Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sunshine


Just when the weather was starting to cool down

... it's back to hot days here.

Not so hot as a few weeks ago, but more humid, I think.

The sunny mornings are lovely, though.



I am enjoying these lemons on our dining table,

but one of them is about to go to make lemon icing,

and tonight another two will go into our ginger beer!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Unsettled


Sometimes in life I feel like the foam on a wave,

tossed back and forth on the shore,

When hormones hit I swing wildly

between energy, depression, elation, lethargy ...

and a tension that makes me want to jump up and down, fast.

(But I don't,because I'm too old for that sort of thing)

Every little decision makes me unsettled, and nervous.


At some times I feel like everything in the world is too sad to bear,

and panic sets in, to keep my sadness company.


But at the same time I tell myself that in a few hours,

or after a good night's sleep,

I'll feel quite differently.


This weekend I'm floating about on the waves,

... sometimes in control, on the crest,

and sometimes floundering in the shallows.


Torrential rain at times today has reminded me too

that we are powerless against nature, inside and out.

(photos not taken today, obviously)

There's only one thing that can ground me, and that's God's word.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

- Psalm 42:7-8



Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

- Psalm 42:11

Psalm 42 reminds me to hold on, to remember God, who does not change.

To look up and praise Him,

whose "song is with me" each night

no matter where I am on the wave.

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the Sunlight


My dropcloth-covered sofa and thrifted table are still making me so happy!

We have had only a little sunshine today, this was the first moment the sun broke through.

A productive day for Emily and I:

fresh bread
Anzac slice
school assignments
beaded bookmarks and earrings for school fete
washing
ironing
&
cleaning
apple pie
cinnamon & honey cake
tart cases

A good day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Slow Simple Pleasures: No 3


I have to confess that Slow, Simple Pleasures have been a little few and far between this week.

On Sunday night I had a very ungraceful fall backwards and landed on some toys!
So on Monday I was sore and sorry for myself.
On Tuesday I felt better but spent the day hanging around at the shops while the car was serviced, then Tuesday afternoons are busy.
Wednesday I took Emily to the doctor then she stayed home.
Thursday (today) I found out that now she has whooping cough.
Laura is still coughing from her whooping cough which began about 4 weeks ago now.

So, another day of re-organising things for the next few days while she completes her isolation period, and another bible study missed today.

Emily will go back to school on Monday, not too many days of school missed.
She has enjoyed doing some crafts today and watching some TV.
But we will miss a big family party on Saturday :-(

Once again I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything while I have a girl or two around ...
I haven't opened my bible all week.
Which I think is why things seem in a muddle.
That and the clutter.

This evening things fell into place a little better.
I've made a few changes in the kitchen.
Things look better and will work better.
Photos to come.
This evening we bought a food processor and I'm looking forward to using it.

And now before bed I will enjoy the slow simple pleasure of
sipping a cup of peppermint tea
and nibbling on lemon coconut slice
with the satisfaction that I have made a little progress
. . . and the kitchen is coming more under control
all the time!

Home-brewed Ginger Beer


We are trying brewing ginger beer for the first time.

This is Day Two of a two-week process.

Ingredients so far:
Fresh ginger
Sugar
Water
Sultanas (for the wild yeasts)

Each day for a week we have to feed it with more ginger and sugar.
I am following the instructions here.

I've been wanting to do this for so long.
Then on Saturday night an older Greek lady at our church brought some
home-brewed ginger beer to a women's night, and it was delicious!

I hope ours turns out as well!

(and I'm also thinking it might be a good experiment
for the girls' school science expos later in the year)

. . .

Edited to add: It WAS delicious, not so fizzy as I expected though. One bottle had a bit of mould in it, so I poured that out, the rest was fine. We will make it again one day!

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Cushions and a Thrifted Table


A new colour for our living room.


It makes the hydrangea cushion sing!


A thrifted table completes the picture.

I bought this with the plan of painting it,
(the top is a bit stained)

but at the moment I'm enjoying the contrast

of the rough/soft grey-white canvas

and the dark wood.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Sofa and a Dropcloth Cover


A new look for the living room.
A sofa, covered in a painter's dropcloth.
Partly sewn, partly tucked in and partly stapled.

Five days later it is still looking good.
As you can see we are having some dark days here.
But the light bouncing off the sofa makes a huge difference.

This was the sofa one week ago, on a sunny day:


(A dark green slipcover I made in stages over the last ten years,
which was never completely finished. It felt soooooo good to throw it into the bin on Saturday!))

