Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My girls and their babies...

Aisha arrived from Sydney late last week with 5 month old Austin, and spent four wonderful days with us.
It was the first time I'd met my newest grandson, and the first time the two sisters held each other's babies. 
A photo session ensued rather rapidly!

No doubting these two are cousins, right?

I can't tell you the joy I experienced each day with an armful of babies, but also the delight of seeing the LOVE Aisha had for little niece Cully May, and the LOVE Blossom had for nephew Austin Knox. 
Both are natural mothers, natural aunties, naturally wonderful daughters to Mr E and I.

Blossom kept swishing her head as she played with  Austin so I couldn't capture a good photo of them together, but this one of Aisha with Cully May is lovely...

During our time together we girls talked our heads off, not for a minute running out of conversation, which led Mr E and Blossom's DB to regularly ask when entering the room, "You's are still talking??"
Aisha's response: "Yeh! The women in our family can talk forever." 
So very true, and how very grateful I am for that.

Aisha and Austin flew home Monday afternoon and we miss them already.
Fortunately they'll be back again next winter with the rest of their precious family. In the meantime Blossom, Aisha and I chat every day and keep up with our lives in the 'here and now' no matter how far apart we live.

Time to show you the fourth new Christmas design for October's issue of The Stitchery Club...

Do you like the non-traditional Christmas colours I chose for next month's sewing themed patterns?

To be honest I'm not much of a green & red girl, even at Christmas, so I'm enjoying choosing palettes for a modern or shabby chic style of decorating.

What colours are found around your home during the festive season?


Friday, September 23, 2016

Making the most of today...

I bought these daisies two weeks ago today. 
The water has been changed only twice, yet they're still making me smile. I don't even mind the slight droop of a few petals. To me they are beautiful, happy, giving their all to life while they have it.

Quite often it's the little things that make the deepest impact on my heart.
Like these daisies doing their darndest to give the best from their short lives.

I'd like to think my life is about making people smile, blooming because I can, giving my all to each precious God-gifted day. Sometimes those desires are achieved, but other times I'm more of a weeping willow bent over the river of life unable to lift a branch, or not particularly inspired to do so.

The rhythm of life, eh? 
We have good days, we have slow days, we have challenging days, we have too-busy-to-breathe days. The key thing though, is that we HAVE days.
If we languish on the shore of weariness or complacency today, we can always rally and swim across to the other side tomorrow and lift our countenance. 
Every morning offers a choice. 
"Shall I be gloomy and self absorbed with woe today?"
"Shall I give thanks because I have this day and make the very most of it's yet to be seen delights?"

Today Aisha arrives on the plane from Sydney with 5 month old Austin. 
Mr E has taken the day off work, and until that plane touches down late this afternoon we're taking it easy and simply enjoying the quiet hours at home alone. I know higher energy levels will be needed over the next four days and I'm going to be ready for them, because days with Aisha are few and far between so when she's here I don't want to be thinking about how much I'll miss her when she leaves. The days gifted to us are to be relished with pure and loving delight!

This mindset is a great improvement on how I viewed time with my children many years ago. Too many hours were wasted lamenting the 'end' and regretting the past, and not enough giving my all to what was before me in the here and now.

There are some ways I live in the past, though.

It's in memories of the joys from a childhood spent with Nana and Pop, their simple uncluttered lives and the things I remember them owning - like pretty china plates which Nan had had all her life, sturdy bakelite buttons sewn onto Pop's shirts and her aprons, flowers picked from her tiny front garden and displayed in water jugs on the battered kitchen table. 

Last Sunday Mr E and I wandered a local vintage market and I had my pocket money on hand in case I found some treasures from the past.
Do you give yourself pocket money? We've been doing this for 25 years. As a child I never had any, so getting pocket money each fortnight as an adult became a wonderful treat for Mr E and I.

At $1 a card, these bakelite buttons came home with me...

...and my big (beautiful) purchase was this $12 Royal Doulton cake plate.

Mr E truly does not 'get' why I love this sort of thing, but nevertheless he is happy they make me happy and never objects to wandering markets with me nor my choice of purchase.

I'm sure once I bake a cake and fill that plate with slices he'll appreciate it more. :-) 

I won't be blogging again until next Tuesday so I'll sign off today with these pics below.
This is another of my new patterns for the October issue of The Stitchery Club, "Sewing Tree"...

May your weekend be joyful, your Sabbath restful, and your heart refreshed in the days ahead.

Till next time,

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A 50th, family and Christmas...

Saturday was Mr E's 50th birthday, and we decided to stay home and enjoy a simple cuppa with Blossom, her DB, and our precious granddaughter Cully May to mark the occasion...

