Thursday, October 1, 2015

Slow sewing and living slow...

With a bad cold knocking me around a bit over the last half of September, I knew I needed a 'slow sewing' project to keep my mind and fingers occupied, whilst also ensuring I rested. 
So I printed up "Loaves & Fishes" by my talented buddy Allie Hartom (check her out here) and gathered some low volume fat quarters for the background, and small scraps of fabric for the applique...
I've loved Allie's pattern since the first moment I saw it, but put it on the back burner until I could decide on a colour scheme. When I eventually prepared the low volume background last Friday it was easy to pull scraps which both blended and contrasted for the applique.
It took about five days to complete as I still have a home and full time business to run, but taking those hours each days just to sit, watch a movie and hand sew, was wonderful...
As you know, I love hand quilting...
Loaves & Fishes measures 22" square when complete, and I think it makes a wonderful story quilt for children, don't you?
I'll be using this with my grandchildren to tell them the story of Jesus feeding 5000 with the humble loaves and fishes offering of a small boy, and how that offering overflowed to twelve baskets of leftovers...

You'll find Allie's pattern for Loaves & Fishes HERE.
Why not make it as a Christmas gift for a small family member?

On the downside of life, adrenaline-driven people like me often need a good whack in the head to make them S..L..O..W down  or STOP, right?

I got two of those whacks this week.

You see, when I wasn't resting up and sewing Loaves & Fishes I was running around trying to stay on top of all my other responsibilities, as well as training and caring for our 13 week old puppy.
My sleep each night was erratic due to the head and chest cold, but I also had the interruptions of tag-teaming with Mr E to take Merri outside for toilet trips. 
Some nights I slept five hours, some six. Over the course of two weeks I was sleep-deprived, still battling a cold, and becoming rather anxious about not keeping up with work and home duties.
And you know, puppies are high energy and exhausting.

From Monday this week I noticed that bumping into things and dropping stuff had become a regular hazard throughout my day so vowed to get caught up by Friday and take a few days off next week.
The bumping got serious on Tuesday night when I fell face first into the vanity basin in our bathroom. It felt like my eye popped out of it's socket, but fortunately it stayed put and I just had a hazy view for the next 24 hours.
Wednesday afternoon I did a lot of meal prep and cleaning so decided to shower before picking up Mr E from his work. I knew I was tired, and a cold shower usually refreshes me late in the afternoon, but my knee gave way and I lost my feet before crashing down on my back and whacking the base of my skull on the tap. Our shower is in the bathtub so I think that may have saved me from worse damage, but boy did it hurt.
My head is very tender this morning (Mr E has taken to emulating Florence Nightingale in his care of me)  and with two painful incidents in two days I am honestly going to look over my 'life' schedule and give it a similar spring clean to the one I recently gave my home. 
 All through this year of gentle domesticity I've wanted to learn about slowing down, and then live by it, but it's become one of the most difficult changes to make in my nature.
My 56 year old mind hasn't yet appreciated that it doesn't have to race through life at warp speed the way it did when I was 16, 26, 36...or even 46.
I wish I'd slowed down back then because it would be an easier habit to attain now.

So these two knocks on the head need to be limited to 'just two knocks', which means I must seriously consider the consequences of this life where I run everywhere and don't stand still to admire the beauty of where I am and who I'm with for long enough.

Life is a series of lessons.
I can learn from them and bloom where I'm planted, or I can crash and burn.
I'd like to bloom.

What life lessons are you learning about yourself during this year of gentle domesticity?
I'd genuinely like to hear your story...



