September 16, 2019

Steeped

Devotion for the Week...

I love tea. While I will occasionally drink an herbal tea, my preference is for a good, strong black tea with a splash of milk. Since I like it strong, I tend to boil the kettle, pour the water into the mug with the teabag and then go do something else for a few minutes while I wait for it to be ready. More than once, though, I've gotten distracted while the tea was steeping and forgot about it until it was cold, so now I usually set a timer so that doesn't happen.

Unfortunately, my body is really sensitive to caffeine and drinking even just one tea a day on a regular basis will make me have heart palpitations, which aren't fun. A few years ago, I switched to drinking decaf most of the time, but it was hard to find a good decaf tea. Most of them were weak and disappointing no matter how long I let it steep. When Mom told me they had found a brand of decaf that actually tasted like proper tea I immediately made that my new favourite tea 😊

I don't have a clue what the difference is between the weak, disappointing brands of decaf tea and the good, strong one that I enjoy every day. I do know that there was nothing I could do to make the weak ones taste like regular tea. Even using two teabags at once didn't produce a good cup of tea. Starting with a good teabag makes all the difference.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul told them to "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power" (Ephesians 6:10). This verse is written as part of Paul's exhortation to the believers to stand firm against the attacks of the enemy, telling them to "put on the full armor of God" (v. 11), which includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit" (vv. 14-16) Read the full passage here.

It's important to note that the full armor is from God. We don't need to create, find, buy or otherwise acquire our own armor. God has created the armor and He gives it to us freely. We simply have to put it on.

Isn't it wonderful to know we don't have to stand strong on our own? It's like the difference between the weak, disappointing tea and the good, strong one, only even more pronounced. On my own I am not strong at all, but in God's strength I can do anything. Philippians 4:13 says it plainly: "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." I want that kind of strength in my life!

So how do we be strong in the Lord? Well, to put on the belt of truth, we must be familiar with the truth, which is found in our Bibles. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must have trusted Jesus as our Savior because only He is righteous and it is His righteousness we put on, not our own. Do you see where I'm going with this? To be strong, to put on the armor He provides, we need to know God. It's not that we need to know of God, but that we need to know Him personally as our Savior and friend.
Devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.com
The most amazing and wonderful thing is, the more we know God, the more we have that relationship steeped into our lives, the stronger we will be.

How do you steep God into your life?

September 12, 2019

Pinwheel Garden in Make Modern


Pinwheel Garden quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
It's new issue day for Make Modern magazine and I have a quilt in the new issue! Get your copy of issue 30 here. Use the code "BIRTHDAY30" to get the issue for $6 AUD by September 15.

Meet Pinwheel Garden, a fun, scrap-busting, quilt 😊
Pinwheel Garden quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I had so much fun raiding my scrap bag for this quilt. No, it didn't really make a dent in the scrap bag, but does anything ever make a dent in the scrap bag?? I love scrappy quilts because they have bits and pieces from so many other projects and I love remembering the other things I've made. They're also great because I hate throwing even small pieces away, like these teeny little squares at the center of the pinwheels.
Pinwheel Garden quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I used Northcott solids for the background and the blue pinwheels. In fact, I knew I'd be using the blue for the pinwheels and the backing of this quilt and at least one other I had planned (my Blue Sparkler) so I bought the full bolt. It was my first time buying a full bolt and I have to say it's wonderfully convenient to have it stashed away when I want to use it for a backing.

I quilted Pinwheel Garden with an all over swirly flower using Aurifil 4140 (I can't find an Amazon link for a single spool of 4140, but this collection that includes it would be lovely to have.) After I started quilting I realized I didn't have enough of the 4140 to finish the whole quilt. Oh, and did I mention I was on a deadline and there was no way thread ordered from anywhere would reach me in time? No next day delivery happening in this neck of the woods. I tried using a different colour in the bobbin to extend the amount of thread I had, but even that wasn't going to be enough. I was seriously kicking myself for choosing that colour at this point!

This was right at the beginning of the summer and we were planning a short trip to another part of the province. As I was quilting one day I realized that we would be (sort of) passing the one shop here in Newfoundland that I know of that carries Aurifil. Sort of because it would mean a detour of about 30 minutes added onto a drive that was already close to 6 hours, but that definitely seemed worth it to me. It's just a small shop, though, so what were the chances she'd have the colour I wanted in stock? Well, I quickly sent her a message and a little while later she responded to say that yes, she did have that colour! So, on our way home we took that detour to get to Blazin' Stitches where Krista saved my quilt 😊

The flowers were quick and so relaxing to quilt because they didn't have to be perfect to look good. It was also easy to quilt them bigger or smaller, depending on the space I had to fill. Considering I have a habit of quilting myself into corners when doing all-over designs, that's a very helpful trait for a design to have.
Pinwheel Garden quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I eliminated elements of the block for the outer blocks, creating something like a faux border. This is the third quilt I've designed where the blocks create a different look in the border and I really like the effect. Love Birds was the first one I designed, then Mix It Up! Both of them use changes in colour to create the look of a border (both use black, actually). I think there will be more like these in the future. It's a fun look!
Pinwheel Garden quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
September is Make Modern's birthday month and they're celebrating 5 years! Five years already?! That's crazy! As part of the celebration, they're having a competition where you make any project from any issue of the magazine and you have the chance to win some great prizes. There have been quite a few Devoted Quilter patterns in the magazine since my first publication back in 2015 (just sayin' 😉).

