Saturday, April 9, 2022

Free Project to make and a week in this life...


I love discovering new kitchen crafts to make, new recipes to try, and new decor ideas to ponder and plan. In fact anything to do with adding life, beauty and function to our home puts a smile on my face and a skip in my step. 
Years ago I saw a very cute 'string' bag in a magazine and thought to myself, "I'm going to make one of those bags someday"...well friends, my someday arrived. I'm sure these little bags with a hole in the front for pulling string through hung in many kitchens when my Nana was a young wife and mother during the Depression, but I can't remember seeing one in modern times. Needless to say, they are quite a handy tool for the homemaker, so why not make it really pretty as well?

I drew my little bird up on a piece of linen, then fused a piece of very thin fabric stabiliser behind the traced stitchery.
A tiny hole was cut at the centre of the flower, and for a few days I spent a little time each afternoon on the slow stitching of my bird.

The linen measured 10" high by 12" wide, and I folded it in half so that I had a 10" x 6" linen bag shape. I measured up 2.5" from the base of the bag front and traced my bird so that it would sit in the centre of the bag. See in the photo above.

Once the stitchery was completed (the hole is made with buttonhole stitch) I opened out the linen and measured down 2" from the top of the bag as a guide for sewing some cotton ribbon casings, which would later be threaded with string to close the bag. 

Isn't this old Tilda ribbon lovely? I discovered it hidden at the bottom of one of my lace and ribbon boxes where I had forgotten all about it! 

Next I made a hanging loop from more of the ribbon and hid the ends under the centre of the ribbon at the back of the bag. 

Then it was time to sew the bottom and the open side closed with a French seam. If you're making this for yourself...

French Seam: Press the piece of linen in half to create the bag shape, with the bird stitchery centred on the front half of the folded linen. Keeping the wrong sides together, sew down the side and across the bottom of the bag with a 1/4" seam.

Now turn the bag inside out, and sew another seam down the side and across the base. This now encloses the raw edge, and you have made a French seam.

Turn the bag right side out.

A few final steps followed. 

I sewed a double 1/4" hem around the top edge of the bag...

...then threaded a 20" length of string through the ribbon casings so that both ends of the string come out on the right side of the bag.

Bag complete, I popped a ball of string inside the bag and pushed one end out through the hole in the bird. Pulling the casing strings through the ribbon and tying a knot to secure the bag closed, my new string bag was ready to hang in the kitchen!

I wonder where you'll hang your string bag?

I have mine hanging near the pantry door, where it looks pretty and is easily accessible should I need a length of string.

This Kitchen Craft project would be great to make for homemaking friends so why not sew a few and pop them in your gift box? Use the link below to download the free stitchery pattern.

DOWNLOAD the String Bag stitchery pattern.

For the rest of the year I'll bring you new ideas for Simple Kitchen Crafts, but if you have some ideas of your own please leave them in the comments. Next week I'll have a different version of the string bag to show you, and a second free stitchery for it. 


I began reading a new book this week, one of four I recently purchased, and it's even lovelier than I'd hoped. "For the Love of Homemaking" by Mrs Sharon White is a collection of her blog posts from 2009-2012 and I am so inspired in my own homemaking by her writings, so I'll share titbits on my own blog as I journey through this book.

I was also surprised by how much I'm enjoying Shana Schutte's devotional book "Two Minutes in the Bible for Women". None of the devotionals are more than two pages, but they pack a punch so be forewarned. By the sixth day I had ordered another copy for Blossom!

Another book by Mrs Sharon White looks promising too, though I've not yet begun it. "A Mother's House: the Blessing of Being a Christian Housewife" were blog posts published in 2015-16. 
You can no longer read the blog posts, but I find it wonderful to have them all together in a book.

The fourth book I bought was a children's story about that wonderful man of God, George Muller, and this morning I sat at Blossom's with the children gathered around and read it to them. So many questions they had, especially as they are privileged not to live as homeless starving orphans and were wanting to know more. 
Children are never too young to learn about great men and women, for in teaching them about such people we can encourage them to be good and kind and brave too.


When I went to Blossom's this morning I took a batch of sour dough raspberry and lemon muffins. I cook a lot with sour dough these days, and am regularly experimenting with new recipes that make use of my sour dough discard.

A favourite recipe are these sour dough crackers which I find hard to stop eating once I begin! The only ingredients are -

185g of sour dough discard 

30g melted butter 

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix everything together well, then spread thinly on a parchment lined tray. Scatter a little more sea salt across the top. 

