Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Domestic days and a postcard for you...


I changed my desk flowers from yellow chrysanthemums to deep red asters last Friday. Asters have never been displayed in my home because I've never bought any; in fact I can't remember ever seeing any for sale at the supermarket before. They were $8 a bunch so I couldn't resist, and split the bunch between two vases - one for my desk and the other on our dining table. Five days along and they are still as fresh as when I got them...its simply lovely to have happy vibrant blooms around the living and work area.

A while back my Friday routine was always to gather groceries and essentials early that morning, and spend the afternoon storing everything away and preparing food for the weekend - but during the Covid lockdown last year that habit slipped away. Recently it was revived and I rediscovered the 'why' of my old habit - because it works very well for my weekly rhythm and that sense of being organised by Friday evening means I welcome the weekend in a state of peaceful satisfaction. 

Rhonda shared an inspiring link last month that had me clearing out the freezers and organising everything into my old plastic storage containers. Since I swapped to glass jars in the pantry there has been a large shelf of previously used plastic containers taking up space in the linen cupboard, but now I had a use for them and this has also made 'shopping from the freezer' much easier!

I forgot to take before photos, but I assure you my freezers were a mess of bags that needed to be pulled out and sorted through to find anything. Now it's right before my eyes. The photos here are of one freezer section in our main fridge. We have a second fridge/freezer in the process of being organised, and there's also an upright freezer that's all in order now.

If you'd like to see the video Rhonda linked to it's HERE

I think one of things that happens after a fridge/freezer/pantry declutter, clean and reordering, is a desire to cook. At least that's what happened to me! 
It wasn't long before a zucchini slice, almond butter cookies, sweet impossible tart and cous cous salad appeared. 
I used Lea's cookie recipe HERE and they are delicious - gluten free too.

The sweet impossible tart is a favourite when we have an overabundance of eggs, which seems to be all the time lately so Blossom, our neighbour, and a work colleague of my husband's are all benefitting.
I'll have this recipe in the next issue of The Homemakers Heart at the end of April.

Our hens all weathered the endless rain of the wet season rather well, laying every day without fail. I'm careful with their diet, especially when the coop is muddy and even free ranging in the garden is a soggy adventure. 
Every second day I give them a large bowl of porridge with natural Greek yoghurt, which they gobble up in seconds, because it's great for protein and also good gut enzymes. On the in-between days they get whole corn cobs (very cheap at the moment) and as many green and kitchen vegetable scraps as I can pull together. Apple cider vinegar is added to their water each day too, again for gut health and as an immune system boost.
The hens free range around the garden every afternoon and surprisingly have not been destructive. They love grass and bugs and that's about it.

Another new addition to their diet is chicken's herbal tea (above). They love it! Different herbs have so many healing and preventative properties, and as the one thing we can still grow in the intense tropical summer is herbs, they can enjoy an abundance of variety. 
Yesterday's herbal tea contained mint, garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme.

If you'd like to know more about making a quick herb tea for your chickens watch this video of Lea's. She explains the herbs and how they benefit your hens. (by the way, I absolutely love her channel and her genuine love for Christ)...

Growing over one side of the chicken enclosure our passionfruit vine is loaded with fruit, soon to ripen, and after each rainy week more flowers appear...

The vine also serves as extra shade for the girls this summer.

Though we're now ten days into autumn here in Australia it will be at least 6-8 weeks before we feel a cooling in my area of the tropics. Most years its begins right after Anzac Day (April 25th) but last year it was late and a very mild winter followed. With all the rain we've had over summer the ground is cooler so I'm hoping for the usual fresh cool change to arrive at the end of next month - but how lovely if it came sooner.

Hubby covered the garden where we grow tomatoes with cardboard the other day, after weeding it. All the rain, and his long six days at work every week, have made weeding and gardening time scarce, but we still need to prepare ground for the late autumn planting. We do the cardboard thing each year and when left for a couple of months the soil beneath is much nicer for planting new crops.
But as you can see there's still a lot of backyard still to tame.

