September 26, 2022

Bad Days

Devotion for the Week...

Well, my summer devotion-writing break stretched a few weeks longer than I intended. Somehow the weeks seemed to get away from me and I'd suddenly realize it was Sunday night again and I didn't have a devotion written. You'd think that, since Mondays come around regularly, I'd be able to anticipate them, but apparently not this month, lol. However, I'm back and I think I'll be able to keep my days of the week under control from here on out 😊 So, let's jump into this week's devotion.

You may have heard about Hurricane Fiona, which wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico early last week. Well, Fiona hit Atlantic Canada this past weekend and she brought a lot of destruction with her. Our town was barely on the outskirts of the storm, so we only had a windy day, but some places in Newfoundland, the town of Port aux Basques in particular, were hit hard. We've watched one video of enormous waves hitting houses and knocking them clear off their foundations, then carrying them along farther inland. Other videos show homes floating in the ocean. In all, there were more than 20 homes totally destroyed. I can't even imagine dealing with that.

This was the backdrop to a conversation Paul and I had yesterday about Christian music. We were listening to The Joy FM, a radio station out of Florida that we really enjoy, and they played 'I'm So Blessed' by Cain. Neither of us like the song. It's kind of cheesy, which is one point against it, but I also feel like it diminishes the reality of problems people face.

One part of the song says, "Cause on my best day, I'm a child of God/ On my worst day, I'm a child of God/ Oh, every day is a good day/ And You're the reason why." Yes, absolutely, on our best days we are children of God and on our worst days, we are still children of God. But that doesn't mean that every day is a good day. Whether we're dealing with the death of a loved one, a medical diagnosis, a mental health issue or our house literally got washed out to sea, there are days that are bad days. Jesus did say, after all, "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33).

Songs like 'I'm So Blessed' can make Christians feel like there's something wrong with them, or with their faith. It's like, if you can't sing about how today is a good day, where is your faith? That led us to Matthew West's song 'Truth Be Told,' which starts off "Lie number one you're supposed to have it all together/ And when they ask how you're doing/ Just smile and tell them, "Never better."

How many of us have smiled and faked our way through the bad days so no one would think less of us?

We need to hold space to be able to say we are saved and it is well with our souls, but at the same time, right now in this moment, this thing that we're dealing with is just awful. The two are not mutually exclusive. Pretending that they are leaves people suffering in silence or believing their faith somehow isn't strong enough.

Thankfully, Jesus didn't only tell us that we would have trouble and leave us to sort it out for ourselves. Not at all! The full verse of John 16:33 actually says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." He also said, "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). 
Whatever we face, Jesus is with us |
I was amused that the next song on the radio after 'I'm So Blessed' was Zach Williams' 'There Was Jesus' which is one of my favourites. The chorus says, "In the waiting, in the searching/ In the healing and the hurting/ Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces/ Every minute, every moment/ Where I've been and where I'm going/ Even when I didn't know it or couldn't see it/ There was Jesus."

Whatever we face, the good days, the bad days and the unimaginably horrible days, He is with us.

September 19, 2022

How to Trim HSTs Without a Specialty Ruler

Welcome to my stop on the Back to School blog hop! This hop is full of tips and tricks to help you take your quilting skills to the next level, so be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post to see what everyone else is sharing. As the post title says, I'll be showing you how to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler.
Before I get into my tutorial, I want to invite you to join me for WIPS-B-GONE 2022. We quilters love to start new projects, but we don't always wait to finish the current project first, which means we can accumulate a bunch of unfinished things. I'm certainly guilty of that! Rather than dragging those WIPS into 2023 with us, let's get them finished! Through October and November we'll focus on getting our WIPS past the finish line, with fun printables, Monday Motivation emails and prizes along the way. I hope you'll join me!

Sign up for WIPS-B-GONE 2022 here!

And now, on to our featured presentation 😊

HSTs are an amazing building block in quilt design, but they're notoriously hard to stitch perfectly. That's why I love to make my HSTs a little oversize and then trim them down. We may only be trimming off a sliver at a time, but those slivers make a big difference.

There are specialty rulers made just for trimming HSTs, but I'm going to show you how I trim mine without using a specialty ruler. I'm a bit of a tool minimalist, I think, or maybe I'm just cheap, lol.

