apple cider in the crockpot..

Make Christmas tunes your housekeeping music of choice as you waft about with your feather duster…

Make your family smile by popping a couple of jingle bells inside the loo roll holder…

Fill little bowls with sugared almonds, nuts, wrapped sweets and candy canes and display on a tray in the living room, with nutcrackers and a few baubles…

Light candles everywhere you go. Add tealights to bookshelves. Resolve to eat breakfast in the glow of the fairylights for the rest of the week…

Make a hot chocolate tray: fill a tray with everything you need to make the most scrumptious warm drinks- cocoa,chocolate flakes, tiny marshmallows, oranges, flavoured essences (vanilla, coffee, orange?), brandy, cinnamon sticks, sugar, a iny little whisk, your hot chocolate jug, huge cosy mugs, biscotti and amoretti…

Dig out all the Christmas cd’s and dvds you own and put them in a basket near the tv, for impromptu festive viewing…

Put a Christmassy book on your bedside and a stack of Christmassy magazines in the bathroom…

Fill a basket with snuggly socks and warm blankets…

Wrap tiny tangerines in scraps of lace and display in a pretty bowl.

Rub cinnamon oil into any bare wood.

Open the windows, turn up the heat and let a little air into the house…

Add citrus scented oil to your dishwater. Add  a couple of drops of neroli, or pine scented oil to your BrocanteHome Surface Cleaner.

Put pine cones into a plastic bag, add a few drops of scented oil and shake. Leave to fragrance and then leave them lying anywhere you sit for more than a few moments: by the phone? Next to your computer?

Tie jingle bells onto a length of velvet ribbon and tie onto the handle of each door in the house for the tinkly sound of an angel getting her wings throughout the christmas season…

Simmer orange slices with a pinch of all spice on the stove…

Launder and iron all the jarmmies and dressing gowns your family own, then hang scrumptiously clean,  on padded hangers in their bedrooms, with a tiny little net pomander of cinnamon and other spices tied to the neck of the hanger…

Pop a tiny little ivy or vase of red roses in the fridge…

Iron a new set of scrumptiously clean tea towels and put them out in the kitchen (crisp white linen anyone? Festive red gingham?)

Press your Christmas Day pinny: you will be wearing one won’t you??

Wile away a half hour or two handwashing your best glasses, then add them to a tray of spirits ready for unexpected callers…

Unwrap a Christmas present today. Go on, I dare you….

*****

Brocante-ing Your Bag…

Tip it out and throw away anything obviously junkworthy.

Wipe out the inside and then take a good look at it. Is it past it’s sell by date? Kind of ugly. Too old? Too new? Too heavy? Do you need a new bag? Go ebay something beautiful!!

Do you carry make up around? Is it manky? Do you use all of it on a daily basis? Really? I don’t mean in a life or death, gotta see the teacher kind of way, but in a “need a touch up” kind of way. If not, cull it to the essentials, find a tiny vintage little purse and pop it inside. Keep an eye out for those cute little vintage lipstick holders with the mirrors on the side…

Do you think it would be sad if we colour coded the contents of our handbags? No, me neither. How’s about raspberry and tobacco? Or coffee and cream? Everything pink? Yes please…

Now I don’t know about you, but I need a notebook. Something tiny and pretty and pleasing. Not a reporters notepad please. Something fancy, wrapped in a ribbon to which you’ve attached a pen. Create a tiny little scappy page or seven, that represents your home: stick in fabric samples, paint colours, little reprentative images…

Brocante your mobile phone: Use it to store all essential info, so you don’t need an address book in your bag. My friend Clare keeps a photo of her back garden on hers, so she can instantly transport herself back to her favorite place in the world…

Survival in an ugly world is guaranteed if we carry around a few little lifesavers: a couple of herbal teabags, some violet pastilles, bach remedies, a vial of lavender oil etc, etc. Think gentille and ladylike…

It goes without saying that a few vintage handkerchiefs are essential…

Wrap a few photographs in ribbon and pop into a ziplock bag, or take the glass out of a teeny little diamante frame and carry your sweetheart around in style…

Old fashioned compact mirrors are ubiqtuos at antique fairs and add a tiny bit of glitz to your life everytime you look inside…

Pinning vintage paste brooches to your bag is oh so chic, but if it isn’t possible, pin a little collection to the lining inside and smile at the glamour of it every time you open your bag…

Tie your house keys inside your bag with a plait of ribbon or braid. Use a tiny little fake flower as a keyring adornment, or keep an eye our for tiny bracelet charms and start a keyring charm…

Throw in a knot of your favorite fabric to which a few drops of your signature scent have been added, and blast a little spray of scent into your bag, everytime you spray yourself…

Think pretty!

*****

Puttery Treats For Winter.

