Thursday, May 20, 2021

April 2021 Newsletter

"Style cannot be bought. It is not what you wear, but who you are. Style is the way you decorate your house. It is your taste in books, music, poetry, and art. It's the way you arrange your flowers. Style is the personal touch you give to everything and everyone in your life. Style has nothing to do with money, but it is the way you live your life."

~ Alda Ellis, The Gentle Art of Hospitality

Spring is in the air and once again we find ourselves with another monthly newsletter in which we chat about books read, things watched, homemaking projects and any other ponderings which really don't fit into its own post! It is simply some old-fashioned, womanly chit-chat. Do brew a pot of coffee or tea and relax for a few minutes...

Dearest homemaker, it is your resourceful and hardworking heart that makes a home. Not the income level or social status. It is the love you put into every detail that makes your nest a cozy and inviting sanctuary to all who enter. One such way we show our love is through the domestic acts of baking, sewing, creating and anything else that nurtures the home. I hope you find peace and contentment in these noble pursuits. 

Something I have enjoyed lately is repurposing cookbooks. I’m guilty of collecting any I see with beautiful and inspiring pictures on my thrift store adventures. Unfortunately, sometimes the pictures may be pretty but the recipes are nothing near what our family would eat (or could afford to eat). When this sorrowful occurrence happens, I will keep the nostalgic, home-style cookbooks which share not just beautiful illustrations but beautiful words as I will continue to “look” at them. The others I am trying to let go of to make room on my shelves... but not without a bit of harvesting first.

I’m cutting out all the attractive photos and cookbook clip art and will make up some homemaking encouragement cards with them ๐ŸคŽ some will be housewarming gifts cards, hostess gift cards and motherhood-matters type of cards... stay tuned! 

This little craft can be done nicely with children and is the type of thing my daughter and I would have done in our homeschool “art” many wonderful moons ago. And once you actually send out the cards to people it becomes a Bible lesson in love.

On another note, I've tried to keep canning alive in our home, even in the smallest of batches. I've prepared some "Orange Mint Infused Jelly"... Made from home-grown oranges and mint from the herb garden... By canning seasonal produce, we not only preserve our fruits, but the traditions of the past. You will find the recipe I used here.

To be honest though, this "Rose Petal Jelly" was the crowning glory last month. It was an absolute joy to create!

As I watched the petals simmer and release their beautiful color, the scent began to swirl around the stove like a sweet cloud of steam… Preserving not only the freshly picked roses into jelly, but gentle memories in a homemaker’s life…

“There is no peace that cannot be found in the present moment.” 
~ Tasha Tudor 

And now, here is the final photograph of my April Pantry:

It is my little shelf of what I was able to preserve and harvest last month (based on seasonal resources):

— fresh yellow roses, clipped from our blooming bushes

— 6 small jars of orange mint jelly 

— 5 half-pint jars of rose jelly

— 1 bundle of mint, drying

I was hoping to add dandelion jelly to this list but once I received the recipe from a friend, my dandelions had disappeared! I am hoping to preserve that bright little flower soon!

Another homemaking hobby I have been enjoying is creating country-style gift baskets! Here is what I put into one such hostess gift for a special family member:

-- 3 handmade un-paper towels in vintage flannel

-- a lace embellished flour-sack towel (tutorial here)

-- quart jar of home-canned chicken stock

-- small jar of lemon ๐Ÿ‹ honey jam (recipe here)

-- recycled jar filled with a bouquet ๐Ÿ’ of roses from our garden

-- wooden spool ๐Ÿงต of green/beige baker’s twine (I needed to fill in a gap and thought this would be a fun, crafty addition. I bought a huge spool of it at a thrift shop and “decanted” some of it onto smaller spools for mini-gifts.)

-- 2 beeswax ๐Ÿ tapers (purchased in bulk)

-- wooden spoon (purchased)

-- thrifted basket ๐Ÿงบ (scrubbed down with a Castile soap & water solution and smelling oh-so-fresh ✨)

-- freezer/food sticker labels (I sell these in my Etsy shop and thought they'd be a nice addition to the gift basket also)

I tried to go with a happy, spring, yellow theme. Hopefully she liked it ๐Ÿ’›

Here is another gift basket I prepared. I call it a homemaker’s arsenal of love as it contains: homemade sweet rolls, herbs from the garden, fruit picked from the tree, fresh eggs and a jar of canned chicken stock given in a once again (scrubbed down) thrifted basket.

