December 27, 2021

A Prayer for 2022

 Devotion for the Week...

As has become my tradition, I'm letting the apostle Paul speak for me for the last devotion of the year. This is my prayer for all of you for 2022.

"I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:16-21).
May you experience the love of Christ |

Happy New Year!

December 20, 2021

Advent 2021 - When He's Completely Unexpected

 Devotion for the Week...

Here we are, the last few days before Christmas. Are your presents all bought and wrapped? We're still waiting for a few things to come in the mail, stocking stuffers haven't even been started and nothing is wrapped. It's about right where we are at this time every year, lol.

For this year's Advent devotions, I've been focused on the timing of God. We started by looking at the fulness of time, then when He's early and then when He's late. Today I want to look at when He's completely unexpected.

For quite a few years now, the shepherds have been my favourite part of the Christmas story. They were men at the very bottom of society, thought to be so unreliable that they weren't allowed to testify in court. They were the ones polite society would have avoided. They were also the ones who got a special invitation from God to go and meet His newborn Son. That, to me, was God's way of showing us that absolutely everyone is welcome to come to Jesus, with no exceptions.

We find their story in Luke 2, where it begins, "That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. 'I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.'" (vv. 8-12).

The shepherds were just having an ordinary night at work, looking after their sheep. They had no thought that the Messiah would be coming or that they would be involved in any way if he did. He wasn't on their radar at all, and then suddenly an angel interrupted their night with the news that He had been born and that the shepherds should go meet Him. Say what????

God changed the timeline for Mary, making her a mom before she expected it to happen, and He did the same for Elizabeth much later than she would have liked, but at least both of them had some expectation of motherhood. The shepherds would never have expected to meet the Messiah, whom everyone assumed would be a king, or at the very least a person of too much importance to want anything to do with lowly shepherds.

The shepherds dropped everything when the angel left them. They could have decided they were imagining things, or that they couldn't be bothered to walk to Bethlehem. Instead, they "said to each other, 'Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.' They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child" (vv. 15-17).
What do we do when God interrupts our lives |
What do we do when God interrupts our normal lives? Do we run straight towards it, embracing what He has placed before us? Or do we shy away, clinging to the familiar and the plan we had all mapped out? His plan is different from anything we might plan for ourselves and sometimes that's going to mean He springs something on us completely unexpectedly. Sometimes, what we do in those moments could mean the difference between an ordinary night at work and getting to meet the newborn Messiah.

December 18, 2021

2022 Goal Planning

It's that time of year again! Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl is hosting the annual Planning Party, so it's time to take a look at my 2021 goals and set some new goals for 2022 😊 

First up, how did I do on the goals I set for this year?

1. Finish my 2020 temperature quilt

Yes, yes, yes! I finally finished it, thanks to my WIPS-B-GONE challenge. You can see the finish post here.
2020 temperature quilt |

2. Make a sewing machine cover

Nope. I didn't even think about starting this. As much as I'd love to have a pretty cover for my machine, I think it's time to take this off my list.

3. Finish three UFOs - specifically my dragon cross stitch, Indecisive quilt and Let it Snow wallhanging

Yes, no and not yet. I am so happy to finally have my dragon cross stitch finished! You can read all about it in this post.
Dragon cross stitch |
I haven't done anything with my Indecisive quilt, other than taking it out to see how much is left to be quilted (about 2/3). I am certain it will not be finished before 2022 arrives. The Let it Snow wallhanging is a possibility, though. First of all, it's much smaller than the Indecisive quilt. Plus it's about half quilted, so there's not really a whole lot left to go. I'm hopeful I can cross it off the list as another WIPS-B-GONE finish before we ring in the new year.

