November 30, 2018

Dresden Log Cabin - November Island Batik Challenge

Note, the fabrics for this project were given to me by Island Batik as part of their ambassador program.

I'm squeaking in under the deadline with this one, for sure 😜 The November Island Batik challenge is Cozy Log Cabin and there were two stipulations...the project had to use log cabin blocks in some form and the finished size had to be at least 36" square. Well...I got it half right, lol.

Meet my Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt 😊
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
When I first started thinking about this challenge, I figured I'd probably use quarter log cabin blocks, but then I bought the dresden ruler and started looking for a reason to use it. The middle square of one really big log cabin block seemed like a great place to put a dresden plate, so that became the new plan.
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
I drew up the plan in EQ8 with a finished size of 36". This challenge also seemed like the perfect place to use the Spirit Rhythym 2 ½" strips that were in my second Island Batik box. Actually, several of us ambassadors have used our strip packs this month. Log cabin blocks just seem to ask for precut strips, don't you think?

I happily pieced my dresden plate and appliqued it to the 9 ½" square for the center of the quilt and then started building around it. It wasn't until I was adding the last round of strips that I realized that somehow my quilt was only going to be 33", not the 36" I had planned. That was when I actually looked at the measurements in EQ8 and realized I had intended to start with a 12 ½" square. Oops!

I considered adding more rounds to bring it up to the 36", especially since the Spirit Rhythym line has a lot of beautiful fabrics in it, but I wanted to limit the colours to the teals and blacks and I didn't have enough of any print in those colours for another round. Ah well. 33 is close to 36, right?

Then it was time to quilt it, but I couldn't decide how I wanted to do that. I felt like it was asking for some detailed free motion, but I had no inspiration. I basted it with a scrap piece of Warm and Natural batting and then I waited a few days, pondering, but I couldn't figure it out. The only idea I had was for the center of the dresden plate. Every time I thought of quilting that center circle, I pictured a spiral.
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
Then on Tuesday evening I thought, "Why not quilt the whole thing with one big spiral?" So that's what I did 😊
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
I chose to use my free motion foot for the whole spiral because a) I'm lazy and didn't want to have to turn the quilt as much as a walking foot would require and b) the irregular lines in the Spirit Rhythym prints seemed to lend themselves to more irregular quilting lines as well.
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
This was my first time quilting one giant spiral over the whole quilt and I have to say I really enjoyed how quickly I finished the whole quilt. Of course, it's only a 33" square, so pretty much any quilting design would have felt like it was finished quickly, lol.

Usually, when I think about quilting, I think about outlining any appliques or highlighting special sections of the piecing. Quilting one big spiral doesn't do either of those things. Let me tell you, when I reached the edges of the dresden plate and completely ignored those felt very weird!
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
In the end, though, I think the quilted spiral serves to highlight the spinning effect created by the print (which, as you may remember, was a total accident!).
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
Another thing about quilting one spiral is that it means there's no changing thread colours. Over the black prints, that wasn't a problem, but I wasn't sure how I'd feel about having black thread over the teal fabrics. Happily, I found that it doesn't bother me at all, especially from a distance.
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
And I really love the texture created by those randomly space, wobbly lines 😊
Dresden Log Cabin mini quilt |
Phew! It's suppertime on the last day of the month, but I managed to get this posted before the calendar flips over to December. Yay!

And, as I type, the pieces of my December challenge project are spread out all over our kitchen table. The power was out here from last night around 9:30 until about 3:30 this afternoon, so I did as much of the non-sewing work on that as I could. Both this mini quilt and my December project are destined to be Christmas gifts, so it feels good to be making progress on that list, especially as we'll be into December in just a few hours. Are you making any gifts this year?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go clear my sewing things off the table so we can eat supper. No power all day means we've cooked a couple of frozen pizzas for supper, lol. That also means very few dishes, so I can get to some actual sewing this evening 😊

I hope you have a great weekend, with lots of sewing time!

November 27, 2018

Commissioned Placemats

As I mentioned a few posts ago, for Christmas last year I gave each of the kids I babysit a personalized denim placemat and recently one of the moms asked me to make more placemats so they'd have a whole set.

