"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

Thomas Moore

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sorting...

No house yet, but it will happen, and in preparation for our hoped-for move I've begun to go through each room very slowly, looking with fresh eyes at each item we own and evaluating whether we need it or even want it.

I've found as renters who regularly move we just tend to gather and pack what we have and move on, whether that be to the  next suburb, a new town or far across the country (and Australia's rather large).  Yes, there's habitually some culling of our excess and a thinning of books, clothes, coffee mugs and paper products, all which make their way to a number of local charity shops, but this time it will be so much more.

Because we're now preparing to buy a home of our own, a let's-put-roots-down home, a we-can-decorate-it-any-way-we-like home, it's time to gather only that which matters, has purpose, is beautiful or fulfills a need. 
This is why I shall be going along wall by wall, shelf by shelf, cupboard by cupboard, room by room here in our (hopefully) final rental house, and taking time to consider what's coming with us and what is not.

Yesterday I began with the cookbooks, of which I have many, two full bookcases in fact. 
Some came with me into our marriage almost 27 years ago and the remainder have come along since then. In fact, quite a few of the recipes I learned from the older books are still family favourites today and been passed along to my daughters.

But as I emptied the two bookcases I chose to consider each book on it's individual merits and after three hours of browsing pages and copying the odd recipe here and there, had reduced my collection of cookbooks to one small bookcase...




Sadly, a number of the rejected cookbooks I was packing into boxes for the charity shop had not been opened in many years so I did chide myself for what was obviously a series of impulse purchases.

But how exciting it was to place our little old bookcase (which dear Blossom had painted white ten years ago after we purchased it at a garage sale) in the corner of the dining room, full of cookbooks I was keen to keep and use! In fact, needing a rest after all that decision making and page turning, I brewed a cuppa and pulled this one off the shelf to browse as Mr E was sorely in need of a baked morning tea treat for his lunch box. 




Within the pages of Baking Day I found a wonderful collection of sweet recipes but when a bookmarked page fell open to Frangipane Jam Drops the decision about what to bake was clearly made for me...




Another thing I'm doing as we draw nearer to the lease expiring here and a home of our own looming closer is to use up the pantry supplies and the freezer items in order to begin fresh in a new kitchen when the time comes. 
Jars of jam, mayonnaise and pickles from the fridge are slowly being used up and as I had a quarter jar of apricot conserve on hand it made a delicious filling for the the jam drops.




With a pot of fresh chicken and corn soup simmering on the stove when hubby arrived home from work I thought the cookies could be a simple dessert later that night but he thought they'd make a nice pre-dinner snack as well. How can you disagree when your husband obviously loves your cooking?




Today I drove over to Blossom's and spent time with her and the babies. What a lot of laughter, deep conversation, twirling and sorting we did! 

Laughter at the two little girls and their funny antics, deep conversation about our shared interests in minimalism, organisation and house hunting, twirling like ballerinas for Cully May until I got so dizzy we decided to stop, and sorting through Blossom's bookcase for excess to donate because she, Ross and the children are moving next month and they've also decided just to take what they really love and need. 

My car boot loaded with boxes from yesterday's cookbook cull and now Blossom's donations as well, I waved goodbye to these three lovelies and headed to the Salvation Army store on the highway close to home to drop everything off.




Tomorrow I shall start on my office. 
And that will require much coffee, and surely a few cookies as well.

Have I ever told you how much I love a good seasonal de-clutter?
Well I do.
But this is better.



On the sewing front new patterns are being completed for August, including this Jane Austen quote which I love...



I have an idea to design a series of Jane Austen quotes.
This one will hang in my home soon, and perhaps many more to follow. 
Perhaps a wall of them? Mmm.


God bless you and keep you, 
May His love fill your heart, 
His Light shine through your darkness,
and His provision be generous in supplying all your needs.

hugs

New embroidery patterns are regularly added to my shop for instant download.
Shop HERE for Elefantz Designs.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Bubbling over...

Two punnets of strawberries had been waiting patiently in the fridge for a week to be made into jam.
For various reasons I'd not made time to follow through on that plan until Wednesday evening. With a chicken curry simmering away on the stove top, rice steaming and chapati bread being cooked one by one on the piping hot griddle, I thought to myself this would be the perfect time to get that strawberry jam going. 
Oh silly, overconfident me.

