June 30, 2021

2021 Mid-Year Review

We made it to the midpoint of 2021! How are things looking in your corner of the world? Here in Newfoundland our borders will open tomorrow to travelers from anywhere in Canada, with no requirement that they quarantine for 14 days when they arrive. As you can imagine, that required quarantine kept a lot of people away (which was part of the point, for sure), so it's fabulous that our provincial vaccination rate is high enough now that we can now start opening up again. This province relies heavily on tourism and needs those travelers to come back (safely, please!!).

Since we're halfway through the year, it's time to take a look at my 2021 goals and see if I'm halfway through the list 😊

1. Finish my 2020 temperature quilt

Not yet, though I do have all of the blocks finished, finally. Now I'm working on assembling the top. As per usual, though, it has been set aside in favour of projects with deadlines. It is definitely on my mind, but not at the top of the list (despite its place at the top of this list!).
temperature quilt blocks | DevotedQuilter.com

2. Make a sewing machine cover


3. Finish three UFOs

When setting my goals, I named three UFOs that I want to finish: my dragon cross stitch, my Indecisive quilt and my Let it Snow wall hanging. I haven't touched any of them, lol. I did find the wall hanging, though, so that must count for something.

4. 8 more printed patterns

I'm getting there with this one 😊 So far I have three new printed patterns. They are Flower Box...
Flower Box mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Mix it Up mini quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
and Noodles.
Noodles quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I'm working on the fourth right now and have another planned for late July. There's no shortage of other patterns waiting for me to get to them, so there will certainly be more during the second half of the year.

5. My Easter project

Yes, yes, yes! I had so much fun with the Grace in the Meadow QAL 😊 We made Spring Meadow quilts and I shared devotions every day of Lent and it was wonderful. I will definitely be planning another similar QAL at some point. For the record, I still haven't quilted my applique version of Spring Meadow, though, so it still looks like this:
Spring Meadow quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
And the embroidery version that I started during the QAL is still in pieces, lol. I finished all of the pieced blocks during the QAL, but the embroidery blocks took a lot longer. I am *almost* finished those, so I hope to have both completely finished over the summer. If that happens, I'll be able to release the pattern shortly after 😊
Embroidered Swirl Flower block | DevotedQuilter.com
Well, there has been some progress made, but there's plenty more to be done! Good thing I still have half a year to tackle more of this list! How is your year going so far? Have you made progress on the things you most want to be doing?

June 28, 2021

The Fruit of the Spirit - Part 2

While I'm taking my annual summer break from writing new devotions, I'm sharing this series on the fruit of the Spirit, which was originally published in 2016.

Devotion for the Week...

Welcome back to our devotion series on the fruit of the Spirit. This week we'll look at love, which is the first of the nine character traits that are listed as being the fruit of the Spirit. If you missed it, click to read last week's introduction to the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." 

The character traits that the Spirit can cause to grow in us are ones that are not quite natural to us humans. Though we certainly do love people, we tend to love only certain people, the ones that we find lovable in some way. But that's not God's love. God's love depends on nothing. It just is...constant and given equally to everyone. In fact, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

God's love is so big and so complete that He sent Jesus to die for us when we were in total rebellion against Him. We were each firmly seated on the throne in our own hearts, quite happily serving ourselves and completely ignoring God. Some of us were simply indifferent to God, others were openly hostile, but either way we were not lovable at all. Even then, He loved us enough to see past that rebellion to the relationship that would be possible if He made the way.

That is the kind of love the Spirit can bring to our lives. The kind of love that sees past faults and difficult personalities. The kind of love that continues even in the face of insult or indifference. The kind of love that, quite frankly, we can't produce on our own.

Jesus asked, "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" (Matthew 5:46). In other words, anyone, even a tax collector (the lowest of the low), is capable of loving the lovable and the people who love them back. It takes a special kind of person, one who is walking with the Spirit, to love everyone.

I will be the first to admit that I often react with less-than-loving responses when faced with someone who is unlovable in some way. I am nowhere near able to get it right all the time, and it's those natural not-loving responses that prove I need the Spirit to grow God's kind of love in me.

And how does this love grow in us? Galatians 5, verse 16 says, "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." As I said last week, walking by the Spirit means listening when the Spirit prompts us to do (or not do) something, and then obeying that prompt. It's an ongoing learning process, a process of letting go of our own selfish desires and embracing what God wants for us.

