April 20, 2017

You Know You're a Quilter If...

I've done a few things recently that made me kind of laugh at myself and think "that's the quilter in me coming out," so I thought I'd share my thoughts on our quilter idiosyncracies 😊

You Know You're a Quilter If... | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

How many times have I done this? I'm barely even finished congratulating the person telling me their news and already I'm trying to decide which quilt pattern will best fit the situation. Or I'm wondering if I should design something especially for them. Or I know exactly what quilt to make, but I'm planning out possible colour combinations.

You Know You're a Quilter If... | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

My mother-in-law watched me fold a load of laundry a few months ago and commented that she would iron all of those T-shirts before she put them away. I just laughed. Iron clothes? That doesn't happen around here unless someone is going to wear the clothes that day. I'm certainly not ironing anything that's being put away before being worn. And yet my iron is in such heavy use that it stays out on the counter all the time, lol.

You Know You're a Quilter If... | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

This was me on our recent trip, except I had left my phone at the hotel so I actually made Paul take the picture 😊 I couldn't let the opportunity pass by, it was a great hexagon design! Which reminds me, I should probably get him to give me the picture...Oh, and my X Marks the Spot mini quilt pattern was inspired by a manhole cover. You can see the picture I took of it in this post.

You Know You're a Quilter If... | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Even just a day out of town means I have to stock my Sew Together bag for EPP, since any trip out of town requires quite a bit of driving time. And I always take way more than I need, because I really wouldn't want to run out of things to work on!

You Know You're a Quilter If... | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

To me, this seems like such an easy gift to buy. Go into the fabric store, pick any of the pretty fabrics and it will be perfect. Any fabric would get used eventually, right? And since I could easily spend $100 every time I set foot in the fabric store, I know there's a lot there I want, lol. But I've been told (by my non-quilting husband) that buying fabric is hard. That doesn't stop me from always wanting fabric for gifts, though 😊

Those are my 5 ways to know you're a quilter, but what did I miss? How would you finish the sentence "You know you're a quilter if..."?

April 17, 2017

He Didn't Save Himself

Devotion for the Week...

Happy Easter! I hope you had a beautiful Easter weekend, complete with chocolate 😊 Here in Newfoundland, our spring break is always the week following Easter, so it's great to be able to relax a bit this week. There will hopefully be an abundance of sewing happening too!

In the accounts of the crucifixion, I noticed that Jesus was mocked several times by people who said to Him, "Save yourself." Mark 15:29-32 says, "Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Then Luke 23:39 says, "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

It's obvious to me that none of these people actually expected Jesus to be able to get Himself down off the cross and avoid death. Instead, they all fully believed that He couldn't, and when He didn't save Himself it simply served as further proof to them that He wasn't anyone special. After all, why would the Son of God, the Messiah, allow Himself to be treated so cruelly? Why would the Son of God, the Messiah, allow Himself to be killed? Wouldn't that just destroy whatever plans He had for saving Israel?

They completely misunderstood what was happening that day, even those who had worked so hard to make it happen. Jesus didn't want to save Himself. Yes, He probably desperately wanted the pain to stop, but He had in fact chosen the cross. He had chosen to suffer and die. Everything was going according to plan and saving Himself would have defeated His purpose.

You see, He didn't want to save Himself because He was in the process of saving you and me and all of those who would ever believe in Him as Savior. He couldn't save us if He saved Himself.

The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote, "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). What was the joy set before Him that allowed Him to endure the cross? We were. Isn't that an amazing thought? Our salvation, an eternity with us, that was the joy that He anticipated that gave Him the strength to endure the pain of the cross.

Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Saving Himself from the pain of the cross and the pain of death would have put a stop to His suffering for a time. But saving us from the slavery of sin put a stop to our separation from God for all eternity.

Jesus could have saved Himself. He chose to save us instead.

April 12, 2017

Block Drive for Seniors Displaced by Fire

**Edited - Quilters are amazing!! I cannot even express how blown away I have been by the response to this request for blocks. I have had so many blocks offered already that I have to stop accepting new offers. I can't believe I'm saying that after only a couple of days 😊 If you have already offered blocks, please do make and send them, but if this is your first time seeing this request, then I don't need more offers of blocks. I am still accepting offers of batting and backing, though, so you could contribute those if you want/are able to. I can't wait to see what my mail is going to look like for the next few weeks!

