Old memories and new patterns

6 February 2009

My sister Tricia travelled up from Sydney yesterday to visit for a few days. We have some family events to attend, the first one being a remembrance for our cousin Stephen, which will be held tonight at his sister Susie's home.

Tricia caught the train from the airport and I picked her up from the train station. I feel a bit removed from it when I'm in a busy place like that, people going everywhere and no familiar faces, or smiles. But there she was, suddenly, that face I've known all my life, we hugged and the talking started. Welcome back.

She had brought a few surprises with her. After going through hers and mum's photos, she collected some of our cousin Stephen to bring to show Susie. Among those photos from a far off distant time, was this one of us. I'm the blonde with the straight hair. I remember those home knitted angora tops we wore. Mine was pink and Tricia's was blue and I called them our fuzzy-wuzzy tops. The inscription on the photo's envelope, in my mother's hand, states Christmas 1950. Then, I would have been two and Tricia, four. We look older than that, my guess is we are four and six.

Another surprise she found was my first prayer book. It's called Pray Always - prayers and instructions for children. The copyright is New York, 1951. Wow.

Some one asked about my little jar cover, made to cover the sourdough (and ginger beer) as it ferments. When you have something fermenting, you want the jar to be open to the natural yeasts in the air but protected from insects. I made a couple of little pure cotton squares to do the job and they have worked well. So above, I've done a couple of drawings that will fit neatly on the top of one of these squares. When I do my next covers, I'll add more weights, four of the size used in the photo is not enough. I think my next covers will be round too, and I'll have buttons or beads hanging all the way around.

Please use the drawings if you like them. If you're unsure about how to make up a stitchery like this, I have written instructions here. They're simple and easy to make and don't take a lot of time, so perfect for a weekend project. The lovely thing about making these little bit and pieces is they become part of the patchwork of your home and remind you every time you use them, the importance of your home and your place in it.

I hope you have a restful weekend. Thank you for being here this week and welcome to the newcomers. The figures increased by ten thousand over the past month. Please say hello if you have the time. I hope you find what you're looking for here.

I'm not sure what happened to the layout of this post but I can't fix it. Sorry. : - )


  1. I did admire your little jar covers so thank you for the lovely patterns to stitch as well. How is the sour dough starter coming along? I've made them in years past but always "cheated" by using commercial yeast which is not the same, I'm told. I'm sure that over time the natural yeasts formed also as the starter had a nice tang eventually. I wonder if one can even get a wild culture going in the winter months? I'm going to try, shall I?

  2. Hi Rhonda, I always enjoy your writings. You make trying new things alot of fun. I think I will rest and take care of myself this weekend. I will see you in your next post. Donna J.

  3. I was guessing you were the one with the curly hair - LOL - but wasn't sure. A lovely sweet post!


  4. Hi Rhonda Jean, just wanted to drop in and say 'Hi'. I've only been following your blog for the past two weeks and I must say how great it is. Have learnt so much already, you are inspiring!!

    I'm a fellow SSer that lives on the Sunshine Coast at the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains, I noticed that you mustn't be too far away. SSers are have a meeting at Pioneer Park on the 14th if you are interested.

    Keep up the great work!

  5. The stitcheries are lovely! I made a cover for a jug the other day, but the beads I used weren't heavy enough either. I need to experiment :)
    Thanks for sharing,



  6. Hi Rhonda, I love the fuzzy wuzzy tops! I sooo wanted one at that age! Have a great weekend with Tricia.

  7. What darling pictures of you and your cousin. And that prayer book brings back memories, too.

    I had a friend from Turkey who used a finely crocheted doily with blue beads sewn to the edges as a cover for pitchers of iced tea of lemonade when we were having lunch outside. A doily is probably not enough for your yeast but could go over a square of pure cotton to weigh it down, without even being sewn to it.

  8. I needed this post a few years ago when I found little nats in my start! Now I cover it with a rooster plate inverted so air gets in... I watch for bugs. :( I like your cloths.


