An essential tool in this little cottage is a pair of excellent snips. Sharp, sturdy, made entirely out of metal, practically unbreakable. I was delighted to find a set of five at one of those rare hardware stores that is filled top to bottom with tried & trues. I’m transported to another age in there, like being in a general store of great quality.

snips © elisa rathje 2012

This style of scissors has been made for over 300 years in China. Hand forged, they have a hard steel layer (for the sharpened edge) laminated to a softer iron backing that supports the more brittle hardened layer. They come razor sharp.

The five excellent scissors live around the cottage where they are most needed. The smallest pair hangs on a corkboard in the kitchen to help with opening papers and packages and letters. Another hangs in the greenhouse, a third gets moved round my studio, one more comes along in the trug for gathering sorts of walks. They’re indispensable.

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