Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The closing of a year and starting fresh...

 Dear friends,

I hope you have had a lovely Christmas break, despite lockdowns, limited guests around your table and all the other disturbances which may have taken the shine off what should be a truly beautiful day of giving thanks for our God-gift of Jesus. 

Every year we have a small Christmas gathering at Blossom's home with simple food - just her, Ross and the children, Ross's parents and us. This year was no different, though we had one extra family member to love on and cuddle close. Little Charlie David. 

He's the most calm and gentle baby who slept through the present unwrapping, shrieks of delight from his two big sisters, a chatty dinner, one father and two grandfathers putting together 360 pieces of a princess castle and all the additional laughter men building things without reading the instructions brings about.

In fact so relaxed were we all that everyone forgot to take photos. Phones were not in sight and therefore out of mind so it wasn't until Blossom and I went out shopping yesterday that we realised no-one had even thought to take a photo. Never mind. There's always tomorrow. 

I made our traditional cinnamon scrolls for Blossom, tiropita for Ross (he is Greek), rocky road for the girls and marinated beans with almonds just because we all love them. Ross's step mum made chicken and a potato bake and Blossom provided the rest. There was a lot of food left over and our bellies were full though we all found some space for rocky road.




Monday was our wedding anniversary, twenty-nine years. How blessed we are to have listened to the Lord and made that commitment to each other almost three decades ago. We were married just five months after we met and have never regretted it. 

Blossom and Ross gifted us dinner at our favourite Indian restaurant and we thoroughly enjoyed the Chilli Paneer, Lamb Madras, Lemon Rice and Dal Makhani. Once again our bellies were full but this time we waited a while before indulging in our sweets. 

Hubby has resigned from teaching and as of yesterday returned to selling cars. Thank you for the prayers over his health and new employment - already he is improving. This past month we have been very busy tying up loose ends, working in the garden while waiting for the very delayed wet season, planning forward for next year, and seriously readjusting our budget due to the drop in income - and all this was good for us because we had time to talk about what really mattered, reaffirming to each other that the path God has us on is the best one for us so no looking back, just hold fast to His strong hand and move forward. There's a lot more peace within our walls since making these hard decisions and choosing to make the most of every day the Lord gives us. 



Walking away from something that just isn't good for you can be difficult. Giving up a good income for a not so stable one can give bring about grave doubts. But when that decision is made with the right intent, a fullness of heart and a steadfast trust in our God to carry us through the other side of the valley, a weight slips off your shoulders, breathing slows, and that still small voice is heard with more clarity.



Boxing Day brought the wet season and my goodness, it's been beautiful to see the rain, to watch the parched garden come alive again. We went walking along the beach the other day to watch the storm roll in...the air was breezy and a bit cooler at last, though still sticky with familiar tropical humidity.

So calm and beautiful. Another perfect moment to ponder the greatness of our Creator and give thanks for His loving care and provision which has never left us wanting. 




Mr E has been weeding a lot between the rain showers because the ground being so wet makes this a much easier job. My herbs are thriving again and soon I'll take more photos around the garden for you...




...but what I will show you today is the result of Monday's studio/sewing room clean, declutter and reorganisation. Oh how I LOVE doing this at the beginning of a new year (and a few smaller makeovers with each season) because it inspires me to create fresh new designs. I hate clutter, I really do, and finding the balance between owning stuff and not being owned by the stuff can be a challenge, yet I do enjoy that kind of challenge and will be approaching every area of our small home with that mindset during the early months of 2021.

My studio/sewing room is just 12' square, which in itself is a challenge when you run a design business and work from home, however, with forethought and organisation I'm very pleased with the space I've created to work from next year...























Yesterday my dear Blossom bought me a beautiful new mug to use in this room as I have been able to clear space in there to create a small desk area for sketching ideas, planning monthly Homemakers Heart magazine articles and projects, and other bookwork that must be done.

In the photo above you can just see the corner of a mug rug I made for the sewing room a couple of years ago, but with a new rosey mug and a freshly made-over room to work in I decided to make myself a new mug rug, similar to the last one, but a bit prettier...




Softer colours, a lace tag, and the addition of paper pieced leaves...



Very simple, and just right for me.





What are you doing to create a fresh state of mind for 2021?

What I did in the studio/sewing room was small really, it just took some time and elbow grease - and to be honest it helped to lift away the remaining tentacles of that nasty depression I'd been struggling to overcome. I have always found rather than lamenting the trials in life it is better to get up and do something, even what might appear mundane, like scrubbing the kitchen top to bottom (which I did), scrubbing the bathroom top to bottom (which I did), reorganising the pantry (which I need to do), changing all the table-runners and cushion covers (which I'm about to do), baking for a neighbour (which I did) or playing with some fabrics to make yourself a gift (which I did when I made that quick little mug rug).

