December 01, 2016

TGIFF - Wind Farm Quilt Top

Welcome to Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday! I'm glad you're here and I'm looking forward to seeing all the finishes you have to share 😊

I have a quick finish to share this week...well, a finished quilt top, at least. The quilting part will have to wait until sometime in the new year. The top itself took me about a week to finish, which I'm pretty sure is a record for me.
Wind Farm quilt top | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I had a terrible time trying to get pictures of this one, for some reason. The colours are much more vibrant and pretty in real life than they seem to be here. Obviously I need to make a serious effort to learn more about photography, which is going to be one of my goals for 2017.

I'm not sure what to name this quilt. I had been calling it Strippy Pinwheels, which didn't really inspire me, but I needed to call it something. Then a friend said it reminded her of windmills and when I looked at it after that all I could see was wind turbines arranged in rows, which gave me the name Wind Farm. I'm still not sure it's right, though. Any thoughts? Let me know if you have a suggestion for a better name, or if you think I should go with Wind Farm or Strippy Pinwheels. I need all the help I can get with naming this one!

This will be a free pattern for all subscribers to my newsletter, The Bulletin, so be sure to sign up to get your copy when it's available. I've sent the pattern out to be tested, but with the Christmas season upon us, I'm not asking for a fast turnaround. The pattern will hopefully be available before the end of January. In the meantime, each issue of the Bulletin is published on the 16th of every month and has a family favourite recipe (I love to cook and bake almost as much as I love to sew 😊) and a themed roundup of fun things to make along with news from here at Devoted Quilter.

I must not have been paying close attention when I was cutting out my strips because one fat quarter was cut with the selvedges included in the length. I didn't realize it until I started piecing blocks, at which point I decided to just use those strips anyway. You can see a couple of them peeking out in this picture. It was a very pretty selvedge, so I didn't mind it sneaking into the quilt.
Four blocks together create the wind turbine effect with the gold fabric, but I also love the dark blue pinwheel.
Wind Farm Quilt top | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Now it's your turn! What have you finished this week? Link it up here, then pop over to visit some of the other links and leave some comments and encouragement.


November 28, 2016

Advent 2016 - Elizabeth

Devotion for the Week...

It's kind of amazing that it's time for Advent already, isn't it? How does a year pass so quickly?

For the past three years, I've posted Advent devotions focused on the traditional Advent words hope, love, joy and peace, but this year I want to approach the season a bit differently. For these four weeks, I want to look at the people involved in the Christmas story and look at what their part in that story can tell us about God's plan for His people, including us. We will begin this week by looking at Elizabeth.

We don't know much about Elizabeth herself. Luke tells us that "In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old" (Luke 1:5-7).

From this, we know that Elizabeth and her husband were good people, who lived according to God's law, and had for a long time, since we are told they are very old. We also know the most important thing about Elizabeth, which is that she could not conceive a child. 

At that time, and throughout all of history until recently, having a child was a woman's main goal. Being a mother was considered a woman's greatest accomplishment, while not having a child was a cause of shame. Women who can't conceive today still suffer terrible heartache, just as Elizabeth would have, longing for a child to hold in their arms. Elizabeth would have had the added burden of being considered a failure by her entire society.

Can you imagine being considered a complete failure as a person for something that was entirely out of your control? How hard it must have been for Elizabeth when she got so old it was considered impossible for her to have a baby. How heartbroken she must have been to have to give up that hope.

But God had a plan. He hadn't forgotten her.

One day, when Elizabeth's husband Zechariah was serving in the Temple, an angel came to him and said, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (vv. 13-17).

What was Elizabeth's response, after she finally became pregnant? "The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people" (v. 25). Can you feel her relief, her sense of vindication from the judgement of the people who thought her barrenness a sign of God's disapproval? 

Not only was God not disapproving of her, He had chosen her for something special. She was to carry the child who would go before Jesus, getting people ready for Him.

So, what does Elizabeth's story mean for us?

Well, when we want something really badly, we want it right away. Like, yesterday, right? But sometimes God's plan is for us to wait. And wait. And sometimes we have to wait even longer.

God didn't make Elizabeth wait until old age to have a baby to be mean to her. He had her wait until then because that was the right time for her part in His plan. That was when everything was set for Jesus to be born, which meant that Elizabeth's very special child needed to be born then too. He would get the people thinking about God again, get them ready to hear Jesus' message about the kingdom of Heaven. And being an old woman, past the age of childbearing, made it obvious that God had done exactly what the angel told Zechariah would happen. Had they been young, Zechariah and Elizabeth might have doubted that their child truly came from God. They might not have bothered to follow the rules God laid out for John, or maybe they wouldn't have taught him about the special job God had planned for him.

But because they were so old, Zechariah and Elizabeth had no doubt that their child had been given to them by God, exactly as the angel explained would happen. Only God could have made it possible for Elizabeth's body to bear a child at her age.