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my pictures last week of the senior's home across the road from us that caught fire. Thankfully the fire started while the residents were having supper so they were all in the dining room, which made the evacuation very quick and simple. Unfortunately, the fire completely destroyed the home.
All of the 21 residents have now either been placed in other care facilities or they are staying with family for a while. Because of the fire they have lost all of their belongings.

Thanks to a suggestion from Laura (Slice of Pi Quilts) I have decided to organize a block drive to make a quilt for each of the residents. I've never done anything like this before, so I'm a little nervous about how it will all go, but I'm trusting in the love and generosity of the quilting community to help me make this work 😊 After talking with one of the women in charge of the home, my aim is to make a 60" x 70" throw for each person. Each quilt will require 42 blocks, which makes for a total of 882 blocks needed. Blocks can be made in any colour combination.

We will also be needing donations of batting and backing (70" x 80" for both) as well as fabric for binding (1/2 yard for each quilt or 10 1/2 yards total). Also, any Newfoundlanders reading who own a longarm and would be willing to help with the quilting, please let me know!

The Block

In an attempt to keep things simple, I'm asking for a simple bordered square block, finishing at 10". Choosing fabrics with good contrast will make for the best blocks. Of the residents living in the home 6 were men, so we definitely need some masculine-looking blocks.
Bordered square quilt block | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com


From fabric 1 - 1 square 6 1/2" x 6 1/2"
From fabric 2 - 2 rectangles 2 1/2" x 6 1/2"
                     - 2 rectangles 2 1/2" x 10 1/2"

* Edited - Some people have asked if it would be okay to use a 5" square for the middle...that will be fine, as long as the finished square is 10 1/2".

Bordered square quilt block | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Assemble the Block

Add a 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" piece to both sides of the 6 1/2" square.
Bordered square quilt block | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Then add the remaining 2 1/2" x 10 1/2" pieces to the top and bottom.
Bordered square quilt block | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

And that's it! Easy, right? I don't know why I've never made a quilt from this block before, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how all of these quilts will turn out.

Here's the second block I made. The colour is a little off in this picture for some reason...that solid fabric is actually a lovely soft yellow.
Bordered square quilt block | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Mailing Your Block(s)

Because we want to get these quilts to the residents as quickly as possible, please mail your blocks  by May 1st. Email me (devotedquilter at gmail dot com) for my address when you are ready to mail. That will also help me keep track of how many blocks are heading my way 😊

Thank you so much for helping me bring a little comfort and love to these 21 people!

April 11, 2017

A New Baby Seat

This is now my third time making this genius roll-up baby chair from Canadian Living magazine. You can see Judah's version, but apparently I never blogged about Isaac's version. The recipient of this latest seat hasn't been born yet, so it's for 'Baby Kirby' for now.

The only change I make to the pattern is to add 3" to the top because I found Judah's seat was just a bit too short for some chairs. With the added length I'm fairly certain this seat will fit on almost any dining room chair.
Roll-up baby chair | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
It doesn't look like much when it's not in use, does it? Since there are no babies in my house anymore, Nathan's big teddy bear agreed to stand in as a model 😊
Roll-up baby chair | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
It is one of the most brilliant things I've ever come across and it's simple to make, which is a real bonus. How many times do parents go somewhere with baby and there's nowhere for baby to sit at the table so you end up holding the baby the whole time? Now, with this seat stashed in the diaper bag, it's easy to give baby his own seat and make everyone happy!

Here's what it looks like from the back of the chair.
roll-up baby chair | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
And here it is all opened up.
roll-up baby chair | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The plane fabric is just too cute, isn't it? It's from Camelot Fabrics and it's called "Take Flight." I just had to do a loopy-stipple quilting to go along with the smoke trails behind the planes.
loopy-stipple free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The seat folds up really small and the bias tape ties can even keep it all tied together.
roll-up baby chair | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
How I wish I had one of these when my boys were small! Next best thing, I'll just keep giving baby seats as shower gifts 😊 What is your go-to baby gift?

