Saturday, May 1, 2021

Posies block 5, and my enemy the orange...


How are you going with your Posies blocks so far? Have you kept up with stitching them or are you saving them for a rainy day project?

This month's block features satin stitch, backstitch and lazy daisy stitch, three of my favourites. But you could change things up if you like and instead of the satin stitch for the top of the bullrushes, consider a double line of chain stitch or three lines of varying length backstitch. 
The best thing about any stitchery project is that with a little thought you can modify it to suit your own style, colour and experience. 

Need a reminder of what the completed quilt will look like?

Just in case you're new to my free Posies BOM for 2021, I also shared a pretty pincushion to tie in with this project (and it's free too!)...

Below are listed the download links for today's May 'Posies' block, plus the pincushion, and also a page with links to the first four month's patterns.

DOWNLOAD the May "Posies" pattern

DOWNLOAD the "Posies" pincushion pattern

VISIT this page to access the first four months of "Posies" patterns

I think that cute fussy-cut bunny fabric for the applique vase really steals the show with block 5, don't you?

Have you been fussy cutting your applique vases each month too?

It's just a short blog post today because no matter what's happening in life I do like to stay on track with dated commitments. You see I've got a very nasty coverage of contact dermatitis which has really limited what I can do this week. Apart from managing the pain, stinging and itching, it really rattled my mind as to what on earth had brought it on, as this is an allergic reaction.


The doctor and I had a long chat this morning and as I was driving home from the surgery with more medications to try, I had a spark of an idea, so as soon as I opened the front door I sat down at the computer and googled. Hurrah because the mystery was solved; but also lament because something else I really enjoy has now been erased from my pantry. Worse still, erased from my tea-time.

Early Grey Tea. The tea I simply love, the tea I have been almost inhaling the past few weeks as so much has been brewed and sipped and thoroughly enjoyed every day! 

I used to enjoy the occasional Twinings Earl Grey, but then I began buying French Earl Grey in loose leaf from the Tea Centre in town. Sooooooo delicious with real loose tea. But I enjoyed it so much I kept drinking, morning, noon and night. 

I have had a problem with oranges all my life - first with bilious attacks as a child, then it became my worst of all migraine triggers, though I could still have a quarter orange once every few weeks without an issue. Then late last year it became apparent I could not even have a hint of orange juice or rind anymore, the reaction was so bad. By January it was mandarins as well which needed to be removed from my diet. 

I have never really thought about Bergamot (in Earl Grey tea) before, until today. Then I looked it up and discovered it was an orange. Wow. No wonder my body is a mess. For me, anything remotely orange or mandarin is bye bye lovely tea. Sob.

Now to get well again, and carefully study every ingredient in the things I eat or drink in future. I am alive with this dermatitis at the moment so it may take a while to settle and leave, but at least I'm not making things worse now that I know the cause. 

Oh, and we also discovered (thanks to Blossom) that a new natural washing powder I began using two weeks ago has citrus oil in it, and that's also been contributing to the itchy red saga. I ditched it a few days back and had to wash everything in the wardrobe I'd worn during that time, plus towels and sheets again. But still the rash came...and now I know it's from Bergamot. 

My list of food allergies grows longer every year, and always things I like more than others. Someone told me the other day that this tends to happen as we age. Have you found this to be so?

So, my dears, I'm going to be a week or so late with the next Homemakers Heart Magazine, and I'll delay Tea Week until later in May...but I know you're all very kind and understanding about my freebies. This past week was a whirlwind of grandchildren and dermatitis; I didn't even get to mop my floors. Hopefully the gentle rhythms of home life will return swiftly.

I do hope you have the loveliest of weekends, wherever you are. I imagine some of you shall be planting gardens, others preparing thick soups, and perhaps more of you settling in with a good book, a spot of crochet or some stitching. All of that sounds good to me! I intend resting, and while doing so I shall plan a new crochet blanket from the many free patterns Lucy shares at Attic 24.

God bless your precious hearts!


