August 26, 2014

10 Quilty Little Secrets

Amy, of 13 Spools, has started a flood of quilty confessions with her post "10 Quilty Little Secrets." Have you seen all the fun posts popping up as other bloggers share their own quilty secrets? I've decided to join in the fun too.
13 Spools

1. Like Amy, I iron my seams. I don't press them. I've tried, but I always revert back to ironing. 

2. I rarely change my sewing machine needle. I can't justify changing it more often when I never notice a difference when I do bother to change it, and leaving the old needle in never causes me problems.

3. I almost never know who designed the fabric I'm using.

4. I sew on a Kenmore machine that I love. I feel no desire to 'upgrade' to a Bernina, Janome, Juki or any other, much more expensive, machine. This machine does everything I need it to do, and probably stuff I haven't decided to try yet.

5. I can't remember the last time I changed my rotary cutter blade. I probably should do that soon, it isn't cutting as well as it used to, but I never think to buy a new blade.

6. I just finished piecing a top with a jelly roll that I didn't prewash. It makes me jittery. I always prewash my fabric so now I feel like something bad is going to happen to this quilt the first time I wash it. I'm buying colour catchers as soon as I can actually find some in a store.

7. I don't save my selvages. Some people make beautiful things using selvages, but I'm not one of them.

8. I used to desperately want a longarm, but now I think I wouldn't buy one even if it could fit in our budget and our house. Leah Day is right, you don't need a longarm to do fantastic free-motion quilting.

9. I don't like large scale prints, or prints with lots of colours. I never know how to use either of them.

10. Improv holds no appeal for me.

There you have it, all my quilty little secrets. What are yours? Share them in the comments, or write up your own post and link it to Amy at 13 Spools.

August 25, 2014

Hexagon Unity

Devotion for the Week...

I am so excited to be finished this quilt top! You can see more pictures of it in this post. There are about 1,340 hexies in this top, made out of many, many different fabrics. It was a lot of fun to pick those fabrics and plan out each of the 56 flowers.

Can you imagine me spending hours and hours, cutting and sewing those 1,340 hexies, using only one fabric? What a complete waste of time that would be! The flowers are only interesting because they are each made of two, or more, different fabrics. Even the background I chose is made of two different blue fabrics.

Amazingly, God has designed His church to be like this quilt top. Before His death, Jesus prayed for all of the people who would ever believe in Him. He prayed, "That all of them may be one, Father...May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" (John 17:21a-23).

That verse staggers me. All the people in this world who don't know that Jesus was sent by God, and who don't know about the love God has for them - they're depending on us to function in unity to show them? That seems like a tough task.

Fortunately, being brought to complete unity doesn't mean we all become identical. Though my hexagons share a size and shape, they aren't identical in colour. Even so, when sewn together, they create one complete unit.

Jesus doesn't want to erase our personalities, or pretend our differences don't exist. God gave us all distinct personalities and abilities so we can serve Him, each in our own way. Just as fabrics can be one solid colour, or bright florals, or batik, or civil war reproduction, or any of a number of other categories, people can be introverts or extroverts, boisterous or quiet, crafty or not. Though our goal as Christians is to become Christ-like, that refers to our character, not our individuality. So, while we should all exhibit "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22,23), it's okay if you don't like listening to Mercy Me as much as I do. Unity comes as we accept one another's differences and focus on using who we are and what we can do to serve the church and one another.

Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to accept differences. The church has an awful history of dis-unity rather than unity. Denominations have disagreed for centuries, sometimes with violent and bloody consequences. On an individual level, believers have disagreed about everything from music styles to what time services should start.

When the world hears all that arguing, it's hard for them to hear the truth about the love of God. After all, Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34,34). When we show love for one another, we show ourselves to be disciples of Jesus, and we show the world our unity. Our unity then shows the world the love of God.

So, how should we show love to others? Paul instructs us to "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves" (Romans 12:10). Maybe you don't like the music the youth in your church prefer, but you go to the youth emphasis service anyway to honour the youth and their desire to serve God in their own way. It doesn't mean you have to start listening to their music, but it does mean you don't put them down for preferring a style different from your own.

