July 06, 2018

Cross Stitch Heart in Make Modern Magazine

It's time to share another of the secret sewing projects I was working on earlier this year! This is Cross Stitch Heart, which is now available in the new issue of Make Modern magazine (affiliate link).
Cross Stitch Heart quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Cross Stitch Heart quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
It was fun to design a heart that looks like it was cross stitched. If that sounds familiar, that's probably because I designed this quilt and Cross Stitch during the same 30 Quilt Designs challenge, using the same basic block. The two quilts look nothing alike, though!

I used two colours of Northcott's beautiful Essence fabric for this quilt. The funny thing is, when I took the fabric out to start the quilt I happened to place it next to fabric Paul bought me for Christmas, only to realize that he bought me the same fabric in green. He knows my taste well 😊
Cross Stitch Heart quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I used Warm and Natural batting, as usual, and Aurifil 5006 and quilted hundreds and hundreds of echoed hearts all over the background. I bought Aurifil 2270 to quilt the red strips, but when it came time to do it, I decided to leave them unquilted. I like how they pop up from the background.
Cross Stitch Heart quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
This quilt was a birthday gift for my grandmother as soon as I finished it back in May. I've done a lot of Christmas ornaments for her and one big cross stitch quite a few years ago, but this is the first quilt I've given her. I mailed it without saying a word about it, so it was a big surprise and I came home from a walk one morning to a tearful sounding voicemail from her after she received it 😊 Giving handmade gifts really is the best!

Pick up your copy of Make Modern, issue 23 (affiliate link) to get Cross Stitch Heart along with many other gorgeous designs. Use coupon code 23for6 before July 8th to get it for $6 Australian.

As always, if you make this quilt, I'd love to see your version, so be sure to tag me on IG (devotedquilter) or FB (devotedquilterdesigns) or send an email to devotedquilter at gmail dot com 😊

We are leaving today for a family holiday, so it's going to be quiet here on the blog for a couple of weeks. I'll be back near the end of the month to share whatever progress I make on my EPP hexie rainbow quilt between riding roller coasters, watching a baseball and a football game, visiting museums and whatever else we find to do on our adventure 😊

Note, this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay and it helps to support my quilting business. Thank you for your support!

July 02, 2018

But if Not

Devotion for the Week...

Have you ever heard of the Miracle of Dunkirk? In May, 1940 Allied troops had been driven onto the beaches of Dunkirk by the Nazis and they were trapped. Essentially, they were waiting to be either destroyed or rescued. Thankfully, British civilians hurried to their aid, protected by fog and and calm conditions on the English Channel, which allowed hundreds of boats to cross to the beaches, pick up the trapped soldiers and bring them safely back across. It's an amazing story.

There's another, less known, element to the story. While trapped on the beach, one British naval officer sent a three word message to London: "But if not." To many of us today, that message might not make much sense, but in 1940 people would have understood the reference. They would have understood an entire message from those three little words.

The reference is to Daniel, chapter 3, when King Nebuchadnezzar decided to build himself a huge golden statue and then make everyone bow down and worship it. Anyone who refused to do so would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Three Hebrew young men did refuse and were brought to Nebuchadnezzar, who said (in Leanne paraphrase), "Is it true you're refusing my orders? I'll give you one more chance and if you don't obey you're going straight into the furnace" (vv. 14, 15a). And then, in the actual King James Version (which the British would have been using in 1940), "who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" (v. 15b).

The young men, named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up" (vv. 17,18).

Did you see the three little words in there?

 But if not.

"O King", they said, "we know that our God can save us from you and everything you're threatening to do to us, but even if he doesn't rescue us, we still won't worship this statue."

Like anyone else, these three young men probably wanted to live. They wanted God to rescue them. But even if they didn't get what they wanted, they were determined to continue serving Him right to the end.

The British naval officer who sent the message to London was conveying that same determination to his superiors. "We want to be rescued, but if God doesn't send rescue, we're determined to keep fighting right to the end."

