Thursday, September 28, 2023

Ordinary days...

Late September and the weather is certainly heating up, but surprisingly the nights are very pleasant indeed. I relish these final weeks of sleeping with the window open while the trade winds blow the curtains high above us in our small bedroom. Some years the winds stay through October, and other years they blow themselves out weeks earlier...we are hoping this year we have them for a good while yet. 


Molly has settled in beautifully, as our dear and treasured pet, capturing our hearts and becoming the wonderful four-legged companion we prayed for. She had a bad tummy early in the week but after a trip to the vet and some doggy probiotics she's much improved and back to her energetic and quirky self. While I sit at the computer she chews on her favourite toy in the leather recliner nearby...

If I'm in the kitchen she's by my feet; when I'm in the sewing room she's snuggled on a large square pillow that I covered in one of my old quilts; when we're watching a movie or a good sermon she's wedged between us on her couch blanket; and at night she's sleeping in her basket right beside our bed. Where we are, there she is. And we're all very content. :-)


Have you made them? I had never made one because I imagined they'd be awfully difficult, but last week after watching a very old episode of the Great British Bake-Off, I decided it was time to give one a try. I chose the recipe in Jane Brocket's book "Vintage Cakes" (I love this book!)...

With easy instructions and having all the ingredients on hand, I set to the task. What a surprise to discover my fears had been groundless, as Swiss rolls are not difficult at all. 

Waiting for it to cool so I can unroll and fill...

Cooled and filled with homemade berry jam...

This was really delicious, but as a lover of lemons, I wanted to make another using lemon curd for the filling. Rosie was coming to visit this morning so I decided to make some quick microwave lemon curd while the Swiss roll sponge baked and cooled. Turned out even nicer than the jam one and we both enjoyed a second slice each!

Hubby will enjoy it for dessert tonight, and there's still plenty of luscious lemon curd to fill cupcakes for the grandkids when they visit on Saturday morning. 


Remember when I showed you the penny rug I made using the next set of Tilda fabrics? 

Tilda Australia want to display it at a couple of Tone Finnanger's Jubilee Tour events early next year in Brisbane and Melbourne, so I quickly packed it away safe and secure to be posted off, and decided to make another using some Tilda scrap fabrics from my stash. This one is for our coffee table.

I contemplated making another in woven fabrics, but decided to stop for now and return to another project I began a few months back. These are some of the blocks I've finished so far in Gail Pan's "Sopwell Ladies Basket Society". Admittedly I have taken the liberty to tweak some of them to suit my own preference, but I think most of us do that?  People often ask my permission to use different colourways or switch up blocks in my patterns which they're in the process of making and I get excited about that because adding touches of your own creativity and style is so important to how you feel about the final display of all your hard work. 

Gail has seen what I've done so far with this project and thinks it beautiful. It's lovely to have a fellow Aussie designer admire subtle changes to her pattern, just as I do, because it reminds us how important it is to encourage and support the work of all stitchers and quilters who make our patterns. In case I haven't told you lately - "thank you" for sewing mine. 

I'm planning on remaking this table topper if I can find the pattern. It was in a copy of Australian Country Threads way back in 2005, and was my very first hand-stitched piece when I was teaching myself to quilt, embroider and applique. I had no sewing machine so every seam is backstitched...

...which is why I get so many compliments on my backstitch. As a real newbie to hand sewing, I knew that to keep the seams secure when patchworking this topper I would have to do tiny stitches. From that first project I have continued with the same tiny stitches. 

If you're an Aussie and have a copy of the old magazine it featured in, would you mind if I borrowed it? Next time I'd applique with the needle-turn method instead of blanket stitch, but keep the same colour scheme. It looks lovely on my kitchen butcher's block and always makes me smile. 


The gardens need a lot of water these days so I am always rotating the watering schedule. Out front we have planted daikon radish, sunflowers and sweet potato as they all help to break up the clay soil, and we've decided that working on the quality of our soil is the number one priority for our quarter acre over the next year. I'll take some pics next week and share them. In raised beds we still have tomatoes, capsicums, snow peas, sweet potato, beans, lettuce and herbs growing; and in pots there's plenty of spring onions. In the ground we have chillies, cucumbers, and more herbs. 


Other baking lately was cheese twists using the last of the puff pastry in our freezer and the end of a bag of grated cheese. The grandkids (and Blossom!) love these so they disappeared quickly...