Paul also wrote, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3,4). Put bluntly, he's saying 'don't insist on getting your own way all the time. Don't always arrange things so you get the main benefit. Don't kick up a fuss if things aren't done exactly how you would like. Think about what would be good for the other person in any situation.' None of which is easy to do, of course.

But when we get it right, when we let other people serve God according to their personalities, while serving Him according to our own personality, then the church functions in unity. Then the people around us can see the love of God.

So then, here is my quilty definition of complete unity in the church: Many, many people, all of us sharing a Christ-like character (the hexagon shape) while maintaining our individual personalities (the different colours and patterns of the fabric) joined together to create His church (the quilt top).

Around the World Blog Hop

Last week Yvonne of Quilting Jet Girl tagged me in her Around the World Blog Hop post, so this week I'm 'it'. This blog hop is essentially a huge game of tag as bloggers tag other bloggers all over the world to share their answers to a few questions. Before I answer the questions myself, here are the three bloggers I'm tagging:

My Photo
Jennifer of Never Just Jennifer. Jennifer is one of the members of the Round Trip Quilts group and I can't wait to start working on her quilt. She has started a series on her blog called Mosaic Tuesday, in which she shares colour inspiration, which is especially helpful to people like me who always doubt their colour choices.

My Photo

Fiona of Celtic Thistle Stitches. Fiona's blog is so much fun. She's not afraid to try new techniques and she shares the beautiful results. Plus, she travels all over the place and shares amazing pictures of far-flung sights and quilty inspiration. She also hosts the 'New to Me in 2014' and 'Ho Ho Ho and On We Sew' linky parties.

Smiley faceErin of Sew at Home Mummy. I'm not sure how she does it, but Erin's posts are often funny even when they're about regular, not funny stuff. Her post trying to persuade readers to buy a new iron was fantastic (though I didn't buy the iron!). In the spring she did a great series called Beautify Your Blog where she shared lots and lots of tips for fixing/changing/adding things on your blog. And she's a fellow Canadian, though from the other side of the country and currently living in Chicago.

These three beautiful ladies will share their answers to the questions next week and tag another round of bloggers so we can all go meet more new friends. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Now, on to the questions.

What am I working on?


Let's see...1,2,3... Maybe we shouldn't count them all! I love having a bunch of projects on the go all at once. I may not finish any one particular project as quickly as if I worked on things one at a time, but I enjoy being able to pick what I want to work on each day. Here are two of the current projects.

After finishing my hexie quilt top, I needed a new hand stitching project. Though I'll probably hand quilt my hexies, it's still too warm to even think about sitting under a quilt for hours, so I wanted something smaller. This little embroidery project is just right. Plus, I love the verse from Psalm 19.

A couple of nights ago, I finished making the last of the blocks for my A Walk in the Park quilt using the beautiful batiks Paul bought for me. Now I can figure out how to distribute the colours evenly and get the top put together. I'd love to have this one ready when the cool weather sets in. You know, for those evenings when I'm not sitting under the hexies, quilting!

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 


I think this is the toughest question of them all. My honest answer is, I'm not really sure. I know I like really intricate piecing, like in this Jinny Beyer design I still haven't finished.
One of the 20 blocks in Jinny Beyer's Golden Album quilt
But I like the minimal piecing look of modern quilts too, like in my version of Canvas, designed by Leanne of She Can Quilt.
My Canvas post
I also know I'm not a big fan of most of the current favourite fabric designers, mostly because I don't really like large scale prints. I prefer small scale prints and those that don't have a lot of different colours in them. I've only sewn one quilt with solids so far, but I certainly want to play with them more.
My Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap quilt post

Why do I write/create what I do? 


This one is easy...because I love it! I love playing with fabric and creating pretty things to look at or use. I love giving gifts I've made. I love looking at patterns or blogs and dreaming of all the things I'd make if only I had a hundred hours in each day just for quilting. My favourite way to describe how I feel about quilting (and blogging) is "I am having so much fun!"

