Monday, January 18, 2021

More rain, a cyclone and simple days...

 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.

There was a lot of interesting home-related topics covered in Notebook: as well as health and crafting so they are the pages to keep. 

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. 

Bless you heaps,


  1. Jenny, when you mentioned a Fairyland Cottage Youtube video another time I got hooked on watching them!! I find her voice so soothing even if I'm not always paying attention to what she is saying.
    I've been rearranging some furniture and things myself this past week. There was an area in my bedroom that had been bothering me and I finally found a solution for it. Today has been a bit of a declutter day.
    I limit myself with Daphne's Diary magazines. I have one magazine box that they go in and when I get a new one, I go through the oldest one and cut out pictures and articles that I want to keep. It can be rather relaxing to do.

  2. Hi Jenny,
    Those Hibiscus photos are beautiful! The colour turned out great !
    Knitting bag turned out lovely. I've been known to cut up old cotton shirts picked up at the second hand shop. Doesn't matter what size. A lot of fabric goes in to making a shirt..and then there are the buttons :)
    I enjoy afternoon rest time especially when the sun shines :) good for the back and very relaxing. Some countries call it a siesta. I'm in !
    Looking forward to stitching along with Simple Days and reading Homemakers heart ! A view of your living room layout gives us an idea where all the Jenny of ELEFANTS hours and hours of computer work takes place. Thank you !

  3. Once again my visit with you is so enjoyable. The knitting bag is lovely and I am sure she will love it. Aprons are a great idea, I wear one while cooking everyday. So nice I will be 74 and afternoon rest has been on my agenda daily. Stay safe....

  4. I enjoyed your post today ever so much. It brought peace and tranquility for me. I think it was the soft flow of your words. You have such a beautiful home. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your lovely tag creations. You are so creative. Blessings to all.

  5. Lovely post, and your baking looks and sounds so delicious!! We like soup on a stormy and cold day and my husband is great at throwing one together. I always have to follow a recipe (and hope I have everything on hand). He can just improvise with what's available and it always comes out great. He just made one yesterday, and today we will have the rest of it along with grilled cheese sandwiches. Everything is covered in snow today and more to come by dinner time. Your neighbor will love that bag. And I wonder, how do you protect your chickens from the possible cyclone?
    Kathleen - kakingsbury at verizon dot net

    1. They have a secure coop within the chicken run and we can lock it to keep them in a safe confined area where the nesting boxes are.

  6. My favorite stormy weather meal is chili. I could eat it anytime of the year.

    1. YUM. For me, my anytime meal is a hot curry but hubby's body has a serious reaction to chilies so I enjoy curries withy Blossom.

  7. Dear Jenny~
    Thank you for another lovely post, and peek into your home. Here in TX it's a cool winter day and a good one for cleaning house. I've never liked the phrase Spring cleaning, so I think I shall steal your phrase "jolly good scrub" I love it :) My Dad made porcupine meatballs for us in the pressure cooker, once he didn't have the seal correctly placed and they blew up all over my Mom's new kitchen!! She was so angry at the time, but it became a part of the family lore. I hope you have a wonderful week. Take care, Donna XOXO

    1. Oh my goodness! I can just imagine the mess made (reminded me of a can of beetroot which went wild when I tried to remove the lid and covered all the kitchen and into the laundry - to this day I am still surprised that I stayed perfectly calm as an example to the children who were quite young at the time).

  8. A stormy weather meal here is almost always some kind of hearty soup with homemade bread. So satisfying. I'm looking forward to deep cleaning my house when I retire from teaching in just 2 weeks. And doing more sewing and handwork. And spending time with my grandchildren. They grow up so quickly and I want to build faith and love into their lives (alongside their parents). I also have a collection of UK Country Living magazines that I cycle through each month. As you've mentioned, they really don't age. Have a good week - and remember to take time to rest!

  9. That almond cake looks like it is going to be delicious. Is it a recipe you can share? Beautiful quilt on your bed. I can highly recommend the rest period. I have dealt with fibromyalgia for the last 16 years and I was just diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroditis. There is no way I could make it through the day without taking at least a 15 minute break every few hours.

  10. Dear Jenny, praying for your safety through this cyclone season. Your chooks look so content with their good life! Your garden produces beauty, no matter the season. I remember when my girls became too big to nap, just having them lay down and read a book for 30 minutes made such a difference in their mood! Now that they are older, they have actually told me that they wish they could still take a nap every day! I think it is good for us to take time in the middle of the day to rest. I know I love my naps!! I hope the new job is going well for Mr. E and his stress level is lower. I loved teaching and miss my students, but all the other stuff did produce so much stress! Looking forward to spending a peaceful time reading Homemaker's Heart. Favorite stormy weather dinner...homemade chili or soup with sour dough bread.

  11. I hope the cyclone stays offshore and you don't have any serious problems. I am guessing you might have a headache, too, so I hope that doesn't get too severe. The chickens look happy in their shade and in the yard. And they look healthy, too. =) I foresee passionfruit jelly and other wonderful things in your future cooking. As for stormy weather meals - I guess a nice can of lumpy tomato soup would be my favorite thing. It's made by a company here called Progresso, and they call it hearty, but I call it lumpy for obvious reasons. Adding a batch of peas to it makes it even better, and then some nice warm bread or toast. If it's also really cold, though, I'll take meatloaf any day. =) Best of everything to you as you work on completing issue one, and resting a while in the afternoon. I DO take naps quite often, and I love the feeling of rising and being rested.

  12. I really like going through things and having a good sort out, and sorting through a pile of magazines like this is a favourite activity. Saying that I haven't bought any magazines for a very long time, I occasionally get second hand ones at my favourite charity shop but that been closed for months due to lockdown. The quilt on your bed is rather lovely too, you do have such a pretty handmade home. Take care in the bad weather. x

  13. Oh definitely cauliflower cheese with some snippets of bacon if I have any around! Perfect comfort food to my mind. Lovely post Jenny, stay safe from the storm and enjoy your reading half hour. xx

  14. Good day Jenny. I'm so sorry to hear you have a cyclone headed your way. Being on the Coast we too suffer many hurricanes here. They are so very scary and horribly destructive. I love the bag you made for your neighbor. It looks very roomy and versatile. The red you added really pops. She will love it. What a labor of love. Your garden looks great, Everything looks so green. Love the hibiscus flowers. Do you have the kind of hibiscus that people pick and dry to use and make tea out of ….Just curious. Since they seem to grow so well in your garden. Love the idea of the book shelf in the bedroom. Maybe I should do that. But instead that's where I put my comfy chair and hand stitching things. For my evenings in front of the television . Cause evenings is usually the only chance I get for down town. When we have yucky stormy weather I love to make soup and Bread too. MY family loves homemade chicken noodle soup or homemade vegetable soup with hamburger meat in it; or maybe you call it mince beef in Australia. Love the beautiful quilt on your bed. I will be praying for the cyclone to not cause any damages and that it doesn't trigger a migraine.


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