4. 8 more printed patterns

Not quite, though I did release 6 new or updated patterns that are all now available as printed booklets. That's still a win in my books 😊 They're all available as PDFs, too, of course! Clockwise from the top left, the patterns are: Divided, Zoomed In, Shining Through, Mix It Up, Flower Box and Noodles.
Modern quilt patterns |

5. My Easter project

The Grace in the Meadow QAL was one of the highlights of my year! I loved making my two Spring Meadow quilts (even if one is still only a top and the other is still just blocks) and sharing the daily devotions was fabulous. I loved it so much, in fact, that there will be a second QAL before Easter 2022...more on that in a minute.

All in all, I'm pleased with how I did on my 2021 goals, even if I didn't get to everything 😊 Here's what I'm planning for 2022.

1. Make more small quilts

I had this as a goal in 2020 and it helped remind me that not everything needs to be throw size or larger. It's really fun to make small quilts - they're faster, I can quilt them densely without it taking forever and they use up some of the giant box of batting scraps. Since that box is not getting any smaller, or emptier, it's time to try to focus on making small quilts again.

2. Learn to sew pants

I'm pretty comfortable with making shirts and dresses now, though every pattern still usually involves things for me to learn. However, I am seriously intimidated by the thought of making pants, which probably has something to do with my less-than-successful attempt in August of 2020. I really want to learn, though, so I'm going to try to tackle it in 2022.

3. WIPS-B-GONE 2022

The WIPS-B-GONE 100 day challenge has been a huge help in getting me to work on some of my older projects (hello, dragon cross stitch and temperature quilt) and it seems like the other participants are finding it just as helpful. Look for all the details about the 2022 version to come out at the beginning of September.

4. The Add Grace QAL

I am excited to be planning next year's Easter preparation quilt along and devotional journey. The QAL is called Add Grace and the devotions will be mostly focusing on grace as we get ready to celebrate Easter. The quilt design is finalized and I have fabric on the way to make my versions. It's so hard to keep it a secret! I'll be sharing all the details on February 1st. If you want to be notified about those details and when registration opens, go here to join the waitlist.
Add Grace QAL and devotional journey |

5. More workshops

I have been loving teaching online workshops, so I really want to do more of that in 2022. I have a few guild bookings for the year already, and would love to book more. If you'd like to have me visit your guild (virtually), send me an email!

I also want to host some workshops myself, for those who aren't part of a guild, and I want to offer my workshops as on-demand classes, too. The technical aspects of that have me intimidated, but I am determined to follow my own advice and get it done.

I have plenty of plans for new patterns, new tutorials and more, but I'm not going to set goals for those. I'll just follow my interest and work on the things that I feel like working on in the moment. There's no shortage of options, so I'm not worried I'll find myself with nothing to do!

Head over to Yvonne's Planning Party to see what goals other quilters are setting for the new year and to link up your own plans! Thanks, Yvonne, for giving me a reason to actually type the list out rather than keeping it floating around in my head.
Do you set goals for the new year or do you just go with the flow? 

December 13, 2021

Night Sky in Mulberry Lane

Are you still looking for a quick gift to make? I had this baby size Night Sky quilt top cut and pieced in just two evenings! I love that it's only two fabrics and there aren't a lot of pieced units, both of which help the top come together quickly. A throw or queen size would take longer, but they'd still be relatively quick compared to more complex designs. You can get the Night Sky pattern in my Etsy shop and get stitching up that last minute Christmas gift 😊
Night Sky quilt pattern |
I made this version of Night Sky using two fabrics from the new Mulberry Lane line by Dodi Poulsen for Riley Blake. Mulberry Lane fabrics should be available soon in your favourite quilt shops. When I first showed the quilt top to Nathan, he told me it reminded him of peppermints! 
Night Sky quilt pattern |
I love the tiny scattered hearts on the background print. Sometimes I find it hard to decide how I'll quilt a quilt, but as soon as I started cutting into this print, I knew I had to quilt meandering hearts all over this one. It's fantastic when the quilt just tells me how it wants to be quilted.
Night Sky quilt pattern |
I used Aurifil 2420 for the quilting. It's pretty much the same as the lighter pink in the print I used for the stars, so it was perfect for all-over quilting. I love that it shows up on the heart print, but it's not so much darker that it's overwhelming.

