Thursday, April 25, 2024

Ordinary days of autumn...

 We've had no rain for almost a month now, so it's back to hand watering the garden just before sunset each night. The daytime temps for mid-autumn have been a consistent 31C (88F) and the nights 22C (72F)...and oh how I am longing for the day time temps to drop into the 20s, and the nights into the teens. I actually bought a cardigan this week in HOPE of actually getting a winter this year. Ha ha!! It's only a thin open-weave cardigan, but I shall enjoy wearing it when the time arrives. 

The Cubby - 

Around home I've been moving things about in our back undercover area. Cully May and Rafaella asked if I could fix up the cubby house and turn it into a cafe - hmmm. This spurred me on to re-organising the outdoor area so I could bring more natural light into my dark kitchen. By moving the cubby nearer the garden, my kitchen window was free to accept sunlight, and the children also have way more room to move about in this area. 

Anyhow, once this was done I sewed new curtains, added a faux potted plant and tablecloth, and a Cafe sign above the doorway. 

Here's where it used to be, in a corner with not a lot of light or space...but now the old couch is there, and the old cupboard which holds their Cafe bits and pieces, plus my kitchen window above the cupboard is no longer half hidden. 

I bought them a teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug at the op-shop, and they're using some of my old vintage tea cups and spoons as well. I forgot to take a photo of the three of them having a high-tea in their cafe on Tuesday, but believe me they loved it! 

For cold drinks and food they have pretty paper cups, serviettes and plates left over from birthdays last year.

I crocheted edged three tea towels, one each. 

I sewed pretty girl aprons for Cully May and Rafaella, and a sturdy boy apron for Charlie David. He thought it looked great with his Fireman's helmet. ;-) 

Apart from the $3 at the op-shop and another $3 for the faux plant at Reject Shop, everything came from what I already had on hand. The cubby has been given a new life after almost a year of non-use and the whole project spurred me on to finally moving things around out the back to better serve the whole family. There's suddenly a lot more space where it once looked crowded and's amazing how a little re-organising can produce this kind of outcome around the home. 

Behind the cubby is where my garden potting area resides. I have been gradually raising seeds for the garden - flowers and herbal plants mostly, but also snow peas and asparagus peas. Some have gone into the raised beds and grow bags already, and are doing very well. New seeds have just been planted and all going well they should be in the garden 4-6 weeks from now. Then I'll plant the herbs that need a much cooler temperature to germinate, especially coriander. 

I'm very grateful that we have such a large undercover area for these things, as for most of the year our tropical sun is very fierce to be out in. 

Sewing -

Another (almost) completed project is Blossom's 30th birthday quilt. I sewed all the blocks together and was able to take a few photos to show you the quilt top.

As the quilt top is mostly white, and the backing and binding will be too, I was made to realise that hand quilting it with a heavily shedding dog and cat inside would be too stressful. It would take weeks and I'd have it over my lap all the while, with it folded around me or laying over the couch (places our pets LOVE to sit) for such a special birthday gift it would need to be longarm quilted.

A lovely lady not far from us has it in her care right now and will quilt it in a leaf pattern which my Blossom requested (she loves leaves). We are so excited as the Lord provided the cost through two weeks of higher than normal pattern sales in my Etsy shop. He knew, before I did, that hand quilting a white quilt was not the best idea given our home situation, so we praise His kind and generous heart for this provision!

I am still enjoying sewing jar covers from my scrap fabrics, but have moved right on to embroidered ones. As the stitcheries all need to sit inside a 4" circle I decided to choose patterns from some of my previous quilt designs. I finished this one earlier today, and the little embroidery is from one of the Simple Days blocks, though I did reduce the size a smidgin...

I have two more traced and ready to stitch but intend adding a lace edge to them this time. I find this little project very relaxing, and my gift-box is filling with them so that's a real bonus. 

In the Garden -

Well, we had such a wet season this summer that there were no bees to pollinate my pumpkin plants. Here is the only pumpkin we grew (it's called a Queensland Blue), and we've named it Survivor, so I'm planning on making something special with it soon. Earlier this month I planted two new pumpkin plants in the front yard and as we're back to the dry season I might have plenty more to harvest by late spring. I planted our old favourite this time, a Kent (or Jap is another name for it) because we always get an abundant harvest from it.

