Sunday, July 10, 2022

How are you today?

 It seems a bit rude to always be writing about what's happening in my little quarter acre, and not asking what's happening in your sweet abode too, so today let me encourage you to write in the comments about your own life this almost mid-July afternoon. 

Where I am in the northern tropics of Australia, we are well into winter, and though we had a few very cold (to us) and wet days last week, it wasn't long before blue skies returned and our usual glorious warm weather returned with all it's beauty. The gardens loved those few days of rain, and my goodness it is flourishing with growth spurts, new blooms and edible treats now. 

The day after my last post about our family having Covid, all except my husband that is, that dear man tested positive and so began his own seven days of home isolation. He had it quite mild from the start, though the second day experienced chills and fatigue so he slept a bit longer that morning. Once that passed he has occupied himself with a number of chores from a dusty "to do" list left over from his holiday break in April.

The garden is lovely and warm so between our individual chores we take morning and afternoon breaks with fruit cake and tea, sitting under the Poinciana tree. 

I feel fine now. The cough is still there, but less than yesterday, and my sense of taste and smell is ever so slowly returning (yesterday I could smell the slightest hint of garlic in a heavily-garlicked loaf of bread I'd baked)...apart from that, my only discomfort is a return of the vertigo I had earlier in the year. Aah well, counting my blessings I have nothing but praise for everything the Lord has done in our lives and how He has cared for all of us.

We have a lot of calendula in full bloom around the garden now, and tomorrow I shall pick most of the flowers to dehydrate for herbal teas. When you pick the flowers, it seems only days later that the plants are full of them once more. It's such a giving plant!

Our cucumbers are almost ready to begin harvesting, one or two each day as we eat them, and we've enjoyed the big 'beefsteak' heirloom tomatoes already, along with rocket (arugula) in salads.

The pumpkin vines are doing very well, though there are no bees around (due to that very cold few days I think?) so I've been hand pollinating and it's working fine. 

I also planted out runner beans, two types of radish, strawberry spinach, beetroot, cress and nasturtiums at the end of June. So far all but the cress is doing well. 

Our guava tree is in flower with some fruit already forming, as are the lemon and lime trees.

My petunias have been in flower for a couple of months, but there was one type which simply lagged behind until last week. It's a double petunia and is glorious!!

Crochet takes up much of my time each evening, and now that Cully May's blanket is finished and ready for her birthday next month...

...I've been able to work on a UFO which was barely begun in 2019 when I packed it away because I didn't like the colours. But after the brightness of Cully May's blanket (above), the soothing coastal palette of the yarns in this almost discarded project really captured my heart and I can tell you it's already just days away from being finished! Initially I considered unravelling it, and I'm so glad I knocked that thought on the head and kept going. 

In daylight hours, between homemaking, cleaning, gardening and cooking, I'm sewing. Just in the past few days I began a new tote bag using some of my cherished stash of Cath Kidston drill fabric and a lovely pink/white spot for the lining. The idea came from a set of pink leather bag handles, rescued from an older bag which I literally wore out...together, I think these will make a  lovely new tote!

I've gotten to the stage of hand sewing on the leather handles, but have decided to give my fingers a rest first as they're very taxing on the hands. So, then I thought it was time to do a spot of mending. 

I've had this white Actil pillowcase for about a quarter of a century, and if you're in Australia you will know the quality is marvellous. But time and use will cause damage, so when I discovered a hole in it last year it was quickly put aside in the mending basket until I could think of a way to repurpose this lovely cotton pillowcase.

Yesterday I drew up a sketch of a flower and leaves, then cut out the pieces for applique from some very old Cabbages & Roses fabrics in off-white and blues. Needle-turn seemed the prettiest option for this particular makeover...

I did my best to darn the hole over with a zig zag stitch on the machine, then set to work with the hand applique. The darned hole sits behind the centre of the flower. 
So far I love how it's come together, but will add a few stamen inside the petals later today. I also discovered a side seam coming loose and stitches along the edge unravelling as well, so now my thoughts are to do a few more embellishments...but I'll think more about that and hopefully show you it all finished later in the week.

Do you remember my Block of the Month from 2019, "Phyllis May's Kitchen", which was made in honour of my Nana? If not pop over HERE to have a look. 

It's not available at the moment, but for a while now I've had a plan to remake it, not as the large memory book which was the original display, but as a quilt...and so, it begins again, but this time as Jennifer's Kitchen.