Jesus said in John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." Remaining in Jesus means cultivating a relationship with Him. First of all, it means accepting Him as Savior, then it means spending time reading the Bible to get to know Him, it means spending time thinking about what we've read and learning to apply it to our lives and it means learning to be sensitive to the Spirit. 
With the Spirit guiding us and  teaching us,  we can learn to  love as He loves | DevotedQuilter.com

Apart from a relationship with Jesus, showing true, unconditional love to everyone is impossible. But with Him, with His Spirit guiding us and teaching us, we can learn to love as He loves.

June 24, 2021

New Quilters

In February 2020 I started teaching a beginner's quilting class, never suspecting that it would take us 16 months to finish. We were shut down twice because of Covid and then one person had to quarantine after travel, so we delayed a few weeks so that she could finish her quilt, so what was supposed to be 7 weeks took just a little longer. But finish we finally did!

You can't see their smiles because of the masks, but they are all very proud of themselves (as they should be!). Only one knew how to thread her sewing machine when we started 😊

I love Emma's blue fabrics.
Emma's first quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Sadie's teal background is gorgeous!
Sadie's first quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Deanne made her quilt using fabrics that belonged to her grandmother and is giving it to her daughter. What a wonderful family connection!
Deanne's first quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Dorothy had a cutting error that meant she couldn't make the HSTs, which is why hers looks a little different, but it still turned out beautifully. It has been gifted to her grandson 💗
Dorothy's quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Donna commented that her wintery fabric choices suited when we started the class more than when we finished, lol.
Donna's first quilt | Devotedquilter.com
One other participant couldn't make the classes when we resumed because she was in another part of the province, but she spent quarantine making quilt after quilt, using tutorials from my blog and other sources to learn the things we hadn't yet covered in class 😊

I'm now working on finishing up this pattern so that it can be added to my shop, but I'm struggling to come up with a name. Seriously, naming quilts is waaaaay harder than making them! If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

June 21, 2021

The Fruit of the Spirit - Part 1

As has become my tradition, I'll be taking the summer off from writing new devotions. Unlike in previous years, though, I will be re-publishing a series I originally published in 2016 on the fruit of the Spirit. It's an 11 part series, so starting it today will cover the whole summer and then I'll be back with new devotions come September. I hope you enjoy the series!

Devotion for the Week...

Rather than focusing on the fruit in our gardens, for this series we'll be focusing on the fruit of the Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." This week is an introduction, and then each week, for the next nine weeks, I'll take an in-depth look at one of the character traits listed, followed by a conclusion for week 11.

Love, joy, peace, forbearance (or patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All nine are traits that we admire in others, traits that we wish we had in more abundance, am I right? Well, Paul is telling us that these nine character traits can be ours if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us. Earlier in the same chapter, he wrote, "So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want" (vv. 16-17). 

It is not that we need to work harder to grow love, joy, peace, etc. in our lives. No, we need to walk by the Spirit, and as we do so we will begin to turn away from the things that are the opposite of these nine character traits. Walking by the Spirit means that we listen for the Spirit's prompting when we have decisions to make, even little decisions like "should I say this?" Even more importantly, we obey those promptings of the Spirit. I admit that there are times when I want to say something, but I feel like I shouldn't, but then I still say it anyway. That is not walking by the Spirit.

If we are willing to walk by the Spirit, then these nine character traits will grow in our lives. Interestingly, though, they are not nine different fruit! The Greek word used in the original is singular, meaning all nine character traits are part of one 'fruit' which is produced by the Holy Spirit in us. That means that if we want to be fruitful, we can't pick and choose which traits we will grow, allowing ourselves to show love, while refusing to also exhibit self-control, for example. Though obviously we can live like that, we are not then properly allowing the Spirit to grow His fruit in us.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control | DevotedQuilter.com
There have been times when I've been picking strawberries and picked what looked like a perfect strawberry on one side, only to turn it around and discover the other side is still unripe, or has gone moldy or been eaten by bugs. Yuck! I only want to eat strawberries that are perfectly ripe and good all the way through. If we imagine the fruit of the Spirit as some exotic fruit with nine sides, then we want all nine sides to be equally ripe and lovely.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is the fruit I want in my life!

June 14, 2021

Scarcity vs Abundance

 Devotion for the Week...

Over the past couple of years, I've read quite a bit about different mindsets. I find it oddly fascinating to think about how our mindset affects so much of what we do, without us ever being aware of it. I can't remember how it came to my mind, but I spent last week thinking about the difference between a scarcity mindset and an abundance mindset and how those mindsets might affect us spiritually speaking.

