Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Coming home, again...

The past week has been a bit of a blur with so much crammed in that I find myself craving sleep, quiet time, vegetables and movies. In that order.
Our three days away were so full-on that hubby and I think we need a holiday to recover from the holiday. Fact is, we drove far and wide through fast flowing rainforest rivers and creeks, regularly found ourselves too tired to eat, drank sweet clear water from a spring, saw more beauty hidden in the midst of the Daintree than a person can absorb in one day, and forgot we'd have no recovery time before returning to work within twelve hours of arriving home again. 
But golly it was good to be away and sweep the cobwebs from our thoughts! 
Next time we do this it will be in the middle of the school holiday break, not the last three days. 

The only sewing I did on the trip was making more hexies. They kept my hands busy on Saturday during the drive from Townsville to Cairns, and then again late Monday afternoon (until it was too dark to see) when we drove home.

By the time darkness fell on the trip home I was finding it difficult to fit all the finished hexies, the remaining papers and fabrics, a pincushion, scissors and thread in the single plastic container I'd brought along. 

I think there's just over 200 made now...

With still more fabric scraps ready to cut, and a new pack of 1" hexie papers purchased, I had to find somewhere to store the hexies already made so I could continue making more.

Then I remembered two tins of Christmas cookies I purchased around New Year. You know how everything Christmas themed is dramatically reduced once the new year rolls around? Well, the tins were $1 so I bought two. And even though there is a santa on the lid (I don't like santas, but do love old Saint Nicholas dolls or ornaments) I actually liked the colours and thought the tins would be great for filling with Christmas gifts for santa-loving friends or family next season.

You realise that plan has been shelved now, right? Because how perfect is one of those tins for storing  my hexies-in-waiting!

I even sorted them in to colours...

To say my heart did a bit of flutter when I sat the hexies side by side is an understatement. 
What I've discovered about this new distraction is how calming it is for my over active mind, which thinks and ponders and plans and creates all day long.

I get such enjoyment cutting the fabric shapes from years of collected scraps, and then to sit down and just mindlessly yet precisely stitch the fabric to paper whether I'm a passenger in Mr E's jeep or feet up in the recliner watching a's like a mental massage, a soothing exercise in unwinding.

And the nice thing about this kind of gentle pastime is that gentleness flows into your thoughts and you tend to sigh and smile at the same time. I think my breathing slows because the sense of relaxation is quite wonderful, and homely thoughts fill my mind.

In fact, many homely thoughts are gathering in my mind and in my heart of late.

Thoughts about what truly matters in the long term when I look forward a year or two (or five), why I get flustered and overwhelmed on some days and not on others, what am I holding on to that needs to be let go of (perceived responsibilities, possessions, relationships, plans or regrets), can I find true contentment in a rental home now and not keep waiting for that feeling to increase when we have a home of our own (if we ever have that), and what really makes a house, any house, a home?
There are many more questions and thoughts having quiet conversations in my mind as I sit and sew, and what's especially different about them at the moment are the answers I arrive at...answers which come not from stress, pain or weariness, but from peace and calm and quiet. 
By not feeling rushed or distracted, I'm able to think more clearly and let my thoughts roam further which allows me to consider more options, reactions and consequences. This then gives me a wider picture from the landscape of life in which I live...and I also find myself having no trouble following the Lord's advice to "Be still and know that I am God."

Who would have thought some paper pieced hexagons could bring mental rest, clarity, gentleness and a few much needed wise decisions to my life?
God, of course. 

Last week it was my daughter Anita's 33rd birthday and when she visited from Sydney in 2016 her heart was captured by the homeliness and comfort she felt and saw within our walls, so little by little I make things for the small flat (apartment) she shares with her husband and 3 1/2 yo daughter Aminah, and when I have enough to fill a parcel it is popped in the post. 

For this birthday I knew she wanted more of the same so I trimmed some sweet tea towels (and added a cupcake one for Aminah to help mummy dry the dishes)...

