Time to get serious again

22 April 2015
What a grand couple of weeks it's been with my sister Tricia here. I swear we get closer as we get older and at times it was like having another me here. :- ) She helped me with the sewing and crochet for the book and we tossed around ideas about things to add. It's so helpful having a sounding board that you know is sensible, intelligent and creative.  

I wrote last week that Tricia had me select fabric to make some new covers for our outdoor lounge. Well, here it is: green rabbit/hare cushions with blue-grey stripes.  I just love it.  A couple of months ago we had someone in to tile an area near the front door where concrete cancer was creeping in and then Hanno stripped back some older uneven paint and painted the floor a beautiful shade of bluish grey. It's so peaceful and relaxing out there now.

Hanno found some plums at the shops last week and being very partial to plums he bought a few that I made into a plum cake. The batter was very dry and I thought it might not turn out well but the cake was delicious and was eaten in two days (I had one slice). I won't say who had the most cake but it was a man. ;- )

Here is the recipe it used (from Smitten Kitten). If you have no plums, use peaches, apricots or pears, it would be equally delicious. As usual, I made adjustments, the chief one being to reduce the amount of sugar:
  • 1 cup of SR flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup of granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 plums, pitted and sliced
In a medium mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter together until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in. Add the dry ingredients and fold in a with a spatula.

Place the batter in a round cake tin, greased with butter and lined on the bottom with baking paper.

Place the sliced plums on top of the batter and bake in a preheated oven at 180C/350F. The batter is thick and the plums easily stay on the top. 

The cake is baked when it's golden and smells cooked or when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Serve warm but it keeps well and will be just as good the following day.

I drove Tricia to the airport to fly back to Sydney yesterday afternoon and we were both nervous because the weather there was atrocious. She arrived late but she was safe. And now we're back to what we call normal. I'm still busy writing but I've reached the halfway point now. The visit with my sister felt like a holiday for me and I feel refreshed and ready for whatever is ahead. So after a brief period of laughter, frequent cups of tea and lots of talking, it's time to get serious again. Let's go!


  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your sister, and the plum cake looks great!

  2. I know what you mean about being closer to your sister as you grow older. My sister came to stay with me for a few weeks while she had work done at her home (she is 72 and I am 69). I wondered how it would go and it was wonderful. We laughed and reminisced and knitted together. We even started our "story" for the grandchildren.
    I have the added joy of seeing my two daughters getting closer and closer in their fourties.

  3. Your new cushions look great. I was also admiring your pot plant it looks very lush and healthy.

  4. I love the new covers on your suite. How lovely to spend time with your sister.

  5. My sister and I are great friends too but she is too far away just like yours. It would be such a blessing to have her near.

    Your porch looks lovely!

  6. The covered cushions and the outdoor area looks great and how lovely is it to have a nice space to read or have a cup of tea and the fact that your sister sewed them is all the more special as you will have that memory every time you sit on it. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

  7. Oh Rhonda, looks like you did what I'm planning to do when I come home from work! I ordered some nice outdoor fabric to create some cushions and seat cushion covers for our Patio and Entertainment Area. How about a tutorial on how you did them? I would really appreciate it!
    That plum cake looks yummy! I'm planning a German Crumbed Plumcake when I get back - with fresh cream and custard - hmmmm.
    Looking at your pics, I can't wait until my last week at work is over.
    Take care

  8. Your outdoor setting looks very inviting, Rhonda. So pleased Tricia got back safely. What a wild time it has been around Sydney.

  9. What a wonderful time for you lately! A visit with your sister, a special project made for you (and one that turned out beautifully; and a lovely plum cake. Good for you, and thanks for sharing the wonderful time with us.

  10. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit with your sisters - they are very special people. Thank you for the recipe. I grew up on a cake like this. Brings back some very fond memories :)

  11. Glad you had that time with your sister and also happy you're back!!

  12. I love the call to work. 'Let's go!' and hearing that the book is coming along well.

  13. Your porch looks lovely; your sister certainly did a grand job. Have 'pinned' the plum cake recipe to try later this year when the plums come in, looks yummy.
    Jak x

  14. Your fabric choices are so pretty! Being at home... I love it and I have been trying to live more simply for about 5 years now. I think my sister and I grow closer as we age, but we are about 12 hours away from each other. Thank you so much for your all the work you put into your blog. Have a wonderful day.

  15. Love the fabric you chose for your lounge cushions. Your sister did a wonderful job for you.
    Plus your cake looks really good. I will have to copy it down and plan for next week as I am in the middle of my kitchen spring clean at the moment. Looking forward to it. My mouth is watering already. Yum!

  16. So wonderful to have your sister be able to come out and spend time with you! The fruit alone looks delicious, not to mention the cake! Love how the cushions turned out! Have a wonderful day!


  17. It sounds like you have a wonderful and special relationship with your sister. Your outdoor lounge looks like a wonderful space to relax, your new covers look lovely :)

  18. Sounds like you had a wonderful time- Hanno knows how to get a cake doesn't he?
    Break time is over...now back to work. ;)

  19. Hello dear Rhonda.. Your furniture looks great.. I love any fabric with a rabbit on it but can't find any here in New Brunswick.. Love bird fabric, too.. OK, I love all fabric.. lol.. Your time with your sister sounds such a blessing and your cake is awesome.. Thanks for the recipe.. God bless.. xo

  20. Hi Rhonda - I agree with everyone else - your choice of fabric is wonderful. So calming. And I'm also with you on the "sister" score. My one sister is in the UK and the other is in Denmark while I live in France so we don't get to see each other as much as we would like but skype is wonderful and we are still very, very close. Also, there is nothing like a sister for "telling it as it is" right! I (finally) got around to starting my own blog as I had been meaning for years to put down on paper the old stories that my kids love so much and of course I never got started. Now I have actually put pen to paper (in a manner of speaking) my sister keeps reminding me of all the silly stuff to put in later posts. Lovely, and I hope my kids and other family members love it as much as I am loving writing it. Anna

  21. Love your genteel relaxing place...indeed a great place to sit and reflect on all you have worked on in the last years. It's a great feeling when the list is gradually getting whittled down.
    I too have spent a little time catching up with my sister from W.A. I'm from Sydney, sister from Perth and we caught up in Adelaide to support and care for our ageing mother there.
    Always love coming to your blog to unwind :)


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