January 29, 2024

All His Children

Before we get into this week's devotion, did you see that registration is open for the Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey? You can get all the details in this post or this video.

Devotion for the week...

When we first moved here, the women of the various churches in town would meet a few times a year for prayer breakfasts. It's a small town, so there's only one church per denomination, and women came to the prayer breakfasts from the Catholic, United, Anglican, Pentecostal, and United Pentecostal churches, and we would pray together for our families, our community, our province, and our country. We were from different denominations, but we believed in the same God. Our church services looked different, with different customs and traditions, but we prayed to the same Father who loves us all. Our denominations have different teachings (like one saying alcohol is completely forbidden, while another has no such prohibition), but we all put our trust in the same Jesus.

Historically, people from different denominations haven't always gotten along so well (that's quite an understatement). There are famous, and very bloody, examples from around the world, but there are also smaller and more insidious examples. Things like when we lived in Igloolik, Nunavut where I helped out with a Brownies group and some of the Protestant families wouldn't allow their girls to attend because the meetings took place inside the Catholic church. 

Such divisions must grieve God. Paul wrote, "Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all" (Ephesians 4:3-6).

One body, one Spirit, one glorious hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God.

It's human nature to notice our differences and separate ourselves along party, or in this case denominational, lines. We prefer to be with those who think and act like we do, and so we prefer to group ourselves accordingly. Problems come, though, when we allow those preferences to create divisions. After all, denominations are a human invention. God simply sees us all as His children.
God simply sees us all as His children | DevotedQuilter.com
He calls us to unity and to peace, telling us through Paul to make every effort towards binding ourselves together. I'm grateful there seem to be fewer deep divisions between denominations today, though I don't think they're gone completely. What efforts could we make to bind ourselves together with the people of other denominations in our communities? It might be as simple as sharing a meal and prayer time together.

January 26, 2024

My First Quilt with Paul Leger

Yay, it's time for another My First Quilt interview! Today we're going to learn all about Paul Leger's first quilt 😊

Paul is a Canadian quilter, teacher (in both English and French), pattern designer, and Bernina ambassador. He is also a veteran (thank you for your service, Paul!), which figures into the story of his first quilt. 
My First Quilt with Paul Leger | DevotedQuilter.com
You can connect with Paul at his website, on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

And now, here is Paul's first quilt! Isn't it fun?
My First Quilt with Paul Leger | DevotedQuilter.com

What year did you make your first quilt? What prompted you to make it?

May 1990, I was in the Canadian Armed Forces stationed in Victoria, British Columbia when I started. When one of my Air Force shirts was too thread bare to be worn I knew it was time to replace all my shirts. It would never fail within the first month of my getting the new shirts, I'd stain or rip one or more. I would therefore not be allowed to wear them anymore. As I strongly believe any and all uniform clothing should not be donated, I would throw them away, but not before removing all the buttons. I followed my mother’s example, remove those buttons before throwing away clothing or turning them into cleaning rags. I still do it to this day. Normally with the buttons removed I'd throw the shirts away, but this time for some reason I did not. The next day it occurred to me, the shirts, well the fabric, was still new, I therefore decided to dissect those shirts and recuperate the larger pieces of fabrics. I had no ideas what I'd ever do with those fabrics, if anything. then two days later I remembered, "quilts use to be made using old clothing".   

I designed a block; it was supposed to give me a 10" x 10" block when finished. Well, everyone of my blocks were anything but 10"x 10". They measured anything from 8¾” x 8¾” to 9⅜” x 9⅜”, most were not even square. 

I must have enjoyed the process as 33 years later I’m still enjoying the whole process.
My First Quilt with Paul Leger | DevotedQuilter.com

What techniques were used in that first quilt? Did you quilt it yourself?

Was I suppose to use techniques? I just sewed as I thought I was suppose to, remember this was my first quilt. It was also only the 2nd time I used the machine. 

It was quilted by my mother, Doris Leger.

Who taught you to make the quilt?

