November 21, 2017

100 Days of Hexies

Today is the last day of the 100 hexies 100 days challenge on Instagram! It's hard to believe 100 days have passed already 😊 Of course, when we started, it was August so temperatures are a little different now...

Over the course of the challenge I made 429 hexies, so that's a dent made in what I need for my Hexie Rainbow quilt. Actually, it's more than 1/4 of the 1661 hexies I'll need for that quilt. Progress, right?

There were challenges each week. Since I was working towards my Hexie Rainbow quilt, I didn't want a lot of novelty prints (unless they fit my colour needs), so my participation in the challenges usually meant adding something that fit the theme to the picture.

Here are some of the hexies I basted, in no particular order:

This collage is from the "my favourite things" week and shows my love for wildflowers.
EPP hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Though this looks like it probably belonged in "flowers" week, it was actually from "dots and stripes." The orchid is still blooming, too!
EPP hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

EPP hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

EPP hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

EPP hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

EPP hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

EPP hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 And today's hexies...
EPP hexagons | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I have to admit that over the last week or so I've been a bit tired of hexies and thinking it will be nice to get a break. On the other hand, it was fun to see how only a few minutes each day added up to a lot of hexies in the end.

I think I missed 4 or 5 days throughout the challenge, so I'm pretty proud of having kept up with it and I can see why 100 day challenges are popular. It's long enough to feel like you've accomplished something, without being too intimidating to even start. Maran, our host for the challenge, is already planning next year's version and I would imagine I'll be jumping on board again. In fact, I'll probably still be working on the same quilt!

Have you ever taken part in a 100 day challenge? How did it go?

November 20, 2017

Ears to Hear

Devotion for the Week...

One of the kids I used to babysit was born almost completely deaf. When he was a year old he had cochlear implant surgery and his cochlears allow him to hear. It really is amazing what medical science can do!

The device hooks over his ear and there is a small disk that attaches to his head, just behind his ear. The disk is magnetic and connects to a magnet placed inside his skin. I don't really understand how they work, so you'll have to forgive my lack of technical knowledge here. What I do know is that the disk has to be connected to his head or he can't hear anything. Even though the device is in place and the lights are blinking to say the batteries are good, if the disk is knocked off, he hears nothing.

Jesus often said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear." Sometimes it was at the end of a parable, as in Mark 4:9. Sometimes it was when He was teaching, as in Luke 14:35.

In Revelation, He said "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches" at the end of each of the letters to the churches in chapters 2 and 3.

I remember once when I read it with the boys when they were younger and one of them asked what Jesus meant. We all have ears, he was thinking. And he's right, of course. We all have ears and the people in Jesus' day all had ears too.

But I think what Jesus meant was that some of us have had that little disk knocked off, spiritually speaking. Our ears are working and taking in the words that are being said, but the message isn't being transmitted to our minds and hearts. We hear nothing, spiritually, despite having heard the words.
Devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Think about it this way...when Nathan starts talking to me, but before he's finished Zachary is calling to me from another room, it's really hard for me to focus on what Nathan is saying. The distraction takes my focus off what I was hearing first.

God is always saying something to us, whether it's through the Bible, a sermon, a devotion we read, something we hear from a friend or in a song, or something we read. There will be a phrase or a thought that keeps swirling around in our heads, calling for us to ponder it and see how it should be applied in our lives.

But life is full of distractions. There are gadgets and to-do lists and situations that pull our attention away from what God is trying to say to us. If we're not careful, all of those distractions will knock the spiritual disk off and the swirling messages will be silenced.

We have to choose to keep the disk connected so we truly hear those messages. We have to choose to focus on the spiritual even though the physical is so loud and distracting.

Then, when we are paying attention, that's when we have ears to hear what God is saying to us.

November 18, 2017

Ultimate Bundles Giveaway

Just a quick note today, to let you know that the people at Ultimate Bundles have a great giveaway going on right now to help fuel your crafting addiction! You could win a Cricut Maker machine or a Brother embroidery and sewing machine or one of 18 other great prizes.

