Saturday, February 11, 2023

Simple children's gifts, and ducks in the pool...

When I am going to visit Blossom, the children always love to see what special treat I have for them. Sometimes it's a batch of freshly baked muffins, or two punnets of fresh raspberries they can share (they all adore raspberries), or maybe some stickers or stamps. But recently I made them something different, a notebook for each child to draw in.

These were very easy to make. I had some pretty printer paper, a bit thicker than the ordinary paper I use to print on, and I folded it in half to create a cover. 

Then I cut 1/2" from the longest side of some sheets of ordinary printer paper, and folded them in half to create pages. By cutting the white paper a little shorter it allowed the edges to be protected by the cover when closed.

As I hadn't changed my sewing machine needle for a while (naughty, yes) I decided to make final use of it by sewing the pages into the cover, just a simple 1/4" seam down  beside the cover fold.

Years ago I bought a small set of eight Flower Fairy books from the op-shop for $2, with the intent of making greeting cards from the pictures, but as that plan is yet to eventuate, I cut some of the pictures from one book and decorated the new notebook covers for Cully May, Rafaella Lucy and Charlie David. I packed each book into a small brown paper bag, along with a few stickers and a couple of stamps which I'd purchased for just such an occasion. It's a lot of fun coming across small bargains like those stamps and putting them away for 'one day' when the children visit, or like this day when I decided to make little notebooks. 

We're currently reading Little House in the Big Woods when I visit, so drawing and stamping in their new notebooks while I read gave Blossom some free time to catch up on other things without distraction. So of course, what do they request when I visit now?? "Nana, will you make us another book, please?"

Another small gift I gave the children recently was a handkerchief. The two girls have their own small hand bags which Blossom bought them late last year. Inside she placed some lip balm (because this is the tropics and lips can get very dry), a small hair brush, and a few other things little girls might need. 

I decided last year to no longer use tissues, but return to the habit of my youth and use handkerchiefs instead. My collection is sizeable, gathered from here, there and everywhere, but stored inside a lovely zippered pouch, they'd been forgotten. After re-washing them, and then ironing...

...I chose two pretty pink hankies for the girls, and took one of my husband's 'man size' handkerchiefs to give to Charlie. I must say, the children loved their gift, but did need me to explain how it was meant to be used. Ha ha! 

I don't get to see the girls as often during school terms now, as they both attend the local school during the week (hubby's uncle was head master there for many years, and it is held in high regard amongst teachers), but we chat on the phone, and we try to catch up on a Sunday afternoon every second week as a family get together. I do visit Blossom during the week and we have Charlie to entertain (and they have two adorable Pug puppies now!), plus we also do our grocery shop together after a nice cuppa and cake at the nearby cafe too. 

I wish the children had been here the other day though, as this is what I saw when I went up the back to check on the passionfruit vine...

Our pool is having some major repairs, and will soon be relined, but it's still fine for swimming every day...but we had no idea someone else was sharing with us. 

Harry the dog was barking like crazy as he stood watching from the other side of the pool fence, but the ducks were not perturbed. Mother and Father Duck were giving their babies a swimming lesson and all was well with them.

These same parent ducks (duck and drake actually) had babies behind my husband's shed last year, but we never saw them in the pool. 

These are beautiful Plumed Whistling Ducks, and rarely hatch their brood in a suburban back yard...but we do live just 200 metres from the river, and 2 klm from the dam, so perhaps they consider this to be 'home' area.

 I intend to do a bit of baking today as we need more biscuits (cookies) and probably a cake or two to freeze as I have plenty of bananas and limes to use. I thought a banana date loaf, and a lime drizzle cake would be nice to have ready for visitors. Rosie told me last week that this is what she does, bakes cakes in a big batch and then freezes them for later. Such a good idea. I do this with muffins, but not really cake...and frankly, I do love cake. 

But first I'm going to bake a tomato tart for lunch. Here's a photo from the first time I made it, back in 2018...

I'm salivating just thinking about it! For some reason I had forgotten all about this very simple recipe, and have never made it since we bought this home later that same year. Perhaps you might like to make it? Here's the recipe, which was in an old copy of Daphne's Diary...

Before I go, let me show you a cushion I made for Blossom, 'just because'. It's from THIS stitchery, though I changed the trim on the mummy bird's dress so that it would be more personal for my girl. She's had a pretty rough time with her health the past two years, and the passage of Scripture used in the design was just what she needed. 

I hope you're able to enjoy a lovely relaxed weekend. I'll be working on this stitchery (below) whilst watching/listening to a series of David Pawson's insightful and inspiring sermons/lessons from 2011. If you're interested, they are HERE.