These are so addicting to make!

As you may have noticed, I've also been on a bit of a sewing and repurposing spree! Do you remember those snip and rip dinner napkins I made with this thrifted twin sheet? Well, I had leftover fabric and prepared a few more projects with it. I will share them in a separate post HERE. There is so much we can glean from one twin sheet!

In answer to the age old question... “what to make for dinner?”

I have been on a chimichanga spree! aka fried burritos. You can put anything you want in these tortillas (leftovers galore); add some cheese, lightly fry them up and serve with guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

The excess can be packaged up individually in foil and reheated in the oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

I'll make 3 dozen or so at a time; some for a road trip, some for now, some for the freezer.

These had:

-- Ground chicken with sautรฉed onions and bell peppers (but you can use any kind of ground/chopped meat).

-- Jasmine rice cooked in homemade beef bone stock (use any kind of rice).

-- Black beans (use any kind of beans!).

-- Shredded cheese.

-- Freshly snipped green onions (or chives) from the herb garden.

This is a meal everyone in the family loves. It can be made with any kind of tortilla based on your dietary needs. Just make sure to add the toppings (i.e., guacamole, sour cream and salsa)!

With that being said, what about you dear reader? What wholesome and lovely things have you been reading, watching and/or working on? As always, recommendations are much appreciated as hearing about your homemaking endeavors always inspires me! 

Happily homemaking,

"For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."
~ Song of Solomon 2:11-12


  1. Oh, I just love these posts:-) Yellow roses are my favorite, and I have my very first one of the season just beginning to open - yay. My MIL gifted me 3 white sheets that are beginning to tatter around the edges. She asked if I could use them - oh yes please! Also, thank you for the dinner idea. I've been in a rut since trying to get the garden in and going etc. My attention has shifted outside.

    1. Thank you!!! I'm with you on the yellow roses!... until I see a beautiful white one... until I see a beautiful pink one... sigh... and the list goes on :) I can't wait to see what you end up using the sheets for!!! :)

  2. Debby in Kansas USAMay 20, 2021 at 11:38 AM

    I love your gift baskets! One of my favorite gifts I received was a Welcome basket when we moved to KS many years ago. It was filled with jellies and syrups from wild growing sandplums. I had never heard of them but they're now a favorite I hunt down in the Amish farmers market. With paper products going up in price, I was planning to gift some unpaper towels. I'd also like to make some beeswax wraps.

    I have been in a very productive phase of repurposing and organizing. It feels so good to make use of everything and a bonus happy is saving money!

    Your roses are gorgeous. I'm currently enjoying Grape Kool Aid irises and white peonies. Yes, the irises really do smell just like grape! And they're a beautiful shade of lavender.

    Enjoy your week!

    1. Oh my, your flowers sound amazing!!! And that sandplum! I've never heard of them but anything nearby that you can preserve is such a blessing!!! :) Being productive feels so good -- may we all have the energy for it :)

  3. I follow you on Instagram, and I have "saved" many a post of yours, so that I can easily find them later. Your jelly jars look so pretty. How I love them. I used to can a lot of jelly/jam. We had 19 fruit trees! One year, I canned over 100 jars of jam, which many were given in gift baskets. We no longer live in that house, and I must say, I sure do miss all that free fruit!!

    Your gift baskets are lovely. I have no doubt they are much appreciated by the recipients.


    1. Thank you so much for sharing Patti! 19 fruit trees are such a blessing! I'm sure your jams were lovely ♥️ Have a beautiful weekend ๐Ÿ˜Š

  4. Lovely gift baskets! Thank you for these ideas. This will help me with gift ideas for my secret sister gift exchange at church. Such a thrill to bless others.

    1. You are most welcome!! That sounds like fun! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  5. Such a joy to read. Thank you for sharing the work of your all looks so pretty too. The gift baskets are so special. Blessings to you ~ Linda

    1. Thank you Linda ๐Ÿ˜Š They were so fun to make!

  6. Hello Jes, where did you find your lovely scissors? And bulk beeswax candle tapers? Thank you for the lovely post.

    1. Thank you Gigi! The scissors I found at a boutique on a road trip with my husband. I did add some similar links at the bottom of the post as they sell similar on Amazon. The candles I bought at Etsy:


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