I'm a thinker, a writer, and if I'm not careful too much time can be spent pondering life rather than getting up and living it. And that's not what I want for this life, do you? Life is a God-given privilege and when Jesus said "I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10)  He meant it, and I'm sorry to say that too often I get caught up in the busyness and business of living instead of slowing mindfully to just enjoy the days we are given. 

Work will always be with us, and yes, God expects us to work (Six days you shall labour...Exodus 20:9), but He also wants us to enjoy life and to help others enjoy it too. When I am too focused on work there's a tendency to neglect the opportunity to spend time relaxing with my husband, and that's a priority for me next year - to seek more time with him. He'll be gone at work from 7.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday now, as well as Saturdays till 1.30pm...so time together will be more precious than before. I want to dignify that, I want to give him the best of me and show him just how proud I am to be his wife. And that means choosing JOY at every opportunity and giving our relationship the honour and time it deserves to keep on flourishing for another 29 years or until Jesus comes to take us home.

Goodness, this has been a mighty long post, but my heart is on my sleeve before you and I do hope and pray it has encouraged you even a little.



I'll be back on Friday with the launch of my new "POSIES" 2021 block of the month. This is a FREE project which runs for twelve months.

If you'd like the materials list and preparation guide you can download it using the link below.

DOWNLOAD THE POSIES PREP GUIDE

God bless your lovely hearts!

Hugs


PS: I have a limited number of Posies pincushion kits (the free pattern I shared before Christmas) in my Etsy Shop if you're interested. Go HERE to have a peek.

33 comments:

  1. Have not been having a couple of good days this week but always find visiting with you relaxing . Happy you had a lovely holiday. Happy New Year.

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  2. Your sewing room is so lovely! Mine needs a good cleaning. I can only seem to do a small bit at a time so it is a very slow process. The whole house needs tending to but my energy level is practically at zero. Norm is great about doing the shopping, washing dishes, vacuuming, and helping (sometimes on his own) with the laundry. But I don't have the heart to make him try to clean the rest of the house. The Posies hanging is delightful! It is going to be fun to make. Glad you had a good day with your family. We had a quiet day by ourselves as usual. Congratulations to Mr. E on his new job. It is a big decision to leave a job for one the pays less. I only worked half-days from 1988 to 2004 but it was still hard to give up that income when I decided the job just wasn't what I wanted anymore. I haven't worked since and I don't regret it. Wishing you both much success in life and family for the New Year! From your friend across the pond.

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  3. Happy New Year Jennifer. I hope it works out well for you and your family.

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  4. Hi Jenny,
    Congratulations! 29 years !
    Thank you for sharing the inspiring sunny sewing room photos from Australia !
    and all the other photo's and stories :) Really enjoy reading all about it :) Barefoot at the beach while it's 3C here :)
    Looking forward to Posies !
    Hugs,
    Joanne

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  5. Happy new year to you. I hope that the new job brings peace and happiness for you both. Congratulations on your first 29 years married too, a long marriage seems such an achievement these days. I particularly enjoyed your last paragraph about being a good wife, something for me to think about. I too have been having a sort out I my sewing room, I converted our smallest bedroom, almost 8 feet square, earlier this year. It is compact but so lovely to have. While I do sit at my desk to machine sew I take any hand sewing and cross stitching downstairs to the sofa. Previously everything was in my bedroom , under the bed, in the hallway, it is so lovely to have it all in one place. Christmas was lovely, we were allowed to see people that day and one of my daughters came over for the morning, we hadn't seen her in person for a couple of months. We also did a family zoom to our other daughter who lives abroad. I think that short time just all together (my son still lives at home) was the most poignant part of the day. Love to you all. x

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  6. Hi Jenny so glad you all had a lbeautiful very Xmas. And congrats to you and Mr E,wishing you and your beautiful family a happy and safe New Year xx

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  7. Your Christmas sounds like it was perfect. We are so blessed to have shared the time with family and your first Christmas with Charlie made it extra special. Congrats on your anniversary. Love your very tidy and pretty sewing room. I don't know how you manage it. My room is over flowing despite regular clean ups and tossing things out. I did not receive email notification for this post. Do I have to rei register? Glad I checked to see if there was a post lol.

