Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Back again...


April. How quickly it passes, just as this year is seeming to do. I've thought so many times over the past four weeks to start a blog post, but apart from the free pattern posts, I've just not had it in me. I wonder is it because so much happens in a day, a week, a month, that I'm simply not sure where to begin? More than likely that's it. 

So I won't go too far back today, just give you a few highlights, and then it will be easy to quietly slip back into the lovely routine of blogging which I have followed here for the past fifteen years.


When hubby had a two week break from his job during the second half of March we launched right into the long list of garden and house maintenance which needed to be attended to, but we also took time out for a couple of country drives and relaxed picnic lunches - one in the countryside atop a hill, and another by the ocean surrounded by shady palms. These days were refreshing escapes which we needed in order to maintain momentum for the long list of chores back at home. 

These days were also opportunities to catch up with Blossom and the children, something we cherish that little bit more when hubby is home and not at work. The kids donned their gumboots and followed him everywhere as he uprooted old plants and a few trees, dug holes for new plantings, worked on replacing garden beds and prepared to fix the pool.

Our pool is old and the lining paint has been peeling away across the top for about a year, but it was a huge job for a 'not so young' man. Before he emptied the pool and got underway with peeling and sanding and painting (three coats over three hot days) we all had a wonderful time swimming under thankfully cloudy skies. 

Then it was back to his job as a car salesman before the four-day Easter break began, which gave him more time to finish the pool. Here it is today, so much better. He worked really hard on this and I'm so proud of him! Now the water must be topped up and the salt and chemicals added to make it 'swimmable' once more. Over winter he will be removing more of the concrete around the pool because he wants wooden decking instead. My man doesn't have an actual hobby, but he does enjoy working around the yard and likes to see his ideas for change come to fruition. 

On Easter Sunday we had an early dinner with Blossom and the children (Ross was unwell so could not be here). They had made us a lot of drawings and notes, and Cully also made a small cross with an empty tomb glued on one of the cross beams. 

Every year I tell the children the story of the empty tomb, and that's what we call the hollow chocolate eggs they receive. At the end of the story they crack open their eggs and shout "The tomb is empty! Jesus is alive!"...well, this year was a bit different, because it was not me telling the story. Cully May told the story to all of us! What a great blessing to watch our precious 6½ year old granddaughter grow in her walk with Christ, to hear her pray and to share about Jesus with others. 
After dinner hubby put on a children's video about the Passover, and then another which began with the last days of Jesus life up to the cross, then concluded with the joyous resurrection. He and Cully May lay on the rug with cushions and watched, while the younger children got comfy on the couch recliners.


A lot of changes have been made around the gardens, even to the point of removing some decorative trees so that we can replace those spots with fruit bearing trees which will grow in our climate. Over the past month we've planted out a brown turkey fig tree, a macadamia nut tree, a bush apple tree, a bay tree, a finger lime tree, more blueberry bushes and a few other fruit bearing shrubs and trees. It has changed the landscape of our small quarter acre for the better and draws us closer to being able to feed ourselves well  in the future.
The new raised bed beside the pool is growing purple sweet potato and a few Australian natives such as saltbush, native oregano, bush thyme and vanilla lily, plus we have another raised bed behind the big shed with white sweet potato and sweet corn growing really well, and Lebanese cucumbers planted in a grow bag against the pool fence.

Out the front two smaller raised beds have been planted out with cucamelon vines, snow peas, capsicum, beetroot, a rockmelon vine and various bee attracting flowers. In coming weeks there will be grow bags added around the beds with zucchini, herbs and more flowers. 

The front area (above) was our pumpkin patch over spring and summer, and I can't tell you how much pumpkin we harvested as there was so much! I gave some to family and friends, but the rest I simply cut into pieces and roasted, before peeling off the skin, mashing, weighing, and adding to the freezer for use until another harvest this time next year. 

Outside the back door, in front of the bird feeder, we have planted a thornless blackberry bush, plus three types of tomato. 