I recently bought a fat quarter bundle of Cook Book by Lori Holt, and that's what I'll use to make the quilt and the individual blocks.

If you're interested in doing this with me, I'll consider adding all the patterns into my Etsy Shop. Otherwise, I shall happily be playing with this for the rest of the year and will show you my progress along the way. 

For a while I barely cooked due to Covid and simply not being well enough, but life has gotten back to normal, a beautifully quiet and slow normal, so we're eating lots of vegetables and fruit, and enjoying plenty of fresh water and herbal teas.

Today we had a cous cous salad for lunch, loaded with freshly roasted beetroot and carrot, some cranberries and pine nuts, spring onions and coriander from the garden plus cucumber and tomatoes...served with avocado, feta cheese and cayenne pepper. The dressing was made with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh grated garlic, lemon rind, cumin powder, celtic sea salt and Moroccan seasoning. 

I also baked a Matrimony Slice with the last of the raspberry jam, and a baked rice pudding which we'll have with fresh strawberries tonight. 

Apparently we're in for some very cold nights this next week, but the days will continue to be bright and sunny. Hubby will return to work on Wednesday, and I shall have Blossom and the children come visit - life will really return to our kind of normal. 

From my home to yours, I wish you well, and pray that no matter what you are facing today, there is a God in heaven who loves you dearly and is waiting with open arms to carry you when you cannot walk alone...He is faithful, He is faithful, He is so so faithful.

Hugs and blessings,


Chris Royal said...

Lovely to read your blog and glad you are all on the mend. Yes, I would love you to add the Phyllis designs to your Etsy shop as I didn't buy it last time it was in there. Take care and keep well! Have you been diagnosed with BPPV? I was some years ago but recently I went to a Vestibular Physiotherapist and it turns out I get Vestibular migraines. No headache, just nausea and Vertigo. Hope this helps.

Lin said...

Good to hear that you are recovering and that Mr E's symptoms are mild. Covid is on the rise again here but so far we are managing to avoid it!. Lovely garden pictures. The finished crochet blanket is gorgeous but I also love the softer palette of your current project. Different colours for different moods? Thanks for the pillow idea - I have a favourite pillowcase which has developed a hole and I may just use a pretty little floral Dresden to cover that hole.
We are in the middle of what passes as a heatwave here in UK - temperatures in the high 20's unlike the high 30's we would have been experiencing in France. So we are coping well while all around us wilt. Enjoying our garden and catching up with friends. A beef casserole is bubbling away in the slow cooker to have for lunch with fresh garden potatoes, mangetout peas and courgettes - our little veg patch is producing enough for our daily needs. Looking forward to a visit from our grandaughter later this morning. A peaceful Sunday. xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
A beautifully quiet and slow normal sounds wonderful :)
You do ask us, your readers, regullarly how we are and what have we been up to as well as what we read and enjoy. I'm sure :)
I'v heard about the " time out project basket" where a project goes until one has the energy, has changed one's mind about it and new creativity to deal with it. Seems to work :)
When the mending pile shrinks and things are back in use is such a joy !
Your garden is looking lovely !
Thanks for the Winter garden tour :)
An overcast Sunday morning here, 21 C today.
Great to hear you are all feeling much better !
hugs, take care,

FlourishingPalms said...

Oh, I'm sorry to know COVID got you and your family too! I had it in January, and though hubs and I did nothing different in our daily routine, he didn't get it. Then in June our 12 year-old grandson brought it to our house (during a planned, week-long visit with us by himself), and hubs got it. I didn't! Guess it's true that once you've had it, immunity is higher. I lost taste too, and that bit sure wasn't fun. Have to tell you that my favorite picture of those you posted, is of your very large, full umbrella clothesline. I sure wish I could still do that, but where I live, it isn't permitted. I'm glad you're still doing handwork - crocheting, and stitching lovely things.

LJ said...

Covid can be awful. Thankfully, all is well. My husband spent 3 days in the hospital back in November of 2020. I also tested positive and was in quarantine for 14 days. I was so thankful - even then - that they learned how to the treat the disease from the beginning of the pandemic. Hope you are all doing fine. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful photos of flowers and wildlife. Winter here in Iowa is beautiful but we sure don't have outdoor flowers!!! Finished the hand-quilting on my king-sized POTCs quilt - whew! Am working most days on my OBW panel quilt - my first and it's a challenge. Keep posting; love reading about your life, sewing, cooking, family...