Also as part of the celebration, for the month of September, every new All-Access subscriber will get a free Make Modern enamel pin mailed to them. The All-Access subscription is exactly what it sounds like - it gives you access to all 29 of Make Modern's previous issues along with a 12 month subscription going forward.

If you're not interested in the All-Access subscription, and just want this issue, click here to get a copy.
Pinwheel Garden quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I love working with the team at Make Modern and I'm honoured that they have chosen to include my designs in their magazine so many times. I actually just submitted everything for another design for the next issue, which was my most recent bit of secret sewing, lol. I'll be sharing that in a couple of months.
Pinwheel Garden quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Do you have scraps just begging to be used to make some pretty little flowers? Pick up issue 30 and get started 😊 Don't forget to use the code "BIRTHDAY30" to get the issue for $6 AUD by September 15.


I'll be linking up with NTT, TGIFF, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Beauties Pageant.

September 09, 2019

On Auto Pilot

Devotion for the Week...

A few years ago, Paul heard someone on the radio talking about how God wants a real conversation with us, not rote repetition. The background for the person talking was the voice of a child saying, "God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food." That common grace is exactly the one we use most often and I do find it is really easy to close my eyes and say those words silently before eating, without really paying attention to what I'm saying. Saying thank you to God for our food is a wonderful habit to have...if we are consciously thanking Him. If we're just saying, or thinking, the words without paying attention to them, then it seems to me like it's just a waste of time. Grace can easily become something we do on auto pilot, rather than something meaningful.

Of course, saying grace isn't the only Christian activity that can be done on auto pilot more than out of a desire for a connection with God. Do we go to church because we really want to spend that time with Him and with other believers or do we go just because that's what we do on Sundays? Do we put money in the offering plate because we want to support the work of the church or because the plate is passed around and we feel we're expected to put something in?

Predicting what the last days will be like, Paul wrote about people "having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:5). That has always been the verse that comes to mind for me when I think of any religious activity done on auto pilot. Saying grace mindlessly certainly has the form of godliness, but there's no power to it. There's no power in allowing words to flow through your lips if you don't really mean them. And you can't really mean them if you're not paying attention to them.

Here's the thing - doing religious things mindlessly looks an awful lot like doing them consciously. You can't tell by looking at me if I'm saying grace mindlessly or not. I wouldn't be able to tell by watching you come into church if you're doing it out of habit or out of a desire for connection to God and other believers. Only I can know if my faith is on auto pilot or not.

Well, not quite. God knows, too. Psalm 139:1-4 says "You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely." Not only does He know what we say or think, but He also knows the intention behind it. He knows when we're focused on Him and when we're just going through the motions.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilt background is my Scraps Squared quilt
We must ask ourselves, then, is our faith on auto pilot? Are we just going through the motions, content to have the appearance of a connection with God? Or are we consciously focused on strengthening our relationship with Him? Do we want to form of godliness or do we want the power that comes from God?

September 05, 2019

TGIFF - A Little Finish

Welcome to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday! I can't believe it's September already! I feel like I'm always saying I can't believe how quickly time is flying by, but it's always true. A particular day can sometimes feel like it lasts 6 weeks (you've had those days, too, right?), but then somehow 6 months disappear in a flash.

I'm in the midst of a bunch of secret sewing right now, so I have just a quick, little finish to share today. I whipped up a double sided 4 patch pincushion, made with scrap 2 ½" squares. The 4 year old I babysit arrived today in a shirt that coordinated perfectly with the pincushion, so I couldn't resist using him as my model. Thanks to his mom for giving me permission to share 😊
Scrappy pincushion | DevotedQuilter.com
Scrappy pincushion | DevotedQuilter.com
I stuffed it with scrap batting pieces, too. I've been trying to find ways to use the long, skinny pieces that I cut off the edges of a quilt after quilting it. I hate throwing them out, especially since I want to reduce how much garbage we throw out as a household. I didn't want to be piecing a bazillion of them together to make a decent sized piece either, though. I mean, some of these pieces are about 2" wide, so making a batting big enough for even a mini quilt would take a lot of time.

