Saturday, September 23, 2023

The new STITCHERY CLUB is ready!


It's been quite a few years since my first Stitchery Club closed. It was a true blessing to design and stitch for my members over a number of years, and to hone my own abilities with each new set of patterns created each month.

After a long break I've decided to re-open the Stitchery Club once more, and in addition to a healthy dose of hand-embroidery within each new set of designs, there'll be applique as well, and in a format to suit either needle-turn or blanket stitch - whichever is your favourite. I tend to flow from one to the other, though recently it's been mostly needle-turn.

In my previous Club I ran it by subscribed membership, however, this time around I've decided to release each new set of pattern through my Etsy Shop instead. This means no sign-ups, no monthly commitment, no Paypal. You will now be able to purchase the monthly pattern sets that you love, and skip over the months that don't suit your style or circumstances. 

BUT - there's a bonus for purchasing the pattern sets during the month of their release! The first set of three patterns will be available from now until October 31st at the reduced purchase price of $10.00 AUD (plus $1 GST if you're in Australia) This is around 6.50 USD.

You can purchase the October 2023 set HERE in my Etsy Shop for immediate download. 

On November 1st, those three October designs will no longer be available as a set, but will become individual patterns for sale in my shop at the regular price of $6 - $9 each. By purchasing from now until October 31st you'll get a lovely bargain. 

November 1st will be the day I release a brand new Stitchery Club set of three patterns, and the same process will continue month by month. 

But today, let's look at the patterns you can receive by purchasing the new October 2023 Stitchery Club...

I intend including at least one mini-quilt per set of Stitchery Club issues, and this month I have two - a home blessing and a Spring sampler, plus a simply lovely hoop art for Autumn...


This measures 12" square and is a lovely little quilt to hang in your home or gift to another family. I used some bright scraps to applique the flowers, leaves and berries, and hand embroidered the verse. The background is a piece of cream cotton/linen blend fabric. The mini quilt was finished with hand quilting around the applique shapes and inside the border.


I designed this hooped Autumn/Winter embroidery project after being inspired by the delightful slumbering creatures in the newest Tilda fabric range, Hibernation. As I unpacked the gifted fabric, an idea formed fairly quickly, and it stemmed from a scene in the second book/movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Two Towers. The aged Ent, Treebeard, was gently settling the two little hobbits at the base of a huge tree as evening settled over the forest. His soft words, "Sleep little, Shirelings..." (for hobbits were known as Shire folk) filled my thoughts and seemed to capture the essence of a late autumn with winter quickly approaching...a time of rest, a season for creatures to hibernate. The stitchery sits inside an 8" diameter hoop which has been covered in a co-ordinating fabric.


I can't tell you how much I enjoyed planning, sketching, stitching and sewing this pretty little sampler! It measures 11" wide x 12.5" high and includes hand embroidery, applique, scraps of lace, buttons, and a few tiny beads too. In the detailed pattern you'll discover there are options for simplifying the overall steps (if you're new to this type of sewing). 


I hope you'll stitch along with me as I open the door to a new season of The Stitchery Club! 

God bless

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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Molly, Tilda and a kitchen makeover...

 Time is passing swiftly this September, but probably because there's been a lot going on at home, with family, designing, sewing, the garden - and a new companion for me.


In January Blossom and Ross became owners of two 6-week old pug puppies, Molly and Barnaby. In their huge house there was plenty of room for two dogs, three children, and two offices for both Ross and Blossom to work from home. We all adored those two mischievous pugs, but Molly especially took a great liking to me, almost beside herself with excitement each time I visited. 

Then their rental home of five years was to be put up for sale and the owner would not renew their lease, so, as you know, the prayers went up for a new home to be found quickly as rentals are very scarce in our town. Praise God, who at the eleventh hour provided a new dwelling for them last month, not far from where they already lived. The house was half the size of the one they currently rented, but it is lovely and cosy, in a good area, and the family love it. was far too small for two indoor dogs. Living in the hot and humid tropics is not the best climate for pugs, so keeping them outside is not an option. 

