Friday, April 5, 2019

Domestic days...

Do you remember licking the spoon?

We lived on a very tight budget so Nana didn't waste anything but she did always leave a wee bit of cake batter on the mixing spoon for me to sample. 
"How does that taste, Jennifer? Do you think Pop will like our cake?"
Being her taste tester was one of the most exciting 'chores' for a little girl who thought her Nana was the best cook in the whole wide world. 

This is one of the blocks in my next BOM, Phyllis May's Kitchen. In fact, it's the final block.
I still have a cover to create (oops, did I drop a hint as to what this BOM will be???) and then I can bring all the blocks together at last.

This week I've licked the spoon a few times from my own bowl and it was a bit more than a wee bit I must admit.

Cupcakes for Cully May, Rafaella and Blossom to take on my visit to them...

These were simple vanilla cupcakes with a lemon buttercream icing, one proud blueberry and coconut sprinkled over the top - but they were so yummy!

I tried the butterfly cakes recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks...

...and have decided to use this one for cupcakes and butterfly cakes from now on because its the nicest batter, flavour and texture of any small cakes I've ever baked.

Fortunately I baked a double batch so Mr E and I enjoyed ours as butterfly cakes with lemon curd filling for a few days afterwards. 

You know how this year I'm following the instructions God gave me to "use what you already have"? 
Well that advice spills over into every area of life and as the months pass I ask myself this question each day quite naturally, in many and varied situations.

From a cook and homemaker's perspective a lot of dollars are being saved, food is not being wasted, and I'm gradually kicking some lazy habits such as not planning enough meals with the food already in my pantry/fridge/freezer before grocery shopping. 

Last weekend we enjoyed a Sunday roast with chicken, veggies and lashings of gravy, but I still had lots of chicken leftover so last night I searched online for some easy recipes which use leftover cooked chicken - recipes I'd not made before. This one looked good and I knew Blossom would appreciate me making extra for her little ones dinner one night...

I had all the ingredients in my cupboard and fridge, but added more vegetables.
With plenty to spare we'll have it again tonight with a tossed salad and I'll drop Cully May and Rafella's portion to Blossom tomorrow.

We had raspberries in the fridge which needed to be used last night as well, so while the pasta bake was in the oven I mixed up a batch of Toasted Macadamia, Raspberry and Chocolate Brownies which went in to bake next.

Oh my word, these were seriously delicious!!
If we're mindful these will last us through the weekend...I hope.

Apart from baking I've also been cleaning appliances and scrubbing those hidden places we often forget about. You know, the little chores that only take 5 minutes but you have your eyes so firmly fixed on the big things that you overlook the small ones.

I noticed how dusty the outside of my washing machine was and how there was a build up of lint inside the door so I lovingly took a cloth and my miracle spray and wiped it down until the door sparkled. Such a simple thing but I realise now that many simple chores get neglected and it's usually because I have so many things running through my mind that I tend to focus mainly on big things.

This week, well, these past two weeks actually, I've slowed down considerably, been aware of each moment and become consciously engaged in each task, project and conversation...and it's been truly beautiful. 

Appreciating my home and choosing to feel gratitude for the chores I'm required to do is increasingly filling my heart with joy and a warm sense of satisfaction. The deep desire which began about five years ago, to embrace all that being a gentle domestic homemaker entails, is being fulfilled...and it's so much more than I thought it was during all those homeschooling years with the children.

It's not a list to tick off, a schedule to cling to, a burden to's a privilege. 

Designing is still part of what I do, but it's what I do now when I feel like it, when I have time, when it's not taking me away from caring for the people I love and for our much-longed-for home. 
I'm sure God saw all this happening a long time ago, but finally buying a home of our own after raising our family has opened my eyes and understanding to many lessons previously not taught. And one of the biggest lessons has been to show gratitude to our home by caring for it in such a way that joy overflows each day. 

I'll share more about these lessons another day, but today I just wanted to share how happy I am having followed the Lord's prompting to slow down my life, use what I already have, and give care to the little things which are often overlooked.

This 1946 issue of the Australian Home Journal came home with me from a garage sale before Christmas and I'd planned to share a lot of what's inside over the course of this year but with the floods and the aftermath of clean up etc it was put aside. 

