Sunday, January 22, 2017

Surrender...



Recently I was asked to share more about 'surrendering' to God, which in turn triggered intentional prayer about this challenging aspect of living a Christ-centred life.

What is surrender, I asked myself? 
To me, it is a day to day intentional decision we make when situations call for us to respond in either the flesh or the spirit - it's not a one-time-for-all-time choice that carries us through this life, because we are carnal and always changing in response to the lives we choose to live. 
For example, most times I will surrender my will to God but other times I won't, it all depends on the value I have given to my relationship with Him.
Let me explain....

The closer we walk with the Lord, the more we study His Word and allow it to permeate and nourish our mind and heart, the more we know Him. 
The more we know Him, the easier it becomes to make decisions which uphold His nature and instruction, and the easier it is to submit or surrender. 

Are you scared of what God is asking you to do? That's often a reason we won't submit our will or surrender our choices, but let me assure you...

Never has God asked me to sin, never has He asked me to do something that would tempt me away from Him, never has He asked me to follow a path which would cause me regret or harm, and never has He encouraged me to harm another.

The Surrender Gauge: I can honestly tell you that my 'surrender' gauge is a very valid measurement of how much time I'm spending in Bible study and prayer. 

The seasons when I am more prone to choosing my way over His are the ones where I've taken my eyes off quality daily time with Jesus and begun spending too much time elsewhere - such as on my computer, watching television, sewing, shopping for bargains or beautifying my home. The more separated I am from His Word, the more attached I am to the world and all its attractions...this in turn dulls my spirit to what I should do, think and say.

But when I'm giving God my whole heart and seeking Him out with a deep desire to hear and understand what He's saying through my Bible, when I'm opening myself to prayer that is not rushed, when I'm being quiet and waiting upon His still small voice to guide me, when I'm praising His goodness and thanking Him for Who He is and what He has done and will do in my life...
that's when surrender comes easily.
Then, I yearn to surrender.
Then, I have no fear in surrendering my all to Him.

God only does us good, never evil. He only ever asks us to do that which is beneficial and right.
His view of our whole life is wide, extending to eternity, yet our view is as narrow as the eye of a needle.

If I can encourage you to do one thing which will help you to surrender whatever He asks of you, it is to spend more time in the Word, prayer, and praise. 
Truly, truly, getting closer to Him will impact all areas of your life in ways you cannot even imagine.

I'm still journeying this life and my relationship with Jesus, still having to choose right over wrong, Him over me, humility over selfishness...and some days I fail dismally. 
But He's not keeping score of those days. He's right there when I turn back to Him, ready to hug me tight and walk the next mile, whispering truth into my confusion and shedding Light to dispel my darkness. 

Today, choose Him, and tomorrow choose Him.
In time surrender will become easier and the peace in your heart will flow out into your life for all to see.

Your sister in Christ,


Saturday, January 21, 2017

A free patchwork BOM...

Back in 2014 I followed along with the Fat Quarter Shop's free BOM to make the "Wishes" quilt (those who participated were encouraged to donate to the Make a Wish Foundation).

I thoroughly enjoyed the diversion from embroidery to create a lovely quilt for our bedroom and as a bonus I was able to use up my stash of older Denyse Schmidt fabrics.

The quilt now hangs near the walk in robe, but in cooler months it is spread across the end of our bed close at hand for afternoon naps. It's one of my favourite quilts!


From the FQS's 2015 BOM "Snapshots" I only made two of the blocks but they carried a special significance in my homemaker heart so they were finished as mini quilts for display around the home. The Kettle block still hangs in my kitchen...




...and I added a verse to the pocket of my apron block (from Proverbs 31). It hangs near my pantry cupboard.


The WISHES and SNAPSHOT blocks are still available to download here on the FQS free patterns page.


I found last year was very busy juggling family responsibilities, designing, and a number of health issues so I didn't participate in the FQS's quilt along, but this year they have a new BOM, "Patchwork", and I'm ready to join in the fun and make myself a new quilt!

The blocks are a free download from their blog on the 15th of each month.




Isn't it lovely?!

I have been taking advantage of the New Year fabric sales at my local quilt shop and Spotlight to gather some pretty pastel prints to make this quilt and this morning printed up the first block instructions...




I realised a couple of months ago that my personal fabric choices have returned to pastels, which is why it was easy to pass along most of my fabrics to Blossom last year.

Actually, I've discovered that a number of friends have noticed the same thing and are slowly going through their stash to remove what is no longer attractive and use what they truly like.
Have you been through this lately?

These soft pink, blue, aqua, green and lemon fabrics are a perfect beginning to what I hope will become a very pretty quilt at the end of the year.



All those who participate are encouraged to donate a few dollars per block to the Make A Wish Foundation (it's not compulsory) and I will do that, but as I'm in Australia I will donate to my local Make A Wish Foundation. They are such a blessing to seriously ill children and teens.

To read about the FQS's "Patchwork" BOM go here.
To download the first block go here

Will you be joining in this quilting adventure too?
What colours or fabric style is your favourite?

be blessed,


Friday, January 20, 2017

Office makeover and some recipes...

My new corner desk is set up for work and I love it! 





Now I can spread out my notes as I write patterns, look out the window at next door's lovely garden as I format photos and write blog posts, and draw up new ideas for stitcheries in comfort.

Mr E has long been concerned about my cramped desk (a small built in) and the need to wander back and forth from sewing room to office as I draw, scan, refine, erase and draw again. 
This new desk is exactly what was needed because now I can swivel around and do everything from my chair.
Isn't he a wonderful husband!?





