Monday, May 31, 2010

White UFO's

We all have them.
Unfinished projects that we keep moving from place to place,
vowing to complete them, adding them to our "To Do" lists.

This is one of mine.
I taught quilting and made fabric projects for a couple of decades.
I used yards and yards of batting, warm and natural, polyester, you name it.
After each project there were irregular shaped "bits" left and I stashed
them away in a box in the garage. One box became two, and as it
headed toward three I decided to take action. For several evenings
I rotary cut all the bits into squares. Eyeballing it, not overly concerned.

I started stringing the squares onto some linen thread and
every so often added small vintage silver glass balls
from Germany that had been around awhile.
I figured it would make a great holiday garland for my
all white house. I felt good about recycling.

I got to about here and then piled the leftover squares into this box.

Where they sat for the last two Christmases.

Until last Thursday. I started to move the box to another spot and thought
to myself. Enough. Finish the darn thing.
Turned on some good tv and after several hours, I ended up with....

Three very long garlands. All knotted and beaded and ready for
Christmas 2010. One more thing to check off the "to do" list.

Accomplished * Completed * WooHoo!

What is on your list?

Please join everyone for the 50th White Wednesday
hosted by Kathleen at
Faded Charm
Congratulations Kathleen!

also linking to Woo Hoo Wednesday
over at Always Nesting

This is where I work

I'm really pleased to open the new series of work space photos with Margy's place in Canada.  This, my friends, is spectacular!  Margy writes:

"Hello from Powell River, British Columbia, Canada. I live in a float cabin about twenty minutes by boat up Powell Lake. We bought it in 2001 as a summer cottage, but now that my husband and I are retired, we spend about 75% of the year living here. We

Sunday, May 30, 2010

More than Soldiers

From the Morning Observer Washington Pennsylvania

"Venetia Sept 21, 1942- Nearly a year ago, Mrs. Robert Rennie knit
a sweater during the Bundles for Britain campaign,
and before she turned in it to the local committee,
her son David put a note in the pocket.
Last week David received the following letter from England:"

All letters were being inspected and opened.
It is dated August 17, 1942
It was my father David , who received this letter.
My Grandmother Nettie, a schoolteacher, had him
write the note to a child far away trapped in the throes of war.

"Dear David,

"Just a line to thank you for your very kind and thoughtful note which you put in a little jacket.

"Of course, you wish us a Merry Christmas, but we have just received your little message and it Aug 16th. As you ask for a reply, I am only too pleased to write on behalf of my daughter Sheila who is just beginning to write. Of course, you will understand - she will be eight in October. I thought I would answer for her, as we have suffered terribly in this war.

"But now your country is at our side. We were ever so pleased when America came in to help get it over. Air raids are dreadful, but we still carry on just hoping and praying for that day when Peace comes.

"It was ever so nice to read those few lines from you - how thoughtful. "God Bless You." I have just brought Sheila back from the country as she was evacuated away for 11 months, suffering with a nervous breakdown owing to the air raids. But she is getting along nicely now and we are ever so pleased.

"If you care to write to us, we will sure be proud of our American friends. I do hope you get this letter.

"Cheerio and good luck from,

"Miss Sheila Luxon
153 Solebay St
Burdett Road, Mile End
London, England "

Many more than soldiers and their families should be remembered
today. Thousands of children carry the scars, fears and horror of
wars. Bearing these as medals of honor, of their survival.
Memorial Day 2010
Remembering and praying for Peace.


Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day

I cannot visit those who are in my memories.
I live too far from the graves of my grandparents;
too far from the park and my brother's gardens, where my parents wished
their ashes to be spread. The weekend always gives me pause,
as I watch AMC and TCM soldier movies,
as I think of the sacrifices all nations have made.

I was going to post Navy shots of my Dad, but I detoured into the
thoughts of my folks and a memorial to them, then detoured again as I
thought about how I always feel them watching over me.

Thus, the angels,
that surround me physically and metaphorically:

I hope you are all able to be with your families this weekend.

Remembering all the angels
in my life and in yours.


