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 time...in 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.
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.