April 10, 2017


Devotion for the Week...

When Paul and I came back from our trip to the States, we had to go through Canadian customs in the Toronto airport. Looking at the other people in the line, I noticed that together we represented a bunch of different ethnicities and backgrounds. Despite how different we all looked, though, there was no question about any of us being allowed into Canada because we were all carrying Canadian passports. That little government-issued document identified all of us as being welcome to enter this country because we belong here.

Paul checked his bag multiple times before we left to be sure we had the passports because without them we wouldn't get out of Canada or get back in. Those documents are the proof of our identity and we absolutely had to have them.

I am a Canadian citizen by birth, but that only accounts for my physical citizenship. According to Philippians 3:20, my spiritual citizenship is a different matter. Paul wrote, "But our citizenship is in heaven." He also wrote, "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13,14).

Our physical citizenship is important, obviously, but it has nothing to do with allowing us into heaven. God will never look at whether we were Canadian or American or Australian or Indian or whatever. When it comes to gaining entry into eternal life with Him, only our spiritual citizenship will matter.

My Canadian citizenship was automatically given to me at birth. Our heavenly citizenship was also given to us automatically, at the moment of our spiritual birth into the family of God. As soon as we believed in Jesus as our Savior, we became citizens of heaven, welcome to enter God's 'country' because we belong there. Isn't that a beautiful thought?

We even have a passport to show our citizenship! "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13,14). Our heavenly passport is not a document, but the Holy Spirit living in us is proof that we belong to God's kingdom.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

It doesn't matter what we look like, where we came from or how different our backgrounds may be, if we have the Holy Spirit then we will be welcome into heaven. In fact, the Bible tells us specifically that all of the nations of the world will be represented in heaven: "After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9,10).

We'll have come from everywhere, but on that day we'll all be carrying the same passport and praising the same Lord.

April 07, 2017

The Beginning of the Rainbow

If you are here from The Needle and Thread Network, welcome! It's great to have you visit and I hope you'll stay for a while 😊 In the navigation bar just up there 👆 you can find links to my weekly devotions, my tutorials and my pattern shop, so feel free to explore. Sign up for my newsletter, too. On the 16th of each month, I send out The Bulletin, with links to new content here along with one of my favourite recipes and links to fun things to make.

Paul and I had a very interesting trip to Massachusetts last week to see Casting Crowns. It was my first time ever running through an airport trying to make a connection (we didn't make it) and all I could think as we were running was "I'm glad we've been running at home or we'd never be able to do this!" 😃😃😃

The concert itself was fantastic and I really hope to get to see them again someday. Maybe not when winter/spring weather will be able to interfere so much with our travel plans, though!

The first thing I packed for our trip was my Sew Together Bag full of EPP supplies, of course. I had lots of stars and grey diamonds for my Scattered Stars quilt, but I didn't end up working on that at all. Instead, I basted a bunch of red hexies so I could start sewing together my Hexie Rainbow quilt. Because everyone needs two long term EPP projects on the go at once, right?

This is where I'm heading with this Hexie Rainbow quilt...
Hexie Rainbow quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

1661 1" hexies to make a throw size quilt. Whew!

And this is what I have sewn together so far...
Hexie rainbow start | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

19 hexies. Haha!

I have more basted, though. All of the red ones are basted for the next round, plus another 114, some in all of the other colours I need. Which still leaves me with almost 1500 left to go, lol!

It's strange, but I definitely prefer working with hexagons rather than diamonds. I don't know what difference the shape makes, since I'm sewing along a straight side with either shape and the diamonds are no more difficult to work with than the hexagons. Weird, I know. I won't be giving up on my Scattered Stars quilt, though, as I really like where it's going, even if I didn't work on it this trip.

If you do EPP, do you have a shape you prefer?

Before I go, did you know that Craftsy is having a class sale this weekend? From April 7th - 9th, Craftsy's top classes are $19.99 or less, so be sure to check them out!*

Whatever you're working on, I hope you have a great weekend!

