Thursday, January 26, 2023

Sew Simply sewing pouch tutorial...

 


A couple of weeks ago I made a cute little sewing pouch from my blackwork version of the Sew Simply stitchery. Well, I loved it so much that I made another, this time a pastel version...and I loved it too!

Perhaps you'd like to make one of these pouches yourself? They are perfect for posting away in swaps or to friends, and especially good for using up smaller pieces of fabric and leftover pieces of quilt wadding. I am always thinking up ways to use leftovers from sewing projects.

Firstly, let me say that you can use any stitchery you like on the front, as long as you can trim it to 4.5" x 6.5" - or you can purchase my Sew Simply pattern (which includes this tutorial) HERE in my Etsy Shop

Let's begin with what you'll need...

One stitchery trimmed to 4.5" high x 6.5" wide
One piece of black/cream spot fabric 6.5" x 9.5"
One piece of lining fabric 6.5" x 13.5"
One piece of cotton quilt wadding (or similar) 7" x 14"
One piece of doctors flannel (or felt) 2.25" x 3"
One length of ribbon measuring 1/2" x 16"
One 3/4" button

Now we'll make the sewing pouch...

Use a 1/4" seam when sewing.
To make the cover, sew the trimmed stitchery block to one narrow end of the black/cream spot fabric. Press the seams away from the stitchery. Place the completed front onto your quilt wadding and either machine or hand quilt in your preferred style. I chose to only quilt the black fabric, leaving the stitchery block untouched.
Then trim away the excess wadding.



Lay the lining face down on the right side of the quilted cover, pin together, and sew around all sides leaving a 3" opening along the narrow black end. 



Turn right side out, gently pushing out the four corners with a rounded tool (I like to use a large wooden knitting needle, but a chopstick would be a good choice too). Press with an iron.



Ladder stitch the opening closed.

Fold the bottom of the cover up by 4.5" to create a pocket, and pin.



Sew the sides together using a slip stitch to secure the pocket.



Using two strands of embroidery thread the same colour as the doctors flannel, backstitch the flannel in position where shown near the top inside of the sewing pouch, BUT...be careful not to sew through to the front. Let your stitches catch in the wadding only. 



Find the middle of your ribbon, and sew to the centre bottom of the sewing pouch, along the fold line. 



Sew your button to the centre bottom of the Sew Simply stitchery.



Add some pins and needles...



Wrap the ribbon around the button to close the sewing pouch. You're done!



This little pouch is perfect for keeping in your hand bag with a small sewing project such as a hand embroidery or some EPP bits and pieces to make hexies. Waiting for an appointment, or even a visit to a sewing friend...you'll always have something handy to work on. So much nicer than watching everyone with their heads glued to phones at the doctors...sigh. 




Which sewing pouch is your favourite? The black or the pastel?
I have always been a pastel, shabby chic, occasionally vintage, type of gal...but I really love the black one. 

I have made a couple more of these pouches, with different stitcheries, but I'll show them in another post because I might be going to sell them in my shop next month...maybe. 

Bless you heaps, dear ones. May the Lord of all good things be right beside you today, speaking words of life into your spirit, and shining the Light of Christ if you find yourself in darkness. 

Till next time,


Don't miss out on any Elefantz news or free patterns. 
Subscribe to my blog posts HERE and receive them direct to your email inbox.  

Or sign up HERE for my free newsletter which often has extra benefits, freebies & tutorials!







Monday, January 23, 2023

New Monday posts...

This year I am starting something new every Monday morning - sharing thoughts from God's Word or a devotional, with hope that it will encourage and grow us deeper into our walk with the Lord. 

Today I was impressed to share a short personal testimony of how God can sharpen our character by revealing things we may not see in ourselves until His mirror is placed before us. 

“We all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image.” 

2 Corinthians 3:18 


Many people will write about their ‘word for the year’ and in the past I have done that a few times, but in the last few years God has given me more of an instructive life-lesson to pursue each January, and by His grace those lessons have led me through valleys and up the mountainside with each passing month.

