Saturday, August 10, 2019

Fresh finds and a fresh direction...

It's been a lovely quiet week here, days where I spent much time in my Bible, prayer, sketching, planning and sewing. Oh, and gardening. AND celebrating Cully May's birthday!

Last Sunday our sweet Cully May had her 3rd birthday and what a joy and delight to have spent three years watching her grow and bloom, always a smile on her face and abundant cheeky laughter to fill the air. Words cannot express the joy she has brought to us, her grandparents. No matter how tired he is, Poppy's energy is restored when our little princess runs to him and wants to play. 

On Monday morning I met Blossom and her girls at the Aquarium and just as we did on Cully May's 1st birthday we wandered the incredible underwater world of the Reef and often just sat to watch the sharks, rays, fish and other sea creatures going about their watery life. Often they seemed to slow just enough to give us a look up and down of their own. Cully May loves the 'kwarium' and asked me on Thursday when I was visiting for morning tea "Nana, can we go back to the kwarium?". 
Fortunately Blossom has a family pass for the year so we'll be back often.

Out in the garden our tomatoes are going bonkers. Every day I pick a large bowl and offer the excess to Blossom or our neighbour, but mostly we eat them as snacks or in one of the MANY tomato recipes I have. Mr E said the other day, "How will we ever eat store bought tomatoes again? Next winter is a long way off for our next crop."

Out in the front yard our beans have grown and are beginning to set fruit, plus the carrots are coming along as well as the rockmelons and garlic. We've also got a capsicum fruiting and a heritage tomato (black Russian) taking off. Herbs of all description are thriving - basil, parsley, mint, oregano, sage, chives, dill, thyme, rosemary...and the lavender is quite happy as well.

I'll take photos next week for you, along with a big change to our back yard. Everything looks a mess at the moment but here in the tropics it's the winter when we get out in the yards and do the most work as the weather is warm, sunny, dry and comfortable. 

Something else which makes winter so wonderful in our climate is abundant, luscious and inexpensive strawberries. We have them every morning for breakfast with fresh pineapple and rockmelon, but I also use them in simple puddings.

I just slice the strawberries and grate an apple, spread them over the base of a small baking dish and cover with a little sponge before scattering oats across the top and baking.
We have this with custard and a pot of earl grey tea after dinner. 

Some nights I'll switch the strawberries in this pudding with pineapple chunks, frozen blueberries or raspberries; other nights I'll just chop strawberries and banana into custard and sprinkle with nutmeg. 
It's all simple, basic foods and eating simply is a big part of our life journey these days.

This morning we did our usual round of garage sales and I was blessed to find these 1950's Amish Butterprint Pyrex casserole dishes for a grand total of $9 (about $6 US). 

Aren't the prints on them beautiful?

I'm very conscious of not owning more than I need so one of the things I do when we're out early scouring the few garage sales in our town is look for better quality household items to replace what we already own, and then donate the previous items to a local op-shop. This keeps our home clutter free whilst allowing us to inexpensively improve the quality of what we own and use.

Recently I mentioned to Blossom that I'd like to find a little planter that would fit on the kitchen windowsill and hold about three plants. You know, God is the silent listener to every conversation, and a few days later at a garage sale I found a beautiful cream candle holder with three shallow little 'bowls' for holding candles. After removing the glass cylinders which sat in the bowls I knew it would be perfect for my windowsill plan.

I have been dividing a few of my larger indoor plants and have a number of small ones beginning to take off that sit in tiny beige pots...

...and they all fit together in the old candle holder as though they were made for it.

We now have 34 indoor plants around the house which purify the air and add so much beauty that you can't help feeling calm and content within our walls.

The old refashioned church pew in the front entrance is filling up with pots and appears to be a favourite place for the divided newcomers or those who have been doing poorly because they thrive there.

At another garage sale I bought this beautiful jug for a few dollars. I planted one of my divided peace lilies in a tall slender pot and slipped it inside - another wonderful display and the plant is rather happy too.