We had rehomed Harry the dachshund back in March to a young woman training to be a vet (he hated being indoors, terrorised our old Sophie cat to the point her health went downhill, tore up more garden than you'd believe, created a lot of stress day and night with his endless barking, and quite simply was not the right puppy/dog for us at this stage of life) but the prayers were still going heavenward for a 'real' companion dog that would be my buddy each day while hubby was working.

And so, Molly came to live with us. This made everyone happy as she can see her brother Barnaby often, plus be loved on always by Blossom, Ross and the children when we visit them or when they visit here. 

She's exactly what I needed, and truly, she adores me. Her and I were already buddies, but now it's so much more. She's a curious little thing and follows me everywhere, rarely is she away from my fact, the first day here she wanted to know exactly what I was doing in the sewing room so I popped her on the pink chair and she was completely mezmerised! Though eventually she curled up on the chair and fell asleep. 

Her first outing to Bunnings with hubby and I in his Ford Ranger was very exciting, and once again, she was mezmerised by all the activity, sights and sounds around her. Bunnings is a huge hardware store in Australia (for those overseas who haven't heard of it) and you're allowed to take your dogs in there.

I'm sure you'll see plenty of Miss Molly on the blog in future. 

Next thing which has taken up a lot of my time is a double project I designed from a bundle of fabrics soon to be released in shops this coming October. You may remember that I have often been gifted fabric from manufacturers or distributors over the years, but I did decline all the offers last year. However...


All those sleeping little creatures, and the warm autumnal tones, caught my eye so when I was offered a bundle of the new Tilda Hibernation fabrics to play with my answer was an easy 'yes'. 

For three weeks I've been sketching, erasing, sketching again, erasing again, and finally set my mind on an idea that stemmed from the The Two Towers by JRR Tolkein (second book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy). There's a scene in Fangorn Forest where the ancient Ent, Treebeard, in the cool autumnal air of early evening, settles two of the little hobbits down at the base of a huge tree and says very softly, "Sleep little Shirelings..." (for Hobbits were known as people of the Shire). Here's what I eventually made. 
A table topper which featured circles of little hibernating mice, birds and squirrels...

...and an embroidered hoop inspired by the words of Treebeard. I wrapped the outside of the hoop in more of the Hibernation fabric.

What do you think?
I'll have the patterns ready on October 1st when the Tilda Hibernation fabrics are in quilt shops. 
Funny thing about the leaves I used in the photos. In the tropics we don't have pretty autumn leaves, as everything is green...but in spring, yes, in spring, we have trees whose leaves turn vivid orange, red and brown! We have one such tree in our front yard, but to give you a better view of these trees in all their splendour my husband took a photo near a picnic spot we stopped at during a recent day trip away. 


If you've been here long enough you would know that when we bought this house, our very first, five years ago, in the midst of my joy was the disappointment of having a brown laminate kitchen. Brown is my most detested colour for home decore, and especially in a kitchen. 

This is the kitchen when we first bought the house...

On the right hand side I have already given it a makeover with pretty green floral curtains, hanging plants, potted plants, looks lovely now, yet for some reason I can't find a photo so I'll just reshare one I took recently in that area when Rafaella and Charlie spent the day with me.

Now have a look at my makeover of the opposite side. First thing you'll notice is that I've removed two cupboard doors - and for the life of me I do not know why I haven't thought of this before! It has completely opened up the area and brought light and beauty to my eye. 

I have a few more ideas, but for now, this makes me so happy every time I walk through the kitchen! And the whole makeover cost me nothing more than $7 for the tin of fake flowers, and the next day I spent another $3 for a new coffee mug decorated with a garden scene (which is not pictured). 

