Thursday, October 1, 2015

After the Wedding

And this is why these days I use Instagram. Dear friends. I just wrote a heartfelt post about the last few months. Mainly to tell you all about the beautiful family wedding for my son. I really put my heart into that post, describing the details, the special moments. It was all saved and ready to publish and then Blogger lost all the words. Every single one. Maybe I am not meant to blog. So here are some of the pictures, at least it saved those. They are not of the wedding day itself just some of the days around it. I left photographing the wedding to the professional and will send those I have connected with via my blog a link to her website as soon as she blogs it. But here's some pics starting off with my one of my beautiful girls who lived out her dream to be a flower girl and some of the details.

Handmade flower crowns (made by me)

Hand stenciled signs and table numbers

Fresh locally sourced flowers 

A Bible for the guestbook

Washing up the china - a marathon family affair

Two weeks later, preparing for another party!

My daughter on her 18th birthday

Home learning continues - nature study books

And baking happens every day. This is a paleo cheesecake 

So sorry I do't have more to share but I can't afford another hour. Anyone want to join me on Instagram send me an email and I'll let you know how to find me. Will I give Blogger another chance? Maybe I will just blog in photos.

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter at Eden

Easter has been celebrated and just like Christmas it will continue to be celebrated in my heart every day.

The picture above shows a few of the decorations I used for our table over Easter. Perfumed roses purchased at the Farmers' Markets for my lovely Sadler tea pot. The Sadler tea pot that I bought at the markets minus its lid to use as a vase. I'm now actively looking out for a lid as I found out that a Sadler teapot identical to mine with its lid of course sold for over $700 on Ebay recently! What! Now the question is, if I came across the lid would I sell it? I dearly love it now and it would be hard to part with it.

 I bought a few surprise gifts for the younger children that were non-edible. A sweet baby rabbit for my youngest boy who loves animals and this one will not be stalked by our pussy cat or attract the pythons! Some lovely fabric covered eggs for the twins and a set of Easter cotton tea towels which were used to wrap their chocolate bars in. They worked out long ago that chocolate bars represent much better value than chocolate eggs but they were delighted to receive a few extra 'pretties' which could be the start of a collection. I have lots of Christmas decorations but very few Easter ones. It was lovely to find some more nature inspired gifts rather than the usual novelty ones. No, the Easter bunny did not visit our house but we always give our children gifts to remind us all that we are celebrating the new life that we have been given through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our church was full to overflowing on Easter Sunday morning and the praise and worship just about lifted the roof with so many joyful anthems and songs of  victory. Quite a number of people came forward to commit their lives to Jesus at the close of the service.

 After church we visited a friend's house for lunch. He had organized an Easter egg hunt and hidden chocolate eggs in his garden. The farm girl decided she wasn't missing out on the opportunity to add to her chocolate stash and was first off the mark. Then we heard her calling out those familiar words 'Snake! Snake! I dashed outside thinking our friend who has a wicked sense of humour had tucked a rubber snake in the bush together with a few eggs but no, it was a real live snake and the farm girl had just stepped over the reptile which was sun-baking on the concrete driveway. It had disappeared into the ferns by the time I arrived on the scene. Farm girl was convinced it was a brown (one of the world's most deadliest) which did not help this mother one little bit, even though our friend said he has only ever seen green tree snakes and carpet snakes on his property but the hunt continued and a few minutes later a scream from a younger child. This time a lizard under a pot wondering why it had laid a shiny pink egg! That was one eventful Easter egg hunt.

Having our son and his fiancee home for Easter was very helpful as were able to do some more planning for the wedding. I set up a table on the patio and together with my daughter-in-love to be we played around with plates, cutlery, napkins and vases making decisions about the settings for the bridal table and guest tables. We realized our tastes are so similar. I've never been fond of puffy tulle attached to the front of tables or fussy/tacky table decorations and neither is my daughter-in-love to be. So it will be linen and lace, china, crystal, flowers and candles. Nothing more is needed. So no need to purchase chunky wooden bride and groom letters for the front of the bridal table - isn't it obvious who the bride and groom are?

