Friday, June 28, 2013

Hot Days Ahead

This old house needs a paint job and some other improvements but even in its current worn-out state, has a bit of charm.

Temperatures have been very high here, but the humidity is what determines whether or not I can think or concentrate on necessary tasks. Right now the humidity is very, very high, and at the end of the day I never feel I have done much. Regular housekeeping has kept my time so filled up that I still have not unpacked my suitcase from my trip to Australia, and I have been home for two weeks.

The lawn looks so dry and there is a rain storm coming.

I would like to report on the double-cream I was trying to make with the farmer's milk I bought from the farm just across the field from here. I let the cream set in a deep bowl with a lid, and each day I pulled aside a part of the heavy cream to pour off the liquid that had drained out of it. I did this for 2 days til no liquid was left. The result was as close to the double-cream as I experienced in Victoria. Still, the Victorian double-cream was smooth and shiny and had the texture of natural sour cream, shiny and thick without the whipped-cream look and was not grainy or bubbly in appearance. It was like the soft, spreadable cream cheese except that it did not harden when refrigerated and did not turn liquid when being used unless it was applied to a hot muffin.

The new cherry tree yielded a bowl of cherries that were so tasty,

and I found Pink Lady apples at our Safeway store. Victorians told me the Pink Lady originated in Australia, and often a Victorian friend of rellie would place a Pink Lady in the palm of my hand as a gift. These apples are pinker looking at the farm markets before they are shined, and worthy of having their portrait painted.

I have made progress using up my fabric, and this is one of the pieces I washed and hung outside to dry. It is all cotton, and has a texture somewhat like linen; from Walmart. This is the fabric I hope to use for a sewing tutorial in the future--shortly, I hope. Since it has a denim quality it might make a pretty denim style jacket and skirt, or a dress with jacket. I will be sure and label it as a tutorial when I get it posted, so that those who want to learn to sew can make something easy.

I have been enjoying the paintings of Dorothy Dent. She has instruction books here Above is one of her paintings. I like the way she managed to make the sunlight on the house boards and the rose bush.

In spite of the demands on my time, I am trying to make a new habit of doing something creative every day and something social each day. Today I began a sketch of the apple and went to the grocery store. The grocery store is one of my social centers because all the staff has seen me there often for the last couple of decades.

There is a week of very hot days ahead but I am trying to keep my mind off it and not move around too quickly. My suggestion for housework on a hot day is to clean the fridge and the freezer, and that way, you will also get a nice cool blast of air in the kitchen. Make sandwiches in the evening to prevent having to heat anything in the kitchen, and also cut down on dishwashing on such hot days. If you have a large family, those evening meals can be labor-intensive, plus the washing of pots and pans in a hot kitchen, so sandwich and salads make sense in hot weather.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Egg Cups

A few curious souls wrote to ask me what this unusual shape of dishware was that I bought in Victoria, Australia a few weeks ago. I have been looking for these for decades, and even the Australians did not know what I was talking about, but I found them in several shops on the Mornington Peninsula. One of the shops was in a shopping centre in the town of Karingal. I do not remember the name of the shop, but this floral pattern was featured on many pieces of dinnerware. I would love to be able to order these. There are no markings or names or brands on any of it.

To eat an egg properly, place the wide end of a boiled egg down into the cup, with the narrow end out. Then tap lightly around the top with the edge of the spoon, cracking the egg all around.

Gently lift the top part from the egg by inserting the spoon into the circular crack you just made.

Salt the egg in the cap, scoop it out and eat it, and then salt the egg in the cup, spooning it out and salting the bites as you eat.

You can have either a hard boiled or a soft boiled egg, and enjoy eating it out of the shell, in an egg cup.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Scenic Wedding Setting

My husband officiates at many weddings throughout the year. It is impossible for me to attend every one of them, but a few days ago I was able to go to an outdoor wedding and events center for a wedding. It was close to my home so I took my camera and was very happy that I got there early and could get some photos of the land.
This landscaping was so artistic and I got some ideas for things I would like to do on the land surrounding my little house.
A bridge across the little creek was decorated with hanging led-light balls that glowed more as it grew darker.
The wedding was a western theme, with these candle lanterns.