There's going to be a few more budget makeovers in our home over time, but I shall not do any of them until inspiration strikes and I know exactly what will work. This small makeover took me five years to achieve, but once the idea was there, it took only a day to bring it all together. I wonder if you are inspired to create a budget makeover in your own home? If so, what room would it be? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Okay, that's enough for today. Next time I shall let you know about the new Stitchery Club, but it's not at all like it once was. I've decided to do a lot more things simpler, easier, less fuss...and to enjoy them more. 
I shall leave you with a sneak peek at one of the new designs I am working on right's a house blessing. After all the autumnal colours of the Tilda designs, I decided to bring some spring colours to life in the home with a blessing to hang on our living room wall. 

God bless you my friends! May His favour be felt all around you, His presence fill each room, and His voice heard clearly as He directs you in the paths you should follow.


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Saturday, September 2, 2023

The Virtuous Wife block 12 (free pattern)...


I really love this verse, especially after spending time studying each individual word and praying for wisdom to apply it daily in my own character.

The pattern itself is also a favourite of mine because I had so much fun creating that little apron with it's pretty pleats. On your pattern sheet I have described how to do this and it's rather simple. Just cut a rectangle shape and make your pleats across the top edge before fusing onto the background fabric. You may want to sew a line of running stitch and gather the top instead, or just trace the outer shape from the pattern sheet and backstitch the pleat lines. Make this however you like, according to your preference or skill level. 

One reason I chose to sew an apron in the design for Proverbs 31:25, is that as we study it we are told to dress ourselves, array ourselves, in God-honouring character each day, and one thing I wear every day is an apron. 

My apron is a covering that prevents soiling underneath...and isn't that a simple example of what a God-honouring character does for us? When we obey God's Word, it covers us from the soiling of our hearts and minds, and that's what I think of now as I tie the bow at the back my apron each morning. 

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”

Let’s take a look at the depth of meaning in this verse, because though only a few words in a short sentence, it has much to instruct us about the character of this woman; indeed, about the character traits we women of today can prayerfully grow into.

“strength” – the Hebrew word used here is ‘oz (pronounced oze) and can be translated as power, strong, boldness, might, a force. It stems from the root word ‘azaz (aw-zaz’) which means to prevail and be strong.

“dignity” - the Hebrew word used here is hadar (pronounced haw-dawr’) and can be translated as being held in high honour, goodly, comelinenss, beauty, an ornament of splendour.

“clothing” – the Hebrew word used here is labash (pronounced law-bash’) and translated means to put on, to wear, to array oneself.

“laughs” – the Hebrew word used here is sachaq (pronounced saw-khak) and can be translated as: to laugh in pleasure or to laugh in scorn, to make merry, to play, to rejoice.

“the time to come” - the Hebrew word used here is yowm (pronounced yome) and can mean any time to come, whether that be a day, an age, a season.

I like to expand a verse when I have a fuller understanding of each Hebrew word, keeping the context of a passage of Scripture intact, so here is how I would read Proverbs 31:25 now…

She dresses her mind and arrays her character each day with a boldness and strength which prevails through all circumstances life brings her way. Held in high honour by her family, she lives her life with goodness and gracefulness, and her beauty is evident in her character. By living a life of honour to God she has no fear of the future, but rejoices in He who will provide when there is need.

In this post Covid era, many things have changed, things we would not have thought possible four years ago. I have listened to people who now live their lives in fear of what is yet to come, who struggle with a daily barrage of “what-ifs” that consume their thoughts, plans and decisions. I can truly say that I have never met or read about so many fearful hearts as I have these past few years…and it can bring me to tears as I pray for them to know the HOPE we have in Christ, the certainty we have of His return, the surety that in the time of trouble He WILL carry us through.

Like the description of this fictional woman, a women King Lemuel’s mother described as having the attributes of a wife he should pursue (read more about that here) we must dress our minds each morning with the golden truth of God’s Word; we must array our character in Christian goodness (the fruit of the Spirit); and we must not fear what is ahead, but remember Who holds the future in His hand - Christ Jesus who has overcome the world.