For reference, someone with a scarcity mindset feels (either consciously or unconsciously) that something important to them - time, money, opportunities, popularity, and more - is scarce. On the other hand, someone with an abundance mindset feels (again, either consciously or unconsciously) that there is more than enough available to meet their needs.

If we feel that His blessings are a finite resource, then we resent the ones He gives to others and not to us. We hoard the blessings of time, money, knowledge and skill that He has given to us, rather than using them to bless others.

But if we know that "this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19), then we know that there are more than enough blessings to go around. When we are blessed, it does not diminish the supply of blessings that He can hand out to others. There is no limit to that supply!

A scarcity mindset would have us competing for God's favour, always trying to work harder than someone else or to be more "spiritual" than other people. But there is no need for competition! His favour is available to us all, regardless of how hard we work or how spiritual we act. 1 John 3:1 says, "See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!" It isn't what we do to earn His favour that matters - He loves us simply because we are His children. Paul wrote, "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8: 38-39). That sounds like an abundance of love, to me!
There is no limit to the supply of blessings God can bestow | DevotedQuilter.com
Spiritually, a scarcity mindset robs us of the security of knowing that God's love and blessings are available to us in more abundance than we could ever imagine. After all, He loves us enough to have sent Jesus to redeem us. What more proof could there be of His delight in blessing us?

June 13, 2021

Square Up Quilt Pattern

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Plum Pudding blog hop! This hop is celebrating and showcasing Sherry Shish's new signature line with Island Batik and, as always, it's so much fun to see all of the different projects my fellow bloggers have made with the same fabric line.

I chose to create a fun mini quilt to share today. I'm calling it Square Up 😊
Square Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
You can get the free pattern for Square Up by entering your email address in this form. Doing so will also subscribe you to The Bulletin, which I hope you'll enjoy reading twice a month as much as I enjoy creating it.

The Plum Pudding fabric line has some great Christmassy prints. My favourite is this raspberry coloured poinsetta print. Isn't it pretty?
Square Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
There are several directional prints, too. I made a point of cutting the directional prints so they'd all be upright when the quilt was sewn together, which took way longer than it should have, but I had trouble wrapping my mind around which way the finished strips would be facing.

Even though I was trying to be careful, I had to rip seams a couple of times, after sewing the pieces in wrong. Somehow, after all that, I still ended up with one block with the trees going sideways! I don't even know how I missed that! 
Square Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
When I realized it, after the quilt top was finished, I told my friend Michelle that those trees grow somewhere really windy because I couldn't be bothered to rip out any more seams. She said I can just tell everyone they're tuckamore, which is a Newfoundland phenomenon. The official definition is "A spruce tree bent and entangled by winds on the coastal shores of Newfoundland." Last summer we found tuckamore caves, where the trees are completely entangled together, and walking into them felt like we were entering some kind of fantasy land. Here are Nathan and Aiden at the entrance to one of the tuckamore caves.
Tuckamore cave | DevotedQuilter.com
Tuckamore trees are really quite something, with a definite diagonal or sideways growth pattern, so I'm quite happy to have them represented in my mini quilt 😊 And that's how it becomes a design element, instead of a mistake!

Some of my fabric combinations had a little less contrast than would have been ideal for this quilt pattern, which I didn't realize until the pieces were already cut. Turns out, though, I like that some of the blocks are more subtle than others.
Square Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
I don't often piece scraps to make backings. Somehow that feels like too much work, when I'm so close to being able to start the quilting (my favourite part of the process!). This time, though, since I was only making a mini, and I had a fat quarter that would make up most of the back, I decided to go for it. I'm pleased with how the back looks...and there aren't many seams, so it wasn't much extra work.
pieced quilt back | DevotedQuilter.com
When it came time for the quilting, I chose Aurifil 50 wt 2540 for this square stipple design.
square stipple free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.com
I really like how it looks on all of the fabrics, except the white bubbles and the reindeer. Even though it's a light purple, I still find it's a bit distracting on those fabrics. I don't dislike it enough to bother ripping it out, though. #lazy  Have you ever left quilting you weren't 100% happy with?
Square Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
It may be a mini quilt, but the binding is still made of a lot of short pieces. I started out with fat quarters of the fabrics, so I didn't have a lot of anything left that wasn't already cut. I did have enough bits and pieces left to make all of the binding out of one fabric, though, so long as I didn't mind having extra seams, so that's what I did.

Of course, there's a label on one back corner 😊
Square Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

Square Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Sherry has a great group of bloggers all ready to share their projects made with Plum Pudding, so be sure to hop around and see what everyone has been working on.
Square Up quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

June 07, 2021


 Devotion for the Week...

