Friday, 30 October 2015

homemade & hand~me~down #2

dottie frock sewn
from Simplicity pattern 1080
Moda floral fabric

boots oxygen
Seasalt nanna cardi in moss green
St Margarets charity shop

boots uggs

Gap corduroy Jacket ~ St Margaret's charity shop
Dyed using Dylon machine ~ Pewter Grey

Hand Knitted bear brooch & vintage thrifted tortoiseshell buttons

Edwardian petticoat ~ thrifted from vintage fair, dyed Pewter Grey

just incase you thought I didn't have a head.....

hettie brown


Friday, 23 October 2015

hettie browns homemade & hand-me-downs

For those of you who do not know, due to my recent deleting ways (do apologize)  I grew up in the Cambridgeshire fens in the 1970's.  We lived Mum, & Dad, Sis and myself in a ramshackled old house in a small village edged by miles of fenland. 

here I am outside, wearing a hand knit brown jumper, hand-me-down boys jeans wellys and a riding hat....

The house was once a butchers shop and out back there were many barns where the animals were slaughtered.  I spent my childhood & crafted my world of imagination, intertwined with the spirits of those animals, and many an alive one too, as Mum had a big heart and couldn't ever turn away a lost soul who needed a home. Maybe I was a slightly odd child.....Most of my childhood Dad was renovating the house, he bought it so cheap and saved and saved on his milkround, to buy it.  Alas it was in a poor state and I know that Mum used to cook our dinners on a camping stove and wash up in a bucket for years!   During the winter of 1976 Dad ripped out the old staircase and when it was time for bed we went by ladder, my Mum would be so scared incase we plummeted of the landing in the middle of the night, she always kept a night light burning. 
Any how I digress, we weren't rich, and most of my clothes, for day to day were hand-me-downs, usually boys! as Mum's best friend had a boy just older than me, I didn't care for him that much, but then that is another story! Our clothes also came form the jumble sales in the village, I wore other people's castoffs and didn't really think about it. Mum also made our clothes, but only when we were very small. 

So Thus I have grown up with a love of thrift, second hand, and homemade.  A good jumble sale is a rare treat these days, Charity shops and making my own clothes mostly makes up the majority of my wardrobe....

hettie browns homemade and hand-me-downs  it is a follow on from my homemade closet project, but will also include found second hand items, How I made it, or up-cycled it, or just kept the same,but  pre-loved by someone else.

It will reflect the kind of clothes I wear everyday.

I start today with one of my favourites, I call it my Mormon look, as its simple and earthy.....and oh so comfy.

:  Homemade ditsy floral blouse, with peter pan collar, drafted from my own pattern

:  Black linen tank charity shop £3.00

:  Homemade Saturday Skirt from ~ Sew What You Love by Tanya Whelan


:  Boots Oxygen (not second hand)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

the most peculiar life of hettie brown

For the past nearly 3 years I have worked full time, I have juggled and worked and juggled and worked, as of one month ago when the carpet was snathched from under me and I had no job, life has been most peculiar.  It is a strange thing to be so busy working and then the next minute not, and although it may seem that it would be everyone's dream to not have to work, if it is not a conscious decision, it can, and did knock the stuffing right out of me.  So here I am over a month on....
I'm trying to be kind to myself,  Im feeling a little better, yes I won't deny it, I have realised that working ful time has its down sides and that I have neglected important people in my life through lack of time, Im trying to make amends, and make use of this precious time......
this week a few odd things happened that were, I thought, worthy of a telling

Odd thing one:

On Saturday my green eyed boy flew on an areoplane for 19 hours away from me to South Africa to work, this has left me feeling a little peculiar, as although he has been flown from this nest for all of 4 years now, he was just in London, now, however he is a long long way away,  I have to keep mindful of the fact that given half a chance my brain will conjure up all sorts of horrific scenarios that could happen to him while he's so far away from home.....  So mindfully I am reminding myself to think.... how amazing...what an proud I am of my green eyed boy.

Odd thing two

I got a little job of sorts....looking after Mr D, Mr D lives in a little cottage in my village and he has dodgy knees and he's not doing too well lately.  Things have fallen on the wayside a little and he's in a bit of a pickle. I help him for 2 hours a week, which really could do with being a whole week's worth of hours, the pickle that Mr D is in, but in two hours I try real hard to do what I can for him.  He is lonely since his cat Charlie died and he doesn't get any visitors these days, but now he has me....

