The past few weeks I have been working on a new design for 2018, one which has a message that to me 'says it all' as I prepare to step into another year of living the gentle domestic life.
Mr E and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary yesterday and the plan was to pack a picnic tea of corned beef and pickle sandwiches and enjoy it down by the Marina after sunset...if the temperature cooled a bit.
Alas, the temperature stayed high and it was really muggy (humid) which brings on my migraines so my beloved rang our favourite Indian restaurant, praying they'd accept a last minute booking, and they did. Thank you Lord!
Having a back up plan, being flexible, prayer, they all remind me of marriage, and in fact they have each been important to our marriage, to the ebb and flow of its trials and joys, the lean times and the prosperous, the dark grieving times and the blessed events we get to celebrate, the plans that fall through and the ones which seem to slip into place without a hitch.
I'm almost 59 and as I reflect on growing older, celebrating another year of wedded-ness as Mrs Reynolds, and preparing to welcome a new grandchildren into our fold in a couple of months, my heart feels more settled that it has been before.
I'm becoming comfortable in my own skin, loving the ever increasing silver white patches in my hair, the softness around my eyes even though there are more lines appearing, the fingers that lose their stiffness when I draw on fabric with needle and thread, and the deepening desire to embrace a gentler life, a simpler life, one which treasures the hidden jewels within.
Those personal reflections, desires and plans had a lot to do with this new design. One afternoon last month I sat in the shaded corner of my sewing room and sketched little bits and pieces, small things that made me happy, thinking they'd be nice as little motifs for different projects.
And then I thought about next year and what I would like to focus on.
So I put them all together and the next day slid my needle beside that first piece of applique and began to stitch.
It looks gentle and I felt gentle as I stitched.
The words slipped further into my heart and there was a sense of knowing this pattern was a reflection of my life as I'd like it to be. One big thing that can be used in many smaller ways.
Like a big Sunday roast with leg of lamb and oodles of caramelised sticky vegetables.
The roast is a delicious lunch on the day.
The leftover veggies become tomorrow's bubble & squeak for breakfast when served with a poached egg and lots of tabasco sauce.
The leftover lamb fills sandwiches spread with mustard the following day, shepherd's pie a few days later, and then that big bone with all it's bits and pieces of lamb-y goodness stuck all around goes in the pot with vegetables, herbs and barley for a small pot of soup.
One roast for a Sunday dinner becomes many more meals.
One large stitchery gives opportunity to become many little ones.
So I decided to stitch the pear again, this time as an applique shape...
It will become a bookmark tomorrow.
In fact I'm going to make a few more bookmarks using other little motifs from the larger pattern, and pop them in my gift box.
I didn't follow through on that plan this year but through 2017 I've been reading Annabel's blog once a week and can see now how thrifty, wise and fun it is to create throughout the seasons with whatever skills you have and come Christmas and birthdays, get wells and celebrations, or 'just because' days, there's a precious gift made, ready and waiting to give. No stress, just delight.
If you visit Annabel's blog you'll understand what I mean.
Stitchery Club members will receive this design along with two others in January (see more here).
I want to add a bit more balance and order to my working/domestic days so I purchased two diaries for next year and they arrived a few weeks back.
One is a Tilda planner for day to day business notes, and the other is a gorgeous Daphne's Diary for reminders about things which matter to my health - physical, spiritual and emotional - and it includes beautiful extras inside.
Beautiful things inspire in so many ways, don't you think?
For our anniversary Mr E bought me an elephant.
Funny how many people assume I love elephants because of my blog/business name (Elefantz with an f), but I don't collect elephants and the name has nothing to do with them.
Back in 2004 I had a dream.
In the dream I was sitting at a cafe having coffee with the Blossom-girl and I was writing 'elefantz' all across the white tablecloth in pretty cursive script like my Nana would have used.
When I woke the next morning I thought God was giving me the name of a bookshop/cafe the Blossom-girl and I had planned to open when she'd grown up a bit more. She was just 11 at the time.
My sewing life at that stage was nothing more than making simple dresses for Blossom or machining a straight seam to hem curtains.
I had no idea that a few years later everything would change.
I taught myself to hand embroider late in 2005 and in September of 2008 I penned my very first 'Jenny of Elefantz' blog post.
I knew exactly what the dream was directing me towards.
Not what you expected, eh?
God has a sense of humour!
We didn't take many photos on Christmas Day...just two.
It was such a special time for the five of us that it felt almost 'intrusive' to bring out the camera, so after those two pics I put it away.
Mr E bought Cully May a Thomas the Tank ride-on. She *loves* anything Thomas!
I snapped this just as Blossom was tying back Cully's fringe. Bloss made Cully May's red dress and it is gorgeous with those frills and a big bow at the back.
My beautiful girls...
Have I rambled again, wandering from topic to topic, following streams of thought and straying from one path? Sorry. Just so many lovely things that pop into my mind as I write and then I imagine we're chatting across the table about all and sundry...and this blog post may be that all and sundry. LOL!
Well it's time to go fix dinner for my man and tonight we're having that picnic of corned beef sandwiches, but just here at home. With a pot of tea and gingerbread for afters.
Relax sweet friend, ponder your simple pleasures and rejoice in the treasures of life that sit right before you.
Let the rush pass you by and choose the gentler things that nourish your soul and bring joy to your heart.
Choosing to live gently will bless you, and in turn in will bless those around you.
Rather than making a New Year's resolution consider writing a list of things you can 'let go' of...ah, the freedom.
Simplicity that may be just around the corner...
PS: The first pattern in my 2018 Block of the Month will be shared on Monday. Yay!