Little Quiltsong said...

Beautiful post, Jennifer and such lovely pictures of your life at home! So happy that all are on the mend again. Covid is such an awful disease, and we have had a few ill in the family and also one death. Our youngest daughter is getting married middle of August and it has been a bit of a roller coaster with who can travel and who will be able to attend. Putting all in God's Hands, and praying everyone stays healthy - and that it will a blessed day for all.
Wishing you a blessed day, and a fun-filled visit with Blossom and your sweet grandchildren!

Donna P. said...

I enjoyed your post today. Such a refreshing one - one that was needed in our part of the world.
Like many, we've been dealing with 90 degree heat for the past few weeks. Living in an rv, the ac runs all the time, especially when we've had to sit in the sun with no trees for cover. Dh and I are getting over "our share" of Covid - again. First time was in 2019 before Christmas. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad this time. My children and families have gone/are going through it also.
However, we know this too shall pass and we'll be back on our journeys. God is good, faithful, and with us all the time.
Thank you for a wonderful post - I so appreciate it.
Blessings to you and yours

Susan T said...

I live in Ontario, Canada, and we are in the midst of hot summer weather. My city is on the shores of Lake Ontario, and that keeps our temps a couple of degrees cooler. My whole family has been fortunate, so far, and no one has contracted Covid. My husband and I missed visits with our adult children and grandkids when we had a protracted lock down period to try and reduce the numbers of those that had to be in hospital. I spent most of the time working in my quilting room, reading lots of books on my "someday" list, and we have a small garden to tend during the summer months. My quilt guild continued to meet through the pandemic, using Zoom meeting, getting together for Zoom sew days,from our own home, and even had Zoom workshops. Through the internet, we were able to have guest speakers from all over, including Australia! We are all looking forward to meeting in person beginning in September. Many hated the lock-down months, but it kept my family safe. I am thankful for all our blessings.

terricheney said...

Lovely peaceful and comforting sort of post Jennifer. Thank you so much! Here in Georgia, USA we have had plenty of hot weather and are finally getting the much-needed rain. This is a blessing, but it also means we must cut grass more often, which is not happy work in this heat, lol.
All is well with us. 2 yr old grandson had a viral thing going on this past week which sent us to the pediatrician to rule out covid and strep. I was told that if he had covid they wouldn't give him anything for it. He tested negative but it meant I kept him most all the weeklong. I love spending time with my grandchildren but it's hard keeping a 2-year-old! He moves faster than I do and can think faster too, lol.
Found horn worms on my tomato plants Saturday. I'd been keeping my eye on them and seemingly overnight there they were munching their fat selves full of tomato leaves. I'll be watching ever more closely now. I have three tiny tomatoes which is more harvest than we got last year off our HUGE tomato plant. Fingers crossed there will those three and plenty more to come.

Kathy C said...

What a gift you are, Jennifer! I'm soooo thankful that God allowed me to find you online so many years ago. You have always been & continue to be such a great encouragement to me!! ♥
You rude? Nope. Never! I'm so glad you are all on the mend from Covid & your days are returning to your routines.
I am in CA, USA & we are finally getting the summer heat! 105 is predicted for tomorrow. Thankfully we usually get a breeze from the Bay area (SF) in the evening, cooling us a bit. (We're spoiled!)
My husband has been working hard at filling in our once in the ground doughboy swimming pool, & has made us a nice garden. We are waiting for those beefsteak tomatoes that you're enjoying. yum!!! With the heat coming they'll mature quickly.
This summer I've been working on a throw quilt for my son & daughter in law for Christmas. It's a star block, & tomorrow I'll try the quilt-as-you-go method with my completed blocks.
My cousin just returned from visiting your Australia for a few weeks. She shared so many amazing pictures of her trip, & I thought of you.
Thank you again for your encouraging words, awesome pictures, beautiful stitchery & recipes!, bits of you & yours ♥ , as well as your faith in our Lord Jesus! Yep, you're a gift! Cyber hugs around you! ~ Kathy

Linda said...

Jennifer, your posts are always so encouraging. Our God is faithful. He has helped me every time I cried to Him. This week I hope to get back to normal after a busy period. I'm a writer, so I plan to work on a project some this week, clean my house, and go to a few meetings. I hope your week is good.
Linda Nichols

Anonymous said...

