September 16, 2021

WIPS-B-GONE 2021- A 100 Day Challenge

When I set my goals for 2021, I included the goal of finishing some WIPS. I even named the ones I wanted to finish. I chose my 2020 temperature quilt, my Indecisive quilt, my Let It Snow wall hanging and my dragon cross stitch. We are in the 9th month of the year and I have worked on precisely one of those projects (the temperature quilt, in case you were wondering). Yikes!

On the way home from getting Aiden settled in for another (hopefully normal!) year at university, I was thinking specifically about the dragon cross stitch, which I would really, really like to finish, and trying to come up with a way to motivate myself to work on it. My thought process went like this:

  • I don't actually have that much left to go on it, a little time each day would get it done before long.
  • Something like a 100 day challenge would work.
  • I wonder how many days are left in the year. 
  • Grab my phone to look that up...118.
  •  So what day would be 100 from the end of the year? 
  • September 23...Hmmm, I could work with that.
  • It would be more fun if I had other people working on their WIPS with me.
  • Okay, let's plan a big 100 day WIP finishing challenge to end the year, with tips and prizes and everything!

And that's how we come to today's announcement of the WIPS-B-GONE 100 day finishing challenge! Cue the confetti (well, not really, because that stuff is awful for the environment, but imaginary confetti is perfect 😉)! 
I hope you'll join me and end off 2021 with an abundance of finished projects. Here's all you need to know about the challenge:

When and where is the challenge happening?

The official start date is Thursday, September 23rd, since that is 100 days from the end of 2021, and the challenge is happening on Instagram, using the hashtag #wipsbgone2021. The hashtag will allow us to cheer each other on as we work on our WIPs and turn them into finishes. There will be other hashtags for check-ins after each quarter and I'll use those to randomly choose winners for the prizes our amazing sponsors are providing.

I know not everyone is on IG. If you're not, you can certainly join in and bust your WIPS, too, but you won't be eligible for the prizes.

100 days is a long time. I'm gonna need some reminders and encouragement.

Oh, me, too! I'm concerned about running out of steam before the 100 days are up. That's why I'm lining up weekly emails with tips and tricks to help keep us on track. Trust me, these tips are so good you don't want to miss them! There will be fun printables, too, for setting goals for the challenge, for celebrating our finishes and at least one just for fun. You don't have to sign up for the weekly emails to take part, but they'll be a great motivator and cheerleader popping into your inbox each Monday of the challenge if you do.

Here's a sneak peek at one of the printables I've been working on for the challenge. My temperature quilt blocks make pretty props, don't they? I bet they'll make an even better finished quilt, lol.
WIP printable sneak peek |

Which of my WIPS are eligible? Do they have to be quilts?

Any stitched project counts! It doesn't matter if it's a zip pouch you started and then set aside, a dress you cut out, but haven't sewn together, a scarf you have half-knit or a king size quilt top you haven't gotten around to quilting yet. If it's a WIP and you finish it during the 100 days between September 23rd and December 31st, then you're eligible for a prize 😊 Remember, the project that got me started planning this whole challenge is a cross stitch, so this is definitely open to projects other than quilts. I will say, though, that the prizes are pretty much all quilting related.

I'm also not going to be strict on what qualifies as a WIP. Use the challenge to tackle projects that have been hanging around for years, projects you started last week, projects that are just a fabric pull so far or (shhh!) even projects that are nothing more than a plan in your head. I won't be going back in time to see when you started your projects!

Did you say prizes?

Yes, yes I did 😊 Prizes are a wonderful, motivating force, aren't they? There will be prizes after each quarter of the challenge - so after days 25, 50, 75 and, of course, 100. Anyone who has finished even one WIP in that quarter will be eligible for the prizes, which will be awarded randomly. 

I'll get into the specifics of the prizes when it's time to award them, since prizes are still coming in. I will say there are fabric bundles, magazines, planners and patterns to be won, so you'll be all set to start something new as a reward for all the WIPS you finished during the challenge!

These are the lovely sponsors who are contributing prizes. I've linked here to their IG profiles, since this is an IG challenge and I'll be adding more in the coming days. Please follow the sponsors as a thank you for their generosity!

I'm in! What do I do now?

  • Sign up for the weekly emails to get your Monday dose of inspiration and the challenge printables.
  • Share the Let's Do This graphic on Instagram to let everyone know you're participating in the challenge (accountability can help keep us on track, so we need to let everyone know what we're doing!) and to invite them to join in, too. The bigger the cheering squad, the bigger the celebration every time we finish a project! When you sign up for the emails, you'll get a link to be able to download the graphic or you can find it in my IG story highlights and take a screenshot to share.
  • Dig out those WIPS and decide which one(s) you're going to tackle first.

Let's do this! 😊

September 13, 2021

Is It Really About Us?

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever been around someone you normally have a good relationship with, who seemed like they didn't want to talk to you, or like they were mad at you about something and you couldn't figure out what you had done? When that happens to me, I wrack my brain trying to figure out how I upset them, or what I can do to make it better. Then come to find out hours later they were dealing with something work or family related, something that had nothing whatsoever to do with me. It's always a relief, and a somewhat painful reminder that not everything is about me. Sometimes another person's mood, and even how they treat me, has nothing to do with me personally, even when it feels like it must be about me.

