This winter is so very warm, brilliant clear skies and so warm in fact that I swim in our pool each afternoon to cool down. Water and swimming have always been my way of unwinding, a way to exert physical energy that also draws out the excess mental overload I too often carry.
The garden is a mix of hits and misses - very productive with herbs, pumpkins, tomatoes and capsicums, but slow with beans, cucumbers and zucchini. I picked three pumpkins last week and they are out by the back door 'hardening' for a while as I've read they should sit for a week or two before you cut into one. These are Kent (otherwise known as Jap) pumpkins...
...but I also have Butternuts growing out front that won't be ready for another six weeks or so.
I never knew three pumpkin plants to spread so far! I have been pruning them back regularly but still they wander far and away, even now extending to the front window and if left unattended I imagine they'll find a way through the front door! More pruning this week...
It's lovely to enjoy our own tomatoes, spring onions, cucumbers and herbs right now as salads play a big part in the weekly menu. We grow a few different varieties of small tomatoes and just as we did last year they often disappear into our mouths between picking from the vines and arriving at the kitchen bench...fortunately we have three times as many plants this year so a return trip to pick more is not a problem.
This was our first cucumber, ever. Is it silly to be so excited? No, of course not. Though admittedly I made it last three days because even though there are many more on the vine they're not ready to pick yet.
Hubby has planted a passionfruit vine beside the chook pen fence which we hope will thrive and weave it's wandering arms across the wire. You can also see the beginnings of a bird net which will cover the coop and around the guava tree beside it. This is to keep a family of pigeons out of the enclosure.
Our dear Bess was unwell for seven days, not eating, very lethargic, and generally not interested in anything at all. She had an impacted crop and I found myself learning many new things about raising poultry and how to use natural methods to heal a sick hen.
From mixing Vegemite and water together and administering into her mouth through a syringe, to massaging her crop numerous times a day, to adding apple cider vinegar to her water (which I do every day now), to something that finally shifted the crop - olive oil across the top of her water. It was miraculous!
Since then she's been eating again, far more sprightly and back to her old self. Her and Daphne still enjoy porridge for breakfast but now I add a tablespoon of yoghurt to the mix because the probiotics are good for their digestive system.
Daphne's health never waned, she's quite a hardy girl.
With only one hen laying it was such a blessing to visit Rosie last week because we'd not seen each other since last November and her dear husband sent me home with a huge bowl (which he'd made himself and I have borrowed) of duck eggs!
Now I really know what colour 'duck egg blue' is.
Rosie has taught herself macrame and what beautiful plant hangers she's made! I've seen some of the photos she shared on Instagram and couldn't wait to see them for real. They are scattered through her home and add that something extra which only comes from being 'handmade'.
How blessed I was upon arrival to be gifted a small surprise package - my own macrame plant hanger. Of course, a few days later Mr E took me off to the garden section of Bunnings for the right plant, bless him.
Doesn't it look lovely hanging in our entrance?
I gave my sewing room a
spring winter tidy up this week because when things become cluttered in there I lose some creativity and the desire to sew, choosing rather to sit out in the living room with hand embroidery.
It took two days and I enjoyed every minute, listening to an Agatha Christie book on audio (Sad Cypress) as I decluttered, sorted and reorganised.
Sure enough, once it was done my sewing mojo went into top gear and I 'finally' made one of my favourite stitcheries (The Stitch Sampler) into a mini quilt and now it's hanging right near my sewing machine and ironing station.
The simple border and binding are beautiful old Tilda prints which were the inspiration behind the thread colours I used in the design.
My husband is on holidays from Monday for two whole weeks (mid year school break) and I've gotten my Elefantz work caught up so I too can enjoy a break from work. One of the fun things on my list for these coming two weeks is to go through my huge tub of completed original stitcheries and choose four or five favourites to turn into projects which can be displayed here at home.
Some mini quilts, cushions, table runners, frames...any or all may appear by mid July and I'm so excited to be setting aside this time to 'play'.
I'm reminded almost daily the words God spoke into my heart back at the end of 2018 - "Use what you already have"...and honest, I have a lot of stitchery blocks and I have enough fabric to make things with those blocks, things that reflect my desire to create a warm, welcoming environment in our home. Like Rosie's home, which overflows with the welcoming beauty of her handmade quilts, pillows, up-cycled furniture, decorations and macrame, my heart's desire is to bring life within the walls of our own abode, life that sings with the essence of what matters to myself and my husband.
For us, lots of greenery (we have plants everywhere) and colour and comfort...that expresses who we are. Sewn items, fresh baked breads, beautiful music, vegetable gardens, trees, hens, wild birds, engines, dirt carts, (hubby loves to build things that go!) - these are also expressions of the people who live within these walls.
I think there's a journey of discovery happening right now, deep down in my heart.
A journey that will discard and embrace, a time to learn new habits and skills, a revisiting of delights long forgotten, and a letting go of what holds no relevance in this season of life.
"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?"
A dear friend emailed me this week to share her heart and on a much deeper level than I she also is letting go and moving forward to a new thing. Reading her words, absorbing her description of how God is setting her world in a slightly different way to what she has previously known, I was encouraged, inspired, and excited for both of us.
Are there things in your life that are changing?
How are you approaching this?
Next time I'll give you a better look inside my newly uncluttered sewing space, and see what you think about having a repeat sew-along in July. No stitchery, just sewing. An oldie but a goodie.
Bless you precious ones.