Beauty and practicality, I rate them equally

4 November 2022

This post is about a few small things that I've wanted to write about for a while but larger topics overtook me. My life is full of small things that are a part of something much bigger. I'm constantly reminded that not all people live as I do and usually it's the small things that people are interested in. I get that because without time set aside preparing for the bigger things, nothing runs smoothly. For instance, food - shopping list, cleaning out the fridge, checking the pantry etc.; cooking - peeling and cutting vegetables, defrosting meat or fish, menu plan so we know for sure we have what we need during the week; washing - soaking, stain removal, making laundry liquid etc.; gardening - saving kitchen scraps and making compost, sowing seeds etc.; maintaining relationships - keeping up with family and friends' messages, making time for occasional online, face-to-face talks, keeping a calendar with birthdays and important days, invitations for meals and morning teas.  You have to put time and effort into relationships. Life is made up of the big things, but without the small things, the big things fall apart.  So here goes.



Yesterday I visited my friend Nicole Lutze in her gorgeous new home. We'd not seen each other for a long while so it was good to spend time catching up over tea, delicious cake and pikelets. Both of us have undergone significant life changes so we had a lot to talk about and as I drove home I realised that talking with Nicole did me a lot of good. Nicole's blog and Instagram links are in my sidebar so do yourself a favour and check her out.
 

As you can see in the photo, I haven't been to the hairdresser for almost two years. My hair is usually in a ponytail now to keep it relatively neat and off my neck during summer. I decided not to get it cut short again and to wear it in plaits/braids in a circle around my head. I used to wear it like that when I lived in Germany in the 1970s and it always felt comfortable. I think I'll be able to plait/braid it early in the new year.


As usual there was washing to do which had built up over some rainy days we've had here.


Munstead Wood standard rose.  You can see where this rose is standing in the next photo.


The weather is surprisingly cool at the moment so I hope to get the garden finished this week and all I'll have to do when it heats up again is water the plants and harvest. I'll write about the garden when I finish fiddling with it and show the photos I've taken. It's nothing fancy but it fills my heart up and makes me happy. The garden is on the edge of the verandah and spills out on both sides of the garage door. The rubbish bins are there too - beauty and practicality, I rate them equally. I would never have thought such a space was garden-worthy but now it makes complete sense to me.




I finally got someone to mow the lawn, it cost $210. I didn't want to get a teenager in to mow because I wanted someone who had insurance, just in case. I'm very happy with the work he did and I'll get him back again. I wish the grass didn't grow so fast.  😳


In my previous post I had a photo of some pastries I made recently.  They're very tasty, don't take much time and they'll give you a quick and easy change from your usually baking.  You'll need:

  • 1 or 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk + teaspoon water
  • jam - I used apricot jam
  • tinned fruit or homemade stewed fruit - I used apricot halves


Before you start assembling the pastry, preheat the oven to 230C/445F - the pastry needs high heat to puff up. 


I cut the pastry into four portions but they were two big and when I ate the first one, I cut it in two. Next time, I'll use one sheet and have three rectangles instead of the four large squares I made with two sheets. Work out the size you want and cut the pastry accordingly. Each pastry has a double layer so cut all the pastry the same size so you can double up. Cut a hole in the top layer, (see photo above) that's where you place the jam and fruit. Brush the egg wash in between the two layers and add the pastry with the hole in it on top of another piece of pastry without a hole - that's the base. Use whatever jam and fruit you have on hand.


When the pastries are made, brush them with egg wash - that's egg yolk with a teaspoon of water in it. That creates the golden colour. Put the pastries in the oven and bring them out when they're golden and puffy. When they're cool, you can drizzle water icing on them but I think they're sweet enough without it. They can be frozen and reheated in the oven on a low temperature.





I've been meaning to tell you about this kitchen brush I've been using lately. This isn't a paid promotion, I bought my brush and it does a great job. I use it for my frying pan, saucepans and sometimes I clean the sink with it. It's the German Redecker dish brush ($29.95) and I bought mine here. Although I've used mine a lot, it's kept its shape, no bristles have fallen out and the handle doesn't seem to stain. If you're looking for a good kitchen brush for a reasonable price, I recommend this to you.



