You all know by now that this girl's Jenny-heart resides firmly within her home and that I have a great love for encouraging women to find joy in their own domestic space, amidst the ebb and flow, rhythms and bumps, of an everyday ordinary life.
For a number of years I've written about the ideals of a gentle domestic life, and throughout last year we explored that theme with a book study which to be honest really made me look wider than I'd previously done with regards to the different aspects and variations within a homemaker's life.
Now here I sit munching on delicious red and green grapes and sipping a warm cup of tulsi tea as the rain steadily beats away on the tin roof and covers the yard, and FINALLY able to share with you what's been on my heart and in my prayers for the blog in 2020.
Side-tracked two weeks ago by a trip to hospital and spending the time since then adjusting our menu to an ovo-vegan diet as well as regaining energy and breath, I'm ready now to begin a year long adventure with you, a year of expanding on those gentle domesticity ideals with practicality.
Not just the talking, the reading or the ideas, but the doing.
Throughout 2020 we're going to celebrate The Homemakers Heart: a year of finding joy in the ordinary rhythms of life.
I made a little button you can pop on your blog or share in social media. Just alternate click on the photo above and save it to your computer or tablet or phone.
An everyday ordinary life is comprised of a million different things because we're all created wonderfully unique. Each of our home circumstances will be different as are our budgets, food requirements. climates, health, relationships and family responsibilities - so not every post this year will resonate with you, but I hope many do and that they encourage you to love home, to be glad in your homemaker role, and to find contentment in ordinary and simple things.
Each week I'll share what I did the week before and also set you a task or give you an idea which you can then tweak to suit your abilities, time or lifestyle.
So let's make a start on our year of The Homemakers Heart, okay?
This week we're looking at two things.
1. replacing the old
2. re-purposing old into new
We'll begin with the old. I love to kick off a new year with fresh tea towels! In fact during the year I purchase good quality tea towels on sale and put them away for use the following year. I also purchase a few extra for the gift box. These are a few of the 'new' tea towels I'll be adding to my kitchen drawers this week after I clean them out (this week's task for you).
Last year I found myself with an abundance of extra tea towels from bulk packs I'd bought and decided to use the lesser quality ones first. These were actually very absorbent and washed up well, but can you believe these worn and stained tea towels were once hot pink, vibrant deep turquoise and lime green? Oh they were so pretty last January. Sigh.
Last Friday I ironed them flat and removed the side hems with a rotary cutter before dividing each trimmed tea towel into two halves.
Then I went through my fabric stash for fat quarters I'd never use or which had fade lines across them. Some of these were part of bundles I purchased a long time ago and never really liked. But for a project like this one they were perfect. I'm quite content to have brights in the cleaning cupboard.
I found that I could cut two same size pieces from a fat quarter which was then sewn to one side of the old trimmed tea towels.
I didn't hem any pieces, just a straight stitched line a quarter inch inside the raw edge to join both fabric and old towel together. It took me half an hour to make ten 'new' and cheery cleaning cloths.
I've seen this re-purpose project done before as dishcloths but had an idea to make cleaning cloths instead and I love how they turned out.
What about you? Is this something you'd be ready to make for your cleaning cupboard?
They're lovely and absorbent for spills or dusting and I loved the little bit of fraying after I popped them in the wash later that day. Just added to that warm and fuzzy homemaker heart feeling I get when using up what I already have to make something useful and 'new'.
I also have some tea towels which hang in the kitchen just to look pretty, or to be used for serving guests and popped under my baked treats for a pretty photo. Some of these special ones were gifts from friends, some found as treasures in op shops, and others I made myself.
Here's a few I've made over the years...
Would you like to stitch a pretty tea towel to hang in your kitchen or pop in the gift box?
I'm going to share this simple Harvest pattern with you today. It's a free gift to kick off our year of The Homemakers Heart. Click on the download link below.
Mine has been stitched onto unbleached flour sack which I bought as a very large tea towel and cut in half to make two regular sized tea towels. After the embroidery was done I added a sweet fabric trim across the bottom.
In the kitchen last week I played around with some really lovely meals and a couple of simple desserts.
Stewed apples with cinnamon and raisins were delicious served with a spoonful of vanilla coconut milk yoghurt. I scattered a crumble mix of shredded coconut, flaked almonds and rolled oats (I browned the crumble mix in the oven with one tablespoon of brown sugar for 10 minutes) over the top and Mr E was a happy man.
Next day there was a little of the apples and yoghurt left for my after lunch treat.
Black bean brownies? I'd heard of them but never thought to try them until this switch to ovo-vegan, but they will be appearing as regular guests on our dessert menu - they were that good!
Blossom tried them as well and just as we thought, she said they're just like a normal brownie. So moist and fudgy and chocolatey.
This recipe is gluten, sugar and dairy free so perfect for many of you with food intolerance or special diets. I got the basics from this recipe and simply tweaked it a little.
You'll need :
+ One can of drained and rinsed black beans - 400g (14 oz)
+ Two large eggs or three small
+ 14 medjool dates (medjool are fresh dates, not dried, and found in the cold fruit section of the supermarket)
+ 30 ml cold decaf coffee (I don't drink caffeine but feel free to use that if you do)
+ One teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla powder
+ One large apple, stewed in a teaspoon of water and mashed to a puree
+ 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa powder)
+ 1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda (baking soda, not baking powder)
+ 1/2 teaspoon salt
Add everything to a food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour into a paper lined brownie tin (8" x 8" was my tin) and bake in a preheated 180C oven (350F) for around 30-35 minutes.
Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully remove to a cooling tray. Slice into 16 pieces when cold. Try not to eat it all at once.
Ours lasted three days because we used restraint. LOL!
The wet season in the tropics of North Queensland has finally arrived and the weeds are flourishing faster than we can keep up! This was the resting garden yesterday morning (it's used for winter tomatoes and herbs and rests in the hot seasons) where assorted pots reside during the steaming hot spring and summer.
And then hubby weeded it, along with the front garden, while the ground was so soft the grass and weds pulled out easily, roots and all.
He put a lot of the grass in our tumbling compost bin and the rest went to the chickens who thought it was Christmas lunch...
Today the rain has been much heavier, the yard began to flood, and right now my husband is relocating the chicken coop under cover near the pool until he has time to finish the new chicken enclosure.
In coming months our yard may look even more different, but for now we are loving the rain and giving thanks to God for the watering our town needs. You really notice when the wet season is two months late because we get no rain from around March, and our city of Townsville is renamed Brownsville.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below; your thoughts on this year's theme and the type of homemaker things which interest you.
My task this week is to clean out four kitchen drawers and donate all my excess coffee mugs, plates and bowls. I also need to replace cutlery and will be looking for a bargain on a good quality set.
Your task, dear Homemaker, is to go through your old tea towels and follow my lead (you may have a different way to re-purpose the old ones?) - and then if you'd like that extra task you can clean out four kitchen drawers.
Bless your precious hearts, and may the Good Lord above show you the abundance of simple joys which may already be right at your feet but somehow overlooked...