  1. Hello Jenny...since turning 50 this month, I am also seeing the futile effort of moving so fast, you forget to just breathe. In my case, Our Lord slowed me down through illness, and I have to say, I am grateful for it. I don't like been sick, I don't think anyone does, but it has taught me the joy of living slowly.... beautiful work as always Jenny :o) mari

  2. JENNY-GIRL - that is not good - oh honey please please be careful!!!! Is Mark making sure your eyes aren't dilated [concussion]? Gads I almost had heart failure reading that.
    After my falls last year, while caring for my aunt, I had to learn this lesson too. It takes an awful lot for this lesson to stick! I'm a type A, I like to move fast, but my body is saying no - and after living with chronic pain for so many years, I think I'm finally starting to listen, lol. So many days I can't move fast, although my mind thinks I can. I'll be praying for you hon, that you start listening to your mind and not your body at full-speed!

    And Jenny, I adore what you've done with Loaves and Fishes. Such a happy, gentle color-way! You bless me, dear one.

  3. Love the loaves and fishes. The little baskets are a great border blocks. Those falls of yours are just plain scary. Are you sure you don't have fluid in your ears from your cold? That has happened to me and it makes your balance all wonky. It is the worst feeling. Had to take an antibiotic and something to get rid of the fluid in my ears. Take care of yourself, dear Jenny. You are precious to us!

  4. Jenny Dear I fear your slowing down will be a must if you wish to stay healthy and avoid any further or worse mishaps. Our bodies have a way of slowing us down. I am so thankful you weren't injured any more seriously. Jenny you are amazing at every speed! Healing Energy and Blessings...

  5. I love your little quilt. You need to stop and take things slow, just think how sad this world would be without a lovely person like you around.
    However this is the pot calling the kettle black, in the last few weeks, I have moved my 82yo mother to my house (her dementia has worsened) and I have also decided to home school my 13 daughter, I can honestly say that I am thoroughly exhausted, but having read your blog, I will be sleeping in tomorrow and just listing to music and doing crochet. My daughter and my Mum cant have be sick. God bless and take care of yourself.

  6. good grief! glad you are sort of okay, scary is right, i have many times been so tired that i've almost fallen out of the tub, my shower is also in the bathtub. it's made me think about getting a shower cubicle put in at some stage. have only found myself once on the bathtub floor from passing out or perhaps a small blackout, not hurt thankfully but scared the bajeebas out of me! we really do have to slow down as we get older, i'm already slow but even i need to get slower lol
    you should go see the doctor about your ears, in case you have a fluid build up, that would really be making your balance wonky.

    beautiful little quilt too

    do slow down, take a minute to view the world around you; house work isn't going anywhere & really doesn't need to be done every day either. take a break.
    breath deep & exhale slowly. also drink lots of hot lemon teas :))

    take care XXX

    thanx for sharing

  7. Oh my, so glad it's not worse...though it sounds bad enough! Hope you are feeling much better today. I so appreciate your words of inspiration, you certainly make this world a better place. I love your loaves and fishes quilt! I may have to get that pattern and take it along on a long road trip we are planning, it looks perfect for that.

  8. Oh Jenny, I'm so glad you wren't seriously hurt, do take care. It is so hard to slow down when it is not in your nature.
    I was always dashing about until the Lupus hit me and then I had no choice but to slow down although all too often I still push myself too far and have to pay for it! I try to keep 'quietly busy' when I can't do other things with creativity like crochet, sewing etc so I don't keep thinking about what I can't do.
    I really hope that you are soon back to your normal self. There is a beautiful poem which has helped me and I managed to find it online here...
    Hugs, Sharon xx

  9. Dear Jenny, please take care and rest up with these injuries. Your body fighting off the flu makes you fragile and you are so very precious. My differences this year started with your little breathe stitchery, I made it my one little word for the year and seeing this everyday reminds me, then there are the little stich eris in the stitchery club, as I stitch each one each month I posted Der the words and what they mean to me. Take care of yourself and watch that silly puppy you have. Love always Cass

  10. Dear Jenny, please take care and rest up with these injuries. Your body fighting off the flu makes you fragile and you are so very precious. My differences this year started with your little breathe stitchery, I made it my one little word for the year and seeing this everyday reminds me, then there are the little stich eris in the stitchery club, as I stitch each one each month I posted Der the words and what they mean to me. Take care of yourself and watch that silly puppy you have. Love always Cass

  11. I'm joining all the others in gently encouraging you to heed your own words, slow down, dear, and take time to get the rest and healing that you need. Like the others, I'm having to learn this lesson too, and sometimes it does take a bruise to remind me. LOL This year I'm learning, oh so late in my life with Him, to truly turn things over to His care. Not to say that I am, and then grab them back and work on them some more. :) It's making a difference in my life, and I'm grateful for His blessings and care.