As for the writing, I've always wanted to be a writer. I love writing about living for God and I love having the self-imposed deadline of posting a new devotion every Monday morning. To see a list of the devotions I've written so far, go here.

How does my writing/creating process work?


For quilting, I don't think I have a process I follow all the time. Sometimes I see a pattern I need to make, even if I don't yet have a use for it, other times I want to make a gift for someone and I go looking for just the right thing to make. Sometimes I jump on board with something I see online, like a chance to test a pattern, or to be part of a quilt swap. More rarely, I have fabric on hand and search for a pattern to make perfect use of it. Usually it's the other way around, though, since my stash actually isn't all that big and it's mostly composed of scrap sized pieces now.

I like to switch from project to project, and I love when my projects are at different stages so I can decide if I want to be pulling fabric, piecing or quilting on a given day. When I'm close to finishing a top, or a whole quilt, I usually work on that project the most because it's so exciting to have a finish.

I don't know that I have a particular process for writing either, other than procrastination. Boy, am I good at that! Usually, I think about the devotion for a few days, writing out sentences in my mind long before I ever sit with the computer. Writing directly onto the computer first is actually a new process for me. For years I had to write everything out on looseleaf, often doing several drafts before being ready to type it in. I'm not using nearly as much paper now that I'm typing right from the start!

Well, Jennifer, Fiona and Erin, over to you. You're IT!

August 21, 2014

TGIFF - The EPP Hexagon Edition!

Welcome to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday! I am so happy to finally be able to share this finished quilt top.

This epp quilt top has some 1,340 hexagons, each of them 7/8" on a side. The finished top measures -----------.

Not long after I started making these flowers, I won a copy of Mickey Depre's Pieced Hexies from Quiltmaker magazine. I loved Mickey's designs and quickly made 9 to add to this quilt. You can read about my experience with piecing my hexies. The pieced hexie flowers are some of my favourites.
And here are some of the many regular hexie flowers.  Altogether there are 56 flowers.

I've been pondering how to quilt this one for months now. I know I don't want to do a lot of fancy fmq on it, because I don't want to distract from the flowers or the texture of the two fabric background. Plus it seems like a shame to machine quilt it after hand stitching the whole top. I've been resisting hand quilting it because that will take so long, but then I remind myself that Winter is Coming. Yes, I know that doesn't need to be capitalized, but that statement feels like it should be a pronouncement or, at the very least, a family motto ;)

I'm thinking that over the winter it may feel quite nice to sit under a warm quilt and indulge in more hand stitching. And besides, epp isn't exactly a fast method of making a quilt top, so slow quilting will certainly fit with the theme. So, I am now almost convinced I will hand quilt it, though I haven't decided what exactly I will stitch. Any suggestions?

It feels so different now that all the papers have been removed. It's so much softer and more flexible. 1,340 papers make for a rather impressive pile, don't you think? The mug and the thread are just for scale.

Now it's your turn. What are you excited about finishing? Link it up and share! Don't forget to visit a few of the other links and offer your congratulations for their finishes too.

August 20, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Seeing Stars

Remember the New Quilt Blogger's Blog Hop, hosted by Beth of Plum and June? You can read my post here. A group of us who participated in the hop have decided to do a round robin style quilt bee together. In this style of bee we will mail the quilt from person to person, each of us adding a section or border until it arrives back home as a complete quilt top. Since the quilts will make a sloooow round trip, we've called our group Round Trip Quilts.
The awesome logo was designed by Jennifer of Never Just Jennifer
We're all working on our starting blocks now, in preparation for mailing them on September 1st. I've always loved star quilts, so that's what I've picked as the theme for my quilt. Everyone can make whatever style of star they want to add, which I figure leaves plenty of room for personal expression since there are so many different star blocks out there.

