What are Rhonda and Hanno doing? Let's see...

2 April 2019
It's such good weather here at the moment. The nights are coolish at 15C and the days are warm and comfortable around 28C. The true marker of the start of cold nights hasn't happened yet but soon I'll get out a set of fluffy flannel sheets, add a doona to the bed and we'll be in winter mode. I love this time of year.

Last Sunday we went to the local Chipmunks for Jamie's eight birthday party. Sunny flew back from Korea on the morning of the party so it was lovely to catch up with her and all the family news while we sat and had a cup of tea. Shane brought Alex and Eve down for the party too so it was a good day for being with our family and celebrating together.

Hanno had two teeth removed yesterday so he's taking it easy and can't eat solid food for another day or so. Lunch today will be sweet potato, barley and vegetable soup, that I'll blend to silky smoothness, then stewed apples and custard for dessert. It's simple food but nourishing and delicious. We're not complaining.  I'm slowly moving over to my cooler weather meals. This is the food I love to cook. I made cabbage rolls and curry last week. It's all warm and hearty food, and the smell of cooking filled the house for hours with such delicious promises. Later this morning I'll pick more passionfruit and make up another bottle of passionfruit and citrus cordial. The passionfruit has been magnificent this year with very large round fruit and a lot of them.  I guess it's making up for the oranges which will be ripe in June, but there's only about 20 of them on the tree.  We put that down to the drought and like last year, hope next year will be better.

This little lady lost most of her body feathers during the last hot spell. She's got them all back now but all the chickens are slow to restart laying after their moult.

The garden is coming along well. Hanno dug over two of the gardens and this morning he's sowing the beetroot and turnip seeds and planting  the rest of the kale.  I had good germination on the silverbeet I started a few weeks ago but last week, overnight, all of them were eaten down to soil level. Spinach and pumpkin were growing beside the silverbeet and none of it was touched so I'll sow more seeds, cover them, and see what happens.  The drought has brought in some insects that I haven't seen here before so the culprit might be one of those.

Inside I'm crafting up a storm. I'm knitting more hemp dishcloths with the wonderful hemp from EcoYarns.  Check out their website when you have time because there are some new yarns that look perfect for autumn projects and winter wearing. I still haven't finished the little curtain for the toilet yet. I've cut it out so it won't take long to finish it off. Later in the week I'm going to cut out a new Maggie rabbit to make up for my granddaughter Eve's birthday this month. When I was making the last one at Christmas time, Eve was here and she kept coming in to my work room and cuddling the rabbit I was making for another little girl.  Eve has a Maggie, I think the first one I made was for her, but this one will be smaller, one that she was carry around, play with and cuddle at night.

And on the subject of sewing, I need a few new aprons and have enough fabric in my stash to make them. Back in the early days of my blog we all used to make aprons together - in all the far-flung corners of the world - and I was wondering if anyone would like to join me in an apron sewing bee.  There won't be a swap, but I'll gather a few easy patterns for us to follow, so even if you're new to sewing, you'll be able to join in. Aprons make wonderful gifts and are a good first sewing project. It's all straight sewing, there's a small amount of fiddly work making and attaching the ties and pocket, but 95 percent is extremely easy.  I thought I'd put a time limit of two weeks on it, to give our paid workers here the chance to join us, and I'll start a new Instagram account to show the aprons.  All you'll have to do is to email me your photo and I'll add it to the Instagram apron gallery.  There'll be more details later but I'd like to know now if you're interested in joining.  Maybe I'm alone in wanting to make aprons, if so, I'll sew alone (sniff sniff). Let me know in the comments.

I know I'm not alone in loving this time of year - either going from hot to cold or cold to hot. It seems to be the best of times when hot tea warms us up and the aroma of soups and casseroles signals a hot nourishing meal to enjoy later. Life seems easier and more simple now. We eat soups, curries and stews that cook themselves and for me, it's easy to feel tired and content at night when I've spent most of the day in the garden. I hope you're enjoying every day too. 


  1. Your meals sound delicious! I too love this time of year, slow cooked meals, breads and warmth. Cooking in the cooler weather is such a pleasure I agree. This is my favourite time of year too. I have been told it will take me tow years to get used the humidity in summer up here. Gah! It is utterly energy sapping. I however love Autumn and Winter.

