Saturday, January 21, 2023

Rainy days, mending, planning a new tutorial...

We've had so much rain this month that I've rarely needed to water the garden. In fact we've had so much rain that all four pumps in our front and back yards have been working overtime, and praise the Lord only one of them broke down. They kept our yards looking more like a lake than the oceans of times past. We are so glad hubby spent two weeks in May last year replacing and re-building all the pump wells and pipes because his hard work is paying off. We're still only in the first half of our tropical wet season, and more monsoons are yet to come, perhaps a cyclone (though we pray not), so knowing the pumps are moving the water out from the yards and into the council storm drain is a great relief. 

Each day at morning tea I sit at my desk in the sewing room and work on blogging, writing, homemaking and sewing plans for the months ahead. On the rainy days it was simply beautiful watching the rain drops glisten and fall from the Grevillea, Syzygium and Bottle Brush trees outside the window, and the little honeyeaters darting to and fro from branch to branch.

While it's been so wet, warm and humid, my attention has been given over to a jolly deep clean of the living/dining room, kitchen, pantry, bathroom and entryway...the evidence of each day's labour being my aching muscles at night. But working hard around home brings great satisfaction, and definitely worth the  aches and pains. 

I got down into the window tracks one morning, after washing the inside of the windows, and was horrified at the build up of dirt and dust. Obviously it had been a long time since I did that task.

 All the appliances were cleaned inside and out, and I must tell you that cleaning the dishwasher with citric acid is wonderful! Just add 1/4 cup where you'd normally put your dishwashing cleaner and run your regular cycle. When you open the door later it gleams and sparkles good as new. 

I've also done some mending of clothes, some curtains, and cushion inserts. I find in our very hot tropical weather, many things become brittle, even the covers of cushion inserts. This one was crumbling before my eyes...

Just over a year ago we switched to all linen sheets, but I kept the old cotton ones because they are really good for backing quilts, runners, etc...but they also make excellent replacement cushion insert covers.  I cut a rectangle from the old sheet to fit, sewed French seams along the sides, and hemmed the open end, before popping the crumbling insert inside and slip stitching the opening closed. 

Now I can safely place the newly covered insert inside my pretty cushion covers without dealing with a crumbly mess whenever I want to change them. 

After this repair I took my sewing machine in for a service. Blossom reminded me that our machines had not been serviced in a very long time (6 years - ouch!) and when we got them back they worked like new. We simply hadn't noticed any issues until then, as I find over time you get used to things not being perfect. Anyhow, this enthused me to get back to sewing on my machine more often, and that decision prompted a new tutorial which I'll be sharing next week. 

Here's a little peek at what we will be making...

It's a small sewing pouch, the kind you can fill with EPP papers and fabrics, scissors, thread and needle, to take on a journey, or to work from whilst waiting for an appointment. They are very easy to make, and will post in an envelope if you do not fill it, so they make excellent gifts.
Inside is a pocket for holding the EPP bits and pieces, and the needles and pins are held in place with soft squares of doctor's flannel (which is pure wool). 
Pop back here to the blog next week for the step by step tutorial. 

Even though it's raining a lot, the weather is still hot and humid, so cool afternoon snacks and soda water infused with frozen pineapple or citrus slices are my go to. At the moment I'm relishing grape season, and have developed a partiality for apple slices dipped in peanut butter. Oh my, it's quite scrumptious!

Did you make the bookmarks from my free Books & Roses block of the month last year? When I shared the first one last January I suggested some of you may like to use them in a quilt instead of a bookmark. Well, my good friend Joanne in the Netherlands, ran with that idea! 

She's been sending me update photos every month, and here are her twelve Books & Roses embroideries displayed inside churn dash blocks...

...and the other day I received photos of the completed quilt. I think you will love it!

Isn't it wonderful!? 
And her smiling face peeking over the top was just as exciting to see. Joanne is one of the most positive women I know, and even in the midst of her own great trial last year, she made me laugh and look at life as the absolute joy it is meant to be, praise God. She's a strong woman, and as you can see, a very creative one too. 

NEWS: Instagram

I have opened a new account on Instagram. The many months since I left IG were more beneficial than I can say, because though I may not have spoken or written of it, last year was (personally and for family members) a very challenging one. 

Taking time out to examine my life, my character, my hopes and plans, my relationship with the Lord, my available time, and the very great responsibility of being a homemaker and the matriach of our family - those many months of social media absence proved beneficial, as they gave me needed space to sweep away doubt and cobwebs, and to become sure of exactly who I was and the direction God required me to pursue. 

