My imagination is limited. This I must confess to you today. Though I spend my days dreaming up puttery treats both for my own pleasure and yours, a quick browse around Pinterest frequently proves that there are creative minds far quicker than mine and so many enviable puttery treats for the taking my whole head ends up in a swirl…
And so today, as promised sometime in 2012, (but as usual operating by my own skewiff timetable) I hereby bring you the first of a new feature: a collection of Pins curated by me: the very sort of puttery treats I have been regaling you with for years, carefully selected for a variety of gorgeous little to-do’s to add pretty slendour to your days and cozy comfort to your evenings…
Stitch a set of pretty starched doillies on to the edges of a plain tablecloth and voila : the perfect marriage of Granny Chic and elegance is born…
Transform a vintage watch or two into the most perfect portable photo album. Wear them on your wrist, carry them in your heart…
Turn strips of discarded wrapping paper into your very own Washi-Tape like those clever cats at Country Living have done…
Inspired and resourceful me thinks. Now if only I had a collection of vintage bobbins…
Visit the Prudent Homemaker and help yourself to her beautiful free printable book plates. Glue inside your most precious books and send a grateful thank-you to she who designed them…
Get into bed early with a cup of Dreamy Night-time…
Turn a treasured baby shoe into a darling little pin cushion like those so beautifully crafted at Todolwen...
And on Sunday…
Make a darling little paper wreath for your bedroom door like this one originally sourced in one of the gorgeous craft books to be found at Japan Lovely Crafts…
Have a lovely puttery week Housekeepers!
Don’t forget that you can see more gorgeous puttery treats on my dedicated Pinterest board now will you?
Gorgeous Vintage Treasure…
It is snowing, and I am shuffling around the house in carpet slippers, breathless with a cold and chesty cough and determined to somehow bless this last bit of Winter with a few puttery treats just for the use of…
* Find a pretty padded hanger and leave it in the bathroom for the kind of domestic emergencies that require gentle steaming.
* Seek out a vintage umbrella stand and start a collection of fabulous, fluted brollies…
* Knit a square and transform it into a darling little bunny…
* Have a Richard Yates season. Start with The Easter Parade.
* Use vintage teaspoons past their best as pretty plant-markers.
* Start the search for a vintage prayer postcard and keep it propped against your bedside lamp.
* Stitch crochet doillies over the back pockets of your jeans.
* Wrap micro-fibre clothes around kitchen sponges and stitch down one side. They make the most fabulous dusters and can be chucked into the washing machine to clean.
* Start a collection of kaftans: the perfect Spring into Summer house dress because they can be glammed up in seconds with a swipe of lipgloss and a string of beads. Boho-beautiful.
* Squeeze two oranges into a small saucepan and add one teaspoon of good coconut oil. Warm gently until the oil melts and combines with the juice. Pour into a glass and sip slowly to fully experience the soothing benefits of this restorative potion.
* Stitch a body-length bolster cushion in a pretty fabric and delight in how well it supports your knees and back when you wrap yourself around it at bedtime.
* Decorate eggs scrumptiously fast with Washi tape.
* Fold and stitch crocheted doillies into tiny tissue covers for your handbag.
* Line bedroom drawers with black, red or moss green velvet and lay jewellery out flat. It won’t move and looks so luxurious.
* Cover a pin-board with pages torn from old books to instantly transform an essential bit of modern kit…
* Create a curiosity wall. Pin postcards and junk shop portraits alongside vintage objet d’art, shadow boxes, teeny scarps of fabric framed, hooks on which to hang a little loveliness and whatever else a treasure hunt around your house turns up. Perfect in the kitchen or in the bedroom.
* Hang a wreath strung with yellow gingham ribbon on your front door to tempt this most reluctant Spring into your life.
* Use drawers discarded from old chests or bureaus as pull out storage spaces for under your bed.
* Wrap a micro-fibre cloth around a long handled broom and use to sweep away cobwebs and dust from hard to reach place. Try not faint in fright when you find yourself chocking…
* Fill a mason jar with cotton wool puffs and sprinkle liberally with essential oils. Replace the lid, shake and leave to infuse for a few days before using wherever you could use a little un-obtrusive fragrance. Perfect for the corners of drawers, inside loo rolls and at the base of wastepaper baskets.
* Write thank-you notes to the universe, seal them in small envelopes and stash them in a child size suitcase at your bedside. Make it a Easter ritual to re-read all that you have to be grateful for.
* Add a cupful of bicarb to a bowl of boiling water and soak kitchen sink cleaning cloths overnight.
* Turn the prettiest of discarded baby socks into scented sachets by filling them with dried lavender and securing the top with a ribbon covered elastic band.
