Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Free pattern, dreams and daily life...

All of us are at the door of a new season - my hemisphere welcoming the warmth of a colourful spring and those of you in the northern hemisphere preparing to snuggle up as autumn approaches. 

Because I really do get excited about anything to do with the garden, I thought it would be fun to share with you a practical project which you can use for your own purpose or could be posted quite easily as a gift for someone who loves to grow food and flowers. It's easy to pop seed packs in a plastic container but how much prettier to store them in handmade pockets.


I designed the Bloom & Weave cover stitchery back in 2017 and found the thread colours used in Bloom & Weave were a perfect pairing for Tilda's new Tiny Farm fabric (in quilt stores now) which I used for rest of the project.

Aren't the little farm and garden scenes gorgeous?





Anyhow, if I was excited about this project then I hoped you would be too, and perhaps even more so because I'm giving the pattern to you as a free gift.

Why? Because its the 12 year anniversary of my blog this month! 

Isn't that incredible? For twelve wonderfully creative and thought provoking years I've regularly blogged and loved every minute. Making new friends, sharing ideas, being inspired, offering and receiving encouragement, learning new things, sharing Jesus, shaking my 'little grey cells' into action (as Hercule Poirot would say)...and generally finding immense joys along the way. 

Dear Blossom was just 14 when I began here and we were in the thick of homeschooling, something else I (and she) loved...and now she's 26 and expecting baby number three. I look on my blog as a journal, a twelve year map of our lives, moves, challenges, trials, celebrations and growth. 

So I wanted to share something lovely and fun and useful with you this month, and my new Seed Saver Pockets pattern is that gift. 





I do hope you make one, either for yourself or as a gift. Perhaps both. Use the link below to download my Bloom & Weave Seed Saver Pockets pattern.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE PATTERN

This morning it was quite overcast and there was a slightly cool breeze drifting through the yard so I waited till hubby left for work before brewing a chamomile tea, spreading peanut butter, banana and local honey on rice cakes and settling down on the old blue outdoor couch to watch the birds and enjoy the garden view.













It wasn't long before the sun returned and the clouds shifted away so after my relaxed morning tea I hung up the washing and thanked the Lord for our home, the garden, the birds, and all the unseen blessings He showers on us that we never know about.



This September is also another anniversary, a very special one - it's been two years since we moved into this, our very first 'own' home. 

Two springs, two summers, two autumns and two winters have passed and we've learned a lot about home ownership, stewardship, flooding, home maintenance, gardening, mending, construction, seasonal changes, raising poultry, physical exhaustion, pool maintenance, plumbing and so much more. Not one single week has been wasted; the Lord continued to teach and improve our skills and understanding day by day, month by month...and though much of these past two years has been hard on our older bodies due to the great amount of physical work required to create the sanctuary we desired, we wouldn't change a thing, even the flood.

So in reflection we've had more than a few conversations about life as it is now in 2020 and how we are entering a season of slowing down somewhat so that we can last the journey ahead, however long (or short) that will be. As Christians we await the return of Jesus above all, but should He tarry that return we must also prepare for next year and the one after and so on, by being mindful of what we have been blessed with, how long we are able to work, our ages and level of fitness, and how we can still be available to help our family and others if they need it.

I had four very clear dreams lately and wrote them down when I awoke. I won't share the entire dreams but the message which came with each one...

The first dream focused on finances and the Lord said to me "Show restraint" - so we have become very mindful of what we receive and what we spend, and to not be wasteful.  

In the second dream I saw a woman with many large storage buckets and she was filling them to the brim. Then the Lord said to me "Prepare" so my husband and I have been carefully stocking our pantry and preserving what we can.

In the third dream I saw a checklist and and an in-tray on the desk of God. He said to me "Examine and address your character to become more like Jesus." So we are working on every area of our character as it comes to light in the study of our Lord. This will be a looooong study, but we know it is very important.

In the fourth dream God very clearly spoke these words - "God can do what man cannot". In this we know we must turn to Him in every circumstance, no matter how serious or hopeless it may appear because He above all is able.



Since the dreams I find myself more deeply immersed in the things of faith and home than before, and honestly I wasn't sure that was possible, but growth is lifelong and it knows no bounds so I welcome this deeper walk into the calling God has on my life...to nourish others at home, to be a homemaker who cherishes her position, to work hard and help my husband pay off our mortgage, to be a good steward of everything under my care, to share the gospel with others, to live my life in such a way that it glorifies Christ, to teach younger women the principles of Titus 2:3-5, to be humble and to be generous, to use the gifts of design He alone gave me.

You know, I love hanging up the washing every day. Those minutes are spent talking to God, singing a hymn or two, smiling, turning my face to the blue sky before heading back inside. Later I breathe deeply of the natural sunshine-y fragrance which wafts through our sheets and clothes and towels as I bring them inside, fold and put them away. I think this is the most natural joy for me within my homemaker responsibilities and I'm so glad we don't have (or need) a dryer.

I was inspired a couple of weeks ago to draw up a new set of designs which might become a block of the month, or perhaps a wall quilt...it all depends on how many sketches I draw and how I can envision them coming together. But the catalyst for this was indeed watching the washing on the line, flapping the breeze, so that's the first block I've completed. Just a wee peek...



That same joy I felt back in 2016 after designing the twelve Gentle Domesticity blocks has returned to my heart - such is my love for all things domestic and home centred. 

Being inspired and excited about what I create, what you create, gives any task an abundance of delight - whether that be a stitchery, a quilt, a cake, a jar of jam or pickles, a display of flowers in a vase, a tidy pantry or even a delicious mug of hot chocolate. 