And to use up more bits and pieces from the fridge I baked a really delicious Banana, Date and Apple loaf. Sliced and served with butter, this has been a regular afternoon tea all week!


That's how I cook lately. Open the fridge and see what needs to be used. Open the freezer and pull out things that have been there for a while before cooking them into something. Look at the fruit bowl and decide how to use ripe pieces that day. Check the expiry date on pantry items and jot down recipe ideas for the next week's menu. 


I titled this post Ordinary Days because that's what my days are. Ordinary days come in many different guises, often sprinkled with challenges or triumphs, but one thing that stays the same is the heart of a homemaker, and her desire to make the most of all she has in order to honour God and bless her family. That's what I believe...and that's how I live. 

Bless each and every one of you. Whether life is all roses right now, or if you're being blown about in the storm - look up, pray and give thanks to He who holds your very life in His hands. Draw near to Him and He will draw closer to you. Cry out in praise, in pain, in thanks, or in need - He will hear, His love will abundantly surround you, and He will guide you along the path you may need to take. Your burden may be heavy, but His is light...offer it to Him and rest in blessed assurance of His promises that never fail, His Word that never returns void.

I read this the other day and can't get it out of my mind because it's true and I really needed to hear it. Maybe you need it today? Bless you. xxx


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Anonymous said...

Thanks again for sharing your days and doings with us and for the beautiful testimony in seeking and praising God. I have an idea the quote will stay with me too. God bless you and those you love.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post! I, too, spent some time using up some fruits & veg that were ripe & needed to be eaten. Not wanting to waste I made a loaf of banana bread (with walnuts), zucchini bread (with cranberries) and a nice apple crumb cake. The zucchini bread (2 loaves) went into the freezer, the banana bread is nearly gone and 2 nice slices of apple crumb cake went to our son & grandson last night when we went to grandson's baseball game. So glad to hear that your lovely penny rug went off to Tilda Australia, to be enjoyed by many others, too. I don't have any Tilda fabric, but I have many small amounts of similar prints & colors and I want to make one of these for me. It's so beautiful! Thank you for such a lovely blog - God bless you and your family! Deb E in California

Beth said...

Hi Jennifer,
My Mum and I have just spent some time looking through her collection of Country Threads magazines from 2005 and found all but one volume (Vol. 5 No. 8) and couldn't find it in any of them. We are trying to figure out where else it would be and will keep you posted.
Blessings, Beth

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
So many lovely activities to read about this morning :)
Molly is fitting right in and seems to be a professional poser for photo's !
Swiss Roll ! I learned to make them, in High Scool Home Ec class, by using a clean tea towel dusted with icing sugar then placing the fresh from the oven cake on that and rolling it up with the help of the tea towel. Parchmet paper seems a lot easier for clean up ! Using two filling flavors 1/2 and 1/2 makes for a fun choice when serving :)
Tilda Hibernation Penny Rug! That's great ! I'll have to see if I can find Tone Finnanger's Jubilee Tour on Internet.
Your combinations of fabrics with Gail Pan's "Sopwell Ladies Basket Society" looks great ! Giving projects your own twist is fantastic !
"Always hope" embroidery is waiting close by :)
Your garden sounds delicious ! Daikon radish and sweet potatoes and sunflowers make for a beautiful front !
I enjoy and am thatnkful for ordinary days :)
Have a great weekend!
hugs, take care,

Lin said...

I love a swiss roll and your lemon curd one looks delicious. I recently made a lemon curd sponge (Delia) which was delicious. Delia also does a Black Forest roll which is my 'special occasion' cake - so much filling it's difficult to get a good roll but oh so delicious! Lovely to have your table runner going on tour and your new one is just as pretty.
I do enjoy ordinary days, nowhere I 'need' to go and time to just enjoy being at home and in the garden. We are eating the last of the beans, tomatoes and courgettes now and the plants will go out for recycling next week. I will soon be raking leaves from the front garden as autumn is with us. Hove a lovely weekend Jennifer, bless you all. xx

Tammy said...

Good Morning Dear Jennifer. Love your projects. Congrats on the Tilda Australia wanting to use your stitchery creation for their photos. You will be world famous now.... And get featured in all the craft magazines too...You never know where a road will go....Thank you for the lovely post and catch up. looking forward to seeing what you are creating next.
P.S. those swiss rolls look absolutely delicious
Love Always,

Lise Adams said...