He's got the day off today (worked extra hard at the car yard through February to get it) and is outside as I write this, taming and subduing all greenery in his path. There'll be a few loaded trailer trips to the local tip today, but a great deal of satisfaction to his mind afterwards.

Charlie David is three months old now, can you believe it? Last year I knitted cardigans for Cully May and Rafaella, and though this craft is not kind to my hands I wanted to knit a wrap cardie for Charlie this autumn before storing away my knitting needles and returning to gentler-on-my-hands crochet projects (another blanket to be sure).

It makes a nice afternoon break each day, with a cuppa, some cake and my latest Agatha Christie audio book.

I knitted one of these wrap style cardigans for all my babies and it will be nice that it becomes my final knitted handwork for a grandchild. If you're interested, the pattern is Sirdar 1559, and is made from 8-ply or DK yarn. As we have very mild winters I'm using a 100% cotton yarn.

Last week was Rafaella's 3rd birthday and because Ross and hubby had to work, Blossom and the children came here for the day. Our birthday girl requested a chocolate cake with strawberry jam in the middle and strawberries on top. When I heard this I thought "children really are happy with simple things" and promptly made what she'd asked.

Out of curiosity I did a little internet research on what bakeries charge for a birthday cake and was taken aback at the amount parents are willing to pay for a novelty cake that means more to them than the child in question. One local bakery charges $35 for a consultation before any mention of the cake is discussed, and I saw that the cake can run into hundreds of dollars. For a cake? A small child's birthday cake? 

Well, Rafaella, dressed in her birthday ballerina costume, was thrilled with her simple nana-bake, as was Cully May, and served with pots of earl grey tea we had the most marvellous celebration!

When we truly observe children, the things they like to eat and drink, their favourite clothes - we can usually see that everything is simple. It's adults who tend to add all the bells and whistles and I wonder why? For outward appearance, or keeping up with the other families? 
Children can teach us a lot about being content with a few simple things if we let them.

In my sewing time I've begun a new design which will become a cover for my Homemakers Heart planning folder. I'll pop the pattern in the next issue so you'll need to be patient, but it would make a lovely cover for a magazine folder if you're printing them up as I share them.

Every year I re-read the gospel of Matthew and this year is no different. 
I'm reading from my new King James Easy Reader bible, which is wonderful! It's the complete KJV text but instead of "Thou" it says "You"; instead of "saith" it reads "says"...and I think you get the point. This is the kind of bible I have longed for and now Blossom has one too. Highly recommend it.

As I read Matthew I'm cross referencing all the prophecies about Jesus, not just the relevant verse from the Old Testament but the chapters around it to get a deeper understanding of the circumstances which surrounded the giving of each prophetic word. It's quite a powerful study!


Now, some news about changes to my Elefantz Designs social media. 
I'm leaving Instagram and Facebook at the end of the week. 
Lately I find myself avoiding them more and more because time is precious, and I'd much rather DO something, or read something, or watch something that matters, than scroll a screen. What a time taker that became, especially Instagram. Yes, there are some good things there, and there's the common argument "that's how I keep in touch with family and friends", but I grew up and lived most of my life in a world without internet or social media...and I found relationships to be fewer, yet deeper and more fulfilling than they have become in this social media era.
In simplifying my home life, and reducing my design business commitments, time - real time - has shown itself to be far more precious than I imagined even a year ago. 

I'm not telling you to walk away from your personal online pursuits, but sharing the path my own life is taking. Blogging to me, is far lovelier than a 'like' or thumbs-up on social media. I prefer to read blogs because of the authenticity of getting to know the person in wider scope than a photo or caption. Choosing which blogs to read is also important because I genuinely do not like the ones with ads scattered throughout, and the character and fruit of the blog author matters a great deal. 

Listed below are some blogs I truly enjoy, those which speak to my homemaker heart -

Rosie at At Home with Rosie (have a look at her completed Simple Days blocks 1 and 2)

If you want to stay up to date with me after I delete my social media accounts, receive the free block of the month and other things I like to share, follow my blog by -

1. popping your email address in the little box in the blog sidebar where it says "never miss an email" OR
2. Following the blog (here) at Bloglovin' OR
3. Sign up for my free newsletter (here) which is sent out via email twice a month


I get so many emails and messages about the Postcards series I shared in 2016, and asking if they are available to purchase - and the answer is no. However I am happy to share them again as free gifts. 

