Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Block 5 Gentle Domesticity BOM...



The quote I've stitched around this design means a lot.
It reminds me that everyday life is ordinary, and within each ordinary day can be found simple joys if we just stop for a bit and take time to look for them.

I wonder how many lovely things we miss when we rush from here to there, or absorb our minds in things of no true consequence?  



Did we stop to hear the birds singing to each other from the treetops as we walked outside to check the mailbox?
Did we fail to appreciate the gentle breeze that blew through our hair as we climbed from our car and hurried into the grocery store?
Did we notice the weary, yet sweetly satisfied sigh of the young mother holding her new baby close to her chest while she waited in line at the checkout behind us?
Did we wake beside our precious husband and thank God for the soft rise and fall of his chest as he sleeps, assuring us of another day together?
Did we lovingly press his freshly washed shirt and hold it to our cheek, remembering "I love you" moments we've shared and are still to share?
Did we take off our shoes and stand in the grass to feel the sensation of cool green blades and moist earth under our feet?

Did we....?
Did we....?



I'd love for you to add your own 'did we?' in the comments below. 
Let's remind each other of the simple joys found in an ordinary life because I don't want to miss any of them.
Do you?

It's free until June 4th.


hugs

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Postcards From Heaven block 5...


It seems appropriate to share the next Postcard block on a Sunday.
I've been waiting to give you this one because the promise in Psalm 3:5 has carried me through many a trial, and more restless nights than I can remember.

To know that God's rest is mine, that I can safely put aside all the emotional and physical turmoil of the day - what a gift, a blessing.

When Blossom was young she had occasional nightmares so we began to read this Psalm when she was tucked in bed and pray it's promise over her rest. And you know, the Lord was always faithful. 

Perhaps your sleep is troubled?
There is One who can give you rest, One who can take the burdens and worries of your life and breathe His gentle Spirit upon you. Ask Him...pray simply, "Lord, take my worries this night, wrap me in Your gentle arms and give me rest as I sleep." 

Need another promise?

Psalm 4:8
"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety."




These are His promises sent by holy mail through His perfect Word, the Bible.


Download this free pattern HERE in my shop.

Allie has stitched her version in redwork, and also has the alternate wording from the KJV for you to download (the text only) if you prefer the actual Bible verse to my conversational style postcard. 

Visit my dear friend Allie here to see more of her block and to download the alternate text.



be blessed as you stitch and pray,



Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bread, answering questions & Etsy...

 TEA

Nana loved a cup of tea with her bread.
In fact it was her nightly ritual to serve Pop and I a slice of fresh bread, thickly buttered and covered in honey or jam, with a pot of steaming black tea for 'afters'. 
'Afters' was our supper, served in that final hour before switching off the lights and heading to bed. 

Nana also served bread, butter, jam and tea on Saturday afternoons, and that's what inspired the Saturday design for "Days of the Week".


To be honest, her tea pot was not a pretty one like the pot I've stitched above, but I do know she would have loved this one to have graced her kitchen table, so in my heart of hearts this is Nana's Pot - my gift to her memory, and the wonderful afternoons we spent together, simple afternoons with bread, tea, Pop and each other. 


 BREAD

A couple of weeks ago after I showed you a yummy loaf of light rye bread and some bread rolls I'd made when Blossom came to lunch, many people emailed asking for the recipe. 

 It was in one of my three favourite bread books...


 I didn't bake it in the breadmaker as I prefer bread to be baked in a normal bread tin or free form, but I do use the breadmaker for kneading and the first prove of the dough. 
After that I punch down the dough, divide into one loaf and four rolls, then leave to prove a second time before baking in the oven at 190C.

If you're going to bake the Light Rye Loaf in your breadmaker it will make one large loaf.

The recipe below is in metric Australian measures so just to clarify:

one teaspoon = 5 grams 
one tablespoon = 20 grams (or 4 teaspoons)

NOTE: a US tablespoon is only 15g or 3 teaspoons



ENGLISH PROGRAMMES

Another question asked this week was from Debra who wanted to know which Jane Austen movie I was watching as I stitched the other day.
Well I've been through a few lately but my favourite is always Persuasion. 
In fact I watched it again as I began stitching the Sunday design for May's Stitchery Club...