I'm starting things off with the classic Ohio star. I used this great tutorial which has cutting instructions for making the block in a bunch of different sizes. I chose the 6" block, and after posting a few different setting on Instagram, Jennifer suggested I try them on point. It's perfect!
Now I just have to decide if I want to have the star blocks go right to the edge of my starting piece, or if I want to have a small border of the background fabric so it looks like the blocks are kind of floating. What do you think?
In other news, I'll be hosting TGIFF this Friday, so be sure to come back to link up all your finishes for the week. I'm removing papers from my epp hexagon flower quilt top today and hoping the weather will cooperate for me to get lots of pictures of it so I can share it on Friday.
See you at the TGIFF party!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday, Let's Bee Social, NTT, and I Quilt

August 18, 2014

More Shoes?!

Devotion for the Week...

We seem to be on a new shoe kick here lately, and we haven't even started school shopping yet. Three weeks ago I shared a devotion prompted by my new sandals. Two weeks ago I had to take Zachary and buy him new sneakers because the front of his had come apart. Then, while we were camping, one of Aiden's sneakers developed a gaping hole in the bottom. He's not sure, but he thinks stepping on a branch during one of our hikes may have been to blame (?). Whatever the reason, back to the shoe store we went for yet another new pair of sneakers. As for Nathan, I expect he'll need new sneakers any day now as I've never seen anyone destroy sneakers as fast as he does. I'm not quite sure what he does when he's outside playing, but his sneakers never last more than a couple of months, and it's not because he's outgrowing them.

During their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Isrealites did not have this problem with their shoes. "Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet" (Deuteronomy 29:5). 40 years without needing new sandals! At this point, I'd be amazed if I could go 40 weeks without needing to buy shoes for someone. It is interesting to note that He did this after the Isrealites chose not to trust Him.

The story is in the book of Numbers, chapters 13 and 14. The Isrealites stood on the border of the land God had promised them, waiting for the spies Moses had sent into the land. When the spies returned, 10 of them said, in my paraphrase, "There's no way we should go in there! Those people are huge. There's no way we can win against them." The remaining 2 spies said, again in my paraphrase, "God said He'd help us, so let's do this!" Stupidly, the Isrealites listened to the 10 who were scared, and threatened to stone the 2 who encouraged them to trust God. Then "all the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, 'Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?' So they said to one another, 'Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt'” (Numbers 14:2-4). They had been slaves in Egypt, but they wanted to return to that miserable life rather than trust that God would deliver the land into their hands as He had promised.

Was God angry with them? You bet. Because of their unbelief, not one of them aged 20 years or older would see the land God had promised them, except the two spies who encouraged them to take the land immediately. For 40 years all of the Isrealites would wander in the wilderness, until those who refused to enter the land had died. Then their children would enter the land, possessing it just as God had promised. All through those 40 years of wandering, God provided for their every need. Their food was provided daily, their clothes and their shoes didn't wear out and God Himself led them through the wilderness.

We all have moments of being stupid, of choosing not to trust God even though we should know better. We may never know what blessings those moments of stupidity cost us, as it cost the Isrealites the chance to enter the Promised Land, but we can be sure that God will not abandon us. God's love and grace are not dependent on what we do. Caring for the Isrealites during their years in the wilderness is one example, but the most amazing example of God's love and grace given to those who don't deserve them is Jesus.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). God didn't wait for humankind to turn wholeheartedly to Him before He sent Jesus to be our salvation. He doesn't offer that salvation only to those who have lived perfect lives. He doesn't even offer it only to those who will be perfect after they come to know Jesus. In fact, Jesus came for a people who hated and mocked Him. He prayed that God would forgive those who nailed Him to the cross, even though the men hadn't asked for that forgiveness. His offer of salvation is still open today, available to anyone, no matter how ugly their past, because it is based solely on His love for us, not on what we do.

It was God's love for the Isrealites that caused Him to continue to provide for them even after they refused to trust Him and follow Him. It was His love for every person who will ever live that caused Him to provide the means of our salvation through Jesus.

August 15, 2014

Blow Me Down Provincial Park

When I planned to announce the winner of my Canvas quilt pattern giveaway on Tuesday the 12th, I forgot that I would be camping then. So, here I am to finally announce that Lorna is the winner of the pattern, courtesy of Leanne at She Can Quilt, and her pattern has already been emailed to her. Congratulations, Lorna!