This year His still small voice came to me in the deep darkness of a sleepless late December night, “Jennifer, stop striving”, and as my old Pop would say, He hit the nail on the head. Friends, when God puts a mirror before you, and shows you what He sees in your life that needs to change, you really want to take notice, and ask for the Holy Spirit to deepen your own awareness of those corrections and how to bring them about. Ask for His guiding hand to lead you day by day through the months ahead until you have shaken free of those chains which bound you for too long, the chains you felt, yet did not know, were there by your own making.

I was reading My Utmost For His Highest this morning (January 23rd) and found this to be another of the Holy Spirit's lessons with regards to the Lord’s directive to stop striving…

 “The most important rule for us is to concentrate on keeping our lives open to God. Let everything else including work, clothes, and food be set aside. The busyness of things (my striving) obscures our concentration on God…never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him. This is an easy thing to allow, but we must guard against it.” 

Oswald Chambers

I can tell you that this will be a life changing year for me, just as the years before have been, and already three weeks in, His instruction resonates repeatedly as I go about my tasks, almost pulling me back time and again. Slowing down, not just in mind, but in all that I do; for example - no longer rushing to chop all those vegetables as quickly as possible so I can fit more tasks into the day. In fact, the Father has reminded me of a lovely homeschooling mum whom I gave the nickname of "tomato lady" to make His point clearer.

When I first met Caroline, a minister's wife, the thing which stood out that day was how slowly she cut the tomatoes. In 2003 our family had moved to a new town, and once we'd connected with the local homeschool group, Caroline invited us to lunch. When the children and I arrived, all the kids went off to play and Caroline made us both a cup of tea. She pulled a bar stool up to the kitchen bench for me to sit while she went ahead and prepared the lunch. Over the next hour I watched her slice, mix, fold, pour, wash, simmer and bake...slowly, intentionally, the whole time consciously lifting her eyes to look at mine as she spoke, pausing from her meal-making tasks, unhurried and calm. That first lunch with her was twenty years ago and yet today, so clear in my memory, it could have been yesterday. Even the setting of the table, the meal itself, the conversation, the clean up...all unhurried. During the two years we lived in that town and fellowshipped with Caroline, her husband and children, never once did I see her flustered or rushed. She was always open to the Lord's lead in her day to day life, never lazy, assured that consistently doing one task at a time, and not rushing to or being distracted by another, would be what He required of her each day. Consistent, faithful, trusting in His example, that was Caroline.

Revisiting those years, pondering the many memories and their significance to my need to "stop striving" - they are lessons from long ago which the Lord is bringing forth this year that I should learn from and gather in with other lessons and corrections He will be teaching me. 

From experience I know that lessons from more recent years have already borne good fruit, the kind that doesn't leave you but becomes a very real part of your character...

Back in 2019, the Lord told me to "Use what you already have", and now, four years later, His words still echo in my mind at least once a day. That lesson completely changed my life, and is still changing it.

In 2022, His lesson was to "Be content with what you have", and I think over the past decade this has been the most profound change made in any year, a change which, once again, I am reminded of each day. 

Is there a life-lesson God has you addressing this year? I am praying we all find our lives more deeply hidden in Christ through 2023, that the change will be noticeable to others, and that when God places a character-mirror before us again in December, we will feel His pleasure because the evidence will be obvious. 

Bless you heaps!


Don't miss out on any Elefantz news or free patterns. 
Subscribe to my blog posts HERE and receive them direct to your email inbox.  

Or sign up HERE for my free newsletter which often has extra benefits, freebies & tutorials!

 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Rainy days, mending, planning a new tutorial...

We've had so much rain this month that I've rarely needed to water the garden. In fact we've had so much rain that all four pumps in our front and back yards have been working overtime, and praise the Lord only one of them broke down. They kept our yards looking more like a lake than the oceans of times past. We are so glad hubby spent two weeks in May last year replacing and re-building all the pump wells and pipes because his hard work is paying off. We're still only in the first half of our tropical wet season, and more monsoons are yet to come, perhaps a cyclone (though we pray not), so knowing the pumps are moving the water out from the yards and into the council storm drain is a great relief. 