Whilst I am talking about table settings I thought I would share the latest addition to my tea cup collection. I am very selective these days as I have more than enough for my little vintage hire business but it always pays to acquire a few more here and there as occasionally a piece may be broken when you are hiring them out. I was not passing this beauty up. I knew it was a Shelley as soon as I spotted it on the market stall. I dashed over. What was going to be the asking price? They are usually out of my budget at $60 plus here for a trio. I couldn't believe it .. $15! And no chips or hairline cracks. Shelley china is so pretty. This is my third Shelley trio. I am thinking one of my favourite varieties of tea, white rose and goji would be the perfect tea to enjoy in this cup!

The latest addition to my vintage plate collection is rather lovely too. Just a few entree and side plates I found in an op shop. They are the perfect match for my Laguiole cutlery. I love vintage cutlery but I am becoming rather fond of Laguiole cutlery. It has such a graceful shape and those knives are so sharp, so practical when you are sitting down to a roast dinner.


Another delight of mine is designing with flowers. I need to make more time for it because it just brings me so much pleasure! I am making these garlands to go around a mason jar which holds a candle. The ring of wired silk roses and flowers sits on top of a ring of fresh magnolia inserted into a ring of florists foam. I am making these for a wedding table. I tried to find faux blooms that were as realistic as possible. My next project is to make floral crowns for my twin girls for when they are flower girls at their brother's wedding.

And speaking of flowers. Have you come across these amazing, wonderful, gorgeous, beautiful colouring books before? My girls take much delight and care in colouring in the designs in Secret Garden by the Scottish illustrator Johanna Basford.  It's one colouring book I am going to hold onto when they are older. But you don't need children to buy this book. I understand adults are finding her colouring books very therapeutic. In fact I am very tempted to buy the other in the series for myself!

The twins often colour in their book which they share and work on together when I am reading the Violet books to them. We have finished the Elsie and Millie books and just loving the Violet stories. Violet is Elsie Dinsmore's daughter and this is the third in the Life of Faith series which alas is no longer in print. Wholesome, exciting wonderful stories that inspire girls to live faith filled Godly lives. We speak of Violet as if she was a member of our family and call out 'Has anyone seen Violet?' These are the books I would rescue from a burning building!

Just one more picture for this post. A table set with one of my vintage dinner sets. These are the chairs we purchased for our son's wedding. Very suited to a reception in a barn don't you think? The camellias had not started to bloom when I took this photo so I pruned some branches from our olive tree to adorn the table. The tablecloth is grey with a silver sparkly thread through it. Grey is my new favourite colour after green. I want to paint my bedroom furniture French Grey but I don't have the time and Annie Sloan chalk paint is so darn expensive in Australia and only available in specialist decorator stores. I pleaded with the guy in the paint aisle at Bunnings to start stocking chalk paint. He asked  'What's chalk paint?' He was Canadian and knew all about my other favourite paint 'Rustoleum' which has transformed old brass lamps and other items in my home. You can blame Pinterest for that and my obsession to spray any shiny brass or chrome oil rubbed bronze. They need a paint and decorating aisle for women at Bunnings. Don't they realize the market potential of an aisle stocked specifically with products for restoring furniture!

And so my impromptu spur of the moment post must come to an end. I pray that all of my readers enjoyed a beautiful and blessed Easter with their families and friends.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Year of Celebrations

2015 is going to be a year jam packed with significant events that we as a family intend to celebrate! I really need to tell you about them now as I am going to be one busy momma and if I find time to update my blog it is going to be a miracle!


The first birthday of the year is in June for my amazing husband who turns 50. I had thought of planning a party but we might just go out to dinner and let someone else do the cooking. June is going to be a busy month of planning for a very special day in July!


Our son is getting married! We were just so thrilled when he sent through a photo of the ring he had just presented to his girlfriend. His fiancee is the sweetest Christian girl you would ever want to meet. She loves the Lord with all her heart and she puts Jesus first in her life. She is kind, thoughtful, sensible, intelligent and practical and she shares my love of beautiful china! They met at Bible study at the church they attend. I also met my husband at Bible study. They have decided upon a short engagement as they want to be together and we approve because we know that God approves! (Proverbs 5.18)

The wedding will be held at a country property belonging to a Godly couple we have known for many years and it is where and son and his fiancee wanted to be married. We were so happy to find the date they had chosen was available. It is the most stunning setting with gorgeous gardens and a beautiful barn for the reception. No surprise that the tables will be set with vintage china though if my daughter-in-love had wanted something more modern we would not have minded but it just so happens she loves vintage elegance and classic style. This is a table I set up at a recent wedding expo. It will be a different colour scheme as it is a winter wedding and the roses will have stopped blooming but fresh flowers will feature in the decor.