Our fruit trees are doing well, especially the Mulberry, Pomegranate (has flowered for the first time), Lime, Fig and Barbados Cherry. The two passionfruit vines are also heavy with fruit.

Kitchen - 

Bread is baked a lot as it is a staple (sour dough and focaccia mostly), plus jam drop biscuits (cookies), banana choc muffins, curries, stews, bone broth, pesto (we have so much basil in the garden)...and the list goes on. Just today I sent a jar of pesto and a fresh baked focaccia over to Blossom. My dear husband spent all morning fixing her car, so I made food to deliver when he took her car back. It's very handy having a husband who trained as a motor mechanic before becoming a teacher, and now a car salesman! 

How are you?

I often wonder how you are managing in your week? My life is quite ordinary, and that's just how I like it. Each week has it's own natural rhythm that rarely alters, but within that week there are always new things as well. I find that the change of season brings with it new ideas to try, old ways to retire, fresh eyes to look around my surroundings, and new things to give thanks for. 

Anzac Day -

Today is Anzac Day here in Australia, a day we honour those who served in the armed forces through every war we can remember. It's mostly focused on the ANZACs though - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who fought bravely at Gallipoli in 1915. More than 130,000 Australian, New Zealand and Ottoman troops died in that horrendous campaign. We will remember them. 

Blossom has been reading books to the children this month about Gallipoli, preparing them to watch the Anzac march on telly this morning. She sent me photos of the girls helping her make Anzac Biscuits while they watched the march. Last year both girls walked in the march as part of their school, but this year they are homeschooling so they studied it more deeply and understood why the march was so important, why the day itself has so much meaning. 

How is your April to-do list coming along? Have you been gradually marking things off along the way?
I am really pleased with how many things on my list have been accomplished - mostly big things that seemed too hard at one stage, but are now done. And to be honest, Blossom's quilt top was really weighing on me, but when I hung it up to take a photo my heart was bursting with joy. The Lord got me there, because for a while I wasn't sure it would be done in time. 
No matter what we have going on, if we hand it all over to God and ask Him to help us, He will. He never fails...we might fail (I can attest to that personally) but He will not. So if you've got a lot of weight on your shoulders right now, or a must-do list that seems never to shrink, or if you have so much going on you don't know where to start - go to the Lord in prayer. Humbly ask Him to show you the way. 
He showed me that my plans for Blossom's mostly white quilt would cause me a lot of anxiety and problems...and I had not even considered this until he showed me one morning in prayer! And once he told me, was obvious, and I had been blind to it previously. And then He provided the money to pay for machine quilting. 
Honest, you may not think that's amazing in the same way I do, but I did not even ask Him for this...yet He loves me and He knew what I needed when I didn't have a clue. That's our God, ladies. That's our loving, caring, generous, forgiving, amazing, Holy God. 
Pray. Pray often. Open your heart to Him, obey Him, teach His Word to your children and grandchildren. Never doubt Him. Just trust. I couldn't live any other way. Why would I want to? The very best in my life is Jesus and you can't top Him. Amen!

Take care dear friends, and please let me know how you're doing in the comments below. Need prayer? I'll be praying for you. Until next time....

Hugs and blessings,

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Lin said...

Great re working of the little house Jennifer, lots of fun to be had there I can see and the area outside your kitchen window looks quiet and comfortable too. Beautiful quilt top, I do love a Dresden and they look amazing with the white background. I am looking forward to seeing how it quilts up. So many other lovely things happening too. xx

Deb said...

I do look forward to your stories of how life is going in your world and hearing about your relationship with Jesus. And your stitchery is devine

Little Quiltsong said...

Love seeing all the sweet things you have been making and baking, Jennifer. The Cafe is adorable as are the aprons and tea towels.
Your garden produce is exciting to see. We just had frost again overnight, so no planting till the end of May around here, but our perennials are so forgiving. It seems they grow, then pause when the weather turns cold again, then slowly go back to growing when all turns warm again.
So lovely to hear from you again, and see how life is at your end. I can only thank the Lord, for all the blessings he daily bestows on us.
Thank you for your lovely post!