* Turn hanging vintage ladles into tea-light votives in the kitchen…
* Add an exuberant bow to last years ballet flats and wear them as indoor/outdoor shoes around the house. Smile at your feet on a regular basis.
* Seek out and spend money on the perfect heirloom quality Easter bunny and make it a tradition to offer it pride of place on your mantle-piece annually.
* Tie die crocheted doillies with beetroot juice for a gorgeous pop of exuberant colour on your scrubbed pine kitchen table.
* Start a collection of vintage cafe-au-lait bowls . Just add a flaky, still warm from the oven croissant doused in lemon curd for a Spring twist and you are good to go…
* Keep vegetables in a basket lined with hay. Deliciously rustic and helpful in keeping produce cool and dry.
* Banish tickly, irritating coughs during the night by spritzing your bed pillows with apple cider vinegar. Sounds weird, worked a treat for me.
Enjoy my Darlings!
Find more of my puttery treats in my Kindle book “Scrumptious Treats for Vintage Housekeepers”…
Next Monday, we Vintage Housekeepers embark on our month long Seasonal Scrub: a zesty-fest of Spring cleaning spread over four crazy, beautiful weeks. At the end of it, we stand proud, smug and ready to get back to inching towards the authentic life we have long dreamed of living.
In the meantime I thought you might appreciate a few puttery treats to get you in the mood?
* Seek out some shelf lining paper, ready to line pantry shelves, drawers and cupboards when you have cleaned them. Keep pantries immaculate by layering 5 to 7 sheets of paper at a time and removing one layer every time it gets stained or starts to curl.
* Grate three bars of household soap into a mason jar ready to turn into soap jelly for spot cleaning soft furnishings.
* Invite Hestia, Goddess of Home and Hearth into your home by writing the words below on to the back of a vintage postcard and placing it underneath a warm honey colored beeswax candle. Light a stick of cinnamon incense beside it and allow the candle to burn for as long as it takes for the incense to expire…
Lady of the Hearth
Keeper of the sacred flames of Olympus
Enter this home, you are welcome here.
* If you don’t buy newspapers, ask neighbors friends or family to keep a stack for you before the scrub begins as they are invaluable for cleaning windows and airing musty wardrobes and bureaus.
* Make some herbal vinegar water by filling a jar half-full of dried herbs (lavender and rosemary or thyme make a lovely combination) and topping up with vinegar. Allow to seep until next week, then strain and use as a last wipe-down rinse in the final week of the scrub.
* Treat yourself to a snazzy pair of rubber gloves.
* Add a darning tin to your housekeepers basket so you can make quick repairs on the hoof without having to hunt through your sewing basket. Just a small selection of needles and neutral thread should suffice.
* Start practicing a sequence of yoga asanas to strengthen body, mind and spirit during the scrub. Do only those poses you can manage and stop if you feel uncomfortable. Investigate Curvy Yoga for inspiration if you don’t consider yourself the yoga type…
* Make it known that you will only be shopping for the very basics during the scrub and that all meals will be conjured up from the freezer and the pantry, so that you can deep-clean them both when relatively empty. To this end then it is worth rooting through what is available and making some loose meal plans so you are not tempted to shop for convenience when you could be cleaning. Use your imagination!
* Knit yourself a collection of these dishcloths from dishcloths.
* Order enough Epsom salts to take two detoxifying baths each week during the scrub. Taking this detoxifying bath will help you feel light as air and soothe aching bones after a hard days labor so it really is essential to your domestic well-being…
* Keep an aqua-marine crystal near the kitchen sink to harness it’s purifying and detoxing properties during the scrub weeks.
* Stitch a few extra pockets on to your favorite work-a-day apron so you can carry everything you need in your pockets and store all the little bits of nothing that need re-homing.
* Go through your wardrobe in search of clothes crying out for demotion: these will constitute your scrubbing wardrobe hereafter. Look for over-sized worn out t-shirts, sweat shirts and loose summer dresses. Anything that will no longer do for venturing outdoors in, but perfect for the hot, dusty, dirty work occasioned by a Seasonal Scrub.
* Overhaul the vacuum cleaner this week, for it is your greatest ally during the scrub. Pull out tangly threads and hair from the brushes, empty and thoroughly wash the drum, order new bags if necessary, and most essential of all: replace the filters.
* Now is a good time to take an inventory of your first-aid box because if you are anything like me, you will do yourself some form of minor damage climbing and cleaning. Replace balms and antiseptics, and top up bandage and plaster stores and you are good to go.
* Book a manicure or Indian head massage for the day after the scrub ends.