I did finely chop the strawberries, did put berries, sugar, lemon and dab of pectin in the saucepan, did bring it to the boil, did lower the gas flame to a simmer...and did walk away forgetting to remove the lid from the saucepan.

Too many things happening at once, and then I was distracted by a text from Blossom which triggered a series of back and forth messages. Oblivious to what was happening on the stove top we discussed the pros and cons of a rental home she and Ross had gone to see that day.

Then the smell of burning sweetness wafted past my nose and a light bulb came on in my head - the jam!! 

Cleaning a gas stove top is not my favourite chore but it's also not a hard one and can be done quickly every day or so. But a gas stove top which now holds a soup of bubbled over strawberry jam is not quite so easily brought back to it's shimmering stainless steel glory. 

Serving dinner, intent on ignoring the jam which was gradually cooling to a sticky red gel under the gas jets, I thought "this is like my life". 
Too many distractions, no clear cut plan most days, too many ideas often put into play at not the right time, and then everything bubbles over and becomes a mess which takes even more of my time to clean up and put back in order. 
I called this the strawberry jam lesson on life.

Fortunately I salvaged the jam which remained in the saucepan, a mere half pot, but jam nonetheless and though it's not as thick as I'd normally make it, it tastes good. Especially when it drips off your toast and you need to catch it on your tongue before it hits your blouse.




Earlier that day a parcel had arrived with my new day planner. I really like the one I began in January and it has truly helped to keep my business and some household things ticking over nicely, at least until the "house hunting in earnest" began and the pneumonia set in. Since then it has barely been opened.

So I ordered another one, but this time it's an 18 month planner which runs through to the end of 2019, and I'm keeping it open on my desk all the time. Regardless of this season of life with it's distractions and all the comings and goings from open houses or private viewings, if I want to avoid a bubbling over mess from too many distractions and hands that are over-full, it is vitally important that I look at each day as having 24 precious hours, and allow those hours to be considerately filled with sleep, homemaking, design work, book work, relationships, God and free time.




I'm a visual learner, hands on, who writes a lot of lists, but my lists would too often be on scraps of paper that got lost or put somewhere I later forgot. Slowly this year I had been training myself not to do that. Slowly I had learned to keep one 'to do' list on the kitchen bench and one in my planner.

But then the house thing, ill health, and a few other family matters which took time and energy.

And then the jam mess.

I was off track again and it was obvious, so unpacking the new planner I set it out on my desk, replaced the to-do list on my kitchen bench and bought myself a pot of lavender because lavender never causes stress...




The table on our enclosed verandah is now my permanent space for quiet Bible study, prayer, tea and cake and I've even made sure that time is written in my planner...




A new book is speaking to my heart during afternoon rest time...




...and Honey Murcott mandarins are my simple go-to snack.




Slowing down, pulling back, not over-planning, removing physical and mental clutter, simplifying - this could be a recipe for avoiding the mess of a bubbling over life, I think?

On another note, with great rejoicing and a little push from God, I have closed my 'Jenny of Elefantz' Facebook business page. It was a romping success, but I don't much like the way Facebook is going and the insistent push for business pages to buy advertising or be punished by your posts barely being seen by about ten percent of followers.
Nope, don't need that. Mental clutter gone. Burden gone. Stressful manipulation gone.

I still have the Gentle Domesticity Group on FB but may also make changes with that later in the year to a message board format. For now that's an idea, but it needs a lot of prayer and some time to create. God will guide me if it's the way to go.

How are you going with de-cluttering your life?
What have you let go of recently?
What do you find difficult to let go of?

I'd love to hear from you, to know this bubbling over life isn't just exclusive to me, and also to hear how you've been able to make changes for the better. 

hugs



Need something to stitch? I regularly add new patterns to my shop for instant download!


Monday, July 9, 2018

Lessons...



I think one of the events we shall enjoy not repeating when we buy a home of our own will be quarterly house inspections by the estate agents who manage this property.
Though I do believe it's an important service on behalf of the owners to check and see that their investment house is being looked after and maintained, it sorely wears on me to have people coming through taking photos four times a year. Perhaps it's the introvert in me, my need for privacy and a sense of security within these walls? Whatever, I shall be gleeful when we turn the key in our very own front door and know that none shall pass it's threshold without an invitation to do so. 