Make the decision to only go where you really must: this is a month for taking stock, for not cluttering our minds with  new projects, unnecessary  consumerism or idle gossip.  So practise saying No. No Thank You, but really you are oh so kind for asking…

Wander around the house and gather up all your half finished crafty bits of this and that. Music you find too difficult to listen to when your mind is busy. Books you’ve always meant to read.  And each day make a conscious effort  to do them, read them, listen to them. Perhaps there is a reason they are half finished. Maybe you will finally find the space and time to admit you don’t enjoy them or maybe, just maybe, the sheer numbness of Fevrier will bring with it a  new, enduring passion.

Get up very, very early. Just you. Creep downstairs, light candles and drink coffee in the dark, melancholy silence of  an early Winter morning.

Or wait until everybody has left for school or work, then prepare yourself a really lovely breakfast tray. Carry it upstairs, get undressed and get back into bed. No one else but you has to know…

Call in the blues. Gather miserable c.d’s and heartbreaking films together and spend a couple of hours wallowing in sorrow. Sounds miserable. Makes you feel great.

Strip back the bed and lay a huge fleecy blanket between the mattress cover and the sheet. Then if you are truly chilled to the bone, lay another blanket on top of the sheet, so your fragile, gooseflesh never has to endure the bitter chill of cotton or linen…

Give the cold sheets a quick blast with a very hot hairdryer before you slip under the quilt…

Choose a pretty tin and make up some Fireside Coffee Mix. Light every candle you own as soon as dusk settles.

Wrap up warm and get into the garden to sweep away the debris of Winter on your doorstep, plant pretty Primulas in terracotta pots, inside and out and bring a little colour into what could be the most lifeless of all months.

Buy daffodils every time you buy milk. Really.

Knit socks. Take afternoon naps. And polish your furniture in that strange afternoon Winter light designed to reveal every airbourne speck of dust…

Buy really good, organic butter and feast on the piece of heaven that is a buttery crumpet. At least twice a week. Or twice a day if the mood takes you.

Handwash your favorite snuggly blanket, rinse it in something scrumptiously fragrant, then dry it in front of the fire as  it’s scent fills the air and the windows of your living room steam up deliciously. There is nothing quite so scrumptiously Wintery or homely as steamy windows…

Get into your pyjama’s every day  at four o’clock and refuse to leave the house thereafter.

Create a kindling basket full of pinecones, cinnamon sticks and herb bundles. Or stuff old toilet roll holders full of twigs, herb’s, moss and waxed firestarters, then wrap in brown paper and tie with string.

Bake a lot of deliciously old fashioned cakes and take afternoon tea in your jim jams. I always think the most welcoming of houses always have home made cake tucked in a flowery tin somewhere.

Go on a treasure hunt for a vintage tea cosy. Or some of those fuzzy little boiled egg cosies. Have  steaming tea and a boiled egg with soldiers for breakfast. Or lunch. Or even dinner.

Press your collection of vintage hankies. Then put them in a tin lined with eucalyptus scented paper. Add a little pot of Vicks and some vitamin C drops. Just in case…

Feel a bit sorry for yourself.  Then go  put a hyacinth next to your bed so it’s deliciously heady fragrance is the the first thing to greet you every morning.

Then snuggle up in all the cosy blankets you own, read lots of trashy novels,  drink syrupy, treackly red wine, bake cheese and bacon scones, wear slippers,  take lots of afternoon naps and  wish as hard as you can for the joy that is March…

Daily Treats.

Use white vinegar and a cotton bud to clean the crevices of your phone. (The blasted things get soooo grubby don’t they?) Then give the whole thing a gentle swipe with a cloth scented with lavender or orange blossom.

It’s laundry day! Wash worn out t-shirts to heavenly softness, then chop them up and add them to your rag bag for the bestest dusters around…

Run upstairs now and drag the sheets back on your bed, open the bedroom windows wide and close the door…Fresh bliss at bedtime…

Open a vintage recipe book to page 72 and bake whatever is there… Yes, even if it does involve doing something wicked to a jellied eel!

Choose a flower from your garden and press it in tissue paper between the pages of your favorite vintage book…

Write yourself a to-do list on the back of a vintage postcard and slip it into your handbag. This is the week to do away with all those niggly little tasks currently driving you round the twist…

Make a drama out of lunchtime…select a beautiful tray and the bestest china you own, add a napkin and a tiny bud vase, and sit quietly, meditatively, as you eat…

Seek out a beautiful vintage tin and use it to store pegs in your laundry room…

Sprinkle baking powder into the base of your laundry basket after you have emptied it today and say goodbye to stale odours..

Today wear your silliest, frilliest, girliest underwear under your jeans and feel quietly beautiful when you finally turn your attention to tidying the cupboard under the stairs…

Make a decision today to get organised: tick two things off your inner to do list and celebrate with a single flower displayed in a milk bottle on your kitchen window sill..

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