I tried to keep the quilting pretty big, which, with Warm and Natural batting inside, means the finished quilt is nice and soft. There are big hearts, small hearts, fat hearts and plenty of lop-sided hearts. 
Night Sky quilt pattern |
The barely there, pink hearts quilted on solid white make for a soft and sweet looking back, especially with the pink binding.
Night Sky quilt pattern |
This was my first time making Night Sky in the baby size, but I don't think it will be my last. You can see my two previous throw size versions here and here. That second version uses a lot more than two fabrics!

Head over to my Etsy shop to get the Night Sky pattern as a PDF or a printed pattern (with free shipping). 
Night Sky quilt pattern |

I'm linking up with NTT

Advent 2021 - When He's Late

 Devotion for the Week...

December is really speeding by, isn't it? We're now on the third week of Advent 😊 This year's devotional theme is the timing of God and so far we've looked at the fulness of the time and when He's early. Today we're going to look at when He's late.

Like last week, I should point out that God isn't ever actually late, we just think He is because He's not following our timeline. Just look at any toddler being told to wait for something and you'll see that we're not born with much patience. Even as adults we have a hard time accepting it when we have to wait for things, especially the things we want desperately. 

Elizabeth is an example of someone who waited so long she likely believed her prayer would never be answered. Like any woman of her day, she would have wanted a child, but "they had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old" (Luke 1:7). Considering 'they were both very old,' Elizabeth may have even stopped hoping a baby would ever be part of her story. 

How do we react when it seems God is late? Or when the waiting feels interminable? Luke writes, "Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations" (v. 6), which tells me that Elizabeth hadn't turned her back on God in those waiting years. All while she had to endure being childless, she still served Him faithfully.

Then the unimaginable happened: an angel appeared to Zechariah while he was ministering in the Temple and said that Elizabeth would give him a son. To emphasize how long they had been waiting for a baby, "Zechariah said to the angel, 'How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.'" (v. 18). I feel like Zechariah was really thinking, "It's a bit late now, isn't it?"

When Zechariah returned home, mute because he had doubted the angel's words, Elizabeth did conceive. Her recorded response was, "How kind the Lord is!...He has taken away my disgrace of having no children" (v. 25). Her wonder and excitement didn't quite make it into the Bible, but we can imagine how she felt at having her deepest desire granted.

I've always wondered, though, if she was uncertain about taking care of an infant in her old age. Were her knees or her back a little creaky, making the thought of chasing after a toddler seem intimidating? Did she yearn for the energy she had when she was younger? None of her possible fears made it into the Bible, either. 
We continue to  trust God, even  when it seems to  us that He is late |
We can't know if God will grant us our deepest desires, as He eventually did for Elizabeth. All we can do is continue to trust and serve Him as she did, even when it seems He is late.

December 07, 2021

Divided in Calm Lagoon

Welcome to my stop on the Calm Lagoon blog hop! As a lover of all things ocean and all things blue, I couldn't resist these Island Batik fabrics from Sherry Shish's new signature line. I decided to use them to make a baby size version of my Divided pattern. Get the Divided pattern in my Etsy shop.
Divided quilt in Calm Lagoon fabric |
Am I amused that I'm sharing beach themed fabrics with snow in the background of the picture? Yes, I am! Welcome to life in Newfoundland! Though to be honest we've hardly had any snow yet and today is supposed to be 12°C (53F) and rainy, so it doesn't really feel like December.

I had a moment of panic when I first received my box of Calm Lagoon fabric because there wasn't as much contrast as I expected between some of them and the whale fabric I planned to use for the background. Oh, the joys of choosing fabric through a computer monitor, right? These two fabrics were the ones I was most concerned about. Without contrast with the background the appliqued orange peels would be almost invisible.
Calm Lagoon fabric |
I thought I'd stitch around the orange peels with a navy thread to give them a more defined edge, but then my friend Michelle suggested I use white instead. That hadn't even occurred to me, but it was the perfect solution. The white zig zag definitely helps them stand out against the background. Phew!