This morning's rental inspection was a bit harder than usual due to these past three weeks of ill health and the subsequent housework, which is normally up to date, lagging behind. Still, between us, Mr E and I were able to catch up yesterday afternoon and it was a nice feeling to have things put away,  garden tended, floors sparkling and life back 'as it should be'.




It's his final week of a fortnight's school holiday break so we're taking life slow before term 3 begins and the work pace picks up again. One of the things we had both noticed recently was the dwindling grocery bill, and not just because we had barely an appetite during the flu and pneumonia weeks.
Even when our hunger returned it was for very simple fare and not a lot of it. Soup and toasted sandwiches have hit the number one spot as my husband's nightly dinner request, and a hearty beef stew I made in the slow cooker last week has been served twice with mashed potato and greens, and will become meat pies further into this week. With all the bits and pieces that stew has cost a grand total of $5 per double serve. No wonder the grocery bill is reducing. 




Scones make an appearance some days for lunch and then carry over the next day as breakfast. Normally I make them with buttermilk but having not been to the supermarket lately I soured the last of the milk with lemon juice instead and the scones tasted just as good.




Knowing the lease shall be up at this house in about ten weeks and we will need to leave, a slow progression through the pantry and freezer to use what we have is underway.  I don't like taking a lot of food with us when moving house so those last weeks always require a bit of extra creativity to pair ingredients which had previously not had the pleasure of an introduction, and of course there's quite a bit of baking happening to empty the flour barrels.

Blossom will be moving in four or five weeks too and I think her plan is the same as mine. 
Actually, I think a good pantry, fridge and freezer empty-out every so often is good sense as not many foodstuffs have an indefinite shelf or freezer life and it's very easy to forget what you have when your pantry cupboard is deep and dark (like mine). 



Bob and Sophie spend much of the day lazing in the sun by the dining room window, or out on the deck in their beds lazing in the sun, or snuggled close to Mr E and I during a late afternoon nap.


I've been re-reading A Year of Slow Food (now out of print) each night before bed. It's broken up into a year of week by week chapters written in conversational manner about daily life growing food, tending to animals, and cooking your own produce on a small farmlet. It's been years since I first read it and remember at the time I could not put the book down. 
This time however, I'm savouring the journey, researching further about beekeeping, honey, greenhouses, crop rotations, cheese making, cows and chickens. I sincerely doubt we shall ever take on the kind of commitment the authors did, but it's in our mind to become partially self sufficient should we find a home with enough garden space for raised vegetable beds, fruit trees and chickens. 

One house in particular tugged on our heartstrings the other day when we attended the open viewing.
It's old, loads of character, a wonderful cook's kitchen and pantry, plenty of shade and garden, in a quiet leafy green area...but it has an asbestos roof. This is a big red flag for my husband and would require removal by certified professionals at some stage and a new roof installed, probably costing around twenty thousand dollars which we'd need to save for.
I doubt we'll follow through with this one, but my oh my, we certainly do know what we want now. 




The rain a week ago has given the bottle brush down by the side of my sewing room a rare burst of winter colour, but it wasn't enough to stir the frangipani into bloom.
Still, the bottle brush has attracted birds and as I potter in my sewing room around dawn each morning, sipping a fresh cup of coffee, their song is joyful and welcoming.  




Welcoming.
One of my new designs was created with welcome in mind. 
A welcome for a new home actually.




As I do not know the colour scheme our new house will have, stitching with a fairly neutral palette seemed wise and I'm so glad I chose these colours because they really have a soothing, calming appearance...just what is needed when you enter a home for the first time, yes?

The cream frame has a lovely weathered appearance and the variegated green spot fabric was perfect to border the design without closing it in. No idea why I stitched 476 as the house number but I'm sure it has no relevance whatsoever to the number we shall have eventually. Perhaps I will scour the Bible and see if there is a good 4:76 or 47:6 verse to compliment my 'welcome' embroidery.