The design was originally made in colours to suit fabrics I did not particularly like (a Tilda line which just never sat well with me) but they were given me by the fabric distributor and I was obliged to create with them. The design itself is a favourite, and now I can remake it in colours which bring me joy, for this verse is one I want to shout from the rooftops.

I'm loving the new version in reds and greens! 

There's a lesson in that, you know. I should never have accepted a commission to create from fabrics I did not like, and thankfully, I don't anymore. Aaah, relief. 

Designing or sewing to the beat of my own drum is far lovelier, and as always I give all glory to God for leading me, correcting me, and pouring some of His creativity into all that I make. May HE be glorified by the work of my hands. 

OH - I forgot to mention that Blossom and I are selling off some of our sewing supplies and books. This is for Australians only, and you will find the Destash page HERE Some things have already been snapped up by my newsletter subscribers, but there's still a lot to browse through and grab a bargain.

God bless you dear ones, and I pray that you find our Father to be right by your side, no matter what you face, no matter where you are, and no matter if you have the words to pray or not. He hears through laughter, and He hears through tears. You will always be heard.

Till Monday, 



Lin said...

What beautiful ducks! So lucky to have them in your pool and so close. The note books are gorgeous as is the pretty cushion for Blossom. Enjoy your weekend. xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
A lovely Saturday morning post :)
Eco friendly gardening, cooking great looking food and creating joyous things with fabric that makes your heart sing !
Have a great weekend !
hugs, take care,

Robin said...

What a beautiful way to start my Saturday morning. I announced early this week that today was going to be a day for just me, doing what I want to do. I just poured my coffee and sat down to browse the web and your post notification came up. Your posts always bring me peace and joy,and the ducks are just the icing on the cake. I checked out your sale and my pocketbook should be glad I don't live in Australia, there are so many items I would purchase.

JUDE3944 said...


Ondrea said...

Love the note books and I can just see your girls taking good care of them, unlike my boys lol. The duck family are so cute and a lovely sight enjoying a swim in your pool. I remember ducks in my parents' suburban backyard pool decades ago and we are fortunate to have regular visits on our back verandah and in our yard but I could do without their calling cards lol. They are good to have for reducing the snail population. More delicious food prep.

Pink Rose said...

Hi Jenny I love the idea of the books and hankies ,well done,love those cute ducks 🌹🤍🌹

Susan said...

Always heard, always answered, not always as we expect. =) I love the ducks! They are beautiful and what a privilege to share your backyard with them. The little gifts for the girls and Charlie are wonderful, and I know Blossom probably needs some private time, so how sweet you can take over and make everyone feel special and loved. Your cooking always sounds so wonderful and looks so tasty. I've not had tomato pie, though a version is a southern specialty. I hope summer is treating you well, not horridly headachy. Thank you for your inspiration and stitchery ideas.

Tammy said...

Dearest Jennifer,
how lovely to get a post from you to read on this quiet cold and rainy Day. I love the new stitchery you are busy embroidering . It is so beautiful. And I love the colors you have chosen to create with. The picture on instagram was amazing as well. I will be praying for your Dearest Blossom also. We have to keep our beautiful girls covered in prayers. Much love to you and your family today and always
Tammy Lyons

Summerfield GG said...

Dearest Jennifer,

How can someone you have never met mean so much. Your words of faith are balm to souls. What a lovely connection to God you have and share.

Prayers of thanks for you and your beloved ones.

A grateful heart.

Mary-Lou said...

Thank you Jennifer for such a lovely uplifting blog. It means a lot you taking the time to do it. So cheerful and Joyful! HugsX

Allie said...

Wow those notebooks are so DARLING! Some of my favorite illustrations. How fun is that!
Not a fan of the hankies though, my dad always used one and I remember my mom having to soak them before they went through the washer, blech. LOL! I have all of my grandma's hankies, she had such pretty ones, but I'll never use them. I had thoughts of making a quilt with them at one time, but I'm done with all that now.
I love those ducks, wow are they colorful and pretty! What a blessing!! Love you girl, prayers always!

Anonymous said...

WOW, I wish I lived in Australia even for a few weeks just to participate in your destashing. I completely understand why you limited the sale. I too also use hankies. I always have one in my purse. I wish men & women would return to always carrying a nice fresh one. Take care. Robin.. quiltyladyrratgmaildotcom

Annabel said...

I just love the ducks! Also I love hankies. They are just beautiful. I take little gifts for my Grandkids too, I really like the books you made. xxx