I have a hard time choosing a favourite fabric. It might be these shells...
Divided quilt pattern in Calm Lagoon fabric |
Or it might be these shells...
Divided quilt pattern in Calm Lagoon fabric |
Or it might be the swirls. 
Divided quilt pattern in Calm Lagoon fabric |
Once all the orange peels were stitched, putting the whole quilt top together was pretty quick. Gotta love baby quilts for being quick to assemble!

Michelle also suggested the fish quilting design I used, while helping me baste the quilt. Don't you love having friends that make your life easier? Now if only I knew someone who loved cleaning bathrooms, lol. I used Aurifil 1125 (medium teal) for the quilting, which blends nicely with most of the fabrics on the front and looks nice even where it stood out. With solid white for the quilt back, that teal thread really stands out, making for a fun, fishy back.
Divided quilt in Calm Lagoon fabric |
The fish were fun to stitch, but I worried at first that they looked more like balloons than fish. It took a while to be able to make fish that were longer/narrower, rather than rounded since the rounded ones tended to resemble balloons more than the longer ones did. Even with those efforts, some parts of this particular lagoon have rather fat fish!
Divided quilt in Calm Lagoon fabric |
Want to make your own Divided quilt (maybe as a quick, last minute Christmas gift)? Get the pattern now! It's available as a PDF or as a printed pattern and I offer free shipping. The pattern includes a throw size along with the baby size shown in this post 😊
Divided quilt in Calm Lagoon fabric |
Sherry has put together a great group of designers to share their Calm Lagoon projects, so be sure to visit and see what everyone has made.

December 06, 2021

Advent 2021 - When He's Early

 Devotion for the Week...

Welcome to the second week of Advent. This year's Advent devotions are focused on God's timing and last week we looked at the fulness of the time. This week we're going to look at when God is early.

Maybe I should clarify. God is never actually early, but He may seem to be early according to our timetable. Ah, there's a difference there, isn't there? His timetable is the right one, even when it looks to us like we're not ready for what He is asking or giving us.

Consider Mary. Luke 1:26-27 say, "God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David." Gabriel then says to her, "You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus" (v.31). Now, this was a bit confusing to Mary, as you can imagine, seeing as she knew for certain she was a virgin. Gabriel went on to explain how it would happen: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God" (v. 35).

Think about where Mary was before Gabriel appeared in front of her. She was engaged, ready to get married and start her life with Joseph. I'm sure she dreamed of having children someday, and likely hoped it would happen soon after her marriage, but she wasn't expecting it to happen that very day. Gabriel stood there telling her that yes, she would be a mother, just as she dreamed, but God was going to move the timetable up a bit.

Of course, by changing the timetable so that Mary got pregnant before she got married, this was also going to affect her reputation. Joseph married her right away (after his own angelic visit), but you can be sure there was talk about how quickly they married and suspicions that she was pregnant before the wedding. Gossip is one thing we can be sure happened just as much back then as it does today, considering how often the Bible speaks against it. How many snarky comments did Mary have to deal with from people who thought they knew the truth of her situation?

Did Mary feel ready for what God was asking of her? When Gabriel stood before her, telling her what was to come, did she feel like it was too early? We don't know, but we do know that she accepted the mission, so to speak. Her only recorded response was, "I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true" (v. 38).
What might we miss out on if we don't trust God's timing? |
What is our response when it seems God is early? Something we thought might happen someday or something God might ask of us someday, is now today. We can insist that we're not ready and it's not the right time or we can jump in with both feet like Mary did and accept that God's plan and His timing are perfect. Which will we choose? 

And how does our choice affect our future? What might we miss out on if we don't trust His timing?

November 30, 2021

A Dragon Finish

This working on projects consistently thing actually works to get them to the finish line! Who would have thought?? 