Hello and Thankyou for a lovely Blog as always beside the sea at Bunbeg. DONEGAL INTERNET poor!! XXMary-Lou

Ondrea said...

Those crocheted blankets are beautiful. I recognise the 2nd one's Dune colours. My Dune blanket is being used every day on the couch during these cold days and evenings.Your garden is looking lovely with an abubdance of nourishing food for you. Love your couscous salad idea..I might try it with quinoa and omit the nuts ( my teeth break easily). So pleased that you have recovered so well and hope each day brings more improvement. Cold at night up there??? Really? Lol.

Christine M said...

Glad to hear you are feeling better Jennifer. Hope Mr E recovers quickly. Cully May's blanket looks great. She will love it. I love the colours of your other blanket. I'm looking forward to seeing your Jennifer's Kitchen quilt. As you know, I made mine into a quilt and just love it. It has pride of place in my kitchen/dining area. xx

Nancy said...

May God's blessings continue upon you Jenny. To you and your family. You are such an inspiration.

Bonni said...

I am always happy to see emails from you and read your blog. The beautiful gardens, the delicious recipes (the couscous salad looks so yummy). What am I doing? I am in the USA and am in the middle of summer. We have had 95F-100F temperatures with heat index going as high as 120F. It is good incentive to stay inside. I have only recently been able to pick up some hand stitching since I have had to have eye surgery. Today my right eye gets done so am looking forward to being able to thread my sewing machine needle soon. I can, however, thread hand sewing needles and have started to get back into sewing. I am hoping to spend my birthday (July 12) relaxing in the air conditioning and getting some sewing done.

Carol in Texas said...

Hi, Jenny. I’m writing to you from central Texas where we’re having one of the hottest, driest summers on record. It is due to be 110 degrees today. I walked the garbage can to the road this morning and you can already feel the intense warmth . We need rain so very badly. We water from our well to keep things around the house green and last week we actually got 2 1/2” of much needed rain which has greened up the pastures for a bit. But there is no rain in the forecast, sadly. I am noticing the days growing shorter since June 20 and the morning light is less intense about 6:15 when I usually rise. Keeping plants alive is a challenge and to boot we have had a bad grasshopper infestation. So some plants I purchased to put out I decided to put in pots for now and hope I can keep them alive in the sunroom till fall planting time. I so enjoy your blog and the beautiful, creative way you put fabrics together and use your embroidery skills for many purposes. The pastel yarns in the second blanket are lovely… soothing, so cooling!!!!And I love the fabrics you have chosen to go with the pink handles. Beautiful things! Take care and keep spreading God’s love through your talents!

Tammy said...

Dearest Jennifer I can not wait to see your new Jennifer's Kitchen project as you stitch it . I know it will be so gorgeous. I am sorry to hear that Mr. E has succumbed to the Virus. Your cooking looks delicious. We have been in draught for a while here. But yesterday it rained all afternoon and night. We were so blessed to receive this rain as it was most needed. My daughter has settled back into daily life here at home with us now. And the cats are so enjoying her presence as much as we are.

kupton52 said...

I would LOVE to do a "Kathy's Kitchen" quilt along with you Jenny! How am I today? Well, I'm a bit down as I am overwhelmed with life right now but having spent part of the morning in the Word I'm more encouraged. It's summer here in West Virginia/USA and while it's been kind of hot we've had rain the last few days so it's very pleasant right now. I got my first ripe tomato from the garden and that's always a cause for joy. I love the photos you post. Your kitchen looks so clean and inviting. White is just beautiful! Thanks for another inspiring post. Blessings in Him....

Dorothy Matheson said...

Hi from hot very dry Texas. In March a tornado hit our farm and caused a lot of damage. However the three houses did not have damage. Two of the houses had roofs over the manugactured homes and the roofs left but not the houses. The pole barn we built when we first moved here 40 years ago also lost its roof and the walls were damaged. The goat barn the newest building also lost half its roof.
Positive things we have a place to live. We have our animals. I have my plants from in the two greenhouses and the greenhouses will be repaired.
I have lots of voulntere tomato plants and the cherry tomatoes are so good. Enough to share for now.
So far none of us have had Covid.
We did have insurance but not nearly enough to cover everything.
My Mother is doing pretty well at 96 and I am her caregiver.
My daughter moved here to help me with her and my DH who is 88. I am younger than he is.
I have a smaller garden now than I had and I am enjoying it but do have to water every 3 days.
I crochet a lot of tops on kitchen towels so they can be hung on the handles. I think both of your blankets are lovely. I also make quilts but right now I have not the energy to do much of that.
Wishing you continued recovery from you illness.

