Sunday, March 17, 2019

Old things and old ways...


A couple of years ago I shared a tutorial for making a vintage doily into a lovely needle-book and pin-keep. Yesterday I started on a second version with another vintage doily in the very palest of green and adorned with pretty cross stitch roses....

The doily covers the outside of the needle-book and inside I use scraps of cotton quilt wadding and other embellishments.

This is the original version I made in 2017...

...and inside I embroidered little daisies and added vintage buttons.

My intention was to replicate exactly the same needle-book this time, though using a different doily and fabrics.
But it's funny how one thing can make you look at a project with fresh eyes.

In my tutorial the circle of soft cotton wadding in the middle has pinked edges, so yesterday when I'd cut the wadding a little larger than I needed I went off to get the pinking shears. Just seconds after searching the drawer where my scissors are kept my memory jogged and I remembered giving them to Blossom ages ago.

So I could wait until I saw her again or I could come up with plan B.

Plan B won out. 

Firstly I decided to keep the circle open inside the needle-book and add a half circle across the bottom. Then I thought "what about a hexie flower instead of embroidered daisies?"

Not content with raw edges on the cotton wadding, and after sewing cotton lace across the top of the half-circle, I chose to blanket stitch the raw edges...

Much nicer.
But what if I crocheted the edge of the half-circle??

Now remember, I'm a newbie at decorative crochet, but after successfully making the sweet pea blanket for Rafaella's first birthday my confidence to give something new a try was rather high.

Armed with a very tiny crochet hook (which I bought in a bundle at the op shop) and some Perle 8 cream cotton I simply did two dc in one blanket stitch, and two trebles in the next blanket stitch and kept going with that sequence.

As I crocheted with the fine cream thread I remembered the calm and contentment that crocheting Rafaella's blanket had brought to my days and decided crochet really is my 'time out' hobby to pursue. 

It looked just right for this project when completed, as though it was meant to be all along. 
And perhaps it was.

I still have to embroider leaves around the hexie flower and decide whether to attach the large circle of cotton wadding to the inside of the needle-book with basic blanket stitch or jump right in and add crochet there too.

It might be another few days before this is finished and maybe I'll add some more little tweaks before then, but I'll be sure to show you.

In the meantime if you would like to follow the original tutorial its here. 


Recently I found a copy of "Treasures from My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers at the op shop.
I ponder one page a week because in that one page is so much wisdom and personal evaluation that I cannot move on until I've made my peace with God and taken deep within my soul the lessons He is using from this book to draw my heart away from the world and back to Him.

The world today is rushing forward very quickly and at a rate where it's becoming too easy to forget the gentle pace of life from my youth and early mothering years. Today there is a constant sense of 'urgency to reply now' when hearing the beep of a mobile phone text, a messenger request or opening a list of emails - things my generation did not know of twenty years ago.

I don't remember my Nana rushing through anything. Her daily rhythm was slow and thorough, one task then another, all done with love for Pop and I, all done with diligence and hard work followed by a sigh of personal satisfaction because she worked to the beat of her own drum. 

Nana couldn't see inside anyone else's home so she couldn't compare her housekeeping to theirs. She didn't watch what others were cooking up and serving to their families so following her simple week by week menu was fine and stress free. Walking to the shop on the corner in her well loved apron to buy a loaf of bread was not frowned upon - her neighbours did the same. 

A life lived without 'looking over' at what others were doing, wearing, watching, cooking, making - that was Nana's life and it was a life well lived.

Today we're able to watch others 24/7 through social media, the internet, YouTube and reality television among other things and comparison is difficult to avoid. I think there's almost always a perception inside of us today that we need to try harder, look better, be accomplished at all we do, think more profoundly, have better relationships, climb the ladder, show we're smart, be more religious, be less religious - you name it, the list can go on - but mostly it stems from looking at someone else and feeling dissatisfied with who we are.

The past few days I've been pondering this verse and Oswald Chamber's thoughts on it...

To me it says that as long as we're looking at ourselves with discontent, focused on our inabilities or human frailties and failings, we'll never believe that God can use us.

But here's the truth Chambers is offering - it's not about us and what we can or can't do.
It's about God and what HE can do if we offer ourselves, our lives, up for His service. It's about walking with Him where we are, in all our broken humanity, and really taking time - slow time - to know Him, to study His Word, and to believe He Who made us has a purpose only we can fulfill, a very real purpose He will equip us for in order that it be accomplished.