I also did something new for Anita that I'm yet to do for our home, adding lace and fabric trim to plain pillowcases. In Spotlight recently I saw a 4-pack of plain white pillowcases and a long forgotten idea came to mind so I brought them home and had a play.

Two were trimmed with blue floral fabric and thin lace for Anita's bedroom... 

....and another was made for little Aminah with pink girlie fabric and wider lace. 

I also sent Anita a wall hanging with my "Home Sweet Home" stitchery in the centre...

...and a beautiful mother/daughter mug.

My own mum died when I was 3 and I have always been saddened at not owning something that belonged to her, something she wore or used. 
With this in mind I sent Anita one of my aprons that I wear a lot, and you know, this meant the world to her...

...because she has a gentle homemaker heart too.

Aren't we blessed, those of us who can sew, bake, knit, crochet, paint or create beauty in other ways?
And the icing on that blessing is when you make another precious soul happy with your gifts. My heart overflowed from Anita's joy and her tears of happiness...and really, these were not 'big' gifts, but simple from-the-heart items to help make her little flat feel more of a home. 

One of the fun things about our return home on Monday night was parcels waiting at the door!
I have been so inspired by Annabel's determination to learn more about essential oils in order to create a home pharmacy, and then using them to make gifts which are inexpensive and 'health-ful', that after the success of replacing most of our cleaning products with Miracle Spray (I discovered it on her blog and shared about it here) I am slowly purchasing large glass spray bottles to fill with cleaning sprays and hand soap, and tiny roll on bottles and atomisers to fill with a variety of essential oil blends.

The large bottles arrived a few weeks back but the small glass atomisers were at the door on Monday evening and they are even prettier than I imagined - perfect for gift giving.

Blossom 'loves' Miracle Spray and I'm sure she and Anita will both want to try some essential oil blends too. 

Another desire is to make clothes, especially nightgowns and pretty tunic type dresses to wear over leggings. I saw this pattern made up by Kelsey (go here to see it) and fell in love as it has that feminine 40's look about it, but the Butterick pattern she used is no longer in print so I hunted one down on Etsy and that was another parcel waiting for me the other night. 
The nightgown I'm going to make is E on the bottom right, but go see Kelsey's for a better idea. 

I'd also like to knit wash cloths again, and crochet the edges of hand towels and pillowcases, embroider along the edges of many things. So many lovely things.

You see, all that hexie hand work and the quiet contemplation time it gives has revived my homemaker heart, a heart which has not been as inspired this past month due to health and family and business needs. It's clear that I needed the mental relief, the time-out if you will, to navigate my way through a number of hurdles and concerns and choose the better path forward - and I really do have a clearer plan to improve the balance of life here. There's been gradual improvement since about 2014, but now a bigger yet simpler picture is beginning to take shape, one that will weary me less and increase my delight as a homemaker, wife, mother and writer.

To top my day off you know what I purchased? 

I bought them to celebrate not just coming home from a few days away, but because I kind of felt a little lost lately and now my path is clear again and my heart knows what it needs to fulfill this wonderful desire to live a gentle domestic life.

I'm not happy all the time, nor am I content every day, but happiness will always come again and so will contentment. Sometimes we just need to walk in the shadows for a little while to appreciate the sunshine. 
And for that I thank God who always leads me into beautiful places and reminds me how very blessed I am.



Karen said...

Hmmmm....bless....Just heading for bed and saw your post. Gonna sleep with a smile on my face now.

Anonymous said...

Yes some time away helps us to focus on the things that really matter! When our time on earth is done, it won't matter if our home was rented or whatever. It's important to make the most of "now". Not yesterday, or tomorrow, as living in the moment makes our soul sing, and does not rob us of the riches and contentment that lie within a happy heart. You are Blessed to be able to make such beautiful things that you can then bless your loved ones with. At the end of a day, I often think, if we are all safe, fed and have a roof over our heads - we are truly Blessed. Enjoy the small things Jenny. Robyne from S.A.