What about us? There are times we want to be rescued too, or when we want someone we love to be rescued. We want rescue from sickness, especially from sickness that looks like it will soon lead to death. We want financial rescue. We want rescue in relationships.

But what happens when we don't get the rescue we want?

Well, if we're taking our cue from the Bible, from the example of those three young men, then we don't wait until the rescue doesn't come to decide our response. They decided ahead of time what their response would be. They knew God had the power to save them. There was no doubt in their minds of that. But they also knew that He might choose not to save them. That uncertainty, that possibility that rescue might not come, did not affect their response at all. Regardless of whether God saved them from Nebuchadnezzar, their faith would stay with Him.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
It is a fact of life that we will deal with situations we don't like. Whether we're looking to be rescued from someone in authority over us, from a situation where we feel trapped, from sickness or from something else entirely, we know that God has the power to rescue us. But that doesn't always mean that He will choose to rescue us. We can't know His plans or His reasons, but we can choose to trust Him whether the rescue comes or not.

We're heading on a family vacation soon, so this will be my last devotion for a few weeks. I'll have a quilting post or two before we leave and then I'll be focusing on family time. I hope you are enjoying your summer!

June 30, 2018

Reach for the Stars - June Island Batik Challenge

The fabrics for this project were given to me by Island Batik as part of their ambassador program.

I'm sneaking in under the wire with this quilt, which has actually been finished for a full week. Getting pictures was nearly impossible though. It was the last week of school, so there were events 3 evenings, I was sick most of the week and the weather was not at all cooperating. I finally got the pictures this morning, despite the wind (thank you beach rocks for weighing down the edges!).

The June Island Batik ambassador challenge was to create a modern batik quilt, which "must incorporate one of the characteristics of modern quilts as defined by the Modern Quilt Guild (the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color, improvisational piecing, Minimalism, expansive negative space, alternate grid work)."

Here's my quilt, which I'm calling Reach for the Stars. There's lots of negative space and bold colours in there 😊
Reach for the Stars quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Reach for the Stars quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Reach for the Stars quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I designed this quilt during the most recent 30 Quilt Designs challenge with Sandra at Musings of a Menopausal Melon and I knew right away it had to go on the "make it soon" list. This is the second of my 30 designs from that challenge that I've made (the first one was my April IB challenge project) and I have a third well underway.

The background fabric is called Buttermilk and it's from Island Batik's Foundation Neutrals. I seriously wish I could have a whole bolt of it. It's such a gorgeous cream colour, just right for setting off the bright fabrics of the stars. The fabrics for the stars are all from the Elementz line. The Elementz fabrics have geometric prints in bright colours, giving them a fun, modern vibe.
Reach for the Stars quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I used Warm and Natural batting and Aurifil thread. I wasn't sure I'd have the right colours in my Aurifil stash, which still isn't very big, but I was pleasantly surprised to find exactly what I needed. I used 2311 for the background and 1231, 2530, 5006 and 4140 for the stars.

This quilt is a gift for my mother in law, who has often commented on how much she likes the detailed quilting I do, so I definitely wanted to do lots of fun quilting. All while I pieced the quilt, I kept thinking about how I'd quilt the negative space. I wanted it to be something pretty, but not too time consuming (so no flow quilting, lol) and I didn't want the quilt to end up really stiff (so not a lot of traveling back over the same lines). I finally settled on swirl hooks and tried to make myself stitch them big, with varying levels of success.
Reach for the Stars quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
They ended up being consistently inconsistent in size, but at least some of them are big, lol. I still seem to default to tiny stitching if I'm not paying attention. I really love this design and I'm not sure why I don't think to use it more often.

