Sunday, May 1, 2022

A special May bookmark and tutorial...


I've been patiently waiting to share the May stitchery and bookmark idea since I first drew it up and stitched it in October last year!
But here we are, the first day of May, and finally you can see it, and download the free pattern if you'd like to make it for yourself, or as a gift.

My inspiration was the library.
My granddaughters simply LOVE going to the library, and they LOVE for me to read book after book to them during our visit. Needless to say, a throat lozenge and bottle of water becomes a necessity for this Nana after the first half dozen stories.

Whether you take young children or your aging aunt to the library, or simply wander the aisles to browse titles to borrow for your own enjoyment, a book bag is a must. 
Gone are the days when I would balance a dozen books in my arms and try to unlock the car door without dropping them all (if I hadn't already done that when hunting in my shoulder bag for the car keys) because after making a specific bag for library visits many years ago, all that fuss about balancing disappeared. I also admit to grossly over-estimating how many books I planned to borrow each visit. My plan is no more than 4-6 but the reality is somewhat different because there's always a pretty cover on a sewing book, a new publication on breadmaking, or ideas for homecrafts...and I could go on, but you get the picture, right? Are you like this to??

A library bag also helps with not miss-placing the books after I've read them, as once finished they are returned to my library bag which sits permanently beside the bedside table, unless on it's library outing.

Whilst trimming my library bag stitchery in order to create the May bookmark, another idea struck! Why not add a pocket for my library card?
So I did. 

If you want to make this bookmark and add a little pocket, it's not hard. 

I trimmed my stitchery block to 3.5" high x 3.25" wide and cut a piece of fabric the same size.
I pinned the two pieces together along the top edge of the stitchery, inserting a piece of cotton lace between them, and then stitched all three together with a 1/4" seam.

Sew a line of running stitch 1/4" beneath the lace edging.

Cut two pieces of fabric for the bookmark (3.25" x 7") and fuse a piece of thin wadding (such as Parlan) behind one piece and if you like, machine quilt a few lines down it. You can see mine in the photo below. Pin the pocket to the bottom of the quilted fabric and sew it to the bookmark along both sides and the base with an 1/8th inch seam.

Pin the other piece of fabric over the pocketed front of your bookmark, right sides together.
Sew around all four sides with a 1/4" seam, but leave a 2.5" opening along one side (not where the pocket is) for turning out.

Turn the bookmark right side out, pushing out the four corners gently with a rounded tool. I use a large wooden knitting needle which is lightly rounded at the top. Slip stitch the opening closed.

To complete my bookmark I used a hole punch at the top and threaded through a blue ribbon. Oh, and I inserted my library card!

A HINT: for those who intend to add the applique section onto the stitchery as I have done. Trace the flowers onto your applique fabric before fusing the shape to the background fabric. So much easier! Also, the applique is one piece with the pocket curve chain stitched over the fabric to make it seem as if they are two separate pieces.

Use the link below to download the May pattern.

DOWNLOAD Books & Roses stitchery pattern for May.

I've had a lovely time this past week because my husband is home everyday. After 16 long months of work, he's finally taken a three week break and I think we're more inspired than ever to get things done around home and in the garden, especially as the weather has slightly cooled and the days are getting shorter.

He recently bought a mulcher/chipper and spent a few hours the other day turning "many" accumulated piles of pruned trees and branches into mulch. It was wonderful to see the yard again without my eyes falling on mountains of branches.

I've been back reorganising the pantry after Annabel's suggestion to use spare spaces for food storage, and as I'm doing a lot of dehydrating at the moment the first thing I needed to do was put 'same with same' in our pantries. The more I worked through the main pantry and the cupboard pantry, the more often I found the same items in two different this past week that has occupied quite a bit of time - the planning, the reorganising, and also making notes to use certain items in the next month before they are out of date. 

In the kitchen I'm using my grain mill a few times a week to make the flour for bread, and I also bought my first ever bread tin. 

Nana had a bread tin, but I've always used a cotton bread bag to store our loaves (I even shared a pattern HERE with some bread recipes). Must admit though, this tin brightens the kitchen and is very handy indeed. When I ordered mine, it seemed only sensible to buy one for Blossom too, and she's just as impressed with hers. 

I've begun a new sour dough starter as our very hot April (we live in the tropics if you're new here) killed my last one. Hopefully with the temps settling at a daily 30C the last week, and winter only a month away, when the days normally dip to 27-28C, the starter will do well. I'm also sprouting mung beans for salads and nourish bowl dinners. 

The mesh sprouting lids for wide mouth jars are brilliant, and the beans began to sprout overnight.

I make a large 2 litre jar of Ma's Ginger Water (from Little House on the Prairie) every couple of days, and hubby finds it the best hydrator after working outside in the heat and humidity. The recipe is very basic...

1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of raw honey, molasses or maple syrup
1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger powder
juice of half a lemon

Place in a large 2 litre jar or drink container and mix until combined. Fill to the top with water, shake to mix, and store in the fridge. Drink a glass whenever you're thirsty! 

Our lemon tree provided us with an abundance of huge juicy lemons this summer and autumn, and now we are down to our last seven lemons, so I thought this was a good time to learn how to preserve lemons...because I love preserved lemons in guacamole, cous cous salads and lamb casseroles, but they are very expensive to buy.

Maggie Beer is a cooking icon in Australia, so I was thrilled to find she'd done a video on preserving lemons, and it was so simple to follow. Our lemons are HUGE, so I had to cut them into eighths to fit the pieces tightly into the jar. 

In about six weeks or so we will know if I was successful with this first attempt. Hope so!
If you'd like to watch Maggie's video I'm sharing it below.

