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?