Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A new season, letting go and The Homemakers Heart...

Peace in our home is welcome, and so is peace in our heart.
I recently had a long encounter with God which began around 3.30 am one morning and continued for many hours and on into the next day as He began to peel away things in my life as one would peel away the layers of an onion.

It's been quite a wild ride in many ways since we bought our first home in September 2018. A new experience for us, these past 18 months have brought many surprises along the way - much joy, muscle-fulls of hard work, a flood, a productive food harvest during our tropical winter, a string of house repairs, health challenges, and many other highs and lows scattered in between. 

To be honest, we never realised what owning a home of your own entailed, having previously been renters all our lives...and I doubt anyone could have adequately explained this to us as it's something which needs to be experienced to truly grasp. But we wouldn't have it any other way.

Sitting outside each morning to share breakfast before my husband leaves for work we marvel at the gift of having this small patch of earth to ourselves...though of course we do share it with a variety of feathered friends!

Yesterday we watched red backed parrots in the feeder, while a flock of cockatoos waited their turn.

The yard was full of over twenty cockatoos as one stage, the tree branches bent with their weight and the newly mown grass almost white with so many.

Once everyone had their turn at the bird feeder and filled their bellies the sky filled with the flapping of white wings and we bid them farewell for another day.

But I digress...back to my time with God that morning.
It was like watching a slow video of life, with all the responsibilities and exhaustion I sometimes feel becoming vivid in a different way...not the feeling of it, but the observance of it.

Little by little He led me to understand that it was time to peel away some of the things which have a hold on my time, time that for a homemaker and small business owner can be quite precious due to not having much of it to spare.  

A number of things are already been removed from my every day and business life, and the sense of release and freedom which is settling in my heart is indeed peaceful.

On Sunday I deleted my Instagram account, and tomorrow I will be deleting my Facebook business page. Over the next week I will also be deleting the two groups I run on Facebook - these take time because I must delete each member individually before FB will allow me to properly delete the groups, and one group has 3000 members...sigh, they make things hard. And the last thing is to delete my personal FB page which will then leave me totally free from social media...and my heart is so joyous about that.

You see, even though these avenues have been how I promote my designs and earn a living from them, I've not enjoyed being on social media. Now that I am almost done with their hold, I will be placing my trust in the Lord to bring customers to my pattern shop or to the new stitchery club...and you know, there is such peace in that.

This 'new' season of life will free me up to do what I love most - blog regularly, encourage homemakers, design for God, and share tutorials for simple projects around the home.

I an excited to focus more on my Faith in Hand Stitchery Club, bringing more of the Word of God to life as needle and thread pictures...and very excited to have extra time each week to devote to this blog where I can share so many home-inspired ideas, projects and topics with you all. 

I'll also cancel my regular free newsletter from Friday 6th March as with the $ exchange rate these days it's costing a whopping $72 AU per month and though I've enjoyed giving the 5000 subscribers who receive it every week or two an easier way to stay in touch with what's happening on the blog and access to my free patterns or tutorials, financially it's just not wise anymore. 

You can always find me here on the blog should you want to continue following along, and in the blog sidebar there's a 'contact me' button if you genuinely need to email me. 
(please note you cannot see the sidebar on a phone...you need to be at a computer or using a tablet)

The "Peace to our House" stitchery you've seen in photos above was completed as a door stop over the weekend, because I do love doorstops and once the sting of this long hot tropical summer passes around early May we'll have doors flung open until mid-October when it returns...and door stops are marvellous for avoiding door slams during the season of trade winds.

The stitchery is HERE in my Etsy Shop now, but I was wondering if you'd like me to share a tutorial for making a door stop?? Let me know in the comments.

How did you go with your task last week? Did you clean your washing machine?
I had a few people ask for the recipe to make the washing machine cleaner I showed in last week's post...

I fill a glass spray bottle with plain white vinegar and add 10-15 drops each of lavender and tea tree oil. That's all. Give it a shake before using. If you missed last week's Homemakers Heart post it is here.

This week around home I decided to tackle the pantry. I have one really great galley shaped walk in pantry and another simple white pantry cupboard. Both of them store slightly different things and once every six month I like to go through and check 'use-by' dates as well as wiping down shelves, emptying open packets in their proper containers, writing a list of items to stock up on, and generally freshening the organisation of everything.

I've purchased some large airtight glass jars recently as well as a set of small screw top jars for spices and over the next week a lot of my non-perishables will be transferred from plastic to glass.