I also made a new cushion to go with one I made earlier.


The hydrangea image came from the Graphics Fairy, and I added the text.

I printed it (in reverse) onto bubblejet transfer sheets
and ironed it on to the fabric before sewing it into a cushion.

I think I am more in love with hydrangeas than ever ....
And am definitely loving my "new" sofa.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Slow Simple Pleasures: No. 2


Today's Slow Simple Pleasure for me was a little hard to capture with the camera, but satisfying none the less:


A few minutes stolen from a busy day to play some Irish whistle music.


. . .
What slow simple pleasure/s have you enjoyed this week?
Please share them with us by linking below.
If you missed the introductory post please click HERE

Thanks to those who linked in for the first week last Tuesday!




Sunday, March 6, 2011

Green and Tidy Cleaning Solutions in the Kitchen


After I finished tidying my kitchen I still had some work to do near my kitchen sink.

We've been trying to use less paper towel and for the last couple of years I've kept all our worn-out kitchen handtowels to use to mop up wet areas. This is how I clean without chemicals:

1. Wipe the bench with a wet Enjo fibre, or a knitted dishcloth
2. Dry the bench with a towel
3. Wash fibre/dishcloth and towels daily.

I kept the old towels under the sink where I could just grab one when I needed. But actually I didn't like to grab one, because they were stacked so tightly that if I pulled out one they would all fall out!

Another problem was nothing ever quite made it into the wash daily. The towels are quite absorbent, so we tended to forget to wash them, and just spread them out on the benchtop to dry. (Actually Steve would spread them out and about a day later I'd wonder why they never made it to the wash ...)
I had dreams of buying new sets of handtowels to use instead of the old ones, but that can get quite expensive and towels are quite big. I put it off and put it off ...

Enter my solution:


New white facewashers.
8 for $4.00 at KMart!


To tell them apart from other facewashers in the house I edged them with some beige twill ($1.00/m)
So for $7.00 I have beautiful matching cloths that look great in my kitchen. They sit near the sink on a little dish (to keep them dry).

Another problem I wanted to work on was The Compost.
When my husband makes a fresh juice in the morning (carrot, celery & apple) he collects the pulp in a plastic bag and during the day we put any food scraps into the same bag to go to the compost bin outside. But Steve doesn't have time to get it out in the compost every day, so there it sits in little bags on the kitchen bench. Eww.

So I've been looking out for something big enough to hide a bag or two of compost that will actually coordinate with the kitchen.

And while we were at KMart I found these great cannisters on special:


... for just $6.00 each! They are biscuit cannisters, but I remembered my spice jars and did the same trick, turning the label to the back - voila! Plain jars that match my kitchen. They even go with my vintage electric jug collection.

I've been meaning to do these things for so long, and I'm so glad I did!

Here's the area now:


And it makes me happy :-)

Linking with Anti-Procrastination Tuesday at New Nostalgia.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sparkle


When we saw these shoes in the shop I knew Laura would have to have them.
And they do suit her personality.

But I keep expecting to see her click her heels together and say
"There's no place like home. There's no place like home ...."


Which would not surprise me.
Home is her favourite place to be.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Breadmaking


We've had our breadmaker for 9 months now and I've been thinking about how we've been using it.
We all enjoy a loaf of fresh white bread, usually using the French Bread setting. This recipe has few ingredients and even Emily will eat it (Emily is not a fan of bread!). It also toasts well on the second day.

It takes 3:20hrs so if we want to have it for lunch I really need to plan it and get it going the night before, which is why we don't have it so often, I usually forget till half way through the morning. Ideally I would like to make this bread every Saturday for lunch, so I need to get into a routine of setting it on Friday nights.


During the week we made bread rolls to go with a dinner. I used the plainer of the two recipes in the Breville instruction booklet that came with my breadmaker. They looked ok but were kind of blah to eat. The other recipe contains egg and milk, and I don't like them so much, but the girls do. So maybe I'll try them again.

I've used some ready-made bread mixes (sourdough rye, and multigrain) but the girls will eat the white bread more readily, and my body copes better now with white bread than wholemeal, so the French bread recipe works for us.

Other things I've tried are raisin bread, cinnamon swirl buns and apple cinnamon loaf (note to self, remember to set the "Nuts" function), and they were all delicious.