  1. Lemon tea is delicious or berry tea. I am sad for you.

  2. I hope you will find a tea that you love just as much & that doesn't give you allergic reactions Jenny. Luckily there are so many varieties of tea available to us now. Yes I do find my digestive system is much more touchy as I age - I used to be able to consume pretty much anything 😒 I am looking at your posies quilt & thinking I really should make it - I love your one so much. Happy Weekend to you my dear friend xx

  3. Hopefully you'll be feeling much better once it's all out of your system. I only found out today the bergamot was in earl grey tea when I was catching up on Masterchef. Now I also know it is an orange. Take care of yourself, Jennifer. xxx

  4. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you for block 5. A fun stitchery to do this weekend :)
    Skin is one big organ that show's us what is going on inside...I have always worked with my hands. If I think about all the times I have had Contact dermatitis, exzema, skin rashes, Shingles twice, once with all the side effecets, all the creams and meds and tests I have had and dreams that to change, I am so glad now that it is " under control". Stress and a body that is worn out, too tired, will not make things easier, might also be part of the problem.
    I use gardening gloves, one type of soap, shampoo, cleaner, and one type of handcream. No perfumed products. I stick to the brands that work.
    Quilting and stitching, using one brand of hand cream seams to be a working combination :)
    Take the time to let the skin rejuvinate. It might take a while.
    hugs, take care

  5. I am so sorry, Jennifer...from one allergy sufferer to another!! I am not sure how many food allergies I have, but as we age, tis true, it seems to continue coming on!! Do take care and hopefully the rash will be gone!! I guess one consolation to me is that being old, I won't have to contend with this for another almost 70 years!! Some of my allergies have almost taken my life (generally in a one benefit of this covid insanity is that we eat more from home!!)

    1. Oh my goodness, Elizabeth, that would have been terribly frightening for you. ((hugs))

  6. Oh how precious is that posy block, and the pincushion! Absolutely adorable!!!! I think we do get new allergies as we age, sad but true....and I have heard that for some reason, we're attracted to the things we're allergic to. I have a friend that is allergic to PEPPER, of all things, she was sitting at my table while I was eating not long ago (she had already eaten) and my food had pepper in it; well, girl, she started having a reaction right there, just from the scent! I am praying for you, dear Jennifer....

  7. Dear Jennifer, I am so sorry. And I understand some of what you are going through. I miss so many of my favorite foods, especially coffee and tea! I will be thinking of and praying for you as you heal. I'm so thankful you found out the cause!! Gentle hugs and blessings as you recover.

  8. Oh I am so sorry you're experiencing this. We too have a strict diet at our house but doesn't matter that you aren't the only one dealing with it when you're experiencing a lot of pain.

    My husband is a type 1 diabetic so anything carb, starch, sugar, ect he cannot eat or he can only eat very little. I seem to have developed some allergies...or maybe my aging body just can't process some things like it used to? There are things my husband can eat that I cannot. His diet is so limited that makes it frustrating but we've learned to see each other eat th & enjoy things we ourselves cannot eat & that's just fine.

    I do hope you'll be feeling better soon.

    And yes, that vase fabric is adorable...simply perfect.

  9. I am so sorry you are plagued with this allergy. The aging and allergy connection is true. While mine are very minimal my Dear Mother developed a seafood allergy in her 80's, and nearly died. She also had a medication allergy that left her near death on a ventilator for weeks, she never fully recovered. So, take great care. Remember also that the effects often worsen with each exposure. That means the next time it may be worse, perhaps even systemic. I say this not to be a gloomy-gus (as my mother would have said!) but to offer warning advice. Have not fear in delays, one thing I have learned as I near my 73rd birthday, the un-mopped floor, the blog post, the gardening, will all be there tomorrow. And if nothing else, you must preserve your tomorrows! Your path is clear and you are an inspiration to all. God Bless

  10. Oh dear, I do understand. I have had systemic allergic reactions at least 4 times in my life. It is hard to concentrate on anything else and it saps your strength. So sorry! And I do hope that your digging in and finding the offending items will be putting you right before long. I am still puzzled over what sets me off. . . no amount of digging revealed the culprit. Well, except that my last awful episode was right after my mom died. I KNOW stress adds to our ailments and I believe that it was the main thing in my poor skin's condition. Take care of yourself and rest. Thank you for your always thoughtful words and precious stitchery patterns.

