Friday, April 26, 2019

Domestic days, an epiphany and tiny redwork...

Been an odd week. Hubby went  back to work on Tuesday, then Thursday was Anzac Day so he was home again, then today back off to work he went, in my car because the Jeep is broken (again). It all felt a bit stop-start after his initial two-week school holiday break, which kind of trips me up with regards to the gentle rhythms of housekeeping, meals and running a home business. I've been telling myself (a lot) that routines will fall back in place soon. 

Honest, have to laugh at how much I need routine to feel balanced mentally. Hubby says, "You're a funny old girl" with a twinkle in his eye. But there are some things about each of our personalities, yours and mine, which are as natural as breathing and when someone says to let it go and chill out you know deep inside that's not going to happen. 
If I have ever told you to chill out because you're unsettled by changes in your daily routines please forgive me and accept a gentle ((((hug)))) from my heart. I'd offer you a piece of raspberry slice and a cup of nice tea if you were visiting for real. 

I think that's been a good epiphany for me this year, to know that my individual quirks are okay, that they're me and always have been. They don't harm anyone else and they certainly don't stop the world from turning...and in some odd little way they are comforting because each one is a part of my day to day rhythm. Maybe I've come to a place of peace with who I am, the me who doesn't quite fit the mould others might prefer? 
Well, whatever, there's a niceness about that epiphany and I'm really grateful for my husband and Blossom who love me just as I am, and sparkly Cully May who brings out the kooky side of Nana-hood, and Rafaella who melts into my arms and buries her head in my neck for the longest cuddles.

People who love us. That's got to be one of the greatest gifts you can't buy.


Surprises are nice too. Especially the ones that pop up in the garden after it's been covered in compost and sugar cane mulch. 

One tomato plant made an appearance and I got so excited that it shouldn't be alone I went and bought two more to keep it company. They're all doing well and this weekend I'll add some herbs between them.

My old basil plant self seeded a thousand babies (okay, slight exaggeration...massive exaggeration?) and I've re-potted a few and have more to put straight in the garden. Between the tomatoes. 
The garlic chives have gone a bit crazy too after the army hair cut I gave them in March...

Bob-the-dog went to stay with Blossom for eight days because he is, after all, her dog.
He had a ball with her, Ross and the girls but after more than a week of being chased and loved on by Cully May and Rafaella the old boy needed some time out so he came back to us. I think we're his retirement home and Blossom's is his holiday lodge. Or maybe his occupational therapy lodge cause he sure has to run around a lot when he's there. LOL!

Since Bob's been away we've been visited every morning by two Ibis and I don't mind them being here because they aerate the gardens and the lawn with their long skinny beaks, though Mr E warns them "don't eat our worms!"...

Normally they try to visit every day but as soon as they land Bob-the-dog chases them away so it's been nice watching them strut here and there unhindered lately. Of course this morning when they arrived Bob was out the back door and letting them know of his return before I had a chance to stop him. Sigh. 

Did you notice my apron up there at the beginning of this post?
Rhonda at Down to Earth had an apron sew along this month and I decided to join in as who has enough aprons?? My supply dwindled after the January floods so this is the first of a few which shall be made over coming weeks.

When I hung the apron outside to take a photo it occurred to me that it could almost pass as a pretty scarecrow, but I want to wear it so that idea was scrapped rather quickly. 


Now that the sting of our tropical summer has eased and the days have become bearably very warm we don't need the air conditioners on very often, just the ceiling fans, which makes working around the house far more pleasant. Fresh air flowing through one door and out the other is my favourite thing this time of year, something I miss dearly during the long humid wet season.

These days also inspire me to 'spring clean in autumn' and make lots of good healthy fare for easy dinners outside at the end of the day.
We don't have carpet here anymore but there are three rugs and two cotton couches so I make up a mix of bi-carb soda and eucalyptus oil to sprinkle over them and after rubbing in I leave it for a few hours before vacuuming away.

It's amazing how lovely the house smells afterwards!

I also do this to Bob-the-dog's bed cause one of my quirks is that I don't like dog odour around me, but I make sure every bit is removed before he gets his bed back. By his reaction Bob loves the smell of eucalyptus too.


We love fresh juice but to be honest I've been really remiss in making it since we moved here so it was time to get back in the habit again.
The other day I bought a 5kg bag of huge juicing carrots and made up six litres of carrot, apple, ginger and lemon juice. 

I popped four litres in the freezer so we could pull out one at a time over the coming week and we drank the other two that day because we could! 

Plenty of vegetables found their way into the oven for quick and healthy salad lunches and I bought a bag of eight avocados for $7 so we're living the high life right now!