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

April 03, 2017

What is Sticking to You?

Devotion for the week:

A couple of weeks ago, I led our church's women's group in a craft where we dipped plain white mugs into water with a coating of nail polish on the top. I made these two.
nail polish mugs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
You can watch the video tutorial I used here. It's pretty amazing how the nail polish sticks to the surface of the mug and changes its look.

Dipping those mugs got me to thinking "what is sticking to you?" Obviously, I'm not thinking about the literal nail polish you may have sticking to your nails or the food colouring I sometimes have on my fingers 😊 I mean it figuratively - what sort of things are sticking to our minds and hearts?

In 1 Corinthians 15:33 Paul wrote, "Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character." Paul was writing about people who said there is no resurrection. He was warning the Corinthians to guard themselves against such 'bad company' because those errors and wrong thinking could rub off.

This is probably one of the most famous Bible verses, known even to those who know nothing else about the Bible. It's used by parents to warn their kids not to associate with certain other kids, ones the parents feel would be a bad influence. I wonder if it was used that way even in Paul's day.

The principle of it is pretty simple. Hang out with wise, moral people and you are more likely to become or continue to be a wise, moral person yourself. Hang out with foolish people, with those who steal or cheat or lie and you are more likely to eventually find yourself exhibiting those behaviors too. With Paul's use of it in relation to beliefs, we can understand how hanging out with those who believe the truth as shown in the Bible would be preferable to hanging out with those whose beliefs contradict it.

Back in Paul's day, the company a person kept was pretty easy to keep track of. It was the actual people in your life, the ones you saw at home or work or around the community. While they probably couldn't always choose their company, at least it was obvious. Nowadays, though, things are a little more complex. Yes, we still physically keep company with people in our home, workplace and community, but we keep company with so many others too. Sometimes we don't even realize we are keeping company with people because they are not physically there with us.

With us or not, though, we can certainly be influenced by the shows and movies we watch, by the books we read and by the people we follow on social media. What messages are sticking to us from those sources? Do those messages line up with what God says in His word? Are we allowing errors and wrong thinking to creep into our own beliefs? Are there ideas sticking to us that are completely contrary to how God wants us to live?

Strangely enough, as I was thinking about this devotion, I couldn't get away from the thought that the company we keep also includes ourselves. Are there times when what we tell ourselves just doesn't line up with the truth? Times when we tell ourselves that God could never forgive us for ____, or that we shouldn't bother praying about something because it's too small to be worth His time, or too big for Him to fix? Times when we tell ourselves He can't really love us because we're too sinful/stupid or unworthy in some other way? Tell yourself those things often enough and they'll start to stick in your heart, regardless of the truth.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Generally speaking, we can't see what is sticking to us very easily. We're just not good at that kind of self-awareness most of the time. Thankfully, there is a solution. David wrote, "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23,24). God knows everything about us, including the errors and wrong thinking we have taken on from others and the ones we've been telling ourselves. If we allow Him, He will show us those sticky things that need to be removed and the truths that should replace them.

March 27, 2017


Devotion for the Week...

Do you have a prayer warrior in your life? My mother-in-law certainly qualifies. I know that she spends regular time in prayer, that she prays for specific people at specific times of the day, and that she has huge faith in the power of prayer. Paul once joked that if you ever want something to happen, all you have to do is ask Mom to pray about it!

Sadly, I could not be described as a prayer warrior. I do certainly believe in the power of prayer, but I have a hard time committing to a set time to pray. And when I do settle in to pray for a while, it's not long before my mind wanders off in all kinds of unproductive directions. I end up feeling frustrated with myself and feeling like I'm not very good at praying, which seems like it should be the most simple and basic of things to do.

Do you ever have trouble staying focused when you pray? If you do, it turns out you and I are not alone. Acts 10:9-16 says,

"About noon...Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.'

'Surely not, Lord!' Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

The voice spoke to him a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.'

This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven."

Did you see the moment Peter got distracted in the middle of his prayer time? 