I intend pulling back from social media over coming weeks.
I am choosing to slow my days, temper my thoughts with gentle rhythms and routines and swim against the tide of today's rush-rush urgent-urgent mindset. My heart is preparing to listen for God's plan for my future rather than pursuing the plans I made for myself - the ones influenced by the world I have found myself watching. And I am going to be 'all there' for my family and loved ones because they deserve the best of me and not some rung-out weary woman who finds herself  'tossed by the waves' because her mind is in two places at once. (James 1:6)

I'm praying for wisdom, clarity, understanding, grace, opportunity...and courage to pursue more intently the values and integrity of the Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 women.

I guess I want to be more like 1960's Nana in the 21st century, to live inspired by her beautiful character and faithful trust in God, but also able to use the things of 2019 with thoughtfulness and mindful integrity.

I am who I am, God made.
You are who you are, God made.

May His blessings abound in your life always,


  1. Dear Jenny, thank you so much for these musings and your eloquent writings that you do each week on God's word. I also have been getting dissatisfied with the technology in my life and I now only look at social media once a day usually when I wake up which is quite early. Once done I turn the computer off and return to the lounge and do my daily devotional reading. I had stopped doing that and found that other things started to creep into my life and I felt pulled by that inner voice that the Lord uses to stop and think what I was doing. Now I am better prepared for the day and although I have the occassional lapse it is much better than before. Same with the evenings and the tv, I have certain home/decorating shows I like but now I only watch those and the tv goes off after that. I sleep better now too.

  2. I do love what you did with the needle book, it is so pretty. You have such a creative imagination. x

  3. Wow your crocheted edge is perfection, dear one! I love what you're doing here. And I love the rest of the post - this is exactly where I am, wanting to slow down, enjoy each day, let God set the rhythm of my days instead of letting my to-do list and the internet set them. Thank you for stating it so eloquently!

  4. Inspiring words to live by !
    Your work is lovely --- as always.

  5. Love this post....made me think about how it was and how it is now. So true!!!!!

  6. Merci pour votre partage , effectivement les médias sociaux nous demandent toujours plus de temps , temps que l'on ne consacre plus à soi ni à ceux qui nous sont chers .Revenons à l'essentiel et au temps présent en faisant et sentant chaque chose .
    Françoise de la France

  7. Love your needle-book! I love to crochet too. I enjoyed reading your post. You have a wonderful way with words.

  8. Dear Jenny God bless your beautiful heart for Him!!!

  9. Hello Jenny, I adore your new project and thank you for sharing it. Plus, want to say that all the while reading your post today, I kept thinking about my Grandmothers and how they were. It is a very treasured path of memories for me and all of this year, I have found myself just reading and taking in what you are saying and not commenting very much. The words are just not there, just a whole lot of thoughts about my life and how I need to make changes. I know that the Lord has given my Husband and I the directions to move away from where we are now and go someplace else. We both believe we are certain where the Lord is leading us, yet it is difficult due to a number of factors. I just felt it was time to let you know why I have been so silent. As always, Jenny you are teaching me and I am learning. Thank you for always sharing about your path with the Lord and always including lessons from the Bible and also from other books and just life. Have a spectacular day as you walk with the Lord!

  10. Your blog really speaks to my heart! Thank you! God Bless you!

  11. Jenny thank you for this lovely 'study'. We compare our looks, houses, spouses, children, and the list goes on. The Lord has set a different path for each of us and asks different things of us. I personally need to stop and follow God's direction for my life and that #1 calling is for my family. The Lord bless you and your family. You are a treasure. Patty McDonald

  12. Your needlecase is just beautiful Jenny & I look forward to seeing the completion ... thanks for sharing this lovely piece with us all. Yes I too have been thinking long & hard about social media lately & my feelings about it all & feeling the urge to pull back from it a bit.

  13. I am blessed by your sharing, and I too have felt in my heart to pursue a calm peaceful life, guided by God , living more toward the way I was raised in my youth, where things were made, life was simpler. I am blessed by the wisdom and guidance that God gives you. Peggy Willson.

  14. I've just come home from a silent retreat and found your post waiting for me. At the retreat, we spoke of how much information (true and fake) is bombarding us. I, too, feel that I must step back from social media. I'm wondering if private blog/or Facebook page may be the way to do this for me. I look forward to how you handle this. Your vintage work is lovely.

  15. I can't believe that 1st needle keep was made 2 years ago. Your new version is looking beautiful and I love the crocheted edge. I have a very small crochet hook that was my grandmother's and she did some beautiful fine crochet. I hear what you are saying about social networking and I am pleased that I am not constantly feeling that I need to check my phone or emails all the time. A rare species lol.Having said that, blogs are my main source of socialisatiin apart from my family. Another lovely post.

