May 30, 2022

No Jealousy

 Devotion for the Week...

I'm part of a Facebook group for quilt pattern designers and every Friday we are encouraged to share whatever wins we have had that week. It is so much fun to read those stories each week! Sometimes it's a new pattern that has been released or a quilt chosen to be on a magazine cover, other times it's a new product launched or a big bump in sales. I tell my husband about some of them, especially the ones that are so beyond where I am in my business that they amaze me. One day, after I had read something out to him, he worried that reading those stories might make me feel bad, if they made me compare myself with these other designers. I assured him, though, that the stories are fun to read. First, just because it's fun to celebrate what someone else has achieved and then also because they show me what is possible in the quilting industry. In fact, I find the stories energizing!

I remembered that conversation recently when I read Proverbs 12:12, which says, "Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit." That brings to mind such a vivid picture of two thieves sitting across a room from each other, both with their own pile of loot, both staring jealously at what the other has, resenting that the other person has this or that. It made me remember the designer's FB group because the vibe there is so different. Instead of jealousy and resentment, the comments on those weekly posts are full of celebration and joy for the other person.

Another thing that struck me about the thieves is that it didn't matter how much, or even what, they had; they wanted more. No matter how much more they get, they still won't be satisfied with what they have. That sounds like an awful way to live, doesn't it? 

Contrast that with the godly, who 'are well rooted and bear their own fruit.' Well rooted, to me, sounds like they know who they are and are satisfied with what they have. As for bearing their own fruit, they are focused on their own work and they don't waste time feeling sorry for themselves because of what someone else has. 

This attitude may not come easily, even Jesus' disciples struggled with wanting positions of importance, but it can be learned. Paul wrote, "I have learned how to be content with whatever I have" (Philippians 4:11), followed by "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (v. 13). 
In Christ we know who we are |
That is the secret - in Christ we know who we are and learn to be content with what we have.

May 25, 2022

Stand Out Starburst Pattern Release

I am excited that today is pattern release day for Stand Out Starburst! You can get the pattern now in my shop.
Stand Out Starburst quilt pattern |
Stand Out Starburst was first published last year in Make Modern magazine as a baby quilt and I have now added throw and queen size instructions for its debut as an individual pattern. The baby quilt finishes at 48" square, the throw at 60" x 72" and the queen at 96" square.
Stand Out Starburst quilt pattern |
I love digging into my scraps and stash to make a quilt, and that's exactly what I did for my baby size Stand Out Starburst. Even the black was leftovers from other projects! While I probably can't manage the background of a queen size version from my stash, I definitely have enough scraps for everything else! 
Stand Out Starburst quilt pattern |
Stand Out Starburst uses paper piecing for the starbursts and I used the freezer paper method for mine. If you want to never again need to rip out the paper at the end of a paper piecing project, check out my Paper Piecing with Freezer Paper workshop, happening this Saturday. There are still spaces left, so register now to learn the magic of freezer paper.
Stand Out Starburst quilt pattern |
Do you prefer PDF patterns or printed ones? Either way I've got you covered 😊 The PDF pattern is available right away and the printed pattern is a preorder for now, until they arrive from the printer. To celebrate the pattern release, Stand Out Starburst is available at the introductory price now through Monday.

Buy the Stand Out Starburst PDF

Preorder the printed Stand Out Starburst pattern

Stand Out Starburst quilt pattern |
If you're on Pinterest, would you pin this image, to help other quilters find the Stand Out Starburst pattern? Thanks for your support of my pattern business!
Stand Out Starburst quilt pattern |

Linking up with NTT.

May 23, 2022

Toddler Praise

 Devotion for the Week...

I can't sing; this is a simple fact. However, when I'm with the kids I babysit, I often sing while we're having our dance parties or we sing the alphabet or some other little songs. A couple of weeks ago I was very amused when one of them looked at me in perfect sincerity and said, "You're a great singer!"

Toddlers offer the sweetest praise because they haven't learned to judge yet. They don't really know that bad singers exist, so they figure if you're singing then you're a good singer. The same goes for making art or running or whatever else they might decide to praise someone (or themselves!) for. Their praise is extra sweet because we know that they believe what they say to be true, even though we also know they don't know what they're talking about!