When I had spare time this week, I worked on my replacement aprons. I like to have several aprons in the cupboard so I have a clean one to work in every day of the week.  I've worn out most of my aprons that I've used for the past ten years so I thought I'd replace all of them in one go. Aprons do a wonderful job keeping your clothes clean while you work in your home and if you put a big pocket on your apron, you can collect eggs, put pegs in the pocket when you hang out the washing, or just collect bits and pieces that you find around the place. Just don't put scissors in your pocket because if you fall, it could cause a serious injury.  Aprons are so easy to make so if you're not a sewer yet, it's a fantastic first project. Here is a YouTube apron tutorial and here's another. I hope you give it a go.

Thank you for the lovely comments on my last post. It really makes a difference when you comment, not just for me but for all bloggers. I appreciate the time you take to connect with me.  xx

40 comments

  1. I always pop straight here when I see your posts. So much wisdom and encouragement πŸ₯°An apron like a drawstring pouch is just what I was imagining would be super practical last week . The feral self sown tomatoes are beginning to ripen , eggs to carry , mulberries etc. You are so right , life is filled with little moments, jobs, rhythms and interactions. Thank you for sharing lovely πŸ’š

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    1. Those drawstring pouch aprons are fantastic. Are you going to make one?

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    2. I always pop right here too!

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  2. Your fruit pastries look delicious. I want to try them now - I think they would make a lovely dessert :)

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    1. They are a great dessert. I've never served them to anyone who didn't like them.

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  3. I appreciate you writing about doing the small things. I have been realizing the same thing lately, that the big things - like cooking dinner and cleaning up after - don't just happen by themselves. There are so many small steps that come before. Your description encouraged me to think straighter. I am struggling to adapt to aging. Things take longer than they used to, I get distracted easier and I get tired faster. I am working on all of that.

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    1. Debbie, I think you'd be better organised if you worked to a routine. Just try a week or two of doing your housework at the same time and in a logical order. Something like - make the bed, have breakfast, clean the kitchen, prep for that night's dinner. Have a cup of tea. Clean the floors and bathrooms, or maybe the washing needs doing that day. Have lunch. Work it out by what feels right to you and see how you go. Aging is just another step along the way, it's no big deal. It doesn't matter if things take longer because generally when you're older you have more time, and rest when you're tired, we all do that. And take care of you. xxx

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  4. I find your posts so inspiring. Thank you. I cared for my mother for 30 years since my father died. She died only four months ago and I am now adjusting to living alone. I’m finding it overwhelming at times so your posts are a real grounding for me. Thank you so much.

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    1. I'm glad. It's tough getting used to living alone but it does get better. It's been five months since Hanno died and although I felt disconnected and pessimistic at first, now things have opened up and I feel hopeful and sometimes, happy. I found things to do and did them, every day. Try to work through the feelings your having and sit down at the end of the day with a sense of satisfaction with what's you've achieved. Grieving is always so personal and it needs time to wear itself out. Take care of yourself. I hope things get better for you. xx

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  5. Insightful and inspiring as always - thanks Rhonda!

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  6. I absolutely love your posts Rhonda! I regularly check for new ones and if there isn’t one there I just go back and read older ones which still teach me something new every time. Todays post was perfect timing for me and encouraged me to value the small things more. There are some days I feel like I don’t achieve much but I know I’ve still done a lot of little things that are vital for making the big stuff happen. Thank you Rhonda…I hope you feel inspired to keep writing for many years to come xx

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  7. Rhonda, your posts are so calm, practical and encouraging to those of us who might be feeling sad, discouraged or overwhelmed at times. You remind us that calm practical action is a way forward in any difficult situation . Many thanks. I often revisit your posts on what may seem mundane subjects when I'm upset for whatever reason; they ground me in knowing what is true and important. Thank you, Rhonda. x

