When I was a little girl, my mom brought me to a fairy garden event at a local plant nursery, where we were told that the forest was full of them. That same spring, daffodils grew in a circle, which I believed was the mystical “fairy circle”. Now, I know my mom purposely planted those bulbs in a circle for my benefit. Part of cottagecore is connected to the nostalgia of the emotions we had as a child. We believed in magic, and that anything was possible. This is why some people like to have a little fairy garden in their backyard, especially if they have kids. It can be as small as having a little bird house, or as big as having hidden houses in the trees. I highly recommend watching the short documentary called The Mystery of the Kansas Gnome Homes By Great Big Story. This will get you inspired to start making a fairy garden of your own.
9. Take Up New Hobbies That Keep You Away From Screens
The spirit of Cottagecore is to go back to a time before television and the Internet. You could be who you wanted to be without worrying about comparing yourself to others, or feeling the need to put it on social media. So, if you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands (especially in 2020) why not take up new hobbies that will get you outside? Consider playing a musical instrument outside, write, or simply take walks through the garden. Find what you love, and take it outdoors. Even video games can be played outside now, if you have a Nintendo Switch or a Smart Phone. Sometimes, hobbies can bleed over into your home decor. For example, a lot of people who surf keep a surfboard leaning against a wall. No matter what you’re into, you can figure something out.
Sometimes, cottagecore has a lot of overlap with another aesthetic called witchcore. (Think of the vibe from movies like Kiki’s Delivery Service and Practical Magic.) As the name suggests, this is the celebration of witchcraft and wicca. Since witches use natural herbs for their spells and plant medicines, it only makes sense that the two aesthetics can blend together. Beginners should try “smudging”, which is the act of burning sage and palo santo. This can make your house smell great, but it also helps to neutralize your space so that you can enjoying good vibes in your living space. If you’re interested to learn more, check out this article on How to Spiritually Cleanse Your Home.
7. Shop From Your Local Farmers, Bakers, and Butchers
Years ago, there were no supermarkets. People had to grow their own food, barter, or buy goods from other people in their area. Butchers, bakers, and farmers did the work to supply so that other people could go about their normal lives. Nowadays, people take it for granted that they can go to Walmart and get everything they need right in front of them. Personally, I started shopping at two of my local farmer’s markets. I found that the produce is a lot cheaper, and yet it tastes ten times better than what I find in a grocery store. In my local area, there is also a meat wholesaler, and a bakery that makes some of the best bread I’ve ever tasted. Obviously, you might not have access to these kinds of places, depending on where you live.
Long ago, you couldn’t just go to the mall when you wanted to buy new clothes. People made their clothing by hand, and the same went with blankets, gloves, scarves, and more. Fans of cottagecore are learning how to knit and crochet like their ancestors. Not everyone has the time, skills, and patience to knit an entire blanket. But if you’re still looking for the same look, I recommend finding an artist on Etsy who is selling their stuff. You can also ask your grandma, or browse local thrift stores for second hand knitted goods. One time, I went to an estate sale and purchased a huge pink blanket that was knit by the family’s great great grandmother, and I gladly paid the $12 asking price. These types of blankets might not be everyone’s taste. But one person’s trash just might be cottagecore treasure.
Long ago, people purchased ceramics like mugs, bowls, and pitchers from local artisans. Or, they took the time to make their own pottery from mud they found in the earth. Today, we have mass-produced ceramics that are easily found at most stores. Instead of buying your products from places like Ikea, consider finding a ceramic artist on Etsy, or a local craft show. Personally, I find a lot of handmade ceramics from a local cafe that doubles as an artist co-op, as well as a glass museum and art center. Some towns also have ceramic studios where you can stop by and make something yourself. Lastly, you could buy some ceramic tools online, and try it out at home.
One great way to feel like you’ve gone back in time is to start using vintage kitchen appliances. People have been cooking for a very long time, and tools have stayed relatively the same long before the existence of microwaves and toaster ovens. Cast iron pans, copper pots, and wooden rolling pins have been around for over 100 years, and they still work just as well as they did in the olden days. Start browsing thrift stores, eBay, or estate sales to find some vintage items to use around your kitchen. Some people, like YouTuber Michael Petherick, have even gone so far as to restore a vintage Aga oven for his gardener’s cottage remodel. If you want the vintage vibe, but you still prefer modern conveniences, take a look at Smeg products. They’re made in Italy, and still have the same style from 1948.
The idea of Cottagecore is to feel like you’ve gone back to simpler times. One way to achieve that is to start hanging your clothes outside on sunny days in the spring and summer. Here in the United States, most people use a washing machine and dryer. But in most European countries, people don’t own a dryer, so it’s common for people to hang their clothes outside. Several months ago, I rented a cottage in England, and it didn’t have a dryer. I got used to hanging my clothes to dry in the garden, instead. After about a week, the cottage began to smell almost identical to my grandmother’s house. It really does feel nostalgic, simple, and satisfying to hang your clothes. When I got home to America, I bought a laundry drying rack so I could continue to do this in the summer.
Part of the cottagecore dream is waking up with the sun and making your own breakfast. Some people dream of cooking and living off the land, and nothing else. So the advice to cook on your own might be obvious for a lot of you who are now eating at home during lockdown. However, one of the best ways to get in touch with your ancestors is to start cooking from home. Instead of going through the drive-thru of McDonald’s, start making eggs with toast and jam in your own kitchen. On Tik Tok, a lot of people in the Cottagecore community experiment with new recipes that they find. Try doing this on your own, and you just might find that you enjoy cooking. As an added bonus, you could focus on recipes that were made in the olden days.
Last but not least, you should visit a real life cottage if you want to model your home after cottagecore. Not everyone has access to an old country cottage, but you never know if you actually want the lifestyle until you try. There are a lot of museums and historical societies that try to preserve the integrity of older buildings in every state. You can also rent an Airbnb at a cottage that’s close to you. Personally, I was able to rent English cottage for an entire month before travel restrictions were in place. While I stayed there, I was inspired by how different the lifestyle was in the UK compared to the United States. It’s one thing to look through Pinterest or watch TV shows. But that can’t replace actually going somewhere in person, living there, and really experiencing what it’s like.