And it's open to international winners! So often, these big giveaways are only for those in the US, but not this time 😊

Head on over to the Ultimate Bundles site to enter before November 26th. There's no purchase necessary and it only takes a few seconds to enter.




*Note - This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click the link and then make a purchase, I may receive a commission. This does not affect the price you pay.

November 13, 2017

Reference Letter

Devotion for the Week...

As a senior high teacher, my husband Paul is often asked to write reference letters for his students. When I asked him once if he's ever asked by a student he doesn't feel he can write a positive reference for, he said he has been and he always tells them that he'll write it, but he'll be honest. Generally, though, the ones he wouldn't be able to write a positive letter about don't ask him for one.

I'm not sure how long job/school related reference letters have been around, but I can remember reading in 18th century books about 'letters of introduction.' These letters were written by people of influence and given to someone who was traveling, to allow them to gain access to people of influence where they were going, based on the introduction in the letter. It was essentially a social reference letter, I guess.

There is a man mentioned in the Bible named Demetrius, about whom we know almost nothing. What I find interesting, though, is that the brief mention of him sounds remarkably like either a reference letter or a letter of introduction. "Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true" (3 John 1:12).

That's all that is said about him. We're not told why John mentioned Demetrius to Gaius (the recipient of the letter that is 3 John), or what Demetrius has done to deserve this positive reference. While studying about this verse, I read speculation that maybe Gaius already knew Demetrius, so this was simply an update about him, or maybe Demetrius was the one carrying the letter from Paul to Gaius. There was even mention that perhaps this is the same Demetrius who riled up the artisans in Ephesus against Paul (in Acts).

Whoever Demetrius was, just look at what John has to say about him:

He was well spoken of by everyone. Sounds like he could have asked anyone in town for a reference letter, doesn't it? Now, sometimes, being spoken well of by everyone means you're trying too hard to appease everyone and not holding firm to any convictions. A person like that will do anything to keep people happy and thinking well of them. That doesn't appear to be the case with Demetrius though.

Even the truth itself could speak well of him. This speaks to Demetrius' willingness to hold firm to his convictions as a Christian. He wasn't the type to just go along with anything in an effort to make people happy. But when he disagreed with something or someone, he likely did so with compassion and kindness, rather than judgement and condemnation.

John knew Demetrius personally, and shared the general good opinion of him. It is one thing to have the general good opinion of 'everyone', and quite another to have the good opinion of one specific person who knows you personally. When John says to Gaius, "and you know that our testimony is true", I take that to mean that Gaius would know that John doesn't just hand out these sorts of references lightly. John was speaking from personal experience with Demetrius and that experience had left John with reasons to give Demetrius a positive reference.

Would we be able to receive such a reference letter?
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Do we have the good opinion of everyone around us? Or are there people who could rightly say we are difficult, judgemental, condescending or negative? Are there those who would claim we think we are 'better than them' in some way? It's not that we should be seeking to make everyone like us all the time, but that they should not be able to speak negatively about our character.

Would the truth be able to speak well of us? Do we live out what we believe no matter who is around? Or do we go along with things we believe are wrong in the interest of having people's approval? Do we sometimes act like it is more important to have the approval of people than to have the approval of God?

And lastly, what about the people who know us the best, the ones we live with or work closely with? They're often the ones who see the worst of us, aren't they? Would they be able to say that they too speak well of us?

Who we are in daily interactions with the people around us affects not only how they see us, but also how they see the Gospel we say be believe. What kind of reference letter would they give us?

November 09, 2017

HST Making

I've been working with gorgeous batiks from RJR Fabrics and I absolutely love the colours! Here they are all washed and dried, ready to be used. My favourites are the deepest purple and the deepest blue. Oh, and the lightest purple...they're all so pretty it's hard to choose 😊
Fabric from RJR Fabrics | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The batiks are destined to be a baby quilt for Paul's nephew's new baby, who arrived on Sunday morning, almost 6 weeks early. I had everything all scheduled out so I could have the quilt made well ahead of her due date, but her early arrival means her quilt will now be late, lol. All is well with baby Riley, though, so I'm not too concerned about a late quilt.