'He became hungry and wanted something to eat'. The Message renders that sentence as "Peter got hungry and started thinking about lunch." Isn't that great? Even Peter sometimes had trouble keeping his mind focused on prayer 😊

God knows us, right? He knows everything about us, including Peter's, and my, tendency to get distracted while praying. But He doesn't condemn us for it! While I get frustrated with myself and sometimes feel like I'm somehow less successful as a Christian because I can't stay focused on prayer, God actually used Peter's distraction to serve His purpose.

Peter was hungry and thinking about food, so God showed him a vision of a blanket full of animals Peter would never dream of eating and told him to go kill something and eat it. In parenting and childcare, this sort of thing would be considered a 'teachable moment'...using some everyday thing that's happening to teach the child an important lesson. In this case, God made use of Peter's thoughts about food to teach him an important lesson about faith in Jesus.

The vision God gave Peter doesn't actually have anything to do with food, that was just the everyday thing God used to teach Peter. He was preparing Peter to go to the home of a Gentile man and teach him about Jesus, even though Jews normally wouldn't associate with Gentiles at all. God used the analogy of 'unclean' food to teach Peter that no group of people would be considered 'unclean' anymore. Anyone would be welcome to come to Jesus, regardless of their race or background.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Obviously this doesn't mean we shouldn't try to stay focused when we're praying, but it does mean that we can stop feeling bad when our minds wander. God knows it happens. And maybe sometimes He'll even use those moments of distraction to serve His purpose.

March 23, 2017

Starting to Join My Scattered Stars

As you may have guessed from the title of the post, I've started to join my EPP stars 😉
EPP Scattered Stars | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The plan is not to join these in regular rows, but instead they'll be scattered across the quilt with different sized spaces between the stars. I think it will be rather improv-like as I piece it together. I just hope it looks as good in reality as it does in my head! Since I don't have any idea how big this will end up, I may still make more stars as I go to add to the 100-some I have now. We'll see how it looks as I go.

I had planned on using two or three different grey solids to join the stars, but then I saw this mottled grey in my stash and realized it would be perfect with the solid grey I had already started basting into diamonds. Unfortunately, I only have scraps of the mottled grey left, but I think I can get more soon.

EPP Diamonds | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The solid grey is, I think, Kona Graphite. If not, then it's a Northcott solid that is almost identical to Graphite. Either way, it has become my favourite neutral. Everything seems to pop against that grey!

Paul and I are going away next weekend (!) which will involve two days flying and hanging out in airports, so I'm hoping to make considerable progress on my EPP. This is still definitely a WISP, but I'm happy to be moving on to the next stage of it 😊

What are you working on this week?

March 20, 2017


Devotion for the Week...

I'm starting this one with a warning...this may fall into the realm of Too Much Information, so feel free to click away if you're uncomfortable. I won't be offended. Also, the vast majority of my readers are women, but if you are male and squeamish about talk of menstruation, you may not want to read any farther 😊

Still here? Great! Let's go!

I seem to have reached an age when my previously predictable monthly cycle has started to go a bit haywire. Specifically, I am now spotting almost every day, which is annoying as I'm sure you can imagine. It has, however, made me think a lot about one of the women in the Bible, known only as 'the bleeding woman'.

Her brief story is in Luke 8:43-48:

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”
But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” 

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed.  

Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Obviously, we don't know much about this woman; no name or family information or anything. We only know that she had been bleeding for 12 years and that no one could heal her.

The law states, in Leviticus 15:19-23, that during her period a woman is unclean. Anything she lays or sits on is unclean. Anyone who touches anything she lays or sits on will be unclean. And anyone who touches her will be unclean. Then, in verses 25-27 it says that if a woman has any discharge of blood that continues beyond her regular period all the regular rules still apply until the bleeding stops for 7 consecutive days.

 For me, this spotting-almost-every-day thing is annoying. It's irritating. But that's about it. For her it would have been truly, horrendously awful. 

No one could touch her without becoming ceremonially unclean. For 12 years. Can you even imagine how lonely that must have made her? What would it be like to go even 1 month without a single hug, or pat on the back or even so much as a fist bump?

No one could heal her, the Bible says. I wonder how many people she had been to for help. I wonder how much money she had spent trying new treatments and if she had given up hope.