When I first stocked the pantry after we moved here I chose cheap plastic containers because some of the shelves are quite high (I'm only 5'1") and I was worried that putting up and taking down heavy filled glass jars would be dangerous...but my husband got me a wonderful step-stool and after making sure I would be safe we've decided to switch to glass. 

Tomorrow night Mr E and I will drop in to see little Rafaella for her 2nd birthday, and then we're going to do a store cupboard shop of non-perishables. With the corona virus crossing borders and oceans it never hurts to replenish a pantry with everyday staples which can be made into meals. Honestly, this is so much easier to do now that we don't eat meat or dairy.

A friend of mine in Canada put me on to an MD who shares recipes for natural remedies and one she recently had on her IG account (before I left) was a cough mixture made by placing springs of fresh thyme and sage into the base of a glass jar and then filling the jar right to the brim with local raw honey.

So I made up two jars, one for us and one for Blossom. You leave it in a cool dark place for a few weeks at least and use as needed.

Nana always had a jar of honey and lemon on her kitchen shelf for sore throats, which is what we have used all my life, but this is apparently wonderful for coughs so am happy to give it a try should winter coughs arise this year.

NOTE: Sage should never be used in pregnancy as it can trigger a miscarriage.

Blossom gave me a couple of new recipes last week. It's been fun for both of us trying new vegan recipes and if they are successful we share them!

Tomato Pesto... perfect tossed over hot pasta or gnocchi.
Also delicious as a large spoonful dropped into a bowl of hummus and served with rice cakes - Cully May and Rafaella 'love' this.

Banana Bread Cookies...these are soft, morish and a great way to use up very ripe bananas.
My recipe was tweaked because I chose to use rapadura sugar (you could use raw) and spelt flour (you could use white) because that's all I had and it's a healthier option. 

These are not crispy, they are like little handfuls of yummy banana bread with plump and juicy raisins throughout.

Here's my altered recipe:

·         1/2 cup (112g) vegan butter (or dairy butter if you're not vegan)
·         1 cup (200g) Rapadura Sugar (raw, or white)
·         1 cup (250g) mashed banana (around 3 medium)
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         2 cups (250g) plain spelt flour (or plain white flour)
·         1 tsp Bi-carb (baking) soda
·         1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
·         1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·         1 cup raisins or sultanas

1.    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350 F) and line two cookie trays with baking paper.
2.   Cream the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer, then gently stir in the mashed banana and vanilla.
3.    Add the sifted flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins, stirring with a spoon until everything is mixed well. (don’t use the electric mixer for this part).
6.   Spoon mounds onto the cookie trays. I made 24 of these cookies from the mix. 
7.    Bake for 15 minutes.

Shall you take up the challenge this week and give your pantry a good clean and re-order?

Next week I have a great project to share with you that may make this Homemakers Heart year even more fun and will simplify a lot of what we're doing within our homes.

Before I go, I wanted to leave you with another way to follow my blog if you've previously relied on FB posts, IG or my newsletter.

Go HERE and follow this blog on BlogLovin - it's free and you won't miss anything. 

I pray you find your own peace of heart in the days and weeks ahead.
Letting go can often free up our hands and thoughts, allowing them to explore new and wonderful things, or simply giving us back the TIME we've been missing.



Caroline said...

I wish I was brave enough to quit Facebook, but unfortunately it is the only way to see pics of my Grandchildren who all live in SA and I'm in Tassie. I already follow your Blog, but now will make sure I catch up on your doings more often. I really enjoy reading your writing, thoughts and recipes and antics your gorgeous Grandies get up to. Thank you for sharing your life with me

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Thanks for the banana bread cookie recipe! looks yummy :)
The door stop looks like a fun one to try! A fun place to use a stitchery! Denim or a darker/"doesn't show the dirt very quickly" fabric would work better for me here :)
Thanks for sharing and keeping a blog !

Julie said...

Another lovely post Jenny. I adore your new doorstop - it looks like some Tilda fabrics but am not sure. It was interesting to read late last week that you were discontinuing with Instagram as I have really struggled with this very decision since Christmas & am weighing up possibly doing the same. I just love your blog & am so pleased you will always continue with this - I have so enjoyed it since I first found you many years ago now. Jenny if I ever feel a bit of a virus-ey thing coming on I always pick 1 or 2 leaves of common garden sage & pour boiling water over it, cool & sip it. You can do this for 3 days & I swear it knocks virus's on the head - I often pop a small sprig of parsley into the mixture as this is very good for our kidneys ... also a slice of whole ginger root. Have a lovely week my friend xxx

Cheryl B. said...

