June 19, 2018

Tag Blankets

Over the past couple of weeks I needed 3 baby gifts, two for girls and one for a boy, so I decided to make some tag blankets. I already had one for a boy, which you can see here, so I only needed to make the two girl ones.

I had a charm pack of beautiful, feminine fabrics that I won from Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Melon during the most recent 30 Quilt Designs challenge, so this seemed like the perfect time to use some of them. I love that they're very girly, without being pink or purple. I do love both pink and purple, but sometimes you want something a little different, especially since almost everything available for baby girls is one or both of those colours.
Tag blankets | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Tag blankets | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I used 16 of the charm squares for each of the blankets, sewn in a simple 4 x 4 layout.

Then I went digging through my assorted ribbons to see what I have on hand that would coordinate. It wasn't a lot, to be honest, but I made it work by adding one to every other square, rather than every square like I did before. I may have to stock up on ribbons, just for those times I need to make a quick gift from my stash 😉

I stitched back and forth over each ribbon a bunch of times to make sure they'll hold up to being tugged on repeatedly.
Tag blankets | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
It was fun to add my label as one of the ribbons!
Tag blankets | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I had this fabulous blue and yellow floral in my stash that worked perfectly for the backing. It was just barely enough. I even had to piece one of the backings and it ended up taking three seams to make it big enough.
Tag blankets | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Tag blankets | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Tag blankets | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I used some of the Hobbs Thermore batting I got in my Island Batik box. It's super thin, which I wouldn't want for a normal quilt, but it was nice for these.

I don't think I shared the story of this spool of blue thread here before. Nathan insisted he wanted to buy me something for Mother's Day, even though I told him he didn't need to (we don't do gifts usually). He went after school on the Tuesday or Wednesday before Mother's Day to pick it out and then wrapped it immediately after he got home. He was practically dancing around, he was so excited about what he had picked out and he could hardly wait to give it to me. When I opened it, I got the biggest kick out of what he had picked out! That spool of blue thread is definitely one of the sweetest gifts I've been given 😊
Tag blankets | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Now he loves to hear when I'm using the thread he gave me, so it was nice that it works perfectly with these fabrics. I stitched around the edge of the blanket to close up the hole I used to turn it right side out, then stitched on either side of each of the seams. Quick, simple and pretty!

All three blankets have been gifted now. The mom who will soon be having the boy told me that when she had her daughter she bought her a similar blanket, but it had different materials for the tags. One of them was rubber-like and when she washed  and dried the blanket, she melted it! That won't happen with this one 😊

These are a nice, quick baby gift, perfect for when I don't have time for a full baby quilt. What's your go-to handmade baby gift that's not a quilt?

June 18, 2018

Birthdays

Devotion for the Week...

Saturday was my husband's birthday and his family came to visit and celebrate with us. It was a great day with lots of laughter. And chocolate cake with chocolate orange icing 😋

The kids I babysit are obsessed with birthdays. When they play play dough they love to stick things upright in a lump of the play dough as candles and then sing 'Happy Birthday' (usually at the top of their lungs) before blowing their candles out.

The four year old, Fiona, also likes to get regular updates on how old the others are. Last week, when she asked how old the youngest is, I told her he's one and she asked, "Why?" "Because he has had one birthday," I told her.

A Pharisee who came to visit Jesus one night was shocked when Jesus told him that he needed another birthday if he wanted to enter the Kingdom of God.

Jesus told him, "'I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.'

'What do you mean?' exclaimed Nicodemus. 'How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?'" (John 3:3, 4).

Before we go any farther, can we just pause to acknowledge that the snarky, sarcastic response was already alive and well in Jesus' day? Of course, you could read Nicodemus' question as a perfectly straight question, if you want to, but there's so much more personality in it if you allow him to be sarcastic. With that one change in tone Nicodemus just springs to life.

Obviously, Jesus didn't mean for us to go back into our mothers' wombs and be born again, so what did He mean? Jesus gave Nicodemus a rather long answer that boils down to, "the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life" (v. 6), which maybe doesn't help a whole lot. Even Nicodemus didn't understand and had to ask in verse 9, "How are these things possible?"

And then Jesus gives this wonderfully simple answer:

"For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him" (v. 16).

We are born again, through the Holy Spirit, when we believe in Jesus as God's Son, sent to save everyone who believes in Him. That's it. There's no special ceremony, no specific words we need to use, nothing, in fact, for us to do besides believe. Jesus has done everything else that needed to be done.

In so doing, "he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins" (Colossians 1:13). And that is our second birthday.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I'm not sure how well Fiona would understand having two birthdays, though...

June 13, 2018

Cross Stitch Quilt Pattern Release

I get to release another pattern today! This time it's my Cross Stitch pattern, which was inspired by (you guessed it!) all of the x's that are used to make a cross stitch 😊 The pattern is available through either my Payhip or Etsy shops.
Cross Stitch quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Cross Stitch is a graphic design that plays with the size of the blocks to make a striking quilt. The blocks are made using the slice and insert technique and the quilt comes together quickly.