Odd thing 3

I volunteered to go and sing...yep really truly and no one is more surprised about this than me.... The singing is for 'singing for the brain'   to help folks with Alzheimer's and Dementia.  I am a little concerned that I was not blessed with the best singing voice ever, but I'm thinking that really at the end of the day it shouldn't really matter too much.  So every other week I will go and sing and make cups of tea and chat with the old folks. On the other week when we are not singing we will be baking and painting and crafting.   I think it will be an all round good thing to do.

Not so Odd thing four

I am to make my own furniture polish, which I really am excited about, All the ingredients have arrived and tomorrow I will start....patience is needed as it takes a whole week.....
hettie browns natural beeswax polish, Im kind of liking the sound of that.....

Sort of Odd thing five

I have a very dear friend who says I should write a book, I am really thinking about this, but am not quite sure how to go about it, I have a grand idea, it would be mostly all about the seasons and the cottage and hettie brown of course......but really truly I have Mr Doubter sat on my shoulder saying really?  You?  So while he is still there, its is still just a thought.........


hettie brown

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

hettie browns choc chip cookies

Ingredients :

100g caster sugar ( I use the golden stuff)
75g unsalted butter (at room temp)
1/2 tbs golden syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g sifted plain flour
good chocolate chopped into small bits


Pop your oven on at 180 degrees
line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper, set to one side.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and stir really well until creamy and fluffy.
Then stir in the golden syrup, vanilla essence and egg, when thoroughly mixed add the flour, bicarb of soda and choc bits, stir gently until mixed together.

Take a small teaspoon of the mixture and place on baking sheets, in dollops..... leave enough room for them to spread a little  (If you do too much of the mixture you will have Mahoosive cookies, which can be fun but wont fit in your nice jar).  

Bake until golden brown 9- 12 mins depending on your oven.

When ready take them out of the oven and leave them to sit in their tray for 5 mins, then move them onto a cooling rack.

When they are cooled, eat them or pop them in a nice air-tight jar, or wrap some up and give them to the little old lady next door .....

happy baking

hettie brown

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


The little cottage garden out back is very much a reflection of my personality.
Its a  wee bit ramshackle, it doesnt have neat borders and perfect beds.  
I like it this way.

I like to potter, clean up the leaves, dig up a dandelion here and there.

I like the way the autumn sun shines through the leaves of the apple tree.

they've not done so well this year, the apple trees, Im not sure why, none the less we have had a small crop.

My green pumpkin is near to harvesting
I feel there should be some kind of ceremony to mark this monumentous occasion....

I think I will bring the geranium inside very soon before Jack frost arrives.

Arthur dent disappearing over the old privvy roof 

When you leave things a bit wild... you notice nature at work.
 Metamorphosing .  Can you imagine what it takes to do that?  He was still alive trying to survive against all the odds.  Sadly the odds were stacked too high against him, he just wasn't quite ready, Still half caterpiller, half butterfly.....

abit of a tidy, in the ramshackle garden 

hettie brown

Thursday, 15 October 2015

hettie brown's creative corner

I'm not sure I told you of my little creative corner I made last week.  In the on going quest for less is more here on the Dorset Somerset border, in this little cottage down the lane, I have been sifting and sorting through many a pile of gubbins in order to restore some order.  In the second bedroom it had become a Chinese laundry, and a place to put things that didn't really have a place to settle.  So I set too to clear a lot of the gubbins that had been left there, In doing so I noticed that I had infact created a spare corner in the cottage that would be the perfect spot for a creative corner.

In my creative corner at the moment there is, in no particular order....

A naked Santa

Some of J's old shirts that were destined for the recycled clothes bin, I have taken the bits that I need and they are so soft, and remind me of him.
I have a plan....

and a sleeping cat

hettie brown

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

natural magic

you know how sometimes something magical happens, its not a thing or something you can buy its just natural magic, the kind of being in the right place, at the right time, kind of magic.

I'm not sure if some people even get it, its easy to forget, the things that make us happy, like a good lungfull of the out doors, or the way the mist lies over the land on a autumn morning.

I'm a morning person

Magic happens at odd times, times when other people are sleeping.

hettie brown

Sunday, 11 October 2015

re-claimed baggage department

I've come to the decision it's time to stop looking back.  Picking the bits out of the carcass of the last month is surely not doing me any favours.   My mind is a tricky old beast at times and it wanders off and does its own bidding much of the time.  So I'm trying a little mindfulness, every time my thoughts turn to analyse and nit pick,  I am most firmly imagining popping those thoughts in a suitcase.  It's a suitcase of life, baggage in fact, vintage of course, it's brown and battered, not too big, not too small, infact a bit like the one we used to take on our holidays many moons ago now....