* Get thee to Ikea and buy a huuuge bag of tea-lights, so that you can light lots in each and every room for the kind of candle cleanse that freshens the air and celebrates domestic victory. Add a few to your housekeepers basket alongside a box of matches and ritually light them in each room at the end of every day during the scrub.
* Schedule everyday of the seasonal scrub with the Home Routines App. If you have a list of jobs to tick off you are more likely to do them.
* Start a housekeeping Pinterest board. Start with mine and then scour Pinterest for more inspirational hints and tips.
Ok, so are we all set? If you don’t know what I am talking about you can download instructions for a range of Seasonal Scrubs here or declare this your Domestic Day of Reckoning and sign up to be a Housekeeping Superstar to change your domestic fortune from this moment on-wards…
The 2013 Spring Seasonal Scrub starts on Monday February 25th and I expect you all to be lined up with feather dusters at the ready!
You know those days when you have got blah running through your veins? The days when you munch your way through too many biscuits and leave wet washing hanging around the house because those bones of lead just haven’t got the strength to carry you to the washing line? Yes. Those days. The listless, can’t be bothered days.
This little aromatherapy recipe is for them.
Simply spill 10 drops of Clary Sage oil, 16 drops of Grapefruit oil and 4 drops of Fennel oil into the water in your diffuser and light it.
Place the burner on the opposite side of the room to your favorite chair and let it warm up for ten minutes. Then make yourself comfortable with cushions and a blanket if it is chilly and close your eyes. Not to sleep – simply to sit quietly and let the aroma tickle your spirit back to life.
And it will. I promise you, it will.
As I keep informing my Mum, I may or may not be getting a cold. The diagnosis of my ailments is thus ambiguous because although I am ever so slightly sniffly and achey boned, I could simply be suffering through the now quite distinct joy of Mittelschmerz, still not reacting well to thyroid medication, or rather feeling the weighty effects of muddling through a life beset by the kind of ugly that has recently had me holding my child’s feet down while a doctor tried to poke a metal tube into his salivary glands until he was foaming at the mouth .
Whatever it is, I am constantly cold and simply cannot get warm. So I am costing myself a fortune in gas, wandering around in slipper socks that threaten to kill me and generally feeling dithery. Oh joy. Aren’t you glad you popped over today?
But I refuse to give in to malaise my Darlings. I simply refuse! Where once I would have turned down the heating and suffered the indignity of goose-pimples, I now realise that being warm contributes to our quality of life in a way that no amount of new shoes will ever do, and I would rather live on tinned beans for the duration of Winter than try to save a few pennies on the gas bill. So yes. The central heating is cranked up to the max while I try to stop shivering and as a result I am drying up like an old prune. My poor, long suffering skin is wrinkling up in alarm, and displaying in it’s fright the kind of gruesome little spots atop my arms I thought disappeared with my teenage yearning for the bloke with the beret out of
Brother Beyond Curiosity Killed the Cat.
So I am going to take drastic measures. This morning I will mix up some of the Central Heating Scrub that used to be a regular feature of my Winter bath times, and later tonight, climb into bed on a fragrant cloud of orange scented soft skin. While both creating and using this scrub can be a messy business, the bliss of getting into bed with the softest, sweetest smelling skin is more than worth it…
Won’t you do the same?
4 tbsps ground almonds
3 tbsps oatmeal
Glug of rosewater
6 tbsps almond oil
6 drops of lavender oil
3 drops of neroli oil
5 drops of sandalwood oil
1. Dry the peel of all of the oranges in a low oven for one hour.
2. Blitz in the blender until they are powdery.
3. Pour almonds, oatmeal and powdered orange rind into a bowl and stir well.
4. Slowly stir in the almond oil, stopping if the mixture goes beyond a crumbly paste.
5. Add the aromatherapy oils of your choice: any combination of flower and wood based oils will do as long as they delight your senses.
6. Decant into a wide-mouthed jar (so you can scoop it out with your hand) and store for up to three weeks.
Using this scrub is unlike using commercial products. Run yourself a hot bath and lie back and enjoy it, then get out and dry yourself thoroughly. Now for the weird part. Get back in the bath and scooping big handfuls of your scrub, rub it into your dry skin until it rolls away. Use a dry towel to dust off any remnants, then climb into your jim jams and congratulate yourself on smelling Wintery and feeling scrumptiously smooth…
Citrus Heaven methinks.
Well first it is sunny and then it is downright freezing and the then the rain won’t stop and then it is that rather darling word inclement and though one wants to be in the garden, nothing is growing yet and there is only so much much tidying a person can do and the house is sparkly after a rather intense month long Seasonal scrub and you can’t quite get your creative brain into gear and really you just want to feel better about your garden and the cat litter and your thighs and your husband and your lack of ambition and the stains you can’t shift from the linens you unearthed at the car boot sale on Sunday, you know?
