Friday, January 4, 2019

Freshening up in 2019 and some more pincushions...

In between housework, a migraine and working to get my shop set up on Etsy I've been giving my blog a nice makeover...a fresh, fun and pretty makeover which I gave considerable thought to as I don't want to change it again. 

This 'season' of partially enforced change stirred within me a desire to create a touch of permanence here at Elefantz, one which is flowing over to the new pattern covers soon to appear as I gradually update the old ones. 

It will take a good month to complete the move from Craftsy to Etsy as I have many patterns to update so I want to do it right the first time and not have to go back and change things later (hence the bright and cheery logo which has become my new blog header) and in fact that's one of my three attitude and response guidelines for 2019 - "do it right the first time and don't cut corners"
The other two are "trust that God is in the details" and "put everything back in its place".


You know I've intentionally pursued the gentle domestic life for a number of years now, and as we set forth into a fresh new year I've decided to take the book which first stirred my heart and lead a book study here on the blog beginning Tuesday January 8th and running through to mid December.

Every so often my friend Fee will post on her blog to share some thoughts, projects or ideas inspired by the book, and occasionally my sweet daughter Blossom will offer her own insights from life as a stay at home mummy with two little girls. I'm also going to see if my friend Rosie will pop by as we have long shared deep coffee-fueled conversations about domesticity, marriage and family. 

In case you've missed all the book information, we're going to study and discuss Jane Brocket's "The Gentle Art of Domesticity". The book is not easy to find as a hard copy anymore, but some have been found on Amazon and Ebay, local libraries, and you can always get the Kindle version.

NOTE: you don't need the book to follow along this year long study.

I'll also have a monthly giveaway with a fun domestic theme so make sure to sign up for my blog posts which will arrive via email and then you won't miss any of the studies or activities.

(pop your email over there in the blog sidebar or sign up here for my weekly newsletter)

You might consider joining our Gentle Domesticity Facebook group too!

This Year's BOM

Well, it's not actually a block of the month. It's a project of the month which ties in with our gentle domesticity theme.
I'll have the first freebie ready for you with the launch of our book study on Tuesday 8th January.
The project patterns will be free for one month, right up till the next month's project pattern is shared. Another good reason to sign up for my newsletter or blog posts, right?


This year I'm inviting you to share what's happening in your own domestic life by joining in each Tuesday with a link up to your personal blog. This really excites me because we home-hearted women are all very different so we can learn a lot about one other and from one other by visiting each other's blogs for inspiration, recipes, projects and anything else deemed gently domestic.

I'll have that Link Up button ready to share on Tuesday!

Okay, now how about I share those pincushions!
The Friday before Christmas you received the patterns for Q, U and T so that by using the previously shared I and L you could make the QUILT pinnie...

Today I'm giving you R and S so that we're back in sequence because my OCD-ness requires things go in order and I had a dreadful time waiting to share the next two so that my mind could once again settle into a peaceful state...

I have given R a very soft display with calming greens, salmon pink and white cotton lace.
The little heart is a single strand chain stitch and the rest of the R has been sewn with backstitch.

In the ditch between the R block and the borders I've sewn stem stitch with two strands of the soft green thread...

...and after machine sewing the lace diagonally either side of the R I stitched a line of green chain stitch. 

As with all the pincushions made during this Stitch-a-long this one has been filled with crushed walnut shells which you can purchase in the reptile section of your local pet shop.
It will keep your pins sharp and rust free, plus it feels absolutely lovely in your pinnies!

The second pincushion this week is S...

...and it's a tiny square with a soft pink ribbon which turns it into a very pretty and useful scissor fob.

The S block is trimmed to 2.5" square and then I added 1" borders around the four sides. Everything I make is sewn with a 1/4" seam so once the pinnie is complete it measures a nice neat 3" square.

The flower petals are lazy daisy stitch and there's a colonial knot in the middle. The S and the leaves are backstitched in green.

The double pattern for R and S can be download free until January 31st here or here

The previous four monthly sets - ABCDE, FGHI, JKLMN, and OPQUT are now available for purchase here in my Etsy Shop.

