Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Make Do and Mend Greetings

The kind of greetings cards I like to make are ones which are quick and simple, ones which can just be whipped up in batches whenever I feel like papercrafting (usually when my to-do list says "vacuum" anything). Knowing that they often lead to further purchases, I try not to buy too many craft magazines, but they do have their uses in inspiration and ideas, and, sometimes, free gifts like paper packs and ribbon attached to the cover. If you can't resist craft titles, you may well save money per issue if you take out a magazine subscription and if you do this online via Top Cashback you'll get money back on your purchase. 
As with sewing projects, I am always tempted to buy the exact beautiful materials featured in the photographs, but instead make do with what I already have and adapt the card accordingly. The most important thing I've found is that, like with so many things in life, you need a system. With card-making, that means it's all about the layout.

Although all my cards are unmistakably home-made, a short-cut to a professional finish is to use a corner punch. This rounds off the corners of your motif, the motif's mount, and the card itself, which makes it look more like a bought card.

Pick a motif that suits your recipient and mount it on some colour-co-ordinated card or stiff paper, preferably plain. You could cut a motif out of a photograph or magazine, wrapping paper, an old card, or printed off the internet, such as these free papers at The Making Spot.

Using up scraps of paper is a very frugal way to make a card. Just make sure they are all in the same colour scheme. I find that three stripes of paper works best. Alternatively any odd number of stripes. You can also glue ribbon here or use patterned tape.
Finally, line up the frame of the motif with one of the stripes and glue it in place. Simple, effective, and frugal: the perfect card combination.

 

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Hopping on Holiday

The King, the Evacuees and me are taking a week's holiday, so blog posts may not be as frequent as usual, but, fear not! We've still got internet access: I am still co-hosting The Creative HomeAcre Hop and looking forward to your link-ups.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Why I left Facebook and Twitter yesterday

Facebook used to be all about tracking down people I went to school with, and seeing whether my exes were married yet, or liking pages just to be in with a chance of winning a picnic hamper of margarine. It used to dominate my day in the early stages and then I began to get it under control by only friending people who are currently actually in my day-today life, unliking lots of pages to reduce the amount of traffic on my newsfeed and, lately, installing the Waste No Time app on Chrome to restrict the number of minutes I can spend facebooking. 

Twitter is less popular among my real life friends but is still regarded as an essential tool for businesses and bloggers to spread the word about themselves, plus there's the star-struckedness element of being able to follow Famous People like Russell Crowe (exciting until you realise that he mainly tweets about his punishing exercise regime). Once again, a time-eater but with the added  "danger" that you can somehow convince yourself you are networking and being productive rather than gossiping with people you only just saw at the school gate.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

6 Ways to Think Eat Save

From Garbage to GourmetThe theme for this year's World Environment Day on 5th June is Think Eat Save: a campaign aimed at stopping food waste and food loss.
The campaign is aimed at reducing the 1.3 billion tonnes of food that is wasted each year globally [1], when 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry.

In the UK we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food each year – that's about 120kg of food each, almost a third of that is fruit and vegetables worth about £680 [2]- much of which could be saved. It's bad for the planet, and costing UK households £billions.

Here are 6 ways to waste less food and save money:

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Simple Pleasures #8: Homesteady Herbal Experiments for Bored Kids

One of the bonuses of the homesteady lifestyle is that there is always something to have a go at. This is great if you have children who lament that they have "nothing to play with", and "don't know what to do". Offering them the choice between being roped in to a plethora of homesteady chores or going and finding something to amuse themselves usually has a positive result. 


It was a "What shall I do, mum?" situation that began the herb experiments earlier this week. Fresh and dried herbs are more hands-on than essential oils, and more child-friendly in terms of measuring, spillage etc. As you can see, Secundus even decorated his hat with lavender and Prima was happy to get stuck in. The natural resources I had to-hand are as follows, and these are what we played around with in the back garden.
  • A large bunch of  lavender from our garden, which had been hanging to dry in our front room for some considerable time
  • Rosemary, growing in the garden. I also have an out-of-date jar of dried rosemary. We never use it in cooking and it's annoying me!
  • Jar of thyme, dried
  • Orange peel
What we made: 
1. Vinegar of the Four Thieves. According to the authors of Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, Coyne and Knutzen, there is "an old wives' tale that a group of thieves survived the Black Death by cleaning themselves (or in some versions, drinking) herbal vinegar." If it's good enough for the Black Death, it's good enough for us. To make our version, we combined equal parts of dried rosemary, thyme and lavender, put them in a jar and covered them with distilled white vinegar. The herbs will steep for a month or so, then we'll strain them off and store in a spray bottle for cleaning (non-porous, non-white) surfaces.


