Weekend work

24 November 2008
It always seems fresh and new to me here. Like every morning when I get up to a brand new day there are possibilities and treasures just waiting to be uncovered. Hanno and I spent the weekend behind a closed gate again - no one here but he and me.

Most of my work was done indoors, writing taking most of my time, with some baking and cleaning to keep me on my toes, and knitting to reward me. My uncovered treasure on Saturday was the choice of illustrator for my book. I am so happy to have found her. Her drawings have captured for me the spirit of this blog in a charming and original way. We will talk on the phone later in the week to work out ways to transfer that charming originality to the printed page. Oh, and she has eight chooks, which is always a good sign. ;- )

I haven't said anything here but I've been missing Rosie a lot. I think Alice misses her too, or is that just me transferring my feelings to her? I don't know. When we have tea on the verandah I always think of Rosie sitting there staring at me and waiting for something to eat, then I remember and look over to where she is buried. Pets are a lot like family members, they take up a big place in your heart.

So we have starting talking about getting another dog! It's early days yet, and it will be after summer before we think about taking the next step, but the talks are going on. It feels good and I'm sure Rosie would love to know that Alice has a puppy to play with.

I wonder if it is true that you can tell a lot about a person from what they keep on their desk. The photo above, and the first two photos, are things on my desk. While I was looking at them, and hoping for some writing inspiration, I wondered why none of the figures - both the wooden one and the painted ones on the tin, have no facial features - no eyes, nose or mouth. All of them are Swedish, so can my Swedish friends enlighten me.

The rest of my weekend was spent cutting soap, cleaning the bathroom, reading and talking. Shane's girlfriend Sarndra phoned to say hello and tell me that Shane hasn't called because he's very busy. His head chef is away and Shane is filling in for him, plus doing his own job. Sarndra is such a lovely girl. We had a nice chat for about 20 minutes. They will be up here in the next couple of weeks.

There is another busy week coming up. I'm back at work today and tomorrow and that is always a busy time for me. It's a sharp comparison to being here but one I look forward to each week. I hope your week is a good one. Don't forget to look after yourself.

For those who asked for it, here is the recipe for the cake made a few days ago:

  • 180 grams (6.5 oz) butter - room temperature
  • (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 2 eggs - room temperature
  • 300 grams (10.5 oz) sour cream
  • about 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 ½ self-raising flour or all purpose flour + 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

  • Place butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with electric beaters until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat in.
  • Stir in sour cream and milk.
  • Sift in the flour and cocoa and stir until well mixed.
  • Place into greased and lined pan and place in the oven for about 40 minutes.
When the cake is cool, cover it with frosting - melted chocolate, butter and icing (confectioner's) sugar.

ADDITION: I've added some links on the sidebar to sites that may help you with your finances. I want to point you in the direction of freemoneyfinance. My agent told me about this blog a little while ago and now that I've had the time to check it out, I recommend it to you. It's very good.


  1. Could you post the Receipe for the Homemade soap. I looked in older post and did not find it. I would like to make some for Christmas gifts.

  2. Good morning Rhonda,
    Sounds like you had a very nice weekend.Thankyou for the recipe. I'm still going through your older post and copying recipes and such. Collected all the ingredients for the cleaning products over the weekend and will start to simplify on that front soon. I made my first knitted face washer also and yes it is so soft.Thankyou for all the info.
    Blessings to you both.

  3. I love it that you and Hanno are both loving each others company and don't need to get out and have a ladies or mens night out.

    I would ask you to think seriously about a puppy. It might sound good now but you are 60 and Hanno is older and is having some health problems and Rosie too is old. We have one sick cat, he has cancer of the neck and is 8 years old. He has probably one year of life left - he has had 4 operations and they can't operate again - and we got a new kitten. The kitten is lovely, but lively and just keeps on wanting to jump on our older cats back, ripping open his neck wounds. I think that it is easy to think that you want a puppy or kitten but is that is what is 'best' for you all. On hindsight we should have waited or made a different choice ie. waited a year and got two kittens together.

    We got our kitten but now we found out that my son is allergic to cat and dust mites. Ideally we should get rid of the cats (and the dust mites !!!) but we can't. All I am asking is for you to seriously think this through. Could you not adopt an older dog who really needs a good home rather than go through the puppy stage again. It is not my call. Karen.

  4. Sorry that should read Alice is old too not Rose RIP, Karen.

  5. I was thinking about your Rosie this morning. I looked up your recipe for dog food and put together a batch. Well received so far.

    Your soap is lovely. Lye is so much harder to come by here in the sates now than it was a few years back when it could be easily had from the grocery. I've been wanting to soap again. I suppose I shall have to order online, but that has its issues as well.

