Sunday, September 26, 2021

A special project, help, blessings, and a thank you...


For the past three weekends I have given over my sewing time to making an old 2007 quilt pattern by the very loved and sorely missed Rosalie Quinlan (Dekker). She was a gentle and kind woman, someone I grew to know in the last six years of her life, a friend who became a committed prayer partner as we held each other's children before the Lord and shared their needs. 
Kindness is what first comes to mind if I'm ever asked to describe her, and lately as I have been stitching the first three blocks of Rosalie's "Home Is Where My Heart Resides" quilt pattern, I'm praying about kindness and asking the Father to illuminate the areas in my life where it is needed more.

I'm also practicing needle-turn applique for this quilt, and have to tell you I am loving it! There's a been a handful of times in the past (2013?) when I've dabbled with this technique, but I've always been drawn back to blanket stitch applique - especially the past three or four years when my touches of applique on a stitchery design have been tiny. I really wouldn't use needle-turn for them...but for larger shapes, oh yes, I shall in future.

(Faith, Hope, Charity pincushion pattern can be found HERE in my shop)


It's spring and my elder tree is really coming into bloom so I'd love to use the flowers for cordial. Having never grown an elder tree before I am a real newbie to the treats which can be made by both the flowers and the berries, so...can you give me some advice please?

Exactly when is the right time to pick the flowers?
And do berries form from the flowers left on the tree??

I have a second elder tree which has been hardening up in a pot for the past few months but which will be planted in the garden early October when hubby has a week of work. 

Another spring blessing is our lemon tree, which is alive with flowers!

It's also becoming heavy with fruit...

Last season we got one lonely lemon from the tree, but this year it is loaded and I couldn't be happier as we use heaps of lemons and the price of them has gone nuts at the supermarket and market. 
We also have flowers and a few tiny fruitlings on the lime tree, another citrus we use a lot of. 


We often go for a wander by the beach down along the Strand and I always used to stop and admire a very pretty but extremely prickly pink plant which grew beside the driveway of a small motel. I mentioned many times to my husband that I'd love to have a few in our garden but he would point out the prickles and shake his head, saying "You'll prick your fingers too much."

Well, one day last year in the garden section of Bunnings there was one, marked down to $1 on the clearance pallet. I couldn't leave it there and he rolled his eyes as I carefully placed it in our already loaded trolley.

I'm so glad I did!
My deep pink Euphorbia has dealt with dry conditions, wet conditions, neglect, over-caring and every other obstacle plants can succumb to. 
Yes, it is indeed very prickly, but once it's settled in it's place you never touch it... simply admire it's beauty, and thank God for something so vibrant flourishing unaided in a rather forlorn area of the back yard.

Life itself can be a mix of prickly troubles and splashes of beauty and joy. The two extremes can often be found living side by side, but it's which one we choose to focus on that makes the difference to our mental, spiritual and physical nature. 

Accepting that life is rarely a gentle wander through rolling hills and lush green forests under clear blue skies, but is a balance of prickles and blooms, sunshine and showers, sickness and health, abundance and need, helps us appreciate beauty when it crosses our path or catches our gaze.

God has placed much beauty in His world, and I find that by looking intentionally for this beauty in my day to day surroundings helps me manage the more difficult aspects of life when they arise.

Just today I was reminded of a study I once shared here on the beautiful blessing from Numbers 6:24-26, and thought I'd share it again to encourage you.

The LORD bless you and keep you...

In the Hebrew text when the Lord says to 'keep you' it means He will hedge around you, guard you, protect and attend to you. Isn't that marvelous!?

The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you...

In the Hebrew text 'and be gracious to you' means that God bends down towards us in kindness, showing mercy and pity, to favour us. How loved we are!

The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

The word for peace here is Shalom, the beautiful greeting or blessing which the Jews still offer today. In this verse the Lord literally turns His face towards us, looking face to face at us, and offers us His gifts of friendship, good health, prosperity and safety.
There are no gifts to compare with those the Father has for us!