In the Ohio stars, I quilted arcs from corner to corner, with the swirl hooks in the center.
Reach for the Stars quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
In the friendship stars, I quilted these swirly flowers. I've only used these flowers once before, in my Happy Birthday banner quilt, and it was nice to use them again.
Reach for the Stars quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
For the binding, I used this fabulous aqua from the Foundation Basics, and I really wish I had a bolt of this one too! Isn't it pretty? I love the way it frames the Buttermilk background of the quilt.
Island Batik aqua | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
My in-laws are celebrating their 50th anniversary tomorrow, so we're giving them His and Hers quilts. This one is hers and my April IB challenge quilt will be his. I hope they both enjoy their new quilts.

As my contribution to the anniversary celebration, I made this cake using the topper from their wedding cake. I don't usually make fancy cakes like this, so I was a little nervous about how it would turn out.
Anniversary cake | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Just ignore the mess in the background, lol 😊
My grandmother used to do wedding cakes and I remember sitting beside her while she made dozens of roses, sometimes plopping a newly formed one straight into my mouth. I still eat a little of the icing whenever I make a cake...old habits die hard! And yes, I did eat a rose, too 😊

I am working on the pattern for Reach for the Stars, which will be available sometimes over the summer. I'd love to have a couple of pattern testers, so if you're interested, just let me know!

June 25, 2018

Being Ready

Devotion for the Week...

I love to bake. Breads, brownies, muffins, cakes and cookies are all fair game. Even the occaisional pie makes its way into my oven. Because the urge to bake can hit at any moment, there are some things I make sure to always have in the house. There's always at least one unopened bag of sugar so I can be sure I'll never run out. I buy the biggest bag of flour I can. Chocolate chips and vanilla are always in the cupboard and I make sure to keep baking soda, baking powder and brown sugar stocked. There's nothing worse than starting to bake something, only to realize I don't have enough of an ingredient.

Likewise, I love to be able to sew something from my stash, even if it's something I don't usually sew, like the tag blankets and fidget blankets I've made recently. That's why I keep random bits of ribbons, old buttons and other bits and pieces. You never know what will come in handy for some new project.

Whether baking or sewing, it feels good to be ready for whatever I want to make.

Isn't it interesting that even the Bible talks about being ready? "If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way" (1 Peter 3:15, 16).

Always be ready.

First of all, I love that Peter assumes people will be curious about this hope we have. That means he's also assuming that we will seem different enough from other people that they will notice we have something they don't.

Then, when they do notice that we're a bit different, we should be ready to explain why. That means we should be able to explain what we believe. I believe that God loves His people. I believe that Jesus really lived, that He died on a cross to take away my sins and that He rose again. I believe that because of His death and resurrection, I have the hope of spending eternity with God in heaven. 

Sometimes, there will be more questions. Maybe people will ask why we believe. Maybe they'll ask if even their sins could be taken away. Or maybe they'll ask if God could still love them even after what they've done. Or they might ask why God allowed some awful thing to happen.

Whatever the questions, we should be ready to answer. Sometimes, unfortunately, the answer will simply be "I don't know," because sometimes we just can't know why things happen. But the more we know our Bibles, the more ready we'll be and the more questions we'll be able to answer.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
It's not that we have to be experts or have advanced degrees in theology or anything. But if people are genuinely curious, wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to answer their questions and maybe help them understand how much God loves them?

June 24, 2018

Comment Problem Fix!

As many of you probably know, those of us who blog on Blogger have been experiencing a problem with comment notifications no longer being emailed, which has made it incredibly difficult to respond to comments. But there is finally a fix!!

On your blog dashboard, go to Settings and select Email.

Delete the email address you have listed in the Comment Notifications Email box and then click Save Settings. It's very important to remember to click Save Settings!

Then re-enter the email address into the Comment Notifications Email box and click Save Settings again. You'll get a confirmation email asking you to subscribe to get the comment notifications by email. Just click subscribe and you should be good to go.

I sent myself a test email right away and it worked! Insert happy dance!!

And just so we don't have a whole post with no pretty picture, here's a shot of some of the quilting I've been working on. It's finished now, so I just need to get the quilt washed and take pictures so I can finally share it 😊
Swirl Hook quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I hope you're enjoying your weekend!
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