Do you need help with backstitch, lazy daisy stitch or how to sew with smaller stitches? 
I get a number of emails about this and always refer them back to THIS tutorial which I shared a few years back (it also has a free practice pattern).


Mr E has been busy removing the structures around his shed which the building inspector deemed non-compliant when we bought the house...

The small shed at the front has to go, as does the covering down the side between the large shed and the fence...

The roofed section behind the large shed is also going to be removed as the materials the previous owner used to construct it are not cyclone proof. The yellow pool filter enclosure is fine, thank goodness...

In the garden we've discovered a native passionfruit vine which is trailing from next door's huge bottle brush tree over our fence and all through one our three guava trees...

These passionfruit are very small, like a 20c piece, and very different from the normal passionfruits you buy at the grocers. But our neighbour assures us they are edible so we look forward to trying them.

After Mr E emptied the compost heap into one of our garden beds we had a lot of rain from the cyclone just before Christmas and now three cucumber plants have made an appearance and are happily thriving shaded by bottlebrush, mock orange and guava trees. In the tropics we can't usually grow many vegetables in the summer as they simply burn to pieces under the scorching sun, but we'll see how these go in the dappled shade. Our warm winter is the peek vegetable season which probably seems strange to most people.

The Ixora has burst forth in resplendent red after the rain... has the Crepe Myrtle.

I have loved Crepe Myrtle since I parked next to it at Rosie's a number of years ago and to have one of our own in flower is a blessing I'd not expected. With each week that passes I am learning the names of more plants right here in our garden and am always surprised that some I have long admired are right before me.

The poinciana which spreads over the pool has lost all it's vibrant red flowers but now the leaves have filled out and their lush green is a delight to behold.
The rain has also given the lily pilly and hibiscus trees astonishing growth in a mere two weeks.

And as I said earlier we have three guava trees and all are fruiting!
One is a pineapple guava...

...and the other two are what I'd call a regular guava.
Rosie and her hubby Brian came by today for morning tea and a nice long catch up. They are avid gardeners and it was wonderful to pick their brains about things like guavas (because I have never even tasted one and thought they may be the size of a rockmelon, which in fact they are most certainly not).

Tomorrow Mr E and I are off to check out a few garage sales, something we've not done for a while but are keen to get back to.

I do hope your own weekend brings an adventure or two, and a friend or loved one to share it with.
May your rest be blessed, your eyes awed by creation's wonder, and your heart filled with song...



  1. I love to read your blog jenny, it starts my days calm and at peace. I love that we can be women who love our husbands and our homes and feel that it's 'enough' x

    1. Amen to that, Tracy. It's more than wonderful. :-)

  2. Fabulous new header on your blog; so cheerful. I envy you your extensive garden with so many flowering trees and bushes.

  3. I love your new look for the blog and your resolutions are commendable and doable. Thank you for the beautiful patterns. I love each and everyone of them.

  4. Oooooh! Love the new look dear Jenny. I have never seen passionfruit like that before. Must go read up about them.

  5. I have eaten those passion-fruit since I was a child growing up on the farm. They don't taste anything like the variety you buy in the shops but still taste good (to me anyway)! Wait until they are orange in colour before trying them.
    Thanks for the lovely day today.

  6. Hi Jenny,
    What a treat it is to read your blog! Love all the garden photo's today! It's 4 C, cloudy,grey and misty here in The Netherlands!
    Google translate does a pretty good job with the Dutch translation.
    My Mom used to say "If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well!"
    Looking forward to receiving the news letter ! and reading along with Gentle Domesticity Tuesdays!
    Take care,

  7. What a new fresh look Jenny, I love it!

    Those passion fruit are very interesting, I have not seen them before. Loved seeing your pretty garden, it all looks so beautiful.