I love making coleslaw but my way is a bit different than what I grew up with. Nana just did cabbage and carrot, but I add in spring onions, finely chopped cherry tomatoes and cucumber, red capsicum and herbs before dousing in whole egg mayo, pepper and lemon juice. Oh my it's delicious, and we usually have it generously piled atop oven baked potatoes and guacamole. Mr E loves to have this once a week!

I also made a big pot of spicy dahl this week which was so yummy poured over a mix of brown rice and quinoa. I always have it the next day for lunch as well because I can't stop thinking about it after the night before. 
Do you have recipes like that, the kind you just want to keep going back for more?

For lunch yesterday, because hubby was home, I made chicken, avocado and vegetable rice paper rolls with a simple dipping sauce of tamari, lime juice. chilli sauce, chopped spring onions and fresh coriander. Extras are always made for hubby's work lunch the next day...


Yes, I've been sewing, putting together Phyllis May's Kitchen *at last*!

There's 16 blocks to bring together in a secret project (not a quilt) and I've completed four so far. I'm piecing and quilting two a day and writing the patterns when they're done because I do not enjoy pattern writing so to sit and write sixteen patterns for the blocks and piecing and then the 'secret' pattern as well - oh no, I'll go two at a time and save myself the stress. 

Here's a wee peak...

The plan is that these should be ready as a Block of the Month in mid May.
It has to be May because Nana was Phyllis May and June just doesn't seem right.


Some other sewing I did this week was to mend my torn living room curtain. The hole was about six inches across and as we're rather budget minded these days the only sensible thing to do was take needle and thread to close the rip.

But what's the fun in that??
Why not use one of these for a touch of prettiness...

After I stitched the hole closed I pinned a large crochet doily over the top...

...and carefully stitched it in place.

I'd often seen similar things on Pinterest and loved them so once the idea came to mind there was no stopping me. Blossom said I should sew a few more on the curtain which is exactly what I had thought too...

...although Mr E just rolled his eyes.
I quietly reminded him he could decorate his huge shed any way he liked.
He laughed and went on his way.


to stitch those little redwork motifs I used on my new apron?

They're only small and stitch up quite fast so you could embellish a pocket, a cardigan, a bookmark or an apron of your own. In fact if you have other ideas please share them!

These are a simple free gift, me to you, so enjoy them, okay?

The weekend is only hours away, there's roast chicken with an abundance of vegetables in the oven for Friday dinner and I have a book to finish tonight, a real favourite.

I bought The Turquoise Table as an audio book over a year ago and have listened to it ten time, I kid you not! Now I have the hardcover book so I can underline and share snippets here.
Highly recommended reading. Inspiring, happy, thoughtful and makes you feel good.

Also makes me want a turquoise table and an accessible front yard. There are downsides to electric gates after all.

May our wonderful, loving, gracious, kind, forgiving and LOVING God be your all-in-all today and bring you hope, healing, peace and joy in overflowing abundance.



Little Quiltsong said...

So enjoyed reading your post today :)! Love what you did with your curtains - looks so very pretty. Thank you also for the lovely cute embroidery patterns. Hoping to make blocks to put between little patchwork blocks to make into a baby quilt! Wishing you a blessed day, Jenny!

Allie said...

You know, I don't enjoy holidays - at all - they disrupt my routine and I'm always having to clean and cook for it. Where's MY holiday, lol! I much prefer the days when everyone leaves for work and a lovely quiet day awaits me. Right now Sam is working 6am to 6:30pm, so the ENTIRE day is mine. Wish he could keep those hours! Jenny-girl I adore your curtains. YES to more doilies!
Your apron is gorgeous and I love the ibis. I'm seeing more and more songbirds here, which I adore, and of course the ever-present ducks swimming around the lawn. We have a few warm days here and there and it's lovely to have the windows open. Easter Sunday was beautiful and I was able to bring some chairs out to the driveway so we could get mum out for some fresh air and sunshine - something she can't do at home.
Your meals looks heavenly. The sneak peek of your BOM is amazing - I cannot wait to see!!!! I suppose I should wash my fabric in preparation! Enjoy your weekend sweetheart and keep well - I'm holding you close in prayer!! Love you!

Quilting Babcia said...

I love the apron, so fresh and spring-like. I really need to take the time to make some for myself, daughters and DILs. You had the perfect "patch" for your airy curtains, definitely add a few more. That is a fabulous use for vintage doilies. Will the Turquoise Table become another book study?

Marie said...

Thankyou for the download Jenny. I just love your little birds. Not sure what I'll use them on yet, but something will come up. Really enjoyed your post today.

Brenda said...