  12. Im glad you are okay. Please take care of yourself! I love your little quilt. I have learned to slow down and I can say no when I don't want to participate in projects I have no interest in doing. I try not to get stresses out. Hugs,

  13. Querida Jenny: Quiero que te cuides mucho. Me gusta mucho, mucho leer tu blog, pero también me seguirá gustando mucho, mucho si te leo con menos frecuencia. Si tú eres corredora, siempre serás corredora. Pero corre despacito :) Yo he tomado este año para redescubrir el gusto por los trabajos en el hogar. A veces uno se esfuerza tanto por limpiar cosas que se vuelven a ensuciar en una hora...Se pasa tanto tiempo lavando, planchando, fregando, igual todos, todos los días...que a veces la rutina puede ahogarte. Así que me propuse este año de " dulce domesticidad " el propósito de apreciar la rutina como algo tranquilizador y bondadoso. Intento que las tareas cotidianas me sean más gratas, "premiándome" al terminarlas con alguno de tus diseños para embellecer mi hogar. Muchas gracias por compartir tanto con nosotros. Te deseo una rápida mejoría. Que el Señor te bendiga.

  14. Oh, Jenny, please be careful!! I lost a beloved aunt to a fall in the shower! Your falling may be something more then just a cold and exhaustion...please see a doctor and get everything checked out. You do understand that you have given yourself 2 concussions in short order and the effects of those concussions is really don't want to have to wear a helmet all the time, do you??? God is trying to tell you that you MUST slow down or He will intervene to see to it that you slow it the easy way and listen, please!!! I have learned to say no to things that I know will over-burden me - hard to learn but every time you do it, it gets easier!! Praying that God doesn't need to help you slow down any more!!

  15. Dear Jenny, Oh my goodness, I literally held my breath while you were describing both falls. My next reaction was how I wished I was close enough to come and help you with everything. I totally understand what you are feeling and going through. When we moved to Texas, I encountered a couple of falls while packing and unpacking the moving truck. Then once while I was out picking Cactus Apples, I stepped into a mole hole and fell all the way directly down into one of the cactus'. The doctors have concluded that these events are what brought my degenerative arthritis up front and full scale. The pain never goes away and just continues to worsen.

    Like you, I have always been a go getter and make sure everything is accomplished by the time I went to bed at night. Since Kevin and I have moved back to Oregon, the pain has taken total control of my life. I have had to learn to slow down and do chores and so forth a tad bit at a time. It is still so frustrating to (example) get down and only pull weeds from a small section of my numerous flower beds and maybe not be able to do it again for 3 days. Yet, if I do not pay attention and stop when my body says stop, I pay the price terribly.

    I wish I had some words of wisdom to help you through this time of change, the only real answer is listening to your body and turning everything over to the Lord! I talk with him continuously while doing any project/housework/cooking and so forth. He and I have had some very heated debates along the way, especially since I have this severe brain damage problem with all of its inhabitants to begin with. Yet, he has understood my anger and slowly very slowly, I am getting it and when I throw up my hands and surrender....I accomplish little but it is a wonderful accomplishment!

    I will continue to keep you in my prayers! Jenny, please listen to what the Lord is telling you and do as directed. His strength will hold you up and make you stronger! Also, let Mr. E be a big part of your transition. He loves you and wants to take care of you!

