November 29, 2013

A Friday Finish for Fiona!

 This small binding roll is for the baby quilt I shared here.

I love pictures of rolled up binding, so I finally rolled up one of my own bindings, but it doesn't look nearly as impressive when it's only enough for a baby quilt!
 I love how the aqua border really added to the quilt, toning down the sweetness of the pink, but still looking girly.

I used a pale pink thread to quilt a simple meander all over this one. It will be delivered to baby Fiona sometime next week.

I think this might become my go-to baby quilt. I love the simplicity of the block, but it's more interesting than a plain four-patch and I think it would look fun in a lot of different colour schemes.

This finish is another for my Finish-a-Long list for this quarter. I'm really rolling along!

On Monday I received my mug rugs from the swap last month. They're both so pretty, and they look quite different, even though they're similarly made. The fabrics make such a huge difference.
These fabrics strike me as more modern.
These ones are more traditional.
I will definitely participate in a swap again. It was so much fun planning my mug rugs and then waiting for these to arrive in the mail.

Have a great weekend!

November 27, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Just Spoolin' Around

This block was so much fun to put together! It was fun planning out which fabrics would look like fun threads and then the block came together so easily. I only had to rip out one seam, and that was because somehow I ended up stitching on two layers of the red fabric, and of course one of them only covered part of the patch so it was really noticeable, otherwise I might have tried to get away with it.
I wish I could sew with these threads! I even remembered to make sure the lines were going horizontally on each spool, like real thread would be.

So, I now have four of Kristy's And Sew On... blocks finished, with only one more left to go for the wall hanging I plan to make. Maybe it's not such a long shot to get it finished before this quarter of the Finish-a-Long ends!
I started out with no plan whatsoever, but after making three blocks I found I had gravitated to a blue and red scheme, with the muslin background. So, I made Just Spoolin' Around with the blue and red again. I guess I stumbled onto a plan without even trying.

The red really stands out in this last block though, so I may have to be a little more bold with the final block's colours, just to balance it all out.

Thanks to everyone who left such nice comments on my Blog Hop with Giveaways post. I ran the numbers through this morning and the winner was number 7, Tina A. Let me just say, starting my day by emailing someone to say she won a prize is a lot of fun too!

November 25, 2013

Adding to Your Repertoire

Devotion for the Week...

Anyone just learning to quilt has many new skills she needs to learn. She needs to learn to cut precisely so her pieces will fit together easily. She needs to learn to sew straight 1/4" seams, how to press those seams without distorting the pieces and how to measure before adding borders.

And that's just to make the quilt top! Then there's basting and quilting and binding. With each quilt the beginner will get a little better at these basic things. We all did, or will. Then we move on to other skills. Maybe we add applique or embroidery or free-motion quilting to our repertoire. Whatever the style, most quilters are always on the lookout for a new technique to try, a new skill to master.

In his second letter recorded in the Bible, Peter wrote of several things Christians should be adding to their repertoire as well. These are not skills to master, but rather characteristics to help us better conform to the character of Christ.

"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins." (2 Peter 1:3-9)

First off, in verses 3 and 4 Peter tells us that we already have everything we need "for life and godliness" so we "may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." So these characteristics aren't beyond our reach. It isn't an impossible task he presents to us. With Jesus as Savior and if we rely on the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us to guide and strengthen us, it is possible to live as God calls us to live.

We begin with faith. Through faith we accept Jesus as Savior, which is the first step in living the way God intends. Then, relying on the Spirit daily, we add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.

Peter doesn't mean believers suddenly acquire these characteristics or that we don't have to work at them. In fact, Peter tells us to "make every effort." That means we work at being good, we work at increasing our knowledge and self-control and on through the list.

Just as a quilter doesn't say she will work on cutting perfectly while ignoring the size of her seam, we don't work on only one characteristic and ignore all the others. We may place more emphasis on one, especially if we are struggling in that area, but we can't completely neglect the other areas.