Anyhow, it's brilliant, and next week I'll begin showing you some of the articles inside, which include loads of hints and tips for the gentle domestic homemaker. 


Our little grandson Austin is three this month and Aisha asked if I'd make a bunting to hang behind his bed. Austin is crazy about trucks, cars and motorbikes so I fussy cut sections of suitable fabric for the bunting flags and added one A flag as well.
The bunting is 2 metres long (6 feet) and I left plenty of length at the end for ties. 

I've also been playing around with my favourite quilt block, the churn dash, and made a mini quilt for above my desk using one of the stitcheries for May's issue of Rewind.

With Easter almost here I thought you might like to one of my older patterns?

The Greatest Love...

The pattern is a free gift and can be downloaded here
May you be blessed.


About three years ago I bought a dirty white shelf for $10 from a garage sale and told my husband that one day it would hang in our own home and we'd give it a fresh coat of white and then I'd shabby it up a bit.

A few weeks ago we were at the hardware store shopping for paint to give it that makeover.
Destined to be hung in our front entrance the plan was still to go with white.
But then I had a change of heart. 

Since moving here there has been less white, less pastels - but there has definitely been an increase of colour popping up here and there.

So I chose a deep aqua paint for my shelf and wow, we love it!

Over time the little pegs beneath will each hold something special, but for now I'm loving the front entrance and how happy the orange door and aqua shelf look side by side.

Gradually the house is also filling with plants. Do you remember how I always bought a bunch of flowers to have on the table? They were never expensive, no more than $10 a bunch and usually marked down to $5. Having flowers in the various rental homes we resided in over the decades of our marriage was very important to me, yet since we moved into our home here I've not bought a single bunch. Six months have passed and the living plants which continue to multiply in every room bring me more joy than you know.

Gosh, that was a big ramble wasn't it!?
I haven't written a regular 'from the homemaker heart' post for a few weeks now and to be honest they are the ones which make my heart happier than any other so I guess now that life is slowing and I have a better idea of the direction God is leading these will become the words of life I'll choose to share each week.

The school term finished today so Mr E is home for two weeks now and he has quite a list of things around the home he'd like to do but he's quite unwell at the moment so if you wouldn't mind praying for a speedy recovery we'd be most grateful.

Now I'd best sign off and go think about that salad which needs to sit alongside last night's leftovers.

May your weekend be one that offers many homemaker joys, meaningful moments with those you love, and reasons to slow down and smell the roses...



Beth said...

I love the colour of the shelf! It just 'pops'! Enjoy your 2 weeks with Mr E!

Ecehan said...

Tasarımlarınız harika görünüyor. Ve cümleleriniz de.

gracie said...

The shelf is the perfect addition to the front entrance.

Karen said...

God's blessing, love, and peace to your Mark. May the Lord soothe and heal his body. xx

Wendy Duwe said...

Praying for his recovery.

Kay said...

I enjoy using what we have, a few days ago I got my fabric scraps out and made eight little gift bags with bunnies on them to fill with small eggs for friends and my church class. I still need to make a few more too but was thrilled that I could make all of them with leftover fabric so they are virtually free. x

Anorina @SameliasMum said...

Your peace lily is looking absolutely radiant. I had a quite big old one which I split up and repotted into 5 different pots. I gave one to mum and have the remaining ones in different places around the house - hoping that they'll all grow big and beautiful like yours.

Your pops of colour are gorgeous. Love your orange door!!!

Su said...

I have always had houseplants around , but my they are expensive these days, but until very recently I have never bought myself flowers! I don't know why. I began buying them during the cold, dreary days of winter here in the UK and it's something I intend to continue to do, I never pay more than £2 for a bunch, but they give me immense joy.
Your shelf, with it's plants is beautiful.

Suzan said...

Jenny I love the truth and simple joys your radiate. I am trying to use up what I have. The local quilt shop owner complained that I am not buying fabrics at present. I need to create but am not finding the time.

Today mum had an Aged Care Assessment. I am hoping that a little help is forthcoming. It is more than 20 years since I started caring for dad and later mum. I am pretty tired and there is no other sibling to help me.

God bless.

