Welcome to Cette Petite Maison

My name is Carol-Ann and I am a maker and crafter of all kinds of things and with Cette Petite Maison (This Little House) I hope to share a little bit of my live here in Beautiful Rural France.

I have come to realise that although the world is very complicated, on some levels it is very simple and this year, 2019 I am going to try and embrace that simplicity, working towards sustainability in my own way and offer a small range of items, made, grown and harvested locally by neighbours and friends and I hope that the phrase Products with Provenance resonates.

I live in the beautiful Quercy Blanc, so called because of the chalky white stone and soil of the area. It is a rural Farming community, producing mainly cereal crops and wine with some cattle, sheep, bees, saffron and lavender farmed on a small scale. With this blog I will be introducing you to some of my neighbours and their produce.

So if you would like to follow along, it would be lovely to have your company, just add your name and e-mail to Follow my Blog below, and I promise not to inundate you with too many posts.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Free Pintables - A Little Bird Told me - Birthday Cards

Instead of supporting huge corporations like Hallmark et al, printing our own cards, stationery and pictures has never been easer.

Most of us now own printers, and getting hold of card type paper is now fairly easy too, I get mine at my local Supermarket. It their own brand 180g A4 white drawing/watercolour paper with a slight grain, Canson make similar paper so it is easy to find.

And as for pictures to put on cards, well the internet is full of images, BUT these are NOT always free to use unless it specifically states they are. However, sites like Etsy and Zibbet for example have loads of very talented artists who offer downloadable art at very reasonable prices, so it is just a case of choosing an image that you like, buying it to print at home.

Here is a link A Little Bird Told Me... Printable Birthday Cards  two FREE Birthday Card Printables that I have made for you. Just click on it to open the PDF file and click print, this will give you 2 x A5 cards with a very faint horizontal line between the two cards to show you where to cut. These fit neatly into A6 envelopes.

Have fun with these and see you soon with more printables and if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me :)

Please note: That Screens and Printers sometimes show different colours, so what you see on your screen might not be what your printer prints, however I'm happy with the results and I hope you will be too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Essential Oil Pest Control

This is a brilliantly comprehensive list of Essential Oils to use in Pest Control and I am going to try them all and keep your posted - Eeerrrrmmm well perhaps not the Bed Bugs, Roaches and Lice as I don't have those :)

With regards to the Lavender, I am wondering which would be the most effective Lavender or Lavandin, I will try both but think the Lavandin oil with it's a much higher percentage of camphor might work better as a repellant.

Oh and as this is an American cheat sheet, and in case you are wondering what on earth Chiggers are, they are Harvest Mites and the bane of my life, I am so allergic to them horrible little things that once they burrow in make me itch for day, so I shall be applying Lavender or Lavandin, Lemongrass and Thyme librally. 

Marie-Hélèn sells a Lavandin distillate spray which is produced when making her Lavandin Essential Oils so I am thinking that this might be ideal for adding the essential oils to as a carrier and then spraying it onto my boots and socks to keep the Harvest Mites away. I will let you know how this all works.

So here we have it, I will test and experiment once the pests start appearing and promise to keep you posted as to the results.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Aromatic Saffron Rice with Almonds and Raisins

This makes 2 - 4 servings
  •  1 pinch saffron threads
  •  1 cup long grain rice
  •  21/2 to 3 cups chicken broth or vegeterian alternative (The quantity of liquid really does depend on the type of rice you are using)
  •  1 Onion chopped into small pieces
  •  1/2 cup raisins 
  •  1/4 cup thinly sliced almonds (Blanched optional)
  •  2 tablespoons olive oil
  •  Salt to taste
  •  A frying pan with a lid.
1) Soak the saffron threads in 2 tablespoons hot water for 10 minutes.

2) In the frying pan add the olive oil and the onion, cook until golden brown then add the rice, coat it in the oil and heat through.

3) Add the soaked saffron threads still in the water, the raisins and the broth and bring to the boil over a high heat.

4) Once boiling reduce the heat so the mixture is simmering and cover the pan, just before all the water has been absorbed add the Almonds stir in and then give the pan a shake to spread the rice evenly.

5) Let the rice cook on a low heat until all the water has been absorbed turn off the heat and let the rice rest for 2 minutes.

6) Serve and enjoy

This recipe works well with a Curry or you can add bits like cooked chicken and turn it into a main course, it also works well as a summer salad served cold with diced cucumber, tuna and mayonaise mixed in once it has been cooked and chilled.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Love Spring


It may only be mid Febraury but the days are certainly getting longer and dare I say it.........warming up a little too. The thing I love about this time of year is yes, we will have one or two more cold snaps, but that's hopefully that is all they will be, just cold snaps.

I have had a couple of Mallard Ducks take up residence on the pond and a large white Heron, well actually according to Google it is a Great Egret (Ardea alba) and while we always have Grey Herons, this rather grand white bird is really very eye-catching and I do hope he is not catching too many fish out of the pond!

The picture on the left was created by a dear friend Sandi, and is available as a download for you to print, you will find it and more or her gorgeous work here at Printaphoria, do pay her shop a visit as it is full of wonderful and inspiring things an she is offering 25% discount to celebrate the grand reopening sale :)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

What to do........

If you have horses or any other farm animal for that matter and feed bales of hay, one ends up with Baling Twine, loads and loads of Baling Twine.