2. Leave-in Herbal Hair Rinse. We collected enough fresh rosemary and dried lavender to fill a quart jar - I'd read in Making It that fresh rosemary works best and "may darken hair slightly over time", whilst lavender is "very cleansing and stimulates hair growth". After pouring enough boiling water over the herbs to fill the jar completely, I put the lid on and left the herbs to infuse overnight, then strained out the mixture. I have been using this hair rinse for the past three evenings and not shampooed my hair since then (normally I shampoo my hair every day). The results have been surprisingly pleasing, plus this is an all-natural product at minimal cost.



3. Orange Cleaning spray. Simply cover orange peels with white vinegar, screw the lid of the jar on and leave for 2-3 weeks before straining and putting the mixture in a spray bottle for use as an all-purpose cleaner.

We also have basil, parsley and coriander growing on our homestead.  I use these in cooking but if anyone knows any natural beauty/ household products I can make with them, please leave a comment :)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Summer: List It, Plan It, Survive It


I am not one of those mums that looks forward to the summer holidays. The prospect of six weeks at home with the Evacuees, rain invariably drizzling down outside while our carefully-crafted daytime routine slips out the window, does not fill me with a warm glow. This may be because I am a SAHM and therefore do not have an opportunity to escape to the workplace during those six weeks; I suspect it may also be because I refuse to throw money at the problem. Whatever the reason, the summer holidays do not feel like a holiday to me.

Add to this the fact that I don’t want to waste this six weeks and see their education come to a complete stop. Like Jennifer Tankersley of ListItPlanIt, “I want to teach my children life skills, responsibility, and self-fulfilment.” But in our house too, “there’s a lot of competition for attention when children are at home: video games, computers, cell phones, television and movies.” Jennifer hits the nail on the head when she describes the school holiday: “It sometimes feels like I am fighting a battle between screen activity, boredom, and ‘mandatory fun’”.

However, there’s no homesteady situation that a ringbinder and a selection of printables can’t improve, I’ve found, which is why, inspired by Jennifer Tankersley’s 100 Days of Summertime, I am putting together a summer planner. This will start in earnest at the end of May, following the day-to-day tips in 100 Days of Summertime, which cover everything from End of School Gifts for Teachers, and Kids’ Chore Charts, to Vacation Packing Lists and Activities to Try. This clearly laid-out and easy-to-follow ebook is full of links to resources and checklists for your summer planner. It works particularly well as a springboard for getting organised and thinking up ways to keep your children entertained, purposeful, maybe even learning something during this long break from school.

Already I have mentioned to the King that it might be nice to have a party in our back yard this year, just to celebrate Summer. Knowing what an antisocial miser I am, the King was rightly astonished and pleased. Having the ListItPlanIt planning tools to-hand and being inspired to think about all the positive aspects of this time of year has made me feel more confident. Confident enough to share with you 5 ways to put together a fledgling and, needless to say, frugal, summer planner.

1. For a digital version, use Evernote or Pinterest, but I have opted for paper so the Evacuees can refer to it easily. I used a plain ringbinder and made dividers out of old wallpaper, which I labelled with white stickers. I have also handwritten a lot of it, to cut out printing costs.Total cost, about £2.00. None of this is pretty but I know I would spend HOURS decorating my planner all summer so I am not even going to start, at this stage. Don’t even SAY the word Mod Podge.

2. The Activities section is particularly important for me, as it reminds me that I was once (before the holidays began) inspired to try all sorts of new things like making an archery set and going to an airport. In this section I brainstorm everything I fancy doing over the holidays and include reminders as to where I can find further information. LifeYourWay’s 101 Ways to Embrace Summer and the Confident Mom's 2013 Summer Survival Calendar are especially inspirational, but practical too. I also made a pocket in which to keep coupons for days out.

3. Packing lists are kept in the first section so I can tell Prima and Secundus to get their packing lists from the folder and make a start on that task.
4. The section for Meals is going to include a list of 21 recipes (and in which cookery books to find them). I’m hoping to try some new kitchen concoctions this summer. Meal plans will also be included here, and shopping lists.