Sometimes I wonder if God gets amused when we praise Him, too, not because what we say isn't true, but because we can't possibly understand the magnitude of how true it is. We praise Him for His holiness, His love, His mercy, His goodness, His sustaining power, His healing and the list goes on and on. 

But we can't really understand His holiness. We are sinful people, after all. Forgiven, yes, but still dealing with a sinful nature and unable to be holy as He is holy. Our idea of holiness likely falls so incredibly short that it's laughable.

We can't properly understand His love, either. Honestly, I'd have a hard time coming up with something about God that I think we can fully understand from our human vantage point. After all, God Himself says, 'My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts...And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55: 8-9).

Not that I think we should stop praising God! Psalm 145 starts out, "I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness" (Psalm 145:1-3). Praising Him helps us remember how worthy He is and it helps us focus on Him rather than on our circumstances.
Praising God helps us remember how worthy He is |
Sure, we may not fully understand what we're talking about, but someday we will. Someday we will see Him in all His glory. We will know the full depth of His love for us and how much more vast it is than we ever realized. And then, like now, our best response will be praise.

May 12, 2022

Scrappy Triangles WIP

Way back in 2011 I bought the November/December issue of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine and it had the pattern for this gorgeous scrappy quilt called Scrappy Triangles. designed by Jean Nolte. 
Scrappy Triangles quilt |
At some point fairly soon after getting the magazine, I decided to make it, but since it requires 864 2" finished HSTs, I decided to just start cutting the squares whenever I had scraps big enough. Eventually I had a big bag of light and dark squares, so I started sewing the HSTs as leaders and enders.

I'm never good at sticking with leaders and enders. I love them in theory, but before long I forget to take them out when I start sewing or I don't have pieced prepped, so I move on without them. This starting and stopping sequence has happened a couple of times with these scrappy HSTs.

I'm working on a quilt for Make Modern, to be published in the summer, and when it came time to sew the blocks together I decided to pull out the HSTs again. I was surprised to see a big pile of completed HSTs in a bag with the cut squares, so it seemed like a good idea to count them up and see just how many I already have. Can you imagine how surprised I was to find I had 400 already finished??
Scrappy HSTs |
While piecing the top for the Make Modern quilt, I finished another small stack of pretty little HSTs.
Scrappy HSTs |

Scrappy HSTs |

I also thought a lot about whether or not I still want to recreate the whole quilt. I really love the blocks, but I don't feel like making the throw size anymore. Plus, with my set goal of making more small quilts and the fact that I've decided to donate baby quilts to the province's Ronald McDonald house, I decided that making a couple of baby quilts from the blocks would be a better plan.

Each block requires 52 HSTs and I'll use 4 blocks with sashing to make each baby quilt. So 208 HSTs gives me a baby quilt and 416 gives me 2 baby quilts. Since I already have over 400 HSTs, I have enough to start piecing the blocks! With the ones I made last week, I have extras which is good because there are a few I'll probably set aside because their light/dark contrast isn't great.

My plan is to assemble the HSTs into pairs as leaders and enders, preferably without falling off the leader/ender wagon again. So these two baby quilts will still take a super long time, but that's perfectly okay. They've already been a WIP for 10 or 11 years, so I don't think there's any rush!

Do you do leaders and enders? If you do, do you have any tips for being consistent with them? I'd love to make them a permanent part of my quilting process, especially for this kind of scrappy quilt.

May 09, 2022

No Capacity Limit

 Devotion for the Week...

When I was in high school Bon Jovi came to Halifax for a concert. The day the tickets went on sale, I spent a long time with the phone to my ear - calling the number to buy tickets, hearing a busy signal, hanging up and then pressing redial again. I want to say it was hours, though I can’t remember for sure how long it actually was. I did eventually get through to buy tickets for myself and my friends, but it was definitely stressful hearing that busy signal so many times. I thought for sure the show would sell out and there wouldn’t be room left for us!

Fortunately, salvation isn’t an offer that can sell out. The ‘seats’ in heaven aren’t limited like ticket sales. John wrote, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:12-13). And Jesus Himself said, "Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am" (John 14:1-3).

Heaven has no capacity limit |

This offer is available to all who believe. Anyone and everyone, so long as they believe in Jesus, becomes a child of God. I love that heaven has no capacity limit!