  9. Hokey toot Rhonda! I think I had a prayer book very similar to yours!
    I only had one sister, who passed away very unexpectedly over 6 years ago. Your post brought back fond memories.
    Blessings to you,

  10. Hi Rhonda,
    I hope you have a relaxing time with your family. How lovely the photo is and so nice that you and your sister are still close. My Dear Sister has lived in New Zealand for almost 50 years. I was only a kid when she went. We have only managed to get together three times in all those years yet still we have that special bond. We email and phone each other often. Sometimes I have woken in the night and thought of her and known there was an email. I then have to get up and turn on the comp just to check! I once phoned her in response to an email at 4 am my time. She was so shocked because she had sent the email only half an hour before. Strange I know but I just put it down to sister love.

    Have a great weekend Rhonda, Cheers, Eileen in England.

  11. Very cute ladybug on the flower petal. I have an established starter that I keep on my counter and it gets a regular lid for a cover--but I might have to add one of these because it would add such a nice touch.


  12. Enjoy your time with your sister :)
    I have always loved your covers, and am determined to make some for this summer.

    Lovely post, as always

  13. Hi Rhonda,
    Once again your post has bought back memories for me. My fuzzy wuzzy was pink and I remember there were always little bits of fluffy wool flying up and tickling my nose.

    One of the joys of your writings is not only the ideas for the future but also a reconnection with some of the 'old fashioned' ways and ideas for living frugally and simply. I am sure Rhonda you have encouraged and shown many many readers that there are other ways to live and live very well with the added benefit of spending time being a home maker and also time with family. I applaud you.

    We have a grown family of 5 and now 6 grandchildren. We encourage
    those that are interested to grow their own vegetables and preserve and it is with great joy that we see their pride at using the produce they have grown. With much help from 3year old fingers.

    So thank you Rhonda for keeping us all in touch with 'the good life' and many blessings to you and your family.


  14. "The lovely thing about making these little bit and pieces is they become part of the patchwork of your home and remind you every time you use them, the importance of your home and your place in it."
    This statement of yours beautifully portrays the why of all the little things we do, each in our own home.
    And it's got to be blogger on the layout. Mine did it, too.

  15. I have to say I am not surprised by the amount of increase you have had! Your posts are so informative and friendly, even when you have to vent about something a commenter has said.
    I love the little designs you have offered to us. I think I would like to involve those in a quilt sometime! I think it would just be so unique. Thank you!

  16. Thank You for sharing Rhonda! The photos are sweet!
    I enjoy your posts & thoughts!
    Have a blessed weekend.

  17. Rhonda Jean,

    I love to read your posts. Thank you for sharing the cute photo of you and your sis. How sweet! Have a lovely weekend. Thank you for all of your ideas!


  18. Suzan, I forgot about my starter while I was at work, so it's been thrown out and I will have tos tart again. I'm a bit busy at the moment but will start it again next week.

    Kristy, I'm at Landsborough. Thanks for the invitation but I'm not one for socialising, except with my family and friends. I hope you all have a lovely time.

    Hello everyone, thanks for your comments.

  19. Hay Rhonda, That was me about the covers .Thank you for those cute patterns. You know that idea of them being round is a good one. I started to make a square and it is limited on the jar size.
    My sour dough is waiting patently for me.

  20. Love the pictures - I knew from the faces immediately which one was you!! Your smile and eyes haven't changed one whit. Truly enjoy reading your posts in the middle of the night when I'm up with my youngest. Please continue sharing, I've learned so much.

  21. Dear Rhonda Jean,

    I am from Malaysia, and I stumbled upon your blog as I was looking for embroidery patterns. The patterns you provided are simple enough for a beginning like me. And I never miss reading your post every single day. I don't know what paradise looks like but I suppose your home comes close.

    Warm regards from Malaysia

  22. I don't think 2 & 4 is too far out for those pictures. You don't look too different to my 2.5 year old & your sister looks younger than my 5 year old.

    Thanks for the stitchery patterns, they could be a nice thing to occupy us this weekend & hopefully take everyone's minds off just how hot & bothered we are.

  23. I remember the fuzzy- wuzzy jumpers only mine were little boleros - pale pink and lemon. So soft. I felt like a princess. Your drwings are beautiful. I love the little bug on the flower! Cherrie

  24. I haven't done a sour dough starter in a long time, I love your jar covers, so simple, yet so effective.

    There is a new group called Buddy's that has started on a Friday, I am part of it, but am not the originator, it's a neat thing, you should pop by if you get a minute. We share tips on how to save money, being frugal and just general everyday things.