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Cool ! They asked for a cafe ! You did a great job with the renovation " new look " ! Looks like a great place for all to hang out . Do they do coffee to go ? :)
More light in the kitchen will be so uplifting and enjoyable. I love it how sunlight brings out the colours on Tilda fabrics :)
Faux plant ! Great wording ! We have those as well, the latest being faux bougainvillea.
Letting a longarmer do that white quilt is super ! So many good points when getting quilting done by a longarmer.
Looking forward to seeing the fruit from the pomegranate.
Trying sourdough is on the list for May :)
hugs, take care,

Donna P. said...

Good Morning Jennifer. Another wonderful post.
I love the Dresden Plate quilt you made for Blossom. And you are so right - quilting an all white quilt would have been difficult - Praising God how He steps in.
I have managed to finish 2 quilts recently. My middle daughter, who we're visiting right now, has a large dining room table and that's where I'm able to finish them. My oldest daughter has asked me to repair her first quilt - close to 20 years old. I told her it would be awhile. She's fine with that thankfully!
We've begun traveling again - visiting family, attending a wedding, seeing old friends when Mike and I served in the Navy, going to a couple of RV rallies, seeing more of our country. Thinking about settling down too.
Blessings to you and yours

C said...

always inspiring and refreshing to read and see your world and insights

thank you for sharing yourself with others- you touch so many more lives than you can imagine.

you make the world a better place.


Anonymous said...

I so enjoy your blog. Love Blossoms quilt and can’t believe so much time has passed. Thank you for sharing your love of Christ with your readers. What a blessing you are.

Anonymous said...

The quilt is beautiful. I love how God prepares things ahead of when we will need it. It’s awesome. And the Cafe you set up for the littles is adorable. I would have loved something like this when I was their ages. I’m glad you are still blogging, even with less frequency. I look forward to each one.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely, inspiring post ! Thank you for sharing!

Mary B said...

Such a lovely quilt! I can't wait to see it after its longarmed. So many times, God is preparing things for us and often working behind the scenes. I'm always amazed at how He knows just what we need and when we need it. My April has been a good one, but busy. I've had to deal with multiple repairs to our home and that's ok. My husband passed in October and I'm glad I didn't have to deal with these things until now. Once again, Gods perfect timing. Bless you and your family. You are all in my prayers daily.

e said...

Lovely, ordinary days. They are the best. I would have loved the cubby when I was a child. How fortunate the grandchildren are to have their imaginations encouraged by you.

nonnie said...

Jennifer, you and I are kindred spirits across the miles. I am in the same place in life that you are right now. I'll be 70 in september. My health is taking a turn downward and I struggle to have the energy and strength to do what I am accustomed
to. Your thoughts and prayers are so encouraging to me! It lifts my spirit to hear how someone else is going through the same thing as I and how you deal with it.
Bless you, my friend ,for taking the time and energy to write about your days and
your relationship with our savior. It is such a blessing! Thank you sincerely. I have followed you for years and so enjoy the photos you send. Very uplifting!
Love to you and yours,

Tammy said...

Dearest Jennifer,
I have missed your post. But it was worth the wait to get the beautiful new design, new posts to read and lots of new pictures of all the projects you have been busy with. So very productive.

Barbara said...

Jennifer: thank you for you newsletter today. It was a wonderful reminder to Pray and He will provide. Such a wonderful comfort in this season of life.
You have helped me also to downsize on some things and uncluttered with an open hand. Our granddaughter is getting married and it is a blessing to us both to have her take things that she can use in her new home. It does take a weight off that sometimes we are not aware of.

Anonymous said...

It is such a highlight to my day to stop by. My husband and I find ourselves busy with aging parents, children, grandchildren and the daily cares of life. Thank you for always reminding us to look to the Lord for help. Our God does indeed see, hear and respond to our prayers and needs. I find that I often have the desire to do so much but the motivation to do so little. It is a delight to see all that you accomplish and encourages me. I pray you have a wonderful day. Blessings, Patty

Bailey said...

