In the sewing room...
When I shared the free 2020 pattern with you just before New Year there was also a mini-stitchery yet to be completed...well actually, it was complete but I'd not made it into anything at the time. Over the weekend that changed...
Something I like to keep in my bag is a small notebook. And a pen. And a tape measure.
But back to the notebook - this is where I write notes, measurements, addresses, thread numbers I need to buy, a list of items we need to look out for at garage sales...and really, any number of other things a girl who is out and about might need to remember.
My little notebook is 4" wide by 5.5" high and has 100 pages so I'm fairly sure it will last the year out. Of course, if you decide to stitch this up there's no compulsion to add the year.
Perhaps you'll trace a few and throughout the year make little notebook gifts for friends?
Because there's a bowl full to overflowing with lace scraps in my sewing room, as well as jars, tins and boxes of lovely old and new buttons, the addition of both to the cover of my notebook, just off to the left of the single rosebud, made perfect sense.
How will you use this little stitchery?
Over the weekend I also completed my second version of block one in this year's free BOM "The 23rd Psalm". If you missed the link to download that block and want to see the full project as a fabric book it's in THIS blog post.
This version is in soft pastels, very sweet and rather shabby chic with those beautiful Lecien Flower Sugar fabrics from long ago as my palette inspiration. I'm also making the book a little differently with this one and will show you both ways when I share block 2 on February 1st.
In other sewing I removed one of my favourite designs from the frame it has lived in since I made it in 2015. Originally I loved the solid blue wooden frame because it married well with the simple pieced border around my central stitchery, but after I reorganised my work/sewing room last week it just didn't work on the wall.
The name of this pattern is Nana's Jug in Patchwork, and along with a larger companion design, they truly are my favourite pieces of all time because they were made in loving memory of my nana who raised me.
So not wanting to pack it away I pulled the bordered stitchery out of it's frame and unpicked the hand quilting within the borders before trimming the sides (it had a lot of excess due to being wrapped around the frame insert), added wadding and backing before re-stitching the quilting by hand once more.
And you know, now this project has even more of my heart because when I was looking through my drawer of quilt hangers for a suitable one, I remembered this wire cat hanger which has languished in waiting for many, many years totally ignored.
Why has this added more meaning to Nana's Jug in Patchwork?
Because nana had a cat called Bubba and that cat loved nana, almost as much as nana loved her.
Now I have an extra memory to give thanks for and this is happily hanging in my sewing room once more, all fresh and made over, just like the room!
I've still had that nasty head cold taking a toll since last week, and when it spread to my throat and then my chest I'll admit a few alarm bells went off. Mr E has been watching me like a hawk and constantly checking that I'm 'taking it easy' (by sewing and drinking tea) because we both remember my two bouts with pneumonia in recent years.
Tissues, eucalyptus lozenges and Vicks Vaporub are officially my close friends at the moment but there's quite a bit of stitching happening as well so for the time being I'll take that as a blessing.
There's also lots of opportunity to sketch new designs and stitch them gently and quietly whilst watching all my old Poirot dvds.
And because I like to have one project on the go that's not my own design, which does not require copious pages of notes, and which I'll never need to write a pattern for, I have started on Allie Hartom's beautiful "Vintage Flowers" table runner from her monthly applique club.
Allie and I have been each other's pattern proof readers for many years and apart from being one of my closest friends in all the world (though we're an ocean apart) she's also a very talented designer with her own distinct style and if I had more free time, or more head colds, I'd stitch plenty of them.
In the kitchen...
Well, truth be told, I've not been all that hands on with anything terribly exciting in the kitchen this past week. In fact Mr E has threatened to hide all the knives because my sneezing fits tend to occur whilst I'm brandishing a newly sharpened paring or general purpose knife. It's not easy covering your face with a tissue in one hand whilst slicing or dicing with a knife in the other.
I actually think he's enjoyed the Vietnamese Pho salads, the grilled barramundi and potato scallops, and the spicy crumbed chicken breast and chips our local take-outs have provided. But of course, they're just a side track while I'm under the weather and by yesterday he was quite over them and ready for home cooking again.
Fortunately I think yesterday was 'hump day' with my cold because today I'm breathing a bit easier, have more energy, and am able to stand in the kitchen for an hour without wanting to pass out, which is why I can show you a tray of Scrummy Slice and a plate of date and apple muffins.
The slice is for him and the muffins for me.
The slice has sugar, the muffins do not.
And both are delicious.
In the garden - birds...
Our feathered family are numerous and never a day passes when they miss our breakfasts together.
The corellas who visited for a whole week around Christmas and towards New Year have moved on but our regulars, the cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets, are here every day.
In the garden - plants...
Under the large tree where the rainbow lorikeets like to gather my "they'll never grow in the tropics this time of year" tomatoes are actually bearing fruit!
Admittedly they get shade from the tree and that helps, but that thick layer of sand Mr E spread over the soil has helped enormously to keep their roots cool and wet during these endless hot and humid days of a tropical summer.
There's also this 'thing' growing on a vine beside the tomatoes. It's either a very odd zucchini or some kind of melon? I doubt it's a pumpkin. But whatever it is must be something we eat because the tomatoes and 'it' came up from the household compost which was spread over the garden before the sand.
At the moment it is as big as my hand and is shaded by the vine's large leaves.
I guess we'll wait and be surprised.
Also amidst the tomatoes and 'it' my basil has self-seeded and a number of new plants are flourishing, which is good because we eat a lot of basil.
I also have Vietnamese basil in a pot which has bolted to seed so I'll keep them to plant out in a couple of months when we have more of the garden area prepared.
My re-planting of the spring/green onion ends has been a great success so I'm starting on a second tray...
...and the lemongrass has gone bonkers. Can't believe how well it flourishes, but am yet to discover when and how to harvest. Yes, a google search is in my future.
Remember the seed saving I showed you the other day? We have so many dill seeds but I wasn't sure they'd sprout this time of year so I popped a few in a pot the other day and played the 'wait and see' game.
Success! Their little heads are breaking through!
We use a lot of dill in spanakopita, tiropita and mayonnaise so I'll plant more in a few weeks and then continue to stagger plantings to always have some on hand, plus extra to share with Blossom.
The marigolds are delightfully happy, as is the geisha girl tree and the fireball bulbs which break through this time of year for a sudden and quick burst of colour.
I'm even continuing to get tiny flowers on the pansies which have been carefully hidden in shade for months now. They've lasted since May and continue to surprise me with their resilience if I just keep up their water and shelter.
Next time I'll show you what my wonderful husband has been doing outside each morning and late afternoon while I've been inside recovering from the lurgy. There's a lot of changes right up the back and all new pipe work along the side of the house, plus trees planted and a new chicken cook in the works.
It's been a very long post today but I hope you didn't mind and enjoyed the wander around our home.
I probably won't post again till the end of the week so I'm going to leave you with this thought I shared on my Instagram and FB pages early this morning. I pray it blesses you.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Kindness...the Father pours out His kindness on our lives each and every day and mostly in ways we cannot see, comprehend or perhaps appreciate. Kindness is underrated in this selfie focused world; a world where eyes rest too often on our own troubles, successes and wants. But God calls us to be tenderhearted towards others, to offer kindness, poured from the cup of our hearts which has been filled by Christ dwelling in us and into the empty cup of one in need. That need may just be a kind word, a pot of tea, a hug, or a bag of groceries. Kindness can be offered in small simple ways so lets not hold back today but pour out from the well of kindness Christ has filled in us.
Bless you heaps,