Hello Jenny, Your posts on days like these just make me happier in every aspect. Reading about how excited you were about the tomato plant coming to life and making sure it had company is something I would do, so it really made me smile. I also like to refresh furniture with a fresh scrub every so often and it does make the whole house smell so fresh and inviting. I enjoyed the entire bit of Bob the Dog and how he gets to have two different approaches to each home. Then of course his fun with the birds, which I am sure they do not agree it is any fun since they just want to get the good food. I really had to laugh at myself while reading your recipe for coleslaw. It is not something that I make very often, but in all my years not once had I ever considered adding anything extra. LOL... I will definitely be trying some new additions. It amazed me that how we can be taught to make something and because that is the way it is served almost 100% it becomes one of those dishes that we just do not change. I am so delighted that you shared this specific dish. I also want to say that I adore your fix for the curtains and agree that adding more of the beautiful doilies is the right idea. I always love your aprons Jenny! I very seldom make them because I do not know anyone who wears them. Yet, I just found out that my Daughter is pregnant and she wears very nice clothes for her job. I would like to make her a few aprons to help protect her clothing before heading to work and such but am looking for an easy on easy off type. Do you have any suggestions for me? I am looking forward to this years BOM and will definitely be using the delightful designs you are sharing today! Thank you so much for everything you share, Jenny! Have a magnificent day!

Susan said...

Thank you so much for the little redwork motifs. I'm thinking at least one is going to show up in a current CQJP block. They are perfect on the apron. I loved this meander through your life, seeing what you're cooking (avocados - less than a $1 - Yes!) and sewing. I'm looking forward to Phyllis May and hoping to make the stitcheries, at the very least. I found two yards of Weaveline I had forgotten I ordered from Braidcraft last year - yay! Some of it is already earmarked for the Nursery Rhyme blocks, but there should be a bit left for Phyllis May. The doily on the curtain is wonderful. My house has no curtains, only blinds, either vertical or horizontal, but your curtains are so perfect for your style. Quirks - we all have them, and I'm pretty comfortable with mine after so long. A man who loves you and doesn't hope to change you to something else is a treasure!

Natureluvr57 said...

Love everything you wrote about but love love love the doily covering the mending job. Thank you for the wonderful little designs-adorable as usual.

Tammy said...

Thank you for the beautiful red work designs...Love them.And love your apron... Love seeing your home and gardens. They always look so happy and full of life. Your food dishes look so delicious and nutritious. Love seeing the Ibis bird...He is gorgeous. You are so lucky to have him in your yard ...Poor Bob the dog not so much but it does give him some exercise...Now the doily on the curtain...I'm loving that idea.. That is so simple yet elegant and so pretty and clever to cover the mending job.

Carla Fiedler said...

Thank you for the redwork embroideries, they are simply lovely!

Debby in Kansas, USA said...

Allie, you triggered a funny childhood memory for me! When I was about 8 yo, we were between Mother's and Father's Days' and I said to my mom one night, "How come there's no Children's Day?" And my mom answered, "EVERY day is children's day!" How right she was from my adult view!!

Debby in Kansas, USA said...

Fun post, Jenny! When you showed your Ibis pair, I expected them to look like ours! But, they don't. Ours are smaller, white, & have yellow beaks. They're often found on the backs of cattle. We had some nearby several years ago and there were always Ibis on their backs. I inquired about it and was told that it's a mutual mooching relationship. The cattle attract bugs & the Ibis treat their backs as a gourmet bug bar! The cattle are happy because the pesty bugs are removed! Loved the story of Bob the Dog. My dog spends his day *protecting* our yard from bunnies, squirrels, robins, & today, he barked ferociously at a bag that blew in!

Love the apron and the redwork squares. I've only done red work once and I just love it. Your creative cole slaw and other meals look delicious! I love avocados. We had a tree in California and I ate lots! Our cook at church makes a delicious salad with cucumber, diced tomatoes, avocados, small mozzarella balls, & a very light oil/vinegar dressing. Yum!

My favorite picture was the doily repair to your curtain!! I LOVE IT!! I'm in total agreement with Blossom that you should add more. It looks so pretty! I have the same sheers in our bedroom and I'm filing that idea in case I ever get a tear. My mom left me dozens and dozens of doilies and I love using them. I made a coffee table scarf using all different sizes and patterns of white doilies. I love the way it looks. I just kept moving them around until I found the shape and pattern I liked.

Enjoy your weekend! I'm off to look up what Anzac Day is!

Julie said...