I was amused this week to see an instance of this in the Bible, though it was one with dire consequences. In 2 Chronicles 35:20, we read, "Necho king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle." Josiah, king of Judah, saw another king approaching with his army and assumed he was coming to attack Judah. Now, I've never been a king, but it seems like that might have been a logical assumption. If nothing else, it was probably wise to gather the army and be prepared to defend the land.

But Necho wasn't coming after Josiah's kingdom.  In fact he, "sent messengers to him, saying, 'What quarrel is there, king of Judah, between you and me? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.'" (v. 21). Necho came straight out and said to Josiah, 'This has nothing to do with you. I'm dealing with something else,' but Josiah didn't believe him. Necho even pointed out that there wasn't any quarrel between them, no prior history of problems that might have led him to march out to battle against Josiah.

Josiah, though, was so convinced that Necho's military moves were focused on his kingdom, that he couldn't believe it even when Necho said he was moving against someone else on God's orders. Josiah probably thought Necho was lying, invoking God's name so Josiah would back down and Necho could defeat him without needing to fight. 

That's when things went very wrong for Josiah. "Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Necho had said at God’s command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo. Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, 'Take me away; I am badly wounded.' So they took him out of his chariot, put him in his other chariot and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died." (vv. 22-24).

Necho's actions weren't about Judah, or about Josiah himself at all. If Josiah hadn't engaged in battle, he could have continued on ruling his kingdom, but he couldn't believe the situation wasn't about him and it cost him his life. Had he taken the time to pray and ask God for direction, maybe he would have realized Necho was telling the truth, that God was directing the other king and that Josiah should just mind his own business.

How many times do we do something like this? We assume a situation is about us, even sometimes when there is evidence that it has nothing to do with us, and we react to what we think is going on without bothering to stop and pray for direction first. Then, instead of making things better, we make them infinitely worse.
Before we act, it would be helpful to ask, "Is this really about me?" |
Yes, sometimes the situation or problem does have something to do with us and we need to do something about it. But other times, it's just not about us. It takes discernment and prayer to know the difference. Before we act, it would be helpful to ask, "Is this really about me?"

September 10, 2021

You're a Star in Coffee Chalk

I love the smell of coffee, but I can't stand the taste at all. Paul, on the other hand, loves, loves, loves his coffee. I tease him that he's a coffee snob because he orders his coffee beans from independent roasters and only buys a coffee from a chain coffee shop if we're on the road (since they're nowhere near as good as what he makes at home). When I saw the Coffee Chalk fabric line by J. Wecker Frisch for Riley Blake Designs, I immediately wanted to make something for him.
Coffee Chalk fabric line |
The big question then was...what should I make? Eventually I settled on making him a You're a Star mini quilt. You're a Star is a free pattern, go here to get your copy!
You're a star mini quilt pattern |
I love the big, bold star in this pattern. It's the perfect place to highlight a couple of fun fabrics. I definitely had to use the coffee bean print in his quilt. When he opens a new bag of coffee he always comments on how the beans look and gives it a good smell, rather like how we quilters have to pet new fabric 😊 And I'm a sucker for a swirl fabric, so that was the perfect choice for the accent fabric.
You're a star mini quilt pattern |
I generally don't use large scale prints (though I seem to remember typing that a few times now, so maybe it's changing), but the text and coffee themed images made me want this fun fabric for the background. I was a little worried it would be too busy, but the tone on tone colours keep it in the background, even with the busy-ness of the print. I don't fussy cut often, either, but the words 'Jitter Mugs' were a perfect fit for the center of the star. They were actually part of a larger motif that said, "Today's special...Jitter Mugs," but that wouldn't all fit. And I'm amused by the notion of coffee as a jitter mug.
You're a star mini quilt pattern |
I used Aurifil 50 wt in 2360 (brown), 2270 (red) and 2600 (grey) for the quilting and kept the quilting fairly simple. I was super impressed with myself for making the stipple in the background much larger than my usual tiny stipple and actually maintaining that size for the whole thing. Sure, it's still smaller than a lot of people do, but it was big for me!
You're a star mini quilt pattern |
I usually prefer solid backing fabrics, so the quilting really shows up, but this time I couldn't resist this text print all about growing and selling coffee beans. Paul thinks it's a shame no one will see it, since we plan to hang the quilt. You can still see the quilting a little, especially where I used the red thread.
You're a star mini quilt pattern |
You're a Star is a quick sew (gotta love mini quilts!), so I was able to cut all the pieces for the top and stitch the top together in one afternoon. The quilting didn't take long, either. I may have spent more time trying to decide on quilting than I actually did doing the quilting, lol. And then the red fabric was the perfect choice for the binding. I love how it frames the quilt on both the front and the back.
You're a star mini quilt pattern |
Don't forget to go here to get your copy of the free You're a Star pattern! I hope you'll tag me on social media when you make one so I can see it!

Thank you to Riley Blake Designs for providing the fabric for this mini quilt. I loved working with it and I love Paul's new quilt 😊 Now to get it hung on the wall!