 Tutorial Tuesday 5. I have identified five (count ‘em) special dates to celebrate (bear in mind, readers, we don’t have Memorial Day, Labor Day, Canada Day or 4th July in Great Britain…), including the Summer Solstice and our Wedding Anniversary, and plans for these will be found in the Events section. Festivals, Family and Food by Diana Carey and Judy Large is a wonderful book if you want to find out more about seasonal celebration. I come from a family that doesn’t tend to celebrate much so just to have an Events tab makes me feel I’m getting somewhere.

2013 Summer Survival Calendar


Blissful and Domestic



Monday, 20 May 2013

Meal Planning Made Easy : Exactly What it Says on the Tin

With six mind - and money - saving strategies, plenty of flexible recipes and clickable links to useful foodie resources, Angela Esnouf's ebook, Meal Planning Made Easy is a straightforward approach to that half-hour a week we're all supposed to spend planning what to eat each day but somehow never get round to.

What I particularly appreciate about Angela Esnouf's approach is that she breaks menu planning down into seven essential questions. Answer the seven questions and the decision-making stress is cut right out. This acts as a structure to the thought-process of meal planning, which means you can go methodically through the questions and come to food conclusions that will suit you and your family.

Many people make the mistake of only thinking about recipes. Perhaps everything you cook has to be ready in a short period of time, in which case, something like Twenty Minute Meals by Leigh Ann Dutton. Her aim is to "give weary chefs grace while keeping families healthy". Alternatively, you may like the idea of a whole month of menu plans, all written out for you, with a focus on real foods and keeping within a budget. This is what urban homesteader Diana Bauman offers in A Month of Meals from My Humble Kitchen to Yours.

However, Angela Esnouf points out that there is more to consider. You need to look at your family's schedule and work out who will be home to eat, what activities are on round meal-times, and who will be at home to cook or help out in any way. "There are all sorts of ways to tackle the issue of creating a schedule, and moms tend to find themselves overwhelmed by it all," says Amy Roberts, author of The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule. Amy's "hope and prayer (is that her) ebook takes the headache and frustration out of creating a schedule that is perfect for your family by acknowledging that your family is unique and by using that uniqueness to your advantage rather than trying to squeeze yourself into someone else’s schedule." The upshot is, however, that you do need a schedule on which to base your meal planning.


Meal Planning Made Easy echoes Amy Roberts' approach to family life. There is no one best way to menu plan; the best way is what suits you. Angela offers a strategy to help you menu plan even if you have fussy eaters to deal with. Advice on making shopping trips far less stressful is also included. Another way Angela shows support to readers is to bring an element of preparedness combined with a degree of flexibility into the meal plans, made easier when you have a well-stocked store cupboard and a shopping list system. Becky Thorn, author of The No-Waste Meal Planner agrees: "The way a storecupboard works is very simple. The last thing you want to do is clog up your cupbaords with things you don't need. But if you keep a carefully personalised set of ingredients on hand, you'll always be able to transform you leftovers into something tasty and interesting."

Best of all, for all-or-nothing people like me who try to run before they can walk, Angela is firmly realistic and encouraging at the same time: "Know your time limits and level of skill. Stick with what you can achieve easily, especially at first. Over-reaching may end in frustration. Keep it simple and gradually build up to more complicated meals and expectations." Containing perhaps the most helpful piece of meal-planning advice I have come across, Meal Planning Made Easy does exactly what it says on the tin.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Join in the Creative HomeAcre hop

Yes, it's that time again, readers! Time to link up with our weekly blog hop. The Creative HomeAcre hop is hosted by:
Manuela from A Cultivated Nest
Mary from Back to the Basics and Mary's Kitchen
Me, Alison from Mumtopia
and Lisa Lynn from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre
That means that when you link up your posts each week, they will be viewed by even more people! Each host will be sharing her own picks for Featured Bloggers. This gives everyone a better chance of being featured and increases your exposure to new readers. Be sure to check all of our blogs to see if you were featured!

Thanks to all of the talented bloggers who linked up last week! If you would like to be featured, be sure to link back to the hop!

This week, the post I picked to feature is by Diane of Vintage Zest, and it is all about getting our fabrics in order - a task I certainly need to do - it's called Organizing and Folding Fabric


Friday, 17 May 2013

Lemons, Lavender and Good Clean Fun

They may not quite cut the mustard if you haven't cleaned your oven for six years (see The Elephant in the Room and How to Clean It) but lemons and lavender were part of our grandmothers’ and great grandmothers’ household essentials.  Along with soda crystals and vinegar, lemon fruits and lavender flowers were used to remove grease and fat stains, clean and brighten sinks and fabrics, and freshen homes with their clear fragrances.