A gorgeous post Jenny & what I wouldn't give to visit for a cuppa & a piece of raspberry slice. Your apron is beautiful - thanks for the stitcheries which I will download. Bob the dog has the sweetest little face ... sitting there on his bed, just delightful. You have inspired me to pull out my juicer from the top of the cupboard again! As soon as I saw your torn curtain I thought "doiley" ... so our minds thought alike! Very Dottie Angel-ish I think! I am so looking forward to seeing your block of the month revealed dear Jenny xxx Have the most wonderful weekend. xx

selina said...

your apron is very sweet & pretty! also love the shared embroidery; my daughter recently bought me a mini 'Apatosaurus' to embroider & i just started that yesterday, it's extremely simple, something i can gain confidence with before tackling one of your designs :))
lovely post
thanx for sharing

Lin said...

What a lovely long read Jenny. Good to catch up with all your thoughts and doings. I love the curtain and that spicy dhal looks delicious. I am inspired to get busy in the kitchen now, and to find that bottle of eucalyptus oil! xx

Kay said...

I am very much a 'routine' person, it doesn't take much to make me feel out of sorts so i see where you are coming from. The apron is very sweet, I always wear an apron when cooking or cleaning and have a few different ones for the different jobs. x

barcord said...

Such a lovely post today. Lots of home making tips there, like the eucalyptus and bicarb for your rugs. The special way you mended your curtain. I am enjoying your glimpses of phylis May's kitchen. Your colour palette is just beautiful. I was exchanging messages with my Scottish aunt this morning. When she visited me a few weeks ago she loved scrummy slice, so I passed on your recipe. She tells me she has since made it three times and it is fast becoming a favourite in her house. I am trying to cut down on sugar in my diet, so will not be making any sweet things for a while. Mr C is diabetic, and I have been suffering from joint pain, so it will help all round. However, I crave just one tiny square. Ah well. I will feel better for my abstinence. Blessings from our house to yours.

Anorina @SameliasMum said...

After 2 weeks of school holidays, I agree that it's nice to go back to a routine. Yay for surprise tomato plants in your garden. We had a couple pop up from the summer crop so I hope that they survive the cooler months here (but unlikely). With the cooler weather, we've planted the winter veggies (cabbage, broccoli, beans) and mulched the back garden.

I love your apron and your curtain fix. It's a beautiful way to use pretty doilies.

Ondrea said...

Oh how I loved reading this beautiful post. I love the way you share snippets of your daily life and feel good moments. The simple things are most cherished.I giggled when I saw what you did with the doily as I know my hubby would roll his eyes lol. I think it adds a pretty original touch. Thankyou for sharing your cute little stitcheries. By the way, that apron is far too gorgeous for a scarecrow!

e said...

Thank you for the adorble redwork. I love the apron. Is there a pattern in your shop for it? Love your book suggestion and the mending. Its a perfect solution. Cant tell you how .uch im looking forward to Phyllis May!!!

Hartslove said...

When you get going, you do leaps and bounds! Those meals inspire me, though my family prefers the usual fare. Ibis has a long beak! Wow. Our back yard gets cats, robins, cardinals, blue jays and the occasional squirrel and probably a few stealthy possum and racoons. This weekend we did some overdue cleanup out back from a roof job, and we raked leftover dried leaves and stacked some dried out bamboo stalks. Thanks for your insightful write-up, and thanks for recommending The Turquoise Table. Alexine

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I have an old apron that I cut a pattern from, but you will find a similar free pattern here -

GeneGribouille03 said...

So lovely thank you, j'irai bien manger avec toi, je note la recette à l'eucalyptus j'adore ton napperon bon week end Geneviève de France

Sherry said...

I enjoyed reading your post, I am looking forward to focusing my attention on my home and family. I spent 28 years working a job I loved but now have retired. My husband is a Pastor newly retired and diagnosed with a serious illness. Your blog has always inspired me.

Suzy said...

I too, so enjoyed your post! ♥ Love the apron and the mini embroidery patterns. Thank you for sharing all you do. I would love to have your recipe for coleslaw. ♥

Machelle said...

I am so out of routine. Thank you for the reminder I am not alone! Enjoyed reading this. So generous of you to share recipes and patterns. Truly a treat I needed today. Thank you Jenny!

Hartslove said...

I revisited this post for the slaw recipe. It looks so fresh and tasty. I plan to make a small amount today. Looking forward to the big reveal of Phyllis May's Kitchen project. Warm regards!

KingsailK said...

Hi Jenny ,thanks LOVELY blog!!.My sister got married in Cork after29years of being to together!I did the flowers with my daughter Megan.We had a beautiful day and afterwards in her back garden where the sun shone!I havea knee op on 28thMay appreciate prayers all will be well .Thank you!Being busy cleaning house and garden!!!