At 64" x 64", it makes a nice big baby quilt, throw quilt or a great wall quilt. You could even make a mini quilt using only the center blocks.
Cross Stitch quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
To celebrate the pattern's release, it is available for 25% off through Wednesday, June 20th, so be sure to get your copy today.

Get Cross Stitch from my Payhip shop

Get Cross Stitch from my Etsy shop


As always, if you make Cross Stitch, I'd love to see your version, so be sure to tag me on IG (@devotedquilter) or FB (@devotedquilterdesigns) or send a picture to devotedquilter at gmail dot com 😊

June 11, 2018

Past the Surface

Devotion for the Week...

I opened the fridge to put something in one day and was confronted by a space packed full of food with nowhere to add anything else. Or so I thought at first. Then I realized that it was only the front half of the space that was full and there was almost nothing in the back. I moved the containers around a bit and freed up plenty of room for whatever it was I was trying to put away.

There are times when things on the surface conceal what is really going on. Not only in the fridge, of course, but in all areas of life. For example, have you heard the phrase 'skinny fat'? It refers to people who are slim, but whose lifestyle and eating habits are unhealthy, resulting in them having almost the same health risks as a person who is overweight.

And with the news recently of the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I have to acknowledge that mental illness is often hidden. We may not know what is going on in the lives of others, maybe even people we think we know well. People suffering from depression may be able to carry out their normal activities so it looks from the outside like everything is fine, when in reality it is not. The stigma that prevents people from talking about mental illness is a dangerous thing.

Jesus talked about a time when His followers need to be careful to look past the surface: "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves" (Matthew 7:15). When faced with a new pastor or teacher or writer we need to look carefully at what they say. Does what they teach line up with Scripture? If not, then we need to reject their teaching as harmful, as something that could pull us away from God and His will for us.

We need to be especially careful when what they say appeals to us. Paul said to Timothy, "For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear" (2 Timothy 4:3). I think of those who teach the 'prosperity gospel' whenever I read this verse. If ever a message appeals to 'itching ears', this would be it. Prosperity gospel claims that as Christians we can have everything we want - money, happiness, health, you name it. But that's not what the Bible teaches. Jesus Himself said, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). That doesn't mean that the Christian life is nothing but misery, but it does mean we won't get everything we want just by praying for it. Not everything we want is what God has planned for us.

This is not to say that every message that appeals to us is wrong! If the message lines up with what we read in the Bible, then we can embrace it wholeheartedly. The message of salvation through faith, not through the work I've done, for example, is a wonderful message that is supported by Scripture. "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Whatever the source and whatever the message, we have to look past the attractive surface and dig deeper, making sure that what we believe is actually the truth.

June 05, 2018

Batik Stars and Bonus HSTs

Note, some of the fabrics in this post were given to me by Island Batik as part of their ambassador program.

I've been working on my project for the June Island Batik ambassador program. The challenge this month is to create a modern batik quilt, so I'm making a throw quilt with lots of negative space and 20 9" blocks.

The top is actually finished now, but I don't have a good picture or it, so I'll save that for another day. I'm hoping to get it basted soon because I can't wait to get to the quilting, as usual 😊

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again...I love star blocks! For this quilt, I've chosen two stars, the friendship star and the Ohio star. I've made them with fabrics from Island Batik's Elementz line and the background is one of their foundation neutrals. It's called Buttermilk and I love it.

Here are the Ohio stars.
Batik Ohio stars | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Batik Ohio stars | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
And the friendship stars.
Batik friendship star blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Batik friendship star blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Batik friendship star blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Batik friendship star blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
This palette feels so summery to me, which was quite funny as I was putting the quilt top together on Sunday while it SNOWED. It was crazy! It snowed all day, but thankfully the snow all melted again on Monday.

While sewing the stars and assembling the quilt top, I used the bonus HSTs from my Murrina quilt as leaders and enders. By the time the quilt top was finished, I had a 12" block put together.

I was very amused by how much the rows shrank when I pieced the blocks together. It's hard to imagine that sewing the rows together will turn this back into a square, isn't it?
Scrappy HSTs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
But it did!
Scrappy HSTs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Here's a close up of the center of the block. What's the smallest scrappy bit you can see? Keep in mind, each HST finishes at only 1" square, so those small bits are really, really small!
Scrappy HSTs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish the block as a mini quilt to add to my mini wall, but for now it's waiting its turn while I work on other things. I hope to get back to it over our summer break, which is thankfully only 3 1/2 weeks away. Of course, I have a whole list of other things I'd like to get to over the break too, so hopefully the summer lull won't keep me from sewing this year!

I'm still waiting for Blogger to fix the comment notification problem (they're working on it, I hear, so that's a start), so if you comment on this post please know that I am reading all of the comments, even if I'm not able to reply to them easily right now. I'm really hoping Blogger gets it resolved soon!
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