  11. Now in my sixties, my citrus allergy which began in my late teens, can make me pass out. All citrus, though it started with lemons and now includes tangerines, limes, grapefruit, pomelos and of course beloved oranges! Wishing you better luck in future!

    1. Oh how awful. :-(
      I can still have lemons and limes at the moment, but am becoming wary of watching for any reaction when I do.

  12. Dear Jennifer,
    I'm so sorry to read about your allergy to bergamot and by extension, to Earl Grey Tea. It's a favourite of mine, too. I hope you soon discover something else you enjoy as much!
    Your pretty embroideries I download and save for some day...thank you for your generosity!
    Take good care of yourself.

  13. Hi Jennifer, Yeah, new additions to diet can really stir up health issues. I experienced a join problem several years ago. I decided to 'try' Almond yogurt. Wow! I had nearly an instant reaction to it. It felt as if it rushed through my bloodstream straight to my knee-joints. Painful. I was stunned. I thought Almond milk would be healthier? For me it was not. But I come to realize that new untried foods can sometimes be reactive. That experience made me very cautious. Plus, I think being older may tend cause food reactions. I stick with what I know, now.
    Glad you discovered the root cause of your problem. Always good. Hope you clear up soon.
    Be well, Jennifer.

    1. I wonder if it's all nut milks for you, Dots??

  14. Chocolate most lately has reared it's head as something that triggers an unpleasant symptom for me. I'm not sure at present if it's just the chocolate candy/melting chocolates or if it's also cocoa. I intend to try and see but I'm waiting cautiously as chocolate chips and candy both triggered an unpleasant side effect. I never dreamed I might have to live life without chocolate and if that sounds overly dramatic, I do apologize but it's truth. Chocolate has always been my treat and comfort so you might well understand how I feel though.

    1. Doesn't sound dramatic at all, Terri. Chocolate really is a luxury, and something most of us enjoy. I can only have one small square these days as more than that will trigger a migraine. I wish you could have just one delicious square too. :-(

  15. Oh Jennifer..join the club. It is strange to think that things we call food can negatively impact us, but there we are. I was already eating low carb for the past 20 years, and maybe 10 years ago cut out grains, but still issues were there. I heard some folks talking about an elimination diet...but what good does it do to stop one food when you don’t know what is messing with you. Anyway, what they said, that I HEARD and it made sense to me: virtually no human is allergic to animal products, i.e. to meat. So you can go on an elimination diet where you just eat meat for 30 days, and THEN start adding back in one food at a time to see how you feel. And you have to wait a few days after eating one thing, because with food, it sometimes takes a couple days to cause a reaction. I did focus on things that made me feel bloated. But there are two classes of vegetables out there: nightshades (think potatoes, tomatoes, etc.) and ones that have a vile thing in them called oxalates (spinach, beets and lots more). There are discussions online about oxalate poisoning and the like that are worth checking out. It is definitely a pain to go do this kind of elimination diet, but from my point of view, it was SOOOOOO worth it to not suffer from unexplained joint and muscle paini and all sorts of other malaise! Anyway, just wanted to offer that if you have not heard anyone bring this up before. Good luck my dear and take care!

  16. Hi Jennifer
    That's sad, I love oranges so it must be hard for you to have to give everything related to them up. I've had to reduce my coffee intake over the last 18 months due to taking heart medication. It's such a pain as I don't like tea, weird for an English person but I've never liked it. Hope I never have to give up fruit juice!
    I've been looking through some of your old blog posts and saw a picture tin of Milo. Haven't seen that for years in fact since I lived at home in the sixties but I'll see if it's still available her. I used to love it.
    Take care Jennifer x

  17. Someday we’ll sit down at the marriage super of the Lamb with our groom Jesus and eat all He has prepared for us with no adverse reaction in our new heavenly bodies and no response but an attitude of gratitude! What a Savior!