Over the years I've been caring for toddlers, I have said "Are you listening to me?" more times than I can count. It's never because I'm questioning if they're actually hearing the words I'm saying, but because I know they're hearing me, but they're not doing whatever it is I'm telling them to do. Usually that's because I'm telling them to clean up or to stop doing something and they'd prefer to just ignore me.

Lots of times we use the word 'listening' when we mean 'obeying.' I want the kids to do what I tell them, not just listen to me and then ignore my instructions. If they're listening to me, but then not obeying, that doesn't get the results I'm looking for. And, though they don't realize it, obeying me is in their best interest, too. If it's time to clean up, that probably means it's lunch time, or there are too many toys on the floor and someone could get hurt by tripping over something.

We can easily know God feels the same way about us and the instructions He has given us. James wrote, "But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says" (James 1:22). It can't be stated much more clearly than that! What use is God's word to us if we never do anything with what we have heard? God has given us plenty of instructions for how to live a life that is pleasing to Him, but are we obeying? If not, there wasn't much point in taking the time to hear or listen to it, since it won't benefit us unless we take action on what we've learned.

Here are just a few of the commands He has given us in His word:

"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:34-35).

"So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy" (1 Peter 1:14-16).

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:31-32).
I don't want God to have to ask, "Are you listening to me?" | DevotedQuilter.com
How are we doing with our obedience to these commands? We have heard them, but are we doing what God has told us to do? I don't know about you, but I don't want God to have to ask, "Are you listening to me?"

June 01, 2021

Me Made May 2021

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Have you heard of Me Made May? It's a challenge started by Zoe of "So, Zo, What Do You Know?" to encourage people who sew their own clothes to wear their handmade wardrobe through the month of May. Each person sets their own parameters for the challenge, whether that means wearing only me made items or wearing the one item you've made so far as often as you can. I didn't officially sign a pledge for Me Made May this year, but I decided to try wearing at least one handmade item every day for the month. It's the first year I actually had enough me made items to even consider it, and I'm pleased to say I succeeded 😊

May in Newfoundland isn't warm, so my Harper cardigans both got worn. You can see them here and here. My Lotte got a lot of wear, too. And just a little over a week ago I made a Skylar and I've pulled it on for a little while almost every day since. The weather is warming up, but the mornings and evenings are still cool enough to want an extra layer.
Dragon scale Skylar hoodie | DevotedQuilter.com
This dragon scale fabric just makes me happy. It seems to make my husband happy, too, as he keeps coming up with dragon jokes! I still have a bit of this fabric left and a few patterns that are perfect for colour blocking, so it will be fun to see where I use it again.

I made another Cachet shirt this month, too. That's the fifth Cachet I've made, three for me (you can see my other two in the posts linked above) and two for my mom. I wore all of mine quite a bit this month.

All of the above patterns are from Sinclair Patterns. I love their designs and I've bought several more that I haven't gotten around to making yet. There are never enough hours in the day, are there?

I also have a few Slim Fit Raglans and they got a lot of wear this month, too. They're fabulous for using up scraps of fabric, especially for the short sleeves. I finished an Essential Tank in May, too. Both of those patterns are from Patterns for Pirates. I need to work on finishing the bands on the neck and arms, to prevent the distortion of the straps. That's what pulls the outside edge in and exposes my bra strap. I know I want to make more of these tank tops for the summer. It's super comfortable and will be wonderful when the weather does finally warm up. I also like that the neckline is pretty, but modest, and it doesn't gape when I lean forward. 
Essential Tank | DevotedQuilter.com
Somedays I only wore me made for a little while, like when I wore a dress to church and then changed out of it when I came home. I did that with the Tessa dress and the Laundry Day Tee dress. I also made another knee length Summer Basics dress this month, which I got to wear to church on Sunday and it was warm enough I could wear it all day. Those patterns are from Love Notions.
Grey Summer Basics dress | DevotedQuilter.com
I really love wearing the clothes I've made! I want to try tackling pants again, but they're a fair bit more complicated to fit properly than tops and dresses are and I haven't worked up the nerve to try again after the less than successful attempt last summer. If I ever want to be able to wear all me made for the month of May, though, I'll have to either get a new job where wearing dresses is practical, move somewhere considerably warmer so i wouldn't freeze in my dresses, or learn how to make pants!

If you're a quilter and you think you'd never be able to sew clothes, I'm proof that you absolutely can! Check out my Quilters Can Learn to Sew Clothes post for all the reasons I know you can do it 😊