Sunday, April 29, 2012

200th post-progress slowly

This is the 200th post on my blog! I remember DD showing me how to set it up years ago, and how excited I was to get started. It has become a wonderful tool to record my progress towards a simpler life, and I have met many wonderful internet friends as a result.
This week we have been doing all sorts of things -some leading us closer to simplicity, and some look like they are taking us away!

On the positive side, the Myer lemon crop is being slowly processed. I love my Myer lemons, but they are a crop that arrives all at once, rather than in dribs and drabs throughout the year. For that reason, we have a new Eureka lemon in the front garden, because it tends to crop over a wider time frame.
I have juiced a batch of lemons, and frozen the juice in ice cube trays. These become a wonderful resource for cooking, for hot lemon drinks in winter, and for flavouring iced drinks without making the drink more diluted.
I have zested and frozen about a dozen lemon skins.
I have also sliced and frozen slices of lemon.

But there is as many lemons on the tree left as I have processed till now! 

 Our new gas heater has been partially installed. The new heater was a necessity as our old one will be obsolete when the State Government changes the gas supply. We took the opportunity to have a gas heater installed which looks like a log fire, and yet has a 4 star energy rating.
For purely decorative purposes, we have also built a fake chimney and are having a mantle installed.  This is the picture about half way through the process - we hope the installers will come back this week and finish the job.

 I have been using one of my most useful acquisitions -a set of jewellery pliers- to fix a couple of Op Shop necklaces. One of them needed re-stringing, and one of them needed to have some beads removed. I enjoy having a variety of accessories to dress up basic outfits, and I find that having the basic skills to fix something from the Op Shop, or to change it in some way, really is very useful.

On the (slightly) negative side, I have started a second job before my first part time job was finished. This means that for the next 10 or so weeks I have a more than full time job. Obviously this is not really a Simple lifestyle. Fortunately they are both quite complementary positions, and my DD and DH are stepping up to take over some parts of the household work, so that we can get through this time. I anticipate my good old slow cooker will be getting work out over the next few weeks. There is nothing quite so encouraging as coming in after a hard day at work, and finding the wonderful smell of a slow cooked casserole to greet you, with dinner all done.

I find I am already missing my 'quilting day' but I have spent this afternoon sewing, so it is all good so far.

Thanks to all those who have subscribed to my blog and left comments over the years. I do appreciate your encouragement.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Peace of the Done

 "Out of the strain of the doing, into the peace of the done." (Julia Louise Woodruff, 1910.)

Yes, the quilt for my first grand child -due early May -is now finished. What a lovely feeling!  I added a purple and yellow and green binding, which picks up the colours found elsewhere in the fabric.

I enjoyed the quilting, which was a combination of straight and free motion. I do think my skills are improving each time I do this and I am happy with what I achieved.

This is a picture of the finished front.

The prospective new parents are getting very excited about the way the date for the birth is getting closer and closer, and we prospective new grand parents have booked flights and accommodation -not long to go now!

I really like the way the quilting adds so much texture and how it shows up the design so well. 

Now, what shall I start next?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter celebrations at New Norcia and our place

Easter at New Norcia, the Benedictine town which is situated about 120 km north of Perth in Western Australia, was as lovely as ever.

DH and I have been lucky enough to share in Easter celebrations there for the last 3 years. We went up on Thursday, and stayed in the Monastery guest house. The centre picture of the collage is the view of the courtyard garden at the guest house. Other views are of the town and its surroundings. 

We were invited to sing in the choir for the Maundy Thursday and Dawn Easter services. The music was lovely- augemented by our very talented organist/pianist, a cellist and a trumpeter.

Between services and choir rehearsals, we read books. I have a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran pastor who was an ecumenist and a theologian in the 1930s and 40s in Germany -a man of great intellect and courage. We also bought a Richard Rohr book "A Lever and a Place to Stand" which was very inspirational. The two books go together very well and enabled us to do a lot of reflecting on life and faith.

We also walked around the town and its surroundings. Everywhere the country is waiting for the new life to begin, which can only start when the rains arrive. Nevertheless the olive trees continue to grow, and the pink and grey galahs swoop and soar. There is a beautiful display in the education centre of six panels representing the seasons as they are identified by local indigenous people of the Nyoongar nation. The picture in the top right hand corner is of the current season -which is called Makuru, if I have identified it correctly.

There were some very interesting people who gathered at New Norcia for the celebrations. We met some old friends and made some new ones.

We gave ourselves the luxury of not rushing away after the Easter dawn service-which starts at 4.30 am and goes for three hours...we have learned that it really does help to slow down, have an afternoon nap and go home the next day.

When we got home, we shared with our DD a lovely Easter cake made by my talented niece, who is setting up a cake decorating business called Jakes Cakes. It was a very delicious chocolate mud cake and the Easter Bunny, basket of eggs and flowers were all wonderfully done.

 All in all we have had a restful, inspirational and delightful weekend, thanks to the many people who shared their talents to make it so.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter too, and that the joy of Easter can go with you.