Another view of the picket-fence bridge.

The gazebo

Closer look at that lighted ball.

Reception tables
Potting shed

From the wedding property could be seen the wheat land with a house roof peeking up over the hedge of trees.

A look at one corner of the land as the light began to fade.

One of the children picked this bunch of flowers from my own garden. I thought it looked like the print of the 18th century painting in the frame.

Getting adjusted to the routine of home is a challenge after being so off schedule for two months. I still have not unloaded my suitcase because I launched right into homemaking. You probably have read at the Pleasant Times blog that Lillibeth has been in the hospital and is recovering here at home.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Victorian Cakes

I like a place where everyone and everything is Victorian, and that will always be true of the state of Victoria, in Australia.

This is true, of these lovely works of art made from cakes...

...and these cookies.


Victorian magazines,


Victorian ads

a victorian sunset

And Victorian shops.


I would gladly pay for some kind Victorian to send me some of these things from a shop called Sweet you for your effort and pay for the product and postage. The china is thinner and lighter than the things we get at Ross or Tj Max.

Here are some items i brought home:





A Street in Kyneton, Victoria

Please listen while you view photos.

My last day in Victoria was spent at Angoby's guest house, where I made a huge batch of scones for Angela. (That is not Angoby's in the picture. It is one of the interesting houses on Lauriston Street where Angela Aaltink, owner of Angoby's lives.) 
The house, above, was a private home but looked like it had once been a shop.
Thse are all private homes on one old street, but it appears that a few of them were public places.

I took a walking tour down her little street of cottages and got pictures to satisfy my fence-fetish.

Of course I found some unique mail-boxes.
The fences usually matched the color scheme of the houses.
Tin roofs were abundant all over Victoria and l liked the color of this one in contrast to the roses on the fence.
The roof photo is for you architect and designer-people.
This one could use some work.

Love the fret-work, wrought iron lace at the roof, and the rose bushes on this one.

Lovely color combo.
Color of fence matches house colors.
This could be anywhere, USA with the butte in the middle of the field. I dont thing they call them buttes (pro nounced beaut, but they look just like the ones here in Oregon.

I could not resist taking a photo of someone's timer collection.
And here is the preacher's wife with me, wearing one of those hand-knit curly scarves that were so prevalent here. She is English and kept me supplied with all kinds of tea, including an almond flavor that was out of this world.

I cannot remember which beach this was that I visited with one of my baby brothers. They are all baby brothers, since I am the eldest of the bunch.
Fabric from Spotlight called Wintella. I sewed it within hours of getting it. I am going to cut it down to a skirt, later.

Scarves everywhere in malls and shops.
Here is one I made to go with my coat, by making a casing and inserting elastic, half the lenth of the strip, which makes it curl.

Me with one of my baby bros. In the book I wrote about our childhood "Just Breathing the Air" is a photograph of him as a little boy, wearing one white boot and one black boot. In a large family, we were just happy if everyone had socks and boots and shoes and did not get too fussy about which ones they were.

And today, even though he is a fireman and an electrician and businessman, this is what he still does. The die was cast.
I got to use a brand new Janome to sew my new dress that I wanted to wear on the flight home. I chose a dress because I did not want anything around my waist to tug at during the long time of sitting. Later, I will make a skirt from it.

One more look at the galahs and the floral colors which I was never able to replicate in fabric.
I took a photo of a quilting magazine at someones house.

Here I am with Angela whom I met when we were both 16. I remember when her mother brought her to our house to see me and how calm and friendly and accepting she was.

I think this is the Balnarring beach. It sure was cold. Another one of my cute baby bros. brought me here but I cannot find his picture.
That is all for now. I still do not have jet lag but I sure do miss everyone so I will have go to back next year and check up on everyone.