Place your life and all it involves into His care, being obedient to His Word, confessing your sins daily, and praying for that sweet forgiveness which cleanses and restores us “whiter than snow”. Walk each day in the HOPE that will not fail, with a laugh that rejoices in our faithful Lord and Saviour. 

Use the link below to download the free pattern

DOWNLOAD block 12 The Virtuous Wife

Missed the previous free eleven blocks? Go HERE to access them.

Bless you heaps,

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Friday, September 1, 2023

A new season...

Today is September 1st, and here in Australia it signifies the passing of winter and the welcoming of a new spring. 

Even though living in the tropics of northern Australia we do not have a winter such as most others in our country or overseas experience, for us it still offers a time of rest in both body and mind from the stifling exhaustion of a summer that runs from October to April. 

July was surprisingly very warm both day and night, and more than a few nights I slept with the ceiling fan running or just a thin sheet over me - but August, oh my, the days in August were glorious, usually around 27 C (80 F) and the nights a cool 14 C (58 F). This may be part of the reason I haven't blogged for two weeks, for that feeling of finally greeting a true tropical winter's arrival, and at the exact time my husband was taking a two week break from his work, made me want to step away from many things. I realised quickly that here was an opportunity for body and mind to be immersed in the beauty of each new day, that it was to be a time of God-gifted 'slowing' which had been sorely needed.

Planting more seedlings, preparing healthy meals, juicing fresh produce for a refreshing drink after pottering in the garden, sleeping just that tiny bit longer in the morning, watching some old favourite movies after dinner, taking opportunity for a couple of long country drives, reading, planning for the next season in our garden, sewing new ideas, baking bread, slowly mending and repairing those small items too often overlooked, sitting quietly outside together in our old and worn garden chairs because after almost thirty-two years it's not necessary to fill the air with words when the view around us of birdlife, gardens, tall trees, blue skies, butterflies and fluffy white clouds is before us to behold. The first two weeks of August were rather 'full on' with Blossom's house move, but these last two weeks were graciously simple, restorative and blessed.

This is my new rose, a Helmut Schmidt. I bought it as a bare root in May and this week it has offered two glorious sunshine yellow blooms. I gave one to my dear friend Rosie, and kept the other for myself.

It was another reminder that the earth moves from one season to another in God's perfect order and rhythm, and that I too must move forward, letting the old concerns, experiences, troubles and griefs pass away, and looking ahead to embrace the new gifts of life each morning holds. 

So I shan't write a long and lengthy photo heavy post today, but offer my prayers for all of you reading this, that the Lord bless you with what you need most. That may be a time of slowing and breathing and gratitude such as I have just been immersed in...or it may be energy to push through a challenge; wisdom to make the best decision moving forward; healing from whatever ails you; provision for a time of scarcity; understanding in a particular situation; time to sit at the feet of Jesus. Offer all your needs to Him, and I shall pray too. 

Until next week, bless you heaps,

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Saturday, August 19, 2023

Moving week and other things...

 This week was a long one, especially for Blossom and Ross because they moved house. Though the house is much smaller, and the rent much higher, they are immensely grateful to have found a new home for their family in a time of rental scarcity here in North Queensland. 

One of my main jobs this past week was to mind the children while hubby's responsibility was to help with all the heavy moving, and to get everything from one house to the other in his 4WD with huge trailer attached. 

On Monday Charlie and Rafaella came to stay with me, while Cully May helped her mummy with packing. I took the kids to the kitchen shop so I could get new scone cutters, and some crumpet rings. Both of them were fascinated so we spent quite a while looking at all the interesting baking tools until tummies were growling and I knew it was time for morning tea. We went to Banjos for some sweet treats and as it's just near hubby's work we bought him some as well and drove around to drop them off. The grandkids love to visit Poppy at work! Next we headed to Officeworks for some colouring books, fresh pencils, and a few office supplies I needed for home.

