Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Homemaking in March...


I'm late this year with writing out new "walk the room" lists for around home, but to be honest it's already felt like a very full couple of months and there's no sensible reason to overload yourself in times of weariness, trial, illness or managing other needful responsibilities. I truly hope you're being kind to yourself if this year has felt a tad heavy so far?

But this week, after making some wise and life changing decisions, I was very eager to print up a set of fresh "Walk The Room" pages and begin my yearly habit of looking with new eyes at each room of our small home and making notes of what I'd like to achieve in them over coming months.

Having a list like this helps me to remember ideas or repairs (because I would otherwise forget at least half of them - do you do that?) and also means I can begin the process of preparation for bringing those ideas to fruition.

You can't see it on the photo above but at the bottom of the living/dining room page I have written extra notes, and one of those was to purchase new fabric to recover the dining room chairs. Now you may remember back in early 2019, not long after we bought this house, there was a flood in our town and though hubby and I worked tirelessly for ten days to keep the water out, some came up through the floor of two rooms and also brought down the ceiling in our laundry. Overall we were very blessed, but we did have a problem with mould which had grown in many places over those ten very humid wet days, mostly on fabric furniture coverings, curtains and any kind of basket weaved item.

I shared on the blog back then the state of our fairly new dining chairs and not being able to find anything suitable to recover them with, so it was months before I finally decided to cut up a set of cheap thick cotton beige curtains with plans to use that fabric until I could find something nicer.

Honestly, you have to laugh because it's been three years now and those rather awful beige covers have not been replaced yet. You know how after a while you can adjust to something and forget your original plan - as though you can no longer see the forest for the trees? But having attended to my new "Walk the Room" files, yesterday I headed off to Spotlight and with a bonus 30% off, I purchased some lovely fabric in a dark teal and this morning began the transformation process.

With a few of Niamh's YouTube homemaking videos playing on the telly to keep me company (and also to inspire my homemaker heart) I started removing the old beige covers and cutting the new fabric to size.

What a difference the new teal woven fabric made! I had planned to recover two today, two on Wednesday and two on Thursday, but my plans changed as I became quite excited by the makeover so this morning I recovered three of the six chairs.

I'm taking a break now as my hands are bit sore, so it was the perfect time to catch up on blog writing and sharing a few photos with you, but I have a feeling this afternoon will see me push through the achy hands and complete all six chairs before my man arrives home. 

But truly, don't they look rather lovely now?

An update on my new Instant Pot. 
I'm still in love with it and venturing into original ideas rather than the basic recipes I played around with when I first got it. Having never owned or used a pressure cooker before (though Blossom has waxed lyrical about the joy of using hers for years), I went slowly the first few weeks trying recipes from other Instant Pot users and also from a book I bought which was fantastic for a pressure cooker newbie.

Last month I made this delicious lamb and vegetable stew that quite seriously could be called Comfort Food. It reminded me of winter evenings around Nana's table when a warming tasty stew made everything seem wonderful. I grew up in Newcastle (Australia) where there were four seasons, so different to the tropics where I live now, and those simple but delicious autumn and winter stews and casseroles, especially with dumplings, were the best of all meals.

The other day I was telling Cully May and Rafaella about Nana's dumplings and now they both want to try them so I'd best have a practice run this week as it has been about ten years since I last made them. 
Tonight I'm making another lamb and vegetable stew and I'll be sure to add dumplings this time...which I think my husband will enjoy too as he likes to have bread with whatever meal I serve, and dumplings are a kind of bread.

Also on the menu this afternoon are Rock Cakes, but this time I'll bake a batch of gluten free ones so I can use up some of the almond meal in my pantry. It's important to rotate ingredients, especially because in our heat things like nut flours can go rancid, and besides, these gluten free rock cakes are delicious!
I shared the recipe a few years back but thought you may like it again as there are many GF readers of my blog who often email to ask for one of my old GF recipes.

You can swap out the first three ingredients for two cups of self-raising flour if you're not gluten free.

The garden outside is not doing well. We've had extreme heat (even for us) for a few weeks now and no end in sight for another week. The daily temperatures have been way above average and on Rafaella's birthday last Friday it was the hottest March day on record in our region.
Just trying to keep plants alive has been hard and many have simply burnt to a crisp, so rather than becoming miserable about it I'm just being grateful for the ones which have still survived and am praying they can hang on until the temps drop down to our ordinary hot days and we get some rain, which is predicted for the weekend.

Inside however, the almost 40 indoor plants are doing well. I've become rather obsessed with propagating cuttings from the Pothos and now have twelve pots of them throughout the house.
I love how they grow long and wild and are perfect for hanging pots or near the edge of benches, windowsills and bookcases.

There's always one or two cuttings in a jar of water, and within a month they have roots and can be planted into pots...