  8. I absolutely love the new blog link. It makes me happy just to look at it!

  9. I am amazed at all the glorious plants you have there. It is nice to have Rosie able to enlighten you on the ones you keep discovering. Too bad the previous owners hadn’t been called upon to remove the structures on the property. Seems Mr. E hasn’t had much time to relax recently! Enjoy your garage sales.

  10. Mr. E is certainly busy around the house - wow! What a treat to see your beautiful garden and plants that are so different than what I have here. So gorgeous. Thank you for the lovely pincushion letters, they are so pretty!!!! Love the new look by the way, it matches my new planner, lol!

  11. Love all your new blog and stunning photos.Thank you xx

  12. Your makeover is beautiful! I'm look forward to studying the Gentle Domesticity book with you. Heading over to Amazon to see if I can find a copy.

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  14. Hola Jenny! Feliz año! Gracias por todo lo que nos compartes. No sabes cuánto me inspiran tus publicaciones. Mira, como se que eres una persona que disfruta la cocina te comento que en casa de mi mamá había una planta de guayaba o guava como la llaman en inglés, de las regulares y cuando ella hacía carne guisada, arrancaba una hoja de la planta y la colocaba en el guiso. Le daba un aroma especial. Ojalá te atrevas a hacer la prueba y luego nos cuentes. Recibe un fuerte abrazo venezolano!

  15. How wonderfully fresh and inviting your blog makeover turned out. And you accomplished it all while dealing with redoing your shop offerings and Christmas. You deserve a rest in the shade of your trees with a nice cool beverage. I'm amazed at the variety of plants and flowers you have in your yard. Every day seems to unveil a new surprise. Don't over tire yourself with your improvements. It will all be done in good time.

  16. Your new web page banner is just beautiful! And thank you for the latest pincushion patterns. Your hubby has a lot of work ahead of him taking those structures down. But it looks like it will open up your backyard quite a bit when they are gone. Maybe new gardening space?

  17. Your pinnies are gorgeous and the new blog layout/art work is definitely reflective of you and your beautiful work. Your garden is simply a refreshing oasis! I love seeing the pictures of flowers and plants I have never seen before. My total experience with guava is just the juice...I've never even seen the fruit in the shops here. Reading back on what I wrote about your garden being a refreshing oasis opened my eyes to the fact that I see your blog, facebook page, your needlework are all a refreshing oasis to me. Thank you for being a safe place to land, where words are always kind and well thought out. You are salt and light to us, my dear!

  18. Thank you, Jenny. Lovely makeover to your blog. Hope you only get gentle rain and warm breezes from TS Penny. Blessings,

  19. I have never seen passion fruit before. Love your gardens and plants...So nice to see so many different things on your blog. Love your new header as well. It is very calming and domestic....Love the new pin cushion and alphabets. Thank you for sharing them with us ....You are so talented to be able to come up with all of these designs....The Lord has truly blessed you and your gift of words and writing as well. You do realize your Gentle Domesticity is like a ministry of house wives from around the world all seeking love peace acceptance and basking in their roles as wives, mothers, carer's and crafter's all the while seeking love and acceptance and friendship from others that are like minded, as they all bask in the joys of not being afraid that they like to do these things and it brings them peace and harmony in a world gone crazy. And to be there to listen and talk to others and offer prayer at a moments notice. You my Dear are a miracle to bring it all together . You are blessed . And we are all blessed to have you in our lives.

  20. Happy New Year to you and your family.
    You now have a lovely home, a beautiful yard, pool and outdoor shelter for family time and relaxing and so many plants that give you joy.
    Your past year of searching, disappointment and stress appears to be like a Rubics cube puzzle....lots of small happenings that looked totally random and unconnected at the time have all come together to give you your perfect place, small miracle.

  21. You are a clever little vegemite redesigning your blog like that, Jenny. I have no idea how you do it but it looks lovely. I love the combination of green and pink in your pincushion. My favourite colours together. I hope Cyclone Penny fizzles out as she approaches the coast. My family leave on Monday so I think they will miss it.