We are just back from four nights camping at Blow Me Down Provincial Park, which is one of my favourite places to visit.
Our home away from home

While on the beach at Bottle Cove, we were surprised by a beach-goer of a different sort.

This young bull moose wandered along at the edge of the grass, seeming rather unconcerned about all the humans watching him from the water's edge and from farther up the beach. I think this is the closest I've been to a moose. It was fun to watch him, though I have to admit I was a little nervous as he walked past me and Nathan, considering he was only about 30 feet away.
I love looking for sea glass, interesting rocks or pretty shells and Bottle Cove is great for all three. I could easily spend an entire day on this beach, but even after two hours I went back to the truck with my pockets full.

All three boys are excellent hikers, so we tackled two new hikes this trip. One took us to Cedar Cove beach and the other took us 230 feet up to the top of Lark Harbour Head. There's another hike we want to do, which takes you over 600 feet up a different mountain, but we'll have to wait until Nathan is a year or two older. I think that would be a little much for his legs right now!
Cedar Cove
The view from Lark Harbour Head

Paul came across this idea for baking eggs in the portable barbecue, so we gave it a try one morning for breakfast. It worked perfectly!

We're hoping to get one more camping trip in before school starts. It's amazing how quickly this summer has flown by.

August 11, 2014

Love Your Enemy

Devotion for the Week...

Last Thursday was our 15th anniversary. Did you see the matching tattoos Paul and I got to celebrate? Unlike with birthdays, where we can just feel old as the years go by, with anniversaries there's a sense of accomplishment as the number gets higher. After being married to Paul for 15 years, I can say that falling in love with him was the smartest thing I have done.

Jesus' thoughts on who we should love can be challenging. "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:43-45). When I think of the word enemy, I think of someone actively trying to hurt me, whether that hurt is physical, emotional or whatever. Thankfully, I don't have anyone like that in my life. I had always sort of skimmed over this verse as not really applying to me, since I don't have an enemy, but the Greek word translated as enemy can also mean "hated, under disfavor." (Full disclosure here: I don't know any Greek, but I use, which allows me to see the original Greek words and to search for the meaning of a particular word.)

So enemy could also mean someone I don't like, someone I find irritating or annoying. I do have people like that in my life. Do you? I'm supposed to love them? Not in a superficial way, so the people around us don't realize how irritating I find this person. And not in way that is just polite enough that the person I'm talking to doesn't sense my true feelings. No, this is agapao which means, "to love, value, esteem, feel or manifest generous concern for, be faithful towards; to delight in." This is love, like I love my best friend. Love, like I love my boys. Even love, like I love Paul. This is how Jesus wants me to love the people I don't like.

Hmmm, I'm not so good at that.

Christians are supposed to be different, we're supposed to stand out because we don't follow the world's standards. Instead we follow God's standards.  Jesus goes on to say "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?"(v. 46) In other words, even the lowest of the low know how to love those who love them back. "And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (vv. 47-48). I'm not perfect, though. Not even close, actually, so how am I supposed to follow this command? I know I'm not supposed to pretend to love people. Though I could maybe fool some people into thinking I love them when I really don't, God certainly wouldn't be fooled.

The answer isn't in pretending to be perfect, it's in becoming perfect. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul said he was "confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6). God knows we're not perfect, but if we're willing to listen, He will show us how to love those people that we find hard to love. Maybe you've already been hearing those messages, like when you feel guilty for pretending you don't see someone on the other side of the store because you don't want to have to talk to her. Or maybe you feel like you should go sit with that woman who is always alone, even though you know she's alone because she complains so much that no one wants to be around her.

The question is, do we follow through on those feelings, or do we justify our reasons for staying away?

