Phyllis May was my Nana.
When I was three my sweet mum, barely 21 years old, died in a car accident and Nana stepped in to be my incredibly loving mother for the next twenty years.
We were financially poor, living in a tiny three room flat with my beloved Pop, yet we were more than rich in love, laughter, kindness and Nana's cooking.
Her kitchen sparkled like no other, and every day as I walked up to the front door after school the aromas coming from her kitchen made me jump the three steps and swing wide the front door, rush through the living room and bedroom and into the heart of our home, her kitchen.
Mixing bowl in hand, crisp apron tied around her cuddly waist, she'd beam from ear to ear at my entrance and pretty soon the kettle would be whistling and a pot of tea brewing while she buttered thick slices of fresh bread and spread her delicious homemade berry jam across the top.
Sipping our tea, we'd share the jammy bread and she'd patiently listen to all the doings of my day as though I was the only person in the world she'd ever want to be with.
Breakfast, lunch, after school, dinner...those simple, loving meals at the kitchen table with my Nana are the memories which shaped my own love for hearth and home, they were a beacon of hope and light when as a young mother with three small babes Nana left us to be with Jesus and my heart was shattered in a million tiny aching pieces.
When she died a part of me died as well and I never thought I'd recover, but time passes, some memories dim whilst others shine brighter, and now I am the Nana.
These past six months as I've been designing and stitching this tribute to my dear Phyllis May I've been almost daily remembering my childhood with her and the lessons she taught me through those years, the lessons which I did not fully appreciate until recently.
I've also become more aware of the sacrifice she made to raise me during her 50's and 60's, so late in life after raising her own three children and two of her sister's children as well. At a time when she should have been enjoying the fruits of her labour and slowing down she opened her small home and her arms to raise a granddaughter as though born of her own womb. Such was her 'mothers love' for me.
And that is the story behind this memory book which I've named "Phyllis May's Kitchen"
There are 18 blocks in this project which come together as a beautiful fabric book with pockets to fill with all sorts of wonderful kitchen themed memorabilia, family photos, recipes, vintage linens, aprons or whatever your heart wants to hide within the pages.
This book can be a cherished chest to hold your own memories or a place to add new treasures which can be passed along one day to those you love...
In each of the eight months this BOM will run you'll receive the pattern to make one double page, so in the first month you'll make the cover and page 2.
In the second month you'll make pages 3 and 4, in the third month you will make pages 5 and 6 - and so on until you have all 16 pages.
But in the final month I'll also include page 17 and the back cover so in month eight you'll be making four pages instead of two.
Now let me give you a tour through the book...
Cover (page 1)
Pages 2 and 3
Pages 4 and 5
Pages 6 and 7
Pages 8 and 9
Pages 10 and 11
Pages 12 and 13
Pages 14 and 15
Pages 16 and 17
Back Cover (page 18)
The page blocks finish at 10 1/2" square and are stabilised with template plastic which slips between two blocks which then come together to make one double page.
There is an extra border added down one side of every block which at the end of this project becomes the spine which holds all the pages together as a book. Each page will end as 11 3/4" wide x 10 1/2" high.
PREFER A QUILT?
Before adding the extra border to create the book spine, all of the blocks are a set 10 1/2" square so it would be easy to make a quilt instead of a memory book.
PERSONALISE YOUR COVER
Included with the June pattern set will be the full alphabet so that you can personalise the memory book cover with your own name (or perhaps you have a Nana you'd like to remember too?).
There are nine pockets in Phyllis May's Kitchen and you can fill them with whatever you like.
I've popped in a few photos and vintage linens for these pictures but over time I'll add items which are more personal.
ARE YOU READY TO SEW ALONG?
The first two blocks for "Phyllis May's Kitchen" will be added to my Etsy Shop on June 11th as a single purchase and included are the materials, thread and notions requirements for the project.
Each monthly pattern set will make two sides of a page with detailed instructions for the embroidery, applique, piecing and page construction included.
In the final month (January 2020) there will be four blocks and book assembly instructions which will bring this project to a close.