    So glad to hear Sunny came home and you all managed to have a good catch up.

    I'd love to join in the apron sewing project. I should have a little more space in the next couple of weeks to spread out and start sewing again. I have the perfect, thick vintage sheet for the job. I'd also be interesting in joining a Maggie rabbit sew along, I have been meaning to make one for ages and I don't quite get around to it. They are so sweet.


  2. Oh, I love those foods and the cold weather, as well. You describe it all beautifully. I planted six cauliflower and broccoli starters, and some nocturnal animal came in the garden at night and devoured them all. Now the artichokes are expanding, and they look theatrical and fabulous. The apron idea sounds great, but I don't think I could get it together in two weeks. I still have to struggle just to thread my Singer Featherweight machine. I love your aprons, though. That hemp yarn looks gorgeous, too. Happy knitting and sewing.

  3. I am busy making shopping bags out of old jeans and would love to join the apron making bee... And hopefully a rabbit making one too😁

  4. It's a bit cooler where I am, a few hours south of you, but it's a much welcome change. I'm feeling a little more productive and looking forward to cool nights knitting in front of the fire.
    I have needed new aprons for ages, forever making excuses and not getting to them though...so I'd definitely be interested in joining in. I remember the apron swap, so many years ago now, I was far too nervous to join in but admired all the beautiful creations.
    Cassandra xx

  5. That barley soup sounds delicious. It’s still low 30s in Perth, but I’ve bought firewood in prep for winter, so get a wriggle on please winter.
    I might be keen on an apron challenge. I’ve never been an apron wearer, always just wipe my hands on my pants (which are very unglamorous cut off work trousers). Perhaps I need to upgrade my house-look.

  6. I remember the apron swap! I am still friends with my swap buddy in the USA!!!!

  7. Good morning from Norway Rhonda. Loving the idea of apron sewing. My sewing maching is playing up on me these days, but perhaps I could sew by hand. Currently going through my fabric stash to get it nicely folded and sorted.
    Cold nights here with -8C but warm in the day with +12C. Hard to dress children correctly in these changing temperatures. Send my ten year old off in the morning with hat and coat and he comes home hat-less and in a t-shirt. Loving that the light is back, and the trees are sprouting too.
    Blessings, Pam

  8. yes this cooler weather i love and actually getting some autumn weather i always feel like autumn is precious or something lol becuse we never get endless days of it like the hot summers .... and why did someone mention firewood i cant wait :)

  9. Would love to join the apron challenge!

  10. I would love to learn how to sew an apron, so I would love to join in.

  11. Here in West Wales, UK, we are predicted a 'high' of 8 degrees at lunchtime today! I'm really looking forward to some warmer weather although we have had an unseasonably warm few days over the last month.....mustn't complain!
    I have been mulling over making a new apron for a few weeks now so, yes, please, Rhonda, I would love to join in a sew-a-long.

    Kate x

  12. I also love the cooler change again and am looking forward to stews and soups. I have been busy making a bath mat with a chenille yarn from Spotlight that is really for pet blanket as it is treated with a natural odour control, so I thought it would work for a bath mat too. I even learned a new stitch (bobble) on you tube. Would love to join in an apron making challenge.

  13. *waves to Kate in West Wales, from Essex, England*
    We are longing for some warmer weather here in the UK although I think, here in the South, we have escaped the worst of the winter weather. Spring/summer teased us a little last week with some glorious warm (to us!) weather.
    My daughter is moving into her first house next week and I'm itching to turn her bedroom into my sewing room! Count me in on the apron-making (and bunny-making?) although I haven't a clue what Instagram is!!

  14. I need to sew some new aprons. I’m in.

  15. Cold weather meals really are the best, aren't they? They provide such nourishing comfort - both in the cooking and the eating. Your apron sew-a-long sounds wonderful and I would love to participate. I have had fabric for an apron for several years and have yet to start. Thank you for providing the motivation and platform.

  16. I have been wanting an apron or two for ages where do you find patterns please?

  17. I'm in on the apron sewing too. I'm going to make myself a special apron to mark buying our first home.

  18. I would love to sew an apron. We have quite cool nights here now and flanelette sheets are being seriously talked about. Jamie is growing handsomely indeed. Glad you had a great family time.

