Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Simple things...

As I shared on Sunday, this week I'm pondering the things that bring me joy.
My list is slowly growing, and as I let my mind rest on times past I am discovering a pattern from childhood - things I do as second nature today, but the love of which began all the way back when I was young.

I would sit beside Nana as she ironed Pop's shirts and trousers, my dresses, shorts and school clothes, her everyday house-dresses and a pile of aprons, household linens and even Pop's cotton boxers...and I remember the fragrance of starchy water tossed with aged fingers across hot fabrics; the sizzle of Nan's iron as it pressed down upon the moistened garments. I remember those weekly hours with fondness and love, and an ache because I miss her.
Decades later it is I who brings out the ironing basket each Sunday afternoon and gathers my husband's work shirts and trousers to press and hang for the week ahead. I smile, joy filling my heart as I follow in my Nana's example and thank the Lord that I have this precious man to care for...

Baking & Tea...
Is there anything that stirs delight in your heart as much as comfort food?
So many of my childhood memories with Nana revolve around our kitchen table and the simple home-baked-with-love fare she would serve every day to Pop and I.
I taught myself to cook at age 16 when I was out on my own, and I never stopped enjoying it, but with business 'busyness' the past few years this joy had not been as regular as it once was. A Year of Gentle Domesticity has ignited my heart's desire to create something nourishing and yummy in the kitchen every day, whether that be something baked...

...or playing with new ways to serve a hot cup of tea.
Nana made the best tea - at breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea, and after dinner. 
But mine's not bad either.
A new combination I've fallen in love with this week...

Nana had a cat named Bubba who was grey and white and fluffy and gentle and gorgeous.
Our Princess Sophie reminds me a lot of Bubba, though she's never had any kitties of her own and she's not grey - though she does have lots of fluffy white.
Mr E chose Sophie for me, and maybe that's why she loves him so much? I can't blame her.

Nana knitted. My Pop worked as a wharfie (stevedore) and followed a regular shift rotation of days, afternoons and nights. Winter nights on the water are cold, so Nana would knit thick wool socks, vests and snug balaclavas for her beloved. She also darned those socks and vests and balaclavas and if one of them became unwearable she'd unravel the yarn and put it aside until she had a few good balls and knit Pop a striped scarf. 
I loved to see her create with wool, but my own creative outlet at the time was drawing, painting and writing.
Things changed when I became a mum for the first time just a few weeks after my 18th birthday, and it was the most natural joy for me to take up knitting. Just like Nana I spent the next twenty years making warm woolly garments for my 'beloveds'.
When I discovered surface embroidery and quilting in 2005 another joy came into my life, and in 2009 I stepped out to design.
So as I look back at my creative roots I see those early teenage years of sketching and painting have evolved into the drawing and stitching I do today.
And the writing that had been as natural as breathing in my school days, became a blog when I was all grown up.

Today I have forgone my desk and all the paperwork that should be attended to...

...and I'm sitting instead on the bed with Princess Sophie asleep beside me, lots of stitching to complete, a stack of Miss Marple's to watch on dvd, fruit cake and a pot of tea to nourish my appetite, and a whole lot of JOY in my heart.

Have a blessed day,


  1. I just love your view of the world! love reading your blog everyday, I don't always comment but today I'd like to say thank you for your creative visions and inspiring words.

  2. Oh my gosh Jenny! I adore Lecien fabrics and these are REALLY delightful. Your strong coffees and extra sharpened pencils did the trick...this is a super fun design. I don't think I can pick an actual favorite because I am smitten with both sizes of the design. I can say however than as applique' is harder for me than regular stitching, that I will be doing the smaller version, though I might try to sneak one of the larger size into my project stack because it doesn't seem like it will be too much for my fingers to work on, but again I'll add that I love both sizes and choosing a fav, well, I just can't lol. Sending big hugs out to you across the pond my sweet friend. Keeping you and yours in prayer always and hoping Mr. E's ribs are rapidly healing. God Bless and Keep, Nancy Jo
    PS...Our sweet cat Miss Prissy, or as the hubby has taken to calling her "Fuzzy Bottom" has no problem choosing favorites, lol, she loves us both but if he is in the room it is no contest, she wants to be either on him or as close to him as she can get. (and he delights in it too, hehehe)

