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3 March 2008

Slowing down on a rushed day

I'm really excited about today. Today is the day the new Centre opens its doors to the public for the first time. Today will be a day to remember.

My two days off went by quickly and although I tried to slow down, I hurried through my weekend chores so I'd be ready for today. I don't like hurrying because I fail to appreciate what I'm doing or why I'm doing it, but at least I got through it all and now I'm prepared for the week ahead. Yesterday, while Hanno worked in the vegetable garden, I swept, did some cleaning, ironing, cooking, tended to the emerging seedlings, finished off my article for Warm Earth magazine and started casting off the cowl scarf I started a couple of weeks ago. It feels good to finish off projects and although the article and cowl finished on that hurried day, I have taken my time with them and am happy with both.

One of the housekeeping tasks I did yesterday was an important one for me, I made soap - enough for the next few months. Some soaps turn out better than others and this one is excellent. It's creamy and smooth and I know it will cure well. I used the same recipe as that in the soap making tutorial (in the side bar) but I didn't have enough rice bran oil so I made up the quantity with a very nice Australian olive oil. It made up 12 large bars of soap and despite giving some to my boys, there will be enough for Hanno and I for a few months.

At 1pm, Hanno came in for lunch and I sat with my knitting to watch the first cricket final. India won! Pfffffffft. As I sat there knitting away and watching the cricket I formulated a plan for my birthday. I will be 60 next month and I want to mark the occasion in a way that suits how we live. There will be about 10 people here and I want to have a lunch in the back yard under the shade of the fig and pecan trees. I'll serve vegetable soup with tiny herb dumplings, hot home-baked bread with homemade butter and salad with sprouts, garden greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, boiled eggs and local Maleny cheese. Dessert will be a brandy and coffee cake with local cream. I think that at least 50 percent of the lunch will be produced in our back yard, about 25 percent from the local area and 25 percent from sources further afield. I'm looking forward to being 60, as it will start a new phase of my life, and to celebrate the day with my family and a few close friends will make it really special and something I'll remember for a long time.

And now I must have breakfast and get ready for this day. This is one to remember too. Thank you for stopping by today, thanks for Sharon and Lorraine for organising these incredible swaps and thanks to all the ladies who sent in photos of the wonderful tea cosies.

These are the three oils I used yesterday for my soap.

My trusty soap mixer.

And the end product. I'll have to tidy up the bars of soap when they cure a little. I needed to get them cut before I watched the cricket.


  1. Hi Rhonda, thinking of you today, and sending blessings for your new "home" Diana x ps: please share the actual date of your birthday!

  2. Hi Rhonda Jean :)
    I hope that this day is a wonderful one! Thanks for letting us share it with you a little through your notes here.

    I love your ideas about your birthday! It is a joy to read that you are looking forward to your 60s - knowing you, they will certainly be fun! Love, Q

  3. Hello Diana, thank you. My birthday is April 15.

    Hi Quinne! :- ) Thanks.

  4. Hi Rhonda,

    As another green blogger, I so appreciate that you are making soap and growing food, and keeping alive the knowledge of how to do those things. When market transformation really kicks in and we can't use fossil fuels the way we do now, MOST of us will need to learn the skills you already have. I just planted more food in my garden today :)
    Alison Wiley
    Portland, Oregon
    Diamond-Cut Life

  5. I wanted to wish you well on your new opening. I'm sure it will go great and the many people you help will be glad of the service. The soaps look very nice too. :-)

  6. Congratulations and best wishes on your new opening tomorrow! What a blessing for your community! I am going to try to make some soap one of these days! That is one thing I have always wanted to try! Take care!


  7. My fiance and I made soap using a combination of your instructions and a book we had. You can check out our results at our blog

    Right now we are letting it cure but can't wait to give it a try!

  8. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I like slow days too. I hate to be rushed.I at a point in simple journey where I can go at my own pace.

  9. You have a wonderful plan for your birthday-wish I could be there!! Sorry about the cricket match.

  10. Hi Rhonda Jean
    Yes I too made soap recently from your recipe ( i think there was a mistake in your F to C calculation but I can't remember it was something like 140F when it should have been 120F or something similar). Anyway I figured it out OK so it was fine.

    My question was, how exactly do you tidy up your soap? Mine is about 3 weeks old and looks a wee bit messy. Sometimes when i've turned it over to dry it evenly a few little bits and pieces fall off. Sounds quite funny actually, gosh hope I haven't done it wrong now....

    But how do you get your soap looking better on the edges and sides?

    thanks and sorry for waffling

  11. I hope your sons appreciate you!! I just burst out crying reading your post just so reminded me of the love of a humble home and simplicity that my mother imbued in me and makes me miss her so..
    Would love to make your brandy and coffee cake, is your recipe here? I have been eating incredibly healthy lately but I think a brandy and coffee cake to celebrate RJ's birthday and wonderful blog would be a great thing to do.
    Thanks for sharing your life and inspiring the minds and hearts of what seems to be a very large community!

  12. Thank you so much for being such an inspiration, Rhonda Jean. I started making soap in December after reading all about it on your blog. I use different recipes, but I was motivated by your tutorial. Now I'm even selling some, which is a wonderful thing since I'm a stay at home mom!

  13. I aspire to making my own soap some day. Ummm, were the objects in the first picture pancakes or soap? I was a bit confused, thinking hmmm that's an interesting shape for soap! Hope today is a special one.

  14. Hello Rhonda~ I love the homey idea for your Birthday Party....can I come? (LOL) You are truly a joy, and those who will join you for your day are surely blessed to have you in their lives.
    I learn something new every time I visit, and seem to make a point of 'bookmarking' so many of your wonderful ideas. My, my! I have enough to do for years and years.....each of the daily posts is a treasure.
    You are very special and thank you for sharing your life with us all.
    Oregon, USA

  15. HI Alison, welcome.

    I'll have a look soon, N & J. I'm really pleased to see others making soap.

    Jennifer, the temp of the oil and the lye just need to be the same when added. I usually do that around 50C, which I've just checked, and you're right, it's 122F. I'll have a look at my post and change it. Thank you! I like the rustic look of cut soap but you can tidy it up with a small sharp knife or a hot bread and butter knife - a knife dipped in hot water. Going over the soap with a hot knife, or trimming with a sharp knife, will take off those rough edges.

    Awww Bella, that made me smile. I think my sons appreciate Hanno and I as much as we appreciate them. We are a strong family. I'll post the recipe for you soon, maybe closer to the day.

    Tracy, thank you. I'm so pleased to read you're selling some soap. That's wonderful!

    ruralaspiration, they are pikelets - little pancakes. LOL!

    Carolyne, thank you. I'm pleased to be able to share with you. :- )


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