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,