Make the HSTs

I like to use the 2-at-a-time method. I'm going to make mine 2" finished, but this same trimming method will work regardless of what size HSTs you're making. 

If I wanted to cut my fabric the exact right size, I'd add ⅞" to the finished size I wanted, so I'd cut my squares at 2 ⅞", but since I want to make them big enough to trim later I'm going to add 1" to the finished size, which means I'll need two 3" squares. Whatever finished size you want your HSTs to be, add 1" to get the cut size for your squares.

On the wrong side of one of the squares, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |
Then, with the squares right sides together, stitch ¼" away from both sides of the line.
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |
Cut apart on the drawn line, then press both HSTs open.
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |

Trim the HSTs

I like to use either a small mat that I can turn easily or to position my bigger mat on the corner of the table so I can work from two sides. That way I don't have to move the HST in order to trim all four edges. Of course, if you have a rotating mat, this would be the perfect time to use it. Again, I'm a tool minimalist, so I don't have one of those, either 😊

Position the HST with the seam lined up with the 45° line on your ruler. Look at all four edges of the HST to be sure they are past where you want to trim. For me, I place it so the left hand side is just beyond a line, the right hand side is a little more than ½" past the last line, the bottom is just below a line and the top is a little more than ½" above the top line.  
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |
I use my 1x6 ruler for this, but any ruler will work. I trim the right hand side first, with the ½" line of the ruler on the line.
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |
Then I trim the left hand side, with the ruler directly on that line. The HST is now exactly 2 ½" wide.
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |
Now I either turn my mat, or move to the side if I'm working on the corner of the table, so that the two untrimmed sides are to the left and right again. Once again, trim the right hand side. For me, that is now the side that gets trimmed with the ruler right on the line. 
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |
Then trim the left hand side, which for me means trimming with the ½" line of the ruler on the line.
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |
And now we have a perfectly square 2 ½" unfinished HST that will finish at 2" when sewn in 😊 Mine doesn't look perfect in this picture because the purple fabric refused to lay flat, but I assure you it is square!
How to trim HSTs without a specialty ruler |
Be sure to visit the rest of the Back to School blog hoppers to see what tips and tricks they're sharing!

  • Sept 15 - Geeky Bobbin - Press for Success! -
  • Sept 16 - Katie Mae Quilts - Storage Solutions From The School Supplies Section -
  • Sept 17 - Quilting Jetgirl - Make A Design Wall You Can Use Your Hera Marker Against -
  • Sept 18 - Karen Bolan - How to Get Perfect Tension -
  • Sept 19 - Devoted Quilter - How To Trim HSTs Without A Specialty Ruler -
  • Sept 20 - Sarah Ruiz - Calculating Quilt Backing and Binding Fabric Requirements -
  • Sept 21 - Andy Knowlton - How To Sew Quilt Blocks With Partial Seams -
  • Sept 22 - Lisa Ruble - Curved Piecing Doesn't Have To Be Scary (Or Perfect!) -
  • Sept 23 - Sarah Goer Quilts - Tips for Piecing Precise Points -
  • Sept 24 - Faith and Fabric - Spinning Intersections On Four Patch Blocks - The Easy Way! -
  • Sept 25 - Judit Hajdu - Draw String Bag - For Lunch Or Gym -
  • Sept 26 - Sugar Sand Quilt Co. - The Care And Feeding Of The Wild Longarm Quilter -
  • Sept 27 - Hilary Jordan - Quick & Easy Pattern Matching Technique for Quilt Backings -
  • Sept 28 - True Blue Quilts - Sketch Then Stitch...Better FMQ Through Doodling -
  • Sept 29 - Sunflower Quilting - A Quilting Tip -
  • Sept 30 - Slightly Biased Quilts - Perfect Hand Binding Tips -

  • September 16, 2022

    WIPS-B-GONE 2022!

    Sign ups for WIPS-B-GONE 2022 are now open! I have plenty of WIPS poked in cupboards and boxes and on shelves, so I really need this time to focus on getting some things finished! I'm guessing you probably do, too 😊
    WIPS-B-GONE 2022 challenge |
    This year the challenge will start on October 1st and run until November 30th. Last year I found it really hectic trying to keep up with the challenge through December and I noticed that a lot of others seemed to feel the same way. So, in the interest of reducing stress whenever possible, I decided not to have the challenge running through the holidays at all. Instead, we'll have 61 days to see how many projects we can finish.