  19. I would love to join in on the apron challenge here in central Texas! Maybe that will inspire me to finish a couple quilts I have started! Thank You! Pat

  20. Bonjour,
    j aimerai coudre un joli tablier.J habite près de Paris et ce sera avec plaisir.

  21. HI Rhonda~ Yeah! I am very much in need of sewing a couple of aprons. Mine has holes in it but it's my favorite. It has tea pots that look like garden veggie's.
    I don't know much about those fancy patterns at the store, so I tried to make my own with butcher paper. Well, after a few times taking out seams, it is coming together. I want a lace trim around my pocket and to embroider a heart like yours in a photo on your blog. That has been my inspiration. I am so glad you are organizing this and I look forward to it.

    PS can you share the stewed apples and custard recipe?

    Wishing you hugs and peace,

    1. Dee, you can stew most fruit such as apples, pears, apricots, peaches, nectarines, cherries etc. Simply peel the apples (I leave the skin on all fruit except apples and pears), slice each apple into about 8 pieces and place in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of butter, 1 tablespoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Cook gently for about 15 minutes.

      CUSTARD - 4 serves
      You can keep this custard in the fridge, covered, for 2 days.

      2 eggs
      2 heaped tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
      2 tablespoons sugar
      2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      3 cups milk
      1. In a saucepan, whisk together the eggs, cornflour, sugar, vanilla and ½ cup milk until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the rest of the milk.
      2. Gently bring to the boil while stirring – it will burn if you don't stir it. Turn the heat down when it's getting hotter and once it's boiled, stir for another minute and it's done. It will thicken up more as it cools down.

    2. Oh yum! Thank you so much. I will try this out this weekend.

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  23. I would love to sew better. I am a fairly good mender but sewing from a pattern is a challenge. I'd like to try to make an apron but I can't promise I will finish it.


  24. Hello to all ! Is'nt temperature relative as I think I would need a coat on in 12degrees. Can anyone tell me approximate amount of fabric for an apron so when I go to 'town' I can find something lovely. We call them pinnys like my grandma did.

    1. Jenny, to make a plain apron you'll need about one metre (40 inches) of your main fabric and if you want a contrasting pocket, about 25 cm (10 inches) of contrast fabric. You should have enough fabric left over to make your neck and waist ties. If you don't want to make the ties, buy some tape too.

      A harvest apron will use more fabric, a market/shopkeeper's apron will use less.

  25. Weather is beautiful here in Brisbane too. I'm off to the allotment this morning to see how my recent seed sowing is going. This season I'll be growing my favourite silver beet variety "Fordbrook Giant", kale, beetroot, rocket, lettuce, leeks, spring onions and trying cauliflower if the bugs will leave them alone !

  26. Hi Rhonda
    I’d love to join the apron sew along.
    I have moved from Hervey Bay back to NSW to Katoomba Blue Mountains & l love the weather here.
    The cooler days & nights & lack of humidity suit me much better.
    I never got used to humidity even though we lived there ten years.
    Look forward to sewing with friends.
    Cheers Sharon.

  27. Love to make an apron in the 'sew along!' I was looking at patterns this afternoon and now I read about your sew along-so great!

  28. I would definitely be interested in sewing an apron! Thank you!

  29. Hi Rhonda, I would love to join in with making a apron

  30. Thanks for the recipes Rhonda, I have written them into my (very old, beaten and well used) recipe book. I would love to join the sew-along with you too, please count me in. Lisa X

  31. I need aprons therefore i would like to join your apron group thanks

  32. I have just bought a secondhand machine and have been looking at a project to regain my previous minor sewing skills. I have been looking at online apron patterns, so please count me in so I can procrastinate no longer.

  33. the warmfireplaceApril 03, 2019 9:45 pm

    Would love to join your apron sewing bee.
    Sue uk

  34. I would like to join in the apron sew along please. I posted before but I don't think it worked.

  35. Hi Rhonda, Hello from Glenelg South Australia. , I’d love to join your sewing bee please!

  36. I'd love to join the apron making too please.

    1. Sorry Lorraine. The list closed yesterday.



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