There will be a tea station. This was the tea table I set up at the wedding of a friend's daughter recently. Guests just love being able to choose a pretty teacup and the tea table decorates a space beautifully!

I think we are going to have enough plates! For a number of reasons we have decided to self-cater. I have catered for large crowds in the past but never a wedding. It's a challenge we are willing to take on to help out our son and his wife to be. A spit roaster has been purchased and tested out. Have you ever tasted lamb slow roasted over charcoal? It is some kind of wonderful. Thankfully, the internet has a wealth of resources  for those who are considering this. I found an old but very helpful website put together by a lady with a wealth of catering experience who cooks for her church. They enjoy a fellowship meal every Sunday after the service. We are not talking a pot-luck dinner or standing round the barbecue with a sausage sandwich in hand but a sit down sumptuous chef cooked meal and dessert. Oh the fortunate people who attend that church. They are very close and have got to know one another really well. It was very interesting to read about but most useful to me were the recipes, tips and advice on catering for a wedding. And yes, we will be asking family and friends to help us. You have heard of 'doomsday preppers'? We are going to be the 'loveday preppers'! Already we are seeing God's favour and blessing as we look forward to such a special and significant day in the life of our family.  I couldn't resist sowing some seeds of love. What a wonderful name these poppies have and they bloom over winter here!

There are a few more significant events following the wedding. My vintage girl turns 18 in August and she is planning a 1950's ice cream sundae party! She doesn't care that it is winter. She says she will have hot fudge sauce with the ice cream which will be served in vintage sundae glasses. I hope to devote a whole post to that celebration later in the year. Her older sister also turns 21 in November but she is more excited about her upcoming trip to Canada and the United States in May. Yet again, she gets to stay with my sweet friend in Vancouver, Camille from 'Flowers in His Garden' and will spend three days with one of my earliest blogger friends, Carrie from Farming in Faith in Missouri. So not fair! I want to stow away with her! I am just grateful to these lovely ladies who are opening up their homes to my girl on her big trip.

Time for me to say goodbye for now. Did I mention that I have 3 weddings and 2 bridal expos before our son's wedding? As I mentioned any blog posts which appear before then will be miracles but I'll do my best to share photos and snippets of news from time to time.

Spring is coming my dear friends in the Northern Hemisphere and I am grateful for the cooler days that lie ahead for us after a very warm and humid summer. Blessings to you all.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Paper Planes - An Australian Movie your Family will love!

The brand new ream of printer paper is not going to last long and I can squarely place the blame on a movie I took my children to see during the summer school holidays. The movie is an Australian production called 'Paper Planes' and yes, it really is about paper planes and proves that you can make a movie almost solely devoted to that simple but satisfying activity that so many people would have attempted at some stage in their childhood... taking a plain ole' piece of paper and turning it into something wondrous that flies.

Dylan is 12 years old and he lives in the country with his father who has not yet come to terms with the death of his wife in a car accident five months earlier. He cycles to school through dry and dusty paddocks stopping each day to meet up with his friend Clive. I will not reveal much about Clive here, except to say he has a lot to teach Dylan and do watch out for his mention in the credits alongside seasoned and talented Australian actors such as Sam Worthington and Deborah Mailman.

The subject matter is introduced early in the movie as Dylan arrives at school. Following the daily confiscation of electronic devices (and can I just say at this point that every school and household needs a sombrero and I'm thinking of investing in one) the class is introduced to a student teacher who understands the value of hands on learning. Much to Dylan's delight they are whisked out of the classroom to the hall where they are instructed to make paper planes and fly them. Dylan who is fascinated by flight soon realizes he is good at making paper planes - really good and his exceptional talent for making planes that will go the distance will take him far. All the way from the brown paddocks of his small country town in Western Australia to the neon lights of Tokyo and the junior world championships for paper plane makers.

Along the way aiding and abetting Dylan are some lively characters including his mischievous grandad. My girls who made their first batch of lamingtons for Australia Day were rather taken with the scene when grandad calls in the scone and lamington brigade at a fundraising garage sale and they even called out 'lamingtons' in the midst of their laughter in the movie theatre!