So lovely! I love to read about your days ..the things that occupy your time, I cannot wait to retire so that I can do the same lol, how do you attach your pennies? I don’t see any outside stitching along your circles, and they turn out so lovely in the Tilda fabric

Carol in Texas said...

Jennifer, I have a perpetual calendar on my kitchen window ledge, and a couple of days ago I turned the page to one of my favorite messages: “ Normal day…..let me be aware of the treasure you are!” I thought of it again when I saw your blog title…..Ordinary day. As I remember in the play Our Town, when a character had the chance to come back and observe a day in the life of her family, she didn’t want a holiday like Christmas or a birthday. She wanted just an ordinary day……..those are the most comforting. For me it’s a day I get to stay home and fill the hours with blog reading, stitching, housecleaning, cooking and baking and reading. As fall comes to my part of the world, it will include a bit of gardening. The brutal summer we’ve had has eliminated that from my activities. But October approaches…..even Texas begins to cool down in October! I so enjoy each and every one of your messages to your readers. Thank you for keeping in touch with us and offering us your many talents to share.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

To TAMMY....
Dear sweet Tammy, I have already been featured in magazines many hundreds of times…that’s a route I have no desire to pursue anymore. I’m 64 years old and desiring to slow right down. I’ve often sent my Tilda projects to be displayed, so this is nothing new, and one day it will come back to me. 😊 My desire in life is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, to live a quiet life, to be a good steward of the time and resources the Lord has gifted me, and to be ready to meet Jesus when that time comes.
Bless you my sweet friend,

Susan said...

Wonderful post. Love the quotation, too, and understand your desires listed in the response to Tammy. I think we get so much smarter as we age. =) Definitely being blown about, but also have my anchor in Christ, so all is well is my bottom line. I'd love to have a bit of the Swiss roll with you, too, so a little envious of all of you, and I think I'd like the lemon curd best, as well.

I pray for you and your extended family, and I know you pray for me, too. Prayer is the thing that's helping more than doctors, medicines and chemo. I'm able to tell my Heavenly Father that my will is His will in all these things, and I have great faith in His promises, in general and specifically for my situation.

God bless you and all your kind words, Jennifer.

Ondrea said...

So lovely to have the close companionship of a furry friend. Sorry, I got rid of my magazines a few years ago during a sewing room cleanup. I hope someone has a copy for you. Oooooo I think I would looooove the lemon curd roll! Your Tilda topper is lovely. Nice to see your progress with Gail's pattern. So much sewing and baking happening there.

FlourishingPalms said...

I really appreciate this post, Jenny. Love seeing what you're making in the kitchen (you always make my mouth water!), and your creations. Must look up how you made your penny rug because I'm terribly impressed by the precise roundness of your appliquéd circles! And thank you for sharing the Word of God. I'm nodding and thinking, "I know. I know." :-) Oh! And thank you for left-justifying your blog post text (rather than centering it). It's much easier to read, and my eyes are grateful.

Allie said...

Oh that little Molly - so glad she brings so much joy to both of you! I'm sure she's thinking that she really landed on her feet at your house! Love this post sweetheart, I'm drooling all over my keyboard, lol!

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Thanks Jennifer, lovely newsy blog as always. I so appreciate it, you doing it and sending it! Did Ross get a job? Lovely wee companion for you! Our dog Bonnie had a eye removed due to a big tumor, but she is doing very well! She is a Borador. We love her to bits! Thank ful to The Lord she has recovered so well!. We went for a se swim yesterday after church! Lovely day!! Much love to youxx

Kay said...

I love making Swiss rolls as they are so quick and easy. If you are just using jam and no kind of cream filling then there’s no need to roll them in paper first to cool down, as soon as it’s out of the oven you can spread the jam, roll it up, and leave to cool before eating. It just needs to be cooled for cream and ganache fillings because the heat would melt it.
Your Tilda penny rug is delightful, I have little of scraps so must add it to my “must do one day “ pile. X

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jennifer, for your lovely posts. I always look for you in my Inbox and enjoy reading about you and your extended family. I always pray for you and your blog readers. What a wonderful group of ladies!

Anonymous said...

I am always excited to see a post from you and reading what you have been up to. It never fails that something you wrote causes me to pause, reflect, and praise Our Lord