Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Postcard and a bonus pattern to bless your homemaker heart...


I first began my earnest journey towards gentle domestic living around the middle of 2014 after a few years of being unsettled within myself, feeling I’d somehow lost part of my identity when the children grew up and left home.

 In 2015 I shared the idea of following ‘a year of gentle domesticity’ on my blog (HERE) , suggesting others might like to revive the gentle and oft-forgotten arts of embracing home-life and all that entails. A loud cry was heard from all corners of the globe, women everywhere were hungry to have their home-centred-hearts refreshed and validated. I was stunned at the response for I had imagined this was perhaps my own crisis, a journey for one. Yet, beautiful notes and comments flowed forth about a similar longing.

 It seemed that for too long the simple and precious delight of being a homemaker had been made to appear trite and lowly, yet I believed the woman who loves her home and family and finds joy in the everyday living of a domestic life had value far beyond measure.

 Walking this path over the last few years I have come to appreciate that you never quite ‘get there’. Intentionally living a gentle domestic life is a morning by morning choice and the fruit of our labours may not be evident for weeks, months or perhaps years – but it’s always worth the effort.

 As the months pass by, the softness of a grateful and gracious heart begins to shine and others will notice. A new depth of appreciation for the people in our lives and what we’ve been blessed to have will richly increase our capacity for kindness, compassion, love and generosity.

 We discover new skills, return to old ones, and along the way find more women who share a desire to ‘feather their nests’ and create a wonderful home sanctuary where crossing the doorstep is always accompanied by a sense of belonging, hospitality and welcome.

 Living the gentle domestic life is not solely for the woman who spends each day at home, it’s for all women who embrace homemaking, whether they work at outside employment, are caregivers for relatives, volunteer a few days a week, work beside their husband on the farm, or like me are working from a home office.

The heart of a homemaker is ‘for’ her family and home, no matter her circumstances.

 One example - for the busy working mother a simple act of throwing a fresh tablecloth over the dinner table and popping a few flowers from the garden into a glass jar between the salt and pepper shaker suddenly causes her heart to swell with satisfaction and the meal of BBQ chicken and salad from the supermarket suddenly doesn’t seem so bad because she’s changed the atmosphere of the meal and made the place where it’s going to be eaten one of warmth and care where the family can laugh and share about their day.

It’s really about doing what you can in the time you have with a gentle homemaker spirit.

 Join me for the rest of this 2021 year as once again I pursue the ever-deepening call of discovering what our homes reflect about our hearts and how to nourish the atmosphere in ways that will bring blessing and joy and comfort to any who pass over its threshold and also to our own lives.


Personally I shall be confronting the hangover of over-consumption within our home, budget and personal purchases by choosing to live on less, using what we have first and learning new skills which I hope will be useful now and into the future. I have no high expectations to put upon my efforts, just a willing heart to embrace the small things that matter and remove the things that don’t.

 I was raised by my Nana and Pop in a tiny one bedroom walk-through with outside bathroom and flower strewn front garden barely the size of a bathtub, so I’ll be drawing much of my own inspiration from the memories of that time, years where love was generously given, gentleness, laughter and gratitude were normal, hard work was accepted as everybody’s responsibility in life and housewives took pride in their homes whether modest or grand.

  I remember there wasn’t much money but my grandparents provided well through the industry of their combined creative skills, but many of those skills I never bothered to learn or have long forgotten...for now. After all, it’s never too late to learn and life really can be an adventure.

 Shall we journey this gentle domestic year together? I hope so. 

The underlying intent of this blog has, since 2015, focused on three things - faith, the gentle domestic life, and stitching. At times I've strayed a bit from that path, but God always draws me back to it and I have to tell you that it's right where I need to be because it's where HE wants me to be. 

This path, this journey of homemaking, fills me with satisfaction and hope in a way nothing else does, and today I want to make a commitment to you, my dear readers and friends, that as this year wanders it's own path that I shall endeavour to encourage you along the way to find joy, hope, satisfaction, sanctuary and even holiness, within your home.

I shall start by sharing "A Year of Gentle Domesticity" as a free pattern again.

I designed this pattern late in 2014 and stitched it onto a very pretty vintage doily before framing it and hanging in my sewing room as a reminder through the year to stay my course and pursue it diligently. In 2015 I shared the pattern for others to embroider as well.

Later that year I stitched the same design in blue, and again framed it for hanging, this time in my office as the house we lived in back then was large and I had separate office and sewing rooms.

Dear friend, here it is for you once more. Stitch it and frame it, place it in a position of prominence within your dwelling and be blessed as each day that small reminder grows and encourages your heart for home. Use the link below.

DOWNLOAD A Year of Gentle Domesticity

Around home...

I've been surprised that through last winter, spring and our endless baking summer that the Zinnias kept on blooming, spreading their seed and popping up all over the place. They have stolen my gardener heart and can firmly lay claim to being my favourite flower (closely followed by the also-abundant self-seeding Cosmos)...