Well of course I do.
And though obviously I can’t help at all with most daily dilemmas, I can of course come up with a precious little list of puttery treats for cheering a person up now can’t I?
* Disguise brown plastic garden pots in the house by wrapping them in folded white paper doilies and tying them with ribbon. Quick, effective and pretty while seedlings are growing on the windowsill…
* Use this lovely on-line monogram generator to personalise a set of blank note-cards and use them to send out springtime greetings to far-flung friends.
* Soothe frazzled nerves and and anxiety by mixing a teaspoon of Ashwagandha powder with warm milk, rosewater, cinnamon and a little maple syrup and drink after a cosy bath. Nothing, upon nothing is more pampering when the world feels as though it is falling in.
* Use a peg to clip gardening gloves to the end of the washing line so they are always handy…
* Find a happy but not too precious vintage mug and use it to hold an array of plant markers and few pencils in the greenhouse.
* Print out this lovely reminder to simplify on to a postcard and use it as your bedtime bookmark…
* Buy a pack of really pretty labels and use them to mark every plastic container, zip pocket and file you own. This simple act reminds us not to use each place as a catch all and prevents the accumulation of junk in places formerly allocated for a specific purpose.
* Wrap pickle and jam jars in vintage hankies secured with ribbon and use them as tea-light holders. Make as many as you can and light them as the sun goes down.
* Print a bedtime prayer or blessing on to paper and frame it at your child’s bedside.
* Convert a lace trimmed pillowcase into a drawstring bag and use to store carrier bags in the kitchen.
* Have two holes drilled through a vintage baking tray, string from velvet ribbon and use in the kitchen as a magnetic noticeboard.
* Take yourself to the nursery and buy a house-plant sized aloe vera plant to keep in the kitchen. Just perfect for springtime bicycle cuts and scrapes. Just pull a leaf, slice and wipe over the wound for super fast anti-bacterial healing.
* Buy a tiny little spiral bound notepad and keep it in your bedside drawer. Use each page to write down a single worry and rip them out when the worry has gone. See how quickly your worries disappear because all too often they never really come to pass…
* Sew dried lavender into a tiny square of muslin, then lay flat in-between two doillies to make a collection of darling little vintage scented sachets.
* Make a small pot of tap-scrub (baking soda and peppermint oil mixed into a paste) and keep in the bathroom. Apply wherever black yukky yuck has built up, leave for a few hours and wash away.
* Keep a small pretty watering can hanging in the kitchen and pour the water your veggies cook straight into it. Allow to cool then nip outside and use as a delicious, nutrient rich feed for plants.
* Crochet yourself a hanging plant holder and buy yourself a spider plant to purify the air. Kitsch and healthy.
* Make yourself an evening cocktail of Pimms, cucumber and tincture of borage to gently whoosh away any feelings of mild depression.
* Start saving egg shells in a jar in the kitchen. Let them dry before crushing and adding to the jar then use them to provide much needed calcium to the base of tomato plants.
* Cut a sprig of fresh lavender about three inches long and steep in a little teacup of boiling water. Place the saucer over the cup and leave on your bedside while you take your bedtime bath, then climb into bed and sip this lovely calming lavender water slowly.
* Onions sliced in half and left around the house where flu or nasty colds or other ailments are spreading are thought to draw away the virus, and though this is barely the loveliest of treats one should consider this age old remedy when illness threatens household harmony.
* Have a pull out shallow basket under the bed to store decorative bed cushions overnight. So much nicer than chucking them on the floor.
* Plant a few pennies around the base of gorgeous blue hydrangeas and they won’t fade…
* Astonish vintage loving friends by serving lace patterned biscuits. Simply roll a rolling pin over a small doilie pressed into chilled dough and bake. Sooooo pretty.
* Paint a little bucketful of smooth stones with eggshell paint and use as pretty plant markers in the garden.
* Mix up a bowlful of baking soda with enough water to make a paste, then use a cloth to apply it to your kitchen sink dish rack. Scrub the nooks and crannies with a toothbrush, then leave for ten minutes and rinse away: odours be gone!
* Buy a length of strong wire and use to wrap around terracotta pots and tie to trellis to create a hanging garden.
* Smash old chipped vintage china and place on the saucers of garden pots to add colour and make those darn slugs life that little bit harder.
* Fold tea-towels in half and loop over the towel or oven rail. Mark the depth of the rail on the towels, then stitch ribbon ties on both sides so they can be tied on and won’t go wandering around the kitchen. Gorgeous with short lengths of old lace on plain white towels.
* Make your own lavender essential oil (oh bliss).