Bake at 160c (325f) for ten minutes and then take the tray out of the oven to score the batter into squares with a knife. Place back in the oven and bake for another 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from the oven, cool, and then break apart along the score lines. Seriously delicious!!

I find myself baking two loves of bread a week as that is sufficient for the two of us. My Mockmill 100 grain mill is amazing, and the home milled flour has added a wonderful flavour and texture to all my baking.

Another recipe for using sour dough discard is this Banana Bread. Wow, this was really good, and if you'd like to try it pop over HERE to the King Arthur Flour site. I replaced half the ordinary white flour used in the recipe with my own freshly milled flour and the banana bread baked beautifully.

I was cleaning out the fridge yesterday and discovered a kilo of organic pears I'd purchased at Coles, reduced to $1 - how often do you come across bargains like that? I don't, so it was important to make use of the pears before they ripened too far. 

My husband doesn't like pears, but I love them, so I decided to make a jar of pear jam. HERE is the recipe I used. I haven't tried it yet, but as soon as my next loaf of bread is cool it will get a trial run. Hopefully it will be yummy.

Much of what I've made in the past few days has been chosen as a way to use up what was already in the fridge. 

The sour dough discard needs to be used every few days. The banana bread was made because I had five almost black bananas in the bowl. The raspberry muffins because I had almost two punnets of raspberries which needed to be eaten quickly. The pear jam because the pears were almost too ripe. And then there was this bread and butter baked pudding, which used up the last of our milk, eggs and bread - but also the last bit of apricot jam in the jar. 

I must say that spreading the apricot jam over the buttered bread before pouring the custard mix across the top is something I shall be doing every time I make this recipe. Hubby and I both loved it. 

Meals have been simple and delicious - chicken and roast vegetables / chicken and corn soup made with my own bone broth and the leftover chicken / nourish bowls with brown rice, fresh vegetables, black beans, brown rice and Korean sauces / and yummy dahl with brown rice were some of the dinners we enjoyed this past week.

I had my second ever trip in an ambulance on Wednesday, just a precautionary measure ordered by my doctor. I spent the afternoon and evening with simply wonderful nurses and cardiac doctors, and was allowed back home by bedtime with a list of tests and procedures to look forward to in the weeks ahead. At least now I know one thing - I have an enlarged heart. 

I'm totally calm and at peace, grateful for such good care on Wednesday, and relieved at knowing the Lord holds my life in His care and will be by my side in the journey ahead. Your prayers are appreciated, because who doesn't want prayer? We are called to pray for one another, so if you have a prayer need right now leave it in the comments below and I will pray for you, and I'm sure every believer reading your request will pray as well. 

Just so you know, I'm feeling very well today and have been back in the garden for an hour to keep doing those little things that all add up to big things in the end - atomic habits. 

Bless you all so very much, and know that you are loved and treasured by an awesome God, and that your life has meaning, no matter what season you are in. 

Ephesians 2:10 is a verse which has helped steer my course through many moments of doubt, and I pray you take it to heart as well because God created YOU for a purpose and if you still have breath, dear one, you have a purpose. 

(If you'd like to stitch this pattern you will find it HERE)

Hope you didn't mind the long blog post today. From Monday I'll be doing a few shorter blog posts each week instead of one large post. Much easier to read and write I think. 



Pink Rose said...

Hi Jenny wow your string bag turned out beautiful and it’s such a pretty stitchery ,you do such beautiful work.
I am so glad to hear that you have had a wonderful day today and how lucky are your grandies that they had you to read to them .
As usual your food looks amazing and I am going to check out the jam recipe,thankyou for that,you take care lovely lady and we will catch up soon 💕🤍💕

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Amazing what health care is available and all those who work within the system :) Wishing you good visits and tests :)
Long, short, big or small all posts you write and share are very much apprciated :)
Thanks for starting the weekend with great delicious photos and crafty ideas !
hugs, take care,

Susan said...

I agree with Jan concerning the size of your posts. You will be in my prayers for your upcoming tests and just because I always pray for you when something recalls you to my mind. Please keep my brother and sister-in-law in prayer (and their families) as she was diagnosed a few months ago with advanced Bulbar ALS.

Terri said...