I'm praying this blessing over all of you today, lovely ones. 
Perhaps you will pray it over those in your life too, for we are not just to receive blessings, but to offer them and pray them for others. You never know how God can use a blessing from us to impact the life of another.

Over the past year I have received a few beautiful letters and cards in the mail from women across the globe who read my blog but whom I have never met. They wrote to encourage me, to share a little of their own lives, and some sent small gifts as well. Each time my heart would melt and tears of gratitude would fall...for they did not realise how the Lord had used them to lift my countenance and strengthen my faith.
Thank you to each one of those very special women, who stepped out in kindness and extended a hand of love and encouragement. You are in my prayers and deeply loved by the Father.

It's time to sign off for we are soon to depart for Blossom's where we shall enjoy a lunchtime catch-up with her, Ross and the children. Such wonderful blessings await us, and I pray your eyes are opened to the blessings awaiting you as well.




Judy1522 said...

I have always known your beautiful Euphorbia as a Crown of Thorns. I don't know if you have ever heard it called that but I think it is a very fitting name for it.

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Elder ! That always sounds delicious when I watch shows that are using it. BBC's Country File had a great episode. One just wants to give it a go ! Have fun using it along with your home grown lemons !
Euphorbia is a beautiful plant in the garden. I have one that has beautiful lime green flowers in the Spring. No prickles but I have to be careful when pruning as the milky white sap is irritating, keep away from eyes and skin.
It's almost October !
Thanks for adding colour to 2021 !
hugs, take care,

Ondrea said...

Lovely memories of Rosalie. Quilts often carry memories which is part of the love of quilting. Your plants are thriving. We have an abundance of lemons here which we do not really use. They arei still on the tree despite the earth quake lol. Hope you have had a lovely time with Blossom and the family.

Lin said...

Elderflowers! One of the delights of spring! Such pretty flowers - I have several black pages in my sketchbooks where I have spent happy hours doodling white elderflowers. And as for the perfume.... Pick them when they are in full flower to make elderflower cordial which I do every year. Let me know if you need a recipe. Do you have gooseberries in Australia? I use Elderflower cordial to sweeten them for a crumble. Otherwise I just use the cordial with fizzy water and ice for a refresshing drink which visitors love. Yes, the flowers left on the trees turn into berries. My parents used them to make wine but we just leave them for the birds although I think they you can use them to make a syrup.
I love needleturn applique especially for the texture it provides - those little puffy areas bring your work to life. Have fun with your quilt. Lovely post Jennifer - blessings on you and your family. xx

Winifred said...

Lovely to read about your friend Rosalie. You'll have more lovely memories with your quilt.

How marvellous to have a lemon tree, I love lemon everything from lemon drizzle cake to lemon & ginger hot drinks.
Those pricles look terrible but the flowers are really pretty, the centres look like tiny beads.

I love that blessing Jennifer, I remember you have a lovely pattern with it which I have just recently started to make. Thank you for it.

I'm looking forward to making your October Let's Stitch Again patterns. As we can't get your hankie linen in the UK I have managed to get some Robert Kauffman Essex Linen as you suggested. It seems really lovely. Thanks again.

Our summer is continuing to be lovely and warm but we never need air conditioners & there's been so little rain where we live this year. For us it's good although the lawn isn't as green as usual as we never use the sprinkler now. It will hopefully shorten the winter. I don't mind the weather it's the long dark nights I hate after those lovely long summer days & nights. Hope your summer isn't as hot as last year but with the problems of global warming it looks like our problems everywhere will continue. God bless you & your family Jennifer.

http://thankfullga447 said...

Always a joy to hear from you.

Farm Quilter said...