With His death on the cross, Jesus paid the ticket price for the entire world and there’s no risk there won’t be room left for us.

Properly Dressed

 Devotion for the Week...

Last weekend we bought Zach's suit for his graduation next month. Paul needed a new suit, too, so we bought his at the same time. Somehow in the midst of picking out everything for them, I managed to forget that Nathan needs a new dress shirt to wear, so we're still not done shopping for grad. As for me, the fabric has arrived for me to make myself a new dress so I just have to actually get that bit of sewing done before grad arrives.

As I was thinking about the clothes we all need to be properly dressed for grad, it made me think of a parable Jesus told about a man who prepared a wedding feast, but then the invited guests wouldn't come. Some were too busy and others actually assaulted the messengers the man had sent to tell them the feast was prepared. In response, the man sends his servants out to bring in anyone they can find. The parable, found in Matthew 22:1-13, shows that the kingdom of heaven is open to everyone, not only to the Jews (represented by the invited guests).

There was one guest who got himself thrown out of the banquet, though. "But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?' But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, 'Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth'" (vv. 11-13).

In this parable, the 'proper clothes for a wedding' refers to the righteousness that comes from God through faith in Jesus. As part of his prophecy, Isaiah wrote, "I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10). Our faith in Jesus is what makes us properly dressed to enter the kingdom of heaven, because we are clothed in His righteousness.

The man not wearing the proper clothes at the wedding feast represents those who try to get into heaven on their own righteousness. About our own righteousness, Isaiah wrote, "We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). The words we read translated as 'filthy rags' are more accurately described as 'used feminine hygiene products'. That's rather graphic, isn't it? No matter how good we try to be, that's what our attempts at righteousness look like to God. 
All we need do is trust Jesus as our Savior |
Fortunately, getting properly dressed doesn't mean we have to become more righteous on our own. Good thing, because we can't anyway! All we need do is put out trust in Jesus as our Savior and then we will be like Isaiah - "overwhelmed with joy in the Lord [our] God! For he has dressed [us] with the clothing of salvation and draped [us] in a robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10). 

May 02, 2022


Devotion for the Week...

'Influencer' has become a popular buzzword these days, not to mention a possible job title. With the rise of social media celebrities, it's easy to see how someone with millions of followers would be attractive to brands looking to promote their products. It's also easy to see how a person would find selling that way to be an attractive job option. Making IG posts or TikTok videos sure beats waiting tables or working the drive-thru at the coffee shop.

Of course, we don't need a huge social media following to be an influencer. Though the word 'influencer'  may be new, the concept is old. Back in the first century, Paul took a young believer under his wing and molded him into a church leader. Timothy eventually left Paul and took his place in the church at Ephesus, but Paul continued to mentor him through letters. In the letter we know as 1 Timothy, Paul included this bit of instruction: "Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). Being an example is exactly what influencers do! 

Of course, we don't need the title of influencer to be influencing people. In fact, we are all influenced by the actions of the people around us all the time. Whether it's kids being influenced by their parents, friends being influenced by one another or people being influenced by what their favourite celebrities do, influence is just a part of life.

No matter how insignificant we may think we are, there's probably someone taking cues from us about how to live - how to react in difficult situations; how to treat difficult people; how to deal with setbacks, etc. If that's the case, we should probably be aware of the example we're setting! Paul told Timothy to be aware of the example he set in what he said, the way he lived, his love, his faith and his purity. We would do well to look at the same areas in our own lives.

What we say: There's a reason James wrote, "For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way" (James 3:2). If you've ever heard a toddler innocently repeat something they shouldn't have heard, you know how easily our words make an impression on others. So what words are we using?

How we live: We don't want to have to tell those watching us to 'Do as I say and not as I do' so how are we living?
We should be  aware of the example we're  setting for others |
Our love: Jesus said, "Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples" (John 13:35). Do we exhibit a genuine love for one another? Those closest to us will be able to tell if we're faking it.

Our faith: Do we trust God even in the hard times, when things aren't going our way? 

Our purity: This would have been intended for Timothy as a single man and still applies to those who are single today. As for those of us who are married, we are commanded equally to "remain faithful to one another in marriage" (Hebrews 13:4).

We may not have adopted the title of influencer, but that doesn't take away the influence we have over the lives of others. Are we influencing them in ways that move them closer to God?