Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Let's face it.
I'm a quilting meddler.
I'm one of those pattern changers who cannot leave well enough alone!
If it's square, I make it oblong.  If's it's fusible, I make it needle-turn.  If it's in pastels, I force it into my pallete of brown, green, gold and red.  (Blue is for cool people: I think I'm a "warm" person. :-P)

All that changing is working well for me so far this week, though! :-D

First is my UFO (Judy's UFO Challenge) for the month of March.  #1 for me was Stars Around the Garden, a block of the month from Bits 'n Pieces.  I've had the 14 pieced blocks done for a while, but could NOT seem to get "into" the applique center medallion.  What to do, what to do.....? 

I rummaged around, found some pinwheel blocks I'd planned to use with another quilt that I meddled with (the one Mary at Quilt Hollow is quilting now!! Isn't she just a fabulous quilter!?!), and thought, "Hmmmm......" 

So I had enough pinwheels for most of the center, and just had a 10 1/2" x 21" space to fill....what can I put in there? OH! Why not Bear Paw blocks!!!!

Here's the result, a finished top for the UFO Challenge! The lighter brighter colors intended for the flowers sorta make my pieced center glow. I don't mind a bit! :-)  It's DONE! (well, the top is! :-D and now I can get back to February's and see if I can get caught up! :-D)

I've also been working on Eventide (the quilt-along with Thelma at Cupcakes 'n Daisies).

Yeah, I'm thinking of changing it up a little, too.  It's very nearly square.  I just prefer oblong quilts.  Probably because beds are oblong.  I don't have any square beds in the house.  I probably don't have any square walls either! LOL (That's a little carpentry humor...very little! :-P)

Here's my progress so far on Eventide.  I have some more quarter-square triangles and Ohio Star blocks pieced....gonna play around and see if I want to make changes to it.

I've got some other projects to complete.....
My "Brown Bag Quilt Challenge" quilt has an April 1st deadline.

My other UFO for March is my Mountain Laurel Sampler (I've got about 2/3rds of it hand quilted; here's one of the blocks)....NOT gonna get that one done this month. 

I've been watching Teresa at Fabric Therapy as she hand quilts her All Around the Town quilt.  I love how she has made the quilt her own with her whimsical additions to the pattern. 

I think it's interesting that what we do as quilters is so very similar to what God does with us.  There is a very clear pattern that He has designed for us; we are to be like Jesus!

Yet He never intended that we should be only clones of His Master Design.  One of my favorite passages, 1 John 3:2 (NIV), says,
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
I don't always know exactly how my quilts are gonna turn out.  But my hope is that they will be like the design, yet uniquely mine.  I rejoice that, as I follow and emulate Jesus, I am still free to be who God made me to be! His design; my colors and personality and size!  I will not be Him, but I will be like Him.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cut it out!!

Earlier in the year there was a lot of hubbub about choosing your word for the year.  I thought and thought about it.  But none of the words that occurred to me early in the year were right for me.  Other people picked really good ones. 

Shelley chose "KISS" (for Keep It Simple, Shelley!).  No more complicating things.  Good word!
My friend Paula chose "accept."  To accept circumstances in life that we don't always understand.  To accept generosity and grace....Another excellent word.

I think I've found my word. Finally.
NO -- finally isn't the word, silly!! My word is


I'm cutting this year.
Cutting out things that suck the life outa me. 

Like the politics of women.  I don't mean national politics.  I mean women-on-women crime.  Nastiness. Competitiveness.  "If you're friends with her you can't be friends with me."  Or the insidious "Did you know...." about so-n-so (otherwise known as "gossip"). 

Do you get any of that with the women you know?  CUT!!!  I'm finding that if I walk away from conversations that cut down other women, I'm a whole lot less likely to get dragged into the politics of females, AND I never have to worry about what I've said!  Help me, Lord, to cut out my eager ear and wagging tongue!!

I'm cutting out the fat!!
Two kinds of fat, actually.

All the stuff I don't need to do.  I don't need to volunteer for every worthy notion that comes along in my kids' activities or church or even quilt club!  I don't need to say YES just because I CAN.  Can and should are two very different things. 

There are specific things I'm called to do....Be a wife, a mother, a homeschooler, a worship leader, and a quilter.  (Well, of course, a quilter! DUH! :-P) Anything that doesn't fit into the mission statement of those things is open game for the blade.

I'm cutting the fat on my body! It's about time.  Three months into the year, and I'm down nearly 20 lbs.  It's slow going, but I'm determined.  A dear friend of mine, a former pastor who has always been in excellent shape, suffered a heart attack a few nights ago.  He will recover, but how much worse would he have fared if he hadn't been in pretty good shape to begin with?  So -- I'm cutting the fat and the junk foods and trying to eat and exercise in a way that promotes health. 

I'm cutting down the spending.  The stash I have is enough fabric to provide quilts down to the 5th generation.  (Lord help me live long enough!! :-D) I'm trying to make everything from stash from now on. I'll probably still buy the occasional small piece of fabric (like I did today, Paula! :-D) -- but I'm not indulging in every "That's so pretty!" I feel at quilt shows, quilt shops, online haunts and ebay.  Enough!!

And finally, I'm cutting my fabric!!!