What with working on a bunch of things all at once, the placemats took a while, but they're finally finished!
personalized denim placemats |
I love making things from my collection of old jeans! It feels good to create something beautiful from the pile of outgrown, ripped beyond repair or stained jeans that I've hoarded in a closet for 'someday' 😊 Of course, even with these placemats, the pile doesn't look any smaller, lol. Just like quilting cotton scraps, I'm sure the jeans are multiplying when I'm not looking.

I didn't have enough of the fabric I used to applique the E to the first placemat, so my customer chose to have all of the placemats use a different fabric and I love the look of the colourful bindings when they're all stacked together.
personalized denim placemats |
It's a family of 4, with one placemat already made, so here are the other 3 placemats with initials.
personalized denim placemats |
I think the J placemat might be my favourite (and not only because it's for the little baby).
personalized denim placemats |
I especially love the texture created by quilting the randomly spaced diagonal lines following the seams of the denim strips. I ran my fingers over the placemats quite a few times while working on them.
personalized denim placemats |
She also asked for 4 placemats with stars for company and she specified that the stars didn't all have to be yellow.
personalized denim placemats |
For the backs, I used the beautiful Island Batik fabric left over from making the backing for our new bed quilt. The backing for that is made, but it's not basted yet. I'll get there, lol 😊
personalized denim placemats |
I love how the colours in the backing coordinate with all of the different colours of the applique and bindings.
personalized denim placemats |
That's one WIP crossed off my list, but it certainly hasn't reduced the swirl of ideas and plans in my head. I may or may not have added 2 more WIPS since I wrote about all the things I was working on, lol. I'm pretty sure there will never be enough hours for all the things I want to make.

Now on to the next project!

November 26, 2018

Not Yet

Devotion for the Week...

We have a lot of snow already, more than we usually have by now, and it really makes everything feel Christmassy. It's not December yet, though, which is always the real start of the Christmas season for me. Sure, I've played Christmas music a few times and I'm working on and thinking about gifts, but I always feel like Christmas starts when the calendar turns over to December. Right now, it's almost time for Christmas, but not yet.

 Next week is the start of Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas when we anticipate the celebration of Jesus' birth. I'll be sharing Advent devotions again this year, but before I do, today I wanted to share some thoughts about that 'almost, but not yet' feeling.

Before Jesus was born, the people of Israel had been waiting 400 years to hear something from God. 400 years! And we think waiting four weeks for Christmas is tough, lol. Malachi was the last of the Old Testament prophets, the last one to declare God's word to His people and then the people waited. And waited.

They knew there would be a leader coming someday, a ruler who would "stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God" (Micah 5:4), but they didn't know when this leader would come. Imagine how they must have felt as they lived under the rule of other nations, as they paid taxes to people who didn't serve God and as generation after generation passed.

Waiting is hard enough when we know the end date. We know what we're waiting for and when it will happen. Whether it's Christmas, a visit from someone we love, a vacation we've been planning or just an evening out with friends, whatever we're waiting for has a scheduled date. The Jewish people had no scheduled date in sight. They simply had to trust that it would happen as God had promised.

Does that sound familiar? It should! Before He left, Jesus promised that He would return to the earth someday, but we have no idea when that will be (see Matthew 24). He told us to be alert and to be ready, but not when it would happen. He even told us specifically that "no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows" (Matthew 24:36). It has been a lot time, but we have to trust that God will fulfill this promise, just as the Jews had to believe.

God knows we don't like waiting and He knows we struggle with waiting over long periods, so He even assured us in the Bible that He hasn't forgotten His promise just because it has been a long time coming. In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, "The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent."
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
We are in the "almost, but not yet" time of waiting for Jesus to come back. The promise will be fulfilled, but it will be on His schedule, not ours. We simply have to wait for the right time to come.

November 19, 2018

Other People's Stuff

Devotion for the Week...

In our church kid's program last week, we went over the 10 commandments, reading them out (loudly!) from a screen. They were written in kid-friendly form, a single sentence for each commandment and the last one in particular really caught my attention.

Here are a few versions of Exodus 20:17:

"You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor" (NLT).

"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's" (KJV)

"No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s" (The Message).

