Friday, May 31, 2024

The close of autumn in Australia...

 It's the last day of autumn here, and though in the tropics we don't get the golden falling leaves, or the chilly days and nights, we do notice the temperature drops to a lovely temperate degree which means the air conditioners are no longer needed, and we only use the ceiling fans from mid morning to late afternoon. We can sleep with windows open again (though the traffic noise takes adjusting to) and look forward to soups, casseroles and custard veiled puddings. 

Thank you to those sweet ladies who emailed to check up if I was alright as it's been more than two weeks since my last post. With the theme this month of...

...I made the decision to only post on the blog if I had something to share, show, or felt like chatting. Thinking back on my earlier blogging years, when I was writing them 4 or 5 times a week, the purpose in those days was often sewing, stitching, gentle domesticity, or recipe related - things I did a lot of at the time and enjoyed sharing about on the blog. My favourite posts though, were the regular Sunday devotionals I shared for a few years, but they were for a season, and as time went by I found myself more openly including the Lord in every post I wrote, and that continues today. 

Though I still sew, stitch and cook, keep house and live a gentle domestic life, I also have three gorgeous grandchildren living nearby who I see often with their mummy, my dear daughter Blossom (whose real name is Elizabeth in case you didn't know). I also garden, create as much as I can from scratch, spend precious time with a beloved husband when he is home from work, care for our young pug Molly and aging cat Sophie, and go for long country drives with my darling on his one full day off each week. I also immerse my life in the Word of God, because without that I would not function well in all the other areas that take my time. 

So shedding some blogging time has freed me to live my joyful, very ordinary life, in an even more relaxed, and yet very productive way. I was going to say that this was fairly normal to pursue simpler days as you age, but I don't think it's about being older as many women are still very outgoing and social at my age, but more about maturing in my thoughts, and no longer feeling the need for affirmation. Hmmm, that was a big revelation. When I began designing in 2009, my family encouraged me but they did not like my style. I had my patterns published in magazines more than a hundred times over a period of seven or eight years, and that, along with blogging, gave me the affirmation I needed to continue designing. 

But (praise the Lord) I grew up and the past few years it hasn't been important to be affirmed, but it has been very important to learn more about gardening, homemaking, natural health care and repurposing - all with a desire to care responsibly for my home and family, in order to glorify the Lord. 

I wonder what stage of life you are in? Are there changes happening in how you're approaching things? Have you been 'shedding' things in your life throughout May?? 

Around home it has been a very productive time this month, especially in the garden as I am doing things differently this year, 'shedding' the things which have progressively failed in previous years. I'll do a post on the garden in June.

I've also been busy completing Blossom's 30th birthday quilt with the binding and a label...

As the quilt is a Dresden one, I decided to make a chubby Dresden block for the label and stitch a wreath and words of love in the centre circle. The quilt itself was quilted with a leaf design as my girl loves leaves and requested this. It turned out beautifully...

Her birthday was last Sunday and it was a wonderful celebration! Ross had bought her a gold chain with a beautiful gold and emerald pendant, and the children and he had decorated the house very early in the morning and would not let her get out of bed until it was all done. We met for lunch and had a marvellous time together, the first year we have 'gone out' for a birthday since her 21st...but she wanted us both to not have to worry about cooking or cleaning up, but to just relax and celebrate. It truly was special.

A second celebration on that day was news that my 16yo grandson Dee (Kezzie's youngest son), who lives on the opposite side of Australia to us, had accepted Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Mothers and grandmothers, do not give up praying for your family...God works in His own way and in His own time. All we need do is pray. xx

Many years ago, before I taught myself to embroider and quilt, I did cross stitch, and loved the designs of Australian heritage homes by Olga Gostin. The one above is called a Queenslander because many homes in my state 'back in the day' needed to be cooled and kept dry due to our heat and wet seasons and cyclones. You lived upstairs, but the underneath was open for the breezes to cool the house, or the water to pass through. I love these homes and have been fortunate enough to live in some when we were still renting. The home we bought in 2018 is a small low set house as my husband has serious arthritis in his knees and could no longer use stairs. But we have this hanging in our home (he loves it too) as a reminder of the Queenslander beauty. 

After a break of about fifteen years I am once again enjoying the slow pace of cross stitch, and the pattern which has my time at the moment is coming along nicely. I watch an episode or two of The Great British Sewing Bee (on Britbox) after lunch each day as I stitch. I have some hip issues and this afternoon break is wonderful for the essential rest I must have after homemaking and gardening in the mornings.