  16. Jenny.
    Thanks for the great idea of how to use a vintage piece. I have an op shop find that is torn but it is so beautiful that I can't bring myself to get rid of it but it is spoiled too much to just display anyway. I keep moving it around in my house from one bench to another but now you have solved my dilemma. I will use the intact portion to make a needle keep like yours.
    Thank you soo much-dilemma solved!Thanks also for sharing the devotion-such a truth that we often forget in life's busyness.

  17. the warmfireplaceMarch 18, 2019 at 7:09 PM

    Thank you for your wonderful words, I too keep away from social media it is better to fill up your life with real things than live in a virtual world, we all need to live in a slower paced world. I love the case you are making so very pretty.
    God bless Sue

  18. Gorgeous needle keeps. I too have not been as active as I used to be on the computer. Just trying to get more done at home and spend more quality time with family as well. ..Thank you for sharing your new book you are reading with us. You are helping me grow in Christ with your devotionals and everything you share. which Is a much needed thing for sure.

  19. Debby in Kansas, USAMarch 19, 2019 at 6:50 AM

    Jenny, those are so beautiful! The details! That tiny crocheted edge was so dainty, yet added so much. I've never seen round hankies before, but now I'll look for them.

    I've heard so many wonderful things about the Oswald Chambers book. You study some books like I do. Instead of rushing through them, I try and digest them slowly, to glean every bit of *good* from them.

    Yes, life and people today rush around at an alarming pace. It seems as if everyone is always in a hurry. What's worse, I think that many feel that if they're not galloping at break neck speed all the time, they're somehow underperforming! I see nothing wrong with being busy, but when it leads to tailgating in the car, heavy sighing in a line, or just being rude, I think a serious self examination is in order! I don't believe for one second that one can "do it all". Baloney. I think the media and tech images constantly send messages that tell us we should. "You deserve.....a new car, a bigger home, a week in Fiji..." I remember laughing at those commercials in my younger days and talking back to the tv, "How do they know what I deserve?! I could be a lunatic holding a family hostage in my garage!" I've always distrusted the media, as you can see! I've always used the computer as MY tool, not my boss. I sign on maybe twice a week, read homemaking blogs of people living simple lives, and I love finding new ways to do things, pretty things I can make (or just admire), etc. When I was in high school, my friends used to joke that I was the person "most likely to join the Amish" because I always admired their simplicity. I can't even remember the last time I rushed to get anywhere!!

  20. Oh Jenny I so agree with the lives lived before technology and our being “ON” 24/7/365. I remember my dearly beloved Grandma taking time to be in the moment in everything she did. None of us ever suffered as she was always 100% there for us. I love to crochet and slow stitch. Your needle books are precious and I love each of them. Blessings and Savor Every Minute...xo

  21. Beautiful post Jenny. And gorgeous needlework in th making, the crochet is perfect. xx

  22. Utmost Highest is one of my fav books. I read it daily and every year I find different things that I never read before. My father gave it to me one Christmas several years ago as it was his fav book. Mine is purple leather because purple is my fav color. One of my favorite pages talks about how worry is an insult to God, so I try my best not to worry but alas I am only human. Your needle case is beautiful. I have a collection of doilies and think this would be a great way to show them off and give as gifts.

  23. Hello Jenny, I like your needlework, you always seem to have such a creative way of looking at things. I will definitely be looking at my doilies for a damaged one. I've crocheted since I was 12 and think your little crochet lace border is a great idea. Thank you for the devotional thoughts on our busy society, I so agree and we always need reminding to take a step back, take a breath and be content. Thank you. Kind regards Mandy xx

  24. Thank you Jenny for your always wise words and your beautiful creations. They are gorgeous!

    Take care

  25. ThankYou for your sharing. Peaceful words for a Very insane time. Words one can live by. Great reminder.

  26. Just seeing this blog post. I was looking at your recent post that brought me back to this. I have been away from following the blogs on the blog list on my page. I have been away from blogging on my own blog because of all the time I spent on facebook.It has all become too much. I too have decided to step away from all that is happening in the social media world. I am not going to bury my head but it is time to take stock of what is important in my life. I chose 2 words for this year,2021.Patience and acceptance. Thank you for this post it is as true today and when you wrote it. I am 74 and long for past days when things made sense. Blessing,Judith


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