Initially Blossom and I had wanted to take Mr E out for a lovely dinner to celebrate his half century in style...but you know, he's just not that kind of guy.
Whenever we ask him what he'd like as a gift, whether it be Christmas, Fathers Day or his birthday, the answer is always the same - "peace and quiet". 
So that's what we gave him on Saturday and he was a very happy man indeed.

I'm so blessed to call him husband.
So blessed he chose me for his wife.

Since Anita and Aminah flew home at the end of last week I've been trying to rest as much as possible so I can enjoy Aisha's visit this coming weekend with her baby boy, Austin. 

Here's a photo of Anita and Blossom last week, two beautiful sisters...

...and here's my precious little granddaughter Aminah, Anita's 2yo daughter.

I missed them as soon as we had that last kiss and hug before they walked on to the plane.
Physical distance between loved ones can be hard to accept, especially when you're saying goodbye and don't know how long before you hold each other again.
But still, we are more than grateful for the few days together and the memories we now have in the treasure chest of our hearts.

On the down side of what was a WONDERFUL time, my health takes a dive when I exert myself physically and emotionally for a day, but when I've had 5-6 days in a row like that my body shuts down and the result is chronic exhaustion, anxiety attacks, and inability to function with clarity. 

With still much to do around the home, and also helping Blossom with a few things this week, down-time hasn't been very forthcoming, however spending a couple of hours each afternoon stitching Christmas designs for next month's Stitchery Club has definitely helped me to slow my breathing and simply enjoy the stillness and quiet my body longs for.

The theme for October is "A Stitchy Kind of Christmas" with all designs having a sewing-at-Christmas feel about them.

I think that's what I love most about Christmas...handmade gifts, loved with thread gifts, pieces of your heart sew into every part. Know what I mean?

Here's the first one for the October issue...

Anita asked me to make her some door hangers for her apartment, touches of 'mum and home' to decorate their own home. 
Let's never underestimate the importance of 'making' for your loved ones...

Have a blessed day,

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Things about home...

The days spent with a precious daughter and granddaughter who traveled far to see me this past week were beyond joyous.
Loving on them, caring for them in my own home, reaping love and hugs and endless conversations...blessed beyond words.
Seeing my own home through the eyes of a daughter is a wonderful thing because I too often miss what's before me, you know? 
Too often our homes becomes a shell we live in, though lovely in display we forget to truly look and be thankful for what we have. My girl felt embraced by simple beauty, grounded in safe surrounds, LOVED by the atmosphere of welcome and invitation. I shall treasure her words and not take my humble surrounds for granted any longer.

Reminded me of this stitchery from last year, designed because I love 'home' and all that can bring, all that can offer if we're open to receive.
 I popped the pattern back in my shop, just in case...

Samplers always direct my thoughts to the simpler times of home life, when what mattered was how you felt at home - not overawed by stuff or pomp and ceremony, but by arms stretched wide to receive a little child, wild flowers in the garden and a kettle on the boil for a friend come to visit.
Guess that's why I love them so much.

When Anita was here we talked and talked for hours, sharing the past, the present, and hopes for the future. She both inspired me and made me laugh so much my ribs still hurt, yet at the same time Anita welcomed and invited  my counsel in her own life.
Many times Blossom would join us and there we would be, a mother and two daughters, two little grandbabies close by, unraveling motherhood, wiving, and homemaking mysteries together. Over a cuppa we delved into almost every topic of life and shared our thoughts unhindered by criticism. 
We loved on each other, we loved with each other, we gave love, we received love.
And respect, so much respect. How proud I am of these young women, and how much I am learning from them.

Over a cuppa we women relax, open up, comfort, encourage, and occasionally solve the problems of the world...well, perhaps not solve, but we certainly have a plan. We laugh, we cry, we forgive, we mend.

Reconnecting with family and friends and making time to sit without distractions and ENJOY each other over a cup of tea, that's a suggestion I made to the sweet members of our Gentle Domesticity Facebook group this weekend. 
Simple things can be life-giving when the busyness of a daily grind has swept your breath away or when loneliness surrounds you. Perhaps you're in need of some down time with a cuppa and a friend too?
A warm brew, a slice of cake, a smile, an ear to listen, a laugh over silly things...sound good?
This week ahead I shall be preparing my heart and home for another daughter to arrive from far away, and much of what Anita shared about 'home' will be forefront in my thoughts.

How is your heart with regards to home?
Are you in need of afternoon tea with a friend or two?
Will you bless yourself and stop the clock for a few hours to simply enjoy time together?

Here's a free teapot pattern you can stitch, something simple and sweet that could become a tray mat or tea cosy...whatever puts a smile on your dear face.

