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?

October 16, 2017

All of Us

Devotion for the Week...

I'm sure you've noticed that it takes a lot of work to keep a household running. First, there's the necessity of having a paying job to provide an income. Then there's the meal preparation, house cleaning, yard work, laundry, bill paying and grocery shopping. In our house we have the added task of stacking our firewood each year when it is delivered, then the job of bringing it inside throughout the winter to be used in the furnace.

The idea of any one person doing all of that work is crazy. It simply wouldn't be possible. Even in times where men did nothing in the house, they generally were the ones to provide the income, so there was a sharing of the work.

All of us who are a part of the household should be helping with the work of running the household. Obviously, not everyone will do the same work (Nathan, who is 9, doesn't have a job to help pay the bills, for example), but everyone should be doing something.

One of the jobs our boys help with is the stacking and bringing in of the firewood. When people comment about how good it is that the boys help with the wood, I laugh and say that they like to be warm just as much as we do, so it's only right they help.

There's a lot of work involved in building up God's church too, and it's only right that all of us who are a part of it should be doing our portion of that work. In fact, Paul wrote that everyone doing their share is actually crucial to the maturity of the church.

Note here that I am not writing about the particular church that we attend on Sundays, either the building or the congregation that meets there. I'm referring to the whole family of God, all of those around the world who believe in Jesus as Savior.

Ephesians 4:11-13 says: "So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

There is so much in these three verses! First of all, notice that the leaders of the church (the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) are given to the church to equip everyone else for works of service. The clergy are not the only ones who are to be serving the church and the community. We're all supposed to be doing it.

If we are all doing our part, whatever that may be, then just look at all that will come from our combined efforts: the body of Christ, the church, will be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and we will become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Building up the church can be taken here to mean both increasing the number of those who are members of the church and the spiritual growth of all believers. Isn't it interesting that this building up of the church will continue until we all reach unity in the faith?

We will also have unity in the knowledge of the Son of God, which I think goes hand in hand with unity in the faith, since it means that we will all agree on everything pertaining to the Son of God.

On top of that, or maybe because of it, we will be mature in the faith, no longer weak or immature.

Now attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ is a little hard to understand, but basically it means that we will become Christ-like. We will exhibit the character of Jesus in our everyday lives because of our spiritual growth and maturity.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #christian #christianliving #devotion #church
Don't you want all of that? I know I do. Which means we must be seeking ways to serve others according to the gifts God has given us. What I do and what you do may be different, but that doesn't change the fact that we should be using the gifts God has given us to reach people for Him and to encourage spiritual growth.

It's up to all of us to pitch in and use our spiritual gifts to build up the church.

October 14, 2017

FMQ Doesn't Have to Be Perfect

A couple of days ago, I shared a picture of my current (secret for now) quilting project with a friend. She took one look at all of those straight lines and said, "I'd never be able to do that, unless I used a ruler."
Square meander free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #freemotionquilting #fmq #quilting
We tend to think our quilting has to be perfect in order to look good, but it doesn't! There are a bazillion lines in this quilt and when you stand back they all look perfect, but I can guarantee you that they're not 😊

I am aiming for the lines to be horizontal or vertical, but there are plenty of slightly diagonal lines that have crept in. And even though I know there are a lot of them, I really had to search to find some for this picture.
Square meander free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #freemotionquilting #fmq #quilting
Generally, quilting lines should be a consistent distance apart, but these ones definitely aren't! Every now and then as I'm quilting, I remind myself that I'm trying to quilt farther apart, so I make a conscious effort to space them out more. It doesn't take long, though, for my 'tiny quilting' habit to take over and the lines grow closer and closer together.
Square meander free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #freemotionquilting #fmq #quilting
The great thing is, no one will ever know! There's enough consistency in the variations that it all looks like I meant for it to happen. And as a bonus, it is creating absolutely wonderful texture 😊

When we're quilting, we have our noses so close to the work that we see every little imperfection as if it were lit with neon lights. No one else will ever look that closely! Even other quilters who might know what to look for are never that critical of anyone else's work.