Now picture her in a crowd of people, looking at a man they say can heal any disease. She's not supposed to touch Him, but she has tried everything else and He is her last hope. So she reaches out her hand and touches his clothing, believing that even just that much contact will be enough to stop the bleeding. And it worked! Immediately she knew that the bleeding had stopped.

But Jesus knew that power had left Him. He stopped and asked who touched Him. Imagine how scared she must have been. She wasn't supposed to touch Him. Obviously she tried to stay quiet and hoped He'd just shrug it off and move on, since Jesus had to insist that someone had touched Him, but eventually she had to come forward and tell her story in front of that whole crowd.

Was there a sharp intake of breath from the crowd when she admitted that she, an unclean woman, had touched Him? Could she feel judgement from people who thought she had done wrong? We don't know, because the Bible doesn't say. 

What I love, though, is that it does tell us that there was no judgement from Jesus.

Jesus didn't care about keeping up appearances. He didn't care about following rules that made it harder to actually help people. He healed people on the Sabbath, even after being told off by the religious leaders for doing work when they felt He shouldn't have. And when this unfortunate woman admitted to touching Him, He simply commended her for her faith and told her to go in peace.

She could have let fear of condemnation and judgement hold her back. She could have stayed and just watched Him walk by. She could have continued on as she was, bound by her bleeding. But instead she reached out and touched the only One who could heal her.

What about us? Are there things we're avoiding bringing to Jesus because we're afraid He'll condemn us? Our uncleanness is not a physical or ceremonial thing, but there can be times when we avoid God because we're ashamed of what we've said/thought/done. We can come to Him freely, though, certain that there will be no judgement or condemnation, only acceptance and forgiveness. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1,2). Jesus went to the cross to take all of our sins. All of them. Even the ones we don't want to talk about, or the ones we think He can't ever forgive us for. He can handle it all. In fact, He already has. 
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

We simply have to come to Him in faith and He will take away our uncleanness, giving us the same relief He gave the bleeding woman so long ago.

March 14, 2017

Spring Into Colour 2017

March has come roaring in like a lion here in Newfoundland and we have been buried in lots of new snow. This is the view out my dining room window right now...
Snow | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

White, white and more white!

To be honest, I don't really mind the snow, but around the spring equinox I start to feel like maybe it's time for all that white to be transformed into an abundance of colour. It's time for flowers, in my mind if not actually in the world around me 😊

In search of more colour, I'm hosting the Spring Into Colour 2017 Instagram photo challenge. Starting on March 20 I'll post a colour related photo prompt each morning for you to use to create your picture for the day. We'll be using the hashtag #springintocolour2017. And I'm Canadian, so don't forget the 'u' in colour!
Spring into Colour Photo Challenge | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Did I mention there are prizes?? Make Modern magazine is generously donating 3 6-month subscriptions to be chosen randomly from all photos posted and tagged with #springintocolour2017. To be eligible, your account must be set to public so I can see your posts. I'll randomly choose the three winners on April 4 and notify them through Instagram.

I hope you'll join me in springing into colour!

March 13, 2017

So Close...

Devotion for the Week...

I am constantly amazed at how often something new will occur to me as I read my Bible, even though I have read it all before. One recent example is when I read John 18:14, which says, "Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people." I know I've read that before, many times even, but nothing ever stood out to me about it. This time was different.

Caiaphas was the high priest in Jerusalem when Jesus was brought for his 'trial'. This was no proper trial, of course, as it was happening in the middle of the night and with witnesses who were known to be lying. Even more disturbing is the fact that the Sanhedrin had obviously already decided what needed to be done and were simply making a show of following procedure.

When it says "Caiaphas was the one who had advised..." it is referencing John 11:50-53, where Caiaphas is recorded as saying, "You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life."

What I find interesting is that Caiaphas prophesied, meaning that what he said was a message directly from God, but he totally misunderstood the message he was given. While Caiaphas understood that Jesus had to die, he misunderstood why. In fact, Caiaphas took the message to mean exactly what he wanted it to mean...that Jesus would die and that would preserve the way of life that had Caiaphas in a position of authority and power.

