May 27, 2015

Psalm 19 Mini - Finished!

I finally finished my second Psalm 19 mini quilt!
I made this for Gail, who blogs at Notion Nanny, as a Craft it Forward gift. My first Psalm 19 Mini Quilt is available in my Etsy shop.

I did very simple quilting in the center since I wanted the embroidery to be the focus. I stitched in the ditch and outlined each flower, then echo quilted once around each flower.
The rest of the quilting shows up much better on the back. Loops in the inner border and wishbones in the black border were quick to stitch, and I'm really pleased with how it looks with the red strips of fabric I used to stretch the backing fabric I had on hand. A couple of hanging triangles in the corners and it was finally finished!
This is my second finish for this quarter of the Finish-a-Long (the first was Renee's quilt). Hmmm, only two of five...I guess I better get sewing!

May 25, 2015

Just a Little Bit

Devotion for the Week...

I love spending time in the kitchen. I enjoy chopping things, mixing, tasting and creating something yummy. I love when people walk into the house and say, "Mmmm, smells good in here. What did you make?" Whether it's spaghetti sauce, brownies or peanut butter blondies, I like making food to share.

I do most of my baking from scratch, stirring flour, sugar, cocoa and more together to create the chocolate cake I've made so many times I don't need the recipe anymore. I've given up on making a single batch of muffins because 12 just doesn't stretch very far when you're feeding a family of 5 and we all love muffins.

I love making breads too. I don't make our regular everyday bread because...well, we're a family of 5 and we love bread too! I don't even want to think about how many loaves I'd have to make to keep up with the demand. I do make the bread we use for garlic bread, though. I make our pizza dough from scratch every week and I make challah bread (which is delicious as toast).

Have you ever noticed that Jesus used regular, everyday examples of things when He taught? He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough" (Matthew 13:33). A woman making bread. Every person listening to Him would have either made bread themselves or they'd have been around a woman making it. It's easy to see, isn't it? I do confess I have trouble imagining needing sixty pounds of flour at one time, though! It wouldn't have taken nearly as much yeast, of course. My pizza dough recipe calls for about 2 1/2 cups of flour, but only 1 tablespoon of yeast. Yeast is quite amazing, when you stop to think about it. Such a tiny amount, and yet it makes the whole batch of bread dough rise so beautifully.

How is the kingdom of heaven like yeast? First of all, let me say that the kingdom of heaven is, right now, within the hearts of believers. We who have the Holy Spirit living within us, who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are the kingdom of heaven. Being compared to yeast makes me think of the influence yeast has on the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. It's only a little bit of yeast, but it is enough, and it makes the whole batch rise. Without the working of the yeast, the bread would be hard, dense and not at all something we would want to eat.

As Christians, our influence should work like yeast, lifting and raising the society around us to look more like the God we serve. We influence the people we are around each day, the ones who see how we handle different situations, what sort of language we choose to use and how we talk about other people. Are we, by our Christ-like behavior, being a positive influence on those around us? Though believers may be outnumbered, we, like yeast, can change our society for the better if we truly follow Jesus' teaching to the best of our ability.

Unfortunately, there are some Christians who feel the need to badmouth anyone who doesn't agree with them, or who doesn't follow the same set of rules they follow. Some of those Christians are so loud and disagreeable that they have given all Christians a bad reputation for being judgmental, narrow-minded and arrogant. That's not at all the influence Jesus wants His followers to have.

Jesus compared that sort of religious people to yeast too, but that comparison had a different tone. "Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). The Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of Jesus' day, were very strict. There was only one right way to do things and it was their way. Their way had no compassion for people, no grace, no kindness. Jesus' harshest words were directed at these people who should have been closest to God, who should have been the first to recognize Jesus when He came, but who were actually the farthest from God because of their self-reliance.

Just as the kingdom of heaven (believers who live the way Jesus intends) can positively influence society, so those who profess to believe but cling to man-made rules (and insist everyone else must follow them too), can influence negatively. Either way, it takes only a little influence to spread throughout a whole family, or church or community. The question is, which sort of influence are we spreading?

May 20, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Here and There

I've been working on a lot of different things this past week. Here's a quick summary of it all.