The quilt is beautiful! Blossom is going to love it. I'm still not doing anything. My vertigo has been causing me lots of problems. I feel okay if I don't move around. I spend my day working on my laptop. My feet continue to cause me a lot of grief. I just ordered a new type of cream from Amazon. Hopefully it will make a difference.

Bailey dog turned 1 year old on March 13. He has stayed small which is different for us. Our other two babies were much bigger. He loves his daddy so much.

Love hearing all that you are doing and seeing pictures of your home and garden. I miss our garden and fish pond but neither of us have been up to maintaining either for some years now. Norm spent the day picking up sticks in the yard and is paying the price now with a sore back. It's no fun growing old.

Thanks for sharing your life with us!

Julie said...

Gosh that quilt is stunning dear Jennifer - what a well treasured heirloom that will become to Blossom I am sure. Your cafe looks delightful ... those crochet edge teatowels - what I wouldn't give to sit & play right there!! How special. I am pleased you now have more light coming in your kitchen window. Wishing you a blessed weekend my dear friend. xx

Quilting Babcia said...

The quilt you created for Blossom is a classic beauty that she will treasure always. I'm glad that you spared yourself the added tension of attempting to hand quilt it in a short span of time. It's hard sometimes to let go of control over the entire project and we overburden ourselves in the process. As I age I'm having to let go of some of the tasks I always assumed I "had" to do. Ordinary days now are slower, but like you I find joy in creating baked items for my husband and a few members of our church family who are no longer able to do so for themselves. A bit of quilting takes any day from ordinary to special! Blessings to you this early spring day!

Sandy in WA said...

Thank you for your continued stories about your part of the world. We are Blessed to have your comments of life in Australia and your encouragements of God's love. We so enjoy your posts and love your recipes and sewing as well. Your new quilt is fabulous & will surely be treasured. Please continue sharing your love.....

Jenny/Texas said...

I, too, so enjoy your posts! Thank you for taking the time to write and encourage. So very true and a needed reminder to pray about everything and when we ask, God will make a way…even when there seems to be no way. He knows what things we have need of, “before we even ask!” So wonderful. Thank you for encouraging our hearts.

Angie in SoCal said...

I loved this post. It had me smiling all through the reading of it.
Angie in SoCal

Anonymous said...

Oh Jen! You are so inspiring! Isn’t it amazing how the Lird directs our steps and provides in the smallest ways? Here in the states in the “ thumbs up” of Michigan , which is shaped like a mitten ,
Winter has been hanging on. We actually had snow two days ago and today I can wear a r shirt! My friend Mike came over 200 miles to till my garden for me. I can get cool weather crops in like potatoes, beets, peas, and onions. The rest is started in my mini greenhouse sitting in my window behind the table.. tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli, and flowers.. lots of them. I will try planting Canterbury bells this year.
I understand your anxiety trying to finish Blossoms quilt. I have been crocheting a lace cardigan for my friend in Georgia and it is giving me fits. I am giving it up to God as he orders my steps. Today between raindrops Mike and I are going to pick up a unique dresser from my friend Colleen that lives in an old parsonage and this was original to the house. I am sooo excited! It will store some of my needlework projects. God has given you so much talent, not only with your needlework but your words! You should write a book!
Blessings Abundant!

Anonymous said...

Wow you've been busy! You are a fantastic grandma and so lucky to have the kids so close. I had a grandmom like you but she passed when I was 11. She sewed my dresses+ made my favorite food, no cookbook left. I glad we are making recipe a book again. Something to leave to your grandchildren. 😄

Anonymous said...

Thank you again, especially for all the glory to Him who sees before we even know to ask! Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging us all. I love when you share recipes I've never heard of here in Texas but I am a baker at heart so always wanting to try something new. I really love that the grands thought of the cafe idea and you made it happen to the benefit of you as much as them!

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Dear Jennifer, Thank you so much as always. Your quilt is beautiful!! Wowee!! God is good all the time. My back has been locking due to herniated discs so I have had had to take a step back. I have been listening to Lance Lambert on u tube and yesterday went to a Bible teaching onPescah by Desi Maxwell also onu tube. He is excellent. Every Blessing XXMary-Lou