It's these scenes which gives the movie its charm whilst paying homage to Australian values such as mateship and generosity. Dylan does face some challenges and bullies are shown up for what they are - bullies but are given opportunities to redeem themselves. Loyalty and devotion to family are added into the mix of positive characteristics, as Dylan makes the decision to stick by his father as he emerges from the shadows of the grief that has devastated him.

Refreshing in this day and age was the fact that this movie had no swearing or blasphemy and comes with a G rating. No subtle references or jokes for the adults added into the script, as some makers of animated movies for children have resorted to for their laughs. It was not needed, there were enough humourous and heartwarming moments in the movie and adults and children were laughing together as 'Oh No's' were verbalized in anticipation of what was going to happen next.

After watching this movie your children will want to come home and make paper planes. Mine did and flattened the battery on my tablet after watching the videos on the movie's website on how to make all kinds of paper planes including ones which appeared in the movie. My driveway was covered in paper planes and some were left dangling in trees and caught on bushes awaiting retrieval. I underestimated the effect the movie would have on them. The television was not turned on. No one asked if they could play a video game. It ignited a renewed passion for learning as I brought out every resource we have on flight.  It was hard to keep them inside but when they did come indoors we talked about flight and sketched pictures of soaring eagles. We studied a little science - the 4 forces of flight and read a story about Jean Batten, a famous New Zealand aviator.

I'm planning on revisiting a unit study called 'First to Fly' based on the Wright Brothers that I put together for my older children  a number of years ago

This is how we roll at our house and I'm very thankful for a movie which allowed us to begin another year of fun filled learning. I am grateful to Screen Australia and the Australian Children's Television Foundation for their role in bringing movies such as Paper Planes to our screens. Please if anyone from those organizations or involved in the making of the movie reads this review... make and fund more movies like this!

I do hope it gets released in North America and you receive the opportunity to see this delightful movie. If you miss seeing it at the movies, it will be well worth adding to your family DVD collection. We can't wait for it to come out on DVD to see it again and one thing is assured, that ream of printer paper will not last long!

Here is the link to the movie website which has a wealth of resources for all those children and adults who can't resist pressing smooth and precise folds into paper. You will find tips on making and flying paper planes. There are activity pages and even a lesson plan to download and some very informative step by step videos for making paper planes. You can also view the trailer for the film.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

An Australia Day Lunch

Yesterday we celebrated Australia Day. We had discussed heading off to the beach or river which is a very popular activity for Australians living near to the coast but in the end we decided to stay home and enjoy a special lunch which gave me another opportunity to do what I love to do... set the table.
We live in the perfect setting for an Australia Day celebration. Surrounded by the colour and beauty of the bush. Even when we choose to dine inside we can look out from our dining/family room and all we can see is green and the occasional pops of colour... red flowers on native flowering shrubs and orange and silver... just a few of the colours of the bark of gum trees which change throughout the seasons. At the moment the green is vibrant. We have had a lot of rain recently so I decided to set up our table inside as more rain was forecast for Australia Day.

I prepared a roast leg of lamb and as it was cooking filling the kitchen with a wonderful aroma I set about setting the table. I used a linen coloured cotton tablecloth and white dinner plates which have a pretty scalloped edge. This set has become our everyday dinner set. It's by Schmidt of Brazil and it has everything you would need - dinner,entree and tea plates, soup, cereal and dessert bowls, platters and serving bowls, gravy boat, even egg cups and a matching tea and coffee service! It's very durable and dishwasher safe which makes my children very happy!

I've recently acquired and fallen in love with Laguiole cutlery which is often discounted on the homeware websites so my collection is growing. I made hessian napkin holders for Christmas but chose not to use them on our Christmas table but with a sprig of grevillea tucked in under the vintage lace trim they were perfect for adding a little touch of Australia to the place setting.
For a centrepiece I used gold candle votives found at the Reject shop and we burned citronella tea light candles to keep the mozzies at bay. I set them out on a cream and gold vintage plate and surrounded them with greenery freshly picked from the garden. You don't need elaborate flower arrangements to make a table special. I love the challenge of using what I have at hand to create beauty in my home. With the mozzies being so bad at the moment we are lighting the candles every evening. The glow of candlelight in my home is something which makes my soul sing and it creates a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. I want to do this all year long!