Real change is coming

I think we're are gaining ground.  There has been a shift away from the purchased conveniences of modern living, women and men are beginning to see the light and more and more homemakers are returning to older and non-commercial ways of doing the house work and cooking.  It does my heart good to see how many younger women and men are expressing an interest in home cooking, knitting, mending,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink

This is the last set of photos in the kitchen sink series.  We have some really interesting photos coming in for the new series so I think you'll like that too.

Today we have Pat's kitchen in Oregon.  She writes:
"I have enclosed some pictures of my kitchen in Corvallis, Oregon. As you can see, itt is a small kitchen, but one that I find to be efficient and cozy! I love chickens, but do not

Friday, May 28, 2010

DJR's Spaghetti Pot

Noticed my Dad's spaghetti pot the other day.
He loved this pot and brought it clear across the country
to give to me. He told so many people about his special pot.
I decided to make, well, spaghetti..
Should not talk on phone while cooking or you have
boil over...oops

Decided to make a version of "fresh taste sauce" I saw on PBS last week.
I did not write it down, just tried to remember what they did,
so I don't know how close I am to their recipe
but here is what I did.

Why Dad loved this pot; the built in strainer.

It tastes very fresh, is very inexpensive to make,
and without the excessive prep needed
of other homemade versions I have tried before.
Get your water boiling:

2 cans of crushed tomatoes or 1 ( 28 0z) (Muir Glen)
I couldn't find crushed that day so I used
diced and ran them through my Todd English Pulse Thing.
(Just make sure the first ingredient on can is tomatoes, not puree, or
that means the tomatoes have been cooked already)

about 1/3 of small onion grated, yes I said grated, that way you
have subtle onion flavor not bits of onion
2 Tb butter (real butter)
1/4-1/2 tsp oregano you decide

Saute the grated onion in the butter slowly until golden, do not let brown
add the oregano and about 1/2 tsp salt
add 2-3 large pressed garlic cloves

Add tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar

While tomatoes simmer gently, get spaghetti going.
I used the thick old fashioned kind
Right before serving add to sauce some good olive oil about 1 1/2 TB
Then add about 5 large leaves of basil. ( chiffonade)

Toss about a cup of the sauce with the spaghetti.
then pour the rest on top to serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

You could have simmered this on the stove
for hours. Don't tell, I won't.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Home cooking the old fashioned way

I'm at a loss to understand why foods go in and out of fashion.  It seems that people get sick of one thing, then go on to the next.  I'm the opposite, if I like something, I like it forever.  Is the TV program Masterchef only in Australia or is it in other countries as well?  Here in Australia, it's revolutionised the way people cook and has made cooking popular again.  I think that is a

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink - UPDATED

This is the second last kitchen sink post, so get ready for a new series. I want you to send TWO only photos showing your work space - that could be in your home, where you work outside the home, in the garden, on your farm, at school, or, for all those lurking blokes out there, your shed, garden or garage or where you go out to work - it could be the cabin of a big rig or your office desk.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Take two old codgers and a chain saw

Roots from the palm trees are invading our backyard drains and after thinking about it for some time, Hanno decided to take action.  He called out to me to come and help him.  I walked outside to see a long rope tied to our fig tree, the other end tied to the middle palm.  "I'm going to cut the palm tree down, you hold the rope so it doesn't fall on the shed."  So I was in charge of stopping a

Monday, May 24, 2010

Running on optimism

Every morning, on that short walk over dewy grass to our chook house, I am usually aware of a feeling of acute optimism and hope for the day ahead.   I bend down to pick up a brick to keep the gate open, unlock the door to the coop, remove the block of wood that stops rats and other night visitors opening the food hopper, then call the girls to come out and greet the day.  They wait at the gate

Bursts of Color and Kisses

Another unusually cool day and the winds have calmed,
so my pups and I visited in the garden.

Howie and Justice
They really are good pals

Baby Gardenia

Fragile succulent bloom

Pink Silk Blooms

Love them now, but when they drop and turn to mushy clumps
I will curse the tree.

