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7 October 2015

Fruit loaf recipe and a giveaway

This year’s Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair, November 5 - 8 at Adelaide Event and Exhibition Centre, will feature the latest trends including adult colouring-in, textile and wearable art, embroidery, knitting, paper craft, vintage fashion and a stunning array of quilts! I have two tickets for the Fair to give away. If you live in Adelaide and can go during November 5 - 8, make a comment below and I'll put all the names in a hat to choose. If you're one of the readers who can't comment, leave a post on the forum and I'll include your name in the draw.  

A few people asked for the fruit bread recipe shown in Monday's post. It's from my Sunbeam bread maker manual, with a few minor changes.  I mix the dough in the bread maker, then bake in the oven.

  • 375 mls water - depending on the weather and the flour, you may use more or less water.
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon bread improver - I put this in because it's a dense loaf and bread improver lightens it
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup dried fruit
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots - add the fruit 15 minutes before the end of the kneading process
Add ingredients in the order given in the above list. Turn your machine on to "dough", it will take about 90 minutes to mix and rise the first time.  Look at the dough as it starts mixing and if it needs more water, add it tablespoon by tablespoon. 

About 15 minutes before the end of the cycle, add the dried fruit to the dough.  When the cycle finishes, take the dough out, knead it a couple of times, then shape it and sit it in a warm place until it almost doubles in size. When the dough has risen, brush the top with beaten egg, slash the top a few times with a very sharp knife and put it in a pre heated oven at 200C. Ten minutes into the bake, turn the oven down to 180C.  This is a sweet loaf and it can burn easily. Check 20 minutes into the bake and if it looks too brown on the top, cover it with foil until it's finished baking. Depending on your oven, it will take 30 - 40 minutes to bake.

I serve it warm, with butter. The loaf will keep for two or three days in a plastic bag in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy it.

6 October 2015

These things give our lives meaning

Yesterday Meg wrote a lovely and much appreciated comment: 
This post kind of sums it all up for me, this idea of simple living. Making what you can, finding better ways of doing things, giving back to community and recognising the beauty in the simplicity. Reading your book earlier this year set in motion a whole string of changes for me. I was raised to frugality and resourcefulness so was nodding in agreement with most of it, but your writing reminds me to take pride in what I do and to enjoy it. And I made my first batch of soap, which I have been wanting to do for years but have been too daunted by the caustic soda aspect. It was so easy and so much fun, thanks to your instructions. So really, this is my thankyou letter to you. Thank You!

When comments such as these arrive, I am delighted my work has helped someone and that they take the time to reach out and tell me that. I like to be appreciated, it gives me reasons to carry on. Meg's comment encouraged me to write today about how simple life is a multi-faceted diamond. It's making what you can, finding better ways of doing things, giving back to community and recognising the beauty in the simplicity. When lived well, this life isn't just about the physical work we do, although that is an important part of it, it's also about feeling valued and enjoying your productivity.

I think we should all be proud of the continuing stream of work we do in our homes. I'm not talking about the boastful pride you sometimes see. This is more a calm contentment that for you, for today, this work made a difference and it was enough. There is loneliness attached to our work sometimes, because often our days are spent alone or with small children, or out in the workforce, and there isn't anyone to say we're doing okay. Many of us also deal with families who don't express their appreciation. And some of us get so busy with the daily chores, or the combination of chores and paid work, we don't stop to think about our role in the family home. But there is a reason we are working as we do and while some of our motives are connected to thrift, health, sustainability, productivity, ethics and values, there is also generosity, acceptance, kindness, appreciation and pride in work well done. These things give our lives meaning.

Life isn't about working till you drop, we all have to find purpose in what we do. When we find that, it's the eureka moment - much like Meg's, when you feel the need to change and then continue that change every day in many ordinary and extraordinary ways. If you can see passed the work and always be mindful of the reason for it, you'll find it easier to continue. And I hope you feel proud of your achievements and enjoy what you do because how you see your work can make or break you.

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.

- - - ♥︎ - - -

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

- - - ♥︎ - - -

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.  ♥︎

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