Did you notice the key? More importantly did you notice the key fob? It may look like just a piece of lace to you but to me it is a treasure from the past. When Blossom was just 12 years old she learned to do bobbin lace and this was the first practice piece she made. Now you know why I hold it dear to my heart and why it shall hang with a key over the framed design.




This slow time, this season of recuperation, is still teaching me, drawing my thoughts deeper so that I find myself examining experiences, motivations, purposes and the things that need to go.

One such change this past week has been acquainting myself with the 'unsubscribe' button found at the very bottom of numerous emails and newsletters I have subscribed to over the years.
Have you found yourself offering your email address in order to obtain a free recipe book, free patterns, preview viewings of documentaries, special offers from shops and businesses. etc etc? 
Me too.
In fact I realised after being off the computer for a few days during the worst of the pneumonia that my inbox flooded over with emails which I subsequently deleted one by one as I had no interest in what they were selling or offering. 

Emails flowing over can be wearying enough to clear when they are valid and pertaining to my own family, business, blog and friendships, but add to them even more which have no bearing at all on life or distract me with purchase temptations and there's an extra  mental weight bearing down that should not be there. 

Every morning these past eight or nine days I go through each email not associated with family, friends, blog or work, block the few obvious spam emails which always trickle through, and unsubscribe from everything else. Now I no longer groan when opening Outlook on my laptop and after initially unsubscribing from about 15-20 per day, this morning there was only one. 
Aah, the satisfaction, and the removal of temptations (craft shops, book shops...)

You know, there is a deep knowing in my heart that God has been using this time of rest and recovery to address many hidden issues in my life, to draw my eyes upon them and consider each one carefully. Some have surprised me, causing me to declare out loud "How did I not see that before?", and yet others, which I'd previously chosen to ignore and sweep under the carpet for another time, were like neon lights that would not quit until they were dealt with. 

Attitudes and habits have risen up to greet me head on, a tsunami of emotions following closely behind, and to be honest if I'd been given the choice I'd not have opened the door to them, but God knew what was needed, He allowed me to be laid low in order to raise me out of the pit I'd dug for myself. Such love. Such deep abiding love. Exactly what I'd wanted to do as a parent for the betterment of my own children, yet was often too fearful to follow through with. 

I feel quite blessed today, lightened of many loads and with fresh clarity of purpose and hope, and so very grateful for the faithful prayers of daughter Blossom, my beloved husband, and dear friends like AllieAnnabel and Margaret. Never underestimate prayers.

May your week be rich in kindness, slow in pace, overflowing with goodness and generous in love.

hugs


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Simple reflections from a crossword...

Though breathing is still not as easy as it was two weeks ago it is most definitely on the improve.

I think being housebound is wonderful for a convalescent's physical recovery, but it can also lead you into an almost depressed mental state, and so it was for me. Thankfully I recognised what was happening and discussed it with my husband, so this morning we packed plenty of water and headed north in the Jeep for a country drive ending up at Abergowrie, north west of Ingham, where the air was cool, and cows munched contentedly in the lush green paddocks scattered between cane fields ripe for harvest. 

It was refreshing to have the tropical winter air blowing through my hair as we drove along, capturing my mood of late and carrying it away, far from mind. As we passed through Ingham we stopped at Lou's Food Emporium for a package of Crostoli to nibble on and two cold bottles of mandarin cordial to quench our thirst. Very simple, quite delicious. 

Home again early in the afternoon I was tired yet satisfied we'd made the effort to close the door behind us for a bit and be reminded that life is more than the world within our house. Too often during illness, or in seasons where we're housebound for any number of reasons, an introvert like myself can find herself sinking further and further into a reclusive state of being, and though I do prefer to spend most of my time at home anyhow, it's also crucial that I 'get out' and come up for air every so often, to gaze with wonder at the beauty God has surrounded us with in this tropical paradise.




My desk has been somewhat neglected of late and I was not at all inspired to sit there and begin catching up on things until I placed a small white milk jug of flowers on top of the printer and then all of a sudden it felt welcoming.

Truly, one small thing can change an outlook, lift a flagging spirit, paint a smile on weary lips.




Out on the back verandah my schlumbergera cactus has also had a change of outlook. After more than a year without blooms these pretty deep peachy pink blossoms have appeared...