August 09, 2014

Craftsy's Dog Days of Summer Sale

I love Craftsy classes, don't you? There is no way Angela Walters would be coming to my small town to teach a class on quilting feathers, but through Craftsy I've been able to take classes from not only Angela, but also Amy Gibson, Weeks Ringle, Laura Nownes and Elizabeth Hartman. Leah Day's classes are on my wish list, along with a bunch of others (16 actually!). I've even expanded my horizons and added a couple of food classes recently. And right now all their classes are on sale. Not only the quilting classes, but every class! So, what do you want to learn next?


Don't miss Craftsy's Dog Days of Summer Sale happening now! Enjoy up to 50% off ALL online classes! Take advantage of big savings today. Hurry, offer expires August 11, 2014 at 11:59 PM MT. Shop now and save!

**This post features affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on those links.**

August 05, 2014

Canvas Quilt and a Pattern Giveaway

I have finished my Canvas quilt, after testing the pattern for Leanne of She Can Quilt.
I had so much fun quilting this one. I started with the flower in the yellow center square and some stippling to make the flower petals really stand out. Some of the flower petals are a little wonky, especially that one on the top right, but I'm okay with that. Real flowers sometimes have wonky petals, too, right?
I used my Fine Line Quilter's Rulers, by Accents in Design, to quilt straight lines radiating out from the center in the light green section. I know I could have done the same thing with my walking foot, but I prefer to work with my fmq foot and not have to turn the quilt each time I want to change direction.

In the large, dark green section I really had fun! First, I used the quilter's rulers to create an on-point square. I've always loved Judi Madsen's quilting and she often creates frames around patchwork pieces with her quilting. I need perfectly straight lines for this sort of thing, which is the biggest reason I bought the rulers.
My lines are not perfect this time around, but that is entirely my fault and not a problem with the rulers. Actually, I love the rulers. They grip the fabric beautifully and they're easy to use. I found my problem was that as I quilted these longer lines the ruler would start to tip off the edge of the machine bed, since I don't have an extension table for my sewing machine. An extension table is now even higher on my list of quilting 'wants'.

I started out with only the barest notion of what I wanted to do inside the frame, so I was really making it up as I went along. I knew I wanted to do feathers, but it wasn't until I had the frame quilted that I decided to create the arc and have the feather only on one side. Then I had to decide what to put under the arc. I went with lines following the arc, done very close together, even crossing each other at times. The overall effect with the feathers reminds me of a tiara. It makes me think of the Big Bang Theory episode where Sheldon gives Amy a tiara. Have you seen that one?

That left me with the outer corners. At first I thought about echoing the flower shape from the middle section, but I decided to go with a feather fill design. I think it's a Leah Day design, but I can't remember for sure as it was a long time ago that I came across it.
I really love the stronger lines created by the feather spines. My feathers still aren't perfect, which really shows up on the back, but I think they got better as I worked my way through the four corners.
For the back, I had almost enough of this cream tone-on-tone, so I spliced in a stripe of the green from the front to make it fit. I love, love, love how the quilting looks on the back! It has me seriously considering making a wholecloth quilt. I've always admired them, but would never even think about tackling it back when I hand quilted everything. It would just have taken too long to be in the realm of possibility. Now that I'm machine quilting, though, it's seeming a little more doable.
Though it's impossible to tell in the picture, the thread I used for the dark green section is different from the yellow and the light green. The dark green is the Gutermann 100% polyester I've used for most of my quilts. I really like it, but I was interested in trying the Connecting Threads 100% polyester cones. The Connecting Threads cones are much, much cheaper than what I pay for the Gutermann, plus I've read excellent reviews for it. Not such great reviews for their cotton thread, but the polyester seemed good. So, when a lady here in town had some cones to sell I nabbed 10 of them.

There was a yellow that matched my fabrics in this quilt perfectly and a light green that would work, so I tried those out. My Dad made me a thread cone adapter for my machine modeled after the one that Erin of Sew at Home Mummy posted about.
The adapter worked perfectly and so far I'm pleased with the thread. There is almost no lint, just as with the Gutermann thread, and I like that it's a finer thread (a 70 weight rather than a 50). I'll know more after I've used it for more, and larger, projects, but as of now I would recommend it.
Leanne has kindly offered me a copy of the Canvas pattern to give away to one of my readers. So, if you'd like to make your own version of this beautiful pattern, leave me a comment on this post. Since I tried two new things with this quilt (the rulers and the thread), in your comment tell me something new you've tried recently. It doesn't have to be quilting related - anything at all that was new for you qualifies, whether it's a new recipe, a new vacation spot, a new quilting gadget or whatever. Interested in knowing what else I've done that was new recently? Check out this post to see how my husband and I marked our 15th anniversary. It's completely G-rated, I promise!