Once home they were insistent that we bake cupcakes, so with little stools pulled up either side of me at the kitchen bench, we got to work measuring, weighing, filling patty cases and of course - licking the bowl!

Of course every cupcake needs sprinkles, right? They did such a good job...

After all that baking we swam in the pool, and as the water was quite cold, they hopped into a warm bubble bath afterwards, before we packed up the cupcakes and headed back home. Blossom, Ross and Cully May were pretty excited to see the cakes the little ones had made for them.

On Tuesday I caught up with housework (and rested up a bit as I was a bit tuckered after the previous day) and then on Wednesday while hubby was off doing the big move, I had Cully May and Charlie while Rafaella stayed behind with mummy.

I took the kids to Bunnings to get sunflower and pumpkin seeds, plus a few more punnets of flowers to bed in around the veggies, and they had a long play in the playground before tucking in to some savoury pastries and juice. Next we went to the library to return all the family's books as Blossom felt they'd be better off returned now than packed in a box for moving. Both kids loved the hula hoops, built a city out of amazing painted wooden blocks, coloured in, and generally played around until Cully May suggested it might be time to go home and make lunch. 

After lunch we went swimming and at one stage Charlie had said he'd had enough, so off he ran to get his towel. I turned to watch Cully May show me how she used the kickboard (she was swimming with it over to the side to get out of the water) when I heard a huge splash behind me and turned to see Charlie had jumped in! His little head bobbed up and I swam two long strokes to grab him as he went down for a second time. Honestly, this is the way to give Nana a heart attack. I had screamed "Charlie" so loud that the whole neighbourhood must have heard. 
Grabbing him I said, "Come on sweetheart, let's get you out of the water and we'll go inside" to which he laughed and replied, "No Nana, me swim more!"...I tell you, Charlie and Rafaella are miniature Bear Grylls, whereas Cully May is the cautious one always considering actions before following through. Thankfully all the kids have swimming lessons, but it was still a scary moment for me. 

Once inside it was bubble baths, a rummage through the dress-ups box for Cully May, then afternoon tea while watching the old animated movie, Little Bear. About five minutes in and Charlie was asleep... Cully May and I decided to play around with a really good app I'd just gotten for my iPad. It's called Waterlogue and turns photos into various types of watercolour paintings. She scrolled the photos on my iPad and chose loads to alter within the app, and then asked me to take photos of her and Charlie to use. 
Here's the photo I took of her...

...and these are the paintings made by the app from the photos. She was thrilled!

Just before dinner I took them home, their NEW home this time, and met up there with hubby who was just finishing up the move. We left the family to settle into their lovely new abode and headed home for a simple pasta dinner and an early night. 
Thank you to everyone who prayed they'd find a home, because we all felt your prayers. 
Thank you also for praying about Ross's job...unfortunately he found out the night before the move that he's being retrenched and will be unemployed if you have some prayer time, would you pray, according to God's will, that he will get another job please? ((thank you)) 


Last week on Sunday we decided to get out of town and do something we've not made time for lately - a country drive. We drove 95 km south-west to Mingela, then 40 km south to Ravenswood (a gold mining town) where we discovered it was market day (more like half a dozen car boot stalls, but lovely), and then 90km along a dirt road to Ayr, before turning back to the highway and driving 100 km home again. 
Along the way we saw a mother emu with six babies, casually strolling over the track so as to keep her babies together (normally emus will take off running very fast as you approach); a brolga dancing in the bush; and many gorgeous cows, many with their calves. I was in heaven.

HUSBAND AT HOME and a renewed health priority...

