VINTAGE BIRDS JOY

Vintage wooden indian birds ellie tennantThese rather lovely hand-painted wooden birds belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Now, they’re propped up on a shelf in our home. They’re labelled, rather smartly, as: Some Indian Birds – and I’m relieved to see that they’re ‘approved by the Government of Mysore’, which sounds awfully official. I love the coral-coloured paper box almost as much as the birds themselves. Now I know what ‘The Southern Red Whiskered Bulbul’ looks like. Just in case.

vintage wooden birds indianmysore birds toy vintage

1 Comment
Filed in: LA BROCANTE (AKA VINTAGE TAT)
Tags: , , , ,

WILD GARLIC, TAKE TWO

wild garlic pesto recipe ellie tennantThis year, I managed to catch the wild garlic before it flowered and went bitter. (Last year’s attempt was a sad hashtag foraging fail, which involved ‘grassy’ meals, much scraping-out of jars and a fair amount of swearing.) Luckily, my savvy mother-in-law knows a secret foraging spot in a Cotswold wood, so, at the weekend, my team of un-willing volunteers and I merrily filled several carrier bags with fresh leaves. I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s excellent recipe, which includes walnuts instead of pine nuts and – instead of tasting weird and semi-poisonous like my previous attempts, it’s delicious! It’s best stirred through pasta or smeared on bruschetta, but you can use it for seasoning other dishes, too. It’s basically potent garlic flavour, captured in a jar. Thank goodness it’s actually edible for once.

Leave a comment
Filed in: BACK TO NATURE, FORAGING
Tags: , , , ,

OUR LOCAL SHOP

honesty box veg fruit shop EnglandAnd so, to the fields of Oxfordshire. If you want rhubarb,  tulips, fresh eggs or pickled onions, hurry – while stocks last.

Leave a comment
Filed in: BACK TO NATURE, FORAGING, OOT AND ABOOT

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Spring blossomStole this branch of blossom from the supermarket car park. (Might file this under ‘foraging’…) Am so glad I did – it’s bringing a welcome bit of spring to a dark corner.

1 Comment
Filed in: BACK TO NATURE, FORAGING

BROOKLYN STYLE

Brooklyn tin ceiling tilesWhile shooting in New York recently, I became a bit very obsessed with beautiful Brooklyn ‘Brownstones’. Exposed brickwork, tin ceiling tiles and stunning vintage ‘metro-style’ wall tiles – I was in interiors heaven…

Leave a comment
Filed in: OOT AND ABOOT
Tags: , , ,

NATURE MAGAZINE

Nature magazine 1950s American vintagePicked up these 1950s bad boys at a flea market recently. I couldn’t resist the stunning covers and the content is really inspiring, too – a mixture of articles and poetry, all beautifully illustrated.

Leave a comment
Filed in: LA BROCANTE (AKA VINTAGE TAT), OOT AND ABOOT

SPOON WHITTLING ATTEMPT #1

spoon whittlingI do like a rustic utensil. And, what with bearded ‘Barn the Spoon’ a-whittlin’ away over in East London, Hachet and Bear carving cute coffee scoops down in the south-west and Herriot Grace spooning around in Canada, I’ve had a growing desire to give spoon whittling a go…

After all, how hard can it be? (Pretty hard, it turns out.)

And so it was, on a cold, winters day, a group of us gathered together in a manger (we really did) for a festive spoon whittling session.

Despite the best efforts of our excellent and experienced carpentry tutor – the sort of chap who bodges chairs for fun in the forest, hand-crafts all his own woodworking tools and can knock up a set of ladles in a weekend – I managed to shred my hands to ribbons fairly early on, but gaffa-taped them up so as not to ‘stain the spoon’. (This is not best practice, but it did the trick).

spoon whittling 2We were using locally-foraged walnut, which is a hardwood, and, well, pretty hard to whittle. We started off by splitting a log in half, drawing a rudimentary spoon shape on the flat surface with a pencil and hacking off the edges with an axe. Then, we got down to whittling.

It took a while. After four hours I had created a sort of club, which, to be honest,  looks more like a hair brush than a spoon. It is definitely a ‘work-in-progress’.

Now it’s in the freezer, to keep the wood fresh until my hands have healed and I’m ready to finish it. It’s completely un-usable at present, but it has been the source of much merriment among my dear friends and family. So that’s nice.

1 Comment
Filed in: BACK TO NATURE, THAT'S CRAFTY
Tags: , , ,

PEMBROKESHIRE PEBBLES – A WELSH WEEKEND

pebble artSpace, sea breezes, seals, seaweed, sunshine, sunsets, sand, stones and shells. Somehow, despite a dozen deadlines, all stresses melt away in Pembrokeshire – where the coastline is raw, the sea is blue and mobile signal non-existent. We return revived, full of fresh air.

whitesands bay st davids wales

1 Comment
Filed in: BACK TO NATURE
Tags: , , , , , ,

PLEASING MARBLE BOARD (FROM BHS)

ellie tennant autumn centrepieceScratched that itch. Finally treated myself to some completely unnecessary yet great value solid marble chopping boards (£12 each, BHS) that I’ve been eyeing up for around six months and trying in vain to ignore. Limitless styling prop potential = surely tax deductible? Hmm. Just add a little leather thong. Not that kind.

Leave a comment
Filed in: HIGH STREET FINDS
Tags: , , , ,

DIY PINE CONE FIRELIGHTERS

diy pine cone fire lightersIt’s definitely cold enough in our house now to start lighting fires in the evenings. To get our logs roaring, I make these easy firelighters every autumn using pine cones, cheap tea lights (such as GLIMMA, £1.75 for 100 from IKEA) and paper cupcake cases. Lift the wax tealight candles out of their metal holders, place them in paper cupcake cases (on a baking tray) and put them in a very low oven to gently melt. Once the wax is liquid, carefully move the wicks to the edges of the cases and remove the metal discs that are at the base of the wicks using a wooden skewer or a cocktail stick (so you don’t burn your finger!) Lastly, pop a pine cone into each case, let the wax cool and set hard, remove the cases – and voila. You can buy these in some shops at £12.75 (plus P&P) for 12! Pah!

pine cones ellie tennant

Leave a comment
Filed in: BACK TO NATURE, FORAGING, INNIT, THOUGH, THAT'S CRAFTY
Tags: , , , , , ,