In large trays I have planted french carrot seeds and two lots of orange sweet potato, plus winged peas in small containers that I'll plant out at some stage where they can grow up a trellis. 
There are plenty of pots of flowers growing and we'll add more in coming weeks. I can't wait to see everything taking off, especially when this insanely hot mid-autumn weather begins to cool. Every day here has been around 35-37c (around 98f) so I'm watering a lot to keep the seedlings alive. 

The second large raised bed is built, but hubby is still filling it. We may not use this one until spring, but for now it's the perfect place for all the old tree limbs, kitchen scraps and grass clippings.  Near it is a refurbished smaller raised bed which will be planted with rocket, radish and chives. I have a grow pot of spring onions (green onions) and another pot of the same beside it.

All my roses have been pruned and fertilised in their pots, but in winter I'll put each one into larger pots. 

There's a whole heap of seedlings and a passionfruit vine yet to planted out but we shall wait until the weather cools slightly before popping them into the soil.  
No matter the weather, the banana trees behind the pool thrive!


Every afternoon I sit and sew. It's my rest time, a few hours to relax and escape the scorching heat outside. As I showed you back HERE I have fallen in love with needleturn applique, and it has sparked a new enthusiasm for stitching and sewing...which I needed. ;-)
My sewing room had a major clean out and re-organisation early March and every night before dinner I come in and put everything away so that it's perfectly tidy for the next day. It really is my favourite room in the house but I hadn't spent much time in here the past twelve months...until now. 

I had six projects on the go at once (one was begun a while back but never completed), something I have never done before, and then on Monday I started a seventh! The reason there's so many in progress is that I have had a bad back (from all this intense gardening) and standing to cut and piece patchwork blocks just added to the I sit and prepare more blocks for applique instead. 

Next year in May 2024, my Blossom will turn 30, so I have thirteen months to make her a special quilt to celebrate that milestone. She has asked for a Dresden quilt using 1930's reproduction fabrics in soft colours, and I've made the first block already as it was important she see it in order to confirm I had chosen the right prints. Well, she loves it! I think this will be a favourite quilt to make simply because it's for her and every stitch is made with mother's love. 

One of the projects I've been working on is Anni Down's quilt "Where Wildflowers Grow", though I'm only sewing the major centre section because my plan is to hang this in the living room during autumn and winter (if they ever arrive). All the applique blocks are complete, sewn together around a centre of four nine-patch blocks, and then bordered with 2" squares. From this point I shall sandwich it with wadding and backing fabric before hand quilting and binding. 

I have enjoyed this project so much that I intend making it again in spring/summer colours for hanging during those months. 
Once the pool is ready for swimming again my back will improve rapidly, but in the meantime I always have something on hand to stitch each afternoon, and at night I make Dresden blades for Blossom's quilt. 

And that my friends is a catch up from most of March, and April up till now. During this time I wanted to offer a new free tea towel pattern so that will be shared at the end of the week. I also thought it's probably time for our next homemaker's swap and some decorative tea towels would be perfect. Would you like to join in? I'll have all the details to share (plus the new free pattern) on Friday so please don't email me about it yet. 

I'll sign off, as this blog post it already so long you'll need a coffee to revive, but first...

May the Lord our God be to you the Father you need in times of loss, in times of sorrow, in times of trial and worry, in times of loneliness, and in times of want. He is also our Father in times of abundance, in days of rejoicing, when blessings rain down from above. 
God, our Adonai, is your Father always, so turn to Him in laughter or tears, in praise or grief, with whatever you have to offer of your heart, or have need of in life. 

Blossom shared this with me the other day - may it bless you as we remember what Christ has done for us.


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Joanne said...

Wow ! You two are doing an amzing job with the garden Jennifer :)
Your own macadamia nut tree ! I would love to see a photo when the tree blooms if it's possible :)
Yes, so much has happened !
Great to read your post today no matter how long or short. It's always a challenge starting up and " where to start " :)
Lovely apllique blocks and colours !
hugs, take care,

Susan said...