As for lunch. The lamb being slow cooked was delicious and was served with roast vegetables and a spinach salad. The twins were eager to try their hand at making lamingtons.. an iconic Australian treat which if you have never tried before you really do need to experience. They are simply a sponge cake cut into squares, iced with chocolate icing and covered in coconut. Google a recipe for them, they are simple to make and delicious served with tea or coffee.

 The rain arrived later in the day and came in torrents at one stage. My husband settled down to watch the one day cricket but alas it was short lived as the rain interrupted play and the match was later abandoned. Later in the evening we ended up watching a very interesting programme on SBS called 'Worse Place to be a Pilot'. There is not much worth watching on television these days but this series is an exception. We thoroughly enjoyed it and collectively held our breath as young pilots in need of flying hours landed small planes on tiny runways in the mountains of Indonesia.

The holidays are over. The new school year starts this week. I have twins who are becoming eager readers. I'm looking forward to re-reading all the classics I read to my older children. They have fallen in love with Anne Shirley and I can't wait to introduce them to the Little Women and Jo's Boys!

And then there's Heidi and the Swallows and Amazons - a wealth of characters and life lessons in these wonderful old books!

Hope that you enjoyed reading about how we celebrated Australia Day. We are so thankful for this beautiful country and our home among the gum trees. Will be sharing more soon from our Eight Acres of Eden.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Silver Anniversary Celebration at Christmas

As 2014 came to a close we celebrated a very special occasion - our Silver Wedding Anniversary. I had given much thought to how we should mark 25 years of marriage, perhaps a meal at an exclusive restaurant or a night away at a luxury hotel but tugging at my heart was the idea to plan a celebration dinner that would reflect who we are as a couple and what we value most in life. Hospitality has been such an important part of our life together. Right from the start of our marriage we had opened up our home to others and shared meals with family, friends, neighbours and sometimes total strangers. People from every walk of life, from countries all over the world have gathered around our family meal table, so it just seemed fitting that on this special occasion that we should dine at home with family and friends. We invited two other couples and on a fine, warm evening we sat down outside on our patio around a beautifully set table.

I relished the opportunity to set the table and used two special vintage dinner sets. A silver trimmed Noritake set I had purchased at a garage sale for just $15 and another special set, Royal Albert's Lavender Rose. Ornate silver cutlery, white damask napkins and crystal goblets completed the place settings. I bought two bunches of flowers from Aldi - cream roses and white daisies which I popped into silver jugs with sprigs of greenery.

Planning the menu was done in conjunction with my two assistant chefs, our twin girls who were mad keen to try out recipes from their new cookbooks! We decided to have roast meats and as turkeys were drastically reduced at Aldi after Christmas, we once again enjoyed a succulent turkey dinner. The turkey had been placed in a brine overnight and was so tender. One of the twins prepared a leg of lamb using her secret recipe which was slow roasted. Dishes of potato bake and a spinach, quinoa, orange and feta salad accompanied the roast meats.


The decision as to desserts was made simple. We were at the movies on Boxing Day when an ad came on for Magnum ice creams. It just so happened that they were celebrating 25 years and had brought out a special limited edition salted caramel ice cream with a silver coating in silver packaging. I turned to my daughter and said 'Guess what we are having for dessert now!' At the supermarket I could not find the salted caramel ones even though the label on the shelf indicated they stocked them. Undeterred, we pulled out boxes and found the last 3 packages hiding in the back of the cabinet. They were even on special - meant for us!

 I presented our Anniversary Magnums on an ornate silver cake stand


My 17 year old daughter had just finished refurbishing a vintage dresser for her bedroom. My husband had rescued the dresser from a derelict house which was about to be demolished. The mirror was broken so we turned it into a chalkboard. I had thought of writing up the menu but decided to use it to display photographs of our wedding day. It made the perfect dessert station and gift table! In addition to the Magnum ice creams we also served a fresh fruit salad and chocolate dipped cherries - made entirely by the twins.

Enjoying our silver Magnums on our Silver Anniversary! They even have 25 engraved on the stick. It was such a special evening and I have no regrets about giving myself 'extra work' so soon after Christmas.


This was our Christmas place setting. This time I used gold trimmed vintage plates and Royal Albert Old Country Roses cutlery. I trimmed sprigs of cedar to scatter down the table with pine cones. I made the lavender scented soy candles in crystal glasses to sell at the markets but no one bought them which I didn't mind as they looked beautiful on our table and I am still enjoying them each evening. They have such a long burn time.