Nowadays we are all used to seeing small concentrated bottles of essential oils – including those extracted from lemons and lavender – on sale in health food stores, supermarkets, chemists etc.  Pure, neat essential oils are extremely concentrated substances and need to be used with care.  A little goes a very long way.

A brilliant range of essential oils designed for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms is available from fully qualified and practising aromatherapist Susan Barnard.  Her ‘Good Clean Fun’ range is very effective, simple to use, and has wonderful gingham design for labelling (see above left), with plenty of tips and wrinkles for using essential oils effectively. For more information, contact Sue Whall at Innerscents.

As well as cleaning mirrors, toilet bowls, drains and plug-holes, as shown on the product lable, both Good Clean Fun blends (Lavender and Tea Tree, and Lemon and Tea Tree) can be used in a wide variety of ways:

In Simple Scrubs to Make and Give, Stacy Karen includes a recipe for bathsalts which requires 1 cup of Epsom salts, 1/3 cup bicarbonate of soda, 2 tbsp sea salt and 8 drops of essential oil - the Lavender and Tea Tree blend would work well here.

Good Clean Fun Lemon and Tea Tree would be ideal in Kirsty's Citrus Kitchen Refresher, which you can find in The Cottage Mama's DIY Guide. 8 drops of the essential oil mixed with warm water and poured into a spray bottle are all you need. Shake up and "use this lovely spray as a refreshing spritzer on your dining table, counter tops, and appliances when you clean your kitchen! Spraying it around the garbage can area, or under the sink, will help eliminate odors."

Also featured in The Cottage Mama's DIY Guide is a recipe for an all-purpose cleaner, which I have adapted. For this, you will need:
3 tbsp Borax
a few drops of liquid dish soap
8 drops of lavender and tea tree oil blend or lemon and tea tree oil blend.

For general cleaning:
Fill an empty spray bottle nearly to top with warm water; add ingredients and shake to mix well. Use for counter tops, appliances, etc.

To clean floors:
Fill a bucket with warm water and combine liquid dish soap and Borax as above. Mix in the essential oils and use for mopping tile or linoleum floors.

Alternatively, you could try Tsh Oxenreider's formula for all-purpose cleaning spray, which can be found in One Bite at a Time. She's more of a vinegar kinda gal, and uses:

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 gallon (1 litre) water
a few drops of essential oil.

I'm impressed with tea tree's antiseptic properties, but I prefer the smell of lavender or lemon, so the Good Clean Fun blends are ideal when I'm concocting cleaners. Best of all, the product labels tell you "Never spend too much time doing housework." Naturally, I'm not going to argue with that.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

To Market! To Market! With a Green Circle Grove Bag Giveaway! (ended)

Anyone else know that "To market, to market to buy a fat pig" nursery rhyme, or is it just me?

Meredith and Kristen from Green Circle Grove are sponsoring another super giveaway. Check out this beautiful Toile Market Bag they are offering to one lucky winner!
GE
Note: Cabbage not included :)
This fabric market bag is made from sturdy "outdoor cloth".  It is 12" x 9" x 8" in a white on red toile print, which reverses to red on white toile.  The black cotton webbing straps are double-stitched into the top seam for extra strength.  Machine washable in cool water on a gentle cycle; hang to dry.  Rolls up to stick in a handbag or to tuck under a seat in the car.

GE

Please be sure to stop by and visit Green Circle Grove's Etsy shop for a great selection of handmade soaps and fabric bags.

This giveaway is hosted by:

Meredith of Green Circle Grove

Ann from Summers Acres



Alison from Mumtopia (that's me)


and Lisa Lynn from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

7 Steps to Bargain Bunting

Whether you have a good reason to put the flags out or not, bunting is a lovely cheerful edition to any homestead, indoors or outdoors. Here's how to make it the Make It and Mend It way. 

You will need:
An assortment of scrap material, such as children's t-shirts, sweaters and pyjamas, shirts with frayed collars, bed linen, tea towels etc. For best results, use a colour scheme of no more than three colours and have a mixture of plains and patterns, bold and light shades.

Pinking shears, pins, sewing machine or needle and thread (if you have the patience of a saint).

Around 5 metres (197") of fabric tape, such as bias binding (you can make your own or buy rolls of it)

Cardboard, to make a triangular template of about 12cm by 15cm (4.75" by 6").