In 1994, while stationed in Barrie, Ontario, I took my first quilting class. The class was for beginner quilters and the teacher's name is Joan Winter. The class took place in her basement. What I learned in the class became the bases for my being where I am today.  
I remember the first thing I learned in the class; Seam allowance. Remember the 1st block I designed and made? It was anything but 10” x 10”, now I knew why, I’d never considered seam allowance in any of the quilts I’d designed. The class fee was the BEST money I ever paid for a class, even to this day. 

I’m still in touch with Joan to this day.

Are the colours you chose for your first quilt ones you would still choose today?

I'd use some of them but not all. I'm  really drawn to bright saturated colours. They make me happy.
My First Quilt with Paul Leger | DevotedQuilter.com

Did you fall in love with quilting right away? Or was there a gap between making the first quilt and the next one?

I started my second quilt within days of completing the first. Over the years there are a few gaps where few quilts were made but I'm still going strong.

Where is the quilt now?

Folded away on the top shelf of my closet along with the 2nd quilt I made. 

Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself as you made that first quilt?

Yes. To enjoy the process and worry less about all those rules. 
My First Quilt with Paul Leger | DevotedQuilter.com

Anything else you want to share about your first quilt?

I'd do it again.

Thank you for sharing your first quilt with us, Paul! I love how you repurposed those unwearable uniform shirts!

January 22, 2024

Whose Opinion Matters More?

Before we get into this week's devotion, did you see that registration is open for the Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey? You can get all the details in this post or this video.

Devotion for the week...

This week we're looking at the story of another woman from the Bible, but this time for an example of what not to do. Her name is Sapphira and she and her husband set out to do something good, but it turned bad quickly.

Sapphira and Ananias were believers in the early church. At that time, "there were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need" (Acts 4: 34-35). What an amazing community that must have been!

Our couple make their appearance at the beginning of Acts 5: "there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest" (vv. 1-2). Did you notice how quickly their good deed went south? They sold the property and brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount! 

Ananias went to the apostles on his own to make the presentation and Peter confronted him. "Ananias, why have you let Satan fill your heart? You lied to the Holy Spirit, and you kept some of the money for yourself. The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!" (vv. 3-4). Ananias dropped dead and some of the men who were present carried him out and buried him.

When Sapphira arrived, she had no idea her husband had died. Before telling her, Peter gave her the opportunity to set the record straight: "Was this the price you and your husband received for your land?" (v. 8).

Unfortunately, Sapphira was fully committed to the lie. "Yes," she replied, "that was the price" (v. 8). 

How sad that must have made Peter. I can imagine him shaking his head as he says, "How could the two of you even think of conspiring to test the Spirit of the Lord like this? The young men who buried your husband are just outside the door, and they will carry you out, too" (v. 9). Immediately, Sapphira died and was carried out, just like Ananias.

The first time I read this story, I thought Sapphira and Ananias were punished for keeping some of the money back. But then I read it again and really took in what Peter told Ananias: the property was theirs. They could choose to sell it or not. They could choose how much to sell it for. Once the property was sold, the money was theirs, too. They could choose what to do with it. They were under no obligation to give any of the money to the apostles. It would have been fine if they decided to keep all of the money. It would have been fine to give all of the money to the apostles. It would also have been equally fine to give some of the money to help the needy and keep some of the money for themselves.

The problem wasn’t how much money they decided to donate, it was their decision to lie about what percentage of the money they were donating. We don’t know for certain what motivated their lie, but it’s generally accepted that they wanted to be recognized for their generosity. Donating some of the money wouldn’t have sounded as grand or as generous as donating all of it, so they decided to make themselves look as generous as they could.

The obvious lesson here is Don’t Lie. It’s a good lesson and one we should certainly take to heart.
Are we more concerned with what God thinks of us or what people think of us? | DevotedQuilter.com
There’s another, deeper lesson, too, though. We should be more concerned with what God thinks of us than with what people think of us. Sapphira and Ananias wanted people to admire them for their generosity, even if they had to lie to make it happen. They didn’t bother to consider what lying would do to God’s opinion of them.

While we certainly want people to think well of us, it’s unwise to make that happen by sacrificing God’s opinion of us.

