Friday, November 20, 2020

Blocks 5 and 6 plus a sneak peek for 2021...


Today we'll continue the nativity story with block 5, Star of Wonder, and block 6, Gifts.
The star played a huge part in drawing attention to the miracle of Jesus birth. It was a sign which wise men in a far away land had waited for, for their own books foretold a special star would be the sign of a King's birth. 


Leading the wise men on their long journey to Bethlehem, it stood over the home where Jesus was now a toddler, lovingly cared for by his mother and Joseph, and to that humble abode they came and worshipped before Emmanuel "God with us" and bestowed gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.


Those gifts were  more important than Mary and Joseph knew at the time because soon afterwards God, in a dream, directed Joseph to take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt because King Herod had heard of  His birth and wanted to kill Him. Those gifts would have been their provision for the years spent hiding in Egypt.

There are so many hidden lessons in this story.
Lessons about trusting God to lead us from where we are to where we need to be, worshipping at the feet of Jesus. 
Lessons about His unseen provision and direction before we face a trial.
Lessons about faithfulness to 'go' when He tells us now is the time.
Lessons about not changing course in our time, but in His.

In our home right now we are living through some of these lessons - seeking the Lord, trusting in the new directions we are being led to follow, knowing that He will make a way of provision as we transition from one path to another, giving thanks for His prior warnings and clear promises.
 I don't know about you, but I find there are no wasted verses in the Bible. Everything God wrote is alive and living and powerful...and can surprise us with its wisdom and truth at the most extraordinary moments.
Use the link below to download blocks 5 and 6 of Joy to the World

Next Friday I'll share the final two blocks and the quilt assembly.
For those who have asked, it measures 22.5 inches square. 

NEW in 2021

 After such a busy few weeks I was grateful to have some down-time yesterday. 
There was no rush to go anywhere, or to bake or to be...I was gifted a day all to myself.
After making my beloved's work lunch and feeding the chickens we sat outside and shared our regular breakfast of fruit, home-made granola, home-made berry compote and coconut yoghurt... 

The same, but different, my husband and me. He enjoys his fruit on the side, whilst I like everything in the one bowl. 

Once I'd waved him goodbye it was back inside for a cup of tea and a couple of hours spent sketching little posies.  Twelve little posies.
I have already designed and stitched one BOM for 2021 (subscription only - more about that another time) and really needed to piece the blocks together, but as my plan for that one is a February start I knew taking time now to create another BOM, a freebie this time, would be time well spent that morning.

Inspired by my dear Nana's love of posies the small sketches came to life fairly quickly, a little tweaking here, erasing there, and by lunchtime they were ready to be traced onto fabric.
Threads were chosen and small applique scraps as well. When I was going through my scraps I found a lot which had small motifs such as birds, bunnies, bees and houses so I chose twelve tiny pieces and added them to the traced jugs and vases.

By mid afternoon I'd stitched one little block and had just begun the second when I realised my day of leisure was almost at an end and it was time to begin dinner preparations. 
But what a lovely creative and slowing day I had enjoyed!
Here's a little peek...

My plan is to launch the free POSIES Block of the Month on January 1st, 2021, and it will run all year.
This will be a small wall quilt made entirely of scrap fabrics so there is no fabric requirements list, just use what you already have. I'm all about using what's already in my stash these past few years and find that I rarely need to buy anything more.

A few people have asked how I store my stitcheries in progress. Quite often I have four, five or six stitchery designs prepared at once - this is especially true when designing for my various Stitchery Clubs over the years as I've needed to have three to five new patterns ready each month. 
The easiest way I have found to keep everything together for each individual project is to store them in plastic containers.

At any given time I have a number of these stacked in my sewing room and when it comes time to write a pattern all I need do is open the particular container which holds a completed stitchery and it's threads, and from there I can list the thread numbers on the pattern and write accurate embroidery instructions. 

I also write rough notes in my pattern book along the way as well as pencilling thread numbers onto the pattern sheets before I begin. This keeps me on track, especially when stitching during the evening because sometimes I may use a few different greens or blues or pinks in one design and at night it can be difficult to tell which one I'm using. By writing the thread numbers onto the pattern sheet I don't make mistakes...
(though I have been known to change my mind on a colour and unpick it)


I'm thoroughly enjoying audio books. Over the past six months or so I've listened to a number of Agatha Christie books and loved all but one. You see as much as I enjoy watching my favourite Poirot or Marple episodes on DVD it takes me so long to stitch a design because I keep looking up to watch (even though I've seen the same episodes twenty times over) and then once the episode is over I see barely any stitching actually got done.
In normal times that wouldn't be too much of a problem, but time has been sparse of late and sitting quietly at my work whilst listening to a book has seen me get right back on track with Elefantz Designs. 

One book I was unable to get as an audio is now an evening read before bed.
I first heard of this book, The Servant Queen and the King She Serves (published by the British Bible Society) in a Sally Clarkson blog/podcast and knew both Blossom and I would love to read it. 
Very hard to find but eventually I tracked down a copy through World of Books (Australia) and it was quite inexpensive so I felt doubly blessed.

Christmas Patterns

There have been SO many messages arriving recently asking if I could add some of my older Christmas patterns to the Etsy Shop, so this morning that's just what I did. 

Six Christmas Stockings (2018 Christmas issue of The Stitchery Club)


The Holly Bird projects - six stitcheries with projects

The 2017 Christmas issue of The Stitchery Club

You'll find all of these in my shop now, plus many other patterns, as instant digital downloads. Use the link below to visit...