Chatting with Blossom the other day I shared with her my lack of creativity right now, and the sense that someone had pulled the plug on that side of my mind and drained it all away. 
She said, "Mum, go into your sewing room and cut into a favourite piece of fabric - then do whatever you like with it."
So yesterday I did just that, right before dawn when I had given up on sleep and the rain which had fallen softly on the roof all night closed the sky with clouds and ushered a chill throughout the house.
Padding into the sewing room with slippers, coffee and a thick cardie, I knew exactly what fabric to pull off the shelf.

I'm pretty sure they have sat in my stash, much admired, for about seven years. Two 1/4 yard cuts of pinkish red loveliness, waiting, always waiting.

Like all things in my mind at present, they needed a simple setting...




...and I'm very slowly enjoying moments of quiet sewing as I watch how they marry together in 
applique and embroidery. 

It's been a while since I worked with just one colour. How calming, easy, relaxing. Even beautiful. 
No hours, days even, of double guessing back and forth as to whether a palette of assorted pastels will play nicely...just unwinding one more length of pinkish red thread at a time, unhurried, sure and certain.
How reflective of me right now.
Needing to be unhurried, needing to be sure and certain, needing simple times for as long as I can have them.


When I was at the doctor's surgery the other day an older gentleman sat near me in the waiting room. The large area wasn't crowded but there were perhaps twelve or fourteen patients, some with children, scattered in seats awaiting their name to be called. I'd been there about twenty minutes before the older man set himself down just a chair's space from mine and I may not have given him a thought except for what he did next.

In a room where everyone, without exception, even mothers and fathers with babies and toddlers, were looking intently at their mobile phones, fingers scrolling through websites, emails and texts, playing games or making calls...the gentleman nearby pulled out the local newspaper from under his arm, removed a pen from his pocket, and turned the pages until he found what he was looking for. The crossword puzzle.

A contented smile spread across his face as he flattened the newspaper open before refolding it into a letter size so the crossword was the only section showing, and then with pen in hand he began.

I could not help myself. So engaged was he in answering the clues and filling empty spaces with answers that I simply had to keep looking over. In fact, at one point when his face frowned with deep concentration over what was clearly a not so easy clue I wanted to lean over and ask if he'd like some help! I actually found myself both in awe and envious of his waiting room pastime. His delight when an answer came was obvious, but mostly I was struck by how at peace he was unencumbered by technology, oblivious to the dozen or more phone fixated patients surrounding him.

 I was sick yes, agitated at having to wait so long, fearful of a positive pneumonia diagnosis...yet much of that drifted away once my crossword loving fellow patient sat nearby. 

When I came home the picture of him sitting at peace with the folded newspaper did not leave me, and though for many days afterwards I just felt ghastly ill and barely found a glimmer of delight in anything, my mind would keep wandering back to him. So struck was I by the simplicity of that meeting and I wondered if he would ever know how God had used him to remind me that I could slow down too.

You see, when I was young my grandfather would do the crossword each day in the newspaper as well. Breakfast over with, a fresh cup of tea made, pen uncapped and waiting in his hand, Pop's mind was ready to be challenged. There was no mindless scrolling of social media. There was intention to sharpen the mind, to settle for a while in your own company and feel mentally satisfied when the brain workout was done. Simple satisfaction.

I like crosswords, and I'd forgotten that. I like jigsaw puzzles too.
I do not like the ones that come as an App though. In fact, I just deleted the games off my iPhone because there's now a yearning to do things the old way, the tactile way, the no-technology way. 

I want to be reminded by experience that there's a gentler life to be regained, though my steps will be small and my way yet to be defined, and choosing to seek those older paths may in fact be the way of the future, my future at any rate.

Indeed, this season of enforced rest is not being wasted. God is using it to wake me up and there are many more things ruminating within my mind at present but I daresay this is enough pouring out of thought for one day, yes?

If you have something to share on this train of thought please write about it in the comments. Blogger still are not forwarding comments to me via email but I will do my best to respond here. xx

God bless you ever so much,


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Block 7 - A Year in the Garden BOM...



I sat down this afternoon and formatted this month's free pattern into a PDF for you to download, after all, there's only so much boredom a girl can take when she's down with pneumonia. 

