A little Bread and Wine with that needlework? (and giveaway winner)

Hello! Hello! How is your January going? I've done just a little sewing. I'm so thrilled with it and can't wait to finish, but my house is filled to the brim with people I love and I've been kind of running an endless circuit from stove to sink to laundry room. And around and around. The noise level is way higher than is our norm. Noise makes me a little nuts. So I ducked out this morning to a place where I could find a London Fog made with almond milk, an internet connection, and some groceries when I'm finished letting my fingers have their say on the keyboard. Yep. I left home to write in a grocery store because it's lots easier to concentrate here:-).


Those sweet Sleepover Pajamas are just as darling as I'd hoped. I've had to switch up the fabric a bit in order to have enough and it's taken some very careful cutting, which definitely slows things. Ruffling such nice, plush flannel is sort of tedious and I'll held my breath when I first asked my machine to conquer those layers, but she came through like the true friend she is and all is well in dear flannel ruffle land. I'm only slightly further along than these pictures depict, but I am ever hopeful for weekend sewing.


I'm reading Bread and Wine by Shauna Neiquist. I cannot adequately express how very much I love this book. I hesitated to buy it. I can't eat wheat (or many other grains). I didn't want that title taunting me and I didn't want to read lots of essays about people dipping crusty, hot loaves into fruity, heady olive oil. But I took a chance and I'm so glad I did. I began with the essay, "What My Mother Taught Me." Just beautiful. So often, the Internet makes a woman feel like everyone is thirty-something, cute, and hip and there is nothing after that. Shauna writes so movingly of her mother and how much she values her mother precisely for her wisdom and experience. And her mother reminds me, "the best is yet to come."

After that, I read about a scary hospital experience after her son was born. In that one, I was struck by her father. This woman is teaching me how an extended family grows together! It's really very beautiful and during this wearying holiday season of transition after transition, her perspective offers me hope and a reason to persevere.

As for the whole gluten thing, she's got that covered, too. Her husband cannot tolerate gluten and Shauna writes movingly and compassionately about their experiences. Shauna Niequist has a lovely knack for making her readers feel understood and nurtured and I'm very grateful for her words.

It was great to hear from so many of you last week. I learned two things: (1) You care very deeply about conquering perfectionism and managing your time online in order to be fully present for your families. You want the message in Hands Free Mama . (2) If I bribe you with a great giveaway, I can get you to tell me all about your sewing and reading. Point noted. Stay tuned for more great book giveaways this year.


needle and thREAD


What have you been sewing lately? Or are you embroidering? Pulling a needle with thread through lovely fabric to make life more beautiful somehow? Would you share with us just a single photo and a brief description of what you're up to? Would you talk sewing and books with us? I'd love that so much. Tell me about it in the comments or leave a link to your blog. I'll be happy to come by and visit!

You can get your own needle & thREAD button here in your choice of several happy colors.


The winner of Hands Free Mama  is Stephanie K, who said, 

Oh lovely giveaway!

My sewing resolution is to try to make a few items this year. I've been on hiatus for, oh, 6ish years or so. Babies, homeschooling, housekeeping, life in general keeps pushing it out of the way! I hope to make a few tops from a pattern from Sew Liberated and to make at least a dress or two for my three daughters :) Oliver + S pattern I think!

I have a ton of books on my reading list this year. But I think I'm most looking forward to the release of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman. I loved her first book!

Thanks for the book recommendation Stephanie! I'm planning to read the first book while I wait for the second. Send me your address and I"ll get your copy of Hands Free Mama out to you!



  1. Betty says

    Hey Elizabeth! I was just reading more about Shauna and the book you are reading. It was a little confusing. Is this a book that tells you that being a mother isn’t enough? That you constantly have to be looking for your “destiny” or “purpose”? It can’t be if you are reading it. I’d love to hear more. I’m in a really busy season in life caring for my live-in father in law with early Alzheimer’s, graduating my first homeschooler, dealing with dyslexia in one of my other children, and caring for a needy toddler who doesn’t sleep. I do love to write, but closed down my blog years ago for lack of time. You, and others have inspired me to try to include more creative pursuits in my day (like knitting, journaling, reading, cooking beyond the routine) and that really does make my life feel full. The Lord has blessed me with five kids and a traveling husband and now a father in law, and I don’t see any way around that life right now does require alot of dying to self (not to the neglect of my health), it’s just hard, nonglamorous, but very meaningful work because it is the Lord who is giving me the moment by moment grace to do it. I’d love your thoughts.

  2. Patty says

    One of my commitments for this year has been to put the phone down and get back to reading. Lots of recommendations here, thanks. Not a seamstress, so nothing beautiful to show, but thanks for sharing your wonderful project. I’m feeling drawn to reactivating my blog and more actively participating in some of these great linkys but I need to pray on it more. As always, insprirational!

  3. says

    I love love love that book. So so good. You MUST read Bittersweet when you are done…I loved it just as much. Cold Tangerines was good but not as great as the other two.