I put a lot of care into my husband's work lunches as his hours are long, but recently I'd not been as mindful of my own need for a healthy lunch. We do not have an evening meal Monday to Thursday, hence the need for a hearty and healthy lunch. Now I not only plan for his work lunches six days a week, but also for my own...and I really enjoy using leftovers, like in this simple fried rice full of veggies and made with brown rice.

Some days I heat up pre-baked vegetables and some chicken in bone-broth from the freezer, other days it might be avocado and salad on sourdough with a boiled egg, or baked beans with a parmesan sprinkle and toast. If I've been out grocery shopping and running errands, or spent the morning at Blossom's with her and the children, I might opt to steam some pre-packaged frozen dumplings when I get home. 

But I always finish with a bowl of watermelon chunks, which is available in the tropics all year through. As I'm taking an extended break from sweet home baked goods, I get my sweet treat this way for now.

Making my own protein balls for hubby is another important change for me. I have made them for him over many years, but I don't have them myself. Why?? No idea! Now I do. 

In the sewing room, I have bound a very large piece of wonderfully thick woven fabric I found for $8 in the reject bin last year at Spotlight, for Blossom's trio to use as a picnic rug in their backyard at lunchtimes...

....sewn a few more jar covers and crocheted the edges...

...and am working on creating new kitchen curtains, and a laundry curtain, from six identical tea towels. I have a kitchen tea towel in the same print with a crochet edge (which is what gave me the idea!) and it is always on display over the oven door as it's so cheery and pretty, so now I'm going to recreate it as two curtains, also with the crochet edging. The hems have all been unpicked now, and the towels are washed and ironed. Hopefully I shall make a start on them over the weekend.

What are you making?? Anything specific as a gift or for your home?? I'd love to hear about your own month of May before we move into June. :-)

Next week I'll have the free June pattern for this year's block of the month, "Joy in the Ordinary". If you have missed any of the blocks shared so far they are HERE, all free. 

God bless you and keep you safe, well, and cared for in every way you have need. May His joy be abundant in your days, His provision always at hand, and His love so firmly full in your heart that no matter what happens, you know you are loved and cherished by a Father who only ever has your good in mind.

Lots of love

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Julie said...

Another wonderful post dear Jennifer. Belated Birthday Wishes to sweet Blossom - her quilt is the stuff dreams are made of. Seriously beautiful & it will become an Heirloom I am sure. Yes I am changing the way I do things too ... some things are more difficult to change but I am persevering - change is not always easy. Love the cross stitch & the kitchen curtains you are making . I am making a new valance for my kitchen french doors as we don't have a window in the kitchen. Wishing you love & joy my dear friend x0x

Lin said...

A lovely diverse post Jennifer. Blossom's quilt is lovely, such a beautiful heirloom for her. xx

Kay said...

The quilt is absolutely beautiful, I especially like the special area with her name. I am sure that she will treasure it. Season 10 of The Great British Sewing Bee has just started this week, it’s always a fun show to watch, even my husband watches it with me and enjoys it .

Donna P. said...

It was so good to get your blog post this morning. You've been busy but in a good way not the rushed way.
The quilt you made for Blossom is beautiful and I know she'll treasure it. The label is precious.
Wonderful news about your grandson - I'm definitely still praying for my daughter and son - posts like yours keeps me hopeful.
Blessings to you and yours.

Tricia said...

Jennifer, thank you so much for your newsletter and your posts. Especially your little heartfelt prayers at the end. Today's made me cry. I truly needed to hear those words in the season I am in. I am rejoicing with you about your grandson. I can just imagine how fully grateful and blessed you are feeling. There is truly no greater joy. Your cross stitch is delightful. I learned that verse in summer camp as a child, but I think it is becoming more real to me as I age. I will put that pattern on my list. I am just finishing up an older Precious Moments pattern called Jesus is the Light. They aren't really in "style" anymore, but I stitched a Precious Moments pattern as my first cross stitch 45 years ago and when I get stuck creatively I pull one out as a comfort stitch. I'll make it into a bag for one of the little girls at church to carry her treasures in. Have a blessed June!

Mary-Louise Parker said...

Dear Jennifer, Thank you, and my how Blossom will treasure that!! It's beautiful, we are downsizing and moving stuff around our house. We are getting rid of our 23 year old camper of 4 years. My back is not up to it and without using it, it was using money. So we prayed and as it's failed Mot, we will get the work done and sell whatever we can get for it. I continue to learn piano Wed morning over Zoom and I have a lovely Christian man who is patient and encouraging! I hope to start writing. Our daughter Hannah 31 got engaged last day in Cyprus after being together 11 years. We pray she and her brother Josh will come back to The Lord Jesus. I am reading CT Studd, book No Sacrifice too great! It's so good!! I love my garden and sewing when my back allows. Every Blessing to you and your dear family Mary-Lou XX

Carol said...