Verse 8 tells us there is no end point, no moment when we can say "I have all the self-control I need." Peter tells us the goal is to have "these qualities in increasing measure." In other words, we should always be trying to become more good, more knowledgeable, more self-controlled, to show more perseverance, godliness, kindness and love. Then we will not be "ineffective and unproductive," which I think means that if we have these qualities in increasing measure then we are experiencing the full result of knowing Jesus as Savior.

What about if we don't have these qualities? Peter says believers without them are "near-sighted and blind" and that they have "forgotten that [they have] been cleansed from [their] past sins" (v. 9).

That's not how I want to live!

It's not easy to focus on improving these qualities in our lives. We'd rather believe we are good enough as we are and spend our energies pointing out the faults of others. But that's not what God desires for us.

So, do you have faith in Jesus as your Savior? What about the other qualities? What efforts could you be making to increase your measure of goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love?

November 21, 2013

Blog Hop Party with Giveaways!

Welcome to my stop for the Blog Hop Party with Giveaways! Thanks to the Quilting Gallery for organizing this great hop.

I started this snowman table runner a couple of weekends ago, at a Saturday sewing retreat with a couple of friends.
Those 75 snowball blocks were made using the stitch and flip method, with corner squares measuring 1 1/8". Can you say 'teeny-tiny'?
The snowmen on the ends are all fused, but I've only just begun stitching around them. So far only one of the six can see and none have arms yet. I doubt this one will be finished in time for Christmas, but snowmen can stay out until the snow melts, right?

In the process of making all those snowball blocks I ended up with a couple extras. Combine that with a desire to make something to give away during this blog hop party and voila - a mug rug.

For a chance to win this mug rug, leave me a comment before the party ends on November 26th. I'll choose a winner on November 27th and I'm willing to ship anywhere in the world, but make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. Followers get a second entry, just leave me a second comment letting me know how you follow.
Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways
Be sure to check out all the other bloggers taking part!

November 19, 2013

A Canadian Blogger's Party!

There's a party going on and everyone is invited! Visit Sew Sisters to see the list of great Canadian bloggers participating and check out the great prizes to be won.
I grew up in Nova Scotia, 20 minutes away from iconic Peggy's Cove.Peggys Cove Nova Scotia Lighthouse
Now I live in beautiful Newfoundland with my husband and our 3 boys. 
In Blow-me-Down Provincial Park in June 2012.
I spend as much time quilting as I can and dream up plans for quilting I'll never be able to accomplish in this lifetime!

My newest work in progress is a baby quilt for a friend whose little girl was born a little over a week ago. I had planned to make another one similar to the one I made for little Maddie, but plans changed when I saw this cover quilt. That Disappearing 4-Patch block was calling my name!
 I knew I didn't want to make a big quilt, so a simple 3 x 3 arrangement seemed doable for a baby quilt. And, since this quilt is actually on my Finish-a-Long list for this quarter, it's not really adding something new (or at least that's what I'm telling myself).

So, with the center finished, I dug through my stash for a border fabric. At first I thought I'd use this grey...
but it's too dark. There's too much contrast for my liking. Then I thought this pink would work. It's a little darker than the main pink I used, but not dark enough. There's not enough contrast this time. The whole quilt looks a little too sugary sweet, even for a new baby girl's quilt.
So, off to the fabric store I went.
And found exactly what I wanted. With this aqua there's just enough contrast and the blues stand out a little more, reducing the sugary factor.

I can't wait to get this one quilted so I can share the finish!

Be sure to come back on Thursday for the
Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

November 18, 2013

With Others

Devotion for the Week...

This week brings us to the conclusion of my series on the 'Noble Wife' of Proverbs 31, where we will look at her relationships with people other than her husband. For my other devotions in this series, click here, here and here. To read the full passage, click here.

Three verses speak about the woman's relationships with others. In verse 20 we see her doing what she can to address the needs in her community: "She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy." Though we don't know exactly how she helped the poor and needy, we know there are many ways to do so. Giving money, food, clothing or any other physical necessity is one way. Helping a person learn skills that could lead to employment is another. Counseling or encouragement is another. All of these options would have been available to a woman in Bible times and they are all still available to us today.