I'll keep the giveaway open until Tuesday, August 12th, when I'll use to draw a winner. I'm looking forward to reading about all the new things you've been doing lately.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday, Fabric Tuesday
Let's Bee Social,
I Quilt
Finish it up Friday
and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

August 04, 2014

Completely Restored

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever said something and regretted it as soon as the words left your mouth?  You apologized right away, but nothing you said could erase those words. Yeah, I thought so. Me too. Sometimes those words can be enough to destroy relationships or careers. Sometimes, though, despite how awful the words may have been, the person hurt by them forgives. Though they may never forget, they choose to accept the apology and move on. Have you been forgiven like that? Isn't it a relief to know the relationship is still okay?

The apostle Peter knew both the agony of having said words he wished he could take back and the utter relief of being forgiven. After Jesus was arrested, "Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat with the guards to see the outcome" (Matthew 26:58). Three times people came up to Peter as he waited in the courtyard and asked if he had been with Jesus. Each time Peter denied it, saying first, "I don't know what you're talking about,"(v. 70) and then "I don't know the man!"(vv. 72, 74).

In his gospel, Luke says that Jesus "turned and looked straight at Peter" (Luke 22:61) after Peter finished speaking the third time. Can you imagine how Peter felt when his eyes met those of his friend? Earlier, when Jesus predicted that Peter would disown Him, Peter had said, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you" (Matthew 26:35). Now, with Jesus looking straight at him, Peter is horrified by what he has said. To make matters worse, he can't even apologize. Instead, "he went outside and wept bitterly" (Matthew 26:75). I think if it had been me, I would have sobbed uncontrollably.

The most amazing thing about this story is not how completely Peter screwed up, it's how completely he was forgiven. Nowhere in the Bible do we get to read about when Peter apologized, but I would imagine it was one of the first things he said once he had a moment to speak with Jesus. In John 21:15-18, though, we read of Jesus asking Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Each time, when Peter answered yes, Jesus told him to "Feed my lambs...Take care of my sheep...Feed my sheep"(vv. 15, 16 and 17). Sometimes we might forgive someone, but not really trust them again. In this passage, though, Jesus entrusts Peter with the work of the soon-to-be-born church. Peter could move on from that moment with complete confidence, knowing that his relationship with Jesus was completely restored and those awful words he spoke would not be held against him in any way.

That same forgiveness and restoration is still available to us today. No matter what awful things we may have said or done in the past, Jesus is always willing to forgive those who are sorry and ask for His forgiveness. There are no specific words that need to be said, no special formula to follow. We can simply speak to Him as we would any other friend and tell Him that we are sorry. He will forgive us and completely restore our relationship with Him. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). It is amazing, I know, but it is wonderfully true.

So, has your relationship with Jesus been completely restored?

August 03, 2014

A Walk in the Park Blocks

I've finally decided on a quilt and cut into the jelly roll of batik fabrics Paul bought me a couple of months ago. I'm making the Walk in the Park quilt, designed by Ellie Roberts of Craft Sew Create. This is a free pattern on Craftsy.

So far I've made 17 of the 45 blocks.
There will be more variety in the colours as I make more blocks, with lots more greys and browns. So far, the grey fabric in this top block is my favourite.
On a completely unrelated note, this coming Thursday will be our 15th anniversary.
To celebrate, we decided to do something totally out of character for both of us and we went to get matching tattoos. We are really happy with how they turned out, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it didn't hurt as much as I was expecting.
So, what's something you've done that could be called 'out of character' for you?

Linking up with WIP Wednesday