Over the past couple of days, I have cut the batiks and paired them with a solid that seems to be somewhere between grey and green. Sometimes it looks like one, other times the other. I thought I was ordering a light grey, but thankfully this greenish grey works too. That's the trouble with ordering through a computer screen, I guess. Have you ever had that problem when ordering fabrics online?
Making half-square triangles | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Chain piecing is so pretty!
Making half-square triangles | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I trim my HSTs before pressing them open. I line up the seam on the 45° line on my cutting mat and then trim on the lines that match the unfinished size I want the HST to be. I should have taken a picture, but I didn't think of that.
Making half-square triangles | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
All trimmed and ready to go 😊 If you're thinking two of these things don't look like the others, that's because I'm making leader/ender HSTs as I piece the baby quilt.
Making half-square triangles | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
That's what I'm up to these days 😊 What are you working on? And what beautiful colours are you using?

November 06, 2017

Ask for It!

Devotion for the Week...

A group of us moms were talking a little while ago, telling stories about our kids, and somehow we got to talking about what they've asked for for Christmas over the years.

I told the story about the year the only thing Zachary told Santa he wanted was a purple balloon. Not sure why, but that was all he wanted 😊 And what did we completely forget about until after the stores were all closed on Christmas Eve? Yep. I frantically called my friends, hoping someone had a stash of balloons left over from a birthday party or something! Michelle said she had a balloon she thought was purple, but it was hard to tell for sure without actually blowing it up. I picked it up and into Zach's stocking it went. Whew, crisis averted. Of course, when morning came and we blew up the balloon, it was blue. Ooops! He was a little disappointed, but all the other goodies under the tree seemed to make up for it.

Deanne told the story about her daughter Rebecca, who decided one year that what she told Santa she wanted was a secret. She wouldn't tell her parents! Deanne finally managed to convince Rebecca to tell her, if she promised not to tell Daddy.

When it comes to gifts, asking for what we want can be helpful. When it comes to prayer, asking for what we want is crucial.  Jesus said, "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (Luke 11:9, 10).

Ask. Seek. Knock.

Those are all active words. Not 'sitting around, waiting for things to fall into your lap' words.

God wants us to tell Him what we want. Yes, He knows it all already: "Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely" (Psaml 139:4). For some reason, though, God wants us to come to Him and tell Him what we want. Maybe it's just a means of opening communication between us. Maybe it's to help us evaluate the things we want. Maybe it's to help us remember that everything we have comes from Him.

Whatever the reason, God tells us to ask. James even goes so far as to write, "You do not have because you do not ask God" (James 4:2). It makes me wonder how much God wants to do in us, through us and for us, but He doesn't because we never ask for it.

Of course, asking for what we want doesn't guarantee we're going to get everything we ask for. James goes on to say, "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (v. 3). Not everything we ask for is good for us, or part of what God wants for us. And we're not always asking with the right motives, as James points out.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #prayer #christianliving #devotion #christian
Yet, we are told to ask anyway. To come to God and tell Him what we want. Big things and little things, for us and for others; it doesn't matter. Whatever we want, He wants us to ask for it.

November 01, 2017

Medallion Magic in Modern Patchwork

My Medallion Magic quilt is in the November/December issue of Modern Patchwork! All of the fabrics for this quilt were generously provided by Northcott Fabrics. They are all solids except for the gorgeous brown background fabric, which is from the Naturescapes line.
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I have always loved the idea of medallion quilts, but I find most of them to be a little too busy, with no space between the rounds to allow each one to really shine. In Medallion Magic each round of blocks is followed by a solid round to separate the blocks and give the design a bit of breathing space.

I also wanted the medallion design to be rectangular rather than square since I know that some quilters prefer rectangular quilts (Jasmine, I was thinking of you with this one 😊). I added one row of these quick and simple box blocks to the top and bottom to create the rectangle. The quilt finishes at 62" x 70".
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I had so much fun with the quilting! Each of the elements in the blocks got some custom quilting and then I filled the background with the swirl hook design.
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
As usual, I matched my quilting threads to the colours on the front. I used Aurifil 1130, 4140 and 1231. With a solid green for the backing, the quilting stands out beautifully on the back 😊
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
This is another of my designs from the 30 Quilt Design IG challenge with Rachel at Stitched in Color. I have another one almost finished and two more waiting somewhat impatiently in the queue. Why, oh why aren't there more hours in the day?