Don't let the fear of the imperfect hold you back from trying a new design, or from trying free motion quilting altogether. Even Angela Walters, one of the free motion quilting queens, says that "Finished is better than perfect" and "Close enough is good enough"!

Do you embrace the imperfect in your quilting?

October 09, 2017

Forgetting

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever done something, walked away, and then had to come back to check to see if you did it immediately because you completely forgot? My husband is bad for this when it comes to locking a door.

I find myself doing it with the step counting on my watch. I'll check how many steps I have, flick back to the time screen and then a moment later I'm checking again because I can't remember what it said. I know I just checked, but I have no memory of the number even though I just read it!

When I found myself doing this last week, I thought of these verses: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do" (James 1:22-25).

Immediately forgets what he looks like...or immediately forgets what her watch says. Same thing, right? In either example, it's a matter of looking at something, walking away and forgetting what you saw. James compares that to someone who reads the Bible, but doesn't follow through on what they read by putting it into practice.

Reading the Bible does us no good if it never goes farther than that. We have to use what we read to change how we live our lives. Sometimes that change will be internal, in what we believe about God or about ourselves. For example, if a person has always believed that God is harsh and judgmental, just waiting for us to screw up so He can punish us, then reading 1 John 1:9 should change that perception. After all, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" doesn't sound harsh at all. But reading the truth about God doesn't change us unless we choose to believe it, and then choose to remind ourselves of it when the old beliefs try to reassert themselves.

Sometimes the changes will be external, revealing themselves in the way we act. "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity" (Colossians 3:12-14). Compassion, kindess, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love. Reading about them, even nodding our heads in agreement as we read, isn't enough. We must act on what we have read and choose to incorporate those qualities into our everyday situations.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #christian #devotion #christianliving
Don't forget, James tells us there are two parts to this equation - the reading intently and then the acting upon what we have read. Acting on what we have read is not possible if we never read the Bible, and reading the Bible alone is not enough. We must take what we've read and act on it.

October 04, 2017

WIPs This Week

It seems like I have a bunch of projects on the go right now, and none of them very close to a finish 😊
Here's a little round-up of what's moving on and off my kitchen table (since I don't have a sewing room, lol).

1. My Make Modern project.

This is a great scrap quilt I'm working on for issue 20 of Make Modern magazine (affiliate link). I'm quilting it now and did you see my little snafu with the quilting I chose? Oops! At least I like the square meander, so I'll still be happy with the quilting because you can be sure I wasn't going to rip out all that quilting.
Square meander quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot,com #fmq #quilting #freemotionquilting

Square meander quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot,com #fmq #quilting #freemotionquilting

2. My Hexie Rainbow.

This was one of my designs for the first 30 quilt designs challenge, with Rachel of Stitched in Color. I tried resisting starting it, especially since I already had my Scattered Stars epp quilt started, but the resistance didn't last long. I had been picking away at it slowly and I had the red double round finished along with some hexies basted in other colours. There's a challenge on IG now called 100 hexies 100 days and the idea is to baste at least 1 hexie each day for (you guessed it) 100 days. We're past the halfway point of the challenge already and most days I baste more than 1, so I've done 247 as part of the challenge. My little tin is getting full!
Basted epp hexies | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #epp #englishpaperpiecing
Along with basting the hexies, I have done a bit of sewing them together. I've started working on the orange double round now. I have all of the hexies basted for this round, so it's just a matter of taking the time to sew them together. I'm really loving how this looks so far!
Hexie rainbow quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

