A Very Puttery October

By Alison January 13, 2011 5 Comments 4 Min Read

You know how my resolution for 2011 was to choose to be BETTER? Well I suspect that one of the things you are hoping I get better at is sticking to the same calender that the rest of the world successfully manages to live by!
I mean really. Puttery treats for October in January?? Where’s my head at? Still, needs must, so onwards and upwards we go towards the completion of a years worth of scrumptious puttery little something’s designed to help you bring a little bit of organised sparkle to every aspect of your life…
October is a terribly cosy, quiet month and I rather think the treats I sent out to my lovely subscribers reflect that, so here, for your titilation, are my favorites…
The Silencing Cloth

Good hotels represent the epitome of luxury and from them I have learnt a few things about the art of fine living, not least that the cosy bed consists of layers and layers of cosy fleece liners, mattress protectors, sheets, sheets and yet more sheets.
And so it is with the table. Not for the fine hotel is the humble oil-cloth but instead veritable layers of leather, fleece and linen, in an effort both to protect the tables and to silence the noise made by the banging of cutlery and the scraping of glass.
Once upon a time such attention to both detail and etiquette were commonplace in dining room’s across the land, but nowadays we live a much more casual existence than our Edwardian ancestors and the chenille silencing cloth is a rare sight… and yet, and yet, and yet…
Your kitchen table would thank-you for protecting it from the hurly-burly of the family breakfast; that Cath Kidston oil-cloth won’t slip about when it is sitting securely on top of a fleece blanket table protector and there is something utterly luxurious about sitting down to dinner at a table topped in starched white linen padded by chenille.
And so today might I suggest re-purposing a tightly knit blanket or length of fleece as your very own
silencing cloth?
Oh for a peaceful meal…
Hesta the Goddess
The minute the weather turns cooler and the nights so very much shorter I look to my house to hug me on my return and this is only possible if I do not open the front door to a cold bleak room, with no sign of life and no possibility of warmth for at least an hour or two.
And so come October I get busy setting timers for both the heating and the lighting in the house. So that in my absence the heating switches itself on and Hesta the Goddess of all things domestic flits about the house switching on table-lamps so that the house is both warm and cosy come late afternoon.
This may strike you as quite the most insignificant of treats, but Darlings it is something I treasure above all else in the depths of Winter for there is nothing quite as lovely as watching the house bring itself to life should you be in when the night draws in and the house simultaneously lights up. While timers are useful when you are out and should be considered part of your arsenal against burglary, they are also terribly useful for the efficient monitoring of gas and electricity expenditure while you are at home, can help you mark you mark bedtime when the downstairs lights dim and your bedside light flicks itself on as if by magic so you can crawl into quite the cosiest of bedrooms and rather deliciously mark dusk in a festival of unbidden light…
Timers are now relatively in-expensive but they are utterly invaluable come Winter, and I cannot
recommend them highly enough…
Do it today!

A Literary Winter

Looking ahead to a Winter that seems to promise both financial misery and sub-zero temperatures one couldn’t be blamed for feeling a little gloomy, which is why I do believe it is good for our souls to sprinkle upon our very own Winter of Dis-content, a little literary magic.
You see I rather think that there is something wonderful about becoming desperately intimate with the works of one author during periods of time that stretch out into a chilly future, if only because reading one example of your chosen writers work after another means you never have to experience the jarring effect of reading a different voice and thus can spend the coldest of evenings curled up in the company of someone you enjoy.
Today begin the search for your very own Winter friend. Choose an author who has been fairly prolific so you wont be left bereft during the dark days of January and begin to stockpile second-hand copies of every book by her that you can find.
One doesn’t have to choose anything particularly high-brow (though I am a great believer that the long nights lend themselves to more concentrated reading), in fact any series of books by an author that takes your fancy will do as long as it is new to you and atmospheric enough to mark out the season as one you will treasure in your mind’s memory box hereafter.
Who will you choose?


  1. Ali H. says:

    Thank you for re-posting that treat. I don't really start to "feel" Winter until after Christmas. October is full of family birthdays, Thanksgiving and Halloween (I'm a transplanted Canadian), November and early December is Advent and planning for Christmas. Not until the quarterly bills hit the doormat right after Christmas (a Scrooge-like practice if there ever was one. Needs banning tout suit) that I regard at the next few months until Easter with a bit of a sulky countenance. You post made me smile and reminded me that there's plenty of putteryness to be found in Winter.

  2. Valerie says:

    I love the "Winter friend" idea! I've read the same author a few books in a row, but never on purpose exactly – I love the idea of doing it intentionally. Although as a writer that could be dangerous if I get too submerged in a single voice at once. Did you have a Winter friend this year?

    1. brocantehome says:

      I have chose Edith Wharton as my literary friend for this year as I have read so little of her work and rather thought it was time. That said its already January and I'm only one book in… still like Alison says below, the truly long nights of Winter have really only just started haven't they?

  3. Jenny says:

    Lovely! I've decided to try out Grace Livingston Hill as my "winter friend". I've been meaning to read one of her books for years but have never gotten around to it. I found a 3 volume-in-one paperback on eBay so if I get on a roll I've got 2 more books at my fingertips. Likewise, if I decide to move on, I didn't spend a fortune! 🙂

  4. Missie says:

    Oh I Love the idea of my house being all warm, alive & welcoming when I come home from a long dreary day! Why have i never thought of something as simple as TIMERs? ThanK You Alison for the brilliant idea!

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