It's a suitcase that you can pop stuff in which you no longer wish to think about, and  firmly shut the lid on. Thoughts however, they are persistent little buggers aren't they? they will insist on pounding on the lid to try and get out.  In my mind I imagine sitting firmly on top hands pressed down as you would sit on the lid of your suitcase bulging with clothes before going on your holidays, in an attempt to contain the contents to do it up.

In the long term when the suitcase is full to the brimming with unwanted thoughts,  I'm hoping that I will pop it along to the thoughts recycling centre, here these thoughts will be re-cycled and turned into pre-loved, useful, happy thoughts once again. I would then go along and collect my empty suitcase from the re-claimed baggage department, were a rather nice man, who maybe looked a little like John Snow (not the news reader, the other one), would hand over my old battered brown case and I'd start all over again..... I am now thinking this idea could actually catch on and I could open up a thoughts recycling service, Varied sizes of mindfulness suitcases available, depending on how much mental baggage one happens to have.
Anyway I digress.

Today being Sunday, I am hoping to start stitching a Father Christmas

He is fiddly and has a lot of hand sewing which I am thinking will keep me very busy whilst sitting on my mindful suitcase

hettie brown x

Saturday, 10 October 2015

To all the wonky, broken people who happen to stop by......

l'm not young anymore...., now, I'm not saying I'm old and past it, but I'm most definitely not a spring chicken.  I read a blog post recently all about blogging and how it's dying a death and that everyone and their granny is blogging these days, which somehow seems a contradiction in itself, but I kind of get that.  It's not blogging like the good old days, it's stylish blogging with perfect photos, and links to every social media fix going.  Now this here blog of mine has been through a fair few transitions, first there was fading grace, back in gosh was it 2010 ?  And then there was hettie brown, I have regrets about deleting hettie brown, it was a comfortable place, and the trouble with me is that as soon as stuff starts going wrong in my life I start feeling too exposed and I start deleting stuff, cause I can't bear people judging me on my failures.  Pathetic I know.

So when I think about this blog and what it means to me, it's a place to write and be creative and connect and share stuff.  It's not normal, but what is? And quite frankly there are always people who are happy to judge, that's life.

It seems a shame to me to give way, to the more popular, more stylish, younger, thinner, perfect bloggers, although they too have their place.  What about the not so perfect, the slightly wonky, the ones who admit to their failures and crapness at times,  I think we are worthy too.

So I continue to scribble away here, with my heart on my sleeve, with my successes and total pants failures.  I am being brave, I have no idea who reads it, and some idea of those who do who i wished didn't.  When i dont write , I miss it, when I stop missing it, Ill stop writing.....

So I dedicate this blog and all its writings from this post onwards to the

Wonky, broken people who happen to stop by,
to the shy and introverted, and maybe not so,
who always drop their dinner down their fronts and mostly look like they've been dragged through a hedge backwards,
to those who wear big knickers and knit their own socks,
who are fraying and maybe greying a little round the edges......
To all the misplaced souls who strive for perfection and never quite reach it

I write this blog for you


hettie brown

Friday, 2 October 2015

Rowan the Botanical Hare

the botanical hare

made with re-claimed chicken wire from a skip & newspaper.  Naturally dyed Silk Noil, using windfalls and plants from my garden.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Moon song

So here we are in October already, the sun is not quite ready to relinquish its warmth as yet, and the last days of September have been beautiful.  The evenings draw in and get chilly reminding us that yes it is indeed Autumn.

Long walks across the fields have me collecting more winfalls for the dyepot, as experimenting continues, with natural dye.

Silk noil, mordanted with a milk solution, wrapped tightly with windfalls and rusty metal, in a pot with oak leaves and orange peel,  produced some amazing colours.
Which then, later that evening, when dry, me settled in for the night, curtains drawn at nest cottage, led to slow stitching, of moon songs, and magic and thinking of things yet to be.

The jars fermenting on the windowsill, concoctions and witches brews.

and a hare who came from knowwhere....

Made from chicken wire from a skip

A Batonical Hare in the making
who is helping to mend the broken pieces.

his name is