Friday, March 23, 2018

Makeovers and a free pattern...

Living in a long series of rental homes for all my life it's kind of hard to imagine what having your own home would be like. 
Things like hanging a photo on the wall requires permission from the owner, and painting is just one big no-no. For years I've not been able to hang my stitcheries or quilts, family photos or paintings around the house unless they're free standing on a bookcase or desk.
But this current rental already had lots of nail holes in the wall from the owners who had lived here for a few years, so when I go slowly around the house and examine the walls I find places to hang special things. This makes me very, very happy indeed.

As I reflected on this the past few days I decided it was time to give some areas of the house a makeover, to look at it with new eyes and with a heart to make it my own. The house is up for sale, as you know, and we're wondering if we can possibly add enough to our home deposit savings over the next few months to afford the 10% required to seal the deal. 
I have some ideas to raise extra funds but will pray about that before I follow through.

I did a complete makeover of my sewing room at the beginning of March and will take pics of that for you soon, but yesterday it was the laundry room which grabbed my interest. It's not the most exciting room to be sure, but has good light and possibilities for some I began by making a peg bag.

When it rains I need to hang clothes on the back verandah and the pegs I keep inside for that purpose were residing in an ugly plastic bag.
But not any more. I had a look at a few peg bags on Pinterest and in the end decided to make up a pattern as I went along.

The green floral is an old Tilda print and the pink gingham is from Lauren Nash's "Bunnies & Cream".  I used the broderie perse technique to add one floral spray from the Tilda fabric onto the gingham and absolutely love the effect!

Tiny hand applique stitches...

This morning I gathered my large stash of good quality cotton tea towels (on the clearance table at Spotlight, 7 tea towels for $10 in each bundle so I bought four bundles)...

...and washed them ready to be decorated. I do this because all tea towels shrink in the first wash and if you add a trim (fabric, stitchery, braid, ric rac or ribbon) before washing them it just won't look nice after the first wash when the towel shrinks and the trim does not.

Some will go to Blossom, a few into my gift box, and some for the 'makeover' laundry as hand towels.

A good iron and they will be perfect for pretty trims.

In each of the tea towel bundles there were a few of the waffle weave kind, and what glorious colours!

Waffle weave shrinks even more than cotton tea towels so they will be washed too, but I have other plans for them which I'll show you next time. 

I've been having a good look at Jess's laundry blog posts for inspiration too, and over coming days will plan more projects that will turn this laundry into a very welcoming space in the home. 

I've also made over my office space, something high on my to-do list for weeks but I needed to be sure about how to make it work more efficiently for me, and also how to get  a view of greenery. 
If I can get good lighting I'll show photos next week. 

One think about embarking on plans you've left idle for a while is that once you complete the first project on your list you're really keen to finish more. That's where my head is at right now.
So while I was waiting for my tea towels to dry I remembered the $1 tea pot trivet found at the op shop recently...

So darn cute, but I didn't like the plain metal colour.
So...I went for a potter around Mr E's man cave while he was at work and found some white metal spray paint. First coat done!

Honest, this tea pot shaped trivet will look SO much nicer in white.

While I waited for that to dry more thoughts led me down another path, one almost forgotten. Tea parties, tea cosies, and TEA in general.

A few years back I dedicated a week of blog posts to all things tea related, and shared how I'd made three different tea cosies.

This soft vintage style cosy is my favourite one and you can see how I made it here.

Mr E will be working on the Jeep this weekend so I plan on pulling out all my tea cosies and giving them a gentle wash so I can use them again. Too long have they languished in the linen cupboard.

Here's the other two...

You can see this one with the 'tea leaves' stitchery motif being made here.

You can see the detailed tutorial for the red and blue tea cosy here.

And then I thought maybe you'd like a weekend project?
Perhaps you'd like to make your own tea cosy??
What if you spied that little "tea leaves" motif and thought "I'd love to stitch that!"....


Well, you can. I've popped it in my shop as a free pattern for you!

The free template for the tea cosy is also there, plus the stitchery "T is for Tea" used on the blue gingham cosy (not free). 

As Friday afternoon winds down here in my tropical Australian paradise I'm waiting for a Strawberry Shortcake to bake. It's Mr E's absolute favourite cake and he smiled very wide when I told him over breakfast that it would be our dessert tonight. 

If you've not tried this before, you must! I'll do up a fresh version of the recipe and share it with you next week.

