As I promised earlier in the week, here's the Saturday tea towel stitchery from the Days of the Week series which up until now had been shared through my bi-monthly Homemakers Heart magazine.
I just haven't had time at this end of the year to do a November/December issue so I'm giving you the final two days of the week stitcheries here on the blog to download.
I'll share Sunday before the end of the month.
Each of the 'days' in this series has a little theme, and Saturday's theme is letter writing - something I used to enjoy, but which became difficult the past few years due to the increasing discomfort of arthritis in my right hand, the hand I try and save for designing and stitching my embroidery patterns. Stitching is in fact very good for my hand - it's gentle and rhythmic, very soothing. But holding a pen and writing long letters is painful, so I save my writing for menu plans, shopping lists and cards.
I often think about typing a letter to old friends, printing it up and posting away to them, but then I'm held back by the thought they'll think I'm lazy for not 'writing' in my usual cursive script. My own fault really as up until today, in this blog post, nobody but my husband, Blossom, and of course our doctor, knew about the arthritis. Sigh. Silly me.
I was wondering how many of you also have issues with your hands? In many ways we're blessed to live in such a hot tropical climate, as cold climates would make the condition worse. Hubby and I can feel it more during winter, even though our winter is probably like your spring - and yes, he has arthritis too, but for him it's in his neck, wrists and knees. Poor love.
Are you held back from writing letters because of something similar? Perhaps we just need to explain to our friends (or family) and begin typing and printing...popping our words in a pretty envelope and adding a lovely bookmark or something similar? That's definitely my plan from now on.
Use the link below to download the stitchery pattern.
If you've missed the first five days in this tea towel series just pop over HERE and download my free magazines.
The garden is alive with lizards, and whilst I am taking cover from the heat in my air conditioned home, they bake in the sun. I hadn't seen this one before and am not sure what type it is, but it has the most beautiful green stripes. Fortunately he stopped under the Syzygium bushes for a while so I had time to grab my camera and take a few photos.
Elsewhere in the garden we're doing a lot of mulching around the herbs, flowers, and the handful of remaining edibles.
One big surprise in the ghastly heat of the past two months has been a resurgence of growth in our strawberries!
I thought they were all dead as everything was dry, brown and shrivelled - but they are in a small planter stand my hubby made out of wooden pallets and the petunias which are scattered between the strawberries still had a little life so I just kept watering every day, thinking of the dead strawberries as mulch. Well, low and behold, they grew back - far healthier than before, and this time they're not being eaten overnight by critters.
My roses continue to flourish...
...as do the geraniums. These pops of colour are gorgeous!
And no matter how hot it gets here, no matter how humid, the chillies thrive. We have two types - Birdseye, which self seed every year, and these Santa Fe Gold which have quite a burn so are used sparingly.
Blossom and the children had head colds last week but it didn't stop Bloss from sewing Cully May the MOST gorgeous princess dress!
Our sweet 5yo slipped on the tiles out back when her and Rafaella were cooling down under the hose, and ended up with a black eye...but mummy made it all better with a princess dress and a wand to match. Honestly, there's so much detail in this dress...
I'd only just bought Cully May the gold sparkly shoes the week before - how perfectly they matched her dress.
Something really lovely about Blossom's two girls is how excited they are for each other when Blossom makes either one a new dress. They're never jealous, only excited. Bloss was so proud of Rafaella that she made her a wand too, which matched the silver sparkly shoes I'd bought her.
Now don't get the impression these two sisters are little angels - they can get wound up with each other, just like most siblings - but they do love each other very much, and are thrilled when one or the other receives a gift. They're also excellent big sisters to Charlie David, and he adores them. Tomorrow they'll all come over for the day and I have been instructed to bake 'blueberry & raspberry muffins" for Cully May, and "pancakes with peanut butter and strawberry jam" for Rafaella.
Young Charlie is happy to eat either.
Yesterday I pulled the pantry, kitchen cupboards, drawers and appliance cupboards apart for a very long and exhausting tidy up. In the process I put things aside to donate, threw away out-of-date items, and began working on the principle of storing like-with-like instead of storing things where I can fit them. This required me to carefully plan where it made sense to keep my appliances, cake trays, bowls etc in order that I make the best use of my limited space.
Recently I've been reading a few blogs from homemakers I follow on Instagram, and a common theme with those who have small kitchens has been creating 'work stations'. Whilst I don't need to go that far, it did make me consider the placement of everything I use daily, weekly, monthly or rarely.
In the midst of that spring clean I baked a loaf of bread using some new flour from Laucke Mills. It's a sprouted wheat grain, which I've been after for ages, and was on sale, so I bought 3kg, which for us will become 12 loaves of bread.
Have to say I chose to do half-and-half in my bread dough, half of this flour, and half of regular white bakers flour, and I'm glad I did. The bread is delicious, it's very hearty but still fairly light, and my hubby prefers a lighter loaf - so he was happy.
We had it with chicken pasta salad last night, and toasted for breakfast this morning with homemade strawberry jam, peanut butter, and fruit on the side. Yum.
Last night I pulled a book off the shelf to read as I was bone weary and needed to lay down, but unable to sleep as I was staving off another brewing migraine. It's been years since I read "The Simple Home" but I had to laugh because in the midst of my spring cleaning through each room, I noticed Rhonda's October chapter was on that very subject, so even though it's November, I'm reading through October.
The book is written month-by-month (following our Australian seasons - but you just choose the opposite seasonal month for the northern hemisphere) and expands on Rhonda's first book "Down to Earth".
If you've not heard of Rhonda Hetzel why not pop over to her blog, 'Down to Earth' HERE and have a wonderful roam around - so much to inspire!
I especially like the quote written on the October page...
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
That made me think of Annabel, and her consistent work ethic. Hers is another blog I highly recommend for inspiration and encouragement. 'The Bluebirds are Nesting on the Farm', can be read HERE.
Well, that's enough for today - thank you if you hung around till the end.
I won the battle against my migraine last night and only have a dull thud today, but still, I intend taking things slow for the remaining hours of Thursday.
As the early morning gardening is done, and this blog post written, I shall now gather some stitching, choose a good movie, and brew myself a very large pot of Vanilla tea to sip and enjoy with the home-baked rock cakes from Tuesday (before hubby eats them all!).
I hope and pray your own day is one that revives the body and mind, puts a smile on your face, and brings joy to those very dear people who share your dwelling.