  4. Amy M. says

    No sewing, just knitting some socks that will be for either my future father-in-law (if the yarn holds out) or my future mother-in-law (if it doesn’t). Somehow that little tiny ball of yarn never looks like enough for a whole sock to me, so I have all these contingency plans :-) I am reading The Lord of the Rings Trilogy for the first time in my life, which is embarrassing to admit, but better late than never! I’m loving it. I really need to put Bread and Wine on my list; I’ve seen it adored and recommended all over the interwebs. Happy sewing Elizabeth!

  5. says

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, and it’s interesting to hear my own reservations (from before I read it–B&W was one of the best things I read last year) echoed back to me–especially the bit about the food restrictions. And I sobbed through that story about Shauna in the hospital with her baby (and sobbed again about it when I met her in person in September. I wasn’t expected a book about “food” to make me so emotional!)
    Love the updated header too. It’s so perfect for this space.

  6. says

    I think you’d find it heartening and encouraging, Betty. While the book does include recipes from her life and her friends, the book is more a memoir than anything else; an honest, loving, encouraging type read. It’s not about keeping up with, or finding one’s destiny or anything like that, just engaging right where you are in the crazy, lovely, beautiful of where you are at right now.

  7. says

    I honestly did not get those messages at all. Admittedly, I’m reading all out of order and I have not read the whole book yet. But I find it uplifting and affirming. I think there is a growing feeling of unease in the blog world. It seems like there are lots and lots of authors and speakers and travelers and they seem to be urging women to write and speak and travel… It can feel like those are necessary for “purpose.” I hear you! We need to reassure one another that God calls us to be wives and mothers first and He offers us grace for that [very big] job. Like me, you might not be called to some other purpose. I wrestle sometimes (lots of times) with being content in knowing that this life at home, this life without the “grand destiny,” is good for my soul. The Lord knows it’s plenty challenging. And He knows my struggle to do it well. I need to learn contentedness that He’s not asking anything else;-).
    I found the book light and cheerful…

  8. Caitlin says

    Um, will you make me a pair of those pj’s? :) They look so deliciously comfy! I’m holding off on sewing for the time being until we (hopefully) find out the gender of baby #2 at my ultrasound on the 4th of Feb. I am definitely a beginner, and thus far my most complicated project has been the wool felt little red riding hood cape I made for my daughter this Halloween (which she then refused to wear because well, she’s 2- it was even lined!!). I did recently make her a lovely little quilt and I’m hoping to get started on a quilt for the new little one.
    This is the millionth time that someone has said they love B&W and the millionth time I have told myself that I need to read it. This time it’s going to stick!

  9. says

    Both the jammies and the book look lovely!! I’m glad to hear your thoughts on B&W ~ I would have totally passed on it otherwise.
    I can’t seem to find time to read these days. I am carving a bit of time to sew here and there, but not very much. I miss both! Not quite sure what to do about it….

  10. says

    I’m adding the link to my { PHFR} post because the first section contains my latest sewing. My machine and I are making new friends now that I have the USB stick that goes with it.
    Love the flannel!

  11. Rachel says

    Your sewing looks lovely! And I just added Bread and Wine to my request list at the library. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are 15 requests ahead of me.
    I’ve been busily stitching away on 2 t-shirt dresses, one for each of my girls, this week and a pair of pants for my little boy. The first dress was from Sew Pretty T- Shirt Dresses. http://www.amazon.com/Sew-Pretty-T-Shirt-Dresses-Pattern-Free/dp/1936096498/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389315619&sr=8-1&keywords=t-shirt+dresses+girls I bought the book to make Christmas dresses for my girls, but ended up taking some advice from the book and winging it for Christmas. I liked the result, so the second dress I made is from my “winging it” in a different style. I love it! It’s a red long sleeve t-shirt with gold printed stars around the neckline. Then I added a gold satiny circle skirt. DD looks like Snow White wearing it! The pants are from Growing Up Sew Liberated. I made a pair when my oldest was 2 in girl style and I’m stitching this pair with Pooh corduroy and yellow trim. It’s coming along and so cute!
    Thank you for always inspiring me to pick up some handwork, whether embroidering flowers onto a dress, stitching with my machine, or knitting something. It’s so refreshing to have something at the end of a day that doesn’t come undone (like picking up the floor or doing dishes or feeding hungry people).
    Reading – I’ve been looking at Laying Down the Rails for habit training and reading GTD for Homemakers. And some light fiction to relax in between.
    Have a lovely weekend!

  12. Betty says

    Thanks Elizabeth! The Lord has used you so many times over the last 11 or 12 yrs to encourage and challenge me. Contentment is really hard sometimes. I feel guilty for all I’m not doing or accomplishing. This week we had a slower week with lots of rain so I was home more and it is amazing how much better I did and felt. Some of us thrive with less rather than more, especially when what we do have on our plates is so meaningful and important and time consuming. I need a lot of white spaces (margins) in my life. I don’t always get that, but when I do, I come alive again!

  13. Helene says

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who sees the internet as a place where all the women are super-cute, trendy and hip to a fault. If I see another yellow and grey chevron pillow I’m going to jump off my deck! Elizabeth Foss may be super-cute, but she’s also got some substance and wisdom to share. Thanks for this blog and all the encouragement it offers.

  14. Stephanie K says

    Thank you Elizabeth! So excited to read it! I emailed my address – please let me know if my email didn’t make it to your inbox :)

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