Hello Jennifer, I enjoyed reading your post. I am so glad you continue to write. Praise God for your grandson’s acceptance of the Lord as his Savior. Our garden here in Indiana is producing strawberries, green onions, and radishes now. Before long we will have green beans. This week I have been making strawberry freezer jam and freezing strawberries for later use in pies. I just finished a baby quilt for a new grandson in our family. Your quilt label gives me inspiration to be more creative. The Dresden quilt you made is beautiful!
Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely, lovely post! I enjoyed reading it so much. We are very similar to you in that we are working on clearing out what we don't absolutely need in the house, to sell on line or in a family yard sale next month. We also live in a one story home, as I have had bad knees for years (just got a knee replacement for the right 3 months ago, but continuing to work through the PT & exercises). Hubby is having trouble with his knee and back, so we both are careful in what we do - although we are now going 5 days a week to the gym for a gentle workout on the machines, which is helping us as long as we don't overdo it. Our health coverage pays the monthly gym fees, and there are massage beds and lounges for after, which is lovely. We have been making changes to help us in later years (we are 68 & 70) with maintenance. Removed all the lawn, and reworked the front & back yards in 2 different shades of rock, with raised planters built of wood & stone, a patio was installed the length of the house to shade it in our hot summers (it's mostly upper 90's to 110 here). It's gradually all getting done...a few more projects on the list: to have laminated flooring installed in the main living area & hallways, finishing a wood mantle for over the fireplace (how we heat our home in winter) & installation of the deep soaking drip system on all the plants front & back will be about it then. Congratulations on your grandson's decision - we were blessed to see our grandson accept Christ a number of years ago, and he's grown into a fine Christian young man. Blessings on you & your husband and your family! Deb E / California

Donna said...

I love your blog! The crafts you do are wonderful.
I really need to get busy, myself.
Happy weekend...

Allie said...

Lovely post, Jennifer!! I remember when I shed my blog - the RELIEF - and when I shed sewing altogether! God closed those doors so firmly, and as usual, His timing was perfect. I think we do tend to shed more as we age, especially in these uncertain times, the desire to live closer to the Lord becomes more and more important. And that's the only important thing, after all.
I'm so excited about Dee, what grand news! And Happy Birthday to Blossom, wow that quilt is spectacular! The label is truly inspired. I love the allover quilting pattern of leaves.

I'm so jealous of your daily watermelon. I've bought a few lately and they've been dry and sour. I love watermelon, and it's so good for you! Can't wait to see your new kitchen curtains. My curtain rods for the kitchen, that the kids got me for my birthday, are STILL sitting in the kitchen waiting to be hung....LOL.
Love you!!!!!!!

Ondrea said...

I love your quilt label idea. Just perfect! Such a beautiful quilt sewn with love. Glad Blossom's birthday was an enjoyable day. Hehe, you have re found the love of crosstitch too. It is rather enjoyable for a change from our usual crafts. Those tea towels will look lovely as curtains ando I look forward to seeing them finished. Enjoy all your nourishing food, fun with the children and slower paced days. X

Createology said...

Hello Jennifer Dear. This has been a difficult year for hubby and I. Lots of health issues. I pray and and believe “This tooo shall Pass”. Our June will be filled with more testing and hopefully a treatment plan for hubby who has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Chronic Kisney Disease. Thank God there is NO Malignancy. I have filled three overflowing bags of goodness for the local Op Shop. I have more supplies than I will ever be able to utilize. Continuing to do my Random Acts of Kindness charity work. Life is god and my slowing down has been a gift. However I have missed all of my Watercolor people and classes. Come Fall I hope to resume my watercolor pursuits. Your blog, your words and YOU are a Blessing for me my friend!

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
That quilt is gorgeous ! A great team effort !
Queenslander cross stitch is beautiful with all those french knots and different colours ! Hours and hours of time passes while cross stitching :)
Your newest cross stitch project will be a great addition to your home decor :)
The newest Tilda fabrics will be arriving here in my LQS mid June.
We've had the wettest May on record. Great for the plants that have gone through a few Spring years of too dry conditions but for the farmers it has been a challenge to get the crops planted.
June is the month to go get those Summer blooms :)
hugs, take care,


I said earlier that I have just found you today by Pinterest. I would like to know if you could guide me to one of your posts that tell how you make your tea towels. What kind of fabric do you use? Measurements?

Your postings are so nice - just love them.!