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.
Wow! Jenny it looks amazing! It was worth the wait to see what you've created!
very very beautiful...<3
Hi Jenny what a special story ,I could feel the love you have for your nana,beautiful memories made into a beautiful book ,beautiful work Jenny,well done xx
This is just so beautiful and very special 💖
These are so precious..truly a labor of love! Seeing the entire project proves it is even more adorable than the little glimpses we got as you worked. These just might be my favorites of all of your designs! - Diane from Minnesota.
Oh my! You have really created a unique beautiful project. You must have spent many hours designing it, stitching it and pausing to think about days gone by filled with love. A very sentimental lively tribute to your nana. Absolutely amazing!
These blocks are beautiful and I can't wait to start stitching!
It's gorgeous Jenny!
Well worth the wait. Can't wait to start.
Truly the best thing you've ever done - this is AMAZING!!!!! And worth every single minute of effort!!!!!
Beautiful Jenny. Such lovely memories of your Nana and I love the book format. xx
Thats so beautiful!Jenny!!!lovely memories to treasure!!💕💞💖
Jenny- it was worth the wait! How wonderfully beautiful and unique-of course, I have already signed up! I had to do that even before I left this comment-that’s how excited I am!�� I am a retired graphic designer and illustrator- pre-social media and in the early days of blogs, I still got most of my new recipes from magazines or books and so I started a very unique binder that was a combo of recipes/photos/memories, etc. It sounds like I made a scrapbook, but they are nothing like that-they are now very valuable in our house and we all will sometimes pull them out to either cook a meal or reminisce about our family life. I have 2 adult sons who love to cook and I eventually split this memory book into one for desserts(we are big on those��) and one for the rest-so now each of my boys will have a cherished treasure when I am gone. Since my early retirement 6 years ago due to several chronic illnesses (i empathize and understand your posts completely), I have really gotten back into my sewing and so I am so excited for this-it is a new sewn version of my memory book! And home and hearth are the very best place to be in the world! Thanks for your hard work, Jenny. I look forward to this!
Oh, Jenny, how very beautiful and what an amazing tribute to a cherished Nana. From reading the fb posts and comments here, you have already touched so many hearts. We all have two grandmothers (some have honorary ones as well) and most often they are the heart of the home. We will all be united on a nostalgic journey as we stitch these blocks and it will be some of the loveliest work produced - stitching from the hands of loving and cherished granddaughters. God bless you, dearly loved granddaughter of Phyllis May. xxx ❤️❤️❤️
Hi Jenny! I signed right up when I saw your Phyllis May's Kitchen project. It is SO beautiful. I LOVE your fabric/combinations. I'm wondering if you have a fabric packet that goes along with this project? I love fabric, but I am color challenged. I'm a needle-turn appliquer and not so much an embroiderer. I know I will enjoy adding embroidery to my skills with this project. Thank you Jenny. Sandra
It is truly beautiful Jen and such a loving tribute to your gorgeous Nana! Such special women, those that can Mother others. I adored my Nana too and she gave me such emotional and loving support, for which I will forever feel blessed. You have created such a beautiful project...I am sure Phyllis May would be so proud...hugs xxx
Hi Sandra, unfortunately I'm not set up to offer quilt kits as I'm a small home business and not a shop, but I will have all the details and an alternative in the first PDF I send in the next 24 hours.
It is heartwarming to read about your life and times with your dear grandmother. The memory book is a gift for the eyes and heart! Oh so lovely and inspired. Alexine
I always love hearing stories about you and your Nana. This Memory Book is a wonderful idea. I was close to my grandmother, but only for the first 9 years of my life, and then I didn't see her very often after my mother died. I'm not sure if I'll make it as a book or as a quilt, but your book is certainly lovely to look at and filled with marvelous things! Thanks for another great idea, Jenny! Very worth waiting for, after all the teasers on IG! =)
This is absolutely beautiful!
Absolutely beautiful, a true labor of love and such an incredible tribute to your grandmother. I wish my grandmother was still alive! I would have loved to have made it for her. She taught me to embroider as a young girl! Blessings to you and yours!
I couldn't think of a better tribute to your much loved nana Jenny. This is truly a beautiful project and love shines through. You must be so pleased with it sweetie. Xxx
What an incredible tribute to your beloved Nana. It brought tears to my eyes and it's so beautiful.
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