I think that's enough for today, don't you, but before I go let me share the simplest apple jelly (jello) recipe that I originally shared over five years ago. This is something Cully May asks for all the time and can be made using any pure fruit juice you like. 
I made it with blackcurrant juice the other day and she gobbled it so fast!

You'll need:

These are Australian measures-

400 ml of fresh apple juice 
(or the 100% cloudy kind like Nudie Juice that you find in the cold section of the supermarket -you can also make this using fresh orange juice or other juice that you like)
100 ml boiling water
1 tablespoon powdered gelatine

Dissolve the gelatine in the boiling water.
Pour the apple juice into the gelatine water and stir well until dissolved.
Place in your blender for 30 seconds (this creates the foam top, kind of like marshmallow!)
Pour into a tray to set. This takes about 15 -20 minutes.

NOTE: you can skip the bender step and just mix it very well with a spoon.

US measures are:  1¾ cups of juice / 7 tablespoons boiling water / 4 teaspoons gelatine powder

You could also add fruit to the jelly before it sets, and that's something I'll do next time the girls come to visit. They love tinned Two Fruits which is a mix of pears and peaches and would be lovely in apple jelly.

Bless you lovely ones! May the Lord's joy be mightily upon your hearts and minds this weekend. Let everything else go and focus on the good and kind in each other, not our differences. 

Loving hugs


Maryanne said...

I made cherry juice jelly for a trifle one Christmas Eve. The grandkids loved it!!! I haven't used any other juices yet but I intend to try them some time.

Joanne said...

Hi jenny,
We used to make jello/jelly at girl guide camp. After different colours of the mixture were made and let to cool a bit, it was then poured into sandwich bags, smaal plastic bags, hug in a tree and left to cool and set. Quite a cheery sight. The girls then enjoyed the snack ! No dishes !
Enjoy the weekend !

Patti said...

Thank you for the next series of blocks for 'Joy to the World'! And you are right about the hidden lessons in the Christmas story. Thank you for sharing that reminder. Those posies look tiny! Saying prayers for you and your family.

eliz said...

YUM!! Thank You for the recipe! And thank you so much for the heads up on the Queen's book! I found it- not as easy to find in the USA. Priced here a bit more than I'd pay, but its God and the Queen! :o) And anyone who LOVES God gets my attention! Also because my name is Elizabeth, and both my Grandmothers were Elizabeths as well! (one Scottish) and 2 of my Granddaughters (ages 18 and 23) are Elizabeths, with me being almost 50% UK ancestry, well, we have kind of a thing for the Queen! (great respect) This book is right up my alley!
I enjoy your blog so much. Your Granddaughters are so sweet. I am still praying for their baby brother, I can't wait to "see" him playing with his sisters! What Joy!
(((HUGS))) God Bless

Winifred said...

A lovely post Jenny, your breakfast looks gorgeous.

I'd never heard of that book but it looks interesting. Will have to have a look on the internet.

I love listening to ebooks the library has quite a good selection and it doesn't distract you when you're sewing or knitting like the telly does.

Take care.

Nancy said...

Elizabeth I found it for very reasonable price on Thriftbooks ($4.19 used). You might try there.

Susan said...

What a lovely visit I feel like I had, a peek into your day. Everything is amazing and calming and homey. Thank you, Jenny. Thank you for the blocks and for the wonderful effect you have on me. I believe you are good blood pressure medicine. =) The jello recipe looks scrumptious!

Ondrea said...

Such sweet designs for next year. I love how your Christmas blocks tell the story. I enjoy listening to podcasts while machine sewing or selecting fabrics and threads but prefer watching something while hand stitching. I store my smaller projects in large zip lock bags from Officeworks and larger projects in plastic containers. Yummy jelly. I may try using agar to make the plant based vegan version.

Tammy said...

Thank you so much for the new blocks to the Christmas stitch along...Love you Dear friend. Also thank you for the jelly/jello recipe...I often wondered if one could make a from scratch version. This will be a great addition to my cooking.I love the storage boxes you have for your projects too...That would be a game changer for me for sure. Your holiday patterns are all gorgeous. I admire them everytime. You have so much talent Jenny. The Lord has truly blessed you in so many ways. Seeing them I remember As the holidays approach I always think of my long distance friends. And what fun it would be if I could do a breakfast / tea with all of my long distance friends. What fun we would have...What I would need to bake in advance for the sweets. And to cook a great big huge breakfast as we do for my family members . Oh what all we would talk about, afterwards a tour of the sewing room and showing off my latest projects or pattern. And my thrifted fabrics. And maybe a walk through the flower garden and yards... . One can dream. Have a beautiful weekend.

Allie said...

Oh I love this pattern so much! I've read too that those spices were used in burial, so it was an indicator of Christ's death. I agree that no verse is without meaning - not one word - OH how I love His word.
Your breakfast looks really yummy - although I'm hooked on my bacon and eggs, lol! I'm so enjoying them. Well, not for breakfast, as I'm still only eating one or two meals a day....
Your posies are so delightful!!! It's hard for me to believe this year is almost over, it's like it hardly happened - what with all the staying home. Not really any memories to grasp for this year, except the year as a whole. I can see it now in the future - "how was your day?" "oh, pure 2020, really awful" lol.
I adore your Christmas stitcheries!

Carla said...

Your Christmas stitchery are beautiful. I was half tempted to download your current blocks 5 & 6 but I know me. They'll not get down but I do enjoy seeing what you do and share.