Monday, September 18, 2017

And there's dust everywhere...

But I'll start with something pretty.

Four nights, four corners embroidered with a vase of posies.
Now I'm debating whether to add a row of running stitch above the border.
But I'm so sore and weary from packing that I think that decision can wait until we've moved, unpacked, settled and breathing again.
Or I might pick it up tonight and mindlessly dip the needle in and out until I have a sweet red, green, yellow or red dashed border around four sides. 
I really can't say.
Exhaustion does that.

But it's a good exhaustion.
A hard worked "I'm achieving something" exhaustion.

But that dust.
Oh my, the dust.
As I pack box after box, carefully filling each one with no room to spare and everything nestled safely, my eyes discover more and more dust bunnies appearing over the wooden floors.

I want to vacuum them up but what's the point.
The more we pack, the more things are lifted and shifted and shuffled around, the more dust bunnies will appear, bringing their friends to party with them.
So Dust Party Central must stay for now until the last box and chair and bed and broom have been loaded into the moving truck and they've no gathering or hiding places left.
At that point the cleaners will arrive to scurry them on their way.

Boxes are slowly climbing up walls and along hallways.
Sheets of butcher paper await fragile things to be wrapped...

...and rooms are emptying.

Mr E has taken the potted plants off the deck and gathered them downstairs where they await transportation in the Jeep later this week.

I had no choice but to trim my cherry tomatoes which were growing over the deck and down the side, and gather the fruit already on the vine.
Never mind, it's still mid season for tomatoes in the tropics so they may bush out and flower again after the move.
 Or there's always next year.

I'm preparing a box of essentials for that first night in the new home.
Cotton sheets, towels, toilet paper, kettle, mugs, iPads and our current reading.

And there may or may not be a block of chocolate and a pack of Allen's retro mix lollies in the box too, after all it will be a huge day loading the truck from this house in the morning and unloading it at the new place that afternoon so treats are essential recovery tools. 

Mr E finally got the Jeep all back together last Thursday after 14 long weeks of waiting for parts from overseas and fixing every thing that needed repair, so we celebrated with a long drive along the shore in moonlight.
Alas, Friday morning the radiator cracked. 
Can you believe it?

Fortunately we could order that here in Australia and it arrived via courier today so my beloved is downstairs once again working on the car.

We're so grateful to God for carrying us through the ups and downs of this year, for balancing our health, car and other trials with things which came together almost effortlessly. 
We're so blessed to be His children, to be loved and cared for by such a gracious and good heavenly Father.

This blog post helped me take a break from packing and now that I've sat for a while, drank a litre of water and taken many good deep breaths, it's time to do a little more and also to think about dinner.
We're still using up what we have and tonight a beef stir fry with rice noodles is on the menu.

I might just mention to those members of the Stitchery Club who have recently emailed to say they did not receive their September patterns - have you checked your junk or spam box?
The patterns were emailed out earlier than usual on the 15th this month due to our move.
If you can't find them there please email me (here) and I'll resend, but I will be offline between the 21st and the 24th. 

Take care dear friends, think beautiful thoughts, be kind and trust God.


Need a new pattern to stitch? Visit my Craftsy Shop HERE for instant pdf pattern downloads!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A simple tablecloth with tutorial...

The other day I showed you the two embroidered and trimmed kitchen towels I'd made for the kitchen in our new rental home and mentioned plans to sew a few more.

Well, that plan altered slightly.

I had another extra large flour sack kitchen towel ready to cut into two smaller towels when an idea popped into my head that I could trim the towel slightly to a 30" square and make one small tablecloth instead, the kind used for relaxed afternoon teas with friends.

So that is what I did. 

After cutting the flour sack to a neat 30" square I added a lemon floral fabric trim around all four sides and then traced a vase of tulips and daises (from my Vintage Kitchen pattern set) into each corner to embroider.

I think once my tablecloth has been stitched it will look very pretty laid out under a basket of fresh scones and a pot of steaming tea, don't you?

As I was preparing to trace the design into the corners it occurred to me that I needed each corner placement to be the same and needed to find a way to do this.

It worked perfectly so I thought you might have use of this simple process as well (or perhaps you've thought of this yourself already) so here it is.

1. Print the design you wish to embroider and gather a pencil and quilters ruler. Because my tablecloth is a square the corners are a perfect 90 degree right-angle.

2. Decide how far into the corner you want your embroidery and after positioning the ruler over the design use a pencil to trace the corner under the design.