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Blue and yellow/orange! Fun bursts of colour! green plants!
I'm enjoying Aprils rewind stitchery club and am looking forward to May already! Love your mini quilt churn dash block combination!
Those brownies look delicious! Wouldn't last the weekend here!
growing up with two brothers and a sister, there were four of us all wanting to lick the spoon! Mom had to have four things/utensils of equal amount for us!
Enjoy the weekend!
So glad your're taking time for yourself. :)

Deb said...

Lovely post brought back so many wonderful memories, I loved to lick the bowl when I was a child my grandmother gave me that honor, she was also the person who taught me how to sew, I lost her when I was 8 but my love of sewing followed me all of my life, as I grew older I was the one mixing the batter and allowing my siblings to lick the bowl and then my own child as well. I love the bright blue shelf it complements the orange door.

Jenny said...

I still lick the spoon! But I do a much better job of scraping the bowl than I used to.

So often I read your posts & am very grateful to have stumbled upon your blog at this time in my life. You may never really know just how encouraging your posts have been. Helping me to be grateful, to be loving & to be diligent in caring for what I have.

I have lived with chronic pain for almost 20 yrs now. When I wake up in the mornings the pain is so bad I'm sometimes in tears. I must grit my teeth & move through the pain to get anything accomplished at all. But if I move, the move lessens...never going away but softens enough to enjoy my days. But some days I can't see how it makes much difference if I get out of bed or not. This morning was a hard morning. I fixed my coffee & gratefully sad down to read as my body relaxed into my normal. Your post was just the encouragement I needed. Thank you!

Karleen said...

I really enjoy reading your blogs. The shelve is so nice looking and love the color. Will send prayers .

Allie said...

What a delightful post, dear heart! And oh what a, love it! All your beautiful pictures have made me hungry, guess I need to eat breakfast....yum.
I love that cover of the Home Journal, especially the part about unnecessary bargains, how true!!!! Love your banner for Austin. And of course all of your gorgeous patterns.
Jenny the blue shelf with the orange door is incredibly cheerful - makes me so happy just to look at it and dream about knocking at your door one day! I love all your plants everywhere, I just bought myself a little aloe plant and it makes me happy to see it. I'm not sure what happened to my old one - it was huge, I have no idea. Maybe I gave it to mum. Praying for hubby!!!!!

Lin said...

So sorry that Mr E is unwell - I do hope that he feels better soon. I love your aqua and orange entrance - not far removed from my favourite turquoise and terracotta combo. Far too much to comment on Jenny but a beautiful post. Thank you. xx

TerriSue said...

Dear Jenny, When I saw the picture of your shelf and door I had the first honest smile this week. It has been a very hard week. Now that I have Jim's death certificate I am having to do and see people that it would have been so much easier, I think, if Texas would not have held up the certificate for 2 1/2 months. I was bemoaning to Allie this week that I didn't know when I would stop wearing black. Orange is my happy color. Jim would never have allowed me to have an orange door. Since we bought this house I had been working on him to allow me to paint the door red. I always thought a red door was inviting. An orange door though, it takes my breath away. I just might go and buy the paint to do it. I know that I will now, at least, do a red door. Thank you for my smile. I will be praying for your beloved. It might be that Abba wants him to rest for a tiny bit. Everything that you write about him gives me the impression that he doesn't do that well.

Brenda said...

Hello Jenny, Thank you for this most joyous thoughtful post. I will definitely keep Mr. E in my prayers! Have a glorious day!

Bailey said...

Love the blue shelf! It really does look nice next to the orange door. And lots of pegs to hang things on. Sorry to hear Mr. E isn't feeling up to snuff. Hope he recovers soon and can get some of the things on his list accomplished while on break. Thanks for the free design. I don't comment very often but I do enjoy reading your posts. I will try to do better about commenting in the future! Have a wonderful weekend!

Farm Quilter said...

Praying for Mr. E's return to health. Your home is so lovely with all your plants. I've never had a green thumb, so the plants my dad has (from when they were my mom's), I've been trying very hard to keep them alive and blooming with their beautiful flowers. I love your aqua shelf and orange door. I wonder why you are trending towards brighter colors now that you are in your own home over the pastels you used in your rentals?? Be blessed, dear friend.

sillyheart said...