You only ever need to buy one Pothos and from that plant you can fill your home with many more.
Just wait until the Pothos looks like a long vine and cut a piece just below these little nodules.

Pop the cutting into a jar of water and place in a warm sheltered place, not in direct sunlight, though filtered light is fine. Over the space of a few weeks or a month there will appear a root growing from the nodule. Once that's done you can plant into good potting mix and display in a lovely pot. These plants like water so never let them go dry. 

Now tell me, are you ready to Walk the Room this month, or have you already done it recently?

If you would like to download your own Walk the Room papers, they can be found HERE in last year's February issue of The Homemakers Heart digital magazine (a free download).

Thank you for all the caring comments and emails about little Bob-the-dog after his passing last week. I won't reply to them, but just know they meant a lot to our family. xxx

That's it for today. I'm going to hang up a load of washing, make a sandwich for lunch, and then get back to recovering those dining chairs...

God bless you,


Pink Rose said...

Hi Jennifer I so enjoyed your post and reading your homemaker mag ,thankyou .
Wow you sure did an amazing job of your chairs ,Lol,my chairs are nearly the same ,give yourself a Pat on the back as they look fantastic.
Oh I do hope you are feeling better ,I so enjoyed catching up with you and Rosie yesterday,looking forward to our next time 💕

Lin said...

What a difference that gorgeous teal fabric makes to your chairs, they look amazing. Great job there Jennifer. Having found a decent GF flour in France I am now struggling to find an equivalent in UK. Rock cakes are always popular in this house! xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Just love it when a plan comes together :)
Sometimes not pushing/rushing ideas and letting things happen brings fun and amazing results :)
The chairs look great !
hugs, take care,

Tammy said...

Good Morning Dearest Jennifer. What a lovely post today. Your house plants look amazingly healthy. I do not have any anymore as I have a cat that tries to eat any plants or flowers but especially anything green. And cats are easily poisoned with house plants. SO I no longer have them except for 2 I keep in my sewing room where door is always kept closed a aloe and another green plant I do not remember the name of. Thank you for the Rock cake recipe.

Lorrie said...

Hello Jennifer,
The teal fabric on your chairs really looks great! I had to laugh at you being so excited that you want to get it all done right away. I'm the same when I get inspired by a project. I hope your hands have recovered! (no pun intended!)

Julie said...

Hello dear Jennifer. Gosh your re-covered chairs look stunning! What a gorgeous colour!💙 Just beautiful. Thank you for your Walk the Room sheets ... I have been thinking along these lines myself lately & find I am always better with "a list" ... as otherwise it just spins around in my head. Enjoy your day dear friend xx

Farm Quilter said...

Oh, your chairs are so lovely now!!! Teal is one of my favorite colors...so calm and fresh! I hope you paced yourself so you didn't suffer any physical repercussions!! Enthusiasm can take us places our bodies rebel against!! Praying for a break in the weather for you. I went from 80s in Georgia, to sleet, freezing rain and snow in Texas...I want the warm of Georgia!! BRRR!

Patty McDonald said...

Your chairs look lovely. I know exactly what you mean about your plants outside getting 'crispy'. I'm in So. Ca. and in Aug. and Sept. my rose buds just burn from our heat, along with other flowers. Thankfully, they come back later in the fall and bloom the rest of the year. I prefer to plant 'double delight' roses. Love their color of red fading to yellow/white and they smell heavenly.
Jennifer, of all blogs I've read, I am so blessed by your posts. I cry, I'm inspired, praise our Lord, and love you for your honesty. Thank you.

terricheney said...

I love that teal fabric on the chairs. I know just what you mean about no longer 'seeing' something. Walking the rooms is on my list of things to do both indoors and out this week. Like you, I was ill or busy throughout the first two months and now I am catching up. I've been doing a lot of thinking these past two weeks as I've jumped headlong into projects and am mindful of others I wish to start. If I don't write them down, they may never get done!

FlourishingPalms said...

What lovely chairs! It's funny how a relatively small change can make a big impact. I watched and helped our daughter do this same thing to chairs needed to entertain family in November last year. It's not too tough of a task, but I understand how using the staple gun can make your hands hurt. All the green plants in your home surely make it homier. Once upon a time I did that too. But due to traveling more in retirement years, I haven't wanted to bother with "how to water plants when we're away." But pothos (as you call them) are hardy, and lovely! I've never eaten a rock cake, but it looks very good. You're so nice to share your recipes. Glad you're enjoying your instant pot too. I've heard a lot about them.

Sherry said...

Jennifer, I love the teal fabric on your chairs! It's just a little darker than the new fabric I chose to re-cover mine with. We've only done one so far to see what it would look like. I have to wait for the hubby to find some spare time to help because my hands don't have the strength to use the staple gun. We are slowly starting to make some improvements like painting, re-arranging and a few other small touches. I think it's time to freshen things up a bit after ten years living here. Good luck with all your walk the room ideas.