Friday, July 9, 2021

Issue 4 of The Homemakers Heart for you!


Good afternoon lovely friends, I do hope you've had a lovely week and been looking after yourselves and your home. 

Finally, the fourth issue of my free Homemakers Heart magazine is ready and waiting for you to download. It's definitely been a labour of thought, care and hours this time, but my prayer is that within the pages you find something fun, useful, encouraging and pretty.

I enjoyed making the "Little Bird" pincushion and journal cover in soft blue and cream, very much inspired by quieter days at home and my desire for projects which calm the eyes as well as the mind. I wonder what colours you will use if you make them?

Use the link below to download this issue.

I'm taking a break...

I was under the weather and needed to rest a few days this week, then in the very midst of this slowing of self, especially in the very overcast and still hours before sunset yesterday, I realised it was time for a longer rest. 
Being a sole business owner/designer rarely offers an opportunity for holiday breaks, and I really don't think we've had one in at least two years - and even then it was just two nights at the lake. But right now I need to retreat a while, so I'm going to step away from the blog for the rest of July, and possibly the beginning of August.

I'll have more time to spend in our winter garden, make a new menu plan of nutritious, tasty and satisfying meals, host my little granddaughters for a fun day each week, create and enjoy sewing in my newly ordered sewing space, read the books sitting piled beside the bed...and generally walk in homemaker contentment without work distractions and obligations. 

Before I got ill, and during the lockdown last week, it felt so good to slowly pull apart the sewing room and actually plan how I'd like it organised. You've seen it many times, and yes, it's organised because that's how my brain works, but this time I looked at aesthetics as well as removing and donating excess, labelling everything clearly, and moving the leather armchair out into the living room to give me a 'not so squishy' room. 

A few photos from one side of the room...

...and the other side.

In my month long retreat from the blog I plan to immerse myself more deeply in God's Word and design a whole new series of Scripture patterns, because that's where my mind drifts to as I read my Bible. Having this sewing and design space so fresh and organised makes that task much more productive.

From the garden we're eating cucumbers, sugar snap peas, passionfruit (still!), sorrel, rocket, lettuce, and herbs, and soon there will be tomatoes, strawberries, pumpkins and zucchini.

The garden is definitely a calming place for the soul, so while we're apart think of me there surrounded by the birds, the vegetables, and all the beautiful flowers which have flourished with such abundant colour that they often take my breath away.

And I shall be praying for you, dear hearts.

Would you keep darling Blossom in your prayers as she is down with pneumonia and this makes life very difficult with three very young children. Another reason for me to step away and have more time to help my loved ones.

Be well, be gracious, be creative, and choose joy every day.


PS: my month off will not affect the Simple Days BOM club, or the Let's Stitch Again club. Patterns will be sent as usual. xx

Patterns for the next set of Let's Stitch Again can be seen HERE on the club webpage.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Posies block for July and a front entrance challenge...


It was a busy day yesterday so I wasn't able to share this month's free Posies pattern until this morning. You can read about that further on, but for now, let's look at the July block. I found the sweetest little bird on one of my old Tilda fabrics and used it to fussy cut the pot...

The rim of the flower pot is a separate scalloped shape which is also appliqued, and the flowers this time are one of my favourites, tulips.

If you have missed any of the free Posies blocks this year just pop over HERE for their download links, and also to see the completed wall quilt. 

To download the July Posies block use the link below.

DOWNLOAD Posies block 7

Now to the reason I was unable to share the Posies block on the 1st of the month as is usual, and you know it's a rare occurrence that I am ever late, but yesterday being the 1st of July, I needed to follow through on my mid-year deep cleaning plans - beginning with the front entrance.

I really enjoy cleaning, cooking, gardening and tidying each day, but there are some areas over time which apart from a vacuum and mop, get a bit neglected. I've been walking around the house lately making note of those areas with an intent to begin the second half of this year giving each one a thorough scrub and refresh. 

Yesterday I began with our front entrance. It's affectionately called the 'plant nursery' because almost any plant will thrive there due to the good filtered light and fairly predictable temperature (being not in the path of our air conditioning). It's a pretty little alcove which leads to the front door and I walk past it from the bedroom to the living room many times each day, but as I said, apart from the floors and watering the plants, not much else has been done for a while. 

The "before" photo below makes the area look deceptively clean but when I began removing everything bit by bit a lot of dust, dirt and bugs were revealed.

First of all I noticed how much dust had settled on the plants... I removed them outside and gave them all a good wash with the hose and left them to drain while I got on with my cleaning. Fortunately it was an overcast day so being indoor plants they weren't being parched by the sun.

I'm going to show you the shocking state of things because some of you might be like me and have become 'blind' to areas in your home that on the whole 'look okay' until you get right down and move things away.

The door...ugh.

Beside the doorway...another ugh. 

Behind the door and larger plants...yes, more ugh.

Time to start on a good scrub and refresh!

I use a hand brush to sweep away all the obvious dust build up before anything else, as I find this makes washing areas with a wet cloth later much easier and less messy.