My dear friend Allie (who is no longer blogging) and I designed six each through the course of that year, and over the next six Wednesdays I'm going to share my six once more.
The inspiration behind these postcards was not to use the actual scripture, but to write the sentiment behind it as if my Father were writing me a loving note on a postcard.

This week we'll begin with Jeremiah 31:3

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying, "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you." (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV)

The postcards are partially hand embroidered and partially hand written with a brown pigma pen. 
You can stitch the whole design, draw it, or do a mix of both as I have done.
However you make your postcard, be blessed. They are the perfect size for posting in a card or envelope, and make heartfelt gifts.

Use the link below to download the week 1 postcard...

Well, dear friends, I'll sign off as it's been quite a long blog post today, but that may be the way Wednesday blog posts run in future as I aim to make writing and sharing on this day each week part of my weekly rhythm. Occasionally there'll be the odd post here and there on other days, but I shall keep Wednesday as my cuppa catch-up with you.

God bless each of you, may He keep you safe, healthy, strengthened, provided for, and in full knowledge of how deeply He loves you.

Bless you heaps,


Donna F said...

Jenny, I love reading your writing and that you share your life with us! I love the Postcards From Heaven project the first time around. I completed the set and gave one to each woman in my small group! Going to do them again, asking God who to encourage again. Many blessings to you!!! Donna

Amalia @AHousewifeWrites said...

What a fun, newsy read this post has been! I spent several months in Australia once and feel like it's my adopted country. I especially love all the garden updates and reading about the different varieties of things you're able to grow there. (We have less than a foot of snow now, so our hope of spring ahead isn't just a dream!!)
And also, thank you very much for the unexpected recommendation! :)

juju2cat said...

I'll miss you on FB but glad I'll still receive your emails. You are truly an inspiration!

Jacqueline said...

I am glad you are keeping your blog!

Angie in SoCal said...

I discovered your blog. Prefer to read your blog. So glad you're keeping your blog. Have I said how much I like your blog?
Blessings, Jenny
Angie in SoCal

Kim said...

Yours is one of the blogs I usually read from beginning to end. I relate to so many things you write about and things you share with your readers. AND, your grandchildren are just the cutest. Your little girls remind me of my own 2 daughters when they were little with their dark hair and eyes. You are so fortunate to have them so close. My girls and hence my 3 grandchildren live 4 hours from me now. With Covid also we saw them even less, but now that vaccines are coming, we should be able to see them more.

Hugs to you and your family,
Kim from South Dakota, USA

gail said...

Hello Jenny, just decided to sit quietly for a little while this afternoon, so I could read your lovely post. I agree with you entirely regarding social media. I find that I can speed quite a lot of time perusing sites and then find the time has just slipped by without me realising it. I really like the post card and the lovely post card from our Lord. I’m sure that’s one I’ll be stitching. I follow the same blogs as you as well as Attic 24 as I love her rugs. Your chookies look very contented and must be healthy if they are laying daily. Thank you for your lovely writings, especially your little Homemakers Heart Magazine. I look forward to that GF cookie recipe.Have a blessed week. Gail.

DIGBY said...

So glad you are leaving the internet totally. I understand about Facebook. I have gotten too wrapped up in it. I follow way too many crochet-a-longs and stitch-a-longs. But I am alone except for my husband as we have no family here so I really don't have anything else to do with my time. I follow a few Australian animal rescue Facebook sites and one from Texas, USA that is a bat rescue organization and dearly enjoy those. I will enjoy your weekly updates here instead of Facebook. It does feel more personal. Thank you for being a part of my life over these past several years dear friend from across the pond. Though we have never met, I feel a kinship with you that I value very much!

DIGBY said...

I knew I should have checked what I wrote before hitting publish. I meant that I am glad you ARE NOT leaving the internet totally. That's what happens when you are two weeks shy of 65 and it is 1 a.m. in the morning!