Orcsmom said...

Thank you for your insight and calming words. Your blog really hit home and was exactly what I needed to read this morning with my tea. Thank you! Hugs!!!!

Little Penpen said...

Lots of pretty hexies and they look so nice in their new tin. I would love to receive a pretty package like you sent your daughter... she is so blessed to have you as her mom. Enjoy your time back at home!

Jenny said...

I am so glad you feel refreshed after your trip! You will never know the encouragement you are to others with your sweet blog.

I hope to follow your example on our next trip & take some hand work with me. I've never made any hexies but I'll go back & read your post again about the papers & basting them....For sure I will take some kind of needlework project. I hope to take two. We'll be gone for two weeks & one of the weeks my husband will be in class all day with homework in the evenings. So I'll be with him to make sure his needs are taken care of but most of the time I'll be free to do whatever I want.

I so wish I had one of my grandmother's aprons. My mother didn't really wear them. But I do have many other treasures that belonged to her so I'm very grateful.

GailD said...

Hi Jenny, thank you for your latest blog entry. I totally ipunderstand what you mean about being restless, but how the sewing Nd himemaking help to still your heart and soul and give time to reflect and heal. Beautiful words, thank you. I also love the handmade gifts. I don’t have children sadly, but several of my friends and I exchange handmade gifts as we appreciate th love that goes in to each handmade item. Your are beautiful. Hugs, Gailx

Claire said...

Hi Jennie, I enjoy your blog and facebook page very much. There is always some relevant things to think about. I also love hexies and make many many of them. I found a Fiskars punch for scrapbooking that will punch exact 1 inch hexie papers. It is the extra large one. Don't know if available in Australia, I am in US. but have found it is worth the money and I can make more whenever I need some. Just a little fyi thing. Have a happy restful day.

Tammy said...

Your hexie's are all so beautiful. And the tin fits them all in safely. The gown is going to be gorgeous. I clicked over to see the one the other lady made on her blog. Glad you all had a wonderful getaway weekend. I know your daughter Anita was thrilled to get her package for her birthday...SO many beautiful items for her home...

Lin said...

A lovely post Jenny - so pleased your time away brought some positives. Beautiful gifts for Anita and Oh yes! it is soooo satisfying to look at a pretty tin of neatly basted hexies! xx

Anonymous said...

What a very fruitful trip and break this last two weeks has been for you. I'm so glad to know that you have located some of the peace you were missing, and can see a clearer path before you. Most of all, I am grateful that you see God's hand in all things. Your mothering of Anita and Blossom shows what I always knew to be true - good parenting never stops. What a great example you are, Jenny. Thanks for a lovely post filled with peace and beauty.

Adrianne said...

Miss Jenny ... I love your blog posts! Your faith inspires and lifts me up at the same time. I wish that there were more like yours on the Internet. This would be a better world if there were. So, thank you, not just for your creative inspirations, but especially for your faith-filled, uplifting words as well. God Bless!

Kay said...

Such a happy post. It truly is often the little things that bless us the most. x

Janice said...

Methinks the Jeep must finally be playing well. Mr E must be so pleased and must you.The colours of your hexies are also playing well. It is amazing how scrappy fabrics do. Enjoy your newfound direction and calm.

Ondrea said...

Such a lovely post. I could actually feel your peacefulness through your words. Is that weird? Hexies are lovely to prepare. When I was making my Insanilty quilt I used plastic containers from Bunnings which had dividers in them just perfect for 1 inch hexies to be stored in their different colours. I must admit I used to love looking at them all sitting grouped in pretty floral colours.I love the gifts you have made for your daughter and grand daughter. Great idea dressing up the pillow cases. I just bought 2 hand towels today that I am going to add a bit of fabric to. Flowers are always lovely to cheer a room and our hearts. I have used pure essential oils for decades and used to add some to natural body wash in a bottle for gifts. I also make my own space clearing essence using flower essences and pure essential oils. I did an evening workshop in pure essential oils decades ago and I am also a qualified flower essence therapist. I only use flower essences for ourselves and family as dreams of having a small business proved to be unattainable. You will love using your pure essential oils in so many ways. I have never seen those ones before and they are so lovely. Thanks for another beautiful post.