  3. Sounds like you are all set up for a lovely day Jenny. Enjoy!

  4. What a lovely post, Jenny. You sound so full of joy!

  5. Sounds like this is a very good time in your life and you are wise to realize it. I am happy for you.

  6. What a beautiful hearfelt post Jenny. The way you describe your Nana it feels as though we have come to know her & whenever you write about her, I always feel a tug of love in my heart for her & what a special person she must've been. And I just adore that last photo of Princess Sophie with her paw over her eyes - my Blackie does that when he sleeps. Just perfect x0x

  7. That was just a lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing these lovely things from your childhood. I do remember watching my mother iron - she took in ironing and it paid for a piano for us all. I remember rolled up clothes she had dampened with starch she made. When I was 10 or so, I had to iron all the sheets and my uncle's boxers. I really didn't mind it because I could think about anything I wanted - and I was pretty far away most of the time. =) Thanks for the reminder of earlier times.

  8. I loved reading your memories. The smell of ironing linens is a lovely one and I don't mind the chore when I set my mind to do it.
    Hope you enjoyed your stitching and Miss Marples!

  9. It`s a lovely post!I don't always comment but I read it everyday.

  10. I've been reading your blog quite a lot. I pinned some of your pictures and hope that was okay because I think thousands should see your embroidery. Please come by and visit at Prairie Cottage Corner when you have a chance. We'll have a virtual scone and a cuppa something and some real joy, as you say. Cheers.

  11. Lovely post, Jenny. I really enjoyed it. xxx

  12. What a lovely post Jenny, such a gentle tribute to your Nan. It's good to reflect and be thankful for those who have influenced us throughout the years.


  13. I love to read about your Nana and Pop. Your love for them is timeless.... You should write a book about them. Just a sentimental small book...About the lessons and values and things learned from them with memories of times gone by.

  14. I so look forward to your posts...another lovely one! Have a joy filled day.

  15. Thanks Jenny - Took me back to a gentler time when my Mom ironed clothes that had been sprinkled and starched. The clothes were what she had made for us. Five little girls might all have the same fabric for dresses and my brother for shorts but the dresses would be from different patterns she had in her head. I just recently found your blog and enjoy it immensely. I'm a cat lover with two asleep on the bed beside me right now. I for one can't wait to see what you are doing every day!

  16. A lovely post to read and made extra special when you talk about your Nana and Pop, so I had to write and say so :)

  17. Jenny, MY Bf's mother passed away in January. Before her, her mother (a number of years ago). We called both of them "Nana". Carol and I both appreciate so much that you have created "Nana's Jug of Posies". We absolutely love it and can't wait to make our own.

  18. Jenny, MY Bf's mother passed away in January. Before her, her mother (a number of years ago). We called both of them "Nana". Carol and I both appreciate so much that you have created "Nana's Jug of Posies". We absolutely love it and can't wait to make our own.

  19. Jenny, such a peaceful gentle outlook on life you have. A true appreciation of of life's simple pleasures and gifts. So sweet to hear more of your nana that you clearly loved and appreciated, like Julie wrote I feel like I know your nana through your heartfelt words of her. What a more harmonious place the world would be if we all found pleasure in our daily jobs.

  20. I too have many of the wonderful memories of my Grandmother ironing clothes which lead to me actually liking to iron. Gentle Domesticity is truly describing just what you posted...ironing, comfort food, sewing, snuggling with Miss Sophie (I adore cats) and loving your family. Bless You Jenny Dear...

  21. Dearest Jenny,
    We just got home and are exhausted
    after two days of 9 hours of driving each day. It will be good to sleep in our own bed tonight. Tomorrow I will have plenty of laundry and ironing to begin on. My grandma took in ironing and I can remember her at it. I can see my mother ironing in my minds eye right now. When I was three I got a real toy electric iron for Christmas and a little ironing board. On Tuesdays my mother would set both boards up and I would iron all of my daddy's handkerchiefs. I am sure I didn't do a very expert job but I did feel grown up doing it. I find ironing soothing. I am glad that I have brought it back into my life. You prompted that at the beginning of the year. Our cat Georgia likes to jump up on top of the ironing board when I am through to lie on the heat left from the days work.

  22. I so appreciate your thoughtful and inspiring words. They are a breath of fresh air and an affirmation of what I have held dear, though it has been lost to me over the years. Your Year of Domesticity is slowly bringing me back to my core. I'm so grateful to have found your blog.

  23. Nice Post. I learned to sew from my grandmother but left all the domestication of housework somewhere in the past. LOL
    I'm not good at it and do it as needed. I'd rather be quilting or working on the computer.
    I'm glad your writing turned into a blog then I get to see all the pretties you make.
    thanks for sharing


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