Thursday, July 26, 2012

My House turned into a Tea Room and other Memories of Winter 2012

Winter 2012 was the season when my house turned into a tearoom and if you follow my blog you will know why. I haven't had much time to actually sit down and take tea or write interesting posts and regular updates for my blog.  My camera stopped working so I am relying on photos from my archives and borrowing the cameras that belong to other family members. If only I could find batteries for them! So this post is a compilation of pictures and happenings at eight acres of eden. The year my house turned into a tearoom.

 I have been making more cake stands for my market stall which going by the interest it has generated has the potential to turn into a successful little business. I now have my very own drill press. It's huge and heavy but it's made the job of drilling plates so much easier! I just love that I now have an excuse to buy pretty vintage china but letting it go is rather hard. We are now considering offering a hire service for people wanting to host high teas. I like this idea - I get to keep the china I find and loan it out to grace the tables at special occasions. It's my daughter's 15TH birthday next week and we are busy planning a dinner party, Cake stands are going to feature on the table of course!

This was my most recent stall at the markets. I have two markets next month and two the following month. I have had requests from people to attend other markets and craft fairs further afield but I'm staying with my local area ones for now. I don't want this business to take me out of the home too much.

It's citrus season and once again our mandarin tree kept us amply supplied with vitamin C. The last of the mandarins were harvested a few weeks ago. I had been refusing to buy any other fruit until every last mandarin had been consumed. We now have passionfruit in abundance. I did make a few jars of jam but most days the fruit that is picked off the vine is sliced open and scooped out by children. This explains the mystery of the disappearing teaspoons. Had to hide my silver ones!

Every day at least one child picks me a camellia. I'm running out of containers for them - maybe I should use some of those teacups!

This photo was taken last winter but this year our veggie garden decided to turn into a salad garden. I have been picking leaves every day - lettuce, Asian greens and Tuscan Kale have all thrived over winter. Cabbages and spinach are doing well too. Broad beans are about to flower and the garlic planted earlier this year is looking like it might give us a good crop come summer. We also discovered an accidental pumpkin patch growing in the compost . To harvest the dozen pumpkins it produced, required an expedition into the wild which practically required one to abseil as the vines scrambled down the hill. I thought of recruiting Bear Grylls but sent down my son and the twins who thought it was a great adventure searching for pumpkins in the undergrowth. We had pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones, roast pumpkin and I made what I thought was an ample supply of pumpkin chutney. The children and my husband loved it and we even used it on homemade pizzas. It didn't last as long as I hoped.

I have been making these almost every day. Some day they are the sweet version - cinnamon buns and other days I leave out the sugar and cinnamon and fill them with roast peppers and feta. The savoury scrolls last about 10 minutes and the cinnamon ones are gone in 60 seconds!

And yes we do leave the house. It's usually to go to garage sales, op shops, the ice rink, church, tennis lessons and one place we frequent is hardware stores seeing we have been renovating this house like forever. But on this occasion we were actually at  a wedding and when the bride and groom went away for photos we took a trip to a shopping centre and who just happened to be in the hardware store there but Brad and Lara from the television renovation programme 'The Block'. They were the nicest couple, very down to earth and when my daughter let go of her balloon and it went up to the ceiling Lara climbed up onto the table and rescued it for her. We were thrilled when they went on to win the competition but all suggestions from the family that mum and dad should apply to go on this show have been met with a resounding 'No Way'! The only thing I intend on drilling is plates!

And to finish off this post one more exciting event this winter was the opportunity to attend an ice skating show called 'Fantastique on Ice'. Seeing most of the children have been skating for quite a number of years we decided to splash out and buy tickets to see this show. I had my daughter 'find a friend' and we qualified for a group booking which brought down the cost considerably. One of the bonuses on this occasion of being a large family. If only other venues would allow big families to be classed as a group. After the show was over, the ice was opened up for a skating session and the twins were on there before anyone else as they knew their boot size. They got to meet the performers some of whom are Australian champions. It was all very exciting for them and this pretty much guarantees that skating will continue to be a passion for my children for years to come. The youngest member of the family gets to give it a go next year when he turns 3 which is how old the twins were when they started.