What to do:


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Elephant in the Room and How to Clean It


Is your house clean enough?The elephant in OUR room - in our kitchen, to be precise, is our oven. This is because its arrival coincided with the birth of Secundus and the onset of PND. The oven remains unclean, despite vague attempts with lemon juice and good honest elbow grease. 

Katie, at The Kitchen Stewardship, has a whole article called How to Clean your Stovetop and Oven, the Simple, Safe, Frugal Way which is full of excellent preventative measures and natural cleaning tips.  Jeni Mullinix, author of Clean Enough, uses distilled vinegar to "remove grease spots on oven door window" and baking soda to "scrub oven interior", and these are simple, eco-friendly, frugal solutions for every homesteader.

Unless your oven looks like this:

What my oven looked like prior to cleaning

Monday, 13 May 2013

Needle-snappin' Roxanne Retro Headband

The first thing that caught my eye when browsing for hair accessories to sew on AllFreeSewing was that this one is labelled retro, the second is that it can be made out of denim. Both serious plus points, topped off by the fact that Maureen Wilson of Made by Marzipan (who created this pattern) calls it the Roxanne Retro Headband, which makes me think of that old Police song: ROHHHHHHHHHHHHHHXXXXXXXXXXanne. 

Alas, the only denim I have left is faded and ripped, and I don't think the distressed look goes well with this style, so I opted for red polka dot jersey, left over from making a t-shirt earlier this year. Although I strongly dislike sewing with stretch materials, I thought this project would be a good way to use up this lovely fabric. The fabrics Maureen Wilson recommends are cotton, denim or linen, however, and next time I will follow that advice.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Happy (non UK) Mothers' Day and Creative HomeAcre Hop

Hope everyone enjoyed Mother's Day. It was a really special day for me back in March (we celebrate it earlier in the UK). The little gifts were lovely but the best thing was what I learned. You can read about The Gift of Mother's Day here


Anyway, fanfare!

It's time for 
 The Creative HomeAcre hop
which is hosted by:


Alison from Mumtopia (that's me!)

Manuela from A Cultivated Nest


and Lisa Lynn from The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

That means that when you link up your posts each week, they will be viewed by even more people! Each host will be sharing her own picks for Featured Bloggers. This gives everyone a better chance of being featured  and increases your exposure to new readers. Be sure to check all of our blogs to see if you were featured!

Mumtopia's Featured Post
The post I have picked to feature this week is Dear New Mama by One Organic Mama because it absolutely is the kind of letter I could have done with reading eight years ago when baby Prima arrived. I know many of you were celebrating Mothers' Day this weekend in the US and elsewhere, and I think One Organic Mama's post is spot on. 



I hope her message will bless all mums, new and not-so-new! 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Aromatherapy for the IMproper Housewife

Before I became more homesteady, I used to celebrate whenever Flash all-purpose cleaner was on sale. Normally I couldn't afford to treat myself to some Febreze freshness, but if it was on special at Asda, I would splash out on bright green "New Zealand Springs" or vivid purple "Relaxing Lavender" TO THE MAX. The kitchen would not only be clean, it would smell clean. I felt like a Proper Housewife when I used these products.

However, since I began the frugal journey of making my own washing powder, dish soap and the like, I have really noticed how strong these perfumed cleaners are. Not so much in terms of cleaning power, but more in terms of the chemically smell. Using fewer artificial fragrances in day-to-day jobs has increased my awareness of them all over the home. I'd rather be an IMproper Housewife.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Short-cut bias binding

Making your own bias binding is right up there with grating soap. Had I not ordered a few metres from Ebay before Christmas and been mightily disappointed with what I got, and, were I not determined to Make Do and Mend, I would probably not bother. However, the patchwork blanket I've been working on for Prima requires some kind of edging and DIY bias binding is certainly cheaper than ribbon.

Last time I made bias binding, I rushed it, and the edging on the patchwork blanket I made for the King and I does kind of shout that from the rooftops. 

This time, I decided to be more methodical and precise. On my side was the fact that the sheet I planned to cut up has faint stripes down its length, which acted as a useful guide. Furthermore I had consulted with Mrs Forward, and, when creating bunting, she doesn't cut on a 45 degree angle to make her strips on which to attach the flags. 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

DIY Window Tricks and Treatments

One of the main things I notice once the weather starts to improve (apart from how much better I feel) is just how filthy our windows have become. Gone are the days when Secundus used to blow his nose on the curtains, but certainly, our windows were in bad need of a spring clean and spruce up this weekend, so I thought I'd share some tips and tricks I've found useful.

