Thank you for the warm and gentle expressions of care after last Sunday's post - both here and on social media.
Fact is, after 4½ years of single-handedly designing, stitching, writing patterns and publishing The Stitchery Club for 52 continuous months I fell into a mentally and physically exhausted heap last Friday and since then my legs have felt like jelly, every ounce of adrenaline is gone and 'gently pottering around' very well describes my day to day actions.
It was a huge commitment, a joyous commitment, and through that hard work we were able to save hard for a home deposit and eventually buy our first home in September last year. We now have a mortgage, rates and insurance to pay like most home owners, but we don't mind...because we have a home of our own. Work always brings reward and this was mine.
So....I'm taking things slower than I'd planned this year and here's a few updates...
# Patterns are not going into my Etsy Shop as quickly as I had previously written but they do trickle in as I have time.
# The Rewind Stitchery Club will still happen but it will also be delayed until mid-February.
# Faith Sewing Club will be another monthly commitment so I'll hold off on that until perhaps mid-April or May and give myself a slightly longer break before announcing subscriptions.
# "Phyllis May's Kitchen" block of the month is still being designed, stitched and enjoyed! This will not be an ordinary BOM...it's quite different, and I can't wait to show you. But for now you'll have to wait while I bring it all together with love and patience.
On to this week's alphabet pincushion stitch-a-long!
I shared the first one in August last year and since then we've bought a house, moved in, celebrated Christmas and done loads of garden work and renovations outside to turn this house into a sanctuary which reflects my husband and I.
That's a lot of life events since sharing the first pinnie, so I decided to share the final three alphabet letters this week in a single design because I want to close off 'the old' in January and begin a fresh clean slate in February.
I have seen many designs of various kinds with ABC over the years but can't remember seeing any with XYZ. You can use the individual letters for small projects and monograms, or do what I've done and finish this stitch-a-long with your own XYZ pinnie.
The alphabet letters were stitched onto a white cotton/linen blend fabric, then trimmed and backed with quilting fabric. A little fabric and lace tag was inserted at the X end before I filled the pincushion with crushed walnut shells and machine stitched a 1/4" seam inside the outer edges.
I've used two green threads for the main body of the letters. X is stitched with Dark Green, Y in a lighter Green, and Z has a mix of both. I also used both back stitch and chain stitch for the letters. It's small tweaks like this which make simple or relatively plain projects much lovelier to look at.
After that date they will be in my Etsy Shop
The R, S, V and W patterns are still free to download until January 31st. You'll find the links for them in the previous alphabet pincushions stitch-a-long blog posts (scroll here)
The A-E, F-I, J-N and OPQUT sets are available to purchase from my Etsy Shop
Since Christmas I have received some really thoughtful and creative gifts from a few dear friends and thought you may like to see them.
Sharmayne and her husband Pete came to visit from further south just before Christmas. They were visiting their son and his family not far from here and popped in for a nice long morning tea with Mr E and I. After tucking in to coffee and brownies we left the men to themselves and sat in the sewing room to talk about all sorts of crafty, home and garden things.
Last week a card arrived in the mail with two beautifully hand crocheted dish cloths from Sharmayne, which I shall use with much gratitude...
Fee has been totally submerged in papercrafts the past couple of years and is making some gorgeous gifts and projects. If you visit her blog you'll find she's sharing regular tutorials, but I'd like to show you the pretty writing set with gift tags and greeting cards which she made me for Christmas...
Rosie and Brian came by for morning tea around New Year and after coffee and scones we left the men to talk 'boy stuff' and sat in the sewing room to talk 'girl stuff' (you can see a pattern here when we have couples visit, right?). Brian retired last year and is a member of the local Wood Turning Club. Whenever I visit Rosie she shows me the beautiful things Brian has made for her...I ooh and aah a LOT.
Well, bless them, when I opened my Christmas gift inside were some tea towels specifically chosen to match my kitchen and a gorgeous wooden bowl and two spools. I have admired the spools Brian makes for Rosie but did not expect to actually be gifted two....
By the way, pop over here to Rosie's blog and see the beautiful recipe folder cover she designed!
It oozes gentle domesticity.
Another gift arrived in the mail a week or so ago from a dear friend who'd rather not be named on the blog.