  16. I'm so sorry about your 'accidents'. I wish there was something I could do to help. Sending healing Blessings.

  17. Dearest Jenny,
    I would like you to choose to bloom. I have had two episodes of falling like that, and ended up in the hospital each time, eventually. The problem was my electrolytes. Once magnesium and once potassium. It's serious, Jenny. With the potassium my level was so low I was in intensive care for 3 days while they poured it into me through an IV. I know you said you were sleep deprived but I really think after two such falls you should at least have some routine bloodwork done. It could be a combination of things.
    The Loaves and Fishes Quilt turned out wonderful. I like how you tilted the baskets. Your color scheme is just right.

  18. Jenny, please slow down! My mom at 72 is just like you, moving at warp speed. And, well, Saturday afternoon it caught up with her. She was rushing to get to my niece and fell and broke her hip. Please get checked out about the falling-your cold may have messed up your inner ear and that affects your balance.

    I love the loaves and fishes quilt. you know the 12 baskets means the universal church right? I LOVE this story. I think I'm going to have to copy you and make this quilt to share with my CCE class. Great way to share this story.

  19. Oh my goodness Jenny! Please take care of yourself!!!! Take the much needed nap if you have to:) I am 54 and finding I can not do near what I did just a few years ago but I just keep plugging along:) I know it will get done one day:)

  20. Wow Jenny, sounds like someone is trying to give you a signal or two. Take care of yourself and do slow down a bit. I can commiserate with you on not slowing down at a younger age, and I am 56 just like you.

    I had been going full force like you and my body has decided that it is not going to take the stress and long hours of working anymore, high blood pressure & panic attacks. Spending time at my sewing machine and hand sewing seem to be what works best to calm me down because I focus on the beauty of what I am creating. Creativity provides me with peace in my life. Trying to accomplish everything seems to bring stress and strain and I end up with nothing much worthwhile. I know right now I need beauty, peace, family and friends in my life. I am working on adding spirituality in there too.

    I think I need to add some beautiful pink flowers in my life as well, because the ones in your blog sure brought positive thoughts to me.

  21. Oh my word I hope you are ok. We all need to slow down. My husband and I have done just that since he is now on disability. Things really change when that happens. We didn't think we could handle it finality but everything worked out. We now don't rush in the morning to get out the door to work. I have been really enjoying not rushing around with my head cut off trying to be somewhere or trying to finish projects in my spare time. I have missed your blogs this week and was wondering if you were ok. Take care and slow down.

  22. I love your loaves and fishes version. 5 days? It would take me five weeks, at least! I have the pattern, though. =) I don't have grandchildren to share the story with, but I like the story myself, so I will make it one of these days. I actually printed out the first three for the Christmas wreath - on Monday. That's it so far. =P

    I'm glad you are slowing down, but not happy that it took such severe knocks on the head! I'm trying to learn to be happy in all circumstances. It's an on-going project, I think.

  23. Your fabric choices for Loaves and Fishes is just perfect. What an eye you have! But it seems you still need to work on your own mantra of slowing down. The universe has spoken to you...
    Take Care of yourself

  24. Jenny - please take care. I agree with the other ladies that you should get yourself checked out by a doctor. Whacking your head really hard (especially two days in a row) is not good.

    I love your little quilt! Blessings and prayers heading your way....

  25. So sorry to read about your two accidents Jenny - hugs and prayer coming your way for a speedy recovery from your bumps and knocks. Prayer too that you will find a way to slow your life down and take the time to get yourself back to health. xx

  26. Knowing you should slow down is so much easier than actually doing it -- at least it is for me. Women, especially those with children, are so used to keeping multiple balls in the air that we continue do so even when it isn't absolutely necessary. I felt terribly guilty about taking a whole day off of work yesterday so I could manage a couple of appointments, including one for my annual physical. To my surprise, the school was still standing when I returned to work today. Now to just remember I am not indispensable! Hope you are feeling better soon.

    Cindy in NC

  27. Oh Jenny. I've been away for a few days at the beach - no internet. So sorry to hear about your falls. I agree with the others who say it might be wise to check out your symptoms in case your body is a bit out of balance with minerals or your ear with fluid. Sending oodles of love your way. Love and blessings


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