  22. I love your new blog look and it has a sense of serenity about it. Thankyou for the new pincushion designs. Pity my girls aren't stitchers as they have those initials LOL. You have a fantastic garden and it is also a very productive one. I hope Mr E is enjoying demolishing and building things during his time off work. It can sometimes be therapeutic. Sorry to hear you have had more migraines. I am taking B2 twice a day to help avoid headaches ( when I remember) LOL. May the rest of your weekend be a pleasant one.

  23. Thank you for the sweet patterns!

  24. Delightful blog this week, glad you're going over to Etsy, I hope you'll be happier there. I don't know what's going on with Craftsy, when I checked out your store there I couldn't believe how many of your products were gone. My neighbor's guava tree used to hang over my back fence. I didn't even know what that fruit was called but its perfumey scent was intoxicating.

  25. Love your blog from beginning to end--new art work, new patterns, and news on the homefront. Since we are mid winter, all your flowers are especially pretty. Too bad Mr. E has to remove so many structures. Hope he has time for a dip in the pool to work out sore muscles. I have had my copy of Ms. Brocket's book for about 3 years. Can't wait to start the book study with you. Love to you and Mr. E.

  26. Hi sweet Jenny, your new look is so bright, cheerful and inspiring, and so pretty. You know I love reading your blog and can't wait to I am able to have more time to read blogs regularly again and am working less. How exciting to have so much fruit produce in your garden. I can't wait to see what happens to your guava and your passionfruit, lucky girl. So Happy New year, may 2019 be everything you wish for. xx

  27. Jenny, can't wait for the 8th. I received my book last week from either Ebay or Thrifty Books, don't remember which. Enjoy your beautiful flowers and yard this weekend. We are having a cold spell in Arizona and actually going out the last few nights to cover our plants with sheets.

  28. A wonderful, full post of information, and some fun, Jenny. Thank you for all the thought that goes in to the projects and patterns you offer us, and the words you use on the blog. I know it takes an hour or more every day for you to write these. Your plans do sound exciting! I'm happy for you to move forward with the Lord guiding your steps. I checked your updates in the Etsy and it's looking good! I actually prefer it, because you can organize your patterns in sensible ways, and not just by date or popularity.

    Quite a while ago, when you mentioned the domesticity book, I ordered one easily from Amazon for a very reasonable price. It's the 2008 edition and right now I see there are still several copies, but only one is really reasonably priced. I think there are women all over the US and probably the world who are going to be following along and want the book, even if it isn't necessary. I wonder if someone sits up somewhere and says, "Whoa, why are copies of this old book flying of the shelves suddenly?" I like to think that happens! =) Have some wonderful adventures with Mr. E before school starts again. You both deserve that!

  29. Gracias, creía que lo habías mandado antes, bsss.....

  30. Your garden is looking so beautiful, all I can say is here in the uk I have two snowdrops out and a few crocuses already as it has been so mild here, so its a joy to see all the colour in your garden. Looking forward to the series on gentle domesticity.

  31. The new look is so bright and cheery! I love your designs and fabrics you use for projects. I haven't seen the pretty floral fabrics in the US. Do you know if they are available here? Looking forward to your posts on the book Gentle Domesticity and more on your adventures as a homeowner.

  32. Love the new look blog header. Hard work for MR E pulling all that stuff down - but I'm sure it will open things up and less worry if you do get a cyclone or strong winds.

  33. Beautiful blog header! Wishing many blessings for you and your hubby. Have a wonderful day! Joan

  34. Great post Jenny. Thank you for the next alphabet downloads. I look forward to the 8th and our first GD post - first though two days of travelling back home to France after the Christmas and New Year trip. xx

  35. Always enjoy watching the plants wake up. Always a surprise.
    Enjoy the beautiful pin cushions.

  36. It is all looking so wonderful - so very happy for you both.

  37. Jenny your home and gardens are coming to life wonderfully. Mr. E is such a dedicated hard worker and making your new house a home. Thank you for the r and s. Your many pinnies are each precious. I am looking forward to Living the Gentle Life of Domesticity along with so many fellow followers of elefantz.

  38. How do I sign up for the book study?


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