3. Place your fabric over the pattern sheet and line up the corner pencil lines with the corner of your fabric before tracing the design.

I decided not to add the doily under my vase stitchery as I have another idea for some extra embroidery along the sides. This will be a nice easy project to stitch in the evenings next week after packing our moving boxes each day. 

I've even sketched, traced and prepared the new designs for November already! This means no rushing once the move is complete, everything is in one place with correct threads, scissors and extra needles. 

I have a feeling that a few quiet weeks will be needed to restore energy once the house is unpacked and we find our feet again, and my remedy shall be a comfy chair, old movies and these stitcheries just waiting to be brought to life with thread.

As the move draws closer I am becoming even more resourceful than usual in the kitchen. We're eating our way through the freezer and fridge so that we have nothing in either by moving day.
The same process is happening with pantry staples. Planning meals with what's on hand is important but it does mean extra creativity will be needed sooner rather than later.

This morning's breakfast was tiny pikelets made from leftover pancake batter I made a couple of days ago, with jam and butter. We also finished the last of the yoghurt, frozen blackberries and canned apricots. 

In so many ways this is fun, but more importantly it is helping me appreciate that we don't need to grocery shop as often as we used to. Knowing we could creatively eat for these next two weeks from what I have on hand, and that I've avoided all wastage of fresh produce, inspires me to simplify our menu once we're settled again.

Just a few things...

This may be my last blog post until after the move so I just want to remind you that membership for the next issue of The Stitchery Club closes at midnight on September 16th.

To join visit the Club webpage HERE.

And about my knitting of that sweet bear.

One lady left a comment asking how it was coming along and I apologise for taking so long to answer.
I had wanted the bear completed for Cully May's 1st birthday last month but alas, an old issue with my hands flared up so I had to put it aside for the time being. I only have this problem when I knit or crochet and must leave my pursuit behind for a while until it settles.

The legs and the body are finished...

...and my new deadline is Christmas. I shall only do a few rows every couple of days which should see this delightful bear come to life in time. 
The pattern itself is just lovely to follow, with many different variations to choose from. 
If only I had knitters hands, eh?

I had also hoped to share a tutorial for THIS gardening book cover before we moved but time is against me so I'll do that in October.

If I am able I shall drop another line here next week, but if not, take care of yourselves and ponder your blessings until I return again.

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good,
blessed is the man that trusteth in Him"
Psalm 34:8


Need something new to stitch? Visit my PDF pattern shop HERE!

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Moving right along...

After almost four years in this house (the longest we have ever lived in the same abode) we are on the move...

The Lord blessed us with an 'easy' choice on our first day house-hunting for a new rental, but first we needed to go through the application process with the estate agent.
That too was trouble free.
(thank you to those who prayed xxx)

Within a matter of days we had walked through the home, assessed it's suitability for our needs, filled in a lot of paperwork, been accepted as tenants by the owner, and signed the lease.

It will be a couple of weeks before we move all our belongings over as Mr E needs to finish the school term before we pack up this house, pattern writing for the next Stitchery Club issue must be completed and there's also the issue of pacing myself each day as fatigue and increased migraines are already my constant companion.
But we're very happy, very excited, at the prospect of moving into a lovely low-set home with plenty of shade, a large kitchen, room for Elefantz and a study for my beloved husband. There will even be a spare bedroom for visiting daughters and their littlies to stay. 

Because I love to christen a new home with something special for the kitchen, over the weekend I traced two of the line drawings from my free recipe sheets (here in my shop) onto flour sack kitchen towels and added pretty fabric trim across the bottom before beginning the embroidery.

The designs are quite simple and can be made up in an afternoon...

My thread colours were chosen to blend with the pretty Tilda 'Cottage' prints which trim the ends of the kitchen towels...

These fabrics will be in quilt stores early October but I was blessed to have received them early as they proved perfect for edging the cream flour sack fabric...

I intend preparing a few more to keep my hands busy in the evenings during our pack & move week.

Might even use some of THESE stitcheries as they'd be just right for my new kitchen and I've always wanted to stitch them in colours anyhow.

I'm glad our plants are all in pots on the back deck as we can transfer them from here to the new house without a problem. 
My schlumbergera cacti are in full bloom now...

...and the hydrangea has flourished with the onset of spring.

Mr E's azalea, which produced multiple flowers all through winter, is still blooming profusely.
His Granny had a large azalea this colour right beside her front door so I always think of her when a new flower opens.