But our list at Kids Klub simply said, "Don't wish for other people's stuff."

Don't wish for other people's stuff.

How much time do we spend wishing we could have what other people have? Sometimes it's actual physical stuff, but not always. Sometimes it's the other stuff, like when other people travel frequently and I wish we had the freedom that comes with being retired. Or when I see other quilt designers who are visiting guilds to teach and I wish I were being invited to teach, too. Maybe you have young children and you see people whose kids are grown and wish you could sit and enjoy a cup of coffee in peace like they can.

The problem with wishing for other people's stuff, physical or otherwise, is that it is the opposite of being thankful for what we already have. We can't wish for more or even just for something different and feel thankful for what we have at the same time.

Every moment of wishing we had something that others have is a moment of feeling like what we have is not enough. The more time we spend wishing for other people's stuff, the more dissatisfied and discontent we become with our own lives. That is definitely not what God wants for us.

Instead, He wants us to focus on gratitude. Paul wrote, "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
It's not the amount of stuff, or even which stuff, we have that makes us happy or unhappy. It's all about our attitude about our stuff. No matter how much we have, there will always be something more we could wish we had. Or we can make the choice to be thankful for what we have and not spend our time wishing for other people's stuff.

November 17, 2018

Printed Patterns

I have a tendency to dream about things for a long time before I actually do them, especially if it's something that will stretch my abilities. The less I know about how to tackle something, the longer I will procrastinate on it. Thankfully, making the move to printed patterns is no longer just a dream 😊

What a wonderful feeling to open the box when it arrived!
Printed quilt patterns |
I started with just two patterns. Love Birds is one of my personal favourites and Churn is the one I most often see that others have made, from the 2018 Quilter's Planner. (As an aside, do you have a planner for next year yet? If not, the 2019 Quilter's Planner (affiliate link) would be a great choice!)

I may have been just a little excited about the first shops that said yes to carrying the patterns. Of course, the first two shops are both within walking distance of my house, lol. Hand delivering their patterns was fun, too 😊
Churn quilt pattern |
The printed patterns are now available in my Etsy shop, so if you prefer to have the paper version of a pattern, click to get your copy.
Churn quilt pattern |
I have my Reach for the Stars pattern ready to be printed and I'm working on the Medallion Magic pattern now. The plan is to have both of them printed before the end of the year and then hopefully 2019 will see a flurry of patterns moving to the printed state. I'm behind on releasing patterns now, so I have lots to work on!

If you know of a quilt shop that might be interested in my patterns, please let me know!

November 13, 2018

Handmade with Love Super Bundle Flash Sale

I'm popping in quickly to let you know that the Handmade with Love Super Bundle (affiliate link) is available now for a 48 hour flash sale. This bundle includes 21 ebooks, 25 patterns and 6 ecourses 😲, all for 97% off the cost of buying them separately. Topics include quilting, bag making, sewing for baby and the home, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch and more.

With Christmas fast approaching, you can be sure there's at least one perfect gift idea just waiting for you in the bundle!

I used one of the patterns in the bundle to make these beautiful dragonfly embroideries for my mom for Christmas last year. When I bought my bundle (at a reduced price because I'm an affiliate, just to be clear), I had no intention of making Mom's gift, but I loved the dragonflies when I saw them and immediately went searching for some white fabric to stitch them onto. I think I went from buying the bundle to starting to stitch in less than an hour!
Embroidered dragonflies |
The bundle also includes a 6 month subscription to Make Modern magazine (and you know I love Make Modern 😊). That subscription alone is almost the cost of the full bundle!

This is the last time the bundle will be available as the folks at Ultimate Bundles will be retiring it for good after this sale, so don't wait! The sale ends Wednesday, November 14th at 11:59 pm ET.

Get your copy of the Handmade with Love Super Bundle now!

Note, this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay. Thank you for your support!

November 12, 2018

Not Alone

Devotion for the Week...

Just before Halloween, Nathan wanted to go to a haunted house created by some youth groups in town. I was thankful that the schedule for the haunted house included a 'tamed down' time for younger kids because, though he's fascinated by scary things, Nathan is easily scared and tends to dwell on creepy things when he should be going to sleep. I was also grateful that Zachary was involved with the haunted house, so he could tell Nathan about parts of it beforehand so Nathan was a bit prepared.