I dd about 10 loads of laundry today for my youngest daughter and family. She is in early pregnancy and feeling very sick. My son-in-law is in college and he's doing the best he can. I was over on Sunday and folded what was clean and told them to gather it up and put it in my car. In between folding and switching out batches, I made a yummy tortellini soup, without the tortellini so my Keto husband can eat it. I also made a dish I really like with butternut squash, red bell pepper, onion, black beans and corn with chili powder and cumin. It's delicious and almost 0 WW points. I also used tomato pesto from Trader Joes in a crustless quick with pork sausage, asparagus and egg bake (with onions and cheese too)! It was a very busy day. 3 more loads tomorrow!

Kay said...

Thank you for another lovely post. The doorstop is so pretty and a tutorial to make one would be helpful. I recently did my pantry so am up to date on that, yours is huge, mine is literally a cupboard that is under 50cm wide and has five shelves in it. I cannot believe that baby girl is going to be two, it really doesn't seem that long ago that she was born. Wishing you a lovely week. x

Sherry said...

Thank you, Jenny. I will delete myself from the Facebook group but continue to follow you on your blog. I love your homemaker posts and your stitcheries although I haven't done much lately. I don't belong to any organized religion but do believe in spiritual guidance. Your belief in God and faith are an inspiration and seem to speak to me when I need it most. I am so proud to call you my friend. I do pray in my own way and will keep you and yours in my prayers. Take care of yourself and enjoy a more relaxed life.

e l i z a b e t h ♡ said...

Thank you for always posting such beautiful, inspiring posts, dear Jenny! I always leave your blog filled with encouragement and with the reminder to delight in the beauty of domestic life. And what a blessing that is!

Oh, I am so enjoying your discussions on vegan cooking! We've been experimenting with it here on and off for a couple years now, and I am always looking for new and delicious recipes. Last week I tried your salad dressing that you shared on a recent post as well as the vegan "Parmesan cheese" that was in your post...both were delicious! I also came across a "cheesy" broccoli and mushroom gnocchi dish that we had for dinner over the weekend and it, too, was a winner! It's so fun finding new and *healthy* recipes to add to my collection...do keep sharing them! {{smiles}}

Wishing you a lovely week! With love and blessings ♥

GStepmom said...

Jenny, I would love to have the directions for a doorstop. God is continuing to use you to bless my life. Thank you for this post. Peace be unto you. God bless you!

LaurieS said...

Dear Jenny, I'm new to your blog. I am loving it. I'm looking forward to your future blogs. I haven't done embroidery in ages over 30 years. It's nice to see it's not a dying art. I have done more sewing and crochet. I've not had the patience to embroider for some time. Thank you for the banana cookie recipe! I would also like the directions for the door stop.

FlourishingPalms said...

Thank you, Jenny, for explaining what you're doing, with the Lord's guidance. I fully appreciate how much better you'll feel for scaling down on social media. Personally, I have never been on Facebook, and you make me more glad than ever that I am not. However, I know that I'm hooked on Instagram. That being because it's the source of inspiration for modern quiltmaking. Overall though, blogging is still the place to be, I think. I've heard from several other bloggers that blogging is seeing a resurgence in popularity. I only wish I didn't have issues with Blogger. Even now, as I'm typing this in your comment box, I cannot see my profile/profile picture, even though I am logged into Google. I can only make a comment publish through my iPhone! What a hassle! After typing this, I will copy and paste it into an email to myself, and then from my iPhone, copy it from email and paste it back into your blog's comment box. Indeed. What a hassle.

Nonetheless, I respect you for what you're doing, and hope that you'll be blessed by these changes. You're certainly blessed each day as you sit in your backyard appreciating nature. It sounds idyllic.

Donna P. said...

I enjoyed your post today - the doorstop is so cute.
What did you use to clean your pantry? Is it the same recipe as the one to clean the washer or another?

Lin said...

I would love to get off of facebook but there are a couple of lovely groups that I belong to which I would hate to miss out on. I am so much happier with Instagram but can see that there would be a lot more time in the day if I didnt use it! Lovely post Jenny, thank you. xx

knitster said...

When I saw the doorstop I was hoping there would be a pattern as it is a perfect Christmas gift for my fav aunt. Years ago I saw a saying: Let Go, Let God and I try to live by that every day. While I will miss the group on Facebook I know I can always come here. Your blog along with one other I follow are so calming and peaceful. I wish you the best and pray that God gets you where He wants you to be.

Martha MCH said...

Love the birds that come to visit you. Love your pantry too. Curious (and nosy!) but what are in the rectangular stacks of boxes in your pantry? It looks like 3 stacks of about 10 each.

Jackie said...