Each day at morning tea I sit at my desk in the sewing room and work on blogging, writing, homemaking and sewing plans for the months ahead. On the rainy days it was simply beautiful watching the rain drops glisten and fall from the Grevillea, Syzygium and Bottle Brush trees outside the window, and the little honeyeaters darting to and fro from branch to branch.


While it's been so wet, warm and humid, my attention has been given over to a jolly deep clean of the living/dining room, kitchen, pantry, bathroom and entryway...the evidence of each day's labour being my aching muscles at night. But working hard around home brings great satisfaction, and definitely worth the  aches and pains. 

I got down into the window tracks one morning, after washing the inside of the windows, and was horrified at the build up of dirt and dust. Obviously it had been a long time since I did that task.


 All the appliances were cleaned inside and out, and I must tell you that cleaning the dishwasher with citric acid is wonderful! Just add 1/4 cup where you'd normally put your dishwashing cleaner and run your regular cycle. When you open the door later it gleams and sparkles good as new. 

I've also done some mending of clothes, some curtains, and cushion inserts. I find in our very hot tropical weather, many things become brittle, even the covers of cushion inserts. This one was crumbling before my eyes...


Just over a year ago we switched to all linen sheets, but I kept the old cotton ones because they are really good for backing quilts, runners, etc...but they also make excellent replacement cushion insert covers.  I cut a rectangle from the old sheet to fit, sewed French seams along the sides, and hemmed the open end, before popping the crumbling insert inside and slip stitching the opening closed. 

Now I can safely place the newly covered insert inside my pretty cushion covers without dealing with a crumbly mess whenever I want to change them. 


After this repair I took my sewing machine in for a service. Blossom reminded me that our machines had not been serviced in a very long time (6 years - ouch!) and when we got them back they worked like new. We simply hadn't noticed any issues until then, as I find over time you get used to things not being perfect. Anyhow, this enthused me to get back to sewing on my machine more often, and that decision prompted a new tutorial which I'll be sharing next week. 

Here's a little peek at what we will be making...


It's a small sewing pouch, the kind you can fill with EPP papers and fabrics, scissors, thread and needle, to take on a journey, or to work from whilst waiting for an appointment. They are very easy to make, and will post in an envelope if you do not fill it, so they make excellent gifts.
Inside is a pocket for holding the EPP bits and pieces, and the needles and pins are held in place with soft squares of doctor's flannel (which is pure wool). 
Pop back here to the blog next week for the step by step tutorial. 


Even though it's raining a lot, the weather is still hot and humid, so cool afternoon snacks and soda water infused with frozen pineapple or citrus slices are my go to. At the moment I'm relishing grape season, and have developed a partiality for apple slices dipped in peanut butter. Oh my, it's quite scrumptious!


Did you make the bookmarks from my free Books & Roses block of the month last year? When I shared the first one last January I suggested some of you may like to use them in a quilt instead of a bookmark. Well, my good friend Joanne in the Netherlands, ran with that idea! 

She's been sending me update photos every month, and here are her twelve Books & Roses embroideries displayed inside churn dash blocks...


...and the other day I received photos of the completed quilt. I think you will love it!


Isn't it wonderful!? 
And her smiling face peeking over the top was just as exciting to see. Joanne is one of the most positive women I know, and even in the midst of her own great trial last year, she made me laugh and look at life as the absolute joy it is meant to be, praise God. She's a strong woman, and as you can see, a very creative one too. 


NEWS: Instagram

I have opened a new account on Instagram. The many months since I left IG were more beneficial than I can say, because though I may not have spoken or written of it, last year was (personally and for family members) a very challenging one. 