After the summer scorched and dried so many of the smaller plants and herbs I am excited to begin planting anew in the remade and secured raised garden beds my husband maintains.
On Sunday he worked like a trojan to move the beds to one side, replenish them with good soil, compost and sugar cane mulch. Then he needed to build a fence around the first four beds to keep the chickens out...

I am so blessed to be the wife of Mr Reynolds!

Later today I will plant the herbs and kale seedlings we bought last weekend and then we shall tackle another growing area around the house. Little steps all add up to big steps as my friend Rosie tells me.

The two younger chickens will be ready for their first molt very soon and that means they require extra protein for feather production. Their layer mash is wonderful but fortunately they all love porridge with yoghurt and a little milk, which helps with extra protein in this season and will also be needful when winter arrives in June.

I was amazed to get the photo above because its usually impossible to get them to stay still for even a second, as you can see below...

Apparently giving them some scrambled eggs is another great way to add protein, especially when we have too many eggs on hand. They are incredible layers and never miss a day!

POSTCARDS week 3...

This week's postcard is one that I often reflect on because I am not a good sleeper. The harder I work during the day the more difficult it is for a restful night's sleep. If I have a slower day then sleep is sweeter. What I glean from this is that I need to stop pushing myself, even though I LOVE housework and could clean and reorganise all day long. 

Psalm 3:5 tells us - "I lay down and slept; I awoke for the Lord sustained me."

What comforts me in this verse is that God will give me all the sleep I need, and when I lack longed-for hours some nights, He shall indeed sustain me to function next day. In all things HE sustains me and in that truth, that promise, I really find rest. 

Use the link below to download this week's free postcard pattern.

DOWNLOAD week 3 Postcards From Heaven

Well, I have chatted enough today and should really get up from my desk now and go hang washing, let the chickens out of the coop so they can free range a few hours, and then begin chopping vegetables for tonight's dinner. There's also a pantry to empty so I can wipe all the shelving and then ascertain how many  jars I need for emptying out the smaller dried fruit packs which lay here and there amongst my others stores. I am hopeful of having everything moved to glass by the end of this month.

What is on your homemaking agenda today? What are you planting in the garden this month? I'd love to hear from you. 

Oh, before I go, news of Blossom - she has left Etsy and launched her very own website! You can even request items for her to make now. I'm so proud of her hard work and diligence. Go HERE to Blossom's new website.

Bless you heaps,

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celkalee said...

As always, your journey often reflects my own. Through all my long career-out-of-the-home years, I stretched each day to permit my passion for domesticity to enhance my day, my life and that of my family. One family joke is that my children never ate fast food until they went to college. Laugh not, I would not permit all that fat and salt! My older son spent his entire first semesters food allowance in a month on fast food. Really, now he is much more prudent. He is 50 years old, lets hope so! I look forward to all your ideas and your inspiration, God Bless. May Blossom do well with her new website!

Lorrie said...

I have always had a desire for home-making, domesticity, as you call it, believing that creating a place for my husband, myself, and our children was my primary calling. There are times when I was side-tracked, but I love the freedom and creativity of home-making. Thank you for your gentle posts, and for your generous heart. I can hardly believe that the first year of gentle domesticity was in 2015! Time does fly!

Christine M said...

Lovely post Jenny. We are enjoying lots of delicious eggs from our girls. I missed having chickens and it's great having "My girls" again!

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
That's wonderful for Blossom :) The site looks great ! Clear and easy to access information. She's off to a great start ! Good luck and have fun !
Looking forward to following along with the 2021 Gentle Domesticity. 2015 ! Was that the year ! There has been a lot of activity at Elefantz over the years. Enjoy your discoveries during the coming months and years :)

Patti said...

Hi Jenny, I am a new reader to your blog and newsletter, having discovered you through Pilgrim JES. I, too, struggled with my purpose after my children grew up and left the nest. But, thankfully, I had an epiphany and realized that it isn't just little kids who need a warm, loving, welcoming home. That freed me up to once more put my whole heart into being a homemaker, and, now, I happily call myself an empty nest homemaker. (I wrote about this recently on my blog).

While I don't sew or stitch, I have once more found great joy in being busy in the kitchen. Something yummy is often coming out of my oven.

I, too, love zinnias. They are such a fun, perky flower, aren't they? They were my maternal grandmother's favorite, and she had a huge garden of them. We would clip them to take to the cemetery for her mother's grave.

There is nothing like homegrown eggs! Infinitely better tasting than store bought ones.

Patti @ Leaving a Legacy

Tammy said...

Congratulations to Blossom launching her own site....I checked it out and it looks so professional and charming. Love the dresses. I look forward to another year of Gentle Domesticity with you and all the ladies everywhere else. I need some major motivation around my home these days. As I often feel very tired and blah...And I do not get as much done as I used to.... Love the pictures you got of your chooks and the garden....

Fran said...