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  8. Rhonda, first of all, I want to tell you that I think you are a very beautiful woman. Your posts are always inspiring, and I try every day to work to a routine. guess what's on my sewing machine right now ? an apron! I'm going to sew myself two or three to replace the old ones.
    Thank you for all your sharing

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  9. Hi Rhonda, thank you for sharing your week with us. So glad you had time with your friend. Yes the beauty of a good friendship is coming away feeling lighter from having shared together. Your rose is stunning! So uplifting to look at. I hope to have a go at your pastries...they look wonderful. Hope you and Gracie have a lovely weekend x

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  10. Lovely post Rhonda, thank you, as always there is food for thought from you. Keep well and I am looking forward to seeing the braids.

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  11. I just love your posts :) I look forward to each new one. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  12. Rhonda, your garden looks wonderful. Thank you very much for the recipe. It looks delicious. Have a great weekend ❤
    Hugs from The Netherlands
    Monique Elisabeth

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  13. Wonderful post as always. Yes, the small things is what makes the big things happen. I must admit though, I am often tired out after getting through all the small things so the big thing can happen! I am retired now and do not have the energy of a 30-40 year old! My mind forgets that!

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  14. Love the new entry today, Rhonda. There was lots of varied content to read.Strangely enough I have two apron patterns out and was trying to decide which version I want to make. The pastries look scrumptious, and not difficult. It is always nice to have a little something different. Another coincidence is that I use those Raedecker brushes too; only I don't have that exact one. I use a dish brush that has replaceable heads; when one wears out you just replace it and the handle is still good. For Christmas one year I bought a hat brush for someone and also took advantage of a sale and bought a small laundry brush. That brush company cannot be beat;always good quality and helpful household items. Finally, the hairstyle issue is one I am facing this year, too. I have rather long hair and am not good at wearing it in different ways, but I notice a lot of older women like myself are wearing it longer and in different vintage styles. I am going to try to learn to do some of them. Thanks for a varied and interesting post today.

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  15. I love posts about small things. So inspiring!
    Oh aprons... I want to wear them and I need to (I'm a messy cook), but I never do. Thanks for the links to the tutorials. I'm hoping to sew some soon, after I made myself some dearly needed dresses. It would be nice to keep those dresses clean for a while.

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  16. Aunt Diane from StreatorNovember 05, 2022 12:47 am

    Thank you for explaining how to make the puff pastries. When I first saw the photo, I thought the apricot halves were egg yolks! I just figured that’s how you did it in Australia!

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  18. Hi Rhonda, thanks for a lovely post. Are the photos of your front yard? I don't remember seeing such large areas of grass before. Your roses are stunning - I love that color. With winter on the way, I'll be getting my sewing machine out soon to address a pile of mending and other projects. It's good to see your small steps adding up in this post and your last one, and to know you're doing well. I will be looking for those plaits to show up in a photo one day :) Beth in MN

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    1. That's part of the front yard, the back yard is just as big. I never thought about the size of it because Hanno always took care of the lawn but now it's my job, I need help with it. Have fun with your mending. xx

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  19. An apron is such a friend, to keep my clothes clean, and pop things in the pocket. Pegs, my mobile phone, a bit of rubbish enroute to the bin. I have been neglecting the mending for a long time, but have just mended two items and put them back into our wardrobes. It was a proud moment, There is lots more mending to be done though. Em

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  20. Your visit sounds lovely. It's good to take the time to have a cuppa with friends. It's easy not to prioritise it. I was reading in GDonnas blog about how much more common it was to go visiting. It makes me sad to think people think they are too busy to make time for neighbours and friends. Or that that going to a persons house has become an event in itself that people worry about hosting.

    Have you made your little fountain you were telling me about? I have not set up our pond yet. It needs a rather big hole.

    Your pastry's look lovely. I have some puff pastry in the freezer that need using up, I'll have to pull it out. Im sure they would be happy. I made GF brownies this afternoon, Between afternoon tea and dessert tonight I don't think they will make it to tomorrow. xx


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  21. I’ve been looking forward to catching up on your blog since I missed the last few. You always teach me something or give me some new inspiration. Recently I started a blog of my own to share my own recipes and homemaking ideas although I don’t have as much wisdom as you. Thanks for inspiring me on that! We all have something to share with each other!