With the help of so many of you, who inspire me to be creative and use what I have and LOVE it....I'm cutting into all those pieces I've been saving for "just the right project."  THIS project -- whatever it is! -- is the right project.  THIS project -- will have a place for that yardage or fat quarter or scrap that's waiting in closets or bins or shelves to be cut.

Jesus was all about cutting deadwood in your life.  "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off...If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off..." (Mark 9: 43, 45).  Better, He says, that you go through life maimed than let the deadwood drag you to hell.  Strong words.
Good words.

His and my soapbox message to me! :-)  (Thank you, Jesus!)
Is there anything you need to cut out this year?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chicks, Blocks and Stacks

It's been a productive week for me!!  Since Jeff left on Wednesday, I've been burning the midnight oil -- partly to exhaust myself because, just as I've gotten accustomed to having a bed-fellow again, he's gone and I have to figure out how to keep myself warm!
:-) Sigh....

I tied into a several-day project of re-organizing my sewing room.

It was SUCH a mess!! So all the furniture went out, all the fabric went out, all the projects -- finished and unfinished! -- went out, and the cleaning and sorting began.

I didn't realize how much fabric I have....!! I got it all sorted by color, and stacked to the ceiling in the closet.  Before I'd kept lines or types separated, but this is much better.  I can see at a glance what I have.

Um....I think I can lay off the background fabrics for a while.  I think I don't need to buy any fabric until the next millennium!!

I organized my projects, too.  I bought hang-up shelves for my closet rod, and stacked boxed-up projects into them so I can pull them out easily.  Before they were stacked willy-nilly on the closet floor and I could never find something without pulling out a million things! UGH!  How can I complete Judy's UFO Challenge if I can't find the UFO!? So that's much better!

I kept my peg racks on the wall for blocks to hang on.  They're pretty!! :-)  and they are a good reminder that those projects need attention.

I had to drop everything on Sunday, though, with a phone call from the post office.  Did I wanna come up and get my baby chicks!?  I wasn't expecting them 'til Monday, but okay. Yeah. :-)  They are the cutest little things!  My friend and fellow quilter Tracy and her family piggy-backed the order with us, so they came Monday to pick up their baker's dozen.  Nothing bonds people like quilting and chickens! LOL 

With all this going on, I managed to actually sew!!! I'd curtailed my sewing time while Jeff was home, so it was heaven to sew nearly the whole day today.  I worked on Eventide (a Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. pattern), Thelma's sew-along at Cupcakes n' Daisies.  I've also been working on the mystery quilt I'm leading at my club (a tease, since I can't show it to you!), and I've got 25 blocks finished on the Farmer's Wife.  I'll be doing a dozen or so more blocks for the FW this week in preparation for our monthly class. 

And while doing all these, I've also been "leaders and enders"-ing on Cathedral Stars, the class I missed with Bonnie Hunter.  She's's like getting a bonus quilt while you work on another one!!!  I have my little basket of "twosies" -- 2 - 2" squares, a light and a medium/dark -- stacked up and ready to feed into the machine between chain sewing other units.  Fun, fun, fun!!

And all in an orderly room that doesn't smother me anymore!

Paul wrote "For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is." (Colossians 2:5 NIV)

Thank the Lord that my faith in Christ is much firmer than my ability to keep my sewing room orderly!!  :-D 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gains and Losses!

The last two days have been wonderful and interesting and exhilerating and sad... Tuesday, in particular was a day of both gains and losses!!

I had to miss taking a class in Pigeon Forge with the fabulous Bonnie Hunter.  I scheduled the class in Pigeon Forge back near the first of the year.  Jeff's leave from Afghanistan was scheduled for the last two weeks of February, so I was sure I would be able to enjoy Bonnie with no guilt! :-D 

The army is never particularly predictable...and sure enough Jeff's leave fell right before the class....and his LAST day of leave was on the day OF the class.  Sigh.  I sure would have loved to have been there with my friends.  Bonnie was gracious enough to send a hello my way! Isn't that cool!?!?

I lost time with dear friends Lynn, Paula and Debbie in Pigeon Forge and lost getting started on Cathedral Stars, Bonnie's pattern (the quilt in the background!) in my choice of colors. What a great stash buster this quilt will be!  I'll still make it; I just didn't get to start it with my friends. :-(

But I also gained some pretty fabulous stuff....

I gained time with Jeff who is by now winging his way back toward Afghanistan.  He's only got another six to eight weeks of duty to pull, and he should be home by early May.  Godspeed, my dear!!

(Here's some footage of what he's doing over there :-)

That's my hubby talking about grafting -- the one with the big grin in the beginning of the video. :-)  He's doing something very good over there, but it will be better to have him home!

I gained other things this week, too.
The confirmation that I have great friends.
The generosity of alot of people.  I mean really!! A pic of Bonnie saying hello posted to facebook! I smiled for the whole rest of the day!!!
I won a prize, today, too! My choice of a book from the Fat Quarter Shop from Thelma at Cupcakes and Daisies.
And I met another new-to-me quilter at my church.

A great week! A little bittersweet, but it's these times that make life so good.

Jesus had something to say about gains and losses...
Mark 8:34-36 (New American Standard Bible)

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?
Sometimes it's difficult to know in your circumstance if you are gaining or losing.  A rare day with a lovely famous quilt instructor who won't be anywhere close for a couple of years or more :-)  or a quiet day at home with the one you love.  Hmmmm....


But one thing is sure.  We don't want to exchange temporary gains only to lose what is most important!!