    This is primarily an Instagram challenge; that's where the daily posting happens and where we can cheer each other on. I'll also be awarding prizes based on posts in the #wipsbgone2022 hashtag. However, that doesn't mean you can't do the challenge if you're not on IG! The printables can help keep you on track and the Monday Motivation emails will encourage you to stay the course even if you're not posting on social media.

    Sign up for WIPS-B-GONE 2022 here!

    Once again, any fiber-related project is eligible for the challenge, so dig out those quilting, knitting, garment, crochet and cross stitch projects and let's get them finished!

    Yes, I did say there will be prizes again this year. I'm still working on them, so no details just yet. Rest assured, though, they will be fabulous! And, of course, we'll all be winning with those newly finished projects!

    I'm also working on something extra special for the challenge that I'm really excited about 😊 I'll be posting about that soon, once everything is ready.

    I hope you'll join me for WIPS-B-GONE 2022!

    September 09, 2022

    Storm - a Free 12" Block Pattern

    Hello and welcome to my stop on the Woodcut Blossoms blog hop, hosted by Heidi of The Whimsical Workshop! Today I'm excited to share Storm, my new free block pattern, made with three gorgeous fabrics from Heidi's signature line with Island Batik, Woodcut Blossoms. I adore those little flowers in the dark blue fabric!
    Storm quilt block pattern |
    You can get the pattern by entering your email address here.

    I've named this one Storm because it reminds me of the graphic meteorologists use to represent a hurricane when they're reporting. It's not a perfect representation, since the graphic is rounded, but once I saw the resemblance I couldn't unsee it, especially with the small square in the center of the block looking like the eye of the hurricane.
    Storm quilt block pattern |
    Storm is paper pieced and with only a few seams in each section it's a great block if you're still not quite sure about paper piecing. I get it! Paper piecing can feel confusing, until it suddenly clicks and then you're good to go. 

    I recommend the freezer paper method of paper piecing, which lets you keep the precision we love, while eliminating all the ripping out papers at the end. That was always the worst part of paper piecing for me and now I love that I never have to do it again! If you're not familiar with using freezer paper, I teach workshops about this game changing technique; sign up for The Bulletin to be notified about the next workshop.

    After I finished piecing my Storm blocks into a top, I realized I meant to use two different fabrics for the corners, to create an hourglass block in the center when the blocks are put together. Seriously, sometimes I need to pay closer attention to what I'm doing! The pattern includes this option, so you can decide if you want a a plain square or an hourglass square, if you're making multiple blocks with the same fabrics like I did. And hopefully whichever one you make, you'll be doing it on purpose 😄

    Storm quilt block pattern |

    You might have noticed that my Storm mini quilt is still only a top. I fully intended to have it finished in time for today's post, but life had other plans and the top has been sitting and waiting for weeks now (we won't talk about how many other tops are keeping it company in the to-be-quilted pile). I do have a plan, though! The WIPS-B-GONE 2022 challenge starts on October 1st and this mini quilt is at the top of my mental list of projects to finish during the challenge. Do you have WIPS you'd like to turn into finishes before we roll in 2023? All of the details about this year's WIPS-B-GONE challenge will be coming out in a few days, but you can join the waitlist now to be sure you don't miss out.
    Storm quilt block pattern |
    I couldn't resist playing around with the Storm block in EQ8 and now I want to make this scrappy version, too. If you want to make a Storm quilt (scrappy or not!), get the pattern here.
    Storm quilt block pattern |
    There are 13 other designers sharing their blocks made with Woodcut Blossoms today. Just think of all the quilty fun you could have with these blocks!
    Woodcut Blossoms quilt blocks |
    To get the patterns for all of these blocks, check out the designers' blog posts!

    Leanne Parsons

    Tiffany Hayes

    Tammy Silvers

    Laura Piland

    Kris Driessen

    Jen Frost      

    Laureen McMurry Smith


    Raija Salomaa 

    Rebecca Lidstrom

    Laura Lindsay Strickland


    Lissa LaGreca

    Katie Mae Quilts

    Sandra Starley