Hubby actually started two weeks holiday break from his job on Tuesday afternoon (so that he could be of assistance to Blossom during the move and afterwards). They began moving the heavy items that afternoon, as he was able to pick up the large trailer early. This helped enormously by giving them a head start on the move, because moving everything else on Wednesday took all day and into early evening. 
So with him home for two whole weeks we're putting our focus on the garden prep for spring and summer, as well as getting back to juicing each day. I'm also baking low, or no, refined-sugar for the time being, substituting raw honey, dates or maple syrup, and removing some of the wheat based items I cook regularly. 
These gluten free biscuits (cookies) I made were really yummy.

Made from almond butter, almond flour, maple syrup, egg, coconut oil and some dried cranberries you only need to enjoy one at a time because they are quite filling. 
You'll find the recipe HERE but I replaced chocolate chips with the cranberries. 


Ondrea and I have been online friends for quite a few years now. We've rejoiced many times as each of us welcomed new grandbabies and shared a lot of alternative medicine information back and forth. We have chatted about crochet blankets (Attic 24 being our muse!) and stitchery, and have even had a couple of long distance phone calls when an email just wasn't enough. 
She knew how stressful the past six weeks have been for our family with everyone being sick over and over and over again; and how I was the only one not to succumb so I did what I could for my beloveds. My own malady came from back-to-back migraines, 4 or 5 a week. 
So this period of time was filled with more prayer than usual for Blossom to find a home in time, for healing to come upon the family, for Ross's job, for their finances, and also for my husband's own work situation as well as my decision about whether to design again or not.
And just the other day, when I was ready to collapse into a ball and sleep for a month, this precious letter arrived from Ondrea, out of the blue, full of kindness and care...

She didn't think it such a big thing, but honestly, I did. 
When you are primarily a giver and rarely the receiver (which, please know, I do not mind at all) it's the unexpected moments like these that cause tears to fall, the tears which you didn't realise were all pent up inside. Her gift was like a reassuring warm hug, a gentle voice telling me "I know you're weary and need a hug of your own, and I care about you."

And isn't this the best bookmark? I think for sure it was made for me.


The move is complete. Blossom loves the smaller house and says she really feels like it's "home". The children are happy. Ross is optimistic.
Hubby is bruised and sore after helping them move house, but ever so glad to have had time to help our family. He's excited to work around our own little quarter acre for the rest of his holiday break and already we've been out and bought two new fruit trees, decided on what next with regards to growing spaces, priced a few things to make family gatherings more fun, and planned a day-trip up into the mountains next week. 
My roses are all blooming and their scent fills the air around my desk...

My sewing room is in chaos due to my being busy with family and staying on top of homemaking the past couple of months, so now that the decision has been made to design again for the next 12-18 months, I really need to get in there and declutter (I have quite a bit of Blossom's which we'll sell in a garage sale when she's settled and has time), and then write patterns for the three new patterns I've already completed.
If you're wondering, yes, the decision to start a new Stitchery Club which will run for twelve months, was due to financial need and I am not embarrassed to say that. We have a mortgage to kick over and I'm already 64, so helping my husband to achieve that goal while I am still able is my delight. He works so hard for us, and blesses me beyond words. God gave me a real treasure in this man and I thank Him each morning for my Mark. 

Ladies, whatever your situation in life, look for opportunities to show kindness, care and love to those who may be having a difficult time in one way or another. Your small act many mean the world to that person you've reached out to. 
If you have a need offer it to the Lord, Who will lovingly direct you along the path He wishes you to take, and if your flesh rises up and doesn't want to obey (I really felt that way about designing again..) surrender your will fearlessly, because He who shows you a way forward SHALL make that way open wide before you. There is nothing more freeing than surrendering to our God. 

Okay, that's enough for this week's post, I'm sure you have lives to live and things to do. Thank you for dropping by again, and I am praying that *you* are touched mightily by the hand of our Heavenly Father in the days ahead. He knows you, He knows your situation, He knows the way through. 
Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding...

Hugs and blessings

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Saturday, August 12, 2023

Family update and four dairy-free milks to make...


I was asked recently to share how I make our dairy-free milks, so today I have a print out to download for those who are interested in making almond, cashew, oat or coconut milk. They are all very easy to do, way cheaper than buying from the shops, and natural with no fillers or additives. 