It might not be quite so easy for the cherry tomatoes to move from here to the next house though as the vine runs through the wire railing and hangs down below the deck.
Hopefully I can harvest some fruit before we make that decision.

One thing I will be extremely grateful for when moving our pots of herbs 'out of here' is leaving that darn grasshopper and his relatives behind.
They particularly love my parsley and this last plant was not spared even though I've been monitoring it carefully the past few weeks...

...but fortunately they don't like oregano so three pots of that herb are thriving.

What have you been making over the weekend?
Any tips for transporting potted plants when moving?


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Trust, fill and receive...

Father God, thank you that You are a God of fulfilled promises.
What You promise You will fulfill.
What You say comes to pass.
You have only good for us and never evil.

Lord, please fill the empty longing spaces inside of us as only You can, because only You know what we need. 
Empty us of self, of vain ambition, of selfish desires, of prideful, bitter or unforgiving hearts. Fill us more and more with You, Lord Jesus. More of you, less of us, until all we have is You. 

Set our thoughts on things above and place eternity on our hearts.

Bless us with a fresh revelation of what to let go and what to pursue. 
Show us, Lord, how to receive from You that which is best instead of lamenting not having the things we may want.

At Your feet and by Your Holy Spirit's direction, teach us about life and how to live righteously, that we may glorify You forever and be prepared to meet you in Glory.

In Christ we pray,

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Lemon tree quite delicious...

I've had a few run ins with infection and migraine the past week so I've kept my distance from the computer as much as is possible, though we've still needed to go out house-hunting.

On Monday we submitted an application for one rental home near the beach which as Mr E says, "ticks all the boxes", and are currently awaiting a response. If that fails we have another home (on the beach) to inspect on Thursday. 

During our travels far and wide to look at prospective homes I noticed many lemon, lime and orange trees full of fruit and as is always the case when I see luscious round balls of citrus and smell their fragrance on the breeze, my thoughts turn to the kitchen and what I can make or bake with one or all citrus fruits.

My head was feeling much improved Tuesday morning so after brewing a large pot of tea I browsed through a few older style cookbooks and found a "just right" new-to-me recipe.

Usually I tweak a few ingredients and steps in recipes and this one was no different, but not because I was being extra creative. In fact, my kitchen now works on the 3 - 1 principle. 

For three weeks I will do one normal grocery shop every Wednesday, but in the fourth week I 'shop from the pantry' using up what we have already in the fridge, freezer and pantry supplies. I still need to top up with extra fresh fruit and veg, but everything else I can make or use what's on hand. 
Things like bread and almond milk are easy to make and as long as I have the basic ingredients always in stock we never run out.

When tweaking this new recipe I replaced tinned passionfruit with the fresh ones I had leftover from last week, and used more lemon because I had plenty on hand and love to add extra tartness where I can.

I don't think I shared a "Living the Gentle Domestic Life" recipe during August but as it was a month of intentional slowing and planning for the future everything non-essential was laid aside, but when Mr E and I tasted this Passionfruit and Lemon Slice it immediately became a priority to share with you!

We taste tested by cutting one piece into tiny squares and there was much "mmmmmm..." and "yummmm" heard around the kitchen as each little bit was savoured.

I've even drawn up a little lemon tree for you to trace and stitch while you bake your own Passionfruit & Lemon Slice. It's on the last page of the recipe sheets (both versions, full page and half page)...

...which you can download for free HERE in my shop.

Over the next few days I'll add all the previous "Living the Gentle Domestic Life" recipes/stitcheries into my shop as well.

Besides house-hunting and baking I've also been working on a new mini-quilt design using the next Tilda range of fabrics, Cottage, which will be in stores October 1st.

I began by piecing some tiny cotton spool blocks for top and bottom borders and then started on the sewing machine which will be the centre section of this mini quilt...

After the applique and embroidery was complete my mind wandered to hexies...

...which will create a side border for the machine block (I think).

I will have a play with that idea later today after Blossom and Cully May have come to visit for afternoon tea. Bloss is eager to try the Passionfruit and Lemon Slice, but she's also excited to open a parcel of pretty fabrics and lace sent to her by my dear friend Susan in the US. 

I'll leave you today with this inspiring story which lifted my heart when Blossom shared it with me.
It also caused a few tears to fall and made me realise a few home truths. It only runs for 5 minutes so I do hope you'll watch...

Never doubt your ability to bring joy to others.
God can always use a willing pair of hands, a heart that cares, and gifts you may not realise you have.