These days it is made from Polypropylene, which does not bio-degrade and in its twine form is dangerous to animals if just thrown into landfill sites. So while looking at my collection of blue Baling Twine doing a bit of lateral thinking, I came up with the idea of trying to knit with it.

Horrible stuff to work with really and it just did not behave well on knitting needles as it is quite stiff and has a mind of its own so I tried plan B my knitting looms and voila my little range of scrubbing things, round scrubbies for kitchens and bathrooms and massage mitts for horses and short coated dogs. 

These are the Scrubbies and you can find them in my shop :)
And just when I was wondering if Blue was the only option, I was with Marie-Hélèn, helping with the Lambs and I noticed that her Baling Twine was Lilac so I came home with a load of that and am now able to offer my Twine Knits in Blue and Lilac.

A quick note, the blue is a higher density than the lilac and the lilac a little more supple, but I do believe that both have a place in the home and out on the farm.

The house scrubbies are useful for pots and pans and general cleaning and won’t scratch delicate surfaces and when it comes time to throw them away, pop them into your recycling bin.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Lavender and Lavandin what is the difference?

If you love Lavender Essential Oil, then it's quite important that you know the difference.

Lavandula angustifolia is a true Lavender used for it's wonderful Perfume and Essential Oil properties but there are over thirty-five other types of Lavender plants. The most common sustituate for Lavender is Lavandin which is the most similar to Lavender, but also includes its own varieties. Lavender essential oil can be derived from any and all of these, so it’s important to know what the differences are between ‘Lavandula angustifolia’ and other lavender varieties.

If they're both varieties of lavender and both produce essential oil, what makes different types of lavender plants so different? Lavandin is less expensive, and and quite a different oil with its own unique and different uses from Lavender Essential oil. The Lavandin variety are still 100% natural, but the problem occurs when someone confuses their ‘Lavandin’ as 100% Pure Lavender Essential Oil.

These are some key differences between Lavandula Angustifolia and Lavandin varieties, so you can make informed decisions about your Lavender essential oil before purchasing:

- Although the two lavender plants types have similar aromas, they have a vastly different chemical composition.

- One key difference between the two lavender plants types, Lavender essential oil and Lavandin essential oil, is that Lavandin oil contains a much higher percentage of camphor. Typically Lavandula angustifolia essential oil contains between 0%-0.6% camphor, whereas Lavandin oil contains between 6%-10% camphor. Obviously this has an effect on the individual aromas of the oils, with the Lavandin oils giving off a stronger and more pungent scent, whereas Lavandula angustifolia oil produces a more subtle, sweet, floral aroma and which is why Lavandula angustifolia is used in the perfume industry and Lavandin is not.

However, this does not mean that oils from the Lavandin variety should be disregarded. The higher camphor content means that Lavandin oil can be more effective at clearing congestion, effective insect spray, and freshening rooms and deodorizing than Lavandula angustifolia essential oil. It should not however be used on cuts or burns (which is one of the benefits of using ‘Lavandula angustifolia’) because of the high levels of camphor, which can further cause tissue scarring.

As legends say, the French scientist Gattesfosse burnt his hand in a chemical experiment a few decades back, and later accidentally dipped his hands in the oil of Lavandula angustifolia and was able to feel relief from his severe burns, leading to the invention of this sub-sect of science, Aromatherapy.

Friday, January 25, 2019

How Marie-Hélèns Lavender Essential Oil is made

The process of making Lavender Essential Oils is a true labour of love, love of being out-doors, love of working in the fields and love of Lavender – This very special plant produces oil with heaps of beneficial properties and is one that I always have in my Essential Oil collection.

Lavender essential oil is obtained by distillation of the flower heads of certain species of Lavender. Pure lavender essential oil is produced through steam distillation.

Harvest of lavender is between June and August. Once the Lavender has been harvested (This is done by hand) it is then taken to the distillery where the lavender flowers are packed tightly into a Still. A boiler is then used to build up steam in the Still at a low pressure. The cells containing the oil in the lavender flower are broken down by this heating process. A pipe of cold water runs through the centre of the still. The hot lavender oil vapour condenses on the cold water pipe and runs down into a holding tank where it is allowed to settle.

Due to polarity and the different densities of the water and oil, these two separate in the holding tank whereupon the water is piped out, leaving just lavender essential oil.

This Oil is taken home by Marie-Hélèn and carefully decanted into Essential Oil bottles, labelled, boxed or it is used in Soap we also offer.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Introducing Stéphanie’s Saffron.

It takes 150 000 yes, 150 000 flowers harvested by hand, to produce 1kg (2.2 lbs) of Saffron. Production is so labour intensive which explains why Saffron is so expensive commanding €32 000.00 per Kg and why it is called Red Gold.

 The fragile Autumn Crocuses are harvested between October and November, climatic conditions dictate when they start blooming, the bloom lasts between 2 to 3 weeks.

The flowers are usually harvested on warm sunny days when the mornings dew had dried. Once the days harvest is in it is time (with the utmost delicacy) to remove the 3 tiny red stigmas which when dried are the Saffron Strands we use in cooking.

Stéphanie started farming Saffron in 2015 and is very proud of her product, and I am proud to be able to offer it to you as part of the Products with Provenance Range. We have 0.2gms and 0.5gms for sale in the shop and larger quantities are available on request.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

On grey days.......Colour is so good for the soul

When it's grey, cold and damp outside, nothing beter than some beautiful photos to lift the spirits :)  These were taken last autumn in a friends Saffron field by the very talented Fanny Trautvetter.

© Fanny Trautvetter