Charity Shop Vintage Finds, Granny Chic, Sewing and Baking with Giddy Aunt Lola

Monday, 12 February 2018

Embracing Winter with a stitch and a good book

Hands up if you struggle with the Winter blues?  Do you spend the whole of January and February craving the longer, warmer days of Spring and hiding under a cosy quilt until Winter has buggered off?  I know lot's of us feel like that but I have waded into a far more positive thought stream in 2018, with the help of some inspiring books.

Last October, I discovered a wonderful little book whilst dipping into Instagram; I love the way that Instagram takes you on these little trails of discovery.  The book is The Almanac; A Seasonal Guide to 2018 by Lia Leendertz.  When I was a child, I used to buy the Old Moore's Almanac from the Newsagent.  It was a small grey booklet that looked very Dickensian and I was intrigued by the information about tides and moon cycles and nature.  It all felt very mystical and Harry Potter-ish.

Lia Leendertz has revived the Almanac with a precious little book that helps you to connect to the changing months and seasons.  I've had a growing awareness that being connected to nature and being creative brings me to a deep sense of peace and satisfaction; a sense of being rooted. I keep this book by my bedside and dip into it with my morning cuppa; a sort of seasonal meditation.

Each month you will find little bites of information on the moon phases, sun/moon set and rises, tide times, what to sew/plant/harvest in the garden, what foods are in season, recipes, Celtic/pagan calendar and festivals, what's going on in nature and more.  This book is a little gem.

Moving on, another book I eagerly awaited when I tripped over it on Instagram is, Making Winter; A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell.   This book is luuuuuverly.

Emma says, 'My anecdotal findings that creative activity can lift mood during winter are beginning to be supported by scientific research.  It seems that yarn crafts can lead to a relaxation or meditation like response similar to that induced by yoga'  This book isn't just for those adept in the wooly crafts as it includes projects for paper crafts, baking and preserving, drawing and painting and making lovely jewellery from silver clay.  I particularly like the crafts related to collecting things from nature and making a winter woodland wreaths and bird snacks. 

It wouldn't matter if you didn't actually make any of the projects from this book, as it is a beautiful book in it's own right and I just enjoy dipping into the lovely photos and project descriptions.  Emma has appeared on the Kirsty Allsopp crafty programmes, showing Kirsty how to use silver clay and featured on Woman's Hour last week.  You can follow Emma here on Instagram; @silverpebble2

'Making things during winter is a cunning strategy  to help replace the feel-good chemicals that may falter during these dingier months.

There are a whole stack of other books that are bringing me a whole lot of pleasure - I always have books for Christmas and I've been using the library regularly over the last year too, so my stack of bedtime reading includes:

Abundance by Alys Fowler
Ferment, Pickle, Dry
Tonics and Teas by Rachel de Thample
Shrubs by Michael Dietsch
Botanical Colour at Your Fingertips by Rebecca Desnos
The Wild Dyer by Abigail Booth
The Art of the Larder by Claire Thomson
Forgotten Ways for Modern Days by Rachelle Blondel
Sacred Earth Celebration by Glennie Kindred

I have given up Netflix for the love of a good book.  I spread them out on the bed with my bedtime milky chai at my side (yep, given up booze as well) and wallow in the cosiness of reading on a winters evening.  I'd like to chat more about some of these books at a later date as I am really inspired by so many of the subjects covered in them.  AND, I am actually sewing and creating, not just reading about doing it.

But for now, I feel like the end of winter is in sight and I am making plans for the garden; I've ordered my seeds and can't wait to get sowing and growing and harvesting!  I've made friends with Winter but am fully ready to embrace and French kiss Spring!


Madame Sauce


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