Thank you for your prayers and comments (I have read and been blessed by every one). Recovery will be slow going as I feel barely any progress has been made so far, but I'm alive and have medication, vitamins, a bed to rest in and a husband who loves me, which is far more than many in this world have so I call myself blessed.

I'm pacing myself with episodes of The Crown because I don't want them to end too soon so between them I have my home library being dusted off cover by cover as I reacquaint myself with books on homemaking, decorating, crafting, sewing and Jesus. All the good stuff, the nourishing, inspiring and teaching stuff that I may have missed when life was hurried.

Someone asked me to share the titles of those homemaking books I showed in my last blog post, so here they are...




I am not going anywhere near my cookbooks at the moment. The do not tempt me at all.
Food is not tempting, but gallons of ginger water definitely is. I do eat small portions at mealtimes in order to take my antibiotics, but right now it's difficult to imagine salivating over particular dishes, be they sweet or savoury, however I'm sure in time that memory will come flooding back.

The hardest thing of all has been not seeing Blossom and her wee girls.
It's been over three weeks now (the first week Ross was on holidays so they were busy doing things) so she sends me daily photos of the children and we laugh a lot in our texts about Cully's insistence that she wear her ballerina tutu to bed every night, and Rafaella rolling over and scooting across the floor when on her back. 

We're planning for them to come for a short visit next Wednesday, by then I can at least be sure I'm over the infectious stage. Can't be too cautious with babies involved.

Here's Rafaella, almost 4 months old now...




Anyhow, I'm going to give you the link to download the July block and head back to the couch for another episode of The Crown.





If you missed any of the previous blocks in this year's BOM you'll find them over here with links to their various blog posts, or simply download them direct from my shop.

Bless you heaps,


Thursday, June 28, 2018

When you can't stitch...



Mr E is gradually recovering from his flu, but unfortunately my beloved shared that flu with me.
More unfortunately I now have pneumonia.

Ugh. Do not feel good at all. 
And I cannot stitch. I am so weary that concentrating on tiny embroidery stitches is beyond me for the time being, so I have chosen a few books from my 'homemaking' shelf and they sit by my side ready for browsing between naps. Nourishment for my mind and homemaker heart. 

Being ill has also given me much time to ponder this life and the things I still need to change or remove or add when my energy returns. Some of them are so simple I wonder that I've not thought of them before. Maybe too much rush rush? Upside of pneumonia. No more rush rush.
Life decisions seem so much simpler to make when you stop all the doing.

Hope to be recovered in time to share the next block of A Year in the Garden on July 1st, but if I'm late I know you'll understand. xx

Praying for you...I have plenty of time for that too. 

hugs


Saturday, June 23, 2018

At home this week...

I am loving the cooler nights of these past two weeks. Though not the chilly winter evenings we enjoyed whilst living in a small town at the top of a mountain range in 2005, we certainly do appreciate the brisk bite in the air our tropical winter is offering at present. I even went out and bought slippers on Wednesday! 

Our winters here are very, very dry. No rain or humidity, so your skin stings from lack of moisture. I lather cream on my face, body and feet morning and night, and smear beeswax lip balm or pure coconut oil over my lips numerous times a day. Even Mr E has taken to cocoa butter cream to relieve the discomfort of dry, parched skin.

But you know, despite the increase in moisturiser purchases, we love this time of year. After nine months of endless heat it's pure joy to leave all the windows open and forget about air conditioners for a while. It's also the season for stews and soups and crusty bread, hot chocolate and lemon/honey tea.



In the mornings and late afternoons cardies and tracky pants make an appearance and I find myself wanting to hand quilt in the evenings. There's an unfinished wall quilt I began last year that needs to be sandwiched with wadding and backing so I'll do that today and then I can keep it by our couch for stitching after dinner. 
I think it will be lovely hung in our new home when we have one...




One downside of being a school teacher is the proliferation of germs students like to share around, especially during our short winter. Mr E has unfortunately succumbed to one such germ exchange and came home from work yesterday a mass of aches and pains, chills and fever.

