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5 October 2015

Daily housework

Finally the book has been sent to the printer and I'm back to concentrating on living this good life. Spring is here, the elder tree and wisteria are full of flowers and many of the migrating birds have arrived and stopped off for a rest. There is a feeling of calm here, housework awaits.
We're in the fortunate position of being able to care for one of our grandchildren and over the weekend, Jamie was here. I love looking after him and seeing him grow. We help him learn and show him the significance of family. Knowing that our help allows Kerry and Sunny to work and establish their life together is the icing on the cake. They're renting at the moment but I have no doubt they look forward to the day they move into their own home. We all know home ownership doesn't come easily. 
Homemade fruit loaf.

Over the weekend I did a some baking and made jelly/jello and coleslaw, cut out my Maggie rabbit pattern and started writing notes for the workshops. I also wandered around watering the garden, did some knitting and cleaning. It was a loose, slow weekend with a nice balance of work and play.

I've just started mentoring a local woman, something I'm thoroughly enjoying, and this week she brought me this beautiful bouquet from her permaculture garden. It's silver beet, kale, garlic chives, calendulas, lemon myrtle and various herbs. The bouquet was very much at home in this old preserving jar until it was picked apart and used in various meals.
Last week I was interviewed on ABC Canberra radio for a program about frugal cleaning and it reminded me to write about soaking and brush cleaning again. It's great when we make our own cleaners but there are effective ways of cleaning without using any chemicals. I think we sometimes forget about them because we've been programmed into thinking cleaning always requires a product.
This gentler form of cleaning can be done on clothes just by soaking them before washing. Soaking loosens dirt which is then washed away in the normal wash cycle. It's best done in a top loader but if you have a front loader like I do, select the dirtiest clothes or a garment you've spilt something on to soak in a tub overnight before washing. It does wonders without adding to a chemical overload on your fabrics. The same principle applies to dishwashing. By soaking the dishes for 10 minutes in the sink before washing you'll use less detergent. The other non-product cleaning involves brushes. Using a soft or a stiff brush, depending on the surface to be cleaned, will allow you to get into crevices and remove spills much better than wiping it with a soft cloth. With the cloth, you usually need some form of soap or cleanser. Of course you can add your normal cleanser to your brush for a thorough clean but often it doesn't need the cleanser.

I'm looking forward to the week ahead because I have nothing and everything to do. I'm sure all the homemakers here will know that feeling. There will be a mix of the routine work such as baking, cooking and cleaning but there'll also be sewing, gardening, writing and sitting in the garden under the umbrella. All is good in my world. It doesn't take much.  ♥︎

2 October 2015

Weekend reading

Hanno reads everyone of my posts and everyone of your comments.  We both want to thank you for the lovely warm wishes sent on our anniversary. It's just another way you've all taken up a big space in our hearts.

I didn't have much time for reading this week because I had to re-read my book from cover to cover. That was done by Wednesday and then I resumed my chosen life: working in my home and garden.  Of course, I did take time out to watch the bears at Katmai National Park. It's such a mind expanding thing to do and each time I log in there, I'm amazed that I can see that stunning show of raw natural life being played out in Alaska - all while I'm sitting in my home in Queensland. Apparently the rangers are removing the fish bridge in the next few days so I'll continue to spend some time there watching each day. My timetable returns to normal next week so I hope you have time to come and visit me.

And finally, I have two spots left in the blogging workshop to be held 24 October from 9am - 3pm. The workshop will be here at my place. If you bring a laptop, I'll help you set up a new blog or improve an old one. We'll also be talking about creating titles, taking photos, your blog side bar, comments and enjoying your time as a blogger. Email me on for more information.

Guide to pruning trees
The Makers of East London
Ten dishes you should be able to cook by the time you're 30
Australia's only cassowary rehabilitation centre to close
The recipe for a successful potato harvest – and meal

1 October 2015

My favourite place #13

This week's favourite place photos come from Clarissa in beautiful Port Macquarie NSW, Australia and Bridget in Brisbane, Australia. These places are only a few hundred kilometres apart but the photos are very different. One is a place of quiet reflection, the other is a children's play area.  I hope you enjoy them. Thanks for sharing your photos with us, Clarissa and Bridget.

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Clarissa writes:
We have lived in our home for 5½ years now and it has only been in this last 6 months (after starting my journey towards a simpler and 'real' life) that I have come to appreciate and be grateful for where we live and what we have. We live directly across the road from the beach in Port Macquarie NSW. We constantly battle the strong southerly winds and sea spray. I love to garden and we have attempted several different types of natural windbreaks with no success. Finally we planted tiger grass and it is growing nicely and withstanding the conditions. Hopefully soon we will have enough protection to start our vege garden out the front. 