There has been a lot of prayer this week as I came before the Lord about the next stage of my designing and writing life. He's been so abundantly generous with the creativity He's given me these past ten years, and I cannot thank Him enough, so asking Him to open the eyes of my understanding and my heart and show me what direction to take next and how to honour Him with it was natural. 

He knows my plans, the ones I've written down and pondered for a couple of years now.
But in His wisdom He also knows what plans I ought to pursue, which are to be laid aside, and when to set forth with those He deems worthy. 

Over the past month I've sensed Him drawing me in a certain direction, which is why this past week I've given a lot of time to sitting in His presence and 'listening' to that still small voice for a clear vision. And the Lord does not disappoint. When you ask "What can I do for YOU Lord?" be assured He has an answer.

So all I can tell you right now is that I'm excited, more than I have been about designing and writing in a long time. New ideas, fresh designs, wide-eyed thoughts and a God-gifted path have begun to form and each day the delight in what comes next grows.

Little peeks of 'just a few' sewing things...

Some began months ago, some this week, and many more I won't show you yet.
But in time, in His time, something new will begin and I pray it blesses many, just as He blesses me.

Finally, I wanted to let you know that the double pattern for blocks 5 and 6 of Phyllis May's Kitchen is now in my Etsy Shop if you're following along that way with this project. 

There are two pocket pages this month, using the tea towel and the yummy bakes blocks.

The verse below is one of my life favourites, a promise that when I dwell in Christ His goodness and mercy are mine always. In fact all of Psalm 23 is a favourite...

May the Lord hedge you in on all sides and be your shield, your comfort, your strength, your hope and your great Deliverer all the days of your life.

bless you heaps,


Tracy said...

What a lovely thoughtful post. I am always inspired by your writings and wisdom

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Looks so Summery !
kids grow so fast! I used to look after two elementary school kids once a week "a few years ago"...they are 18 and 20 this year! So a few years ago is more than 10 !
enjoy the creative process! Always a joy to see the results!
have a great weekend!

Glenise said...

Thank you Jenny for your beautiful photos and words. Your blog is such a joy and so inspirational. I haven't done a lot of cooking lately but your strawberry dessert sounds and looks delicious and one I could make so thank you.

Tammy said...

Happy Birthday to Cully May a little belated. I know you had a wonderful time with the 3 girls...Hoping Blossoms health is getting better each and every day. Still praying for her Jenny. Can't wait to see the direction in Which God's path leads you...I know whatever it is . It will be wonderful and successful. Hugs and prayers to you my friend across the world. P.S. Your new teasers photos of your projects are gorgeous....Love the bird picture a lot

Patti said...

Your post reminded me of my reading today: Romans 12:6-8. Wow. I am looking forward to the stitchery you will be sharing in days to come. And I appreciate how you end the blog with a prayer. Very meaningful to me.

Dots said...

Wise and good words today. I remember growing up seeing those pyrex pieces. My mother, and aunts, had the Butterprint pattern. Mom's was white with turquoise. I think she also had the butter dish. She loved them. Brings back good memories.
Your tomatoes look awesome! So red and pretty! Glad you are feeling inspired with new ideas. We never get tired of what you make. So much fun. I think it is the best life to live content. So much toil and chaos in the world. Like a jungle sometimes. Reading your blog is soothing and like sitting with a good friend. I just appreciate all the effort you put into your blog. Thanks, for all you do.

Mandy Currie said...

Thank you for a wonderful post today and always. I really appreciate that you encourage us in the Lord, Your thoughts and prayers are lovely. Cully May is such a bright little spark. Your plants look great, you must have a green thumb. Regards Mandy Currie

sewbee831 said...

Wonderfully uplifting post! Little Cully May is such a joy to behold. Your choice of fabrics always make me smile :) So jelly over your vintage pyrex find. Planning on making my bunting this week! Happy Stitching, Kat Hat

Nanna Chel said...