Thank the Lord I had made a large pot of chicken bone broth in the slow cooker and was able to use it as the base of a nourishing chicken soup last night because we all know that's an essential step in healing winter ails. My beloved gratefully finished his bowl and headed off to bed where he tossed and turned all night, alternating between chills and fever, barely sleeping. I'm so glad there's plenty of soup left because it will be needed today, and I can supplement it with a loaf of fresh baked sour dough.

So no house hunting this weekend, which is what we needed to be honest as it's really knocked us around the past few months - though I never wanted a weekend off due to illness, and I am praying he recovers swiftly.




A few sewing projects were finished this week. For some reason it's winter when I get the urge to complete things, although time at the sewing machine was also a lure. As you can see in the photo above, I finished the zippered pouch which I began last weekend and I also made two of my stitcheries into cushions...




Funny thing, I thought my supply of cushion covers was plentiful because I do tend to make them regularly, but this week when I removed and washed all the covers which had been displayed through the house since summer and then went to the linen cupboard to replace them, I found I had barely any. 
Light bulb moment for me. 
I do make covers regularly, but I tend to give them away as gifts. 

So I'm in the process of sewing new cushion covers to keep, using some of my new stitchery designs as well as re-making favourite ones from the past.
The "Love" cushion (above) features one of the July stitchery club designs, but the "Bloom" cushion below is an older pattern which was originally stitched in orange and teal colours...




It looks very different now in blues and golds!




Do you remake things from the past?
I have printed up many of my older designs to remake over the next couple of years, not just updating colours and fabrics but also tweaking some (especially from my early design days) with more detail in the stitchery itself.


With a hopeful move on the horizon in a few months I'm scanning our home with new eyes, deciding what will come and what will be sold or donated and currently on my radar are two bookcases loaded with a variety of cookbooks and foodie DVDs.
Some have been with me for decades, some are garage sale or op shop finds, and others were purchased at bookshops locally and online. I have held onto a few for sentimental reasons, and a few more for just one particular recipe, yet others have sat unread for years and there are some which simply do not excite me at all as they were purchased or obtained on impulse, an impulse which evaporated quickly.
Blossom has taken a few which appeal to her, but the others will be sifted with a good dose of commonsense in the days ahead.

This is one I found at the op shop for $1 and was promptly placed on a shelf and forgotten. After dusting it off yesterday I brewed a cup of tea and settled down for a browse...




...which I'm so glad of because it has many recipes, simple recipes, that I will now try.
Bloss and I both love peas so next time she visits I'm going to make this...




Considering which cookbooks merit moving along with us also got me thinking about the kitchen I will have and how I'd like to display certain things - like good cookbooks, tea pots, jars of ingredients and the like.

For many years I've had a plan to sew decorative shelf edgings, stirred on by patterns I've collected from old magazines and a favoured home sewing book.

Not sure if I want red in my kitchen as this rental kitchen has a lot of red and I find it to be harsh and not at all relaxing, but I do like the effect (below) of the decorative ribbon edging along the edge of the shelves...




The simplicity of the embroidered blue edging below is lovely...




...but it's this one which really catches at my heart whenever I turn the page of Caroline Zoob's book "The Hand Stitched Home" and discover it all over again.
Perhaps it's the scallop edges? Or the vintage appeal of the designs?
All I know is that (apart from the red) it inspires me more than others...




I'm rather grateful for the time between now and when our forever-on-earth home is found because it's giving me space to consider how I'd like to decorate without spending precious dollars.
It's also allowing me to contemplate the value of what to take and what to leave behind because the older I grow the more simplistic I find my heart becoming. 

Like food, really. But I'll leave that for another post.

Best get back to caring for my dear man, although he's very much an independent guy who would much rather be caring for me. True love, you can't beat it.

Final pic. 
My schlumbergera (or Christmas cactus) is getting ready to bloom!
I wait almost a year for it to bring forth winter flowers so it is centre stage on the dining table at the moment for us to enjoy those blooms as long as they last.




Oh, and the Jeep is back on the road! The long awaited part arrived in the mail on Tuesday and by late Tuesday evening Mr E had the car up and running perfectly again.
And that's how I got out and about on Wednesday to buy my slippers. Smile.

May the Lord grant you grace and mercy, peace and provision, in the days ahead. May His presence surround you and lift you when weariness takes over, carry you when you cannot make it on your own, and fill you with every need under heaven.

Love and hugs,