What a blessing that you can ask a question on your blog and have an answer quickly! Such beautiful flowering plants that just don't grow in my desert climate - I'm so glad I can see them on your blog. I'm sure you will find a number of ways to use your elderberries and flowers - I'm looking forward to seeing what you make with the cordial and syrups you'll be making. Your lemons are certainly a blessing - prices in the market are certainly going up quickly.

QuiltE said...

A lot of deliciousness in elderberries ... jams, pies, muffins, cakes. Really wherever you would use other berries. Didn't know there is a cordial from the flowers, as have always heard it made from the berries. When picking time comes, I have found it's best to pick the whole berry head (yes, stays like the flower), then sit down and pick off the tiny berries. Terribly fiddly, but well worth the rewards of the bounty! ENJOY!!

Quilting Babcia said...

One of my devotionals this week, in discussing the turmoil we all face,especially in this pandemic era, ended with these words: Yahweh Shalom - the Lord is Peace. So simple, all we need in this life. Blessings to you on this beautiful fall Sabbath.

Susan said...

Thank you for a reminder when I've been feeling down. I hope you had a lovely time with your family and took some pictures. We haven't seen much of your grandson! Your light shines before me as a beautiful example. BTW, I love needle turn appliqué, too.

Julie said...

How wonderful to see you working on one of Rosalies beautiful patterns Jennifer ... I came across two of her pattern books in my craft room at the weekend. I had the pleasure of attending a workshop she took over here about 10 years ago - what a special lovely lady she was & such a gentle person. Your euphorbia is beautiful - I did not know they had sharp prickles & what stunning flowers. Have a wonderful week dear friend. xxx

Bobbie said...

The verses from Numbers are well known to me as the Presbyterian Church often uses these verses as the benediction to our worship services. Isn’t it just the best reminder of Gods love and care for us. And just what we need at the end of church to strengthen us and brighten our spirits for the week ahead! Thank you for sharing that.

Bobbie said...

The verses from Numbers are well known to me as the Presbyterian Church often uses these verses as the benediction to our worship services. Isn’t it just the best reminder of Gods love and care for us. And just what we need at the end of church to strengthen us and brighten our spirits for the week ahead! Thank you for sharing that.

Elizabeth said...

Lovely post and what an idea to to deal with the Elder flowers. I read a blog at times, from Australia, as it is, and that lady does all sorts of might search her blog...or even email her: I hope someone helps you out with this. Because Vanilla has gotten clear crazy in cost, as well as most everything else, I had my daughter pick up the right sized amount of vodka and I ordered online the number of vanilla beans needed to make my own. I am a totally non-drinker, but since the vanilla we buy often has some sort of spirits in it, I decided to try it. I have not quite finished my old stash yet, so have not cooked with the new yet but it is surely looking nice in my dark cupboard. And as it turns out, because the crazy post office here mis-delivered my first order of vanilla beans, tho the neighbor eventually brought it to us, Amazon sent me another pkg free...thus Daughter and I got to make both of us a huge container of our own homemade vanilla. Amazing what we learn online these days!! (PS I did tell Amazon to charge me for the 2nd pkg of vanilla beans and they chose not to...nice!!)

Allie-oops Designs said...

Your pin cushion is so gorgeous, and your needle turn so precise! I can't remember who it was that said we have a choice - we can either complain that roses have thorns, or we can be thankful that thorns have roses. I love that.

Carrie Ando said...

I agree with all the comments above. Lin, would you be willing to share the Elderflower recipe with us all? When I travelled to England back in the 90's, I tasted elderflower wine. Absolutely delicious. Wish I could make that too !!!

Carla said...

That pin cushion is beautiful. Love it. I have not acquired the knack of needle turn applique. I'm all thumbs. I'll try again one day maybe.
Thanks for sharing.

Gill said...

I use both flowers and berries to make cordials, each in their time. The berries can be quickly raked off the florets using an old (large) dinner fork. I add ginger root, cloves and a cinnamon stick to the berry cordial. It’s really good hot in the autumn / winter.