Our town has been put on cyclone alert as just above us and off shore Tropical Cyclone Kimi (a hurricane to my US friends) is coming closer and building in strength. Cyclones can be quite unpredictable and the ones you under-estimate can often become the ones which create the most damage so our motto here is better safe than sorry.
Hubby spent late yesterday clearing loose debris and securing yard items safely in the shed. We will do a final check when he comes home from work today.
Inside I've started on a deep clean of the house, one room at a time. These hot and humid dark rainy days are not for outdoor activities but they are perfect for getting in and giving the house a jolly good scrub. It's also lovely weather for baking.
I roasted plums and blackberries for an almond cake...
...and baked a Cobb Loaf from Paul Hollywood's "How to Bake" bread book. It is delicious and will be a regular addition to the weekly menu.
I've wanted to move things around in the living/dining area for a while now, as well as pull everything out of the bookcases and sort through books to keep and books to donate.
I moved one bookcase into the bedroom to free up some space in our living area, but also for motivation to take a rest time each afternoon with a crafty book or two. My husband pleads with me to do this but I get so caught up in the 'doing' of home and office that I rarely get around to it. I'm not a napper but admit to feeling quite refreshed after a half hour on the bed with a book.
For many years I collected two particular magazines - UK Country Living and Notebook: (Australia). They take up a lot of space in bookcases and as Notebook: finished in 2010 I decided it was time to go through every copy, slowly, and remove the pages I'd like to keep. The rest of the magazine can be shredded and used as bedding in the chicken's nesting boxes. Currently we use sugar cane mulch but we really need it for the garden and it can run quite expensive now that we're unable to buy bales from the farm.
I shan't be tearing up any of my UK Country Living issues though...not for a long while anyhow. I find they never age so I can read a 2011 issue as though it were new and this saves money because I never buy magazines anymore, other than the very occasional treat of a new CL if hubby buys it for me.
I made my third tag in the Instagram #52tagshannemade challenge on Saturday. The theme was 'scrappy' and I chose to use up some scraps of lace and cut away pieces from an old tablecloth.
I'm really enjoying the weekly step outside my comfort zone and hope I can keep it up all year.
On Sunday I made a knitting bag for an elderly lady nearby who very kindly knits dolls for charity, and she also knitted dolls for Cully May and Rafaella when Blossom was in hospital having Charlie. I discovered she only likes black and white with a little bit of red and doesn't like florals...well, if you know my fabric choices you'll realise there's nothing like this in my stash. So I thought outside the box.
She does like botanical or fern like prints so I was thrilled to find a tablecloth on sale that looked like it would make the perfect material for her bag. The fabric is quite sturdy, a bit like cotton duck, and as there was so much of it I was able to completely line the bag and add a pocket at the front too.
The red spot fabric was my own and I think it really lifted the overall look of the bag. I'd not thought about using tablecloths for things like bags before but now I am very much interested in keeping my eyes open for more bargains like this one ($10 for an 8-10 seater cloth) because I still have half that cloth leftover to use and my idea is to make some aprons. These would be wonderful as gifts.
Out in the garden the rain has boosted our passionfruit vine and it has quadrupled in size over the past four weeks and now has fruit. It's planted on the outside of the chicken run as we hoped it would give the hens more shade in our dreadfully fierce summers, and finally this has happened. In front of it another pumpkin has popped up and is already flowering.
Another pumpkin vine is growing near the lemon tree and spreading into the chicken run...
We don't have any vegetables growing now, apart from the odd small capsicum, as that season has passed until late autumn when we can plant our winter garden (which in other parts of the world would look like a summer garden - tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber etc).
The hibiscus are thriving in the humid wet air...
...and the chickens love their two hours of free ranging around the rest of the yard before sunset each night.
There's a lot of bugs for them in the soil now, plus they feast on the green grass too.
In between everything else I'm usually found tapping away at the computer to finish the first issue of The Homemakers Heart which will hopefully be ready for free download in a few days. Can't wait to share it with you.
I'm feeling a bit weary after the big living room clean today so I'll sign off and go enjoy a nice cup of Earl Grey while porcupine meatballs simmer away on the stove for dinner. It's a simple meal to serve with pasta and more of the Cobb loaf, but its what I consider a comfort meal for stormy days.
I hope your day is refreshing, calming, productive and creative too. Just out of curiosity, what's your favourite stormy weather meal?
If you'd like some inspiration for a deep clean day enjoy this video by Niamh in Ireland.