I so enjoy all your posts! Like you, my nest is empty and has been for many years. I had the privilege of helping to raise 2 of my grandchildren in their younger years while their parents worked full time at demanding jobs. Though it was often very tiring, I KNOW that my heartfelt homemaking spilled over into their lives and that all the Nana influences will resonate through their future families. In this way, the nest is never really empty, but refilled, generation after generation. Your Nana was a good woman. As are you. Thank you for your wisdom and inspiration.

Lilly said...

Spring greetings from interior Alaska where we are still buried in 4 feet of snow but the days are increasing in daylight at a rate of 7 minutes a day! Hallelujah!
Most of us put out a list of chores to try to accomplish in a given day to make sure we are getting done as much as we should. Maybe you should consider writing out a shorter list and sticking to it so you do not overdue!
So fun to get a peak into someone else’s world and learn how God has blessed them where they are.
I had some of my crafter friends over yesterday and we made a little Suffolk Puff that was demonstrated by Anne Brooke on her #52tagshannmade challenge that you joined! So fun to share ideas. Blessings on the remainder of your week! Lil

Donna said...

Dear Jenny~
Thank you as always for your comforting post. I've been rereading my homemaking books lately, I have Rhonda Hetzels two books, and also The Gentle Art Of Domesticity. Each time I reread these and your wonderful blog, I realize I'm on the right path ;) I've also found quite a bit of dried fruits in my pantry ~ cherries, prunes, raisins etc...I find adding them to my overnight oats plumps them up and adds a little extra sweetness, yum! I also grew up in a small home, and love the cozy memories. Take care, Donna

Vicky dc said...

Hola querida amiga!
Siempre tan reconfortantes tus palabras!
He comprado tus tutoriales de bordado y ha encantado bordarlos!
Quisiera saber que paso con tu cuenta de Instagram? No pude encontrarla.
Bendiciones y abrazo enorme
Vicky Dc

Jenny said...

Thank you so much for generously sharing your patterns & your encouragement.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Vicky :-)
I closed my IG and FB accounts a couple of weeks ago (I wrote about that on my blog and on those accounts before I did it).

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I'm so glad those books are inspiring you. :-)
I don't like overnight oats but do add dried fruit to my porridge, and as you say, they plump up and are delicious!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Lil, my nature is to keep moving until I need to stop, though these past months I have been more pro-active in taking breaks throughout the day which has given me more energy to stay on top of home tasks. :-)
Wow, that's a lot of snow!! I hope your spring arrives soon. xx

Jenny of Elefantz said...

"I KNOW that my heartfelt homemaking spilled over into their lives and that all the Nana influences will resonate through their future families."
Fran, how true that is. x

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Lovely to "meet" you Patti. :-)
I love that description - empty nest homemaker!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

There certainly has been a lot happening at Elefantz these past six years, but every year grew me in ways only time (and the Father) could do. x

Ondrea said...

Beautiful designs you are sharing. Thankyou. Your chooks look very healthy. My daughter's chooks are the same as yours and I shall pass that recipe on. The devotion and pleasure you have with your home and family is so lovely to read about and always lifts my spirits. I just wish I was in a quieter neighbourhood. Another beautiful post, thankyou.

Beth said...

Jenny, your posts are so restful. Thank you for this oasis of calm after a busy work day.

Donna P. said...

Another beautiful post - thank you so much.
I am finding that no matter what kind of place you call home (we full time in an RV) it can be made into a home blessed with love, faith, and a place to find solace and to relax. I intend to do so more with my home, no matter where we roam.
No gardens for us but I do love to buy a very small plant from our local Walmart, then as it thrives, I divide up into 3 small plants and share with my three adult children. Even my son likes to have a plant on his patio.
Thank you for the blessing of your blog.

Nancy in IN said...

Thank you. Blossom's link didn't work for me.

JES said...

Looking forward to your posts ❤️ And I love how you embroidered inside a doily! So pretty 🥀

Kim said...

Good words...again! I appreciate, though I am pretty much a fulltime homemaker, how you don't guilt-trip anyone into thinking that they have to be fulltime at home in order to be a good, gentle homemaker. Just the little things of beautification and maintainence can be great gentle domesticity. Thanks again for the encouragement. Now, off to empty the dishwasher and get supper made.

gracie said...

Here I sit sipping my morning coffee (it is just past 5am) and visiting your blog. Once again you have given me a wonderful start to my day. Thank you for being a constant in my day to day.

Ingrid said...

Gracias Jenny por compartir. No recordaba este diseño. Lo tengo en mis archivos desde 2018. Ya es hora de darle uso. Que lindas tus gallinitas! Hasta posaron para la foto! Bellas! jajajaja me encantó. Gracias por mantenernos inspiradas y compartirnos los mensajes del Padre Celestial. Un abrazo.

KingsailK said...

Hi,Jenny thank you so much for all your lovely photos and your wonderful needle work.xxMaryLou

Susan said...

Thanks for the Gentle Domesticity pattern, Jenny. I am way behind, having missed a lot this last week with other things going on. I'm going to catch up now, and there's no need for you to reply. =)