More plums are ripening on my kitchen bench which means a few more jars of jam next week and our "once a year cake" which is really called a Blackberry & Plum cake. It's very rich with a decadent sauce so I only make it once a year, hence the name we've given it. When I tell my daughter Aisha that I'm baking it she can barely utter a sound, so envious is she, poor thousands of kilometres away Aisha's only partaken of this delight once since I began the annual ritual of making it. But there's always next plum season.

Rain is on the way again, which is good for the garden, the trees and my potted plants. This bougainvillea struggled to survive drinking small amounts of tap water during the long drought, as did many of our potted plants, but living outside under the palm trees and having these past four weeks been blessed with an abundance of pure rain water it is thriving once again.

Which made me ask myself, 'Jennifer, what makes you thrive'?

Over the course of a few hours answers came...

Not having a car to drive right now causes me to stop and rest more, to potter around the house and attend to things which often get overlooked, to sit with a cuppa and just read my Bible quietly for as long as I like, to read inspiring blog posts and write down ideas for the future, to dwell longer at the kitchen bench and prepare something extra with our meals, to happily create in the sewing many peaceful things, and all because I'm not driving to and fro.

Being peaceful at home causes me to thrive. 

What makes you thrive?

I shall leave you this Friday afternoon (actually I left you a little while back to take the Strawberry Shortcake from the oven....oh my, the aroma!)  with some links to things that caught my attention this week. Hopefully I can do this each Friday so let's call it "Good Reads Friday"?

Brew a cuppa or fill a glass with something lovely and cool, and have a browse and a read when you have a moment or two...

Don't make your own life difficult - some very wise advice for women today.
The three enemies of gratefulness - humbling, inspiring.
Cute tea cup cross stitch pattern (free) - on my 'to-stitch' list.
Make your own cottage style decorative eggs - three techniques and all so simple.
How to take herb cuttings - save money and grow your own.

Until next time, breathe, be kind to yourself, don't rush, and maybe pick a posey or two for the table. You'll be so much calmer if you do. 


PS: have you signed up for my free newsletter? No? It's over here...


Kaye said...

Thank you once again for another beautiful pattern. Several things help me to thrive. Being able to cook with fresh vegetables from a local farmer. Baking something special and always when I am able to sew and/or embroidery. Any time I am able to create something with my hands makes me feel good. It lifts me up.

Ondrea said...

It is lovely that you can find some spots to hang your beautiful things. My laundry is quite uninviting and needs to be altered to suit my needs. Those tea towels look very cheery and I look forward to seeing what you do with them. Waffle tea towels don't seem to dry the dishes as well as the plain ones so , once again, I am keen to see what you do with them. That cake sounds yummy. Love the trivet and I agree that white will look much better. Have a wonderful weekend.😊What makes me thrive? My gorgeous little munchkin ofcourse! Hehehe.

Lin said...

Thanks for the link to A Tray of Bliss - excellent. Great post from you too Jenny. Have a good weekend. xx

Marie said...

I have been reading your blog for quite some time now (found through Annabel's Bluebird blog) and I have to say that these two blogs have to be my absolute favourites! I love, love, love your beautiful stitchery and the colours you choose for each. I have never made one of your patterns, but someday...
I love reading about your gentle domestic life. I try for this too and always have an idea I want to try out. Doesn't always go as planned but it's fun trying. Thankyou for having such an uplifting place on the internet. Blessings to you.

Jenny said...

I love your new peg holder. I used to use them often in the laundry but now I seem to only use them in the kitchen for holding bags closed!

I love your tea cozies! We have two that are used daily but mine are not handmade.

How can you talk about a 'once a year cake' & NOT share the recipe?!

I love your answer to why you thrive. My life has done a few 360s' in the past 6 months & I'm choosing to go back to the basics at home. Taking care of those I love most is what makes me thrive.

I've read the first very good! I look forward to reading them all.

Brenda said...

Hello Jenny; I have also lived in rental homes all of my adult life and have faced many of the trials that you have faced. Yet, we always do make these our precious homes of love for our family. I truly delighted in the aspect of making my laundry area a brighter more lovely part of our home. Such a splendid idea and one I had never thought of at all. My mind is already thinking of a few patterns that I saved that would work wonderfully. Thank you again Jenny for sharing and making this a better world. I wish for you to have a very pleasant day!

Anonymous said...