Lin said...

Lovely interesting post Jenny. Beautiful pictures of the birthday girland I agree that with children very often 'less is more'! Stay safe and well and enjoy your home and garden. xx

Joanne said...

Hi jenny,
Beautiful photos, especially how the red Asters, strawberries and red fabrics turned out on screen :)
Purple with pink polka dots ...that story must be about 40 years old....friends mother asked her son what kind of cake he would he like. After asking a few times she finally heard a reply....purple with pink polkadots ! And that is what she made! Funny how that image stays with me. It was a great cake ! Homemade memories last a lot longer that the store bought kind :)
and how ofter do kids play with the cardboard box and ribbons that the gift inside ? :)
We used your Couscous recpie as inspiration from issue 2 of Homemakers Heart yesterday ! Thanks! Was a success !
I'm glad you are adjusting, making changes and filling your days to suit your needs :)
I'm still enjoying issue 1 and 2 of the Homemakers Heart and of course looking forward to the third :)
hugs, take care,
oh, and that passion flower looks so good ! That plant is still on my with list :)

Fee said...

Love the asters Jen, your hens look very happy. The girls have grown so much xxxx

Little Quiltsong said...

Lovely Blog Post, Jenny - always enjoy reading about your day to day activities. Totally understand about instagram and facebook. I started IG when friends wanted to see what I was making. Though it can be a great motivator and is inspirational for my own quilting - it can also take a lot of time.
Love your deep red asters and all the cute pics of your chickens. Reminds me of my granddaughter who gathers them every day before heading off to school :)! Enjoy your knitting for little Charlie - you have such sweet grandchildren.

Shami Immanuel said...

I always loved reading your posts.

Donna P. said...

Another wonderful post, Jenny. I enjoy them so much. I also am trying to avoid FB and even gave it up for the time being until after Easter. I do miss contact with many but like you said, it's also a time taker.
Blessings to you and yours.

Farm Quilter said...

I know I follow you on FB and probably IG (I never go to IG, so I should dump it as well). I too would rather read your blog!! Blessed with more productive time - always a good choice. Computers and the internet are wonderful tools but they also suck the time away without us noticing!!

Sharon Aurora said...

Your observations are much like my own. I don't look at Facebook as much as I once did long ago. I do peek in to keep up with my family as most of them live far away, but that's really the only reason I still use it. When I did spend more time there I didn't have as much time to stitch or read as I wanted. I am glad you still have your blog because reading your blog has a soothing influence on me.

I remember the postcards you and Allie designed. I loved them and still do. Thank you for bringing them back out. And thank for the links to other blogs you enjoy. I will check into them, though I have yet to find a blog I enjoy reading as much as yours.

Joni said...

Love the postcards! Thank you for bringing them back as they are the perfect project to take with me when dad is in the hospital. We live on a farm, do not have high speed internet services so I've never given it a thought to use social media. I listen to audio books, read a few blogs and take care of the many facets of farm life. You're absolutely right that children love simple pleasures.

Lorrie said...

Another lovely post, Jenny. The postcard is downloaded and waiting to be stitched. Thank you for your generosity.

Sarah said...

Your chickens look so happy!

Julie said...

What a wonderful post Jenny & I'm so pleased I made a cuppa to sit down & read. Its like you are chatting to me. I adore the yarn you are using for Charlie Davids wrap cardy - such a pretty colour. I think I might quite like to be a chicken & live at your place with a diet like that dear Jenny!! Sweet little Rafaela - turning 3 already!! You are SO right - they don't need fancy expensive cakes bought from fancy expensive shops!! The new block you are working on is just beautiful. Yes I totally agree with you about social media & the time it can consume. I left Instagram for the month of January & have really struggled to get back to it again & it often feels like just another "thing to have to do". Thank You for the blog mention dear Jenny - I do so appreciate it. Happy Thursday to you dear friend xxx

Susan said...