Once this block is completed I have more stitching ready and waiting.  
First I'll begin work on a stitchery to be published in next January's issue of Australia Homespun Magazine, and I'll stay with the English movie/tv theme by watching Poldark. 
I've just discovered this new version of the series (based on the Poldark books) and after watching the first two episodes I'm hooked!

Mr E and I couldn't work out where we'd seen the main character before yet he looked so familiar! Then the penny dropped and I remembered him as Kili the dwarf from The Hobbit. 


Even Mr E is enjoying this series too. Win win!



NEWS:

I've received a lot of correspondence from fellow Australians about the cost of patterns purchased through my Craftsy shop.
As Craftsy only allow sellers to list patterns in US dollars it means a $3 pattern becomes closer to $4 when converted to Australian currency. 

After reformatting a number of my favourite patterns I asked Blossom to update my long empty Etsy Shop and list them over there in Australian $. 
The patterns are still instant downloads, but they're not saved to a pattern library (as they are with Craftsy) so you need to download and save to your computer when you make the purchase.

Over coming weeks I'll make time to reformat more patterns and Blossom will then add them to my Etsy shelves.

So now you have two pattern shops to choose from!

HERE for Craftsy in US Dollars

and

HERE for Etsy in Australian Dollars.

I'm a small home business and can't do everything, but this is one change I could make which benefits those whose currency is taking a hit against the US dollar.

Have a blessed weekend!


Friday, April 29, 2016

Mr E and the makeover...

I had this old set of drawers that a friend gave me when she left town a few years ago. She had found it at a garage sale and used the drawers to store her sewing supplies. Great idea I thought!

At my home it has proved useful for storing all the little bits and pieces of hardware I use as well as felt, ric rac, ribbons, beads etc. The only down side was its colour, an awful mustard/ brown/ cream mix. 

I mentioned to Mr E that I'd like to repaint the drawers so he took me off to Bunnings where I chose tins of white and duck egg blue chalk paint whilst he gathered a brush and some glass paper.

The next weekend he painted them rather nicely and a huge improvement they were on their former state...

 
Then I had an idea. Wouldn't it be great if he could make wooden dividers in the top three drawers so I could store my rather extensive supply of embroidery threads inside?

Back to Bunnings, another weekend, and a plan came together beautifully...


He was going to paint the dividers but I want to try lining the drawers in fabric first, and perhaps covering the dividers in fabric too. More on that another day when my plan is a little clearer.

Apart from that, there is still one more step for Mr E to complete before my drawers are ready for use again.
A while ago when a local boutique shop was changing owners they had a large table of items on sale that would no longer be stocked and these gorgeous drawer knobs caught my attention. Not wanting to regret walking away without them I hastily handed over $12 and came home with six of the prettiest blue trims any drawer could ask for. 
For about two years now they've patiently languished in a lovely box where I had 'almost' forgotten they existed...


It doesn't matter that they're not all the same as I'm rather eclectic with decorating anyhow...


Hopefully in another couple of weeks I can show you the finished makeover - once I've chosen and experimented with lining fabric, Mr E has attached the knobs, AND when my sweet Blossom has finished winding 600 skeins of thread onto card and has labelled them. This really will be a family project when it's done!

And to think it all started with "Honey, I wonder what that old chest of drawers would look like painted white? Don't you think they'd look much nicer?"







Last night I completed the fifth of seven "Days of the Week" patterns for May's Stitchery Club. 

"Friday"



 Only two more to stitch, and then I will put them together as a set of hanging pockets.
The pattern for the pockets will also be included in the May issue of The Stitchery Club.


In fact, I think I might do a tutorial here on the blog because whenever I make hanging pockets there's always requests from blog readers to show them how I've done it.
Hanging pockets are brilliant for storing little bits and pieces from the sewing room, or for holding letters and notes. In fact, wouldn't they be lovely filled with hair ties, ribbons and clips in a little girls room?

Enjoy your Friday! I'm about to brew a pot of Prince of Wales tea and watch a Jane Austen movie while I begin stitching the Saturday design...bliss.

hugs


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Making changes and a giveaway...

Have you ever been in the middle of making a project or embroidering a design and thought to yourself, "I'm not really happy with this."

