January 20, 2022

Crayon-Coloured Christmas Ornaments Tutorial

I've had this ornament tutorial on my to-do list since well before Christmas, but I'm only now getting around to getting all of the pictures edited so they could be added to the post. It's funny how we can get stuck on the smallest steps sometimes, isn't it? Better late than never, though, right? I'm saying I'm helping you be well prepared for next Christmas instead of dwelling on the fact that we're a month past Christmas already.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
The fronts of these ornaments are coloured with crayons, making them a fun project to do with the kids in your life. As a bonus, the ornaments are pretty quick to put together using scraps of fabric and batting.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com

So, let's make some ornaments!

What you'll need

The first thing you need is an image for your ornament. I wanted text for mine, so I searched online for 'simple Christmas text clipart' and also tried combining 'clipart' with the words I wanted, like 'merry and bright.' You could also try simple colouring pages. If you're more skilled at drawing than I am, you could draw your own image or you could have your kids draw something. Keep in mind that you'll be colouring the image with crayons, so be wary of images with really tiny spaces, especially if kids will be doing the colouring. I found that the lights and leaves on mine were tough to colour neatly. Once you have your image, print it out at the size you want for your ornament.

You'll also need white fabric for the front of the ornament, fabric for the back, a scrap of batting, a 6" piece of ¼" ribbon, a pencil, crayons, paper towel and your iron.

Transfer the image to your fabric

Trace your image onto your white fabric using a lightbox. My lightbox is the super-fancy version that came with the house. Only problem is, it only works during daylight hours! 
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
I use a regular pencil to trace my image and I like that the lines stays visible even after I colour it. Whatever you use to trace the image, keep in mind that you'll be ironing it later on, and the heat will make some inks permanent. You can do a test on scrap fabric to be sure you can remove it before the ironing step or that you like it enough for it to be a permanent part of the image.

Make it pretty

Then add some colour! I prefer to use Crayola crayons. I find that cheap crayons tend to leave blobs of wax behind as you use them, and I want to avoid that on my ornaments. 
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
As you're colouring, you want the colour to be fairly dark as I find it gets a little lighter when the wax is removed in the next step.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com

Remove the wax

When you're finished colouring, place the fabric on a pressing surface with the design facing up. Cover it with paper towel, then iron it with a hot, dry iron. The wax will melt and be absorbed into the paper towel. 
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
I like to press for a few seconds, then move the paper towel so a clean section is over the design and press it again. Keep going until there's no wax left on the design. If you rub a finger over the image you should be able to feel any smooth spots that indicate there is still a little wax to remove.

If you're making multiple ornaments at once, be careful not to reuse a section of paper towel that already has wax on it, to avoid the possibility of transferring coloured wax back onto an image.

Assemble the ornament

Trim the excess fabric around your design. I left ¾" on all sides of mine, so I'd have ½" margins after the ornament was sewn. Cut the batting and backing fabric the same size as the front.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
Lay your backing fabric on top of the batting. If your backing fabric was a wrong side, place it wrong side down on the batting. Position the ribbon as shown and clip it in place. I placed each ribbon end 1" from the side. If your design is smaller than mine, make sure the middle of the ribbon won't be caught in the seam allowance along the bottom.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
Place the ornament front on top, right sides together with the backing. Clip the layers together all the way around. I place two clips close together on the side where I'll start and stop, to remind myself to leave a gap for turning the ornament right side out. 
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
Using a ¼" seam, stitch all the way around the ornament, remembering to leave that gap for turning. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching. Clip the corners as shown here, being careful not to clip into your seam.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
Turn the ornament right side out and gently poke out the corners. 
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
Fold in the seam allowance along the gap, then press the ornament well.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
Stitch close to the edge all around the ornament. This will close the gap and help keep the ornament nice and flat.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
That's it! Just think of all the ornaments you could make! I'm thinking it would be really fun to give kids a piece of fabric to colour on, then surprise them with ornaments made of their art work.
Crayon coloured Christmas ornament tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com
Seeing as it's January, and you might not be making any Christmas ornaments for a few months, you can pin this tutorial to help you remember. If you're anything like me, you'll only have a vague sense of "I wanted to make some of those ornaments" when the time to actually do it arrives. 
Crayon Coloured Christmas Ornaments tutorial | DevotedQuilter.com

January 17, 2022

Cracking the Code

 Devotion for the Week...