Hummingbird and Ant Heaven

Favorite Yellow Roses

Firecracker Manzanita

Trumpet Vine

Simple Little Oleander

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What led you to your simple changes

When I started living more simply I didn't know what simple living was.  All I knew was that I didn't want to work and for me that presented a dilemma.  You see, I am a working class girl.  So if I wasn't going to be working, what would I do?  It was important that I continue to work in some way so I was really pleased when I realised that I could change the way I lived by working in a different

Saturday, May 22, 2010

being Ruby

If you haven't already visited, please go visit now, right HERE.
I have Being Ruby on my blog roll, but you may have missed visiting
this wonderful site. I promise you will be thrilled.

Do not stop only at the recent post, scroll down and go to older posts
to see all the magic Julie creates. No prejudice
involved, yes, we are friends, but I loved her blog before we ever chatted.

I was just going to write that the fifth photo down today is my favorite...
but the man in days end...perhaps he is my favorite?
Then there are the roses and the grasses from prior posts.
Oh, just go visit and select your own favorite, and maybe you will
even win one in Julie's giveaway!

button over there to the right

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Making your life your job

In with a lot of other emails I had one from Ceri through the week.  I asked her if it was okay to answer in a post because I think this is something many people struggle with.  To summarise, Ceri wrote that she and her husband have just moved from Dubai to Cyprus in the hope of living a simpler life.  She writes:  "What I would like to have some ideas on are  how to adjust and not feel guilty

Needing Levity

SO, after the seriousness of the last post we need a wee bit of levity, so here it is...
After the age of 50, never EVER ever, buy a small 10x magnifier even if it is only
$2.00 at Big Lots.

I finally left the house after 10 days confined to couch and bed to run some important errands. Had to mail care package to homesick darling daughter. (Earrings and necklaces Mama had made for her, and some fun new spring makeup - darn HSN at 3 am.)

Also had to stop by bank to deposit funds for darling daughter because cleaning crew came through her dorm room, to clean the other empty rooms and ignoring the fact that she obviously still lived there removed everything outside of her room. $50.00 worth of food in fridge, shower curtain and liner, toilet brush, plunger, all the TP, her teakettle. There were signs posted everywhere in and out of fridge that they ignored and took it all Hannah has to replace everything since she still lives there through June! Darling daughter and I contacted the proper people and she can fill out forms in triplicate and will receive reimbursement sometime before her graduation in 2013.

But I digress, the 10 x magnifier... So after those errands I popped into Big Lots and while looking for new hairbrush saw this little 5" round magnifier mirror. It had a huge sticker across the middle so you really couldn't see into the mirror. Those pesky little chin hairs that Other people suffer from, I assumed would be easily seen in this mirror, and hey, it was a couple bucks.

Came home, tossed it on the counter and a few hours later removed the sticker from the glass and took it over by the kitchen window and.............OMG! Pores the size of moon craters! Broken capillaries rivaling the Mississippi Delta, a Sherwood Forest of chin hairs. Darn thing did not even break as I dropped it into the sink in dismay. $2.00 worth of angst, teen sunbathing remorse, genetic heritage frustration.

This serves you fair warning or cause for stampede to BL for this 10x mirror. Everything you always, or never wanted to know about the landscape of your face.
They're right by the hairbrushes, they're blue, they're $2.00 - just in case you wanted to know. : }


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Life in the slow lane

We went to the shops yesterday - a trip to the big mall down on the coast. Gulp.  Hanno jumped at the chance to come with me, he's been at home alone while I've been at work these past two days and there was a big electrical repair job being done in our area so the electricity was to be off from 8 am till 3pm. I needed to buy provisions for some of our homeless clients. Now that winter is

Alice Kae

Today my Mom has been gone 7 years. I've been struggling with what to write about Mom because our relationship was complicated. That is putting it mildly. I can hear my close friends saying "duh".

I loved Mom and she loved me, but that does not guarantee an easy relationship. I tried to write on Mothers Day but the day came and went. This morning I noticed the date and thought, it's time. Time to pay homage but to do it with honesty.

Still blocked, I stepped away from the computer to get some tea and as I walked through the living room, I was shocked to see the rainbow display. I have talked about these in an earlier post, but I have never had a display this time of year and never to the degree that you see here.
The enormous rainbows inexplicably covered every wall and surface from ceiling to floor.