The thing we use our breadmaker for most is pizza dough. Since it takes only 50mins plus a fw minutes of rolling at the end, I can think of it at 11.00 on a Saturday morning and still have lunch in time, and it makes for a quick dinner too.

One of our favourite simple pizzas is:

Potato & Rosemary Pizza
Base
Grated cheese
Thinly sliced potatoes
Rosemary sprinkled on top.
Yum!

We just had this again for dinner tonight and since I made two, we'll have it again for lunch tomorrow. (So I won't need to start bread tonight after all!)

So all in all, I'm very happy with my breadmaker!

What kinds of breads and/or pizzas have you made?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Slow Simple Pleasures : an Introduction


In an attempt to find pleasure and contentment in slow, simple things, I've decided to start a meme! Each week I will post about some way that I have enjoyed something simple, and I would love you to join in!

Here are the details:
What: a photo and/or words showing or describing something simple that gave you pleasure, or bought contentment.

Some examples:
picking flowers from the garden
baking a cake
reading a book
listening to music
spending time with a child
a candlelit dinner
remembering to look at the sunset

It's slow, so no rush and no pressure.
You've got two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) to join in.

Remember that it's simple, so no tutorials, no complicated posts please.
A photo or a few words is plenty.
But if you want to say more, then by all means go ahead!

Here's the image to use for Slow Simple Pleasures.
Copy and paste (I'll get a code up soon):


Link in below to your actual post, and let others know if you visit their post.
Don't forget to link back to this blog in your post so that others can join in.
And if you don't have a blog, tell me in the Comments section about your Slow Simple Pleasures!

And me? What was my slow, simple pleasure today?
I spent some time with my camera, a head of pentas and my favourite old linen tablecloth.


Zooming in on a flower makes me slow right down and appreciate the details.
I turned one of the photos into the button for this meme.

And now I'm looking forward to your Slow Simple Pleasures!



Slowing Down


In the last few years my reading has included books like breathe by Keri Wyatt Kent and Not So Fast by Ann Kroeker. I love blogs that show an attempt at a simple and slow life, and blogs where simple things give pleasure to the writer.

This week I've had a very slow, simple existence. With Laura at home with whooping cough, there's not much to do, and nowhere to be. Even the 9.00 and 3.00 school runs have disappeared. I've enjoyed spending more time than usual cooking, reading, cleaning and blogging.

It's also made me think about the balance between Slow and Too Slow.

If I'm not slow enough, life becomes stressful, and I start to focus wholly on myself, and getting through whatever comes at me through each day while I keep all the balls in the air.

If I'm too slow, then I become lethargic and lazy and my brain starts to become sluggish and my heart becomes selfish. (hmmm, sensing a pattern of selfishness here)

This is what I'm seeing that I need in order for Slow to work for me:
Direction
Light
Contentment

Direction: without direction I am a boat without a rudder. An email comes in and I'm thrown off-course. A daughter is difficult and I start to wallow in self-pity. Add clutter or high temperatures to that and I'm a complete disaster. I've never been a routine girl so I work best with a few projects for each day and hopefully the daily duties will fit in around that.

Light: when it's hot and we have to shut up the house I find it really hard to do anything. But come late afternoon or the cooler weather when I can see outside ... suddenly I'm filled with energy to enjoy working again in my home.

Contentment: Without it I will be impatient and frustrated when things are slow. I like being at home, and I've got plenty to do here, so I'm never bored. Overall I am content. But I have to admit that I'm not always content when I'm dealing with clutter and mess and dirt.

Contentment comes from knowing I'm in the right place, doing the right thing - whether I am at home or out leading bible study or teaching piano or catching up with friends. Most of all, contentment comes from knowing who I am under God, and living that out where He has put me right now.


My aim was to slow down this year. How have I been going so far?

January: - school holidays
- too slow
- lethargic, lazy and selfish (lack of light and too hot)

Early February: back to school
- almost too busy already but better than last year
(cut out some activities this year)

Late February: whooping cough isolation
- swinging wildly between being contented, stressed or lazy
(external factors/lack of light/sick child at home)

Laura heads back to school in a couple of days so I get a second chance at working on Slow.

Have you tried to slow down?
What works and doesn't work for you?

Cosy


What's someone done to the sofa now?


Aah, the perfect spot to sit and write a poem.

About a horse,
Of course.

A strangely dark, hot and windy day here for the start of Autumn.
(So while it looks cosy, we actually have the airconditioning
on to cool the living room.)