January 18, 2024

TGIFF - Blooming Beautiful

Welcome to this week's TGIFF party! Before I get to my finish, though, I want to let you know that registration is open for my Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey. This is a 40 day event leading up to Easter, and it's one of my favourite parts of the year 😊 Go to this post or this video for all the details.

And now, on to my most recent finish!
Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
The Stash Artists pattern for January is Blooming Beautiful. I had so much fun choosing fabrics for this quilt!
Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Each flower has seven fabrics for the petals, plus one for the center. A couple of fabrics are featured in two flowers, but most of them are only used once, meaning there are over 120 fabrics in this baby quilt.
Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
With that many fabrics, it seemed only right to use an abundance of thread colours, too! I used these 12 Aurifil colours, plus a couple more I chose after taking the picture, to zig zag stitch around the applique shapes.
An abundance of thread colours | DevotedQuilter.com
When it came time for the quilting, I chose Aurifil 1125 (medium teal) for a loopy meander. I also stitched around each applique shape once as I came to it. 

Stitching between the flower petals and the centers really showed how inconsistent I was with the space between them when I positioned the applique pieces. No one other than me (and you because I showed you) will ever notice that, though.
Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
With a solid white for the backing, the blue quilting shows up so well!
Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
With Aiden and Zachary both home for Christmas, sewing was moved back down to the kitchen for a few days, so that's where I attached the binding. My grandmother gave me that white ceramic Christmas tree when I was in high school (the same grandmother I made the Merry Mini quilt for).
Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Between the short days, the windy weather, and my own lack of interest in doing it (let's be honest here 🤣), I didn't get outdoor pictures for this post, but I'm really loving this space in our dining room for indoor quilt pictures. It ma not be as inspiring as a beach photography session, but it's much more appropriate for January in Newfoundland!
Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
If you like scrappy, stash-friendly quilt patterns like Blooming Beautiful, join the Stash Artists waiting list. The membership doors open twice a year, and members get access to 6 new scrappy patterns a year, plus 6 virtual Sew Together Sessions, and more.
Blooming Beautiful quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
That's my finish! What have you finished lately? Link it up below and be sure to visit a few of the other links to celebrate their finishes with them.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

January 17, 2024

Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey

Today's the day!! I am excited to say registration is now open for this year's Easter quilt along and devotional journey! (Stash Artists members, login to your account for a discount code.) This 40 day event is one of my favourite parts of the year, and I've been working on it behind the scenes for months, so it's wonderful that today I finally get to share it all with you.
Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey | DevotedQuilter.com
As you may have guessed, this year it's called Moments with Jesus. I made a video to tell you all about it, so you can click on the video to watch, or keep reading for all the details. Fair warning, I talk with my hands a lot, lol.

Register here!

The devotional journey consists of 40 daily devotions sent directly to your inbox, beginning on February 14 (that's Ash Wednesday) and continuing until March 30, the day before Easter Sunday. In the devotions, we're going to be looking at the stories of people who interacted with Jesus - people like the disciples, Pilate, the woman at the well, the Pharisees, and the woman caught in adultery. We'll look at each of their stories to see what their moments with Him then can teach us today.

While we're learning from those stories each day, we're also going to be making a beautiful quilt! I've had such a hard time keeping this design secret because I really, really love it. There have been some sneak peeks on social media, but this is the first time I'm sharing the whole quilt top. Allow me to introduce These Three, which is based on 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." My quilt top is made with beautiful blenders from Northcott Fabrics, along with that gorgeous royal blue Colorworks solid for the background.
These Three quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Though it's not as frigid here in Newfoundland as some parts of North America lately, the weather still hasn't been conducive to outdoor quilt photography, especially of only a top, so indoor pictures will have to do. To those of you experiencing the crazy cold, I hope you are staying warm and cozy inside.

Once you register, you'll receive an email with the Fabric Requirements PDF so you'll have plenty of time to shop your stash or visit your favourite LQS or online shop before our February 14 start. I can't wait to see what fabrics you choose!
Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey | DevotedQuilter.com
These Three includes traditional piecing, a little bit of paper piecing, and raw-edge machine applique. If you've never done paper piecing or machine applique, I will have video tutorials included during the QAL to take you step-by-step through those techniques, so this is a wonderful time to learn something new!