Good day precious lady! Hope you are doing well. Your words and heart are such a blessing. Whenever I am tempted to edge back into the ways of the world I have only to read your gentle and encouraging missives and I want nothing more than to be closer to Jesus and my dear family.
I am writing to ask about the camera you use to take your excellent photos. I am trying to decide between a new smart phone and a regular camera. I was a photographer of sorts back in the day so I know how to make the most of one but my dilemma is that I need a large image as I have macular degeneration. I would so appreciate your help. I know you are busy so no need for long descriptions.
Love and Blessings in abundance!!!
Kit Newlin

May said...

Hi Jenny, What a beautiful post... so sorry to hear Mr E's feeling under the weather I do wish him a speedy recovery sending prayers x I adore your orange door and Aqua shelf... and your cooking & baking looks so yummy.. Have a wonderful happy day x x x May

GrammaGrits said...

Loved this post - the food all looks yummy and the new patterns are wonderful. Thanks for your kindness in sharing 'The Greatest Love' cross pattern. Blessings. . .

Unknown said...

Love the color of your shelf and all the beautiful plants that you have brought into your home. God bring healing, rest and strength to your husband. Blessings to you and your family. Peggy Willson

Gloria said...

Enjoyed reading your post. Love the shelf and the door. Nice pops of color. Prayers for Mr E. Hope he is soon feeling better. Hugs and blessings to you and family. Gloria

Jill said...

Hi Jenny,
I just wanted to let you know how much I really enjoyed this post and especially loved your "homemaker" section. Your shelf and potted plants are beautiful.

Beth said...

What a lovely visit this was. Thanks for stopping in and sharing the contents of your heart. I'll be saying a prayer for Mr. E. Love that banner, by the way--it will be such a happy reminder to Austin of his grandmother's tender loving care.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, Jenny!
I can't wait to see inside the Australian Home Journal next week! I've been seeing pictures of those here and there and often wish I could see inside of them! I actually bought one on e-bay this week.:)
Also can't wait to see Phyllis May's BOM. Love the glimpses you've been giving!
Have a wonderful weekend.
~Sue M.

Winifred said...

My goodness I thought you were slowing down! I'm worn out just reading what you've done. Hope Austin liked his bunting, it was a lovely idea. I bet the girls loved their cakes.
That cross is beautiful, I'm having a trip to a fabric shop next week, we'll be making it a "trip" to include a coffee shop, hope to get some linen finally!
Have to say I would never have thought an orange door would look so good but in your sunshine it will be lovely. Love that shelf too, blue's my colour!
I know you take good care of Mr E so pray he gets better soon bless him.

Susan said...

I do hope Mr. E is feeling better already, and has a lovely 2 weeks off. There is so much beauty in this post, but even better, so much contentment comes through. I know it's an ongoing journey, but it's so good to see you making so much progress on you and on your home. =)

Christine M said...

A lovely post Jenny. There's nothing better than licking the spoon when making cakes. Would you like to hear a funny story? Noel's mum would always leave him an unbaked patty cake (that's what we called cupcakes back then)in the baking patty cake paper for him to eat. He then insisted I always do the same for him when I make cakes! Some people never grow up! LOL!

Beth said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful pattern of the Cross! Also, the cupcake recipe looks great! Glimpses of your home give such an impression of peacefulness and calmness! Thanks for such an inspiring post!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Kit :-)
My camera is about six years old and is a SONY Cybershot DSC HX200V - a very easy camera that focuses automatically for me. ;-)

Maysa said...

bom dia
adoro seus bordados !
abraco elisa brasil

Holley M said...

Wow! So much love and kindness in this post! Thanks for always sharing this with us! Hugs!

joyce said...

With two moves, retiring from teaching and a marriage ( to my college sweetheart) in the past year I hadn't followed your blog for awhile. I am happy to "find" it again. I love the aqua of your shelf. It just pops against the white walls. I am looking forward to your posts again.

Jackie said...

Your post was beautiful! Your words always strike a chord in my heart. Thank you for the beautiful pattern. I love your shelf. Prayers going up for Mr.E.

sillyheart said...

Thanks so much Jenny! I need all the help I can get. Hope your week is filled with blessings and good health.
Love and Hugs!!!

Janene said...

Thanks so much for the cross pattern I will make it for a dear friend. Like your decoration thanks Janene