The weather has finally turned beautiful, warm and spring-like, so the snow is all gone from our yard! That means I've been able to get the old leaves and debris out of my strawberry bed. This picture shows before and after the cleanup. It's nice to see that all of my plants are growing. I can't wait to have an abundance of fresh-from-my-own-garden strawberries!
One day last week I sewed four sleeves for quilts that have been waiting in the cupboard while I put off adding a sleeve so I could actually hang them. I spent time over the weekend hand stitching the sleeves, and so far I have two finished and I'm about halfway through the third. It will be good to get them all finished so I can finally create my mini quilt display.
Also last week, I received Chelsea's Round Trip Quilt. Chelsea blogs at Patch the Giraffe and she requested solid colours with low volume backgrounds for her quilt. So far I have made these two blocks.
I have the paper piecing foundations printed for the other two blocks I plan to make, so now I have to decide which colours to use and then I'm good to go.
 I've also started work on a new embroidery project (because I needed something new, right?)
I'm using the dark green to embroider the main feather and I'll use the light green for the background feathers. There are a lot of background feathers, so I have a feeling this one is going to take a loooong time to finish.

So, no big amounts of progress on any one thing, but lots of little bits of progress for this week. I hope you're making progress on your projects too, whatever they may be!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday, Let's Bee Social, NTT, I Quilt

May 19, 2015

2015 New Blogger's Blog Hop

Last year I participated in the New Quilt Blogger's Blog Hop, hosted by Beth at Plum and June. It was a great experience. Not only did I learn a lot about blogging, I met a lot of great women who make beautiful quilty stuff. Many of those bloggers are now the ones I follow most regularly.

This year the hop is being hosted by a couple of alumni from last year, and the sign ups are now open.

 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Button (300px)

2015 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop Sign Up

If you are interested in participating in the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop and have been blogging
  1. mainly about modern quilting*,
  2. for less than 2 years,
  3. writing at least 4 posts a month,
  4. are willing to agree to be actively involved in the blog hop through visiting and commenting on the other blogger’s hop posts,
  5. and have or are willing to open a Facebook account to participate in the group discussions,
Please visit and fill out the 2015 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop Sign Up Form.

You can find more information about the hop by visiting those who are working together to host it:

If you meet the criteria for the hop, I highly recommend you participate!

May 18, 2015

In Its Time

Devotion for the Week...

We live in an impatient generation. We want what we want and we want it now. Credit card companies are flourishing because we have lost the art of saving for big purchases and simply buy whatever we want, whether we have the money for it today or not. Fast food restaurants are big business and there are instant versions of many of our favourite foods, from oatmeal to pudding to rice. You can even buy pre-made Rice Krispie treats rather than taking the 10 minutes required to make your own! And, to be completely candid, I complained, while writing one of my Blogger's Quilt Festival posts, that my computer was driving me crazy because it was so slow that it couldn't keep up with my typing. Waiting is not our strong suit anymore.

We are often just as impatient with God. Even with Him, we want what we want and we want it now. We think we know how things should work out, whether we're praying for healing or salvation for someone we love or a new job, or whatever it may be, and we can often be tempted to think that God works too slowly. That's why I was struck by this verse in Isaiah when I read it a few weeks ago: "I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly" (Isaiah 60:22b).

To give you a little context, this verse comes when the people of Israel have returned from their exile, but they are facing a lot of problems. Things aren't as good as they imagined they would be and they're discouraged. God is promising them a glorious future, but they can't see any of it at that moment. "In its time I will do this swiftly," He tells them. Not when you think it should happen, or right away when you ask for it, but at the time that I have set for it, when it is the right time. Notice God doesn't tell them when that time will be, nor does He give them a date to look forward to. Instead, He simply asks them to trust in His promise and believe that this glorious future will come - in its time.

We must trust and believe too, no matter what it is we are waiting for. We have been told "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). That's our promise of a glorious future, just as the Israelites had been given, but this doesn't mean it will happen on our timetable any more than it was going to happen on their timetable. God doesn't give us a date to look forward to either.

Waiting is hard, we certainly don't like it, and our culture seems set on making us ever more impatient, but God's timing is guaranteed to be the right timing.
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