In this digital age, the entire world's dire needs are continually in our view. The list of opportunities to give are endless. It is essential to give internationally, as in relief efforts for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, or child sponsorship programs through organizations such as Compassion or humanitarian efforts such as those by Samaritan's Purse. 

But I think we should also be trying to meet needs within our own communities. Those are often harder to see because people don't like to appear needy, so they mask their needs as best they can. That the Noble Wife does work to meet the needs of her community says a lot not only about her willingness to help, but also her awareness of the needs. How often are we so wrapped up in the concerns of our own lives that we don't even see the needs of others? We have to keep our eyes and our hearts open to truly see those around us. 

Verse 26 moves a little closer to home, showing her relationship with those who look to her for wisdom and guidance. "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." Maybe these were younger women in her social circle, or even those she worked with in some capacity. Though the term doesn't appear here, she would have been considered a mentor to others. She shared her wisdom freely and helped others learn whenever her help was needed. Many of us are free with our advice, but how often do we pray for wisdom before we speak? When it is appropriate, do we willingly share what we know that could help others?

Verse 28 moves right into the home, to the woman's relationship with her own children. "Her children arise and call her blessed." We've all known stories of parents who appeared to be model citizens, but who were indifferent, nasty or even abusive to their children. What would our children say if speaking honestly about us? Would it be that we were too busy for them? That we were always impatient? Or do they feel we take time for them, that we love them and value them for who they are right now?

Would they tell of constant gossiping? Of judging others or speaking negatively about those we pretend to like? A child's impressions of our actions could be quite revealing. Would they call us blessed? What would we need to change for them to see us that way?
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
Proverbs 31:10-31 offers a picture of a woman who is hard-working, kind and generous to all. In short, she is exactly the sort of person every Christian woman should strive to become. I certainly don't feel I measure up to that standard. Do you? If not, what steps can we take to improve each area of our lives that needs work? 

November 12, 2013

For the Boys!

Today it's my turn to share my projects for the 'For the Boys' blog hop. As always, Mme. Samm of Sew we Quilt has come up with a fun theme to get us thinking and planning fun projects. Thanks to both her and Amy of Sew Incredibly Crazy for getting us going and keeping us organized.

For this hop I made two things, one for my three boys and one for my husband, Paul, who isn't often the recipient when I'm making things.

Aiden and Zach needed a bag for carrying their piano books to their lessons and Nathan needed a new bag for carrying toys and books to church, so I made them a messenger bag. Yes, just one bag. They're very good at sharing.
I made the body of the bag and the strap from old jeans, mostly from the three boys. The inside fabric is an old blue sheet and even the batting was all scraps, so only the camouflage fabric for the flap is new. Zach came into the room once while I was sewing and picked up the camouflage. "This is cool fabric," he said. Does this mom know her boys or what?

Here is the front of the bag, under the flap...
...and the back of the bag.
My three models displayed varying levels of excitement when I asked if I could take their pictures with the new bag.
The first time Nathan tried out the bag I just laughed. It's a little long on him! Oh well...he'll grow into it.

I made this cross-stitch for Paul about 10 years ago, after he saw the pattern in a magazine I was using for another project. Then it got stuck in my trunk where I keep my fabric stash. And there it stayed. Every now and then I'd see it and think, "I should do something with that." But I'd move on again and these poor dogs would keep waiting for the right moment.
This hop gave me the incentive to finally make something useful of it. A little Christmas mini for the wall is much nicer than an unfinished piece stuck in my stash. The whole thing measures 14" x 11 1/2".
When I showed this to Paul he laughed and told me he had completely forgotten about the cross stitch! So yes, it was a UFO for way too long!

Be sure to check out the rest of the wonderful projects made by today's participants.

Thanks for stopping by!

November 11, 2013

At Work

Devotion for the Week...