Cooking comfort food for my family is quite high on my list of delights and though these past few months I've shown you more of the healthy savoury meals which have been prepared in our kitchen today I'll show you some sweeties I baked recently and which put big smiles on the faces of my loved ones.

Orange, rosemary and cranberry cookies/ Banana, blueberry, pecan and oat loaf/ Strawberry jam and sultana scrolls...







It's my husband's birthday tomorrow so another spot of baking will fill the morning. Strawberry Shortcake is his favourite treat along with rissoles, mash and veg...it's the same every year and I'm just as happy as he when I serve dinner because I see the delight in his eyes. 

Well, that's enough for today, and if you got this far, bless your precious eyes!

Pray for Blossom will you? She's off to have an intravenous infusion of iron tomorrow as in every pregnancy her levels fall dangerously low and the doctors still don't know why. Her little boy now measures three weeks further along than 'normal' size so she'll be having him a couple of weeks early (she doesn't have gestational diabetes, just has increasingly larger babies) and despite a lot of pain and other issues she glows with happiness. I'm so proud to be her mumma.

God bless you, loving hugs,



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Early spring garden...

 

It's early spring here in the tropics and much of our winter veg have come to an end. All the tomatoes have finished now (we grow summer veg in winter) and the last remaining pumpkins are picked and been left to 'harden' in the very warm dry air outside. I'll bring them in once the rain and humidity return in the wet season.

The dahlias have decided to keep offering their gorgeous scarlet blooms, and the bottle brush trees (of which we have quite a few) are taking centre stage around the garden.







All the hibiscus are in flower again, though they do flower all through winter - but in spring they just explode with beauty. This is my favourite at the moment...




Hubby planted out some late (for our climate) radishes and cucumber three weeks ago and it looks like we'll get a nice spring harvest for the daily salads we enjoy.








We're still reaping from our beans, chilli and capsicums...










....as well as a variety of tasty herbs such as sweet basil (which is just now coming on as it loves the heat), thai basil, parsley, four varieties of mint, marjoram, rosemary, chives, coriander. Some are just taking off, some are winding down and others are going to seed. I save some seeds but the rest I leave to fall into the soil for next year.










Every morning I make a fresh mint tea with a few slivers of ginger. It's become my coffee replacement and though I miss the taste of a freshly ground brew of coffee my mind and body respond much better to the mint and ginger. It's quite delicious!

We find that marigolds will grow here all year round so after removing the spent zinnias from the planter stand hubby made me earlier this year I replaced them with new marigolds. I never used to like them, but I see them now as cheery little things, pops of sunshine. I've added them to many areas of the garden and they thrive but over our very long summer it will be lovely to have them in the tall planter where I can see them as I sip my early morning tea in the shade nearby.






Of course one glorious pop of vibrancy that every day blesses my need for colour is the large pink bougainvillea right near the planter stand and our potting table. 




I love it when the chives go to flower, don't you? This bulb will be so pretty when it opens.




Fruits are coming along in the garden as well.
We recently potted a paw paw which doubled in size within a couple of weeks and added a blueberry to one of the raised beds to see how it would fair and it's already in bloom...






Our lemon tree and lime tree are fruiting and we find this very exciting as we re-planted the lemon tree out back when we moved here two years ago (it was a tiny withering thing in the front yard) and it did nothing, but these past winter months it has tripled in size with a lot of lemons and flowers growing at last.




The grafted lime tree was planted near the lemon tree late last year and it too has tripled in size,  becoming abundant with fruit. Limes grow exceptionally well in the tropics.




I tend to neglect the pineapple plants because no matter what happens they just keep growing. The fruit was scorched the last two times they fruited but this year we've got them in semi shade and it seems to suit them.




In the same raised garden that we have the blueberry bush experiment I've planted kale and more ends of spring onions (green onions) which sprouted overnight.
I have another big pot of spring onions which I started the same way a year ago and they never stop producing, fortunately for us, and we eat from them most days.






I planted seaside daisies in pots early May as last year this was when they flourished, but this year they were not so happy. Until about two weeks ago. Then they picked right up so I imagine we'll soon have a beautiful display from the half dozen plants scattered around the gardens.



My rose blooms all year round because it's never cold here, but I did prune it back in mid autumn (April) and dug in fertiliser around the roots. Well, it grew back to full flower within weeks and just never stopped. I trim away all the spent flowers and add banana skins just under the mulch at the base of the rose and always a new flush of roses appears.

I've just last week trimmed off the spent flowers again, added nutrients, and here she comes again with  another flush...




Now I do get asked what we eventually planted in that donated Royal Doulton toilet so now I shall tell you. After careful consideration we decided on lemongrass because whenever it's grown in the garden it becomes a huge fountain of cascading leaves with amazing fragrance. That cascade of leaves covers the base (in fact it reminds me of a green Cousin It from the old Addams Family show in the 60's!) so it will eventually cover the toilet. But for now it's an interesting conversation piece.




Hope you enjoyed the updated roam around our garden? I've got a new project to show you next time and a freebie you may like to stitch up, but as this post is already long enough I shall just sign off with photos of home yesterday when Blossom and the girls came to visit. 
Cully May and Rafaella played in the cubby, fed the chickens and ate quite a few of Poppy's cookies, but after lunch they settled down to rest and watch an episode of Peter Rabbit....




...whilst very pregnant Blossom put her feet up a while and enjoyed another cup of tea with me, her blessed mummy.

What's happening in your garden this season? 

Bless you heaps,


PS: I have just added quite a few more patterns to my Etsy Shop including complete issues of The Rewind Club! Go HERE to browse for your next stitching project.