Love your post! You have such a wonderful way with words. A tutorial for the doorstop would be wonderful.

Kristen said...

I am so with you on all of the social media platforms. I didn’t like the idea of them when they first came around-too invasive and many ways encouraging some to be very self centered. I always thought it was so silly-who would really care what I just ate or did, but me? And then it began to be so hurtful to so many-I just hate supporting something like that. I only signed up for Facebook to join a few private sewing groups and I must admit, I love seeing everyone’s makes on Instagram, but I have been pulling away from there too lately, because it is changing. I do so miss blogs though-I am so glad that you have always keep yours going, instead of hopping on the IG bandwagon. I sure miss the connection with peoples lives. I am just about in need of a new doorstop for the bathroom-a tutorial would be lovely.

Thanks Kristen

Jenny of Elefantz said...

They are spices in their current plastic containers, but which will be moved into small glass jars this week.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I used Miracle Spray. Will have that 'recipe' in my next blog post tomorrow.

Mandy Currie said...

Hello Jenny, I love your doorstop, all the patterns you make are so pretty. I'm glad your keeping your blog and completely understand getting out from social media. I keep my Facebook a/c because it's a cheap way to contact the family left in South Africa, I also belong to several embroider and quilting groups. I do hope that all the changes you are making will enhance your peace and bring you closer to what God wants you to focus on. I have been praying for you. I love my quiet time and would not give that up for anything, it's my time to connect with the Lord and read my Bible, it's special. I have enjoyed the Homemaker's Heart posts, it's bought me back to where I want to be too. Thank you Jenny and God bless you and Mr E. Regards Mandy xx

Anorina @SameliasMum said...

Your pantry looks super neat and organised. I really need to go through and sort through mine too. I'm sure there are things in there well past their expiry date.

Farm Quilter said...

While I will miss you in my Facebook feed, I left the Gentle Domesticity group on FB so you wouldn't have to remove me. Perhaps if you ask your followers to leave the group on their own, it will make for less work for you! It's easier that way. Because I started as a follower of your blog, it will be just fine for me to keep up with you that way. I'm so glad you are feeling better with your dietary changes and I appreciate the recipes for washing machine cleaner and the cough syrup with honey.

Robin in New Jersey said...

Hi Jenny! I totally understand you giving up social media, but was a little sad when you first mentioned it at Gentle Domesticity last week. At the same time, I am thrilled that you are keeping your blog. You are one of the few blogs that I have been reading for years. You are such an encouragement and I thank the Lord for YOU! Still praying for your heart and health.

Dots said...

I love your doorstop! How pretty! You should see mine. Sad! And ugly,too. So I would love to have a tutorial on that. I could use pretty there. I bought a pretty doormat a few weeks ago. So seeing a pretty doorstop sitting there would be pretty fancy!
I started simplifying my life 5 years ago. I retired. I was asked to do Facebook, but I never did. I guess I saw it as limiting on my time. I like blogs because I learn things from them. They keep me connected to things I enjoy. They are selected for what they add to my day. Your blog is at the top of my list. Because it is meaningful and offers quality, interest, and delight.
I'm glad for you in that you are changing what you don't enjoy doing. Like you, everyday is just precious. Time to slow down and be less stressed. It is liberating. Enjoy, and be well, Jenny.

TerriSue said...

Dear Jenny, I would like the instructions on how you made your doorstop. It is so pretty! One more way to use our stitcheries!

Anonymous said...

A wonderful post as usual, Jenny!
I'm so glad you will be spending more time on your blog and deleting the other things. Your blog is so lovely and easier to read than FB or Instagram. Your blog has a more pleasant and personal feeling about it.:) I'm really looking forward to more of your stories & content that you used to have in your on-line magazine. I totally loved your recent post that contained your stories!
Also, a tutorial for the door-stop would be great.
Thanks so much for all you do --- you are truly a blessing!

Anonymous said...

This is beautiful, Jenny, and so apt!


Snoodles said...

Lovely recipe for the cookies - they look scrumptious! Totally with you on social media....and looking forward to the tutorial if you have a chance to make one up for us.

Susan said...

I know this is a great decision. The only thing I do, sometimes, is IG, but if I'm busy, I don't do it. Blogging is how I like to hold conversations with people. The other platforms seem too distracting and time consuming. Blogging keeps track of my history of quilting, too. Thank you for the ideas in your pantry cleaning. I don't have a pantry! I have a shelf unit in the garage, and boxes of cans under the stairs. However, I also have a couple of kitchen cabinets which could use a good clean out and straightening - and so could the refrigerator. It's been hit or miss lately, when something spilled mostly. I'll give that a go this weekend. With only blogging, you are going to have lots more comments, so you won't be able to respond to everyone as you have before. It's perfectly okay with me if you don't respond. If there's something important, I'll get in touch anyway, and so will you. =) Thanks for the honey recipe - I didn't know that about sage, but I wasn't into herbs in pregnancy years, so that was okay. Thanks also for the beautiful bird pictures.