It has happened to me a few times, especially with my own designs.
I'll get about 30-50% of the way through my stitching and put it aside for a day or two, hoping to return with fresh enthusiasm to finish it later. Sometimes that works and all I need do is replace a thread colour and add another element or decorative stitch, but on other occasions no amount of time away from the design will endear me to it so I cut it into pieces and throw it in the bin. 
Pretty soon my creative juices free themselves and I get on with sketching and stitching something I'm much happier with.

A similar scenario played out at Elefantz HQ the other day.
 
At the moment my fingers are busy embroidering the seven days of the week for May's issue of The Stitchery Club. I showed you the first three blocks last week, but over the weekend my mind would not rest about an increasing dissatisfaction I had with the Tuesday design.

Ignoring my feelings I moved on to stitch the Thursday block which I really loved - the strawberries and pot of jam were inspired by afternoons spent making delicious berry jams for my family which they would spread on thick buttered slices of freshly baked bread. 
(Oh goodness, just writing that has made me hungry for a plate of jammy bread...might have to plan a session in the kitchen before the weekend!)


Deeply satisfied with Thursday, I threaded my needle to begin the Friday block.
BUT, I simply couldn't get past those feelings of disappointment with Tuesday, so you know what I did?
I went back to my sketch pad and re-drew the design.

It wasn't that the whole design bothered me as I still like it, especially the overall idea, but it just wasn't fitting in with the other six 'days of the week' designs.
 I needed to assess what I didn't like about it  in order to tweak the idea and restitch it, eventually coming to the conclusion that I needed to remove the sharp angular windowsill and soften the bird. 

OLD Tuesday block...

 

What I loved about the block was the wooden bucket, the flowers and the scroll at the base of the windowsill, so I kept them and changed the rest of the design for this softer, rounder display.

NEW Tuesday block...


See how one Tuesday is sharp and the other is soft and gentle?


I'm really happy with the new Tuesday! It's a 'me' design and one I'm delighted to put my name on. 
It took time away from my already tight stitching schedule, but in the end it was important that I follow through with the best of what I have to offer.

But tell me, which one do YOU prefer, and why?

Here's the first four blocks in "Days of the Week"...


Because I've already shown the original Tuesday as well as the new one, both versions will be inside May's issue of The Stitchery Club for members to follow their own preference. They can stitch the one they like best, the one that suits their style - after all, none of us are exactly the same.




Want to join the Club?

It's simple. All the information is here

You'll receive six (sometimes seven) new stitchery patterns delivered to you via email every month plus a free gift for joining!





GIVEAWAY:

I decided not to cut up the first Tuesday stitchery because I thought perhaps one of you might like to have it?

I'll post worldwide so just leave a comment below, one comment only, and I'll draw a winner on May 6th Australian time.

If you're anonymous or a 'no reply blogger' then I will not be able to contact you should your name be drawn, which will make you ineligible. 
To be eligible please leave your name and email in the comment.


I might even include a piece of Tilda fabric...yes, I think I will. 

 Good luck!

hugs


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Simple and sweet...

We were heading off to Blossom's place for morning tea on Sunday and I had promised to bring our spare French Press as we never use it and Blossom will. 
I retrieved the long unused glass coffee plunger from atop the kitchen cupboard, gave it a good scrub, and left it to dry while I went to work sewing a simple padded wrapper.
About two years ago (when I was still purchasing on impulse) I bought this cheery fabric on sale at a local quilt shop. I had no idea how I was going to use it at the time and no ideas have since sprung to mind either but I haven't been able to part with it because it truly makes me smile...
 
While scanning my fabric shelves for a print that would lift the blue trim of the French Press it was this one which caught my eye and couldn't be ignored.
There was no time to add a stitchery and in hindsight that was great because I was able to focus on the simplicity of this pretty gift/project, something I too often forget.
Simple simplicity can be rather sweet...

Half an hour later I had lifted this plain coffee plunger to new heights...

...and Blossom loved it.
There's still a good metre or more of the fabric left so I may trim some tea towels for Bloss or make a matching tea cosy - having the pretty theme run through her kitchen would be lovely.
 
Our own French Press is in need of a wrapper too so this week it will receive a dress all it's own.
I've got a neat idea that needs a little tweaking but if it works I'll share a tutorial with you.