I started the WIPS-B-GONE challenge to get a little accountability to finish my dragon cross stitch and I'm so happy that it is now finished.
'The Caste" dragon cross stitch |
This is The Castle, designed by Teresa Wentzler, and I started it close to 20 years ago. Mostly it just sat untouched, but every now and then I'd pick it up for a few days and then it would languish again. Once I started working on it for WIPS-B-GONE, I was amazed by how quickly I could make progress. Even though some days I could only spend 15 minutes at it, those bits of work still added up.

I shared my dragon a few weeks ago, when the cross stitching part was finished and I was ready to start the backstitching. Here's a side-by-side comparison to show the difference the backstitching makes. Isn't it amazing how the simple backstitching lines make the whole thing come into focus? It doesn't hurt that I pressed it before taking the finished picture, too.
'The Caste" dragon cross stitch |
I love the details of the face and around the castle towers.
'The Caste" dragon cross stitch |
And the details in the wing.
'The Caste" dragon cross stitch |
I've always loved rocks, so it makes me happy that the pattern includes so much variation in the rocks, even if it did feel like it took forever to stitch around them.
'The Caste" dragon cross stitch |
I'm planning to have the dragon professionally framed, but I'm not sure when that will happen. There are no framers in our town, so it requires a trip to a city two hours away, then another trip again to pick it up after it's ready. It definitely won't be waiting 20 years this time, though!

November 29, 2021

Advent 2021 - The Fulness of the Time

 Devotion for  the Week...

It's the first Sunday of Advent! Do you have your tree up yet? We always put ours up the first weekend of December, so we don't yet, but I've been seeing more and more decorated trees popping up on my social media feeds. I love getting to see how other people decorate for Christmas.

This Advent season I'm going to be sharing devotions that focus on God's timing. Galatians 4:4-5 say, "But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children." That's in the New Living Translation. In the more famous King James Version, verse 4 starts off, "But when the fulness of the time was come." There's something beautiful about the phrase the fulness of the time, isn't there?

Isaiah prophesied the coming of the Messiah about 700 years before Jesus was born. That's a long time for the people to Israel to have waited! So what made Mary's day the right time, compared to the hundreds of years that had already passed? Unfortunately, the Bible doesn't tell us what the criteria were for choosing the time of Jesus' birth.

One theory is that God waited for the arrival of the Roman Empire. The Romans created peace that allowed for travel between many places, which allowed the gospel to spread quickly and easily. There was also a common working language that was understood by people in many different places, which would have allowed Christians to share their good news without being hampered by language barriers.

I was amused once to hear someone say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem because the Roman emperor was getting low on funds, prompting him to call for a census so he could get more tax revenue. Was the state of the emperor's budget part of God's criteria for the right time?

Those are only human speculation, of course. Maybe the right time had more to do with Mary and her willing spirit or with things we know nothing about. Only God knows what made that time the right time. 
You can't rush the fulness of the time |
The same truth applies to situations in our everyday lives, too. Is there something you've been waiting for? Maybe you've been waiting and praying for so long it feels like it has been 700 years. Whatever it is, God knows when the right time will be for the answer to come. We know when we want things to happen (now, please!), but God is waiting for His criteria to be met so that He answers at the right time.

You can't rush the fulness of the time, whether it's for healing for your loved one or salvation for the entire world.

November 22, 2021

Take The Opportunities

 Devotion for the Week...

Most of our fall has been grey, cloudy and drizzly. It has been hard to be motivated to get outside, to say the least. Saturday morning, then, it was a real treat to wake up to a bright, sunny morning. My usual routine on a nice Saturday morning is to go for a walk first thing, but Zach had a volleyball tournament that day, so as I headed for the shower to get ready all I could think was how much I wanted to be out in the sun. Then I realized that I was up in time to get Zach to the gym 40 minutes before the game started, but if I weren't the one driving him to the gym, then I could walk there instead and still arrive in time to watch the game. In the end, Paul decided to walk with me and Zach drove himself (yay for teenagers who can drive!) and I had a wonderful half hour in the sun.