I wasn't sure about using them for stuffing things because I figured that would make the stuffed thing turn out lumpy, but then I decided to try cutting the batting into small pieces first and that worked perfectly. I started out just cutting the batting in a single layer, but quickly switched to cutting four layers at a time to speed things up. I probably could have cut even more at a time with these LDH scissors. Since it's only a 4" pincushion, cutting enough batting into bits didn't take long.
Batting scraps | DevotedQuilter.com
I have a tendency to under-stuff things and then wish they were fuller, so I made a point of stuffing the pincushion really tightly, which gives it a nice heft and used up more batting than I thought it would. Sure, I'd have to make dozens of pincushions to use all the batting scraps I have tucked away, but at least it's a start!
Scrappy pincushion making | DevotedQuilter.com
I ladder stitched the opening closed last night, which was the extent of my sewing for the entire day. It's our first week back to work and I'm finding the morning alarm rather jarring after a whole summer without it. I'm hoping to be more productive in the evenings again after I adjust to actually having a schedule again.
Scrappy pincushion | DevotedQuilter.com
I don't actually need a new pincushion for use while sewing, but I made this one to use as a sample. I'm planning a "Learn to Quilt" class that I want to offer and I thought it would be nice to start with a super simple, but also useful, project the first night. My thought right now is that I'd allow the class participants to choose from my 2 ½" squares (it's not like I have a shortage), so there would be no cutting involved that first night. They'd learn to wind a bobbin, thread their machines and then get to make something they can then use for the rest of the class. There's nothing like seeing a finished project to make you feel like you can actually do this new thing. Oh, and I'll spend some time beforehand cutting up lots of batting scraps so they can use them for their stuffing 😊

Turns out, though, that I really like this little scrappy pincushion, so it's entirely likely it will end up seeing regular use. I may want to make more, too, lol. How many pincushions do you use regularly?

Want to remember this for when you need a quick project? Pin it for later!
Scrappy 4 patch pincushion | DevotedQuilter.com
And now on to the party! Link up your finishes for the week (big or small) and be sure to visit a few other links to congratulate them on their finishes, too 😊
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

September 02, 2019

Work Attitude

Devotion for the Week...

I enjoyed the mental break from writing devotions over the summer, but I'm happy to be back with a new one today! I hope that, whatever your work, you were able to find ways to take a break, too.

On that note, I want to look at work today. This is the Labour Day long weekend for those of us in North America. It's a holiday that began as a way to celebrate the work of everyday people and their contribution to society and that has become the unofficial signal of the end of summer for most people.

We, as a society, have a rather complicated relationship with work. Work is necessary - collectively, everyone's work needs to be done to keep society running and, individually, we each need to work in order to have an income to support ourselves - but we place a much higher value on the time we spend not working. I'm sure you've heard the phrase "working for a living is getting in the way of living." I know I'm guilty of feeling exactly that, especially now when I'm about to start work again after a summer off. I've even said longingly that I will make a very good retired person when the time comes because I can guarantee I will never be bored.

In the Bible, Paul is very clear that Christians are to be working. You don't get much clearer than "Those unwilling to work will not get to eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10). This verse is written as part of a larger argument against idleness as Paul reminded the Thessalonians that he worked hard so he wouldn't be a burden on anyone while he was with them. In that context I believe that Paul is not only referring to paid labour,  but also to all the unpaid work that needs to be done, which is why we've quoted that verse to our boys when they were younger and balking at the thought of doing their chores. Likewise, parenting is a lot of valuable work for which we are never paid.

Addressing slaves, Paul also wrote, "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people" (Colossians 3:23). This one can be tough to live, can't it? We probably all have parts of our work that we genuinely enjoy and find easy to do. As a child care provider, I find it easy to sit and read funny books with the kids or bake with them or listen to their sometimes quirky stories and explanations. The ones that are so good I have to immediately text it to their mother make my day. But there are also parts of our work that we really don't like. Dealing with tantrums comes to mind. Or dirty diapers. During the summers while in university, I worked at Tim Horton's (a coffee shop chain here in Canada) and there were certain customers I'd cringe to see arriving because they were so unpleasant and rude. And needing to clean bathrooms never makes me happy.

Those parts of the work inspire anything but a desire to work willingly, and yet that's exactly what Paul tells us to do. Whatever we do, even the parts we really don't like, we should work at them willingly. Not complaining or grumbling, not doing just the bare minimum to get by and not trying to find ways to make it someone else's job. Why? Put simply, because it really is God we are working for, not the people who pay us or who benefit from the unpaid work we do. "Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ" (Colossians 3:24).

It's not that He needs the work done, but rather that He wants the right attitude in our hearts. So much of living the life God wants for us is more about our hearts than it is about anything on the outside. I know I grumble in my head an awful lot about the work I don't want to be doing. Sometimes I even allow it to make me miserable, all the while knowing that's the wrong attitude.
Is your attitude about work godly? | DevotedQuilter.com
Quilt detail from my Blue Sparkler quilt
Is your attitude about work godly? Is it easy for you to work willingly, even at the parts of your work that you don't enjoy? I have a long way to go before I'll be able to hold the right attitude about work in my heart all the time. Hopefully I also have many years of work ahead of me to work on it.
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