Wednesday, May 15, 2024

May, the month of sewing and shedding...

 I had a number of things on my list to finish this month because I made the decision not to start anything new until a few unfinished projects were complete. My theme for this month, which I totally forgot to tell you about at the beginning of May, is "shedding", and that encompasses so many different aspects of life - UFOs being just one of them. There has been much satisfaction of late when I shed the visual reminders of a job unfinished.

Here's a couple of UFO finishes for May. Both the stitcheries are free patterns I have shared with you previously - HERE and HERE - and now one (a remake) is a little flour sack style decoration, and the the other is a small tie top pillow for the bedroom. 

I also completed a little chicken stitchery for a hoop, and that will be eventually hang in the kitchen.

Also on my sewing list was to alter and repair a number of linen and cotton dresses that have been waiting in the mending basket most of this year.

Now I have a restocked wardrobe of good quality cool dresses for our tropical climate! 

I also (finally) cut up some old linen tops that were quite worn in places, or damaged, and now they will become lovely pieces for creating new cushions in our home. 

I spent a couple of days making a new runner for our coffee table from some lovely green prints I've had for many years - maybe ten years? We decided to brighten our home decor inexpensively so I have been checking what I have in the way of fabrics to sew a few things. The rug below the coffee table was a Mothers Day gift from hubby (he insists on thanking me for making him a father, bless him)...

I have been watching The Great British Sewing Bee on the iPad again, starting over with season 1 (on Britbox Australia) as I cut and sew and plan in the sewing matter how many times I watch the series, I am inspired and learn something new.

As I watched yesterday, I took note of the Tilda fabrics on my table (leftover from the two little pillows in those photos at the beginning of this post) and also the lovely little tin with small shortbreads that I was enjoying with my afternoon decaf coffee...and an idea formed. 

An hour later....

 The tin is just the right size for holding pins, needles, small scissors, binding clips and threads. I still have one more tin left to play with, but not until I finish the shortbreads. 

In the kitchen I made another apple pie (no fancy decorations this time) and tried a 'new to me' bread roll recipe that was quite a hit with the family. 

In the garden there's a number of new plants and herbs growing, plus the kookaburras are visiting often and laughing for me as they sit in the shade of our huge poinciana tree...

The grandchildren are loving their new cubby Cafe and the 'new' dress-up outfits I found at the Salvos op-shop. Can you believe Cully May will be 8 in August? 

So what else am I shedding, other than my sewing UFOs??

My inbox...and all the unnecessary email subscriptions (and some I never subscribed to but they keep coming anyway)
My wardrobe...things that have not fit for years or have weathered too many years. I really want all the little bits and pieces scattered around our small home? No, so I'm assessing each one and deciding two things - do I like it? - is there a place for it to be displayed?
Garden ideas...the ones I have laboured over for years and they have never been fruitful. 
Recipes...trimming down the overfull recipe folder to only those which we enjoy and will be remade over again and again.
Recipe I really need all those cookbooks? Not at all. two thirds have now been donated.
Craft/Sewing I even read them anymore? Have I used them to make projects or for inspiration? If not, then they need to go. Many I sold, and others have been donated. style really is changing, so even though I rarely buy fabrics anymore and have a good but not expansive fabric stash, I'll be selling quite a bit very soon. 
My original completed stitchery designs...time to sell many on Etsy, as there's nowhere to display them here. I'd need a gallery! 
Busyness...yes, I'm shedding that too. Intentionally slowing my days this year (even more than last year) has allowed me to eliminate time-wasting, and be more productive in what matters around the home. I'm also doing two things at once, slowly - listening to a book/sermon/podcast whilst I work in the kitchen, or watching something like Great British Sewing Bee on the iPad while I'm creating/mending/organising in my sewing room. 
Dreams...those dreams of old that are simply not practical at my age or in this time of life.
Unrealistic Expectations...those I have put on myself and those others try to put on me.
Designing...aah, yes, at last the time has come. I have one commissioned project to do for the Tilda Club Australia later this year, and then the slate is clean. 
All the patterns I purchased or saved to make one day...three-quarters were donated or sold. As I've said previously, my style has changed and I'm enjoying exploring that in the things I am now making for our home.
Coffee mugs...I mean, really, how many do you need??? I confess to being a coffee mug addict, as is my Blossom. But they must go. Well, the least liked ones. 
Appliances we do not use...its been exciting to sell them on and empty some much needed storage space! We have barely any in our small home, but it's almost 'just right' now. 

There's more, but I think you get the idea. 

What kind of things are you shedding from your life? I had been brushing our pug, Molly, when I had the ide about shedding. She's a heavy shedder and needs a lot of regular brushing or our floors and furniture gather piles of her loose fur. When I finish grooming her she has a big shake and runs off quite exhilarated...and that made me think about how good I feel when I 'shed' things or burdens or expectations from my life. If I was Molly, I'm sure having a happy shake and my mind exhilarated would spur me on to 'shed' more often.

Perhaps it's my age that also inspires me to let go of all those things? As I get older, I find myself needing less and less, wanting less and less. There's much more joy to be found in the small things, the ordinary things in life, and as I become more aware of that, I find contentment in both heart and mind soon follows. 

Would love to hear your own thoughts, my friends. God bless you, and may His presence be a constant source of gratitude, hope and love as you walk through your days. 

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Thursday, May 2, 2024

Joy in the Ordinary block 5...and hats...


I enjoy watching and re-watching the Miss Marple movies with Geraldine McEwan more than any other version...but I think some of you may have preferred Joan Hickson or Julie McKenzie instead? It really doesn't matter, but I would be interested to know your favourite.

In Murder at the Vicarage, the vicar's wife Griselda loves hats, and has many beautiful ones to choose from. 