  6. pardon me...I meant "states"

  7. Hi Rhonda
    I´m Scottish but have lived in Sweden for 30 years so here´s my opinion on why the Swedish figures have no features. I would guess that the tin contained "pepparkakor" - wafer thin gingerbread biscuits. These are an essential part of the Christmas season. The pictures are showing various regions in Sweden and the traditional costumes originating in each region. These are always handmade and must follow the unique patterns and stitches passed on from previous generations. So I would guess the manufacturers reckoned that faces are not so important - besides adding to the cost.
    Your little jointed figure may come from Sweden since woodcrafting is very popular here but it´s not a figure I recognise as traditional.
    That the little reindeer (or elk - much bigger) has no features I would put down to the fact that Swedish design is often very simplistic based on the theory that less is more and gives the imagination more scope.
    Maybe someone else has some other theories to offer.
    By the way thank you for your suggestions about my not-so-absorbent crocheted washing-up cloths. I will test your suggestions very soon. Yes,they were pure cotton and I hope to do many more if they do the job.
    Best regards to you both from our winter wonderland in Uppsala, Sweden - first snows.
    Ramona K

  8. Dear Rhonda,

    Thank you for the cake recipe, it looks fabulous! I will make one up today and it will be a nice addition to school and work lunches :)

    I'm enjoying going through your archives at the moment, I'm hunting down your tips on simple living and budgeting, and it is lovely to read back on all that you have written!

  9. It was lovely to see your blog mentioned in the Sunday Times in WA on the weekend as one of the best 'Lifestyle' blogs. Well Done!!

  10. Thank you so much for the choc cake recipe! I feel a few extra calories coming on :)

    Its many year since I lost my last little dog and I still miss him; I'm sure Rosie will be pleased that Alice has some company.

    Glad to see your soap set ok, did it take much longer than the usual recipe?

    I'm so excited that you have an illustrator for the book, that's a major step forward!

    Your wooden figure is an artist's poser doll, very helpful when drawing movement, and as such, they dont need faces

  11. rhonda - we close our gates for the weeknd too and it makes our home a sanctuary from the weekday world outside! Love you rpost!

  12. Thank you for the recipe! I'm not one of those who asked for it, but I thought the cake looked lovely, so I'm greateful for it as well!

    I cannot tell you why the figures have no faces, but I can tell you these wooden manequines never have them; as RosieB wrote, they're used by artists to recreate poses. I have one as well.


  13. Hi Rhonda,

    What a wonderful blog you have. You offer so much wisdom and advice! I've only discovered you in the last 2 weeks but I just wanted to say Hi! You are teaching me alot of things I have always wanted to know. Can I adopt you? I have always wanted to learn knitting and soapmaking and preserving from someone! :) I've had a go of making your soaps last night and have made 1 mitten..lol I'm very much looking forward to reading though your blog. I'm sorry to read today you've been feeling sad.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I'm finding reading your blog very inspirational and I look forward to living more simply :) Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

    Take care,

  14. Rhonda, good luck with deciding whether or not to get a puppy. We would dearly love to have a kitty here at home, but with the baby due so soon, we're concerned - I mean, what if the kitty (in way of playing, of course) somehow hurts the baby?.. So for now I guess we'll have to be happy with a kitty in our yard and some aquarium fish.

    By the way, the cake recipe looks fabulous. Sour cream cakes are usually great; I'll try it out soon, though I'll probably make it without the frosting.

  15. Here in Amish Country, Pennsylvania, Amish girls will be seen with faceless dolls. They do not have mirrors or pictures with faces. They believe that is a graven image and belongs to God. Only God can make faces. Although I have been to many Amish homes and have seen some of the modern Amish girls having dolls with faces. It just depends on the Amish district they belong to and what the rules are.

  16. Reading your post today makes me feel like I had another weekend... how restful and happy it sounded.
    Love the look of your soap, and will make that cake next weekend.
    Thank you..

  17. Hi Rhonda, I have a very similar blue tin with figures in which I keep my buttons. In fact I thought it was the same one until I looked more closely. But my have Pennsylvania Dutch -maybe Amish - designs.....Of course the Amish don't put faces on their dolls because of the words against "graven images" in the Bible, but I doubt this would influence the Swedes (my grandfather's parents came from Sweden). The wooden figure is the kind art students use to get figure proportions right for different positions and is a tool that doesn't need a face, in fact a face might make it less useful.

    I am sorry for your sadness about Rosie, and I think it will last a while. I have my little miniature poodle Bo who was very dear to Paul. Bo is six years old and I don't know what I will do when he leaves us, but it should not be a question for a while yet....
    Thank you for your continued inspirations for figuring out my life!

  18. Seeing your sweet Airedales' picture made me smile. I still miss our Abner. Aren't Airedales the best dogs? Crazy, yes, but oh so wonderful! Someday, when our children are bigger, I hope for more Airedales.

  19. Oh! You have Airedales! They are so dear.... Whoopie is part Airedale.

    You can't have enough dogs, I say.

  20. lovely new blog entries. you are incredibly inspiring rhonda, thanks for sharing your wealth with the world!

  21. I have made several batches of your soap, and I LOVE it! I will never go back ;-)

    I ordered Lye on-line at
    and I didn't have a problem getting it.

  22. Thanks for the feedback on the soap, and for the info about lye, Aimee.

    Yes, we have one Airedale now. We've had three all up. They are the most loving, loyal and protective dogs. They are assertive without being aggressive and they adore children. They most certainly are the clowns of the dog world. Whenever we take Alice out, people stop to pat her. Sometimes, we've had people stop there cars to come up and talk about Airedales. It's an incredible thing.

    But having said that, we probably won't get another Airedale and instead go to a Welsh Terrier. They look identical to the Airedales but they're half the size. I find it difficult to walk Alice if she pulls on her lead and I feel I need a smaller dog now.

    It's really lovely knowing there are other Airedale people reading. :- )


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