I believe my truest friends can be counted on a single hand, and one of them is Ruth.
I've spoken about my dear friend Ruth in the past, how the letters she writes me through the year, whether there be five or two, nourish my soul and fill me with a deep sense of care.
We met online through a homeschooling group almost seventeen years ago and from there forged a deep and abiding friendship which grows stronger to this day, the kind of friendship which you treasure closely because it so rarely comes along in life.
A parcel arrived from her yesterday overflowing with birthday delights she had gathered to bless me, such as doilies, a book to write special recipes inside, another lovely book with embroidery stitches (many I'd never tried) and one especially beautiful coral pink bookmark in the shape of a feather which she had crocheted just for me. Ruth's crochet is exquisite...
...as is her eye for the style of doily which catches my heart. Isn't this precious?
It's actually been a Ruth kind of week.
As you know, I am Australian and live quite happily in my dear country. What you may not know is that I live in the state of Queensland, and in this state we have an organisation called the Queensland Country Woman's Association.
Ruth Fairfax founded the QCWA ninety five years ago and was also instrumental in forming the Country Woman's Association of Australia, as well as the Associated Country Women of the World.
As today is International Women's Day I thought it appropriate to 'celebrate' the wonderful things Ruth did for country woman in my state, country and indeed throughout the world.
About four years ago, the QCWA began a quarterly magazine with all proceeds being used within the organisation. Named RUTH Magazine after the founder of the QCWA it is available through newsagents in Queensland and Northern NSW or can be ordered online as a mail-out subscription.
I've been a Ruth supporter since issue 1 and love the modern yet gentle style of country life within it's pages and the celebration of country women who have so many talents which flow far and beyond life on the land or a country town.
The editor of Ruth had apparently been following my Elefantz page on Instagram for months, the designs in last year's Gentle Domesticity BOM resonating with her, but one Sunday late last spring she stumbled across the fact that I lived in country Queensland and immediately emailed to ask if I'd please share about Gentle Domesticity in the magazine.
the autumn issue of Ruth arrived in the mail on Monday.
Since 2009 I have had my stitchery designs published in craft and sewing magazines around the world more than 250 times but sharing about the gentle domestic life, celebrating it in Ruth Magazine means more to me than words can say.
Loving home, embracing the heart of a homemaker, choosing to feather my nest and tell the world how much is satisfies my soul, encouraging women who since women's liberation threw the baby out with the bathwater have felt almost embarrassed to admit they enjoy partaking of the domestic arts and being wives and mothers...this is where I truly bloom from within.
And it's something which has become a part of me, it's a message to share and a life to delight in.
It's a journey where you, me, we can invite others to travel alongside us.
I have given Ruth Magazine the pattern for "Joy in the Ordinary" as a free download on their website because it was the most popular of all twelve Gentle Domesticity designs last year and is my personal favourite as well.
I think it simply says it all.
The pattern is also a free download here in my shop.
Go on, stitch it up for yourself.
There's so much joy when you embrace life in the beautiful ordinary.
I delighted in the kitchen this afternoon.
Rice paper rolls made for Mr E's work lunches the rest of the week, a delicious orange and sultana cake for morning and afternoon teas, and right now there's a lamb roast with loads of colourful veggies in the oven filling the house with salivating aromas...
...and I also remembered to take a photo of my new "Herb Garden" pillow, which features four 'herb' stitcheries from the March issue of The Stitchery Club.
The pillow pattern will also be included this month.
That's enough of me, I'm sure you're waiting for me to stop talking so you can move on to other things.
But can I just say this?
I love that you come to my blogging corner of the world and leave comments and chat with me and I enjoy hearing your own thoughts and gaining insight into what inspires you or what challenges you face and how you overcome them, and I think others who read your comments do as well.
So bless you for dropping by and being part of this rather large global kitchen table where the chat is continual and there's tea and coffee in abundance to go around, where you're always welcome and can bring your stitching or crochet, toddlers or pets along too.
That roast smells amazing....