Another very enjoyable read. I always am calmed by seeing the things you do with your house. I will pray that you will be able to save the down payment and buy your house. I know you like this one, even though there are imperfections. There always are, but you pick the ones you can live with. Sort of like a husband or wife. LOL

I don't think I've ever asked myself what makes me thrive, but I had ideas as soon as YOU asked it. Plenty of books to read, the kind I'll want to read over and over. Scriptures. Plenty of fabric to sew and thread to use for stitcheries. Jenny's patterns. =) Birdsong. Sunshine - how I miss my desert sun and heat! Classical music. MoTab. Time I don't have to go anywhere. Good friends and loved ones. I don't need ALL of those things, but some combination of some of them is always good.

Deborah said...

Your tea cozies are beautiful. We got a tea cozy for our wedding. We had never heard of a tea cozy and so sent a thank you card for the wonderful toaster cover! The giver must have had a good laugh. I found out a few months later what it really was and, thirty seven years later, I am still using it and love it...keeps the tea hot for a long time!

KingsailK said...

Againdear Jenny thanks for your LOVELY Blog xx

Allie-oops Designs said...

LOVE your new peg bag!! Funny, I was walking through the kitchen last night, thinking this was still more the previous owners' house than've inspired me to change that.

Mary in Peoria Handmade said...

What a lovely post. I have been following your blog for a few months and it calms me down! I can no longer embroider due to uncooperative thumbs but so enjoy seeing your lovely pieces. I miss hand sewing.
Your clothespin (peg) bag is so pretty. I only use clothespins indoors for special garments as I use a dryer most of the time. But, I would like a pretty bag in the garage instead of an old tin can!LOL. Here in the desert, (Peoria, Az, USA) I can dry some things on a wooden clothes dryer in the summer. Your tea cozies are making me want to make one even though I can't drink much tea anymore due to health issues! I've signed up for your newsletter as I have enjoyed your posts. Thanks for sharing your life with us.
Enjoy your day!
mary in AZ

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Love your new Peg bag Jenny.....especially as you ditched plastic for it! I’m thriving by ditching plastic as much as I can! I haven’t used plastic wrap since January 2017! My mission started immediately a man on the wharf said that the saddest thing is to cut open the seabirds bellies and find they are full of plastic....that did it for me! Must check out your tea crazy pattern now...many thanks for that!

Leeanne said...

everything you make is so pretty!

Glenise said...

Another beautiful post Jenny. Thank you, thank you. So much prettiness and such wise words always written. I just returned from a trip away from home yesterday and I am just enjoying being back in my own little home. I seem to miss it more and more each time and your posts always soothe my soul when we travel. I am grateful for the travel we do bu I do love coming back home apart from all the washing and ironing although that becomes a joy even. Love being at home to the point of being a bit unsociable.

Peg said...

Just finished reading your entire blog from start to finish (took a few days).
I am so very inspired and grateful for all that you do and all that you have given the world thru your words and pictures !

I had to stop and look at this picture you posted of the Bougainvillea at the base of your coconut (? guessing) tree. The root system looked so strange to me, I was just mesmerized at having never seen anything like this before. So, I Googled it, lol Come to find out they are very normal looking roots for various different types of palm type trees.
I live in Alaska and of course we do not have trees with roots like that, so I learned something new, which is always a good thing :)
Thank you so kindly for allowing me the opportunity to subscribe to your Club and share in your lovely words and designs.
Blessings to you and yours, Peggy

Annabel said...

You would be dream tenants Jenny with how you keep things! But I pray and pray for you to have your own home and be able to do what you like and never have to worry you might need to move. I am believing!
As it is we are thinking of moving. This changes everything! It makes me feel unsettled... but keen!
You are so generous with your patterns thank you! xxx

Mimi said...

Dear Jenny, another beautiful pattern from you. What a beautiful job you've done with your home. It's love and attention that makes a house a home whether rented or owned. I want to thank you too, for linking my blog post on Not making life difficult for ourselves. I thought it was an important message, and am pleased you thought so too. Mimi xxx

Createology said...

As our dinner time approaches and I must once again fix a dinner that takes so much time and preparation only to be “dissed” and eaten all too quickly, i took time to read this post I missed. Jenny thank you for having the words to calm and inspire me each and every time. I shall now be grateful as I prepare this dinner tonight. Nothing is more important than honoring my hard working husband and the beautful home I am blessed to enjoy. Bless You Sweet Jenny! XO