We all know that life is busy. There are so many things we have to do (work, household chores, appointments) and so many we want to do (exercise, hobbies, family time) and it's hard to fit it all into our allotted 24 hours a day. We have to make the most of any little opportunities we find to do the things we love. In my case, it meant realizing that I could spend those 30 minutes outside rather than sitting in the gym waiting for the game to start. The Saturday before, when the weather was miserable and I was waiting for the indoor soccer game to start, it meant spending that time on Instagram, catching up on everyone else's progress on the WIPS-B-GONE hashtag.

In Ephesians 5:15-17, Paul wrote, " So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do." We are presented with so many different opportunities each day. There are opportunities to connect with other people, opportunities to help our communities, opportunities to further our careers, to tell others about Jesus, to be creative and to care for ourselves or others. Are we making the most of those opportunities?

I can't tell you the right way to approach your days because we will have different opportunities and different goals. I can say that if we're willing to pay attention - to be careful how we live, as Paul put it, then we'll make the most of the opportunities before us.

We start missing opportunities when we stop paying attention to how we're living. When I'm scrolling on my phone while one of the boys is talking to me, I miss the opportunity to connect with him. When I stay up too late, I miss the opportunity to sleep and take care of myself. 
Not all of the opportunities before us are life-changing |
Not all of the opportunities before us are earth-shaking or life-changing. In fact, most of them will be ordinary, regular life kind of moments that can slip past unnoticed. I still want to make the most of them, though. 

PS. Jeremy Camp has a great song called "Keep Me in the Moment" that sums this up perfectly.

November 15, 2021

Patchwork of Salvation

You know I'm partial to devotions, right? I mean, they're the reason for half of the name of this blog! Today I'm happy to share a new devotional book with you, written by my friend Jen Frost, of Faith and Fabric.

With Patchwork of Salvation, Jen has created a beautiful devotional to help us keep our focus on Jesus during the hustle and bustle of the Advent season. The devotions trace the story of our salvation from Creation to the birth of Jesus and there are pictures of beautiful quilt blocks that go with each day's devotion 😊 Jen will also have a Spanish version of the devotional available starting December 1st.
Patchwork of Salvation Advent devotional |
Pictures on this post are courtesy of Jen Frost
Here's a sneak peek inside the devotional:

If you want to make the blocks that go along with the devotions, Jen has the pattern for them available, too! I even made a few of them last year. You can see the first 5 blocks here and the Rahab and Ram blocks here. Then I got sidetracked and didn't finish the rest. Oops!
Patchwork of Salvation devotional |
If you want to read more about Patchwork of Salvation, head to Jen's site, Faith and Fabric. Or you can click over to Amazon to pick up your copy so you'll be ready to start reading on December 1st.

Whatever Works

When our boys were small, they slept in their own beds right from the start. I knew there was no way I would ever sleep if they were in bed with me. I even had to have the baby monitor turned way down so I only heard them when they started crying and I didn't hear every time they squirmed around in the crib. I didn't (and still can't!) understand how so many of my friends could sleep with their kids in bed with them. When talking about it, we'd often just laugh and say, "you've gotta do whatever works for you."

That applied to so many things! The foods we served (and that the kids would actually eat), the technology time we allowed, whether or not they were registered for minor hockey...the list goes on and on. In parenting there are many right ways to do things. Each family has to pick and choose what will work for them, without judging that others are wrong if they choose differently.

The Bible has a sort of "whatever works for you" moment, too. Writing to the Romans, Paul said, "Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them" (Romans 14:1-3). He continued, "In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God" (vv. 5-6).

Paul was telling the Romans it's okay to worship God through opposing choices and he stressed that neither choice is wrong, which is a message that still needs to be heard today. Whether we do or we don't do a particular thing, Paul said, it's important that we each do what we believe is right. Equally important is that we aren't to be shaming or judging the people who choose differently than we do.