Taking time out to examine my life, my character, my hopes and plans, my relationship with the Lord, my available time, and the very great responsibility of being a homemaker and the matriach of our family - those many months of social media absence proved beneficial, as they gave me needed space to sweep away doubt and cobwebs, and to become sure of exactly who I was and the direction God required me to pursue. 

I actually did not think there'd be any return to IG, so making this decision over the past week surprised me...but we live in a time when the voice of conservatives, of Bible believing Christians, of homemakers, wives, mothers and grandmothers, of Titus Two women, are being drowned out. So while we're still able to speak, I'd like to encourage women in my own small way, and just as I do this on my blog, so I plan to do also on my new Instagram account. 

You can follow along HERE or search for @jennyofelefantz 

Well, I'll get back to my planning now, as I have a few tutorial ideas I'd like to work on for coming months, plus a new issue of The Homemakers Heart to compile...


...and with a great recipe book find from the op-shop recently I have notes to make because it's full of great advice for menu planning in the economy of today. So much of it I heard from my Nana's lips, but had forgotten. Now the memory is being jogged awake. 


Bless you heaps, and I pray that whatever your season, you're finding ways to beautify your home environment and infuse joy into all your tasks. May the Lord bless the work of your hands today and every day...

Hugs


Don't miss out on any Elefantz news or free patterns. 
Subscribe to my blog posts HERE and receive them direct to your email inbox.  

Or sign up HERE for my free newsletter which often has extra benefits, freebies & tutorials!



Thursday, January 12, 2023

January tea towel post and book study...

 


I've kept this year's free tea towel design quite simple, because I'd like to think it reflects the gentle simplicity of our domestic lives throughout 2023. 
As the theme on the blog this year is 'a new year of gentle domesticity', it seems prudent that I should be encouraging both myself and all of you, to seek after gentler expressions of homemaking, amidst the regular rhythms and routines of keeping house. 
There's a number of words I could have chosen to embellish this year's tea towel, but memories of sitting at nana's table enjoying the very simple and delicious meals she would bake each day brought joy to my heart, so 'baking' was what I decided on.


Memories of relaxed evenings watching The Waltons, where every scene of Grandma and Olivia working side by side preparing food, or the family gathered around the table laughing and sharing the fruits of their labour, always gave me cause to sigh and smile, because the love of eating a meal together, of simply "being" together, was another reminder of sitting at our own small kitchen table when I was young, and the love and laughter and gratitude which filled the air.

Gingham and redwork compliment each other beautifully, and genuinely do remind me of the old days, so when I found this turquoise checked tea towel tucked away in my linen cupboard, the idea for this year's free pattern came quickly to mind. I hope you make this for yourself, and maybe a few others as gifts throughout the year - they'd be so easy and inexpensive to post. 

Or, imagine wrapping your newly stitched tea towel around a batch of freshly baked scones or muffins, or maybe even a loaf of bread, to gift a neighbour? That would be lovely (and delicious) indeed. I find the simplest gifts quite often mean the most. 

Use the link below to download the pattern


As promised last week, today we shall continue the Emilie Barnes book study with chapter five of Simple Secrets to a Beautiful Home. 

This chapter is titled 'The Secret of the Kitchen' and it seems that Emilie's love for this productive and aromatic room began early in life through the inspiration of her father, a chef who was raised in the kitchen of a Viennese palace. After moving to America he opened many top restaurants, receiving standing ovations from movie stars of the era. 

Unlike Emilie, most of us were not raised by chefs, so our culinary skills are more attuned to the simple home kitchen, and creating day by day family pleasing menus - but fortunately for us, we are the women Emilie is writing to in this book. Let's begin...




Emilie asks, "What makes a memorable meal? The recipe for such a time involves four simple ingredients."

The Setting (ideas):
Fold napkins inside the water glasses or tuck them into napkin rings / garnish the dinner plate with a sprig of parsley / place a lemon wedge in each glass of water / use a floral sheet as your tablecloth / make napkins from an old sheet / add a jar of fresh flowers to the table centre or for seasonal displays use apples, grapes, pine cones, candles, twinkling lights - whatever is on hand.