I'm continuing this week with my exploration of 'The Noble Wife' of Proverbs 31:1-10. Click here to read the full passage, here and here to read  the first two devotions of this series.

The theme this week is work and 10 of the 22 verses in this passage are about her work. The Bible is clear that we are all to be hard workers. See Colossians 3:23, 1 Thessalonians 4:11 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10. The Proverbs 31 'Noble Wife' is simply a portrait of how that looks lived out day-to-day. So, what can we learn from her example?

The second part of verse 13 says she "works with eager hands." I think this means she enjoys the work she does, which is as much a matter of attitude as anything else. We can choose to grumble about the work we need to do or we can find ways to make unpleasant jobs more enjoyable and we can remember to thank God both for our work and for our ability to do it.

Verse 15 says, "She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants." Now, I really don't like getting up while it's still dark, but I find my entire day goes better is I get up early enough to shower and get dressed before I have to worry about getting the boys up and ready for school. This time of year, that means getting up before the sun rises.

I don't know what they ate for breakfast back then, but I can relate to this woman who made sure everyone had food to start the day off right. I find it interesting that though she had servants, she provided the breakfast herself rather than leaving it for the servants to do. I wonder if she enjoyed the cooking and passed less favourite tasks to the servants.

Verse 17 says, "She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks." She's a hard worker, not just putting in her hours or slacking off. This is an important point, since many people put much more effort into their hobbies (like quilting!) than they do their work.

Verse 18 says, "She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night." I like The Message rendition better. "She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day." Not many of us trade goods and bring the profit home at the end of the day. Even if you work retail, a busy day at the store doesn't mean you bring home more money (unless you own the store, of course!). Really knowing and understanding the value of your work is important. It's easier to tackle any job if we feel it has meaning in the bigger picture.

I see the first part of verse 13 as being linked with verses 19, 22 and 24. "She selects wool and flax...In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers...She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple...She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes." 

She started out by selecting good quality raw materials, the wool and flax, then she spun them into useable thread and then used that to make clothing for herself, blankets for their beds and items to sell. She followed through with each of the tasks, working until she had a finished product. While we don't have to spin our threads or even make all our own clothes, we can certainly learn a lesson from a woman who finishes what she starts. How many of us start projects that we never finish? Whether they are quilt projects, home improvement projects or employment related projects, we should be careful to finish what we start.

Verse 27 says "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." I think this is in contrast to those women who have nothing better to do than sit around gossiping about others or grumbling about all that is wrong with the world while ignoring the work that needs to be done. It's laziness, pure and simple, and the Proverbs 31 woman doesn't take part in it.

And finally, verse 31 says, "Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." I think this verse is a reminder that we need to recognize others when they have done a good job at something. We are quick to praise our children when they do well, let's also remember to praise friends and  co-workers for a job well done.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
What is your attitude about work? What would others say about your work ethic? Do we line up with what is presented in God's word as the standard for our attitude and our work ethic?

November 07, 2013

A Blanket for Maddie

This little sweetie is Maddie. She's 8 weeks old and isn't she just adorable?

Her mom, Krista, and I were best friends all through school and she was my maid of honour when we got married. We kind of lost touch over the years, but when I heard she had a little one on the way I knew I wanted to make something for the baby.

Quilters can't seem to hear about babies without thinking 'baby quilt' can we?

The pattern for this blanket is by Tailor Made by Design. It is so quick and simple to make, but it's really cute too.

I love the ribbons sticking out on the sides. In theory, little Maddie will play with them as she gets older and is more interested in the different textures and whatnot.

I backed it with a soft blue and quilted on either side of each seam. There is no batting in the middle, so it's not technically a 'quilt', just a blankie. Hopefully it will be well used and loved.

Does it get any cuter than this?

November 04, 2013

Bringing Him Good

Devotion for the Week...

This week I am continuing to look at Proverbs 31:10 - 31. Go here to read the whole passage and here to read my first devotion looking at the famous 'noble wife.'