    Gill in Canada

  25. I resonate with your feelings for your sister. My mum produed my wonderful sister 1 year and 6 days after she produced me. We are best friends, and knw each other through and through. There truly is no-one like your sister and I feel truly sorry for those who don't have one.
    I actually have two more sisters but they were a bit younger than us......I am close to them but not as close. They are close to each other too.

  26. Now why didn't I think of that! A jar cover is so simple and perfect. Another great project for scraps.

  27. Rhonda,
    Oh how I would love to live down the road from you. We are so much a like, I think. I am truly blessed by your blog. Even though it is winter here I can live vicarious through you while you garden. I do have some health issues that keep me from doing somethings and on days when I am "down" I can read some of your past post and they always pick me up. Anyway thanks so much for such a great blog. Oh and I came across a link to an article about how Australian women are turning back to a more home centered life. Here's the link if you would like to read it. http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,24858259-2682,00.html


  28. I love those little jar covers. Thank you for the patterns. I'm thinking a set of them would make lovely Christmas gifts for my sister and mother and some friends, and I'm definitely starting earlier this year on my handmade goal for Christmas!
    Hope you are having a lovely weekend.
    Rachel from NZ

  29. Dorothy FrederickFebruary 07, 2009 5:20 am

    Hello Rhonda,
    I found your blog a few days ago and have been busy reading your posts. Very nice !
    Thanks again

  30. I'm going to make a milk jug cover using your pattern, thank you so much for sharing. I love the photo, I had a fuzzy bolero too, a white one that I wore as a bridesmaid in an early spring wedding RosieB :)

  31. Couldn't find a regular place to email and just wanted to say that I hope you and your loved ones are far from the wildfires we're hearing about in the States...sending positive energy, and thanks for all you do!

  32. I was inspired by your jar covers when I first saw them. I went out and purchased some light fabric and it just just waiting for me to work with. I would like to also make covers to place over rising bread and such.

  33. Are you alright?
    I just read of the fires. I hope that none of your loved ones are in danger.

  34. Lovely photo, and your cloth covers bring back happy old and recent memories.

    One Grandmother always had them for covering the jug of milk. Hers were crochetted with heavy beading around the edge. I have one which I kept on a jug on the table, it was so pretty. Recently I was puzzled to find it on the windowsill - my not so little cat had found and claimed it as his own toy!

    Cover and jug now locked away in the china cabinet.

    Thank you for the post on freezing, I picked up so many great ideas and tips.

    Have a wonderful time with your sister, Mickle in Wellington

  35. Hi Rhonda - just wanted to let you know that when my almost three year old saw your pattern with the flower and ladybird, he demanded I print it out for him to practice cutting with! (He's happily snipping away at the petals :D)

    I have crocheted milk jug covers before - for my husband's coffee mug, as he likes to drink his coffee after it gets cold, but kept finding drowned flies (daytime) and moths (at night) in it. Glass beads make the best edging, but little shells work well too - collect ones with little holes in them when next at the beach!

  36. Thanks you everyone.

    Shelle, that's lovely, thanks for telling me. I hope he enjoys his cutting.

  37. What a sweet little prayerbook!

  38. Wonderful pattern!
    I like them very much.
    Greetings from Germany!

  39. Was trawling through these old posts and have now discovered what to do with my old cotton PJ's that are now so thin they have started got holes in the last wash. But they have an embroidered broderie englaise type pattern on and the fabric is too nice to just toss, and the cotton is now thin and sheer. I was going to make myself some hankies, but now I'll make some jug covers too. And as the fabric is white and the embroidery blue they'll just suit my decor! LOL
    Ok so I really don't have decor, just a general colour scheme - if it's blue or white or blue and white it gets to be in my kitchen!

  40. Thank you for these designs.


Comments with links or email addresses won't be published. All spam and business advertising will be deleted.

Children read my blog so I always make sure the information here is family-friendly. I don't publish comments containing links or email addresses now because I don't have time to check them.

All comments in English, please. Thank you.