Thursday, August 25, 2011

Memory Eye Candy

The weekend is coming! The weekend is coming!! :-)
And it's gonna be a good one!!
I've gotten several things done this week, and I'm as pleased as punch about it! Nothing like actually finishing something (I am, after all, Queen Starts-a-lot) to make me feel that I'm not THE most useless person on the planet right now!

AND! I'm getting company! My friend Jennifer and her boys are coming up for a special Memorial Run for my Sam...more about that in a minute....

Look what I've done!! :-D
This is a "Little Jo" pattern from Jo Morton. I've had it pieced for a while, and finally machine quilted it on my Bernina.  I used the walking foot on the 4-patches, and did some free-motion "L's" and "U's" in the sashing strips and some curly waves in the borders.  I used matching thread, of course! So you can't see my blunders, but I'm thrilled with the finish!

I also managed to complete two t-shirt quilts I had in the works for a friend.  One is bound (yippee!) and the other is at the quilter.

They are for members of the same family, so they are similar, but uniquely their own with their memories represented in those wonderful t-shirts.  The mom asked for quotations on her son's quilt.  It was fun figuring out how to do the letters, and they turned out really cool....

So much so that I used them on Jennifer's quilt -- which is actually finished in time for her visit here this weekend!!  I've called the quilt "The Best of Times" -- and it is representative of the many places we went and memories our families made together.  I wanted the quilt to be a kind of scrap book of our time together.

A dear friend of mine, Mary Greene, made a scrap book for me of Sam...She is such an artist!! Look at some of the pages she created:

The rest of the album is just as beautiful, like memory eye-candy!  My quilt doesn't approach Mary's kind of artistry, but at least it brings to mind many of our adventures together.  We'll reminisce while they are here.

Also this weekend, Cumberland Homeschool Athletic Teams (CHAT :-) is hosting the Sam Casada Trail Blazer Memorial Run.  This is the organization through which Sam and Jennifer's boys got to compete in cross country and basketball.  Jennifer and her boys are coming up to participate in the run and spend some time with us.

A local girl drew a likeness of Sam for the run's t-shirt.

It's gonna be a great weekend!

The book of Proverbs tells us that "The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot."  (Proverbs 10:7 NIV)
Love it!!

At the end of the story of Esther, that brave queen who intervened for her people in the Old Testament, the writer admonishes us, "These days should be remembered and observed in every generation, by every family..." (Esther 9:28 NIV)

How are you making memory eye candy?  Will your memory be a blessing?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hearts Fly Free

I've been sorta paralyzed for the last several weeks, getting only a little bit done on projects with deadlines, but not really accomplishing as much as I'd like, nor getting to projects that are burning in my brain to be started!  And the truth is, I don't really function well in chaos....which is a shame, 'cause I don't really function well as a housekeeper, either! LOL

We had a bunch of friends over on Saturday night, though, and the impending cook-out/games night meant getting my house in order for company!  My sewing room looked like the villains from Raiders of the Lost Ark had come through, ransacking for ancient powerful artifacts!! Is that the Ark of the Covenant!!! The Holy Grail? Glowing stones for ancient gods or crystals left by aliens!?! 

NO! just gigantic piles of fabrics, scraps, and tools, thank you very much!

Since I can't seem to clean the rest of the house until the sewing room is done, I tied in and got-r-done!

Finally, then, I'm free from the weeks of  clutter and ever-mounting piles of stuff! in my sewing room (although I dare not open the closet door too fast for fear of an avalanche!!  That is a project for another day!), and I'm able to start something I've been wanting to do for a while.

I delved into my scraps today to make a leader/ender project.  Many of the pieces had already been cut into 1 1/2" strips, so I started whittling them down into squares for "Crabapples" from Bonnie Hunter's Adventures with Leaders and Enders book.

I'll feed my leaders and enders through as I work on a couple more quilts for others (I've got a t-shirt quilt and a couple of memorial quilts on the burner) and on Sam's Darling Hearts.  Last week I received a block from Teresa at Fabric Therapy, and it's another beautiful addition to the quilt:

That brings the total of blocks I've received up to 34!!!  I'm eager to start putting them together!!