The Food (ideas):
Use in-season fruits and vegetables / think about the aroma of food cooking as guests gather at the table - curries, garlic, fresh bread, coffee, chili, spices, roasts, fruit pies / make family favourites regularly to create memories.

The Fellowship (ideas):
Turn off the television / put phones away / be prepared to share about your day and be prepared to listen to what others want to share / use this time for family and friendships to grow.

A Peaceful Ambience (ideas):
"Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife." Proverbs 17:1 / plan dinner times thoughtfully so that all the components of the meal are ready to serve at the same time / avoid weighty or emotional conversations over meals / invite God to be present at each meal and give thanks.



The Year Round Kitchen

Not just a seasonal cook, Emilie also embraces seasonal decor in her kitchen and surrounds, using windowsills, countertops and the dining area to infuse elements of spring, summer, autumn and winter to her home. 
"...tuning in to the turning of the seasons will help make your kitchen more warming and fulfilling." (page 79)
Flowers in season are displayed growing in window boxes and pretty pots in the warmer months, or cut and placed in a vase or jar all through the year. Bowls are filled with pumpkins, squash and gourds in autumn, and through summer they overflow with fruits and vegetables. 
With regards to meals, Emilie chooses fresh ingredients in their season, delighting (for example) in serving the first spring produce on a white lace tablecloth beside fresh blooms - a celebration of taste and colour. 
"Setting a pretty breakfast table or food bar with placemats sends out good signals." (page 79)
Many summer meals are served outdoors, especially those cooked on the barbecue. Lots of big green salads with assorted vegetables and garlic dressing gave Emilie great delight and a desire to pray for long hot summers. She suggests shopping at a Farmer's Market in spring and summer for home-sourced goods such as jam, breads, honey and nuts if you don't make or have your own.
In the cooler months keep your kitchen warm and smelling wonderful with simmering soups, slow cooker meals and casseroles. 


Hope you enjoyed the overview on chapter five. Next month we will glean from the next chapter, The Secret of Stillness. 

If you're new here, last year we read through the first four chapters (there are nine in all) and I gave some highlights here for those who did not have a copy of the book. You can read through those first four chapter studies HERE

Love to hear your own thoughts and ideas on creating a welcoming kitchen. I'm still slowly working on mine, and find that some of her ideas won't work in such a small space with minimal countertop area, but that doesn't mean I can't take the seeds of what Emilie did in her home and bring to life some beauty of my own with what means I have on hand. Creativity is such a unique thing for every women, and that's fairly obvious when you spend time in someone else's home. 
I wonder how we'd arrange or decorate our kitchen and dining areas if we took some time to really ponder the things we like, the style which best suits our taste and budget, and considered what matters and what doesn't? Lately I'm thinking more and more about what I don't like, which is very helpful with decluttering, because when I know that, it's much easier to imagine a room/s makeover for the future.
For now, it's small inexpensive steps for my home, and I don't mind at all because in most things these days I enjoy taking my time before making decisions (what a change from a few years back). 

Have a lovely end of week, dear ones, and just for fun, why don't we all set the table tonight, light some candles, play some favourite music in the background, and 'welcome' home our loved ones. If you've got some flowers pop them in a jug or vase, or ask your neighbour for a few blooms if she has them. Bring out your napkins, best glasses and dinner plates, and bake a lovely dessert if you have time. Turn off the telly and don't answer texts or scroll social media - in fact put your mobile devices in another room. Give your loved ones some undivided attention...who knows, you may find this becomes a delightful new weekly rhythm to home life. 

I'm going to bake a lemon delicious pudding, but not sure what will be the main course as yet - have to check the fridge first and see what needs using up. Even the simplest of meals become special when served with beauty. Emilie taught me that. 