In fact, in every Marple movie (they were set in the 1950's) all women wore a hat. 

I have often pondered with Blossom our combined love of these movies, and how we never, ever, tire of them...and you know, it's all about the little English villages, the flower fronted cottages, the afternoon cups of tea and scones or cake, hats and dresses, and the homes. We are very much drawn to the very simple, ordinary life which is portrayed by everyday people in many of these movies.

My Nana wore hats, though we rarely took photos 'back in the day' as we did not have a camera, but I do have this one from the mid 1950's of her and Pop. 

And this is a photo of my mum, aged 19 (1960) at a family wedding, and me at that same wedding a little later when mum took off her hat and placed it on me. (((my favourite pics to remember her by)))

Blossom loves hats, and has one of those heads that really suits them! Here's an old photo of her (aged 20) from 2014 when we tried on all sorts of dress-up hats one day at Spotlight. 

And this trend carried on with her daughters Cully May and Rafaella, who also like trying on headwear at Spotlight! This is a photo from 2019...

Now all this hat stuff today was to explain why there's a hat in this month's free pattern for my Joy in the Ordinary BOM! 
I was thinking about Griselda's hats when I watched Murder at the Vicarage for the umpteenth time last month, and well, it inspired me. Hope you like it. Thought I'd add the phrase too, as it has always been my intention to have it displayed somewhere on this small quilt before we finished it. 

Do you wear hats?? Do you have childhood memories of hat wearing women? I only wear one for gardening these days, but to slip back into the 1950's would be such a treat if I could wear those lovely dresses and a pretty hat like Griselda's.

Use the link below to download the free pattern.
If you missed the previous four blocks you will find them HERE

Now I'd best be away and water my garden. Barefoot. It's a wonderful thing to walk in the grass, don't you think? God bless and have a wonderful first week of May!


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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A little town, baking, old doilies and a gift...

A few weekends ago, hubby and I took a long drive south-west to the lovely old gold-mining town of Ravenswood. There was a time when we visited regularly, but since we bought this home in 2018 we've only been there a couple of times. 

It's a very quiet town, almost deserted on a Sunday morning, with old weathered buildings, and some  exquisite iron-lacework on the display around their wide shady verandahs - something which always catches my eye when we're in outback towns.

This is the main street....

Further along the street...the corner shop/post office/petrol station all-in-one (love the old petrol bowsers and the red telephone box)...

Molly-dog always comes along on our Sunday drives and gets very excited when hubby picks up her halter to secure her in the car. She's seen a lot of the Australian outback, coast and countryside in the eight months we have had her and is an excellent traveller.

These old Fords would have stories to tell...

Gold was discovered in Ravenswood in 1868, and the following year there was a gold rush. Today this tiny town has over 400 workers at the Ravenswood mine, which is the largest goldmine in our state of Queensland. 

You can see the mine easily from the town, but I took this photo as we drove away because the local lookout is temporarily closed.

The reason we love this place is the peace and quiet. It's been a dream of ours for many, many years to one day move to a small country town and settle there in retirement. The Lord may have other ideas, and that's okay, but for now we relish the long Sunday drives and the mental and physical refreshment we gain by being right out in nature with our dog, a flask of tea, some sandwiches, homemade biscuits (cookies) or cake. 

Just wanted to share this with you today, as I think we all seek quiet places at times, don't you? 

Gift pattern...
Nine years ago I designed this sweet little stitchery for one of my clubs, and the message still resonates today, so I thought you might like to stitch it yourself. It's only small and can be made quickly, or maybe you'll stitch as I do - with a slow and gentle rhythm? 

Use the link below to download my free pattern.

I tried two new recipes in the kitchen recently - a delicious sweet shortcrust pastry, and some lovely sultana & sour cream biscuits (cookies). Having never had much success with shortcrust pastry in the past, I was so excited that this one worked and tasted amazing. 

We had a kilo of Royal Gala apples which needed using up so along with some blackberries I baked an apple and blackberry pie. 

Royal Gala apples don't break down like Granny Smiths when cooked, they keep their shape with a bit of bite, exactly how hubby and I enjoy them. 

With the leftover pastry I thought of Nana, and made myself a childhood favourite - jam tart baked on a bone china plate. Truly, I smiled all afternoon as I nibbled bits and pieces, because it's more than a comfort food. It's a memory which overflows with joy. 

I may have mentioned this before, but my husband much prefers a slice or biscuits (cookies) to cake, so I'm trying some new recipes from old Women's Weekly cookbooks. This week I made Sultana Biscuits, though I have renamed them Sultana Sour Cream biscuit because sour cream is a main ingredient and replaces a large percentage of the butter we'd normally add when making biscuits. Oh, these were delicious!! Rolling them in coconut before baking adds to the flavour. Yum! They will be a regular on my baking list from now on.

I'll share the recipes with you in the next blog post if you like?

In the sewing room I'm making more jar covers, some with embroidery, some with crochet edging...

...and now I'm playing around with repurposing damaged vintage doilies to create even more. I simply cut out a usable section of the doily and needle-turn it to the centre of a suitable matching fabric. I will finish these ones tomorrow, and perhaps add lace edging as well.  

Time now to sign off and do the late afternoon chores - take the washing off the line, make my husband's lunch for work tomorrow, fold the washing, feed the pets, water the garden and do a general tidy up of my sewing room. 

It is such a privilege to have a home, to have people to care for, to have the skills to make, create and grow things, and to walk each day with the Lord. 

I hope and pray you are cherishing what you have, dear ones...and that you know how much YOU are cherished by our loving Father in heaven.

(I'll be back on Thursday with the next free pattern in this year's Joy in the Ordinary BOM)


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