Use the link below to download the PDF recipe sheet.

I'll share the recipes and steps here with photos as well, for I find pictures help a lot for those of us who are visual learners. 

Some of the milks need to be squeezed through a nut bag, some do not. I have had this nut bag for over ten years... the time to replace it was drawing near. I found a good inexpensive set of three on Amazon as the cost of one bag from the health food store was ridiculously overpriced.

The trick with nut bags is to use them inside-out as it makes cleaning easier, with the nut/oat/coconut residue not gathering in the corner seams. 

I've been using the same high speed blender for over five years and it has a nut milk setting, but you can use any blender as long as it's on the highest speed setting. I make four cups (1 litre) of milk at a time, and my blender is large enough to do that. 

So let's begin with the cashew milk, which is my favourite and what we mostly use on our cereal or porridge. It's also the one I add to hot cocoa or a turmeric latte. Simply soak two-thirds of a cup of raw cashews in water for at least four hours, then drain and rinse under running water. Place in a high-speed blender with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Blend on high speed for 90-120 seconds. NO need to use the nut bag for cashew milk, just pour into a glass bottle and refrigerate and use within 5 days. 

Next up, almond milk, my husband's favourite. Almond milk has the highest protein content and is great for smoothies, in coffee, baking etc. 

Soak two-thirds of a cup of raw almonds in water overnight. Drain and rinse under running water. Return the almonds to the bowl and cover again with water. Using your fingers, slide the skins off the almonds - they will come off very easily. (discard the skins in your compost or garden)

Place the skinned almonds in a blender with four cups of water and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Blend on the highest speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

Place a nut bag inside a large bowl and pour the almond milk into the bag. Squeeze as much milk as you can from the blended mixture.

Pour into a glass bottle and refrigerate. Use within 5 days. 

This tends to make a bit more than a litre, so I always end up with a small jug extra which I cover and use later that day. I have a whole set of these covers in different sizes and find them invaluable in the kitchen as a replacement for cling wrap. The covers have a very thin plastic lining under the floral fabric, are machine washable and dry beautifully on the clothesline or hung inside. 

I am NOT an Amazon affiliate but am happy to share links to things I have bought for the kitchen that are worth the few dollars they cost me. The set of covers I bought are here. 

Moving on, let's look at making coconut milk. In Australia we use desiccated coconut, which is more finely grated than shredded coconut, but you could use either. If using shredded be sure to pack down the coconut in your cup measure.

What I love about making my own coconut milk is the added bonus of automatically getting coconut cream in the process! And it's important to know that because you can't pour the coconut milk into a bottle - you'll need to pour it in to a wide mouth jar instead.

Add 1 cup of desiccated coconut to a blender with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Blend for 2 minutes on the highest speed. Place a nut bag inside a large bowl and pour the coconut mixture into the bag. Squeeze as much milk as you can from the bag. (discard the remaining pulp in your garden or compost) Pour the milk into a large mouth jar and refrigerate. Now here's the bonus. Coconut cream will rise to the surface overnight and solidify. I need a knife to cut through it and access the milk below - however, you can whip that coconut cream into a 'normal' cream consistency for serving with desserts etc, or use in curries, laksa or creamy soups. The milk below is lovely to bake with in place of dairy milk or in smoothies, milkshakes, or anywhere a recipe calls for coconut milk. 

Last milk to make is oat milk which is the cheapest of all but requires some extra care to avoid being slimy. You will need to have ready 3 cups of very cold water from the fridge, and 1 cup of ice cubes.

Rinse 1 cup of rolled oats under running water for 15 seconds. Place the oats in your blender with the very cold water, the ice cubes, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Blend on the highest setting for no more than 30 seconds - this is very important. Keeping the mixture very cold prevents the sliminess of 'cooked' or warm oats. 