This is the area of our patio where we set out our tables for our Christmas and Anniversary dinners. The younger children sat at the rustic farm table I bought from a garage sale for $20. One of the boards really does need replacing but I covered the splintered edge with greenery, freshly picked from the Himalayan cedar that frames the front of our home. It is so tall now, as is the Kashmiri cypress on the other side of our front entrance. It was the sight of those trees that made my heart skip a beat the first time we came to view this property. A house with its own Christmas trees! I knew there and then we would buy it! In the background you can see a glimpse of our vintage tricycle drinks cart. This is something my husband made for our vintage hire business. He is just so creative. I showed him a picture of a champagne cart at a wedding I had seen on pinterest and he said ' I could build that' and he did! We found an old ladies vintage bicycle in a junk yard and with months of welding, building and painting we had ourselves a rather unique drinks cooler! A very talented artist friend painted the sign for the front of the cart after I showed him a vintage inspired sign I had found on pinterest but he didn't need a stencil! Our cart has been to three weddings this spring to three different venues - a botanic gardens, a country hall and a historic homestead. It is booked for several weddings so far this summer and it just works a treat keeping drinks cold for hours.

The other 'prop' that has been to weddings but I get to enjoy at home is our vintage chandelier. I have hung it on the veranda over our table. I waited so long to find an authentic vintage one at the right price and could not bring myself to buy a reproduction with acrylic drops, it had to be real glass! It's a 1940's chandelier I found in a vintage store in Melbourne last December when we traveled down for our son's graduation from RMIT University. He moved out of home last year after securing an excellent position with a software development company. It's not too far from home, just over 2 hours away and he was here for Christmas and our Anniversary dinner.

December was a month of non-stop celebrations! The twins celebrated their 9th birthday and our youngest turned 5 .There was another birthday too - our son turned 15 and on that occasion mum and dad took him out for dinner!

To make serving dinner easier for a larger family we serve the food buffet style and everyone helps themselves. No shortage of platters and serving utensils in this house! For Christmas dessert we kept it simple. My daughter convinced me to buy rather than make a pavlova. We found one that was preservative free and decorated it with fresh fruit.

I set up our tree in the corner of our dining room. Sentiment won me over and I used the same traditional red, green and gold decorations I have collected over the years. I didn't decorate any other rooms such as our formal lounge or the hallway. This is the room where we do most of our living and I wanted to just enjoy the sight of our tree, Nativity scene and other decorations every day during the Christmas season.

Our Stanley stove always gets some Christmas touches. The wreath I made a number of years ago was set out again, together with lamps and candles. I placed some apples and a bundle of cinnamon sticks on a cake stand and that was all that was really needed. In the evening when the candles are glowing it is so homely and beautiful. Three years ago I uploaded a photo of our Stanley stove decorated for Christmas and adorned with greenery to my Pinterest board. It's been repinned over 326 times and even appeared in my own feed!

Alas the time came when I had to take the decorations down and pack them away until next Christmas. I took the opportunity to do a big clean up and with help from my girls we spent a full day cleaning, decluttering and organizing.

This year I have two girls celebrating special birthdays - one will turn 18 in August and the other celebrates her 21st in November! My vintage girl cannot make up her mind whether to go for a 1920's theme or 1950's. She loves both eras. She is madly pinning ideas!

With a home to manage, a small business to run, children to teach and people to care for (international students and backpackers) 2015 looks like being another another busy year for our family so I am not sure how I will find time to write this blog but I am going to give it a go. I have found it's much faster to use my phone to upload the photos then hop on the desktop to arrange them and add in the text. I've managed to do this today for a longer post and fit in a trip to the beach so I am hopeful I can repeat the exercise again soon, providing Blogger cooperates this time and saves my text (this is my 2nd attempt for the text after my first draft of the text disappeared!) I've switched over to a simple template with thoughts of doing a re-design. I want to keep it simple, no fussy backgrounds - just an attractive photographic header and category headings making the blog easier to navigate. My techno savvy son has left home and doesn't have the time to assist me so if any of my blog friends can recommend someone who can do this who doesn't charge a lot I will consider it.