Jenny, The Reef is the place my grandchildren love to visit when they are in Townsville. The family has an annual pass too. You could dry some of your tomatoes seeing as you have so many. We can't grow them in winter unfortunately. Store bought tomatoes just don't compare. Have a wonderful week.

Hartslove said...

Jenny: What a fine week you've had! So nice reading about it and seeing the photos. "Kwarium"---she's a joy. Your tomatoes, oh my! And the garden produce (it feels like you just moved in). You and Mr. E have been very productive. I like the your indoor plants too, and yes the Amish print dishes are a neat find---they suit your style too. Thanks for sharing! Alexine

the warmfireplace said...

It is just so refreshing to rest in the Lord and seek His guidance, looking forward to seeing your future plans. Sue

Ondrea said...

That little verse takes me back to my childhood Sunday school days singing it. Oh my! How grown up is Cully May now! A lovely way to spend the day. I can definately relate to your feeling about being grandparents and finding some energy when needed for the joyful times of play with our grandchildren. I look forward to seeing more beautiful designs you have been creating.

Farm Quilter said...

Your new pitcher matches your quilts beautifully - what a lovely find. Your Amish bowls are beautiful too...the designs on them remind me of your stitching. What a special birthday to spend with Cully May! What a lovely place to spend the day with her. Blessed you are to have your granddaughters so close by that you can enjoy their childhood with them. I'm looking forward to seeing the new direction of your stitching!

Nancy J said...

Everything looks beautiful in your little part of the world, and those bowls, I have not seen any like that down here, we have the old Pyrex ones with a small flower on one side. Beautiful preview, you do keep us guessing.XXX from a wet NZ.

Susie said...

Happy Birthday to the gorgeous Cully May. I'm sure she had a wonderful day. Such a joyful age. Those bowls you picked up are so gorgeous and those indoor plants - wow.

Little Penpen said...

Your posts are always full of pretty photo's. Everything is so happy and pretty.

Sherry said...

Thank you for this post, I am a bit restless and this is what I needed to read this morning.

Winifred said...

I can't believe Cully May is 3 years old. Maybe she'll be a marine biologist with her current interests.

Your garden is so productive I wish our soil was better it's solid clay & even after 30 years of adding the soil from my tubs every summer even the roses don't like it. I think the conifers have something to do with it turning the soil acid & drying it out but I do love to see them especially in winter when they blow about. Magic, but I know a lot of people don't.

I love your thoughtful posts there's lways something to make me ponder.

Barbara said...

Lovely post. I forgot it's wintertime in your part of the world. I'm sitting here in shorts and sandals. We've had high humidity for days now and lots of rain, along with the heat. But that's August in Florida. It won't last forever.

Your satin-stitched tiny hearts are perfect! I worked with your tutorial a week or so ago (the blue pitcher with the red roses) and was delighted to see how taking much smaller stitches makes the curves look so much better. It was a lot of fun.

Carla said...

Your tomatoes and the strawberries look perfectly red and delicious. Wow. You always do such lovely work and use the prettiest colors.

KaHolly said...

I haven’t been for a visit in such a long time! It was delightful to scroll through some of your more recent posts. I enjoyed this one in particular!

Susan said...

We had a small disaster here with the kitchen sink on Saturday, and so I've been pre-occupied with that fix, and it still isn't yet, but it's manageable, and so I'm very slow to getting over to read. As always, however, your post has brought beauty and peace into my life. Your plants are so beautiful, and the containers are just perfect. The casserole dishes you found are so perfect ... and blue! I loved the long shot down your table toward your living room couch. It all looks so cozy and welcoming. I was pleased to read about your recent experiences in your walk with the Lord. I know wonderful things are coming from it, even if you didn't show all your plans. =) The peace and joy in your post shine through - just like Cully May's beautiful smile. She has blessed many around the world, just with that one thing. Thanks for sharing her with us. <3

KingsailK said...

Thanks Jenny,love your peace lily in the jug!its 2300,and we are sitting outside burning wood and listening to Jazz,and breathing in the lovely fresh air.Hope Blossom doung well.xx