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5 June 2008

The big picture of simple living

This candle, made of beeswax, was sent to me over the ocean by the lovely Niki at rural writings. Hi Niki!

We have a public holiday here next Monday so yesterday I brought home my work laptop and the new standards manual and I'm not going back to work till next Wednesday. At work I am interrupted with phone calls, meetings and people coming in to talk, so I'll get this project started at home, then go back.

I feel like I'm on a tiny holiday.

But today I'll get reacquainted with my home. I haven't seen the chooks since last week, nor been into the garden, so that will be my first priority this morning. There are also clothes to be washed, bread to be baked and the bed linen needs changing. House keeping is a great leveller. It doesn't matter how many people line up to see me at work, at home here I am the one who puts things to rights, I pick up, wash, clean and sweep, and get renewed in the process.

Generally I do my everyday chores when it is their time but if there is something unusual that I don't like doing, I try to do it as soon as I can. That gives me the satisfaction of completing an unwanted task early on and I don't have to work through the day thinking about doing something I don't want to do. It squares the unwanted out of the way and leaves ample room for enjoyment.

Hanno is still fast asleep now but when he wakes, we'll have breakfast and talk about what we'll do over the coming days. We may well go out! I have an idea forming about him taking me to lunch and me taking him to the movies afterwards. We haven't been out together since we picked up the chickens so it will be nice to take a day off and just float around.

On the crafting front, I'm still knitting dishcloths, I have a lot of work to do (still) on Shane's birthday quilt and I haven't yet started a winter knitting project. I have some lovely yarn to use so I'll have to get onto that soon. My thoughts are wandering to a cosy shawl. Does anyone know of a nice pattern? This afternoon I'll be drawing stitchery patterns for Liz A, Lightening and Ann so I'll check out their blogs first to see what I can find to include in their patterns.

As usual I'm behind in answering emails. I apologise if you're waiting for a reply, I hope to do some tomorrow morning. I also want to get back to the comments that I haven't answered. I read them all every day but often I don't have the time to reply. Again I apologise. I love the comments and I build up pictures in my mind of the people who comment regularly and each new comment adds another piece of the puzzle. So thank you for your contributions to this blog. The comments here really add a lot to the big picture of simple living.


  1. Enjoy your long weekend! It's so odd for me to think of you heading into winter.

  2. Rhonda, I made this shawl in a lovely cream wool with a variegated purple/blue stripe near the bottom edge. I made it with a smaller hook, so it's a finer "knit." It's gorgeous. Maybe you would like it too. (This is not my pattern -- belongs to the lady in the following link.)

  3. Hi Rhonda-I am using this pattern, but none of the fun little lobsters etc-it is easy to put down and to pick up and just in a simple stitch so it is one of those no-brainer projects to do at the end of the day. Maybe I will put a crochet edging around it when it is done.

  4. Hi Rhonda, enjoy your days at home, catching up with all the chores, big and small, that need doing. On the subject of comments, I would like to apologise for mine yesterday....I didn't mean to imply you'd forgotten you'd posted the previous siverbeet/spinach pie...yesterday's recipe was slightly different, and also had parallels with the spinach and ricotta pasta recipe. I often make my pie with feta cheese, spinach and eggs, another delicious version. On the subject of cost, it's not necessarily cheap to make here in the uk - good eggs are expensive (my local organic eggs are £1.70 a half dozen) and ricotta and filo are also expensive here, not to mention hard cheese. The girls in my local health food shop tell me that wholesale prices, and subsequently retail, have shot up across the board, but particularly flour, rice and juices. All the more reason to have your own chickens and a large veg patch. Happy days at home, Diana x

  5. Hi Rhonda,
    Have you seen the shawl Niki at Rural Writings has made for her daughter Jen. She has posted a link for the pattern a couple of times and I have made one already !
    Cheers, Eileen.

  6. Hi Rhonda,
    Wanted to wish you a blessed day.
    Thank you for posting a comment yesterday about doing a post on your dogs. You have such a kind heart.
    Blessings to you,

  7. Good Morning Rhonda Jean

    I am knitting a shawl at the moment, pale green cotton, ment for summer. I've had the pattern for over twenty years and haven't the foggiest where it came from. It has memories as I started it in wool, for my mum but she died before I could finish it and I didn't have the heart to carry on.
    I now also like to get the least favourite tasks finished and out the way.

    Have a happy day,


  8. Enjoy the long weekend Rhonda, it's a ludicrous one IMO, particularly as the Queens Birthday isn't celebrated in the UK but I love it.
    I do the unpleasant task first thing too. It is so satisfying. I was brought up on the saying 'procrastination is the thief of time' and it's one I try to live by.
    Also I have to tell you that you have really been inspiring me with your garden posts, my vegie garden is so much better tended this season and I seem to have mastered the continuous planting to feed us all the way through. So thank you.