I hope that you have enjoyed catching up with me here today. It's been some time since I posted so will be interesting to see if I receive many comments but I'm still here and so very grateful that I discovered blogs and the friends I have made here are still very dear to me. I pray that your times with family over the holidays and Christmas celebrations were as fulfilling as mine were. These are the days we will look back on when we are older and remember - the family gatherings, the times around our tables, the Christmas mornings with excited younger children and grandchildren. The days we will cherish and long for again which makes me more determined to make those times feel extra special and memorable. I am so grateful to God for being a homemaker and hope to share more about what motivates and inspires me to be a better homemaker during 2015.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Country Kitchen

Today I am sharing some pictures of my country kitchen. I have written about my kitchen before but I have spent some time recently rearranging how things are set out to make it more user friendly for my twin girls who love to bake.

I now am the proud owner of 3 dressers or as you may call them, hutches. The one in my kitchen is the largest and most solid. It holds most of my vintage china with its large spacious cupboards where I store dinner and entree plates, dessert bowls, trios and some dinner sets. As you can see from just peeking inside my cupboards, I have a big collection of English china. The little salt/sugar shaker is the latest addition to my collection. I can't resist anything with roses! Does the china get used you may ask? Absolutely! I have a vintage hire and styling business and the china has graced tables at bridal and baby showers, a Jane Austen themed Regency ball for a 21st birthday party and of course weddings!  It has been on trips to country halls, private homes and 4 1/2 star hotels. Setting beautiful tables is a passion of mine and it's lovely to have something which can earn us some additional income from time to time. It also means I have more than ample hospitality supplies. No need to use paper plates or plastic forks. And of course should you ever visit me at home you can choose a teacup (over 200 to choose from!) and we will enjoy tea and fellowship together.

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This dresser has drawers with inbuilt compartments perfect for my cutlery sets. This is the cutlery I use on special occasions and hire out for wedding receptions. I have silver plated place settings and a beautiful Royal Albert setting with gold plated accents that has been used for bridal tables. I recently purchased a set of Laguiole cutlery with pearl coloured handles which teams perfectly with my vintage plates as most of them have cream backgrounds. I just love their floral embellishments and scalloped edges.

I recently moved my larger glass jars of ingredients and baking essentials down from my cooks shelf to the dresser. Previously, my girls were forever asking me to get down the jars for them. Now they can easily access them and it saves me a lot of time! They are only 8 but have mastered a number of our favourite recipes. They are completely independent and I only help with removing larger trays from the oven for reasons of safety. Here's a few recent cakes they baked. They substituted mulberries for plums in this Annabel Langbein recipe. It is one of my favourite cakes. The other is 'Dorothy's Rhubarb cake'.. one of the first recipes I tried from a blog. The blogger shared her neighbour's recipe. I am sure Dorothy never realized her rhubarb cake recipe would become a family favourite in a home in Australia! There's a link to it on my 'slice of heaven' pinterest board if you want to try it. I love my cook books almost as much as I love my china and moved most of them up to my cook's shelf from the dresser. I love having everything accessible for cooking and it saves me so much time not having to rummage around in cupboards or drawers.

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My kitchen is by no means perfect. It has some dream elements such as an Ilve stove but it has limited bench space, a too small, narrow pantry and there is nowhere to house our large side by side fridge freezer which sits in the corner of our dining room for now. I am happy to live and work with the current arrangement. I have never forgotten our first missions trip and our visit to a slum area in Jakarta, Indonesia many years ago where the open sewer ran past the front of the ramshackle house and seeing the tiny stove in the corner of a room with its dirt floor where the wife cooked meals for her family and guests. The size of her kitchen and it's lack of facilities made no difference to the quality of her cooking or the warmth of her hospitality. It was a real lesson about learning to be content and I thought of my own dissatisfaction with the dated but spacious kitchen in our first home with its dark timber laminate cupboards and orange bench tops. What was I really complaining about!

And so I accept and work around my kitchen's limitations and thank the Lord for giving me such a lovely kitchen in my country home and providing what we needed for it at the right time at the right price. It's where I bake bread and make meals for my family, where my children have been taught and still are learning to cook and it's the first room our guests step into. Most of them gravitate to it anyway and it's homely furnishings and the aroma it produces sometimes makes them want to stay longer .. a lunch invitation often extends to dinner in this home and it's something I have learned to expect and prepare for.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing the pictures of my country kitchen. As Jane Austen famously wrote 'There is nothing like staying home for real comfort' and as for me.... my kitchen provides much of that comfort!


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