Have you ever noticed how much of Proverbs 31 is about the woman's relationship with her husband?

"A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life." (vv. 10-12)

If I could ask him, would your husband say you bring him good , not harm, all the days of your life? Would mine, if you could ask him? Not only on the days when we want something, or only on the days he remembers to compliment how we look, or only the days we are happy with the number on the scale, or even only on the days our hormonal balance is just right - all the days of our lives. That's a high goal, isn't it?

That doesn't mean we don't speak up when we disagree with him. Nor does it mean we keep quiet when our feelings are hurt. It does mean we remember to fight fair and to treat him with respect. It means we don't try to hurt him and we take the initiative and apologize when necessary. It means we keep our husband's best interests in mind at all times.

Before anyone gets upset, thinking wives are supposed to be doing all the work in maintaining this relationship, I should point out a verse in Ephesians directed at husbands. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her," (Ephesians 5:15). Loving as Christ loved the church is an unconditional, sacrificial love, guaranteed to be keeping the wife's best interests in mind at all times.

But let's get back to the 'noble wife.' 

"Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land." (v. 23)

Do you realize that how you talk about your husband to others affects how they view him? Are you aware of the picture you paint of him to others? I have been around women who never have a positive word to say about their husbands, or who share stories that make him sound like a complete idiot. It's hard not to lose respect for the husband, even knowing that I am only hearing the wife's side of the story. Our words have the power to increase or decrease the respect others have for our husbands. 

We shouldn't pretend our men are perfect or plaster on a smile and pretend a marriage is perfect if, in fact, it is struggling. I mean we must be aware of the casual remarks we sometimes make that could make others view him differently. Sometimes it can be tough to keep quiet, or we justify what we say since we're 'only joking around,' but we should always be aware of the effect of our words. I confess that just the other day I made a comment, 'just joking around,' that I should probably have kept to myself. Nothing serious, but it was a laugh with another woman at Paul's expense and it was unnecessary.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
In our society the man is often portrayed as a buffoon while the woman is strong and smart. She is competent where he is incompetent. There's nothing wrong with a woman being strong, smart and competent. In fact, I think Proverbs 31 shows 'the noble wife' as just that. I think that's why "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her" (v. 28). But let's be careful not to portray our husbands as less than they are in order to make ourselves look stronger, smarter or more competent.

November 01, 2013

My Fall Mug Rugs

I got an email from my swap partner today, letting me know my mug rugs arrived safely in Australia, so now I can share them here. For this swap we were asked to make two mug rugs with a fall theme and my first thought was of this cute pumpkin applique from the book I won back in September.
Mug Rug #1
On the leaves fabric I did a little FMQ design from Angela Walters' Dot-to-Dot Quilting class on Craftsy. I love her designs and her teaching style. My rendition featured lines nowhere near as straight as I would have liked, but it wasn't bad overall.

For my second one, I decided to try something a little different. I had never done quilt-as-you-go, but the book with the pumpkin in it also had a pattern for a reversible table runner done by QAYG. A reversible mug rug sounded fun, especially since my partner experiences the seasons opposite to me here in Newfoundland. So even though it is fall here, she is in the middle of spring.

For the fall side, I chose this fabulous pumpkin fabric I've had in my stash for a long, long time and made the small log cabin block in coordinating colours.
Mug Rug #2- Side 1
Then, for the spring side I chose this bright pink print and coordinating colours.
Mug Rug #2 - Side 2

I enjoyed the QAYG method, especially since it used by some of the small batting scraps I can't usually find a use for. I'm not sure I'd want to make a big quilt this way, but it's kind of fun for smaller projects.

Did you notice? Even the binding is reversible! It took a little figuring, since I usually make double-fold binding and this is single-fold, and my first attempt was way too wide. I had to rip out the seam, trim some from each side and the stitch it back on, but I was pleased with how it turned out in the end.
So, that's the first of my Finish-a-Long items finished!

Linking up with TGIFF, Finish it up Friday, and Can I get a Whoop Whoop.