Hi jenny,
I will be praying for you! May God give you peace and healing. I am living with stage 4 cancer and leaning on the Lord to provide the healing (along with my Doctor)
Can you share your recipe for bread and butter baked pudding? It looks delicious and I've never had it and would love to try it.
Your blog is very beautiful and full of inspiration- thank you for sharing

Farm Quilter said...

Praying for you, Jennifer, Terri, Susan's SIL and family. I love the way the God brings people to my mind so I can pray for them at random moments. My daughter is in the military and in Europe...prayers for her would be appreciated.

Cynthia Arneson said...

What a beautiful string bag; such a pretty way to store kitchen string! I have prayed God will continue to provide excellent health caregivers for you and that you will continue to feel good and able to garden and enjoy your beautiful life.

Beth said...

The string bag is lovely and so practical.
There is a whole series of those Heroes for Young Readers books - both men and women. We have a few in the school library where I work. There are some other good ones like that in Koorong too.
I'm glad you are and will be getting some answers to your health questions too.

Chris said...

Prayers from here, too, dear Jennifer! And I, too, love your blog posts, long or short! Always a gift to my day.

Ondrea said...

So sorry to hear you have been in hospital and I hope you manage to cope with all the tests. Lovely string bag....I was a little confused at first because string bags were what were used for shopping. Makes sense now. I am easily confuzzled. Enjoy your books. I have my childhood copy of Aesops Fables which I want to read to Corben. Take care.xx

Lori said...

Praying for you, Jennifer! You are such a blessing to me and so many around the world. God wants you healed, rest in His very capable hands.

Jill at emeraldcottage said...

oh gosh that all sounds a bit scary, I do hope you are ok.
Your little string bag is so cute, such a clever idea!

Lin said...

Such a gorgeous and useful little bag Jennifer. All your baking looks wonderful. I made some damper style bread yesterday with cheese, onions and herbs which is delicious. I had never heard of an enlarged heart until last week when a 90 year old friend was diagnosed. She hadn't heard of it either but her 80 year old neighbour said she had been diagnosed 10 years ago! Will be praying for you and hope that the tests all go well. xx

Lorrie said...

The string bag is a lovely project, Jennifer - thank you for sharing it with us. I'm glad you are receiving good health care and I hope the tests reveal nothing serious. When I read that you had an enlarged heart, my first thought was, "Of course! Jennifer's heart is so full of love for the Lord and for others, and she is so encouraging and creative!" A different kind of heart, perhaps, but that's what popped into my head. Wishing you joy.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer, when I read about your string bag in this post, I was blessed with a memory of my grandmother Cordelia standing in her kitchen, pulling out lengths of string, dressed in her cotton, faded dress coveted by a well-worn apron and her long gray hair secured into a bun by bobby pins. Thank you, thank you for triggering this forgotten memory. I will be making a string bag. I would never unsubsidize as your posts always iplift my heart. ----Judith

Anonymous said...

Prayers for your health

Anonymous said...

Comments is being difficult on many sites. I am not anonymous! I am Sherry of createology. Jennifer Dear I shall Pray for your health to be in excellent hands and that your doctors and nurses will be able to fix your enlarged heart. I do have a prayer request…my sweet neighbor and dear friend at 61 has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her name is also Jennifer. Thank you and please take care my friend. We need you to continue to inspire us to be better humans.

Vicky dc said...

Querida qué hermosa bolsa, yo la voy hacer para llevar mis tejidos. Oraré por ti! Si puedes hacer una oración por mí amiga, qué está delicada de salud. Cariños Vicky

Jill said...

Hi Jennifer,
Your hanging string bag is not only oh-so-cute but it is really useful. My ball of string always gets lost in the cupboard. I know that I will be making up some in the very near future. Thank you for the free pattern and instructions.
Wishing you all the best with your health.
Kind regards,

Susan said...

Over a year, and still as relevant as the day you wrote it. I'm not sure what discard sour dough is, since I've never discarded any, but always found a use for it. I need to get back to making more things with sour dough, and with other recipes. I'm feeling a little weak after chemo last Thursday, so I'll hold off a bit, but I do want to bake more that I can eat, and white sour dough is one of those things! Bless you for continuing to be an inspiration and light in my life.

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Thank you Jennifer I will be praying for you! Also a beautiful little little bag and birds! Zephaniah 3 v17. XX

Anonymous said...

I love your works! I make homemade goat's milk soaps and all my own hand sewn labels-you give me so many awesome ideas for my new soaps.