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  8. Happy Anniversary you two! How funny, Jeff and I are at 29 years as well. SO hard to believe! Your Christmas sounds wonderful. We forgot to take pics as well, except one of my son and girlfriend!
    I'm so glad Charlie is a calm baby, he'll learn to sleep very well with two chatty older sisters, lol. LOVE the picture of hubby - how I miss walking a beach during a storm! The storm pics are great. I'm praying very hard for him, and very glad to hear that he's already feeling better, such a burden lifted.
    Your sewing room looks so lovely! So organized. I've gradually been transitioning mine from a sewing room to a sitting and drawing room - my sewing machine is put away unless I want it. Next summer I'm hoping to use it as a tea room again, where my mom and friends come together to watch the deer and chat. We've missed it this year. I agree about owning stuff and yet not being owned by it - the less I have out the better!
    I love your new mug and mug rug! So very Jenny. Posies is delightful, love the fabric you chose! Happy New Year to you all, may this be a most blessed year! Love you!

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  9. Happy Anniversary Jenny! Sounds like you had special Christmas memories and a special Anniversary Dinner. Love how you organized your smaller sewing room - everything neat and tidy. I've been pulling out fabrics and piling them up for future projects, and need to re-organize a bit again :). Enjoy your rainy weather and the new chapter with your husband's job change. Snowy weather our way - time to hunker down and sew and little more now.

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  10. Lovely post Jenny. I do hope that all goes well for Mr E and many congrats on your wedding anniversary. xx

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  11. As always, I enjoyed your post. 2021 brings a lot of changes for many of us as well as new things. This year, I'd like to try a few things I either haven't done before or try again. I'd like to try some healthy recipes that taste good and I'd like to get back into embroidery. Your news Posies patterns will be perfect!
    Thank you for the wonderful ideas and posts.

    Happy Anniversary and good luck and God's blessings on Mr. E's new job!

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  12. Don't ever apologize for wearing your heart on your sleeve. Why? Because your words certainly do lift my spirits and I am sure many others as well. This year has seen struggles that few of us anticipated. Learning to live our lives around our challenges is the gift, given to us by our creator, because we do have the ability to reason, to make choices, to listen to the messages that are presented to us, but often not seen or heard. May the New Year bless you in the new direction you have chosen.

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  13. Congratulations on 29 years of marriage! Your Christmas sounds wonderful, spending time with family and being in the moment so much so that you forget to take pictures is what it is all about. Love the beach pictures and also the pictures of your lovely sewing space. You have the most beautiful fabric collection! Where do you find such lovely, happy prints? Congrats to Mr. E on his new employment adventure! Looking forward to the lovely posies! Blessings to you.

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    1. I rarely buy fabric anymore so the majority of my pieces are between 4-10 years old. I don't buy anything specific, just if a print catches my eye and I have an idea on how to use it. The fabric you see there is my complete stash from many years. :-)

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  14. Congratulations on your 29th anniversary and to Mr. E on his new employment. So thankful he is feeling better and that you are too. I love the look of your sewing/work space.

    I am curious about your cutting table. It looks like you can adjust it up or down by the crank. I could certainly use one like that. Could you tell me where you got it or what it is called so I can look it up online?

    I love the picture of the beach with the storm rolling in. What is the name of the beach or the body of water?

    Praying you have a wonderful New Year. Godspeed.

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  15. Happy happy anniversary! I'm glad that you have found peace with the decisions you have made for your future. I wish Mr. E much success in his new career. Your studio looks awesome! I love that crankable table, and would love to know your source!

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  16. Sounds like a lovely Christmas for the whole family. Hope you and Mr E enjoy his new career in 2021.
    I love your workroom, looks so peaceful. Your storage units are lovely and I especially love your dark wood shelving an drawer unit, right up my street.
    Blossom has good taste with that mug and your new mug mat is absolutely gorgeous.
    Looking forward to starting the new Let's Stitch Again series, as these winter nights are long here and I love sewing watching telly.
    I wish you all a happy & healthy year in 2021.

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  17. My husband had to retire early nearly 8 years ago now, due to a boss who was mentally off and caused way too much stress on the workers. My husband's health was going downhill...so though his health is not good now, he had a few years to live fairly well and still we are managing on our own, though living in a senior adult apartment is not our ideal spot. But it will be ok. It is good to hear you are happy with your husband...so many cannot be these days in our country at least. If only people knew that living together in peace with your spouse is possible with GOD to help... Wishing you the best in 2021!

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  18. Another lovely post Jenny. Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas. Happy anniversary to you and Mr E and congratulations to Mr E on his new job. Your sewing room looks lovely. Here's looking forward to a brighter 2021. Our life is changing as Noel has now officially retired so we are retirees! LOL! Happy New Year Jenny. Hugs, Christine xx

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  19. Beautiful post. Congratulations on your Wedding Anniversary! Happy New Year!