It gave me pause. I have been know to wax poetic on occasion, so bear with me here please. Suddenly I felt Ma around. In fact I felt her screaming "listen to me, pay attention. This is for you. Remember me well"....and the tears began to flow. The good tears, the ones the rainbows bring. After the storm, when so much has been lost, appears the rainbow, begging to be followed to a better place.

Suddenly my dilemma was a non issue. I loved Mom, she loved me. Nothing more need ever be explained or hashed out or examined.

Mom, I miss you, I love you. You would be so proud of your grandchildren. Be at peace, I remember you well.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Summer White Necklace

With the temperatures beginning to rise, I need white and light necklaces to replace the dark black and gunmetal I normally wear the rest of the year.
I played with this number this afternoon while chatting with friends.
Felt great to work on something after more than a week of resting.

Please enjoy all the White Wednesdays hosted by Kathleen
WW link over there to the right---------->

Thank you for all the well wishes by comment, email and phone.
I have turned the corner finally and today was a good day.
It's all good.

You, me and the kitchen sink

After today's kitchen, I have only two remaining in this series.  I'll start another series as soon as I've featured all the kitchen photos, so stay tuned for some more interesting peeks into the lives of readers all over the world.
Today we peek into Amy's American kitchen.  There is a lot going on in that kitchen with children and guests to feed.  If you visit Amy's blog you'll see some of her

Monday, May 17, 2010

Old fashioned pea soup

I am always on the lookout for delicious thrifty meals that are fairly easy to make but in winter I keep coming back to this old standby that ticks all those boxes - split pea soup.  I think it's a favourite in many families but I thought I'd write about how I make it for anyone who hasn't discovered how to cook it entirely from scratch.
The key to most good food is good ingredients and this is

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gardening grows the spirit

It seems like I've been gardening most of my life.  My mother was a keen gardener and my sister has a magnificent garden in the Blue Mountains so maybe the love of it is in my bones.  I know people who have been healed by gardening.  A couple of people I know who were suffering depression, took up gardening, got their hands dirty, created wonderful gardens and remade themselves in the

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Read this ...

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself.  It is the only true guide you will ever have.  And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that someone else pulls.....Howard Thurman.

My apologies

So sorry for my lack of communication via blog, phone calls, email and comments. A few hours after my garden party last Saturday I began to feel ill and by mid Sunday I was worse and by Tuesday I had pneumonia.

Having gone down this path before, ( at least five times now I have danced with the big P) I know that it is now a waiting and resting game. Not much to be done, but let the antibiotics and rest do their thing. So pj's, lots of fluids, old movies and good books are my companions. The coughing and occasional fevers make it difficult for me to return or answer every call and I log just enough computer time to check in with the kids.

I will catch up next week and hopefully I will soon leave the house, having missed the last cool days of Spring. Meanwhile I've nearly completed all 38 of the Robert B Parker's Spenser series. What a fortuitous time to have begun that challenge. I polish off at least 2 a day. The second time around is equally sweet and has also helped the time pass.

See you on the other side. You all stay well now!

Just discovered this fabulous post by wonderful Sharon : All about our friend Julie. If you have a blog, please add a link to these gals. They're just wonderful!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Answering some questions - UPDATED

Good morning everyone.  It's another beautifully cold morning here, the temperature is 10*C/50F right now and not 6C/42F like it was yesterday.  Our home is insulated so it's quite warm inside but I know when I go outside to feed the animals, I'll need a cardigan or jumper.

Oh, I just wanted to mention that my sister Tricia (Patricia Margaret) sometimes comments on my blog and did so

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Winter, I have missed you

I think snow is falling on the mountains.  Not the rainforest covered mountains I live at the base of but the cold and frosty mountains a thousand miles south of here.  When it snows there, it's cold here.  Nothing brings out the earth mother in me more than a cold afternoon.  It catapults me back to my childhood when my mother, in the days well before central heating and electric blankets,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Back online

Hello everyone!  We're back, and faster.    I'm baking quiches for tomorrow's fundraiser stall so I'll blog in the morning.  See you then.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Offline for a day or two

Hello everyone!  I'm writing this from work because our ISP at home is being changed from one service to another.  This, apparently, even in these day of instant everything, takes a few days. Hmmmm.  Anyhow, I'll be back as soon as I can get online at home again.   I hope to see you all soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink

Dawn Marie has sent in photos of her kitchen sink.  Dawn lives in California.  I love how she describes her kitchen as "more function than fashion".