What a lovely catching up. I'm thinking of getting a few things into the ground, or having Paul do it, anyway. =) I loved seeing how your garden is growing, and seeing your family having a good time in the pool. Mr. E. did a wonderful job on it. I like wooden decks, too, and they aren't as hard on the head as concrete. I seem to connect with concrete too easily - but not in a year. Yay!

I'm looking forward to the new things coming, finishing some older projects, and being ready to start something new.

Anonymous said...

Lovely Jennifer! Thank you for sharing and your lovely Happy Family. God is good! All the time.

Mary-Lou. said...

Beautiful Jennifer thank you so much for sharing! God is so good! ALL the time!

Little Quiltsong said...

Beautiful song at the end - thank you for sharing!
Really enjoyed all the 'catch-up' Jennifer :)! So much going on and many special moments in between. Loved hearing about your garden and the different plants, and your lovely, lovely sewing projects. That quilt for Blossom will be especially beautiful once finished - enjoy the journey with it.

Anonymous said...

What a nice surprise to discover while having my first cup of coffee. Wonderful to know you are all well and have enjoyed your break.

Lin said...

Blossom's lovely young family is growing up so fast! Lovely pictures and always good to catch up with your garden news. Applique is so relaxing isn't it - enjoy but I also hope that your back improves soon. xx

Betty said...

I like the fabrics you have chosen for "Where the Wildflowers Grow". Are you using fabrics from Hatched and Patch or scraps? Also, what is the background fabric? I have this pattern and am now inspired to start it as soon as possible. I love your blog and enjoy reading about your family and garden. God Bless You! Betty

Jenny said...

Thank you so much for sharing that version of Hallelujah, it was truly wonderful to watch.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Betty :-)
Yes, the fabrics are Anni Downs collection "Market Garden". The stitchery backing is natural linen.
Bless you heaps!

Julie said...

A beautiful catch up post dear Jennifer. I especially loved the photo of Blossom with the children in the pool!
I hadn't thought to do that with my cooked pumpkin so I shall definately be trying that as it saves them going off & also doesn't take up much freezer space. I don't have a good place to leave them to dry all winter so that will be perfect!
Love, love the dresden for Blossom's quilt - just gorgeous. We definately got "winter temps" a week or so ago but now it is mild again & I am back in cotton dresses. Take care of yourself my dear friend. x0x

Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing a little of your life with us. I am happy to have stumbled upon your website. LOVE the Proverbs 31 quilt and bible study. Thank you!

Emma Christian said...

Morning Jennifer! It sounds like you have had a lovely break together. I often find it helpful to have time away from blogging and the computer be immerse myself fully in the real world.

I can see why you would love to be in your sewing room, it's such a lovely bright room. Getting the pool re-painted must feel wonderful, knowing such a big job is now done for many years. The children are so sweet and I love hearing how they celebrated easter and their joy in understanding the story of Jesus.

Things are good here with us, we have quite a few jobs on the go that mark some wonderful progress. It is very exciting. I am pleased the kids are all home on school holidays and we are enjoying out time together. The cool weather of Autumn has hit us here and though the days are mild, the nights are getting lovely and cold. I have begun to cook over the wood Aga again which is a ritual I always enjoy. We had a big day yesterday out and about, not getting back home until quite late, so we are all enjoying a lazy morning today, It was lovely to catch up with what you have been up to. Sending love and blessings over your family.

Emma xx

Sharm said...

Well you certainly have been busy and wow, what an amount of things got accomplished in the garden (&pool) whilst you were both able to work together! Love the appliqué work and the Dresden block colours look great! Take care my friend and blessings to you and yours xo

Kim said...

The projects are all so lovely and inspiring, but that ending blessing is superb! Thanks for sharing it all. said...

What a joy it is to read your blog and see your lovely work. Blessing from illinois. Eloise Sent from

Winifred said...

What a lovely post. thank you.
I love that Dresden Plate design it will be gorgeous for Blossom. Your garden is amazing I don't know how you do so much no wonder you have backache and working in that heat must be exhausting.
What beautiful water babies you have Jennifer, a gorgeous bunch!
Take care & God bless