Our back yard is tiny and doesn't get much sun (but that didn't stop us from trying for the last 5 years without much success), leaving the large front yard our only real option. Hubby has dug up around the perimeter of the fence in preparation for a hardwood edge and some lovely new garden dirt and compost ready for the upcoming growing season. I love to sit out the front in the sun watching my little ones play and imagining all the wonderful times we will spend in the garden, teaching and learning, getting all grubby. Being able to provide for my family and appreciate the simple things in life has found a new meaning with me and now I know that I can find all these things in my own home no matter where it is. I have recently started blogging at

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Bridget has sent her husband's favourite place, she writes:
Attached are 2 photos of my husband Michael's favourite place, because he'll never send it in so I must do the deed LOL. We live in the north-side of Brisbane Queensland (near you-well not quite-but an hour south of you). 

I've always had a craft room but he has never had his own room because my craft took over the house LOL. Anyway when we moved here a year ago I said he could have the 4th bedroom as his library which he has always wanted. This is how he has it set up, that photo on the easel is one he commissioned in Hawaii to be painted. It took 16 years before I saw it, as it was boxed up through all our moves over 16 years and we didn't have the space to display it. I often take a nap on the chair that unfolds flat and is quite comfortable if you stay in one position in sleep. We both love books but after moving through 5 states and lugging hundreds of books I told him no more lugging books, only keep what you want and the rest of the books we will buy on kindle. So this is the results of the culling. 

If anyone wants to see my special place, you can see it on my blog under the WOYWW tab.

28 September 2015


It's our 36th wedding anniversary today.  Hanno and I were married in Hamburg in 1979 and all these years later, we're still going strong.

This is what I'll be doing for the next couple of days. I'm reading the book for the last time before it goes to print on Thursday. I'll be back when I'm finished so please come back and find me later in the week.  I'll be here waiting for you.  ♥︎

25 September 2015

Weekend reading

I still have some places in one blogging workshop on 24 October and one writing workshop on 25 October. The blogging workshop is for beginners or for bloggers who aren't happy with their blog. If you bring along your laptop, I'll help you set up or improve your blog.  The writing workshop can be writing for blogs, articles or books. I'll help you organise your writing and move you closer to publication. Each workshop will be held here at home, will run from 9am till 3pm and costs $125. Please email me for more information 

I hope you're got plans to relax and take it easy over the weekend.  It's always a good investment in your health and well being to look after yourself and get enough rest. Whatever you do over the coming days, enjoy it. Thanks for your visits this week. See you soon!

21 vegan freezer-friendly meals
Michael Pollan talking about his book, Cooked. YouTube
The mobile that gives you your life back
Your Microbe AuraCake Bakers and Trouble Makers Lucy Worsley's 100 Years of the WI on You Tube
Baking tips from the CWA experts
Living the simple life in a tiny home
Rice and Vegie Cakes Recipe

24 September 2015

My favourite place #12

This is a weekly feature for readers to show us their favourite place at home. The photos this week come from Jocelyn in Canada and Jill in Australia. Thanks for sharing your photos with us, ladies

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Jocelyn writes:
I wonder how many people's pick will be the kitchen; my guess is it will be the favourite for many of us. The reason is a simple one, as always the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where our food is prepared, where we gather for a coffee or a meal, or make a pot of tea. Such sustenance in so many ways for our lives. But my kitchen is my favourite room for a special reason. I live in the Canadian countryside on a 100 acre farm; here we have chosen to heat with wood. The winters in the Ottawa valley are very cold and our wood stove becomes a focal point of the house for the winter months. The wood stove is in the kitchen and we gather around it; I joke that we hug it in the mornings before the house gets heated through. 

My blog is called Canadian Needle Nana and I post daily about my life here on this land, the birds, flowers, garden, as well as the books I read, my needlework and of course, what I cook and bake in my kitchen. 

I've loved seeing your favourite rooms and here are a couple of photos of mine. Take care all.

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And on the other side of the world, much closer to where I live, Jill writes:

These two photos are of our north-facing front verandah. The wall without the doors keeps the westerlies away and the seats were built by my husband over 30 years ago. The bright colours are courtesy of our daughter-in-law who had them for a while. We live in the Lockyer Valley in South-east Queensland.

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