I agree with you totally on the social media. I was never on FB, but I did IG for about 4 years and recently closed my account, for many reasons. I like blogs. I like feeling that I'm exchanging letters with friends. I like seeing in depth and detail what people are doing. Your asters are absolutely beautiful! I will think about planing some here next spring, as I expect they'll do well. The girls look beautiful, of course, and who wouldn't be happy with that beautiful cake? I don't even spend $12 for a grocery store cake, let alone the amounts you mentioned. Not even for ice cream cakes!

Thanks so much for all you share, and your thoughts on so many things. I love the KJV my church publishes as it comes cross-referenced with so many things from all scriptures and topic discussions that have often helped me do just what you said. It was a multi-year project of the church in the 1980s, and well worth the time and effort, from my point of view. Now, of course, it's also available free online, so any time I'm waiting for Paul at job pick-ups, I can turn to my gospel library app and read anything, watch videos, listen to conference talks - it's one of the great things about media today. I don't do many apps, but that one is a must for me!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I've never been on Facebook or Instagram. I don't want to waste my time with them. I do love reading blogs (usually a few days late). I also like blogs since I can get to know the blogger better that way. I've become friends with several different bloggers, and have enjoyed getting to meet a few of them in person. One has become a good friend, and I've even visited her several times over the years. The girls get cuter each year.

Shirley said...

I love your blog. I so enjoy getting to know you and your family. I'm enjoying your simpler way of life, and yearn for it. I've started my own journey and hope to get to that point in life.

Annabel said...

Dear Jenny, I love what you did with you in the freezer! I am going to follow! I even have the exactly appropriate containers! Thank you also for the links and the postcards. I am really touched and honoured that you would include me in your blog list thank you! Your Grandchildren are so beautiful. I agree that time is so precious. My time has become more and more valuable. I am also having to assess how to use it wisely and look after myself too. Thank you for a beautiful post and lots of encouragement. With love

Lily said...

I agree, blogs are like exchanging letters with friends, they are much more real and serve a real purpose of connection

Lily said...

Dear Jenny, I haven't commented before but just wanted to say that I love you blog. I need to do your freezer challenge and also I love what you wrote about your grandchildren. Spending time with my children is an absolute joy and privilege and they teach me so much. I really loved what you said about time and well done for being courageous and honest. I need to pray and reflect on my own 'time' and how I am wasting it on social media too.

Terri - Palm Bay, FL said...

My dear Jenny, you always bring a smile to my lips as I read your newsletters or blog posts. The tips and tricks for Homemakers Heart, the peak we get at family life and scripture discussions are so wonderful to read. Makes me feel like I am visiting an old friend. I remember when you first started posting so many years ago. Won’t say how many as that reminds me how old I am getting. LOL.
I wonder, could you please tell me where I may find the complete pattern for the 23rd Psalm you posted so long ago. For some reason, some files refused to open. When I thought I had solved the problem, the computer crashed. I want to make a few of the books to give to the children here.
Thank you and God bless you and your family. Sending you hugs and prayers from my family in Ecuador to yours in Australia.

Carla Fiedler said...

Thank you for the gift of the postcard design; it is lovely and a perfect gift to make for friends. Your desire to turn away from so much social media time is shared with many of my acquaintances. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your patterns!

Bobbie said...

Oh, Jenny I love the postcard and plan to make them to send to my friends. Thank you so much for sharing them with us! Your designs are always thoughtful and beautiful! I so enjoy your blog!

JES said...

Thank you ♥️

KingsailK said...

Thank you so much Jenny for all your hard work.I appreciate and enjoy all the time energy wonderful photos you out into everything.Your sister in Christ Mary-Lou

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Terri, the pattern is in my shop now.
It remained free until early February.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

That freezer idea seems so obvious now, but I'd never thought to do it. It's made a huge difference to space in the freezer and ease of finding what I'm after - a real gamechanger!
Thank YOU my friend for all your encouragement and wisdom over the years. xx

Carla said...

I love my daughter and I'm sure one day I'll love my grandchild but they won't be getting a cake that cost hundreds of dollars. I have always got my cakes from Sam's or HEB. I guess I'm cheap but I know my budget.
Love the red Asters. I so very rarely buy flowers for myself. I many need too do it again. I love your postcards. Very special indeed.
Have a great Week.