This is a relaxed quilt along, suitable for a confident beginner quilter. There's plenty of time for catching up if life gets in the way (something always happens, right?), and there's time included at the end for the assembly of the quilt top. Hopefully by Easter Sunday you'll have a These Three quilt top ready for quilting.
Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey | DevotedQuilter.com
What if you just don't have the bandwidth for another QAL right now, but you'd still like to prepare for Easter by focusing on stories about Jesus? Don't worry, I've got you covered 😊 You can choose to register for the devotional journey on its own, without the quilt pattern included, and the daily devotions will arrive in your inbox starting on February 14.
Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey | DevotedQuilter.com
If you'd like to spend the days leading up to Easter focusing on stories about Jesus, while also making a beautiful quilt, join me for Moments with Jesus!

January 15, 2024

Helping By Sewing

Devotion for the week...

I'm deep in writing devotions for the Moments with Jesus QAL and Devotional Journey, while also doing all the prep work required to open registration for it on Wednesday, so here's a devotion from last year's Women of Wisdom devotional journey.


Today’s woman of wisdom makes a very short appearance in the Bible. In Acts 9 Dorcas is the focus of only 6 verses and for most of them, she’s dead! The memories of the other people in the story give us a glimpse of her wisdom, though.

I was first introduced to Dorcas years ago, when our church asked the kids to come to an event dressed as their favourite Bible characters. One of the leaders, a talented seamstress, came carrying a basket of fabric and sewing notions, with her measuring tape draped around her neck. When the kids asked who she was supposed to be, she explained that Dorcas was a seamstress who helped people by sewing for them.

Here’s her story:
“There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room. But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, ‘Please come as soon as possible!’

So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them. But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, ‘Get up, Tabitha.’ And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up! He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the widows and all the believers, and he presented her to them alive” (Acts 9:36-41).

From these few verses, we don’t know anything about Dorcas’s family or financial situation. All we know is that she died suddenly and a crowd of widows came together to mourn her, carrying or wearing things she had made for them. Her kindness had meant the world to these women who likely had very little material goods. From verse 36, we know that Dorcas was in the habit of doing kind things for others and helping the poor however she could.

Problems like poverty can feel overwhelming. Our efforts to help can feel more insignificant than a drop in the ocean, so what’s even the point? And in the face of so much need, sewing doesn’t seem like much of a solution.
Using the skills we have to help someone always makes the world better | DevotedQuilter.com
But Dorcas, and the widows who mourned her, show us the truth. Using the skills we have to help someone always makes the world better. Sure, making a coat (or quilt) for someone won’t lift them out of poverty, but it will make an impact. It will help keep them warm, while also being tangible proof that someone cares.

Rather than letting ourselves be overwhelmed by the big problems of the world, we can be like Dorcas and use the skills we have to help, one person (and one quilt!) at a time. 

January 08, 2024

Don't Forget Him

Devotion for the week...

I hope 2024 is off to a good start for you, and that the year continues to bring good things your way.

We always wish prosperity, health, and joy for our friends and family, and those wishes are especially prominent at the beginning of anything - a new year, a marriage, the birth of a child, a new job, or a move to a new home. Oddly enough, though, the Bible contains a pretty strong warning about the dangers of living with ease. 

In Deuteronomy 6, Moses spoke to the people of Israel before they entered the Promised Land, saying, "The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant" (Deuteronomy 6:10-11). The fields were already cleared for planting, the houses were move-in ready, fresh water was readily available. Life was about to get so much easier!

But then Moses continued, "When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. You must fear the Lord your God and serve him" (vv. 11-13). Moses knew, and more importantly God knows, the tendency of people to cling to God when times are rough, and then let go when times are easy. Despite the thousands of years since Moses spoke his warning, people are no different today.

It's easy enough to understand why we cling to God when times are rough. During those times we are constantly aware that we are not capable on our own. We see how much we need Him to sustain us, to strengthen our spirits, and to provide for us.