Hope you have enjoyed visiting the 'tea rooms'. This was meant to be a point by point post but I can't help describing things! And it's great to have all these memories recorded here. I will be able to look back one day and say ' So that was the year my house turned into a tea room!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Romantic Find in a Vintage Tin

It was the pretty flowers on this vintage biscuit tin that drew my eye. I was at one of the estate/garage sales I have been frequenting of late in my search for old china for my cake stand business. It was the princely sum of just two dollars. I picked it up, it was heavy. What could be inside? I opened it up to discover....

Sewing supplies! Needles and thread. Buttons and reels of satin ribbon. This had been an old lady's sewing box! I paid the asking price and popped it into the little wicker picnic basket I had also purchased at the same garage sale together with a cross stitched linen tablecloth. The grand total for these finds was $6! I was still a little disappointed that I had not found any china plates or cups at the sale but these items had made it worth my visit. On my return home I popped the tin away and did not look through its contents until the other day. Little did I know that this tin was holding one of the most beautiful things I have ever found at a garage sale.

I rummaged through its contents and was rather pleased to find ribbon and cream crocheted trim. Then something caught my eye - tucked away under the books of needles was a folded up sheet of lined paper, yellow with age. I thought it might be a receipt for sewing supplies. I opened it up. It was a letter and the date was March 3rd 1945. Close to the end of the war in Europe and five months before the official end of the war in the Pacific - had this letter been sent by a serviceman to his sweetheart back home? I'm guessing it did for this note had accompanied a gift which he wanted her to have as a token.

The letter reads

'Diane Dear,
This Daily Light Book was mine but I would like you to accept it as a token from me.
I hope you will find it as inspirational as I have found it, and to sit beside you one day and read together from it would be a joy which would fill my whole being.
Love Lloyd.'

Wow! I had a lump in my throat as I read those words.They are probably the most romantic words I have ever read. He wanted her to have something that was very precious to him - a devotional which is a Christian classic, a book of daily Scripture readings based entirely on the Bible. I was familiar with 'Daily Light on the Path' from my childhood and decided to read up on its background. You might be familiar with it too but did you know that it started life as a family devotional published by a man named Robert Bagster in the 1870's who had been brought up in a devout Christian family where morning and evening Scripture readings carefully complied by his father Jonathon Bagster were the foundation of family life. Jonathon Bagster was passing on the baton of a Godly heritage - he too had been raised by parents who had wanted to pass on a love and deep reverence for God's Word. His father Samuel Bagster was a bookseller who chose only to sell books which had 'enduring Christian value' as one commentary put it.

I wonder if the Bagster family realized just how many future generations would discover 'Daily Light' and use it as their devotional for their Christian walk. That it would be carried by people onto the mission field and bring hope and comfort to some about to face their darkest hour in concentration camps - the testimonies about how it affected lives and brought 'words in season' are so touching and now I can add another from a man who was somewhere in the world, most likely serving his country, away from the girl who obviously held a special place in his heart. Were they already married? Or did he hope to marry her on his return? Did he even return? One little note has me asking so many questions!

One thing is evident and it is this - the words from Scripture in this little book uplifted him and his greatest desire was to one day read them together with Diane for it would bring for him 'joy that would fill his whole being'! Oh my, how I like to think that this did actually happen and if they were a couple or became a couple - what a foundation for a marriage.

Finding this note in the pretty tin of sewing supplies has reignited a desire in my own heart to make family devotions habitual. We have not been very consistent in this, especially in the evenings. I needed a plan and a devotional that would work for all the ages in this family and I think I just found one. I'm going to purchase a copy of Daily Light probably in the King James Version as I think I would like to read the version that so inspired Lloyd the writer of the note. If you are using or have used Daily Light as your family devotional let me know your thoughts on it.

I'm also considering doing some detective work because I want to know 'how the story ended.' A little tricky as it was an estate sale but I do know a lady who lives in the street where the sale was held. Perhaps she might know more about the lady who owned the sewing tin. If I ever find out I will let you know!


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