In fact I was so thankful yesterday that after getting the office sorted I headed out to the kitchen to bake up some goodies for him.

Firstly it was a Lemon Meringue Pie, one of his favourites.





I roll my lemons over the counter top for 15-20 seconds before juicing because that increases the juice they release. 
(Some people pop them in the microwave first to soften the lemon so it releases more juice but it's hot here already in the tropics so I don't bother.)

There were two new things I discovered whilst making the pie and I thought I'd share them with you.

Number 1 - as much as I love my vintage style 'squeeze me' juicer, I get far more juice out of my lemons using this...





And number 2 - putting your egg whites, bowl and beater blades in the freezer for 10 minutes before you whip the egg whites for the meringue makes it whip SO much quicker and increases the air for a beautiful, lighter meringue.







Once baked it was cooled in the fridge and Mr E licked his lips when he saw it there after he returned from his first day at the new job (teaching high school).






This is such a simple recipe and when I show it on the blog I'm always asked to share it so if you'd like to make it yourself you can download the PDF here




The other bit of baking I indulged in was to make some Frangipane Jam Drop biscuits...





I found the recipe in the Woman's Weekly Classic Cookies cookbook I borrowed from the library earlier in the week (give me a couple of days and I'll bake something from the Classic Cakes book as well!) and it was very easy.







My cookies were browner than the ones in the recipe photo, but we do like a little 'turn' in ours, and I may have added a touch more jam than the recipe suggests but we do like extra jamminess too.




Mr E ate three within minutes of arriving home yesterday and took some to work today for afternoon tea, then this morning Blossom arrived for a visit and promptly ate a few herself.
I can honestly say I will need to bake more as they are delicious!

If you click on the photo below you'll be able to follow the recipe yourself as it will open larger in a separate window.





Just before I sat down to write this blog post I brought some pie in with me to enjoy with a cuppa.




Honestly, I love baking, but more than anything I enjoy baking for the people I love. 

The next room that must be attended to in my new year 'freshening' is the sewing area.
So far I've just removed things from the 'designs in progress' shelving and in doing so have re-discovered some older projects I'd planned to finish as items for the home but never got around to.

I stitched this little tea shelf design onto two corners of a vintage crochet-edged piece of linen back in 2015 with the intention of sewing it onto a piece of saved Tilda fabric to make a pretty table centre.





As Mr E will be continuing repairs on the Jeep all weekend I have decided to finally bring this idea to life and hopefully next week I'll have it on my table and ready to show you.




The stitchery pattern for "The Tea Shelf" is here in my shop.


May your day be blessed, filled with joy, laughter, peace and something delicious to eat.

hugs


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Purging and keeping and using...

When I was contemplating 2017 as a year of "finding joy in the ordinary" one of the plans on my list was to donate as many of my books and magazines as I could, and keep just those I truly want to use, read, or keep for reference.

Well, that was quite an adventure!
Over two days Mr E watched as I went through the contents of every book case and every individual magazine (there were a lot of those) until the car boot was overflowing and I was ready to empty it at one of our local charity stores. 
Actually, he was so inspired by my decision that he spent the following day in his study purging his own collection of reading matter. 

The upside of this adventure is only having now what we truly want, as well as some empty space in the bookcases! 
But you know how you start one task and it runs into another? That's what happened to me. My sorting and cleansing of literature triggered a re-arranging of things in the dining and entrance areas, which I'm happy to report looks better than I'd hoped. 

Naturally we're always limited in a rental home as to what we can do, but I'm enjoying thinking about how to make what we have 'work' within the area and colour scheme of this house.













Now that the books and magazines are sorted and what remains are what I want, I was thinking it would be a fun idea to re-acquaint myself with them over the course of this year.

For example, I have a small white bookcase which holds my recipe books so each week I plan to make a new recipe from one of those cookbooks. There's 49 weeks left in 2017, so I think trying 49 new recipes from the 30 or so cookbooks I own is quite doable, don't you?





Another thing that I'm going to try, though not weekly, is to make one project a month from my craft books, of which I have enough to see me through about 38 months. Rosie Heather mentioned she was doing something similar with her craft books when we caught up last week so that's who triggered this idea. 





I also have a number of small stacks of homemaking books which I'll be revisiting on a weekly basis, looking for fun ideas to share with you and to follow through with in my own home.




I'll show you my magazines another day, and explain why I kept the ones I did. 

Now, I'm not saying I won't purchase more books or magazines in the future, because I will, but I've returned to being a regular visitor of my local library and will source as much as I can from there before making those purchases.

This is my Library Chair, our official 'holding station' for all library borrowings. As I've returned to reading fiction this year after a very long sabbatical the library as a resource definitely saves the pennies.





I still have rooms to re-organise, my office being next on the hit list.
Mr E bought me a new corner desk and assembled it yesterday so this afternoon I'll change all of this...







...into the best office I've ever had. 




Is your home in need of refreshing?
Perhaps there's something, just one task, you can begin today?

Blossom has been doing this, one room at a time, and it's given her so much pleasure! 
Maybe she takes after her mum...LOL!


Our Gentle Domesticity Facebook group now has over 1200 members and this year we'll be having a weekly chat question where everyone is invited to share their ideas and experiences.

This week's chat topic is...



Want to join in? You'll find our group HERE.

You're also welcome to chat via the comments on this blog post because I'll be sharing each week's question here too.

until next time,
may you find joy in the ordinary.