The day before the haunted house, Nathan arranged to go with his friend, Liam. When we got there, Liam's whole family was going, but Nathan still wanted me to go, too, so we let Liam and his family enter ahead of us, then we followed right behind them. It ended up being the perfect arrangement. Everyone who was going to jump out suddenly jumped out as the people ahead of us approached, making it much less scary for Nathan. Though he was terrified at the start, Nathan loved it and (as a bonus for us both) was not scared at all when he went to bed that night.

Sometimes it's just easier to do hard things when we don't have to do them alone, even if it's something we really want to do. When God told Moses that he would be the one to set the Israelites free from slavery to Pharoah, Moses didn't think he was the right one for God to send. "Moses protested to God, 'Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?'" (Exodus 3:11).

God didn't then launch into a list of Moses' qualifications or reasons why He chose Moses for this job. He simply said, "I will be with you" (v. 12). Moses continued with his questions, and God patiently answered them, showing Moses how He would prove to the Israelites that God had indeed sent Moses.

Then Moses went back to his own lack of qualifications again, "O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled" (Exodus 4:10). To that, God responded, "Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say" (v. 11,12).

Even that wasn't enough for Moses, though, and he pleaded with God to send someone else. God relented; "All right...What about your brother, Aaron the Levite?...I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do" (vv. 14,15). That, finally, was enough for Moses.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
Before He went up to heaven, Jesus assured His disciples, "Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (28:20). Whatever we have to do, we can be sure that we are not going to do it alone.

Do you have something you want to do, but it's a bit scary? Or is there something God is asking you to do and you don't feel qualified for it? Either way, God is saying to you, "I will be with you." And if that somehow still doesn't feel like it's enough, He may send a friend to help share the load. Whatever it is we have to do, God will not leave us to tackle it alone.

November 07, 2018

WIPS This Week

I have a bunch of projects on the go this week and I'm having trouble deciding from one day to the next which one I should work on 😊 Does that ever happen to you?

Last Christmas I gave the kids I babysit personalized placemats and a few weeks ago one of the moms asked if I would make 3 more for the rest of the family and 4 unpersonalized ones for when they have company. The denim is all pieced, the letters are fused and the Aurifil threads are picked out. Now I just need to zig zag stitch around them and they'll be ready for basting.
applique letters |
The Island Batik challenge for this month is to use log cabin blocks, so of course it makes perfect sense that I started with a dresden plate, right? 😄 I completely missed the spinning effect created by the print until I posted the picture on IG and someone pointed it out to me. Bonus! There will be a log cabin involved in this quilt, I promise, just as soon as I can get it pieced, lol.
Dresden plate |
I have the top pieced for our new bed quilt and I am soooo in love with it! These are all Island Batik fabrics too and I'd be hard pressed to pick a favourite. Could I have a full bolt of all of them, please??
quilt top |
Time to make the backing...and for this I did actually have the full bolt! What a nice feeling to crack open the plastic on my first ever full bolt.
Island Batik fabric |
Queen size quilts take a lot of backing fabric, so there wasn't much left after I cut what I need. I think I'll use what's left as the backing for the placemats.
Island Batik fabric |
Isn't the Island Batik gecko cute?
I'm also quilting another of the first responder quilts. No, I haven't forgotten about them! This one is about 2/3 quilted and when it's finished I'll have 3 quilts ready to hand off to the lady who is doing the binding for me. We have one new police officer in town and I think there are some new firefighters as well, so I'm not sure exactly how many quilts are left to go. I'm just trying to take it one quilt at a time and eventually they'll all be finished. Emphasis on the eventually, lol. Nathan seemed to delight in pointing out that the fire (and quilt block drive) was 2 years ago. I corrected him, of course - it was only 19 months ago 😊
loopy quilting |
As I piece other things, I'm also working on my leaders and enders project. I'm making 2 ½" HSTs from light and dark scraps and my collection is definitely growing. Of course, I need hundreds of them, so the bag I have so far is barely a drop in the bucket.
HSTs |
HSTs |
On top of all that, I'm also still working on my two hand stitching projects 😊 We have a 4 day weekend coming up and Zach has basketball out of town two of the days. I'm not looking forward to all the time driving, but at least I'll get to do lots of stitching on the green round of my hexie rainbow quilt.