 My friends, enjoy this day, give thanks, breathe deep, embrace goodness.
You're worth it.

Both patterns are here in my shop.

 Have a blessed and beauty-filled week,

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sweet Somethings, a gift for you...

I'll be stepping away from the blog this week to enjoy time with my daughter Anita and her 2yo munchkin, Aminah. 
They fly in tomorrow and will be staying with us for four wonderful days and I want to devote all my time to this long awaited reunion - something I know you'll understand!

This special time about to happen in our lives reminded me of a simple design I made a few years back, "Sweet Somethings", tiny 5 inch square pillows with words that speak life and love...

PRAY for every need and have 
FAITH to never give up. 

TRUST that God holds your prayers close to His heart and He will answer them in the best possible way.

Let God's LOVE fill your life, and offer it to those with none left to give.

The pattern is my gift to you.

Be blessed always,

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Run don't walk...

Most seasons we take the stresses of life in our stride.
Then a season arrives where it seems that a bombardment of trials, griefs, challenges and attacks are coming at us from all sides. We feel unprotected, unarmed, and overwhelmed. 
These seasons often hit without warning, like an earthquake, so our 'world' shakes around us and we may lose our footing.
Other times we can see the tsunami of circumstances heading towards us and running to hide is the option we look for.

This past week I've received a number of emails from precious hearts who are struggling with earthquakes and tsunamis in their lives, circumstances that have challenged their present and their future, events that have sent them to the very heart of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

On the flip side, this week I've also received a few emails attacking me personally and professionally, each totally unrelated and on a different topic than the other. Sadly, each one was uncalled for and based on false facts, though nobody stopped to question me on those facts before aiming their weapon and firing.

 I was already overwhelmed by some personal and health issues needing to be faced this month, so these emails knocked me when I was already down. 

But this is life, you know. The unexpected will often catch us unawares, not waiting till we are in a good head space, healthy or spiritually strong.

This is why we need Jesus.
This is why we need the Father.
This is why we need the Holy Spirit.

Who's compassionate heart can understand our troubles and carry our prayers to God? Jesus.
Who can wrap us in arms of love and cradle us close to His heart? Father God.
Who can speak the words of healing and strength from God's Word and impress their truth upon our hearts and minds? The Holy Spirit.

Are you overwhelmed?

"Lead me to the Rock which is higher than I."

Run, don't walk.  Leap into the Father's arms and let His words of light shine into your darkness.

Be blessed,

Friday, September 9, 2016

Apron Allsorts!

I seriously adore aprons.
Just wish I had some spare time to make more.
Might take a couple of weeks holiday from Elefantz Designs in October and play with that idea? Mmmm.

In the meantime, want to make some free apron-inspired projects this weekend?
You do?!  
Great, 'cause I found you some during an early evening browse across the world wide web, whilst at the same time savouring a yummy choc mint ice-cream cookie Mr E had given me. 
'Skinny Cow' ice-cream cookies are delicious, by the way.

Anyhow, I made this block last year when Fat Quarter Shop released it as part of their 2015 BOM and I still love it to pieces. Mine became a wall hanging (you can see it here) and as the pattern is still a free download you could raid your fabric shelves and be sewing one today or tonight, depending where in the world your sweet self resides.

 How simple is this apron to make?! The 1 Yard Magic Apron pattern comes from Lecien Fabrics and you can follow a tutorial to make your own here at Sew Can She!

How about a sweet vintage embroidery pattern?
Free to download here from about.com or click on the photo below and save to your computer...

Do you have a supply of vintage embroidered linens?
IDEA: Why not make some into pockets to sew on your aprons, or simply to tie around your waist like this?
(I am seriously making a few! How adorable!)


Have you tried chicken scratch embroidery on gingham?
I haven't, but always wanted to because I think it looks cute as pie on vintage style aprons, so I found a tutorial to teach us over at Rocksea.
There are two lessons - part 1 here and part 2 here.

Did you follow my Vintage Kitchen BOM last year?
I shared this little redwork stitchery as the February block...

The full set of 9 Vintage Kitchen stitchery patterns with instructions for the final quilt 
assembly are here in my shop ON SALE until September 30. 

But if you'd just like the apron stitchery pattern you can download that one for free from the files in my Gentle Domesticity Facebook Group!
 Not a member yet?  You can join us here
The group has almost 800  members now, so feel free to chat along about the gentle domestic life as we stitch this year's BOM. The girls are such a friendly bunch!

Better sign off and get an early night because I've got a spare bedroom to finish decorating before one of my daughters flies in on Monday with her own daughter, a sweet 2yo I've never met. 
So excited, but there's still much to do...

Have a blessed weekend!