Dawn Marie writes:
"The kitchen has always been my favorite room.It is a gathering place for friends and family, and the source of memorable meals and festivities. I am a mother of 3 , grandmother of 2 with 1 on the way and it brings me great joy

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I had the glorious good fortune to be born the daughter of Jean St Claire McGrath.  I was the younger of Jean's daughters, my sister, Patricia Margaret, was born two years earlier.  I am who I am because of my mother; all my good traits, and some of the bad, where picked up while watching her live her generous and kind life as I was growing up.  Tricia says I remind her of mum.  That is the

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Different Kind Of Mothers Day

Erin said it beautifully here.

After you've stuffed yourself at the restaurant, opened your gifts,
and enjoyed your Mothers Day flowers, pause a moment and think of
all the women, who will have a different kind of Mothers Day on Sunday.

Yes, there are tragedies everywhere; they seem to arise one after the other,
and you have financial issues of your own.
But I'm asking you, if you haven't already given this year to
help someone else to have a better life or an easier one,
then please consider sharing of yourself:

Tennessee would be a good place to start.

Mothering: verb [trans.] look after kindly and protectively
There are many ways to mother, and the female of the species not only births the world but mothers the world in turn.

The people of Tennessee have suffered greatly this past week, their tragedy a bit lost amidst all the others. They need our/your help.
Your local Red Cross, or the TN Red Cross would be
happy to receive whatever you can spare.

Happy Mothers Day


Thursday, May 6, 2010

It's never that simple

I like to think of myself as a modern pioneer.  There have always been mountains to climb and challenges to test me and even though many mainstreamers may think the life Hanno and I live is a bit extreme, to us, it's just what we do.  It does have its difficulties, there is no doubt about that, and the amount of time it takes to make a sandwich here, if you consider that we make the bread

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gardening, mending and cooking

The weather forecast today is for fine and mild weather.  I am here in my home and I am going to make the most of my time and the weather.  I called in to see a friend on the way home from work yesterday and she gave me some cuttings from a beautifully fragrant pink flowering shrub she had growing in her yard.  At the moment, they're sitting in a glass of water on the kitchen sink, later I'll

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink

We have Rachael's kitchen in Waco Texas today.  It looks to me like another cook's kitchen where a family might gather.

Rachael writes:
"We moved into this house, in Waco, Texas, 7.5 months ago, from Southern California. In So Cal, I had a small kitchen in a one bedroom, 700 sq ft, apartment. Now, we have our own house and I have kitchen that I really enjoy cooking in! Its very simple, so I

Monday, May 3, 2010

On Closer Inspection

First of all a special shout out to my friend Erin-art and gardens.
Those in the flooded areas of TN have had a tragic week.
Although Erin has been affected, she tells me that her family is OK,
but many of her friends and neighbors are not as fortunate.
Would you please keep her in your prayers, and maybe stop on by
her link to the right, and wish them well.

Update: Erin has posted photos of the flood on her blog. I don't believe most of
America realizes how wide spread the damage is.
With a garden party coming up this weekend, it was time to tidy up the
screened porch. While polishing and dusting, I took notice of details that go
unappreciated in the daily to and fro from yard to porch and back.

Vintage raised panel door with chipped paint and a patina
impossible to reproduce today.

A smaller cabinet with three shelves that store the overflow
from the pantry. Touches of green and a treasured lock.

Guarding the door, my angel; every detail worth a second glance.

A cat companion for the angel, with wings of his own.

Z's house on closer inspection.

Please visit all the other White Wednesdays hosted by Kathleen by linking
to Faded Charm over there to your right---------->

Don't forget to visit Being Ruby for a chance to win one of her
amazing photography prints in her Giveaway.

Her beautiful button also over there to the right-------->