Strain the oat mixture through a nut bag and into a large bowl. Do NOT squeeze the bag too much, just a little to release milk, or alternatively allow it drain naturally for 5-10 minutes. Pour the oat milk into a bottle and refrigerate. Use within 5 days. This is a great dairy substitute in baking, hot drinks, cereal and cold drinks.  My favourite way to enjoy oat milk is as an Iced Chai Latte on warm afternoons sitting outside under the giant poinciana tree. 

If you have any questions about the milks just ask in the comments. I'm no expert, and there are loads of recipes on the internet for making these milks, but I have found these ones the simplest and best for us. 


That nasty vomiting bug is still running rampant through our family. Blossom, Charlie and my husband are the worst right now, and as Blossom's family is moving house in just five days time this has added more strain than they were already facing. God provided a miracle with a last minute rental made available to them, and we give all glory to Him! It's a smaller home with higher rent, but it's a good home in a nice area with parks and young families close by...very much a family neighbourhood. 

Ross is waiting to find out if he's being made redundant from the job he's had for fifteen years...another strain for the family. Please pray God's will be done above all. And please pray this virus dies out and our family members can recover. With everything that's happened over the past six weeks it does feel like a spiritual battle, and we're praying accordingly, but it only draws us closer to Jesus and strengthens our faith in Him, for in the world we will have trouble, but we take heart for He has overcome the world! (John 16:33)


Last weekend I dug up a heap of sweet potatoes from one of the raised beds where they are abundant. Some were gifted to a neighbour, some we ate roasted with coleslaw (before hubby got sick)...

...and some were roasted for freezing. Apparently the best way to freeze sweet potato is to cook them first, and as the only way hubby will eat them is roasted, that's what I chose to do. 

The weather is lovely and very spring-like as we head back towards the hotter months of tropical North Queensland, so my roses are blooming with gusto once more!

My first year growing asters and I love them, so they'll become a regular bloom to plant here and there.

The new large raised bed which hubby built a few months back houses a subpod for composting and worms in the centre. The soil had sunk quite low after the unusual early winter rain, so I moved everything in this bed to another newer bed two weeks ago. Once a trailer load of good vegetable soil was added here, I started replanting the bed with a new rotation of vegetables and flowers to see us through spring.  

Thyme now grows in front of the subpod, with angelonia, zinnia, salvia and marigold seedlings around it.  The perennial basil at the back is flourishing like crazy after hubby pruned it back before adding the new soil. 

On one side of this bed cucumber and bean seeds have sprouted, and the lettuce seedlings between them have taken well. There's also sage planted here and there in the garden bed.

On the opposite end of the raised bed I've planted winged peas and radishes. The winged pea seeds have just pushed through the soil, but as I only planted the radish seeds yesterday they will take a few more days to sprout. 

I may add some spring onions here as well (green onions), although I already have plenty of them elsewhere in the gardens around the house...still, we use them every day so maybe more would be wise. The key thing is plant only those vegetables and herbs which can cope with our very long hot and humid months from mid-spring to mid-autumn. 


If you'd like to revisit one of my old tutorials, and have a hankering to dress up your kitchen produce displays, pop over HERE and follow along to make some potato and onion bags. I have been using these for three years now, washed frequently, so it's time for me to make more - perhaps you too?

Answering a QUESTION from Maureen "Mo" in the comments last week... Does gluten free flour work in my recipes?
Mo, it all depends on the recipe. I have shared loads of gluten free recipes here on the blog over the years because we often take a break from gluten, or cater to family members who cannot tolerate it. Perhaps add 'gluten free' to the search bar on the top left of my blog? Some of them are sure to come up...but I also used to have a food blog and some of the recipes are there - you will can find it HERE

God bless you dear friends, and I am truly praying that you grow closer and closer to Jesus, that your heart rests in the peace He alone offers, and that each day in the week ahead arrives with pockets of unexpected joys to brighten even the darkest of hours. 


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