Oh, and if you're after a very simple way to make cloth napkins from old sheets, visit Jes at her blog Strangers and Pilgrims HERE where she gives some very easy instructions. Jes has so many wonderful homemaking ideas and examples that you might find yourself trying a few different things. 

hugs


Don't miss out on any Elefantz news or free patterns. 
Subscribe to my blog posts HERE and receive them direct to your email inbox.  

Or sign up HERE for my free newsletter which often has extra benefits, freebies & tutorials!



Saturday, January 7, 2023

A new week, pets and life...

 


The first week of January proved to be a full and satisfying few days, interspersed with heavy rain, scorching sun, and barometric migraines (which I am managing better this summer).
As the new year plans I had made for a deep refresh, declutter, and rearrangement of our home are not something to rush through, I had a one-day-on and one-day-off strategy to maintain energy, manage the migraines, and also to visit Blossom and the children one day and shop with them for school supplies another day. 
Those days off between deep cleaning still required the steady rhythm of normal routines to continue, but I enjoyed hourly breaks to read, do some hand embroidery, watch an episode of Father Brown or The Larkins on Britbox, and enjoy cups of tea with a sweet treat.



We don't have much storage space in our small home, but with careful consideration (and discipline) I've been able to clear needed space by donating excess items such as sheets, towels, fabric, plastic containers, kitchen  items, decorations, trinkets, clothing, baby toys and old games which have not been played since the children lived at home, picture frames, books and videos, to the local op-shop (charity store). 

We still have ample sheets and towels, fabric, kitchen items etc, but now we have only what we use, with some to spare of course, and a short list of things we'd like to acquire this year, such as a vacuum sealer for storing dehydrated foods, flour and grains. I lost 15kg (about 32 pounds) of flour this past week as it was all infested with Brown Flour Mites - and this is something we face living in the hot, humid, wet tropics. I freeze all my wheat grains and rice for days after purchase, and thank the Lord they are fine, but the flour was a completely different matter. So after disposing of the infested flours, vacuuming and scrubbing the pantry and the containers, then disposing of the vacuum cleaner bag immediately after, I researched for helps with preserving flour in our climate. 

Next day I bought more flours, and after taping bay leaves inside the lids, refilled the clean containers. Apparently these bugs hate bay leaves and this method of prevention really works, but extra protection is to wipe around your pantry shelving using a cloth which has some essential oils on it (pine, eucalyptus or tea tree are recommended) so I'm doing that as well. Perhaps you can understand why we've decided to save for a good vacuum sealer?

Re-organising the lounge/dining room to suit summer, and also adding the leather chair which used to sit in our bedroom unused. We need a new rug, something to save for, as the dog destroyed the last one.



There's no rhyme nor reasoning to decor anymore, we're simply using what we have...definitely eclectic. 



I sit here each morning with my first cuppa to read the Bible and a chapter of my current book, until hubby wakes and we go for our pre-breakfast swim in the pool.





My computer desk has had a good scrub and refresh as well, and a new calendar also brightens this corner of the living room.



The little runner beneath my keyboard (above) was a free pattern I shared in one of my 2021 Homemakers Heart digital magazines and is still available to you as a free download HERE



The bedroom has had a deep clean, but I still need to wash the curtains. In fact all the curtains in the house will be washed and hung out to dry next week as long as we get a few days break from the tropical wet season.



The kitchen will get a thorough scrubbing next week as well, and I have my three favourite aprons ready on the old white cupboard. 

In November I hosted an Apron Swap here on the blog, and despite being so close to Christmas the response was wonderful. All together there were 32 swappers from across the globe, and my partner was fellow Australian, Bev Ashmore. This is the *gorgeous* apron she made me. Such pretty fabric, and look at those ruffles!



The apron I made for Bev was another of the 1929 style I tend to favour, and it definitely was not as fancy as she made me...


...but I made my own bias binding and hand stitched it around the edges, and bless her heart, Bev loved that handmade detail. She's a very kind lady, sews beautifully, and is a sister-in-Christ as well. I felt incredibly blessed when her parcel arrived, and look forward to hosting more swaps with all of you through 2023.