I actually did not think there'd be any return to IG, so making this decision over the past week surprised me...but we live in a time when the voice of conservatives, of Bible believing Christians, of homemakers, wives, mothers and grandmothers, of Titus Two women, are being drowned out. So while we're still able to speak, I'd like to encourage women in my own small way, and just as I do this on my blog, so I plan to do also on my new Instagram account. 

You can follow along HERE or search for @jennyofelefantz 

Well, I'll get back to my planning now, as I have a few tutorial ideas I'd like to work on for coming months, plus a new issue of The Homemakers Heart to compile...

...and with a great recipe book find from the op-shop recently I have notes to make because it's full of great advice for menu planning in the economy of today. So much of it I heard from my Nana's lips, but had forgotten. Now the memory is being jogged awake. 

Bless you heaps, and I pray that whatever your season, you're finding ways to beautify your home environment and infuse joy into all your tasks. May the Lord bless the work of your hands today and every day...


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Lorrie said...

A lovely post to read on this January Friday evening on the west coast of Canada where the temperature is just above freezing. Here we have cold rain in place of your warm rain, but both compel us to tend to our homes. Today I steam cleaned our mattress and washed all of the bedding. I'm looking forward to slipping between the sheets in an hour or two. So cozy. Thank you for your inspiring words. Blessings, Lorrie

Lin said...

The little pouch looks very useful Jennifer. Joannes quilt is beautiful! Great use of your blocks. Old sheets have so many uses - I added a pretty duvet cover to my stash this week which will make a great quilt backing and recycled a couple of cotton pillow cases. I have already used some to back a new project. Stay dry. xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Thank you for your kind encouraging words !
The photos look great !
I'll be back with a cup of coffee :)
hugs, take care,

Mickey said...

Dear Jennifer,
I've never commented on your posts and I am feeling a little bad about that! I appreciate the time and love you put into everything you do and I always feel so relaxed and calm after reading your little "Letters". Please know that there are
probably many more like me who have failed to thank you but are so blessed by your efforts. Thank you so much, Mickey (Little community of Brownstown, Arkansas, USA)

Angela said...

Jennifer you always inspire me to be my best self with your love of home, the Lord, family, and of your beautiful crafts. The paragraph that most spoke to me today was the one about taking time out to examine your life... It is so rare to hear about character any more, sadly. I am really praying and being made more aware about being critical this year. Oh I rarely say anything but the thoughts so often of what others "should" be doing. It has helped me already in not having hurt feelings over somethings. Bless you!

Robin in New Jersey said...

Hi Jennifer! So good to see a new post from you. You bring peace and calm into my hectic days. It has been raining here in New Jersey which is unusual for January. We normally have snow. I am glad, no shoveling!!

Joanne's quilt is lovely! I am looking forward to the new project that you have for us.

I was sorry to read that last year was a difficult one for your family. You are a treasure and encouragement. Prayers for your days to be calm and peaceful.

Allie said...

OH how I love rain. We've had a bit here, in place of snow, which is fine with me, lol. Don't have to shovel rain.
LOVE that pouch. The design is gorgeous! I'm actually sewing today, yes, trying to finish hand quilting the quilt my best friend made for her daughter. I haven't touched it since I hurt my shoulder. It's tough going, but I'm tougher.
I wish I had half your energy, girl. My windowsills are awful and I don't even care. My floors are awful, and same. As my friend Shirley (90yo) always says, I'm going to be buried in dirt some day so I may as well get used to it. She also says that if you come to her house looking for dirt, you won't go away disappointed. LOL! I do like things to look nice, but it has to be based on my energy level, and for the last year mom has taken what little I have. At least we have clean dishes and underwear. It's just the season I'm in.

Joanne did a spectacular quilt with your designs! Well done!

Susan said...

I've enjoyed some rain here, as well. I do like sunny, warm, dry days, but I also appreciate the opposite. There's plenty of room for enjoying both in my life. I loved reading your plans. I service my machine yearly. It isn't cheap, but one machine is over 25 years old, and the other one isn't much younger. I like to keep them healthy because I depend on them for so much work and joy! In between, I do it myself, but there are so many places I can't reach, not having technician's tools.

I can feel myself approaching a point where I'm going to turn a corner. I've had the Lord's assurance that all will be well with me, and I love that he loves me enough to give me that. When I do, my house is going to change a bit, with the help of a young friend, and I will have more beautiful surroundings as spring comes with its flowers. My younger son is keeping me supplied with beautiful flowers and plants even in the winter here. Thank you for filling in more beauty in my life as I see what's going on at your house, too.

Joanne said...

Thanks Lin, Robin and Allie !