Createology said...

From my home to yours Jennifer it is Summer and triple digits as high as 110F this week. Very dry with no rain. I am preparing to begin a new food meal planning program tomorrow for the next week. Hubby will participate too. We will be eating healthy and limited portions so hopefully will drop some weight. We are blessed. I have my watercolor class tomorrow and I am beginning a small stitching project with wool felt. So thankful your family is on the mend. Lovely gardens you have. Your crochet projects are beautiful. Blessings dear…

Nancy in IN said...

Glad all are on the mend. We have hot weather here, high 90's all week. I weed mostly in the shade, but after a rain, finally, I haven't been out there but will try today. I don't crochet but knit. Love the blanket. She will love being wrapped in love.
I knit hats for charity. I am making place mats for granddaughter's family. She asked for them for Christmas--2021!!. She said she didn't need them until I got them done.
My cukes are just blooming and tomatoes have a few blooms.

Stay safe

Ingrid said...

Hola Jennifer!!!
Que bueno ver que tu vida va retornando a la normalidad. Me alegra mucho. Mi país queda también en el trópico sobre el ecuador, así que me imagino que debemos tener un clima parecido. Estaba muy entretenida leyendo tu post hasta que llegué a la planta de guayaba. Me envió directo a mi juventud, ya que en mi casa había una planta de estas y una vez llegó un pájaro que aquí llaman Guacharaca. Es una especie de gallina voladora, jejejeje. Otro día llegó un mono, que no sé de dónde salió. No recordaba nada de eso hasta que vi tu foto. Me envió de regreso totalmente recordando inclusive el aroma de la planta y los pajaritos que llegan cuando ya está cargada con los frutos ❤️❤️❤️
No sé si lo has probado, pero mi mamá cuando hacía estofados le arrancaba una hoja a la planta de guayaba y se la ponía (igual que hacemos con el laurel) y eso le daba un aroma y un sabor muy especial. Si nunca lo has probado, me gustaría que un día lo hicieras y lo comentaras para enterarme ❤️
Gracias por este post. Ya me voy a buscar a ver dónde veo una planta de guayaba para traerme unas cuantas hojas, jejejejeeje.
Te envío un fuerte abrazo repleto de mucha salud para tí y para tus amados.

Robin in New Jersey said...

Hi Jennifer! It's great to read that you and your family are doing better. Here in New Jersey we are experiencing some hot days and not much rain. We have numerous plants growing on our deck and several of them were getting eaten. My morning glories were all chewed up. We thought it was probably a squirrel. The other day a ground hog was on the deck! (Our deck is way up on the back of our house.) He had climbed up the stairs and ate the pepper plant, the cherry tomato blossoms and all the sunflowers. 😒 We are so sad. Thank goodness he hasn't touched the basil or peppermint.😀
I am battling some health issues including being diagnosed with osteo arthritis in my hands. I haven't done any embroidery in a couple months. I tried yesterday and it was painful. 😞
God is good all the time! So very thankful for a home in a very quiet neighborhood where I can hang out wash, read, and sew.
Sending love your way!💞

Deborah said...

Hi Jennifer

Thanks for another wonderful post. I am happy you are all on the mend. Covid has sure made life more complicated. We are in the midst of summer which looks a lot like your winter. It has been nice and warm the last few days (in the mid to high 20sC). We were in severe drought but the end of June we had about 5 inches of rain so that has really made everything turn green and the crops and pastures are growing. Now if we can avoid hail storms the harvest should be much better than last year. We have had visits from family every day this month so far and even had all three of our grands here for a weekend which was wonderful. Not much sewing happening but I have worked on a cross stitch project in the evenings.

Lori said...

Hi Jennifer. I am new to your blog and so thankful I have found it. It is so pleasant to read your thoughts about your day and your faith. I have been praying for God to let me find the quiet and peaceful and simple days. And truthfully, I am finding my way.
I love to embroider and I want to order from your Etsy shop . I see most patterns are pdf and I haven’t yet made an attempt at tracing patterns. But,,,, I think I will give it a try. I look forward to reading your postings at a time during the day I am taking the time to slow down😊. Lori