He was so close to getting God's plan, but yet so far away.

The biggest realization I had was that Caiaphas didn't ignore God's reason for Jesus' death  - he didn't ever see it! He was so fixated on the here-and-now, on his own agenda and what would benefit him most, that he never even thought about what the words he prophesied could mean in another context.

Are we doing the same? Are we so focused on the here-and-now that we forget to look for the eternal implications of what is going on around us? Are we looking so intently at what could benefit us most today that we don't notice the things God is doing that will benefit us and others for eternity?
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

To be honest, I don't know what would have been different if Caiaphas had seen the eternal. Jesus still would have died, after all, since that was God's plan, but something certainly would have been different in Caiaphas' heart. How would that difference have affected the rest of his life? Unfortunately, we'll never know.

The same is true for us. I believe that God's plans always happen, but it's possible for us to live our lives completely unaware of His work in our world. What do we miss out on by being oblivious? What could we gain by being aware?

March 09, 2017

30 Quilt Designs Challenge

The 30 Quilt Designs Challenge is coming to an end and it has been a lot of fun to keep myself designing regularly and to see what everyone else has come up with. Thanks to Sandra (Musings of a Menopausal Melon) and Lisa (Sunlight in Winter Quilts) for hosting and to Melody (The Red Hen Shop) for sponsoring. If you want to check out all the designs, you can see them all here. There are some great designs there!

I still have one design to go, but I think I'll manage to get it in before the March 15th deadline. You can see some of my designs from early in the challenge here and today I'm sharing some of the later ones.

I wanted to play with an Irish Chain-like design and Asymmetrical Stars is the result. I love the dark background and the asymmetrical setting.
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
You'll have to use your imagination a little for this design 😊 I wanted those big stripes dividing the quilt, but I couldn't figure out how to make EQ7 let me draw it. I ended up drawing the bottom row as a block, but then the program wouldn't let me put blocks in those squares. So, just pretend all of those blank squares have stars too, okay?
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I'm calling this one Scraps Squared and it is definitely on the to-make list. Actually, I've been making single-colour 4 patches as leaders and enders for quite a while so I have more than I need to make this quilt. I just need to get some black and I could start assembling blocks as leaders and enders.
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
And this one may well be my favourite design of the whole challenge. I've wanted to make a medallion for a long time, but I don't like most of the medallion designs I see. I find they tend to look too crazy and cluttered. I designed this one with lots of negative space included to give each of the different borders room to breathe. This is on the to-make list as well 😊
Quilt designs | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I've already pulled fabric for one design from the challenge and I have another one about half pieced (and I looooove it!). There will be more information about them soon 😊 Secret sewing is hard, but if you want little sneak peeks you can follow me on Instagram - I'm @devotedquilter and I share lots of peeks at what I'm working on.

Well, thanks to these two design challenges, I now have more quilts I want to make than I'll ever have time for, but I'm sure having fun trying to make them all!

March 06, 2017

Not What I Would Say

Devotion for the Week...

Confession time...I am a lot more open about talking about God here on the blog than I am in real life. I'm not sure why. I think it has something to do with feeling like if people aren't interested in reading a devotion they can just skip it, where that's not so easy to do in a conversation. I don't want to make people feel uncomfortable, or like they have to listen to 'religious' talk if they don't want to.

I am not a bold person in general. I hate anything that even hints of conflict and will try very hard to avoid it, even when it would be better to speak up. Sometimes I feel like talking about what I believe might create a conflict and so I just stay quiet.

And then I read something like this: "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus" (Acts 4:29,30). 

A little context is needed here...Peter and John had been arrested by the religious leaders for teaching about Jesus. While in front of these angry and powerful men, Peter again proclaimed the truth about Jesus. The leaders didn't know what to do next. They felt they couldn't harm Peter and John because the people loved them, but they needed to stop them from teaching about Jesus. Finally, "after further threats they let them go" (v. 21).

Released, Peter and John told the other believers what had happened to them and then they all prayed together. And that's when they prayed "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus" (vv.29, 30).  

Consider their threats, they prayed. Makes sense, right? 'Lord, you heard what these men just threatened us with, didn't you?' Yeah, I can see me saying something like that.

"Consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness." What? That's definitely not what I would say! My conflict-fearing heart would be cowering in the corner, trying to figure out a way to never draw the attention of those leaders again. But not Peter and John and the others.

Consider their threats, but then give us boldness to continue speaking about Jesus anyway.

It's like they were saying, 'Lord, you heard the threats. You know how scared we are. So give us an extra measure of boldness so that these threats won't be enough to make us stop.'

And did you notice that they not only asked for boldness to speak for Him, but they also asked for God to perform signs and wonders through the name of Jesus? They weren't looking to quietly share about Jesus to a few people here and there. They were looking for miracles and healings that would draw attention to their work and their teaching. It was practically guaranteed that those signs and wonders they were asking for would be noticed by the religious leaders, who would arrest them again, or worse. But those signs and wonders would also be seen by the general public as proof that what they were teaching was truth, thereby helping the people to believe in Jesus as their Savior. It was all part of them speaking boldly, drawing attention to their life-changing message.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Maybe my problem is that I've never asked for boldness. I've tried relying on my own power when it comes to talking about God, but obviously that isn't going to be enough. Maybe it's time I try being like Peter and John and asking God to make me bold.

What about you? Do you speak freely about God or do you find yourself like me, staying quiet for fear of offending someone or making them uncomfortable? Will you join me in asking for boldness?

March 02, 2017

Connections - A Free Block Tutorial

Devoted Quilter is 4 today! 

I'm amazed that I've been blogging for a full 4 years now 😊 I wanted to do something to mark the day, so I thought about doing a giveaway, but that really only benefits one person (the winner) and I wanted something that would be for everyone. That's when I thought of doing a free block tutorial, because we all love new quilt blocks, right?
Connections Quilt Block Tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

I'm calling this block Connections. Partly because of the secondary pattern created when blocks are put together, but also because I wanted to create a block to celebrate the connections I've made with all of you through this blog, reading your blogs and through Instagram. This online quilting community it awesome!

Thank you for all of your support and encouragement these past four years. Your comments, especially, always make my day.

Without further ado -

Connections - a 12" block

Here is what the block looks like when tiled together. Don't you love those connections that form between the blocks?
Connections Quilt Layout | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Let's get started!



For one block:

Background - 8 rectangles 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Dark Aqua - 4 rectangles 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"

Light Aqua - 4 rectangles 2 1/2" x 4 1/2"
                   - 4 squares 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"

Pink - 1 square 5 1/4" x 5 1/4" **

White - 1 square 5 1/4" x 5 1/4" **

** Note - the method we'll use to make the center hourglass block makes two at a time, so if you're making a quilt with this block you need 1 square of each colour for every 2 blocks you plan to make.

Make the Connecting Units

Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of all of the light aqua 2 1/2" squares.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Pin the 2 1/2" square to one end of the dark aqua 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle as shown.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Stitch on the drawn line, then trim 1/4" away from the seam.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
It was at this point I realized my new phone takes better pictures than our DSLR, so I switched
Press open.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Stitch a background 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle to the connector strip as shown.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Make the Side Units

Stitch the remaining background 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles to the light aqua 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles as shown.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Make the Center Hourglass

Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the back of the white 5 1/4" square.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Pin the white and pink 5 1/4" squares together and stitch 1/4" away from the line on both sides. Cut apart on the drawn line to make two HSTs.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Press open. On the back of one of the HSTs, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner, crossing the seam. Pin the two HSTs together, alternating colours and nesting the seams.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Stitch 1/4" away from the drawn line on both sides. Cut apart on the drawn line.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Press open and trim the hourglass block to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2".

Assemble the Block

Arrange the units in 3 rows of 3 as shown, paying careful attention to the orientation of the units.
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Stitch the units into rows and then join the rows to complete the block and you're done!
Connections Quilt Block tutorial | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

As always, if you make this block, I'd love to see it! Tag me on Instagram (@devotedquilter) or Facebook (@devotedquilterdesigns) or send me an email (devotedquilter at gmail dot com).

 Here's to many more years of quilting together!
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