Saturday, August 26, 2017

Making do in many ways...

I decided to learn a bit about my new sewing machine this week, not everything, just a bit - like 
how to fill the bobbin and attach the walking foot. More than enough for starters.

My old machine was a Janome 6500 Professional which I gave to my daughter Blossom, whereas this new machine, a Janome Skyline S3, isn't quite as fancy but appears to do what I want it to without so many bells and whistles. Bliss, I'm happy as can be.

After a few scrap pieces were put to task experimenting, the first 'real' project was to make a couple of simple aprons which have been on my to-do list for a while. I cut a template from an old apron, then chose tonal fabrics for the body of the apron and floral fabrics for a large divided pocket across the front.

They hang beside the pantry cupboard with my other aprons, perfectly placed near the kitchen and ready to pull off the hook and pop it over my head. 

You know, I love the atmosphere that aprons on display bring to a home. Evidence of domestic occupation, a reminder of gentle domesticity...warms the heart, and if the homemaker can cook it warms the tummy too!

I christened the pink one on Thursday night whilst making a delicious pasta sauce...

...which left tiny red splatter stains across my new apron, rather like a join-the-dots game.
I smiled with satisfaction.

Today (Saturday) has been very laid back yet productive. Mr E had Year 11 and 12 term reports to grade but before doing that we went out for coffee and visited a local garage sale. 

My treasure hunting this week brought forth a couple of Selina Lake books which I was thrilled to find! I already have her Bohemian Style and now these two. Only a few dollars each which is quite a saving as they were in new condition and titles I borrow regularly from the library. Now I can browse whenever I like.
Perfect for decorating ideas for our one-day home...

Decorating ideas, and design ideas too, often come from my 7-year collection of British "Country Living" magazines.
 I bought my first issue early in 2010 and was smitten from the cover to cover! A love affair has ensued ever since and they are still the only magazine I buy each month without fail.

They used to be shelved by the front door in a bookcase that also houses my beautiful Peace Lily (as well as out-of-print copies of Notebook magazine) but the other day when I googled 'why are my peace lily flowers green and not white' I discovered it's because I have the plant in a position where it receives too much light. 
If you've ever been to my house you'll know the entire front of it has too much light, soooo, I re-arranged some furniture and moved the bookcase, magazines and peace lily to the opposite side of the house where there's a lot less light in the mornings and total shade by lunchtime.
Hoping to see a return of white flowers in the months ahead.

(Peace Lilies were the only flowers at our wedding almost 26 years ago. We had pots of them all across the altar. It was so beautiful.)

Back to today...

By mid-morning Mr E was busy marking papers at the dining room table so I again took to playing with my new toy and made a simple cover for my stitching cushion...

The old cover has always annoyed me because I made it with a tie closure and as I stitch the ties flip and flop in my lap and usually untie themselves - no idea how or why.

Making another cover gave me the opportunity to test this machine's one-step buttonhole and quilting foot, which were surprisingly smoother to use than with my old machine.
Bonus, the new cover for my stitchery pillow is beautiful, even though its simple.

(I don't use a hoop to embroider, just rest my hands on this cushion.)

More and more the simple things are becoming part of each day.

Even in the kitchen I think about the meals to prepare and how I can simplify them. Growing up with Nana and Pop our meals were so tasty, nourishing, yet with only a few ingredients. 
Her pantry was a two-shelf half cupboard with no doors and it served double duty as her kitchen bench, right beside the stove. 
Nana had no sewing machine but she could hand sew and this was how she made a pretty floral curtain to cover the open front of her cupboard and hide the contents. 

I can still close my eyes and smell her roast chicken in the oven for Sunday lunch, hear her laughter and feel the red vinyl chair cushion under my bottom as I sat patiently waiting for her to dish up our favourite meal of the week. Sunday night we had scones with butter and jam, and cups of tea from her battered silver teapot which was always dressed in a knitted cosy. As a child I loved the rhythm of routine, of knowing what to expect, of feeling secure and cared for and loved, even though we were called poor. I didn't know we were poor, just that we were happy and laughed a lot.

I feel sorry for many children today, my own included, who didn't/don't know the peace that comes from simplicity of tradition and family rhythms.

The more I draw on these memories, the more I am inspired to simplify my life by making food, clothes and furnishings without too much fuss. 
I want to use what we have, but if we need to replace anything then we'll buy better quality items that will last much longer. 