I remember hearing Chuck Swindoll say that he was taken aback at a pastor's conference in Germany years ago when he saw all of his fellow pastors drinking beer with their meal, which is something he would never consider, but that is perfectly acceptable in German culture. The other pastors weren't wrong for having a beer and Chuck wasn't wrong for not having one. They simply believed differently about what was right and followed their own convictions.
As long as we are seeking to please and honour God, the how of it doesn't matter |
Our society these days tries to insist that everything is either right or wrong, without allowing for differences of culture or belief, but God used Paul's letter to the Romans to tells us otherwise. He created us to have different opinions, different cultures and different ways of worshipping Him. As long as we are seeking to please and honour Him, the how of it doesn't matter.

November 12, 2021

Zoomed In Quilt and Pattern Release

Today I get to share my Zoomed In quilt and pattern! The pattern is now listed in my Etsy shop, with the PDF available right away and the printed pattern listed as a preorder that will ship once they arrive from the printer.
Zoomed In quilt pattern |
I love flower applique quilts and this great, big, bold flower is so much fun. It's perfect for showing off beautiful fabrics, like the Watermark ones I used. I'm always a sucker for blue fabrics and for tone-on-tone fabrics, so Watermark by Tammie Green for Riley Blake Designs was really calling my name.
My friend Michelle named this quilt (that's at least three she has named, now!) because she said it feels like we're looking at the zoomed in picture of the corner of a much larger quilt. I had grand plans of taking it to the beach for pictures because a quilt made with Watermark fabrics and a background called Sand Dollar needed to be photographed at the beach...but life had other plans. With the time change, I'm now working through pretty much all the daylight hours, I finished the quilt on Tuesday evening and it needed to be posted here on Friday morning, so indoor pictures it is.

Zoomed In finishes at 48" square and it stitched up super fast 😊
Zoomed In quilt pattern |
I cut my applique pieces using my rotary cutter, with two fabrics stacked together so I cut two at a time. I considered stacking three, but I feel like I lose the precision when I'm tracing a template with three stacked, so I stuck with two. I used to cut all my applique shapes individually with scissors, until I started garment sewing and watched people cut out clothing pieces by tracing around their paper patterns with rotary cutters. I never even thought of doing that, lol. I think I assumed you had to have something sturdy like a ruler in order to use the cutter. 

Lots of times I only stitch around my applique shapes with the quilting, but this time I chose to go around them all with a zig zag stitch, using Aurifil 50 wt Very Dark Navy (2785).
Zoomed In quilt pattern |
When it came time for the quilting, I didn't know how I wanted to quilt the Watermark fabrics, so I started with Aurifil 2311 for the background. I stitched around the flower, then echoed that about ½" away, then echoed it again about ¼" away. 
Zoomed In quilt pattern |
The about is an important word, as there is plenty of variation in the echo stitching.
Zoomed In quilt pattern |
After outlining and echoing the flower, I stitched a flower meander in the background. I started out stitching it kind of densely...
Zoomed In quilt pattern |
But somewhere along the line, it got a whole lot looser. The best I can say about the flower meander quilting is that it is consistently inconsistent! In the overall view, though, it's not really noticeable, which is yet another reminder that the imperfections we see as we're working on our quilts are not so bad when we step back a bit.
Zoomed In quilt pattern |
Once I started moving out from the flower block, I outlined the blue borders, and kept going with the flower meander. I really liked how the back was looking with nothing in the thin borders, so I decided to leave them unquilted. It seems to be becoming a trend for me lately to leave parts of my quilts unquilted.
Zoomed In free motion quilting |
I love how the flower looks on the back!
Zoomed In free motion quilting |
And here's the whole back 😍
Zoomed In free motion quilting |
Stitching the label on is such a tiny step, but it's a super satisfying one!
Zoomed In quilt pattern |
Go to my Etsy shop to pick up your copy of Zoomed In. It's available for the introductory price now through November 17th.