Do you like medallion quilts? What elements do you look for when you're considering a medallion or sampler quilt?

October 30, 2017

Affiliate

Devotion for the Week...

Affiliate marketing is a buzzword in the blogging business world, where people are seeking to make money through their blogs. It is less evident in the quilt blogging world, but it does exist.

For example, I am an affiliate for Craftsy, Make Modern and the Quilter's Planner (all affiliate links 😉) Affiliate marketing works because if I refer someone and they make a purchase, the company gets a sale and I get a small commission from that sale, without it costing the buyer anything extra. Affiliates help to promote a product by telling their audience about it and, in exchange, they share in the financial success of that product. It is called affiliate marketing because we are affiliating ourselves with the product we are promoting.

Of course, if you're buying something because I've recommended it, you would expect that I like that thing, right? And for Craftsy, Make Modern and the Quilter's Planner, you'd be absolutely right. Craftsy classes are the way I learned free motion quilting, Make Modern is a fabulous quilting magazine (and not only because they've published my designs, lol) and I've used and loved the Quilter's Planner since it first became available for 2016 and my 2018 edition should be arriving any day now. I am happy to have my name affiliated with those products.

In Bible times, religious teachers would travel from place to place, staying with local believers. Writing to a woman in the church, the apostle John wrote, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work" (2 John 11).

Anyone who welcomed a teacher into their home would have been helping to promote that teacher's message by helping to make it possible for him to stay in that town and teach. They were affiliating themselves with that teacher. John is saying that, by helping to promote that teacher's message, you share in the work with them. If they were teaching the truth about God, then you would share in the reward for that work. But if they were teaching falsely about God, you would also share in that.

Times have changed! With modern publishing and technology, there's no shortage of ways for people to share their insights about God without needing to travel around. Likewise, there are a lot of ways for us to promote the teachers we like without needing to have them as guests in our home. We can promote them by giving their book to a friend, sharing their posts on Facebook or Instagram, linking to them on our own blog, sharing their best quotes, telling everyone we know about their TV show/podcast/book/FB page/however they share their work.

What hasn't changed is the need for discernment. The need to pay close attention to what people are teaching and think for ourselves about whether or not that teaching lines up with the Bible. If it does, great! We can promote and share that teacher's work as much as we want, confident that we are sharing something good.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #christianliving #christian #devotion #bible
But if it doesn't line up with what the Bible says about God? Then it is, as John calls it, wicked work, and we shouldn't be affiliating ourselves with it. Because the simple fact it, if it doesn't line up with the Bible, it's not the truth.

October 27, 2017

More Quilt Delivery Pictures!

Some of the quilts were delayed in being delivered to the residents due to circumstances, but they have all been delivered now. That means I have a few more pictures to share 😊

Before I share the pictures, though, I have a little story to share too. One of the moms I babysit for is the granddaughter of two of the residents. Her name is Renee. Her grandmother died before we could deliver her quilt, but when her grandfather's quilt was delivered, Renee sent me a very excited message to say how much he loved the quilt. Not long after, he was placed in palliative care and Renee went to visit him with her 1 year old daughter, Ruby. He had his quilt over him in his hospital bed and little Ruby was fascinated by the dogs in some of the quilt blocks, so he told Renee he wanted Ruby to have his quilt after he was gone. When he died a few days later, Renee brought the quilt home for Ruby. While he didn't get to enjoy his quilt for long, I love knowing that it was a way for him to connect with his great-granddaughter, and that now Renee and Ruby have the quilt to remind them of that connection between them. 😊

And now, on to the pictures!
Charity quilts | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Charity quilts | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Charity quilts | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Charity quilts | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I've heard reports from various people connected to the residents about how much they love their quilts, which makes me so happy! It's fantastic to know that we have brought joy to others, isn't it?

Again, thank you a million times over to everyone who helped in any way with this gift project! There will be more pictures coming soon 😊

October 23, 2017

Walking

Devotion for the Week...