Junebug said...

On a different note, what happened to your dog? Haven't seen him nor has he been mentioned in forever. Did I miss something?
Hugs, Ang

Nanna Chel said...

Jenny, I am so pleased you had a break with your hubby but it sounds like it was a really busy time. I can just imagine you relaxing when sewing the hexies whereas that would stress me as I would be trying to sew them 'just right' as I am straight line challenged. LOL! I love everything you sent to your girl and I am sure she was just thrilled to receive such beautiful gifts from her mum.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Ang/JuneBug -
Merri was rehomed in June 2016.
When we got her we were told she was a Labrador/staffy, however as that first year progressed we knew this wasn’t so. Our vet was great and our suspicions that she was a lab/kelpie/collie cross were confirmed.
The kelpie is the dominant trait in her which is why she couldn't sit still, and hated being confined to a small backyard. We spent many hundreds of dollars repairing the damage she had done to the fences, the irrigation system, and the neighbours property where she would dig under the fence to get in to.
No matter how much love we gave her, it did not take away her ‘working dog’ instincts, her need to run and jump and round up cattle/sheep at least 18 hours a day.

We came to the decision to rehome her as a working dog over a period of 6-8 weeks. After lots of prayer and advice we found her a wonderful home on property with a family who have raised kelpies for decades. She adapted to their home like a duck to water within 2 hours…running, jumping, in the sheep yard, and playing with the nine grandkids who live nearby. For two weeks we had daily contact with the new owners as we’d both agreed to take it day by day for a while. Photos every day showed Merri happier than we could imagine.

I suppose we feel like failures in some way, yet we just wanted her to be happy, not be in trouble for doing what her breed did by nature.

So that’s the Merri story (which I'll share soon on the blog). We rehomed her at the right time, really, as around that time I had two serious falls and now have a permanent brain trauma injury so could not walk her or play with her as I don't have that energy and her constant jumping into our faces brought me to my knees more than a few times.

Judy said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you for reminding us that it is the simple things that make life worth living. God bless!

shirley flavell said...

Hello Jenny. I loved your post, it is so inspiring. I have printed off the miracle spray recipe, written down the nightgown pattern number only to read later that the pattern is not produced any more. Never mind there may be another fairly similar. All your brilliant ideas of things that you wish to do, I have been doing some of them lately. Have just found a lovely white towel that has thinned and frayed in the centre on the edge. I have cut it in half and made some binding from fabrics in my stash and made good size bathmats. I have gifted a couple to my daughter who loves them. I have knitted dishcloths and love yhem so much that I'm reluctant to use them. I want to keep them in their lovely new clean state, silly. I crochet washcloths and love giving these as a gift with some beautiful soap. I'm glad you had a good few days away.Love seeing the photos of your gorgeous grand daughters. You say that you like watching movies( I do as well) have you seen "Hidden Figures" it's very good. Based on true facts.Have a good week and take care.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Shirley, you've been busy in the loveliest of ways!
Yes, I have seen Hidden Figures - brilliant.

Allie-oops Designs said...

You know just reading this post calmed my heart. I love your hexies, so pretty all in a row, love the pillowcases and towels, love the pattern - golly. So much to love in one post. One word of warning - be very careful using essential oils around your kitty, just breathing them can be dangerous. They're quite safe for us, but not kitties!

KingsailK said...

Thanks Jenny for this ,it meant so much ,I do feel like that in the shadows at time!But Jesus walks besides us every day.Hugsxx

Jenny S said...

You're so inspiring Jen. The thought of gentle domesticity is a little bit out of my reach at the moment but I look forward to it when it arrives. I'll be making the lemon meringue as I have 3 fellas that I'm sure will enjoy it!