Weekly Devotions on Christian Living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

We don't like waiting, especially if we can't see any good reason why we can't have what we want now. Sometimes, though, God's plan requires that we wait for His timing.

November 25, 2016

Catching Up and Looking Ahead

I really love the blocks that Amy Gibson, of Stitchery Dickory Dock, shares each month for her Sugar Block Club, but I've spent almost the whole year behind by a few blocks. So, here I am posting the blocks for July and August. Maybe I'll get caught up before the year is over?? For now, let's just enjoy how gorgeous these blocks are 😊

I think July's block, Lady Liberty, may be my favourite of the entire year. I just love those crisp points and the stars.
Sugar Block Club Blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
And August's block, Shenandoah, is another beautiful star. I love the simplicity of this block.
Sugar Block Club Blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

So, now I'm only three months behind (for another few days, at least). I'll get caught up eventually! Then it will be time to figure out how to turn these blocks, along with the blocks from the 2013 Sugar Block club, into a quilt rather than a pile of blocks in a container under my bed 😉


In other news, I got my 2017 Quilter's Planner on Monday!
Quilter's Planner | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Quilter's Planner | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Quilter's Planner | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Isn't it beautiful?

I've enjoyed flipping through it and reading the quotes about creativity and art, looking at the gorgeous quilts and checking out the weekly blocks.

Now I feel like I can start making plans for next year, lol. If you want a copy for yourself, visit Stephanie at Late Night Quilter to get all the details.

November 23, 2016

Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle

With Christmas quickly approaching, many of us quilters are trying to fit in a couple more handmade gifts. Mini quilts make great gifts and they're much faster than making a full-size quilt 😊

I've combined 4 of my mini quilt patterns into one bundle, so if you're stuck on what to make for a couple of special people, you're sure to find the perfect patterns here.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle includes X Marks the Spot, which finishes at 26" x 26" and features circles made with machine applique.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Twirling Star finishes at 19 1/2" x 19 1/2" and is made with traditional piecing and foundation paper piecing.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Flower Box finishes at 24" x 24" and uses traditional piecing and machine applique. As you can see, there's lots of room around the flowers for fun free motion quilting. The pattern also includes instructions for finishing one block as a cushion.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The fourth pattern in the bundle is my Friendship Galaxy baby quilt pattern, which includes four different size options. This skinny mini, which would be great as a table runner or as a wall quilt, is one of two mini quilt layouts.
Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Get your Mini Quilt Pattern Bundle in my Etsy and Payhip shops for $21. That's all 4 patterns for the price of 3!

Happy Making!

November 21, 2016

Undivided

Devotion for the Week...

There are some quilters who want to paper-piece all of their projects and others who hand piece everything. There are some who only do traditional piecing...no paper piecing, no applique and no hand stitching at all. There are even people who only make quilt tops, but always send them out for others to do the quilting. Me, I want to do a little bit of everything!

I have made little forays into garment sewing in the last couple of years and I'm working hard at not allowing myself to take up knitting. I see so many gorgeous knitting projects that I really want to try, but I keep telling myself that I already don't have enough time for all the quilts I want to make and I don't need to add a whole new obsession to the list of things I'm trying to make time for!

I think I'd get bored if everything I made had to be done with the same techniques. I enjoy mixing it up...a little traditional piecing, a little hand stitching, a bit of paper piecing and embroidery here and there too, with lots of intricate machine quilting. What about you? Do you divide your sewing/crafting time between lots of different things, or do you keep it all fairly streamlined?

Dividing time between many things is fine when it comes to our hobbies, but not so much when it comes to our worship. The psalmist wrote, "Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead" (Psalm 86:11-13).

Here, the undivided heart isn't talking about our interests or our hobbies, but rather about our hearts being solely focused on God. About turning to Him alone as the object of our worship.

This has been a hard thing for people to get right.

Joshua had to deal with it while he was leader of the Israelites, finally telling them, "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).

Then there was Elijah, who told the people, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him" (1 Kings 18:21). 

Of course, this was no surprise to God, who included as His first two commandments, "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them" (Exodus 20:3-5).

And, in case we should feel that this was only an Old Testament problem, one we are not susceptible to since we are not in the habit of setting up false gods for ourselves, Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money" (Matthew 6:24).

No one sets money, or anything else, on an actual altar and proceeds to hold a worship service in honour of it. But there is no question that we often have our hearts focused on things rather than on God. Not that there is anything wrong with things. The problems come when our pursuit of those things interferes with our pursuit of God. 

Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

And it's not always physical things. Sometimes we pursue approval from people, or influence with someone or success, however we may define that in a given situation. They may not be physical things we can hold in our hands, but they are certainly things that can take precedence in our lives if we're not careful.

Jesus told us the greatest commandment is for us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Matthew 22:37). All your heart. All your soul. All your mind.

Undivided.
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