When things get easy, though, we don't have that constant reminder of our dependence on Him. We start to forget that He's the one providing every good thing, "Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens" (James 1:17); that even the breath in our lungs comes from Him, "He himself gives life and breath to everything" (Acts 17:25); and that without Him we can't do a thing, "For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Instead, we start to feel a sense of 'I got this!' We stop leaning on Him, because we mistakenly feel like we're standing just fine all on our own.

Because He knew what could happen, Moses reminded the Israelites not to forget God even before they entered the Promised Land. We need that reminder just as much today.
May we lean on God in the good times just as much as we do in the hard times | DevotedQuilter.com
Through all the good that is hopefully coming our way in 2024, and beyond, may we always remember how completely we depend on God. May we lean on Him in the good times just as much as we do in the hard times, and may we serve Him through it all.

January 04, 2024

TGIFF - Quilted Cushions and Nathan's Ornament

Welcome to the first TGIFF party of 2024! I have a couple of small finishes to share today.
Quilted cushions | DevotedQuilter.com
When the childcare littles first arrived in September after the summer break, the now 3 year old immediately started telling me all about the purple unicorn birthday party she was soon going to have. She talked daily about that purple unicorn party until the end of October, when she finally had her birthday. Long before the birthday happened, I had decided her Christmas present from me would be a purple unicorn cushion, or 'scushion' as she calls the ones I have.
Quilted unicorn cushion | DevotedQuilter.com
I found a free clipart unicorn outline and printed that to use for my applique shape. I worried it would be too fiddly to stitch around, but most of it wasn't bad. It was really only the horn that was too narrow to stitch well, but I did the best I could.
Quilted unicorn cushion | DevotedQuilter.com
The 1 year old little is only just starting to talk. She gets so excited whenever there's a duck in a book, and calls them all, "Quack quack! Quack quack!" so she got a rubber ducky cushion, also using a free clipart design.
Quilter rubber ducky cushion | DevotedQuilter.com
For both cushions, I quilted around the applique shapes, then did a dense stipple for the rest of the cushion, all in matching colours of Aurifil thread. Then I added a label and an envelope style back. I got the label upside down for the unicorn cushion. Turning things right side out always messes with me, no matter how much I think I got it right when layering all the pieces to be stitched together. Oh well, I doubt the little unicorn lover will care.
quilted cushions with labels | DevotedQuilter.com
I made my own cushion inserts, too. I used solid fabric from my stash, then stuffed them with the innards of a pillow I bought a year or so ago. When I bought it, I thought the pillow would be nice for sleeping, but just went super flat as soon as you lay on it, so it never got used. It had just enough stuffing for two 12" cushions, though.
Quilted cushions | DevotedQuilter.com
Aside from the Merry Mini quilts I made, the cushions were the only Christmas gifts I made this year. 

I also made Nathan's annual ornament, of course. I started this project in 2002, for Aiden's first Christmas, and each year I made an ornament for him, then one each for him and Zach, then for all three boys, featuring something special from their year. Aiden and Zach have since 'aged out,' since my plan was always to continue until they graduated high school, so now I only have Nathan's ornament to do. Last Christmas, Nathan asked for money to put towards a telescope, which he got in March, with the addition of his birthday money. We've taken it out quite a few times since then, and it's amazing to look at the moon through it, and to see the rings around Saturn. I found this telescope cross stitch pattern by EmbroDIY, but realized after starting it that it was much too big for an ornament. The same pattern also included this planet with rings, which was a much better size.
cross stitch planet ornament | DevotedQuilter.com
I chose colours to imitate pictures of Saturn, but I should have gone with something darker than the pale yellows. When it's hanging on the tree, you can hardly see the planet from a distance. I can't believe there will only be three more ornaments to make for Nathan (Christmas 2024 and 2025, and his graduation).

In case you want to make some ornaments yourself, I wrote a tutorial in 2018 for how I finish small cross stitched or embroidered designs into ornaments. 

Those are my finishes 😊 What have you finished lately? Link it up below, and be sure to visit some of the other links to celebrate their finishes, too.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

January 01, 2024

A Prayer for 2024

Devotion for the week...

As has become my tradition, I'm letting the apostle Paul speak for me for the first devotion of the year. This is my prayer for all of you for 2024.

"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).
A prayer for 2024 | DevotedQuilter.com