What's something simple you have made recently for the kitchen or table? Sharing your ideas might help others (and me!) to follow your lead.

Have a lovely day, won't you?!
hugs


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Be led in truth...


Over the past two thousand years Christianity has splintered into more denominations and factions than I can count. 
What makes me saddest about this is the confusion it puts into the hearts and minds of new believers, and the ammunition it gives non-believers to aim at us.

I can't tell you what denomination to follow, and you can't influence me either. 
I may not agree with some of your theological teachings and you may not agree with mine. 

But we Christians, we followers of Jesus, have each been adopted into one family under God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We were redeemed though sinners and made clean through Christ's sacrifice, death and resurrection. Not through any power of our own, but through HIS atoning grace.

Compared to Jesus, we are no better or worse than each other. 
We are all imperfect, prone to sin day by day, and carry life legacies which influence our actions, responses and beliefs. 

None of us, not one, is righteous enough to teach total truth. No single Christian denomination on earth has the fullness of the knowledge of God, no preacher is perfect, and no church doctrine is faultless. 

This is why we can't sit in church and accept everything we hear.
This is why we must go home and search the Scriptures, every day discovering His truth for ourselves. 
We must, especially in these times, check everything we're taught from the Word of God in context. Don't just read the verse of the day, read a chapter before and after it...what does it mean? Who was it written to? Paint a bigger picture and understanding will come. 

When I was at Bible College I had a silly notion that if anyone had been a Christian a month longer than me then they must know more and I should take their opinions as gospel truth. I think the Lord had a chuckle over this because He gave me a lecturer that year who week by week turned my beliefs upside down! This teacher challenged me over and over with "Why do you believe that, Jenny? Why?!" 
At first I was flustered and annoyed, but gradually I came to understand he was pushing me into the pages of my Bible to seek the truth for myself. That year changed me and I've never taken a sermon on face value since. 

Example:  after moving to a new town we began attending a church where the large congregation was predominantly late teens/early 20's, an age group which suited our youngest daughter who was 17 at the time. Already disturbed by the number of people around us who were texting and playing on their mobile phones all through the service, it was the sermon we heard which caused us to not return. 
The pastor preached on the feeding of the 5,000 with his sole aim to manipulate the congregation (remember, they were in the 17-24 age group mostly) to give. He did this by teaching that the child with the loaves and fishes was a teenage boy who was very selfish and didn't want to give the disciples his bread and fish. He wanted to keep all he had to himself. Now, from there he elaborated more and more about the selfishness of young people and how giving to the Lord will give them an abundant harvest of blessing (a commitment card with a section to write their bank details was handed around near the end of the sermon).

Well, my husband, daughter and I looked at each other in amazement. We had no idea where this pastor had dug up that hidden bit of information between the pages of his Bible but it certainly couldn't be found in ours.
The story this pastor told came from John 6, and the incident with his 'selfish teenage' boy is in verse 9.

"There is a lad here which hath five barley loaves and two small fishes:"

In the original language of the Scriptures the word 'lad' is 'paidarion' which refers to a small boy, a child - not a teenager. 

How many of the hundreds of young adults sitting in church that night accepted the pastor's rendition of Jesus feeding the five thousand and a selfish teenager angry about giving his food away, and have carried his story to this day as gospel truth?
Probably most. 
I could barely find a bible in anyone's hand and afterwards there was a barbeque to attend at the beach, so I wondered if they'd even think to check this story for themselves when they got home.

I sincerely pray today's message encourages you to seek truth between the pages of God's Word where only truth resides

Remember, don't believe me. Only believe Him.

hugs

Friday, April 22, 2016

Days of the week...

Stitching this past week has been rather sweet.
I've designed a set of seven embroideries for May's issue of The Stitchery Club and the blending of thread on linen with the inspiration of a few Tilda fabrics from my stash brought the first three designs to life...

These are the Tilda prints I've put aside for this project, though I may not use the deep pink spot as I rather like the softness of just pastels...

When the seven blocks have been stitched they will become a set of hanging pockets, a pattern which will be included in the May issue.


I imagine you already know what I'll be stitching this weekend?!

Information about joining the Club is here.



What's captured your attention with needle and thread this week?

hugs