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  20. A lovely newsy post, Jenny. Your Christmas Day sounds perfect. Little children add to the magic. Thanks for sharing your recently organised sewing room. I’m playing in mine and it is currently in the chaos before it gets better stage. I’m pleased Mark had a new job to go to. There is nothing worse than having a job that gets you down both physically and mentally. Enjoy the cooler, fresher weather now that the wet has finally arrived. Wishing you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

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  21. Muy Feliz Año Nuevo para ti y tu familia!!!
    Que todos los cambios de vida sean para bien!!!
    Un cuarto de costura precioso y muy bien ordenado. Seguro que saldrán magníficos diseños!!
    Besos desde España,
    pilarín

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  22. I can feel your happiness in what you've written. You've made some difficult decisions, but they are the right ones for the two of you. I'm so happy that Mr. E. will be working something safer and not as stressful. As the pandemic calms down, I hope MANY people come to buy new cars from him! If I lived there, I might come myself, since my car is turning 11 in a few days. =) Your work space looks beautiful and so right for you. I love seeing that and saying that - "so right for you". Love you, Susan

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  23. I am in the same position as your husband found himself with a job that emotionally stressed me so that for the first time in my life I had to get anxiety medication. Walking away from a very good paying job to being jobless at the moment is a very scary thought. Especially when I believed Father send me this new job but after 6 weeks I just realize that it is not good for my health. I am praying for the road ahead now and also had to make various financial decisions to help us get by. I am still not at peace as I am still struggling with what feels like a rock in my stomach with tears just under the surface. Feeling like a failure. I know we will eventually look back at this time and see Father's hand in it as with all the other trials and tribulations we went through where He never let go of us even if we did. Thanks for listening and praying.

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    1. ((hugs)) I understand perfectly. My husband has felt the same way about failure...but we know the Lord is for us and not against us, that He will make a way where there seems no way, and He will provide for His flock. xxxx

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  24. What a change in your household, to have Mr. E not only move to a different job, but to lose income, and time spent at home. I hope this all proves to be the right, God-led, choice. These are not easy times. I admire you for determining to start 2021 afresh, cleaning away the dust and clutter to make your environment lovely and calm. I completely understand about organizing one's work space, even though your work space is truly work, and mine is completely for play and therapy. We're all approaching 2021 with a longing for feeling refreshed... and with hope. I'm glad you are able to live and face whatever is ahead with your family (hubs, daughter, SIL, grandies) beside you. That's an extra blessing, one not all of us experience. Every good wish to you in this new year!

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  25. Happy Anniversary!! Happy New Year!! How wonderful that Mr. E was able to leave his job and step into something less stressful. I love your sewing area. It's so nice and neat and light and airy! Your Christmas sounds perfect! We didn't take many photos here either. Just enjoyed having family here. I am looking forward to starting the Posies project. Your work is lovely.

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  26. Happy Anniversary!! Happy New Year!! How wonderful that Mr. E was able to leave his job and step into something less stressful. I love your sewing area. It's so nice and neat and light and airy! Your Christmas sounds perfect! We didn't take many photos here either. Just enjoyed having family here. I am looking forward to starting the Posies project. Your work is lovely.

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  27. Enjoyed your post today. I was going through some things looking for a particular something. I came across some pages showing how to make a little felt book about how flowers grow. Well... as we know many times we get diverted from the original thoughts to something else. I remembered i had some felt and plenty of fabric scraps. So there I went to making the little felt book for my one year old great granddaughter. It is put together with the metal circle through holes in the felt pages. the pages includes a little song about flowers to the tune of "Twinkle little star" and some hand play being a flower. Thank you Jenny, you are such an inspirations. I love to stay busy with my little projects. I found a pattern similar to your daughter's little romper she sold. I have made one so far with more to come as my great grandson gets older. We are getting a light snow here in TN today.

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  28. Your words of encouragement are appreciated. Thank you. Your creating space is so lovely, and I bet it inspires you every time you look up from what you are doing.

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  29. I am just now getting around to reading your email. It has been a busy time for me apparently.

    Congratulations on the anniversary and on Mr E's retirement. I know God will continue to hold y'all in his arms and love you.

    I truly loved the pics of your sewing room. I'm creating mine, so I'm gathering all good tips. I especially like the dust cover for your sewing machine. Is that a pattern you have in your store? I'm going to hunt something like this down.

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    1. No. it was just randomly pieced back in 2009. The stitchery on the front is one of Blossom's originals and I treasure it.

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It's always nice to receive feedback on a blog post, so *thank you* for taking time to comment!
I will try to reply via email unless you are a 'no reply blogger' which means you'll have to check for my reply in the comments. Of course, life is a rather hazardous activity, isn't it? So if I don't respond to your comment that's the reason why - life simply stepped in...
hugs
Jennifer
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