Tania said...

Dear Jenny,

I admire you for putting yourself first and deleting social media. I have been thinking seriously about deleting my accounts also and have limited my time on those platforms lately. I deleted myself off your Gentle Domesticity facebook page to make it a little easier for you, and I am looking forward to catching up through your lovely blog.

I am enjoying your homemaking series. The tasks encourage me to get to and tidy up and keep things orderly. I started my pantry earlier this week, so this post fits in perfectly for me. I have a big pantry and try to keep it clean and tidy, but sometimes fall behind.

Thank you for the recipes you are sharing. I will be trying out the honey mixture as we keep bees now, and I have bananas out the freezer for making a batch of your biscuits today. The pesto recipe has been saved for later.

I am really pleased to hear that the vegan diet is helping with your health. I love reading wonderful stories of healing when eating this way. I know it has helped me a lot. While I am baking today I will be making zucchini bread and rhubarb cake...all vegan of course. Mostly I use traditional recipes, and just change the eggs for flax eggs and the milk/butter for a plant based option. It seems to work well, sometimes even better.

Take care and God bless,


Carrie Ando said...

Bless you Julie. I really need this at the moment. Absolutely miserable with flu. Off to the garden to pick the sage. Looking forward to being able to raise my arms again to sew.

thefarleys2001 said...

Jenny I have enjoyed your newsletters over the years Andi will miss them! But I’ll watch for posts on your blog. It’s been wonderful! Thank you for all your imsperation, not only in stitching but with god as well I love the pics of the yard , birds, chickens and most of all pictures of your granddaughters! They ate so delightful. And of course thank you for all you freebies as well as the clubs! Blessings, Robin

the warmfireplace said...

I have never been on any of these social media sights, never had a facebook account, I am so relieved, I once read from a lady that had a blog that she would rather use her days to live and get on with her life, than live it looking at what everyone else was doing and not accomplishing anything! I am so enjoying your homemakers tasks, and your beautiful psalm 23 stitching. Sue

Tania said...

Hello again Jenny,

I just wanted to let you know that I made your banana bread cookies today, they are soooo nice! I used coconut sugar and dates instead of raisins and they turned out really well. Will definitely be making these again.


Nancy Sasse said...

Blessings on all your endeavors! I know God will bless you for these faith-honoring descions. Much love from Montana, USA.
I'll see you on your blog♡

Jacqueline said...

I am happy to read that you are keeping your blog. I so enjoy visiting with you. Peace be with you.

Susan said...

I am happy you are keeping your blog. I haven't and don't do social media. Thank you for the nice pattern and yes I would like to know how you made your doorstop. May God continue to bless you.

Tammy said...

I love your pantry...So white and clean....My pantry isn't big enough....Too much space between the shelves. Wasted space.Would love your tutorial for the door stop. I will be here anxiously awaiting each and every blog post my Dear friend. My sister Anita and I miss your online absence. May you get stronger each day and healed completely in Jesus's name

Winifred said...

I just wish I had a pantry like yours Jenny, I love it. We had huge pantries in the days before we had fridges but houses here in the UK don't seem to have them any more. Think they are obsessed with fitted kitchens now and knocking all the walls down to have huge open plan rooms.
I'm going to try your cough mixture as I'm just recovering from a virus thankfully not the dreaded one but I can't take the usual cough mixtures.
Good idea to get rid of Facebook & Instagram it's a pity that people have got hooked on it but it's not my cup of tea.

I can't believe Rafaella is two, those girls are growing so quickly, grandchildren grow far quicker than your children sadly. Hope you had a great time with them.

I would love to make your door stop, not that I need it to keep the doors open I just love the look of it.
God bless

Tina said...

What a wonderful post and I want to thank you so much for gently pushing me in a direction I believe God has wanted me to go for a long time. I mentioned in a comment in your last post on Instagram that I too felt it was time to move on, and so I have. I closed Instagram and Facebook, what a huge relief that simple act gave me. I also decided to keep my blog going as it really is a journal of my creative life.

I so look forward to your wonderful and inspiring blog posts, designs and more. Thank you so much!!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

It's a bit decision so good on you for choosing God's direction. :-) It will only bring blessing. xx