1. Jenni Mullinix, author of Clean Enough, recommends you wipe down your windows with coffee filters (at least, that's what they did when Jenni worked at "a well-known coffee house"), or a squeegee. She uses distilled vinegar to clean glass of all kinds.

2. 1 cup white vinegar and two cups water in a clean spray bottle is what Dana White uses, and it's safe for her kids to use when helping out round the home too, as she points out in Teaching Kids to Clean. Dana labels the spray bottle and lists the ingredients on the outside so she doesn't forget the ratio of vinegar to water when re-filling it. I also add a squirt of dish soap to the mix.

3. There are hundreds of free and downloadable patterns out there if you want to try making your own curtains. Some bright and cheery ruffled curtains like the ones made by Flamingo Toes would bring a splash of colour - have a look at the tutorial here. Or for retro fun, try some kitchen curtains with gingham bows: instructions here. Doris Day would be proud.

4. A neutral-coloured blind, such as these natural roller blinds from Blinds Supermarket is a very cost-effective way of ensuring privacy and stopping the sunlight from bleaching your furnishings, and they can easily be transformed into more of a talking point with this little project from Forbidden Advice

You will need:
  • a roll of wallpaper in a print you like
  • wallpaper paste, a rolling pin and a clean paint roller
  • a blind, 68cm wide or less (this is the width of a standard roll of wallpaper)
What to do:
Beach scene blind. Prices from £170
  • Roll out the blind to its full length and cut out enough wallpaper to fit the width exactly but 5cm longer than the blind's length.
  • Spread some wallpaper paste over the inside face of the blind, using a clean paint roller.
  • Lay the cut piece of wallpaper on the glued surface, letting the extra 5cm wrap under the bottom.
  • Press down and use the rolling pin to smooth out any air bubbles. 
  • If there is any excess wallpaper, trim it away.
Because the blind is made stiffer when the wallpaper is attached, this trick works most successfully on windows where you don't mind leaving the blinds down a bit. 

5. For a completely unique window dressing, create your own personalised blind using your favourite photograph (see above right). You upload your photo file to Blinds Supermarket, give the required measurements and they'll do the rest. That's one way to wake up with Benedict Cumberbatch every morning!  

Monday, 6 May 2013

Simple Pleasures #7: My Desert Island Books

Just as music can lift your spirits (All Over the World by ELO) or plunge you into darkness (A Letter to Elise by The Cure), so can books change your mood. And while I have a playlist for various occasions, such as the gym, housework, and dancing in the kitchen, I also have a tried-and-tested shelf of books which bring me comfort and joy. 

These books are like old friends: familiar, but always with something new to tell you, something to spark off an idea or give a different perspective on things. I guess they would be my desert island books - I wonder if any of them are part of your reading collection too?


Pretty Nostalgic Home: Happy Days from Vintage Ways by S Legg and N Burnett. 
States that "Homekeeping is a worthy job". 
Asks us to consider "What is real need?" 
Focuses on life's simple pleasures. 

The Lord of the RingsTrilogy by J R R Tolkein. 

Epic quest in which you can completely lose yourself. Escapist fantasy, yes, but there is so much attention to detail it seems quite plausible. I love the different languages Tolkein creates.

Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World by K Coyne and E Knutzen. 
Very practical book about making oil lamps, soap, solar cookers etc, which gives me hope that humanity could survive, come the revolution. Makes me want to learn a whole new raft of skills. 
Especially like the fact that it is equally applicable to rural and urban living and doesn't send you on a guilt trip.




Churchill: The Struggle for Survival 1945-60 by Lord Moran. 

The diary of Churchill's personal doctor, friend and confidant, Lord Moran, gives us an unprecedented insight into Churchill himself, an individual of contrast and contradictions, and shows us what went on behind the scenes of his political life. I find it fascinating as a record of the war years, but also as an inspiring tribute to a fellow sufferer of depression. 



The Prophet by K Gibran. 

This was all the rage in the 60s, which is perhaps why my dad read passages to the King and me before we got married:

"And stand together yet not too near together:
 For the pillars of the temple stand apart
 And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow".
These and many other of Gibran's haunting words of wisdom have stuck with me over the last 13 years and brought me comfort.

Making Your Home Sing Monday!What would you add to this list?


Booknificent Thursdays


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