Once I brushed the dust off the door, around the skirting boards and window, the wall shelf, and the book case which we use to hold the plants, I vacuumed everything up. 

Only then did I get the wet cloths and begin to scrub the surfaces. I even made up a paste of lemon juice and bi-carb soda (found this idea online as I have no brass cleaner) to clean the brass door fixtures which are very old and damaged, but they did come up much brighter which surprised me.

I polished the book/plant case, mopped the floor and brought the plants back inside, before deciding what to keep in the front entrance and what to change. 

A couple of hours later and the area looks, feels and smells wonderful! 

How's your front entrance looking right now? Want to join me in this first challenge and refresh that space in your home this week?

I'll do one neglected area each week this month and if you'd like, I'll share them here to encourage you?


Our lockdown ends at 6pm tonight (Friday) and we're so relieved! There's been no community transmission of the Delta variant case brought in by a traveller, and apart from mandatory masks for two weeks, and the usual distancing etc, life can return to a semblance of normality. Hubby goes back to work next week and though it won't be easy selling cars when you have to keep a distance of 4 square metres between you and the customer, I'm sure he will manage. 

The lockdown did not affect Blossom or myself (or my good friend Rosie) as we're all homebodies anyhow. We have food enough in our pantries and no reason or need to go out. 

I did miss out on having Cully May and Rafaella for a day this week but we did a video chat and that was fun. They'll come visit here again next week. 

I find that the more your heart is given over to homemaking, and creating a beautiful and nurturing sanctuary for all who dwell within your home, the less you are concerned about the times of lockdown, for you have enough to do right where you are. 

I've begun a remake of an old stitchery design (here) omitting the applique and using different colours this time as I'll be framing this one for the kitchen. It's so relaxing to stitch in the evening after a very big day around home, for along with the front entrance there were all the usual household tasks to complete, plus some baking.

Cranberry and Lemon biscuits (cookies) and a delicious loaf of bread made using the Bloomer recipe in one of Paul Hollywood's books.

I still haven't made those jam tarts, but I might just leave that until the weekend. Silly I know, but the idea of making an inedible shortcrust pastry really holds me back...quite unlike me! Perhaps I'll see if there's a good recipe for it in one of my Nigella Lawson books. 

I hope you are doing well. Are you able to get out and about more now in your area of the world? Have you caught up with family at last? 

God bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you, and bring you PEACE.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Give a man a chainsaw, and lockdown...

 With my husband only having one full day off work each week, he tries to do as much as he can around home that day.

This weekend he chose to chop down two-thirds of the huge pepper tree which had grown so large that most of our raised beds were in shade, something they do not need during our winter growing months. Give a man a chainsaw, and there's no stopping them! 

In fact, our tree hung way over our neighbour's side of the fence so he was happy to pull out his chainsaw too! Honest, I laughed so hard. Men and chainsaws, they're a very happy combination!

Right in the middle of the photo above is our almost 2yo Poinciana tree, hubby's pride and joy. And that was another reason for the pepper tree trim - so the Poinciana could get more sun morning and afternoon in spring and summer. 

The next day it was overcast and after I cleaned up all the bits and pieces which had landed amongst the raised beds I took these photos. It looks quite bare now with so much of the tree gone, but it's better for growing herbs and vegetables with more winter sunshine so I am not complaining. 

We have baby cucumbers on the vine, and lots and lots of ladybugs too...

There's an abundance of rocket (arugula), sorrel and lettuce for salads... about ten different herbs, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes, chives, spring onions, sugar snap peas, chillies, strawberries, and other things I can't think of right now. 

The flowers are pretty and doing their best to attract the bees, dragonflies, butterflies and ladybugs.

And my two new roses are ready to bloom! I'm excitedly waiting for the buds to open.

As of 6pm last night our city has gone into Covid lockdown, the first time since last year, and my husband cannot work so he's pottering around the yard today doing more jobs while I work on my magazine, write patterns and bake. 

Yesterday I made a delicious focaccia with sun dried tomatoes, rosemary and sea salt. Ready to go into the oven...

...and freshly baked! Today I thought I'd finally get to make the jam tarts which our taste buds have been longing for but they may have to wait until tomorrow. 

I find baking such a relaxing pastime, do you? This focaccia recipe will be inside The Homemakers Heart later next week, which has taken longer to put together this time as I made a few new projects to share with you, and real homemaking on a day to day basic takes time too, time it well deserves.

I was asked about my homemaker diary recently, when I showed part of the cover...

It's just a regular day-to-a-page diary that I covered, and each day I list the tasks I want to do around home. If I get to them all, that's great, but if not they just move to the next day. I find this system works really well for me.

I slipped this inside the back sleeve of the cover. My darling Blossom (Elizabeth) gave me this card for Mothers Day. Melted my heart good and proper.

If you like the "Home" stitchery pattern it's over HERE in my shop to download.

That's it for today, my friends. I must be away and water the garden before starting dinner and hopefully baking those jam tarts. Pray that I make good shortcrust pastry, will you? It's never been very successful for me. Perhaps you have some tips??

Stir up your homemaker heart, sweet friend, and may God bless you and keep you close to His heart, today and always,