3. Quilts for seniors/charity quilts

I hardly know what to call these now that the quilts for the residents have been delivered 😊 I have an official count of how many I need for the employees (10) and our town's first responders (31), so I'm working on getting those ready. There are 18 finished now, and 3 more that just need binding. I'll present the quilts to the employees once I have 10 feminine quilts finished, since all of the employees are women. Most of our first responders are men and I'm hoping to have enough masculine/neutral quilts that none of them end up with super-flowery quilts.
Charity quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
And since I know I only need 41 quilts, I've decided to pass on all of the tops I don't need for this project. Melinda (@mel_is_a_swapaholic on IG) is organizing a project to make quilts for those affected by hurricane Harvey, so I'll be sending all of the extra quilt tops to her. I still have a couple of tops to piece so I don't have a total count of how many I'll be sending her, but there will be 12+. I hope everyone who donated to this project agrees with this plan. It makes more sense to me to send the quilts where they are needed rather than me trying to figure out who I could give them to. Of course, I'll be sure to share pictures before I mail them out so you can admire how beautifully they all turned out 😊


So that's what's on the go for me. Plus there are a bunch of projects swirling around in my head, or partially finished and abandoned (for now), but still calling my name. Why aren't there more hours in the day? I can tell you one thing for sure - I'll never be bored!

What are you working on these days?

October 02, 2017

All Figured Out

Devotion for the Week...

A few weeks ago, Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl posted a video tutorial for a quilting design she calls Circuit Board quilting. I loved it immediately and thought it would be perfect for the quilt I'm working on now. So one day last week, while the kids I babysit coloured, I spent a little time drawing the design. I had no trouble drawing it, so I moved right on to quilting it once I got my quilt basted.

After I'd been quilting for about an hour, I wanted to check Yvonne's tutorial for something and when I looked at her quilting I realized mine looks nothing like her circuit board design! Mine is really nothing more than a square meander and lacks all of the long, echoed lines I love about Yvonne's design.

How did that happen, you ask? Well, it's pretty simple, really. I watched Yvonne's tutorial once a few weeks ago. Then, when I had time to try drawing the design, I thought I remembered what she did, so I just went with that rather than checking to make sure I had it right. But I didn't have it right at all!

Thankfully, I quite like the texture the square meander quilting is creating, so I'll stick with it, though I will add some of the long, echoed lines from the circuit board design. I will definitely keep Yvonne's design in mind for another quilt, and I'll check her tutorial before I start next time!

On Friday morning I made a kind of bread I've made many times before. I had the dough rising before the kids I babysit arrived so that all I had to do while they played was shape it, let it rise again and then bake it. When the timer went for me to take it out of the oven, I opened the oven door to find a very dark loaf of bread, not at all the beautiful golden colour I'm used to. Turns out, I turned the oven on 50° too hot because I didn't bother to check the recipe. I thought I remembered from all the other times I've made it...except I was remembering the temperature for another bread I make often. Thankfully the inside of the bread was still fine to eat, but we didn't eat the crust this time around!

Both times, I thought I had something all figured out when in fact I didn't. I could easily have gotten the facts right if I had taken the time to check, but I thought I knew what I was doing and didn't need to check. How wrong I was!

There are times we think we have life all figured out, only to find out later we couldn't have been more wrong. Times when we get upset because we think someone is saying or doing this because they're feeling that, only to find out later that wasn't the case at all. Have you ever had that happen? Have you ever made assumptions about someone else's motives and made judgments based on those assumptions, only to realize you were completely wrong?

James wrote, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (James 1:5). We need wisdom for life. We need wisdom to know what we should be doing. We need wisdom to understand what other people are doing and why. We need wisdom to see how we can serve others. We need wisdom to know when we need to accept help from others.

We might think we have it all figured out, but there's no doubt in my mind that I sometimes fall into the category of those who lack wisdom. But look at what James tells us: if we ask God for wisdom, He gives it generously. Not just a little, not just barely enough to get us through, but generously. Abundantly. And He gives us His wisdom without finding fault with us. He doesn't scold us for not already having all the wisdom we need. He doesn't tell us we should know better. He just gives it to us generously.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #Christian #devotion #wisdom
But first we have to ask. We have to acknowledge that we don't, in fact, have life all figured out. Then, once we ask, He gives us the wisdom we need.
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