I love to read and historical fiction is one of my go-to genres. I particularly enjoy books set during WWII, though I am forever grateful that those stories are my fiction and not my reality. One WWII book that I loved recently was The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn (really, everything I've read by her has been fantastic). The story follows three women who worked at Bletchley Park, helping to crack German codes in the utmost secrecy. It was a portion of history I knew very little about, to the point that I didn't know women were involved in cracking codes at all. It was fascinating to read how they accomplished their work; the machines that were involved, the skills they needed and the ways they had to think differently in order to crack through what the Germans thought were unbreakable codes, not to mention the anguish when they struggled for days or weeks to crack a new code. And, of course, the elation when they did break through a code and what seemed like gibberish became plain, simple German they could then translate and pass on to help defeat the enemy.

While Jesus didn't speak in codes that had to be cracked, He did teach using parables whose meanings were not easily deciphered. In Mark 4, Jesus tells the parable of the sower: "Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!" (vv. 3-8). It's not easy to understand how that relates to following God, is it?

Jesus then finished by saying, "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand" (v. 9), which seems like an odd statement since presumably everyone listening had ears that could hear, seeing as they were listening to the story to begin with.

But here's the thing - Jesus taught using parables because He was teaching His disciples. There were plenty of curious onlookers around, but they weren't His disciples and they weren't really interested in following Him, so they weren't the intended recipients of His teachings.

The people who would understand the parables were His followers, because they were still around when He gave the explanation. The curious ones who listened to the story just because they were part of the crowd, but they didn't really care about what He was teaching, weren't around anymore when the explanation was given.

Jesus explained it by quoting Isaiah when He said, "When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven" (v. 12). It's not that Jesus didn't want the people to turn to Him and be forgiven, but that He knew their hearts and that they weren't interested enough in Him to make the effort to learn and understand, which would lead to them turning to Him. Anyone could become His follower simply by sticking around, listening and taking in the teachings He shared, so it wasn't like people were being turned away. They just couldn't be bothered to stay.

Today we have the Bible to read, with the explanations for the parables included to make it easy for us. That means everyone who reads the parable can also get the explanation, but it doesn't mean that everyone hears and understands the explanation. People today are no different from the people of Jesus' day, so even those of us who read our Bibles can be too busy to really pay attention to what we're reading. I know I've been guilty of just skimming the words or reading while distracted by the day's to-do list. When I'm reading like that, I see and understand all of the words, but I'm not really taking in the meaning of what I read. On those days, the meaning might as well be in an unbreakable code for all the good it will do me.
Do we have ears  to hear what Jesus teaches | DevotedQuilter.com
If we want to benefit from Jesus' teaching, we have to be like His disciples. They asked questions, they listened intently and, most importantly, they stuck with Him. Sure, there were a lot of times they just didn't get it, but we can relate to that, too. Our human minds have trouble understanding how God's kingdom should work, but we can crack that code if we have ears to hear Jesus' teaching.

January 11, 2022

Ticker Tape Heart

I am excited to have a guest post today on Amy Smart's Diary of a Quilter blog. The Ticker Tape Heart block is a fun, scrappy block that's perfect for Valentine's Day. 
Ticker Tape Heart quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
If you don't decorate for Valentine's Day, it would also be a great Galentine's Day gift for your favourite girl friends. Or it would make a sweet a baby quilt or wedding gift. I also think it would be fun to make a whole rainbow quilt of Ticker Tape Heart blocks. I certainly have enough scraps for it!

I couldn't decide if I wanted to make a mini quilt or a table runner, so I made four blocks and made both. Like I said, there's no shortage of scraps around here. I quilted in the ditch around all four hearts and around all of the scrap pieces with Aurifil 2430 50 wt thread. Then, for the mini, I stitched a small loopy meander with white Aurifil. The loopy meander makes me think of eyelet fabric, for some reason.
Ticker Tape Heart quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
For the table runner, I stitched a loopy heart meander at a slightly larger scale than I used for the mini quilt. 
Ticker Tape Heart quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
I love quilting this loopy heart meander! The texture from the loopy heart meander and from stitching around all of the scraps is so, so good.
Ticker Tape Heart quilt block | DevotedQuilter.com
Head over to Diary of a Quilter for the full tutorial to make your own Ticker Tape Heart blocks. I hope you'll tag me if you share your Ticker Tape Heart blocks on social media!