November 09, 2021

French Knot Flowers

I have started a new long term project. And by long term, I mean looooooong term! It doesn't look like much yet, but I'm hoping it will eventually be pretty. 
French knot flower hoop |
Kitty of Night Quilter has been making milestone quilts for years and has created a whole membership community around the idea of quilting your life. While I'm not a member of the Quilt Your Life Crew, I have always admired the interesting quilts she has made and the whole idea of the positive feedback loops created by earning quilt blocks. Kitty's most recent project documents her daily core strengthening exercises, using a coloured strip for each day she does her exercises and with a plan for this to be a quilt with no end. 

I loved that idea, especially since core work is something I struggle to be consistent with, too. I have muscle spasms in my back that cause nagging pain and my physiotherapist prescribed planks, clamshells and a few other exercises to strengthen my core and fix the issues. That means I have plenty of reason to be doing the core work, but somehow finding the motivation is still hard. How is it that I can find more than an hour to go for a walk most days, but the 15 minutes the exercises take is almost impossible? It all comes down to interest. I love my daily walks, but there's nothing very exciting about doing planks!

On a walk I pondered ways to turn Kitty's tracking quilt into something I could stick with and I hit upon the idea of a hoop of french knot flowers. 
French knot flower hoop |
It hits all the right points for me:

  • I don't need my sewing machine. This was a big one, because I wanted something I could do right away after finishing the exercises, without needing to set up my sewing machine or switch it from fmq mode if I was in the middle of quilting something.
  • It's super fast to do each day's knot. I didn't want something that would take much time each day because I'm more likely to actually do it if it's fast.
  • There's no prep time needed each day. I know that I'll put off cutting fabric or tracing more flowers or anything like that, so I designed the flower hoop so that all the prep work is done, other than cutting a length of thread now and then. That much I think I can manage!
I wanted to make it almost impossible to fall behind with this project because I know myself well enough to know that if I fall behind, the whole project will likely fall by the wayside. More than wanting the flowers to eventually be filled with colourful french knots, I really want to be stronger and pain free!

So far the plan is working 😊 I drew the flowers, did my exercises and then made my first french knot on Halloween, in between trick-or-treaters. I now have 9 french knots, after not missing a single day since I started! That's already more consecutive days of core work than I've ever done before.
French knot flower hoop |
Is this going to take for.e.ver? Yes, yes it is! But that's kind of the point. These are exercises that need to become part of my life, so I might as well have a motivation that's going to last a long time, too 😊

November 08, 2021

Spread it Liberally

 Devotion for the Week...

The WIPS-B-GONE challenge is almost halfway finished. Day 50 will be this Thursday, November 11. It is so much fun to scroll through the hashtag and comment on each photo, reading about daily progress. It's especially fun when I get to help celebrate a finish! What has been fun, too, is seeing that other challenge participants are also scrolling the hashtag, commenting and celebrating. It's a WIP finishing party that spans several continents and I love it!

My dragon cross stitch was the project that started the whole challenge and I'm slowly picking away at finishing it. I worried that my IG followers might get sick of seeing it, since it's not a quilt, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all. Every post about the dragon will get comments like "the dragon is looking so good!" or "you're making so much progress!" or "you're really rocking along!" The encouragement always feels great and helps keep me motivated to work on the backstitching again the next day.

Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul said, "encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). That was the last sentence in a section about being alert and aware, ready for when Jesus will come again and it was directed at all of the people, not just the head of the church. The implication was that everyone would be involved with encouraging and lifting up all of the other believers around them, knowing that this would help everyone to stay focused on God.

The world can be distracting and discouraging. It's easy to get pulled into the messiness of life and to let our focus shift away from God. What a difference it makes if we have an encourager, though! Someone who can cheer us on, who can lift us up when we're having a hard day, who will remind us that "Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever" (v. 10).
Encouraging others doesn't cost us anything |
Encouraging others doesn't cost us anything and it doesn't require a lot of time or special training. All it takes is a willingness to focus on the people around us and to cheer them on. With just a little effort, we could all be spreading encouragement everywhere we go.