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  22. Rhonda, I hope you will show us your aprons when you've made them. I really need to get in and make some more for myself too as with all of the rain we've been having I've not been able to wash often and ended up with a tea towel tucked into my jeans instead! You've made me realise I need to add pockets to mine, I don't know why I didn't think of it myself!

    Madeleine.X

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  23. I love having a pocket on my aprons, Rhonda. I can tuck all sorts of handy bits and bobs in a pocket, including my glasses which I'd lose otherwise! I also like the idea of usung jam on those pastries. I've made them with custard instead of the jam but jam sounds lovely too.
    Meg

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  24. Long time reader (and have all your books) here! Wow you have a large lawn! Since we live in Phoenix, Arizona, we don’t have a lawn…when we moved here from a rainy state, we figured woo hoo, we won’t have any yard work since gravel and cactus are easy ;). We were wrong. Easier than grass, but still we have to rake and cut. Your yard and home look great! And having a small garden on the veranda makes much more sense to me (I am 66). I often look at large gardens and am in awe of the amount of work it takes. Thanks again for your writing. Hilogene in Az

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  25. Those pastries sound so delicious, Rhonda. Thanks for the recipe. I want to make them with cherry jam and cherries! I was shocked at what it cost you to have your lawn mowed. I covered mine with straw, manure, and lasagna gardening, and just have have plants and fruit trees now. I find it much easier, since I never felt like mowing the lawn. You are doing so well handling everything. I just finally found a group of painters to stain the cabin, and they did a gorgeous job. It's rewarding to take care of our homes and gardens.

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  26. I have read your blog for years but have rarely commented though I enjoy your posts immensely. You have become like a road map for living a simple life into old age. I am seventy-two tomorrow and it is great to see that preparing the home, and ourselves, will make aging a smoother experience

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  27. Good Afternoon Rhonda
    So pleased to read your blogs, always interesting, informative and educational. Also pleased to see that your life is coming together again and I take this opportunity to send you my love and best wishes as you explore your new life.
    We now live in a town house so don't do half the gardening and outside work we used to, on top of this we moved here just 3 1/2 years ago and I was making my way in the community till my Husband had a small stroke last November and our lives closed down with his needing much more of my time. Life is starting to regain some of it's equilibrium now, thankfully, and I am able to get out and about again. So for each of us we must take what life hands to us and make the best of it. I am one of the lucky ones, so many are in as worse situation than we are and I am so thankful for that. Cheerio and all the best.

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  28. Anne in Upstate NYNovember 09, 2022 4:36 am

    Thank you for this timely post Rhonda, but you have always seemed to have a gift of knowing what your readers need, when they need it. Your posts on retiring kept me going for two years until I could complete that wonderful step, and again today you are right there.
    I’m down with a bad case of covid despite all the vaccines, and appreciate those “small things” I can’t do right now. I think my home appreciates them too, as it isn’t in the best state at the moment! But only if you slow down (or are forced to slow down) enough to notice the small things, will you see what a difference they make in your “big things”. I’ve received a new lesson on that.
    Thanks again!

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  29. My life too has undergone significant changes in the past year and a half. At times I get overwhelmed. A calm, gentle blog like yours is refreshing and sustaining. Thank you and best wishes.

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  30. Thank you for the recipe, Rhonda. Your pastries look beautiful, and you've inspired me to try making some using peaches and custard. I hope your replacement aprons turned out well. I always enjoy reading about your sewing projects.

    With love from,
    Kelly (Mrs. Kiwi)

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  31. Those pastries look delic! I have got to make some! Thank you for sharing. Gail.

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  32. The garden looks gorgeous and I love your longer hair. Xx

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  33. Isn't it funny when they won't look at the camera? We had a cat who would look away, but it always made me feel guilty that I was using her and she knew it. She was very smart, beyond her cat-ness. :)

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