I would much prefer to walk somewhere than to drive. It's one of the many reasons I like living where I do because I can easily walk to the post office or the grocery store. I also go for a lot of walks just to go for a walk. And I try to walk every day with the kids I babysit, or we all start to go a little stir crazy, and they seem to enjoy the walks as much as I do.

This enjoyment of walking is definitely a family trait, and we often plan our vacations around being able to hike and geocache wherever we're going. Aiden and Zachary think nothing of walking home from school (about 30 minutes) or even walking to a friend's house (45 minutes) and they're more likely to walk to youth group at church than to ask for a drive. As for Nathan, he hardly drove with us to church all summer and fall, preferring to walk there and home each week.

We walk so much that when we first moved to town, there were people who thought we didn't own a vehicle because they only ever saw us walking!

It's possible the boys would have loved walking even if we didn't walk so often as a family. It's probably more likely, though, that they would have expected to drive everywhere. Kids learn from their parents, after all, so if we thought walking was too much bother then that would have probably been their attitude too.

The phrase 'Do as I say, not as I do' isn't an effective way of training children. Chuck Swindoll, of Insight for Living, uses the phrase "Better caught than taught" when referring to character traits that children are better able to pick up by seeing their parents model them than by simply being told. Telling the boys that walking is good for them wouldn't have been met with much enthusiasm if I hopped in the car every time I needed to check the mail.

I thought about this, and about our walking habit, when I read 1 Peter 1:15,16, which says, "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"

If you're anything like me, the command to be holy seems like an impossibly tall order. We know we're not perfect! God certainly knows we're not perfect. And yet, here He is, commanding us to be holy.

First off, God knows we're not perfect, but this command to 'be holy' is the goal for us to reach for. If my aim is to be holy in everything I do, maybe that will cause me to keep my mouth closed when tempted to share a bit of gossip. If my aim is to be holy, then maybe that means I will try even harder to be kind and patient when confronted with difficult people. And if my aim is to be holy, maybe that means I will not be so judgmental. We'll never get it perfectly right, but it's certainly better to be aiming for holy than for nothing at all.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #devotion #christianliving #christian #holy
Second, holiness is something we need to 'catch' from our Father, like the boys catching a love of walking from us. God is holy, so the more we spend time with Him (through Bible reading and prayer), the more likely that holiness will start to appear in our lives too. The less time we spend with Him, the harder it will be to be holy.

We aren't holy ourselves, but thankfully we can learn how to walk in holiness from God.

October 18, 2017

Quilt Tops for Harvey

As I've said before, the response to my request for blocks to make quilts for the residents of the senior's home that burned down in April was incredibly generous. It was beyond anything I ever thought possible 😊

It was so incredible, in fact, that even after accounting for the residents of the home, the employees and all of our town's first responders, I still had way more quilt tops than I needed. 21 more! So, rather than holding on to them, taking months to finish them all and then trying to figure out who around here might possibly need a quilt, I decided to send them where I know they will be put to good use.
Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
All ready for their photo shoot 😊 A huge thank you to Aiden and Zachary for holding up all 21 quilts so I could take the pictures!
Mel, (mel_is_a_swapaholic on IG), is organizing an effort to make quilts for those affected by hurricane Harvey. It's such a joy to send these 21 quilt tops on to her and I know they'll bring a bit of cheer to their recipients. 

Please know that these blocks were not chosen to be sent on because they're in any way less than the blocks that I've chosen to keep. In fact, some of these are so gorgeous I wish I had a piece of the fabric they were made from 😊 It's simply a matter of numbers and wanting to make the best use possible of all of these beautiful blocks.

Now, let's admire some pretty quilt tops, shall we?
Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
This top was donated already pieced, though it's a little smaller than we've been making from the donated blocks. It was so pretty, though, that I didn't want to mess it up by adding unrelated blocks. It will be perfect for someone just as it is!

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The lady who sewed these blocks together wanted to do something a little different with them, so she raided her stash for some coordinating reds and created a whole different layout.  

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Quilt tops for harvey | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

So, did you see any of your blocks in these quilt tops?
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