Warm complexity

13 April 2016
You can save quite a bit of money if you learn how to do some basic sewing. Sewing on buttons, mending a torn sleeve, taking up a hem, replacing a zipper and turning a collar are all skills that can be learned and put into practise when needed. By doing these minor repairs you'll be able to keep family clothing in service longer.

My favourite summer nightgown started fraying on the yoke a little while ago. There was a time when I would have seen that as a signal to go out and buy another one but I'm wiser now, I mended it and saved myself some money. I used a piece from an old cotton tablecloth that I'd used for other repairs.

This is the easiest kind of common sense sewing.  I just cut out the yoke and used it as a template to cut out the replacement fabric. I made it a double thickness so I could pin the bottom of the nightgown in between the two layers, tidied up the fabric where the new seam would be, pinned  and  sewed it together on the sewing machine. 

I had to make sure I had both sides of the new yoke sewn securely in place. I did that by pinning it together before I started sewing.

I guess it took about 30 minutes to complete this task; it would have taken me longer to drive to the shop. Saving money was the bonus and now I have my favourite nightgown to wear for another couple of years.

 The recipe for this elderberry tonic is in The Simple Home.

Another thing that took a small amount of my time was making elderberry tonic for Hanno. He picked up a nasty virus while we were away and even after three courses of antibiotics he couldn't shake it.  Two weeks of tonic and a fourth course of antibiotics has it almost under control. We've been harvesting elderberries from the tree in the backyard over the past few months and freezing them. I still have three bags of berries in the freezer so I'll make a few more batches of this tonic as we go into winter.

I also harvested all the chillies and will dry and crush them to use as chilli flakes in my cooking. This particular variety is too hot for us to eat as they are. Even Sunny has problems with them and she loves hot chilli. As chilli flakes I'll still be able to use them and they won't go to waste.

It was a month late but we got started on the new season vegetable garden this week. We have more planting to do this coming weekend, when I'll take some photos to show you what's happening out there. It's always an exciting time for us getting the year's garden underway. Soon we'll be harvesting to our heart's content.

It feels good to have the time to do these domestic odds and ends again. Pottering around the house and garden during the day, working on small tasks, keeping our little homestead going and being satisfied by the work rewards me with a rare kind of joy. It may not be rocket science but there is a warm complexity that swirls around each day. I don't pretend to understand it. I just know that life is enriched by working in my home and that warm complexity and a slow, simple, quiet life go hand in hand. And that's enough for me to know.

This is my latest monthly talk on ABC radio with David Curnow. This was broadcast over Queensland last night. Have a lovely day, my friends. ♥︎