  18. I love the fussy cut bunny!
    I also am allergic to citrus - all of them. It can be difficult to find things that don't contain some kind of citrus. Mandarins used to be my favourite fruit, so I can understand your disappointment in not being able to eat them anymore. It can also make it difficult with vitamins. I have had to avoid most of the vitamin C products because they are all orange based. Several years ago I found a raspberry one, but then that was discontinued. My current option is one with Elderberry. Even a lot of soaps are a problem for me, and in the last year I have struggled with hand sanitisers because most of them have a strong citrus base and smell.
    But I have learned to enjoy and savour the things I can have and it can actually be a fun to experiment to find alternative things to use instead.

  19. Hi Jennifer,
    I am so sorry that you have to give up something that brings you pleasure. As I age, I am finding that more and more foods affect me but none resulting in dermatitis. Mine affects me internally and the list just keeps growing: chicken, pork, bread, milk, eggs, tomatoes, to name some. I hope that your skin heals soon and you get some deserved rest. Thank you for all of your free patterns - I sure look forward to them.

  20. Hi Jennifer, I’m sorry you have been blighted by dermatitis....I get eczema and understand how uncomfortable it is. I hope your medication gives some relief as you recover. Thank you for your lovely message as always. Take good care. Xx

  21. Oh dear. I'm sorry for what you're going through. But it's true that as we age we have more restrictions. I'm 68, and at this stage of my life, I have six foods I must avoid... the most challenging being chocolate and wine. Though I know my restrictions aren't comparable to yours, I do know the feelings that come from telling myself, "No, you cannot eat that." I also feel the same way about prescription drugs. Being on four of them that I must take for the rest of my life, is just as limiting. But then I'm reminded that others have it worse, and they WISH that a drug (or four) would fix their problems. You remind me to be grateful once again.

  22. Hello Jennifer,
    Thank you for this post, and I'm sorry to hear about your allergic reactions.....I have been reading the comments too, and there are lots of tips and advice from other readers, much appreciated!
    I know about the spinach (again terrible head ache, after eating very little on a pizza) but didn't know that beets are in the same category, so that's good to know!
    BTW, I only react to cooked spinach.....
    I am wondering if you, or anyone else knows if certain spices can cause a reaction? Lately I have noticed I get a bad headache towards the end of a night, after I have eaten something with curry powder for example, or Masala spices....Luckily the sore head clears after I get up and have water or tea and toast. I have googled to look for information, but no luck....
    Thank you and have a lovely day, with best wishes from Holland

  23. Thank you for block #5. I am refraining from working on it for a couple weeks. May 14th I have foot surgery and will be doing a lot of sitting for 4-6 weeks. 😒

    So sorry to read about your orange allergy. I pray you feel better soon and the itching goes away. 💞

  24. So sorry about the tea. My favorite is Constant Comment tea, and it's an orange tea. I'd be heartbroken if I couldn't have it anymore, since it is what my daddy and I always had for our tea parties (with cinnamon toast). I remember my daddy every time I drink it. I hope you find another tea that doesn't bother you.

  25. Dear Jennifer, so sorry for your problems with oranges. At the moment, my favorite teas are orange flavored, mostly Constant Comment. I love to drink a cup or two in the morning and before bed. It soothes and relaxes me to help me sleep as I have trouble sleeping. My previous favorite was Bigelow Perfectly Mint (or Plantation Mint was it's old name.) It is very soothing also. The flavor is spearmint not peppermint so it is a little milder. Hopefully you can find it in Australia if you don't have problems with mint. If you try it, let us know what you think.

    Thank you for the new Posie block. Take care of yourself.


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