  9. Hi Rhonda, I have made a couple of blankets using various wools and am presently making scarfs using the same method. Unfortunately I give them away before I remember to take photos. The general idea is to alternate plain wool (I haven,t given any thought to what the wool is made out of) with texture or fluffy wool. I use a treble stitch in any way I choose, often depending on the readability of the previous row. In a scaef I would also alternate light and dark with each row but in a blanket you can combine a few rows of darks or lights. The idea is so pretty when executed according to these rough directions that I have friends who can,t stop making these blankets and other friends who want me to teach them how to crotchet just so they can have a go at it. I will try to get a photo of my present blanket onto my site in the next couple of days. Best of luck choosing. Cherrie

  10. Hi RJ
    I like your idea of doing the least pleasant tasks first, so that you don't have to keep thinking about them. I'll take that one board once I shake off this cold and start to get my house back in order.

  11. Hello Rhonda!

    My husband and I recently found your website and are so excited! We are newlyweds (our one year is coming up in August) and very young..embarking on the world! I will be turning 25 this summer and am finally beginning all of the projects I've longed to do. I've always wanted to quilt, so my husband bought me a sewing maching for our first Christmas. Now, I've signed up for a class to get me started.

    We keep chickens, 5 in our backyard for fresh eggs everyday, and have planted our first garden. We are very excited about the simple life and thank you very much for your blog. It has been fun to read :)


  12. I just wanted to de-lurk and say hi -- I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago, and it's such a warming thought to think of you snug in your home, with your chickens, garden, knitting, etc. -- all nice and almost completely self-sufficient with a loving partner. We're not anywhere near that yet, and I don't think that's our exact goal, but we've started with a vegetable garden and I'm really loving it.

  13. Hi, Elizabeth from Utah here...I always feel motivated when I read your blog. It helps me keep my head in the game as a homemaker.

    Take care!

  14. Rhonda, I just completed a shawl for my Jenny, its a lovely easy one that I plan to make at least twice more for me and my eldest daughter. Come for a visit, here's the link:

    I've a photo of Jen modelling it so you can see if you like it and the link to the pattern is on the post as well.

    Go ahead and burn that candle down, I'll send you another pair when you are ready :)

  15. Hi Rhonda , I suggest the TAsha Tudor shawl and the pattern is online free:-) Just google it and you should find it if not let me know and I will find it for you. I made mine in a very pretty red wool but may make it again in an merino or something soft and a bit more lacey. The edging is a bit tricky but worth it.

  16. I'm knitting a jumper with a nice pattern. The yarn i use is from an old jumper which i bought in a second hand shop. The jumper was too big for me after a while and i pulled it out.
    These things are for me a great pleasure in the simple life.

    Regards Annikka from Holland

  17. Hi Rhonda,
    Enjoy your days at home as I am sure you will - did you go to the movies? That is one of my favourite things to do! I have three days off myself and intend to do my housework tonight and tomorrow night so that I can spend the three days cooking, reading and completing my first sewing project since school (wish me luck because I think I may need it lol!). Tamara

  18. Hi Rhonda, I am suffering from withdrawal systems, having been unable to access your site due to a server problem our end. I made a shawl (large rectangle) on those really fat needles with double knit fancy yarn, was really quick. It has a long fringe each end and can be used as a scarf or bed throw. If you would like a photo can send via email. Joy.

  19. Rhonda - enjoy your days off. I love it when I get to spend "free days" at home and the boys are at work. I love being home alone - sometimes ! (not always). I've said it before but I need to say it again - I love reading your blog.

  20. Enjoy your work! I'm a horrible knitter, but I've been trying again this week. I'm doing a square right now, lol. My plan is to applique some felt onto my knitting and make a wall decoration out of it. Perhaps if that works out I might try something more complicated next. :-)

    Christine from the NL

  21. Thanks for reminding me about the long weekend. I was reminded on Monday, but have had a busy week. Last weekend we had to cut wood and hubby had to work, so finally we can go back to our renovating that we try to do every weekend. After a busy week I guess the extra day helps. Our daughter has been acting in a play for three nights, and we have been on two long car trips etc.

  22. Rhonda,

    Do you have anything yet on Esty? I was wondering how that was going:) Please add the stitchings to your side bar. I would love to make something "new".
    I hope you enjoy your long weekend:)

    Many Blessings,


  23. I've been looking at the Tasha Tudor shawl (I googled it) and it looks lovely - especially the edging. I like that better than a fringe. However, I can't find the pattern because every site that google says has the pattern is blocked to my computer somehow and I just get an error message. Please would somebody be willing to send me the pattern in an email? Thanks!xqwph

  24. Jo, I can email it to you. I've left you a message on your blog. Warm wishes, Diana

  25. Hello Rhonda Jean, I wanted to tell you how great the luffa seeds are coming along, I planted them and I have so many coming up it is great. I have a few questions how tall do they get and how far apart do they need to be? Thank you so much for any and all your help. Also if you could answer the question about what you use in your inside trash cans, insted of plastic bags. I am just at my wits end trying to figure out what to use. Thanks again and here is my new email address:
    Sincerely Pam Watts

  26. Rhonda, I love your blog!! I am going to make some soap w/in the month, have to find a good source here in Colorado/or the states for supplies. I thought this would be easy, but I must be doing it all wrong, having trouble. Any ideas? My husband and I are really scaling back, we want to retire very soon.
    Thanks so much for your site


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