Phew! At least I won't be bored, right?

November 05, 2018

Getting it Wrong

Devotion for the Week...

While reading the Bible with Nathan before he went to bed one night last week, we read this:

"Jesus asked his disciples, 'What were you discussing out on the road?' But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, 'Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else' (Mark 9:33-35).

A couple of nights later, we read this:

 "One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, 'Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.' Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them" (Mark 10:13-16).

Those disciples sure got it wrong sometimes! These are only two of the many examples the gospel writers share. There's also the time they wanted to destroy a town for not welcoming them, the time Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from following the course laid out for Him, Peter's denial that he knew Jesus...These men were just ordinary men, trying to figure out how the world worked now that Jesus had come and they got it wrong a lot.

Jesus upended the normal way of seeing the world and the disciples had a hard time making that adjustment. It can be hard for us, too. We all want to be 'the greatest' sometimes. We want to take the easy road rather than walking head on into the hard things. We hide when we're scared.

The beautiful thing is that Jesus didn't abandon the disciples because they made mistakes. He didn't send them away and start looking for better followers. He reprimanded them, scolded and corrected them and probably shook His head in frustration a million times that aren't recorded in the Bible, but He also kept teaching them. He continued patiently showing them how God's kingdom works and what should be important to those who seek Him.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |
Thankfully, He's just as patient with us when we get it wrong. The Holy Spirit will show us when we're wrong or a friend will lovingly point it out, but Jesus never sends us away. We are His and no mistake we make is bad enough for Him to stop teaching us how to get it right.

November 01, 2018

TGIFF - Drawstring Bag

Welcome to this week's edition of TGIFF! Are we all on a Halloween candy sugar high? Just me? We suddenly have an abundance of every kind of treat available in the house, so my willpower is kind of losing the battle, lol. All of the gummy treats are safe, though. That's one treat that doesn't tempt me at all 😊

Whether you're joining me on a sugar high or not, it's great to have you join me for a party to celebrate our finishes. If this is your first time here, I hope you like what you see. You're invited to sign up for The Bulletin, which I send out on the 16th of each month. It includes some news from me, a favourite recipe and a fun collection of things to make. As a subscriber, you'll also receive my Wind Farm quilt pattern, which is only available to subscribers. When you subscribe, be sure to check the box that says 'email', which gives me permission to contact you by email to send The Bulletin.

Before I share my finish for the week, have you seen this post by Kirsty of Bonjour Quilts? She does a great job of detailing the costs involved with running a quilt pattern design business and shared some wonderful ways for us all to support our favourite designers. It's definitely worth reading!

And now, on to the finishes!

Over the summer my friend Dawn asked me to make a drawstring bag for her son, which I made using Jeni B's tutorial on her blog, which is one of the sizes available in the pattern which she has available for sale. The bag comes together so quickly, and I kept seeing people making the bag in all the other sizes too, so I knew it was only a matter of time before I bought the pattern so I could make more. Then Dawn asked me to make her a larger bag to use as her lunch bag and off I went to buy the pattern 😊
Drawstring bag |
Drawstring bag |
Drawstring bag |
This bag is the Artist size, which the pattern says is big enough for a sketchbook and pencils, but apparently is also big enough for a stack of 3 plastic containers, with plenty of room to spare. I think Dawn will have room for her lunch and another lunch to share, lol.
Drawstring bag |
Drawstring bag |
I used a Michael Miller print from the Glam Girls line and Northcott solids in black and a coordinating yellow, after sending Dawn pictures of 4 or 5 different fabric combinations to pick from. The sequins on the Michael Miller fabric were the clear favourite.

I even thought to add one of my tags to the inside of the bag, though next time I'll try to put it a little lower so the stitching for the drawstring casing doesn't go right through the tag.
Drawstring bag |
That's my finish for the week, which means that now it's your turn! Link up your finishes so we can come admire them and don't forget to visit some of the other links to admire their finishes.