You know, I haven't appreciated the work involved in earning a living for a long fact, I've been careless with money too often. Boredom, depression, a lack of conviction, sadness, even illness - each of these can trigger my need to spend. But that's a change I'm working on, and is another epiphany I had during my two week break.

After I rearranged the furniture the other day I also changed table runners and cushion covers. When I went to the linen cupboard to gather fresh replacements I stopped to hold a very special table runner against my heart and a few tears were shed.
I made it 100% by hand in a tiny one-bedroom cabin our family lived in about twelve years ago when I was teaching myself to sew. 

My husband had taken me to another town to buy some fabric and I'd chosen these, along with threads, needles, a ruler and rotary cutter.

So I made it as a reminder of how precious he was, how very blessed I was to be his wife. Every stitch hand sewn with love for him, and excitement at the new skills I was learning - bringing odd  bits of fabric together to create something I hoped would stand the test of time.
See how three sets of the birds face away from each other?
But one set are kissing. 
That's us. 
I don't put it out much anymore because it was used a lot that first decade after being made, which meant a lot of wash cycles too. 
But this week it's on the coffee table right in front of us, inspiring me to step back, slow down, simplify, be satisfied with less things and give more love with a generous heart. 

Another project, unfinished this time, that I uncovered whilst cleaning out my sewing room the other day was a couple of stitcheries I did a few years ago but never had time to make into something useful. 

I think I'll share them as September's "The Love of Home" BOM design?
The sentiment is definitely based on home, simplicity, making do and being creative - things that matter. 

Anyhow, enough for today. 
I have a husband waiting with a cup of tea and slice of Strawberry Shortcake.
The perfect end to a relaxing Saturday.

Be blessed, be at peace, be your beautiful self.



Anorina @SameliasMum said...

My peace lily has a green flower too - but I'd not thought to google as to why. It sits in front of a window, so I'll move it and see how it goes. Your stitching pillow is just gorgeous :)

Nanna Chel said...

Goodness me Jenny, you seem to sew things up so quickly. I tend to procrastinate unfortunately. I have a rag quilt started which I need to finish off for my new grandson before he is a teenager so that's the top priority. You seem to be pacing yourself really well at the moment and sound very peaceful. Have a lovely weekend.

Little Penpen said...

How exciting to have a new sewing machine. You and it will be running smoothly like old friends in no time!! I love your little quilted piece with the kissing birds. Such a sweet memory and reminder!

Maureen said...

Enjoy your new machine! The stitching pillow is beautiful--thanks for explaining how you use it. Enjoy the weekend. 🌸

Debra said...

Glad to read that you are enjoying your new machine. I worked part-time for a fabric shop which was also a Janome dealership, so I can honestly say that I love their machines! Like you, I sat down with my new machine, and worked my way through the instruction manual just to get acquainted. As always, I am inspired by your post!

Anonymous said...

What wonderful post, Jenny. I really enjoyed seeing the things you've made and bits of your home. I'm slowly making a visual map. =) It's so good to hear of your relaxing time, and Mr. E's, too.

Carol said...

Having just closed and sold my childhood home and moved to a new (to me) home in another state, I so appreciated your thoughts to simplify your life. Two phrases I have kept close through this process are:
Less truly is more.
Those who live in the past, limit their future.
Thank you! 😊
You continue to inspire me!

Allie-oops Designs said...

So glad you're happy with your new machine, sweetie! Love your new apron, and love seeing them hanging there. In my case, it would be false advertising. :) Hoping your flower will be happy in its new home. Love your new cushion cover [I'm lazy, mine is an old pillowcase] and your beautiful table runner - so special!

Createology said...

I find incredible peace and calm reading your words of wisdom. As I am downsizing and sorting and purging I completely realize I have far too much of everything. I am sorting and keeping only what makes me happiest. It is not easy to eliminate however I find the challenge quite telling. I believe I am making progress. You, Jenny Dear, are my inspiration and I am very grateful. Sunday Serenity...<3

Joyce said...

I love your post today. I took our dog for a nice long walk then spent a pleasurable afternoon sewing a table runner I am making for a friend. It is nice to just relax and enjoy. Congratulations on your new sewing machine. My husband bought me a new one a few years ago and it gives me so much joy to use it. Take care and God Bless.

Kaylee said...

