Adapting Recipes, Breaking Promises, and Other Related (or Unrelated) Things

DH was busy making a path in our orchard (still in the beginning stages), Son#4 was at a wedding with his girlfriend, and even though it was cooler than in recent days, it was still too hot to quilt. After cleaning out my wardrobe (ah, there's that missing pair of jeans and why, oh, why, do I have accounts going back twenty years still hanging around?) I decided to get creative in the kitchen and do some baking.

We had a huge bag of walnuts from last year still sitting in the bottom of the cupboard and there were still half a dozen Granny Smith apples on the tree so I decided that a cake using those ingredients with maybe some spices and maple syrup would be just the thing to satisfy a sweet tooth (or three) later in the day.

I found this recipe for Maple Apple Walnut Cake and proceeded to mix it up with a few changes. Firstly, I didn't peel the apples. I never do and I like the chewiness of the skin when it's cooked. Next time I would dice the apples rather than slice. A…

"Proof of Life"

With thanks to Son#5 for the gorgeous photos, and to our Heavenly Father who is our Shield and Protector who has proved His faithfulness again and again this past week.

As Cyclone Gita is set to hit our shores and with two sons in its possible path (the rest of us have now narrowly escaped apparently) we put our trust in God to protect and keep us.

It is tempting, given the spate of warnings over the last year of storms that have come to nothing, to ignore this one. Too many cries of "Wolf" some might say. But I believe that would be foolhardy. Cyclones have been know to change course or to diminish in intensity but we need to be prepared. Besides, there is definitely a change in the air - it can be felt and only time will tell what will be the outcome.

A year ago my sister was expecting a Category 4 to make landfall where she lived ... once again I put my trust in the One who can calm the wind and the waves.

The following Psalm was my reading from last night - a passage th…


The night of January 31 was anticipated by novice and professional sky-watchers alike. The moon was about to put on a display that had not been witnessed in New Zealand for over 150 years. A rare event where a blue moon had synced up with a supermoon and a total lunar eclipse.

Determined not to miss out on seeing such a rare phenomenon DH and I set our alarm to get up to view the moon at the optimal times: 2:00 through to 2:30 am Despite the early hour, we were undeterred. This was a once in a lifetime event and not to be missed (even if some of us did grumble a little about the unsocial hour).

The alarm went all too soon. Still half asleep I wandered outside to be greeted by less than one eighth of moon that boasted a slightly pinkish glow. Disappointed - but knowing we still had until 2:30 am for the ultimate reveal - I went inside for a few minutes. On my return, the moon had totally disappeared and all we saw for the next half hour was cloud.


How could there be cloud on suc…

In Praise of Big

I tried. Really I did. I did my research, took it slow, but within seconds realised that machine quilting a huge quilt was not going to work. Not on my machine.

But the quilt is big. Huge!

And I didn't want to hand quilt so large a quilt. It would literally take forever. So I decided to give a new technique that I'd read about a go.

Big. Stitch. Quilting. Also known as utility quilting.

The skills are similar to traditional hand quilting but instead of aiming for the most number of tiny stitches per inch (I never did perfect my stitches), the stitches can be 1/2"/6mm long. Or the size of a grain of rice as one big stitcher put it. One, apparently, is meant to aim for larger stitches on the top than on the bottom (unlike hand quilting where they should be a similar size top and bottom - not that I ever managed that either) but wouldn't you know it, mine tend to be the same size on both sides of the quilt.

But the wonderful thing about big stitch quilting is that it do…


It's still summer holidays (for students and teachers) and church looks a little different on Sundays. The regular musicians are off-duty and there are no children's programmes or lengthy sermons. A few weeks ago our pastors asked for anyone willing to share a testimony from 2017.

My immediate reaction was that nothing 'big' had happened unlike in 2016 when a trip down south resulted in a detached retina and surgery for DH. Then, and later, we were really able to see how God had protected us and had been in and through it all.

I know that the same is true for this past year. God has been there through it all. It's just at times it's been a little hard for these eyes to see. 

Because 2017 has been a hard year. Work has been difficult at the best of times. There have not been the breakthroughs in prayer I had hoped for. A lot of soul searching has gone on: am I the problem? What do I need to change? Do I need to get out of the picture?

It's been tough.

Just y…

Hand or Machine?

I have a love-hate relationships with my sewing machine. No, that's not quite true. It's more of a hate-love-hate relationship. Until I bought my new machine several years ago, the thought of using a sewing machine would reduce me to tears. I only used it if I really, really had to. Like sewing the binding onto a king sized quilt.

And then I bought my sewing machine - replacing my thirty-year-old machine - and things changed. I no longer cried whenever I sat down at the machine ... but I still couldn't sew very well and I knew it. The machine was used for sewing long straight lines that are rather tedious by hand, attaching binding, mending a seam if I couldn't convince DH or myself it was time to throw the item out, and whipping up the occasional Christmas stocking.

I never seriously contemplated using it to quilt (as opposed to piecing) a large quilt that I didn't want to be ashamed of ... until today.

The quilt top that may turn out to be the guinea pig for mach…