Not wanting to waste a single lemon from our first harvest, I baked a very simple Coconut Lemon Slice yesterday morning as we were going to Blossom's for lunch and I offered to bring dessert. 

This is a no-bake slice and absolutely delicious!!
I couldn't find my own recipe, no idea where it has gone to, but was able to find it online HERE though she uses more icing than I do, so I reduced her quantity by a third and that was quite enough sweetness to top the base. 

It's a very soft treat, and little Charlie loved it so much he squashed a whole piece into his mouth to enjoy. We all stared at him and the burst out laughing. 

Two nights last week we watched movies - "Rams" and "The Courier" and other nights we've sat quietly and read books.
In fact I read two books in the past week and have begun a third, biographies from the Plainspoken series by Herald Press. The first was "Called to be Amish" and the author is one of only 75 people ever to have joined the Amish and stayed. 
I do not like Amish fiction, nor many books 'about' the Amish...but this was written by an Amish woman, and it was riveting. I came away from the book changed, or should I say re-inspired, towards my God given role as a homemaker and the hard work this entails.

The second book was "Anything But Simple: My Life as a Mennonite", another in this autobiographical series, and was written by a 30 year old Mennonite woman. Once again, I came away feeling inspired and challenged to see hard work as a joy, and especially working together with my husband. The author wrote her own story, but also the story of her parents, and it was those sections which had the greatest impact on me - in fact my heart was overflowing with happiness and praise for God.

The third book, "Hutterite Diaries", which I only started last night, is written by an older Hutterite woman, and I think this is my favourite of the books so far. I had no knowledge of the Hutterites until this book and I find myself looking forward to tea breaks so I can sit down and read a bit more! 

The links I've shared are from Amazon (NO, I am not an affiliate) because that was the easiest way to find all of the movies and books in one place, so if you're interested in any do a google. :-) 

Okay, enough for today. I have bread just baked and ready for lunch, brown rice in the rice cooker to make nourish bowls for tonight, and strawberries freshly rinsed and drying to make a strawberry shortcake for dessert over the next few days. 

God bless you, and may He keep you inspired and learning new skills, so that each day you grow in various ways...but mostly I pray that you find the most inspiration and essential life lessons in His Word. 

Hugs and blessings,

Need something new to stitch? Pop over HERE to my Etsy Shop!


Suzan said...

Thank you Jennifer. Your list is a little goldmine and I appreciate it. The story of your grandson stuffing his treat into his mouth is priceless. I have been making preserved lemons for a while and am contemplating trying limes at some point.

God bless and enjoy this special holiday time with your husband.

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for another lovely stitchery !
The library brings back fun memories :) Grew up with them and loved visiting them on my travels as a young adult. Library book sales were also a place to spend a bit of time.
I use a bright red bread tin in my sewing room to hold Tilda fabrics.
Those coconut lemon slices sound so good :)
Thanks for sharing all your gardening and kitchen and all the other fun stuff you like doing !
hugs,take care,

Lin said...

Another very pretty bookmark Jennifer. Lots of other inspiring links and delicious looking ideas, thank you. xx

terricheney said...

I so identify with the too many books from the library at once story. I've had to make two trips at times to get them all to the car when I took the children as well.
Recently at the local festival they did the annual book sale and I bought only one book. The woman running it had worked at the library and was in a state of shock that I only bought one book, lol.

Shelley said...

The Hutterite book sounds intriguing! I will check that one out. I slice my oranges, lemons and pineapples into wedges, freeze them on cookie sheets,then bag them. I can pick out how many to use as needed.I do grapes too.very refreshing to snack on partially frozen fruit on very hot days.And I still use the fruit for baking, making cool ades, and smoothies.

Tammy said...

Dearest Jennifer,
Your bread box/ bread tin is adorable...Love the color of it. Your gardens look amazing . I know you are loving every moment Mr. E is home with you . Enjoy your time together. And thank you for the lovely book mark pattern.

Lara said...

OH my this is lovely. My son LOVES to go to the library and so I end up looking through the aisles and checking something out. He's 12 so I don't have to read to him any longer. Nevertheless, I have some of my Grandma's hand tatted lace, that is to small to really do anything with but would be perfect for this. I shall use it in memory of her, maybe I'll do two one for my Mom and one for me.

God Bless you.

Winifred said...

Thank you for such an amazing post Jennifer, it's a mine of useful and interesting information.
I have a bread sort of jar but the lid was broken ages go. I like your tin the colour is gorgeous. At home we called them bread bins & I think I'd like a new one similar to yours. Must check where I can get one.
I used to love to take the children to the library when they were little, my grandchildren too. Our lovely little village library was closed a few years ago now & the town centre one just isn't appealing. I do use their e-audiobooks which are easy to listen to when I'm ironing or doing other mindless tasks like washing floors & windows. Have to admit I don't get the pleasure out of housework that you do Jennifer.
It's amazing what you can borrow now online, the library's collection of digital magazines, particularly their craft ones is wonderful.
Your lemon harvest must have been fabulous, hope your recipe is successful.

Mrs. Kiwi said...

I love the details on your library bag stitchery. The little secret pocket would also be a lovely place to tuck a little reading list or some notes.

With love from,
Kelly (Mrs. Kiwi)

Christine M said...

This month's book mark stitchery is such a cute one. What a great idea to put your library card there. That lemon slice looks delicious. Anything lemon is yummy! LOL! The books sound interesting. I've never heard of Hutterites before. Hugs, Christine xx

Mary-Louise said...

Many thanks full of lovely ideas as ever Bless you heaps X