Many of you have emailed to ask about our lovely old cat, Princess Sophie, and how she's recovering after being attacked by a feral black cat in October. If you've been reading here for years you will know that Sophie and I have had our disagreements, due to her desire to usurp me in Mr E's heart, but beneath it all we love each other. Since the attack, Sophie, whom the vet described as the healthiest 12yo cat she's ever seen, recovered physically in record time, but the shock has obviously taken a toll on her mentally. 


Never one to enjoy being inside, she now seeks me out for company and cuddles (quite unlike her) and takes a long sleep each day in her bed behind Mr E's recliner. Apparently, getting a puppy just before the attack has not helped things as older cats don't take to change or new pets easily, and it can even cause them to withdraw...and this on top of the attack really has changed her. 
Harry the pup, now 5 months old, is a true hound and spends all day and night digging, chasing, jumping, destroying the garden (hear my sob?), catching creatures and generally being a whirlwind of endless energy. He's also obsessed with Sophie and will not leave her alone, which she hates, and that's probably another reason she seeks solitude and safety inside. 

It has been decided that Harry is Mr E's buddy, and Sophie is now mine. She's losing her sense of smell and hearing, though this is only just becoming noticeable, and like our old Bob-the-dog a few years before he passed away at age 15, she is becoming a bit vague at times. The vet tells us this is natural aging but accelerated by the shock of the attack and the arrival of the puppy all within two weeks of each other. 



In the front garden our single pumpkin plant has gone bonkers from all the wet season rain, and pretty soon will cover the entire area. It's already growing up the jasmine and ixora bushes.




There's quite a few Kent pumpkins on the vine (also known as Jap pumpkins), which I have mostly hand-pollinated due to the lack of bees in our front yard. The back yard is overrun with bees due to the elder tree so we may plant an elder out front in March/April for next season. 




In the back yard, our elder tree has already produced loads of berries which I've made into syrup or frozen. Currently it is sporting many more flower heads and berries so I'll be busy with elderberries for many months yet. Last year the tree stopped flowering in May, just before our relatively mild winter arrived. 


The rest of the garden is mostly flowers and a few herbs as the vegetable bugs are incredibly destructive here from mid spring to mid autumn, but no matter the season, zinnias flourish and re-seed everywhere all year round. I love their bright bursts of colour! 





Accepting the seasons for what they are is something I have had to learn since moving into our home just over four years ago. We fought the seasons at first because our dream to be self sufficient was strong and we hoped to subdue and tame this quarter acre to become what we desired...a food forest. 

It's easy to watch others who live in different climates, with normal growing seasons, and become envious of their abundance...but we've finally moved past that, and over the next year will be planning out a different garden layout, building higher raised beds, and planting only that which yields a crop we can eat and enjoy (along side plenty of flowers for bees, and the trees for shade). Sadly my husband does not like pumpkin but it grows well here all year round, and he does like the fact that it adds good ground cover out front through the long scorching summer. Blossom, myself and our neighbours, love pumpkin, so it will be a blessing for us to cook with and share around. 

I'm sure this is as much as you want to read of my rambling today, so I better close off and go bake a fresh loaf of bread to have with dinner tonight. I also need to finish making notes on chapter five of our Emilie Barnes book study so I can share that next week with this year's free tea towel pattern, and I'm still working on the rearranging and sorting of my sewing room/office. 

God bless you dear ones, and may the days ahead offer you times of solitude to pray and ponder the year ahead, so you can clearly see which path to follow, and be strong enough to cast off all the unnecessary burdens which to now have weighed you down. Simplify your life, guard your heart, be gentle with yourself, pursue productive paths which add purpose to each day, and lean on Jesus in all things for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. xxx

hugs


Don't miss out on any Elefantz news or free patterns. 
Subscribe to my blog posts HERE and receive them direct to your email inbox.  

Or sign up HERE for my free newsletter which often has extra benefits, freebies & tutorials!