"The Scrolls Illuminated" is a book filled with lovely water colour scenes taken from our own Australian landscape to mirror the seasons and subjects which correspond to the five complete books of the Bible inside...
I'm re-reading Ruth at the moment and find the full page artworks and those which drift down the margins to be not just beautiful, but calming and peaceful as well.
The artist is Fiona Pfennigwerth and you can see more pages from "The Scrolls Illuminated" here.
She has also completed The Gospel of John which looks just a lovely.
Have you been watching "Tidying Up" by Marie Condo on Netflix?
I have heard about her books but honestly, that's as far as it went. But then Blossom began watching Marie's show and insisted I watch too...well, you can always teach me new things about homemaking and I came away from the series with a list of areas to re-organise in new ways.
I was at Blossom's yesterday and WOW you should see inside her cupboards! The girls room, the kitchen and the linen cupboards are amazing and my sweet Blossom is a very contented homemaker because like her mummy, she 'loves' organisation.
Due to the fatigue I've gone slow this week but did pull out all the furniture and vaccum under, over, in and around everything in our home - before making a start on how to use the Konmari method of tidying in a way that works for us.
We have an old bathroom with an odd shower recess and the wooden drawers and cupboard doors of the vanity creak and croak and will not shut properly - BUT I've actually come to like their quaintness. We don't have a lot of towels (or sheets) to store because we only keep what we currently use and a few spare sets so it was easy to fold and store the bathroom towels in the side of the vanity...
There's no colour co-ordination happening in our bathroom, just pops of various bright colours and a small palm in a pot. Over time I'll purchase new towels in similar bright colours but not until the current ones are worn out, though I shall look at buying two new bath mats next time there's a sale.
So I was 17 rows into my Sweet Pea crochet rug.
I'd already gone up 1/2 a size on the crochet hook after the first two rows because apparently I am a tight crocheter (yet a loose knitter, go figure), but the rug still felt 'thick' and not soft and flowing.
So I stopped right there and unraveled the lot.
Which was a good thing because apart from the heavy texture it turned out I'd gotten the sequence for the Posy version wrong, was only crocheting single colour rows instead of double and had missed a couple of trebles earlier on.
I bought a larger hook and started over again.
I even followed the pattern this time.
36 rows along and the hook is perfect for how I crochet, the pattern is correct and the rug is wonderfully soft and flowing.
I'm happy and relaxed with this project now, plus it's given me a wonderful break from designing and stitching. This is my new hobby!
I bought two crochet magazines the other day as a real treat (we're on a budget) and Mr E shook his head and laughed, "Don't you go making me any crochet clothes! Once you get hooked into something new your mind thinks up all sorts of things..."
I promised I won't. LOL!
Not sure if I've mentioned this recently but throughout this year I am delving into my orphan stitchery box (which overflows) and turning some of my older designs into useful projects.
"Create Memories" was one of the patterns from my 2016 block of the month "Gentle Domesticity" which I shared on the blog. I didn't offer any instructions for sewing them, or even thread colours, because each of the twelve blocks was made from scraps and as they were not part of any actual project I left it up to those who were stitching along to use them any way they liked.
I made a cushion from "Joy in the Ordinary" and a bedside table topper from "Bloom Where You Are" but I still have ten blocks to play with. Perhaps a quilt?? Not sure...
Anyhow, there's no rush on an answer but I do intend giving the blocks a pretty project as their final resting place sometime this year.
The pattern for Joy in the Ordinary is still free (always will be) and fortunately was one of the few patterns Craftsy/Bluprint chose to leave in my old shop. With Etsy there's no way to add a free pattern to my new shop so if you'd like to make this block go here and download it.
The full set of 12 Gentle Domesticity blocks is over at Etsy. They are inexpensive because there's no written instructions just the pattern sheets to trace and photos for helps.
Goodness, I've kept you a while today with my ramblings so I shall sign off with a blessing and my gratitude for visiting, following along and offering your own inspirations when you comment.
Must say, I have gleaned so much from the Gentle Art of Domesticity book study comments since we began three weeks ago! Let me encourage you to go back and read through them...such a blessing.
May the Lord God who holds your precious heart next to His own, pour upon you the blessings of comfort, kindness, mercy, grace, provision, strength and rest today...