Well, block six marks the halfway point with this year's free block of the month! How are you going with your blocks, have you stitched the first five?
This block's little fussy cut applique vase is a bee, perfect for a bowl of posies, right?!
POSIES was free until January 1st 2022.
Here at home, life has been a constant hum of gardening, cooking, sewing, crochet and cleaning. Sometimes I think maybe I'll take a whole day off and just sit and read or watch a couple of good movies, but once my feet hit the floor each morning I'm excited about what can be done about the place that day; then at night, after we've had dinner and the dishes are done, my sense of satisfaction soars and I'm ever so glad I chose to tend to our home instead.
It's the first day of winter here in the Australian tropics, and finally we don't need to use the air conditioner as the days have cooled to a pleasant 28-29C (around 84F) and the nights are around 19C (66F). Having the whole house open again at this time of year is quite invigorating and stirs my green thumbs to go play in the yard and plant out new things.
On Saturday I put strawberries, petunias, lobelias and portulacas in the re-purposed wooden crate planter my husband built last year....
...as well as lettuce, cucumbers, my sprouted sugar snap peas and pumpkin plants, chilli and roses in raised garden beds and large pots around the yard.
The garden beds have been thriving with a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers for a good six weeks now and every day I find something else pushing through the soil.
It seems I had a smudge on my camera lens when taking these photos today. Must remember to clean it!
My one year old blue rose was pruned back late April but as it just doesn't get cold here, it burst forth with new blooms the next week. Roses bloom all year round for us so I bought two more at the weekend and popped them in pots. The sun is quite fierce here for about eight months of the year and my rose blooms used to fry in the sun, a very sad sight, believe me.
Now that our almost 2yo Poinciana tree has shot up past 18 feet high it's the perfect place to gently shelter the roses with dappled sun and a bit of shade. I still find it amazing that it's grown 17 feet in just 20 months.
The blue rose is having its second flush of blooms in five weeks, and I imagine it won't take long for the newbies to take off as well.
I also have a miniature white rose by the back door, also in a pot. So you may be wondering why we don't plant them in the ground?
We live on a water table, and our yards flood during the wet season. Even with four pumps in the yards around our house, the ground stays saturated for at least 7-14 days after the rain and this rots the roots of plants which don't like to have their feet in water for so long. Using pots allows us to move the roses into the drier areas when the weather is at its worst.
I do put my feet up for a bit in the afternoon with a nice cuppa, piece of cake or muffin, and some stitching. I've especially enjoyed completing a set of four new seasonal mini-quilts which I hope to write patterns for this week.
All four were hand quilted with Perle 12 threads and I simply love the effect it gives. They've been designed to hang on an angle and are all the same size so if you have one spot in your home to hang a 10" square, point side down, then you can swap them around as the seasons change. I know exactly where mine will be hung, but more about that when the patterns are written and I can show you the full set.
I have three books put aside to start during June, and though they won't be finished within the month, they will certainly be enjoyed throughout winter when I'm taking short breaks from other activities.
In the kitchen I'm keeping things simple. Determined to remove the extra pounds added since Covid began, I've purchased a few WW cookbooks and (because I cannot help myself) tweaked many of their recipes to suit our palette (and to make them more tasty).
But I've also been playing around with other ideas which use up what's in the fridge, like this quiche I made for lunch today.
The base is just two pieces of mountain bread, crossed over each other, and the filling -
3/4 cup fat free cottage cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Saute 3 chopped pieces of fat free short-cut bacon
One punnet of cherry tomatoes halved
3 spring (green) onions chopped
1 teaspoon sambal oelek if you like a little heat (or use chilli flakes)
salt and pepper
Mix the cottage cheese, milk, eggs, parsley, sambal oelek and half of the parmesan cheese together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly spray the base of a pie plate with olive oil spray (you can even omit this step). Lay the two pieces of mountain bread crossed over each other in the base of the pie plate.
Pour the egg mixture over the base.
Lay the halved cherry tomatoes across the top of the egg mixture, scatter with the bacon pieces, and sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese across the top.
Bake at 180C (360F) for about 40 minutes. You'll know its cooked when it's golden and bubbling and it set.
I served mine with a tossed salad. SO delicious!!
For tonight I have a pot of spicy dhal which will be served on brown rice and topped with a dollop of yoghurt raita.
I've also baked a lot of butternut pumpkin to make tomorrow's pumpkin falafels, another tasty and spicy dish to be served with salad and yoghurt raita. Hubby will also enjoy some fresh bread with that meal, so perhaps I'll make a garlic and olive oil loaf.
For afternoon treats I've baked date, ginger and choc nib (these are just the crushed cocoa bean, no sugar or fat) muffins, plus a banana, date, apple and currant cake...
I would really love to know how you're getting along at home these days? What have you been sewing, cooking, growing, reading?
Bless all your dear hearts, and thank you for the kind and encouraging comments you leave. As I read them I imagine we're sitting across the table from each other with a nice mug of our favourite brew, something delicious to nibble on, and a million ideas to share about life, God, the garden and so many other topics.
May the rest of your week overflow with good things, laughter, kindness and a bounty of small miracles which surprise you.
Bless you heaps,
PS: Block 5 of Simple Days is now in my shop; sorry, it took me a few days to upload it!