I enjoyed reading this post Jenny, so many wonderful memories you have. I am still learning new things on my Janome Skyline S5 which I have now had for 12 months. Oh yes the one stitch button hole is wonderful I love it. I sure need one of those hand stitching cushions, what a great idea. So is the actual cushion just one of the cushion inserts which can be purchased from BIG W ? I know what you mean about rhythm, on Sunday nights for dinner (tea in those days) was either "Rice-a-Riso" or "boiled eggs and toast fingers".....

ChrisDeeCaregeiver said...

Hi Jenny,
I just found your blog through Youtube and I love it. We are kindred spirits, you and I. You so eloquently gave voice to my feelings about home and family and life. I love reading about how you grew up never knowing you were poor, because your home was filled with love and laughter.
Thank you so much for sharing snippets of your beautiful handiwork. I love each item you've created.

Hugs and Blessings!

Catherine said...

What a lovely post. I read it from beginning to end with a smile on my face. Simple times, simple pleasures last longest. I too am finding that loving what I have rather than constantly striving for something new or 'better' is a more satisfying way of living. We downsized just over a year ago to a small English village in the countryside. Every morning I am grateful that we made this decision to live in this beautiful place.

Suze said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They have made me smile. I always have felt a failure as a parent and as a person and yet your words heal my soul.

Right now my mother is beside me playing with some quilting materials...mainly reds and whites. I have much to finish before the grandbaby arrives.

We have managed a family meal with two of my three here. One is a vegan and she rarely eats here now.

God bless you and keep you.

Jillquilter said...

Jenny you always soothe my soul. Thank you very much for posting pictures of your projects and how you decorate. I love decorating and none of the magazines published here the in the states captivate me like they did up until 2006ish. Today's advertisement and decorating shows and magazines want me to like the modern minimalist look--where everybody uses the same paint colors! I have clutter. I have lots of furniture and with four people, clutter is inevitable. I gave up trying to create a pretty house--but your posts tell me not to. Arizona is still hot, 109 degrees, but the calendar flips on Friday and September means fall and I'm going to celebrate our long weekend by displaying my fall items and making my house cute again. Thank you for the time you take to express yourself. So often you are expressing me too. P.S. I want a new sewing machine too!

Mary in Peoria Handmade said...

Jenny. I so liked this post. I feel like I was taken away to a sweet resting place! I want to make more aprons, I want to make pasta sauce. I need to get out my old table runners and refresh the house for fall! Thanks, mary in Az

Rosie said...

Love the new aprons and that table runner is just so beautiful.

Tammy said...

One of my peace Lilly's looks horrible, I need to repot it. The other looks good. Love your aprons. I too wear a apron. I wear it a lot. I need to take the time to make myself a new one.... Thank you for the inspiration. Love your new cushion cover as well. I need inspiration in my life....I need my creativity to return...That table topper you made by hand is amazing....I wish I could make something even half that pretty. I am so looking to fall arriving here where I live. I have hot flashes constantly day and night. They started when I started chemo. Then when I had my ovaries out they got even worse. I take meds to help. But nothing helps. I hope it gets utterly cold here this winter of hopes that I want be sweating all the time. Hugs to you my friend.

Unknown said...

Hugs, Jenny for your heartfelt post ... as always. Love the aprons made with the new sewing machine but particularly love the first table runner you made ... so meaningful to you and your family and your journey through life. Had a young woman from our stitching group visit yesterday ... showed me a wall hanging she is making. I was able to show her a huge improvement in her stitching from when she first started with a couple of blocks for the Splendid Sampler ... she was greatly encouraged.
Love the fact that you had peace lillies at your wedding. Paul and I bought two huge boston ferns which were placed in brass planters on tall stands ... we had no other decorations in the chapel (Chapel was as St John of God Home for Boys Morisset.)There are glass walls on the three sides and as you face a small altar you are looking at beautiful grounds and Lake Macquarie beyond. Also love the gorgeous stitching pillow ...great idea. Hugs and blessings. xxx

Outback Crafter - Debra said...

Another wonderful post Jenny. I love you memories and reflections of your day.

Unknown said...

I need to get out my old table runners and refresh the house for fall! Thanks, mary in Az


BunnyeB said...

You are always so generous and inspiring to me. Thanks so much for all the designs you give and for sharing the video of Eva, the 100 year old seamstress. My own father was born in 1916 and would have been 101 last June on his birthday. This video really touched me heart. Thanks so much for sharing.