I love the words Teresa embroidered on her block:  "Hearts Fly Free"

I've been reading in the gospel of John this month, and Jesus talks a lot about freedom!  "The truth will set you free," He says in chapter 8, verse 32.  A little further in the chapter He says this...
"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."  (John 8:34-35)

There's no doubt in my mind that my son Sam is free!! What a blessing! What a testimony!  So Teresa's block is another beautiful expression of Sam's life and death.  I've been amazed at how people have understood his heart and made blocks that just "fit," you know?

Now if I could just get all my sewing stuff to fit....
I'm not sure even Indiana Jones could help me with that!!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Temptation comes in many forms and I've had more than my share in the last little while!! :-) Who knew I would be so easily led astray!! LOL

Our pastor called our church to a corporate Daniel fast this month. Like Daniel in the Bible, he encouraged the congregation to eat simply and Biblically. Traditionally, Daniel is said to have eaten vegetables and fruits, no meats or sweets or the "rich foods of the king." Jeff and I agreed to give it a try. I did very well at home, even lost 4 lbs in the first 4 days!  ...

But when I traveled with some friends to Berea, KY for their annual Quilt Extravaganza, I didn't fare so well!

My friends and I ate at the inestimable historic Boone Tavern, Berea College's hotel and restaurant of modern Southern cuisine. I was done for!! Chicken in a Bird's nest (the nest is made of deep fried, thin strips of potatoes) with cranberry orange jelly! Spoon bread!! It was fantastic. Not so good for my consistency on the Daniel fast! :-)

And then there were the vendors at the quilt show!! I do not need fabric.  But it's difficult to resist some of the beautiful things I saw.  I managed to pick up just a few goodies.  I still don't know how to use batiks or hand-dyes, but I'm drawn to their rich color and silky texture.  I succumbed to temptation all too easily!

In the wake of my loss this summer, I find myself lonely for Sam so often.  And with that loneliness comes the temptation to fill the emptiness with the wrong things. 

Wanting to be closer than is appropriate with a fun male friend. 
Spending too much. 
Giving in to depression. 
Pulling away from God. 
Telling Him, "I don't want to be close to You right now!"

He is so big and so mighty, though, that my pain and the resulting temptations do not scare or surprise Him!  In fact, He is aware in every way of what I am going through. 

The writer of Hebrews explains:
"...He had to be made like his brothers in every way in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people." (Hebrews 2:17 NIV)

Then, catch this in verse 18:
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."
The Apostle Paul says, "And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

I don't think it's ever easy to resist temptation.  Sometimes, it's downright painful.  And right now, that pain seems to compound the other loss that I feel.  But Jesus knows all about suffering, and He is able to help.

I don't know exactly what way of escape will be available, but when I need it, He will provide it.  It will probably include that perfect little word that is so hard to say:  "No!"  But He will help me say it.

And He will fill the empty places as no one and nothing else can!


Monday, August 1, 2011

10th Hour

A day late and a dollar short....
Yeah! That's about right!! LOL
Finally! Finally got  my Hands 2 Help Challenge Quilt top completed!!  I've struggled with this one!!

Diane sent me some beautiful bright fabrics along with a soothing gray.  (Her blog -- click here -- is just beautiful, too!) I added fabrics from my stash and this is the finished flimsey:

The quilt has to be in the mail no later than the end of this week, so I'll be putting it on the Hobby Quilter tomorrow to finish it up and get it mailed on time. 

My friend Pat from upstate New York :-), the Project Linus Coordinator in our area, volunteered to send a quilt for the children in Romania!! Pat's quilt, like mine, is bright colors -- and she used the cutest print for the backing!! I'm so thrilled to have an extra quilt to send with mine!!

Seems like for weeks now that I've spun my wheels and not gotten much done, but perhaps I've turned a corner by getting Jennifer's quilt top (last post) and this one complete.

I need to work on Farmer's Wife blocks this week, complete a block for a friend (due on Saturday), get my club's Mystery Quilt installment written...
Lots to do!

My church is reading the Gospel of John together during the next 21 days -- one chapter a day.  Today was the first day and first chapter.  It tickled me to read that a couple of John the Baptist's desciples followed Jesus about the "tenth hour." :-)  (Wonder if they were working on quilts for orphans?! :-D)

Even more impressive, though, is Andrew's response to Jesus:
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.  (John 1:41-42a)
It's never too late -- 10th hour or no! -- to know Jesus.  It's never to late to tell someone else and bring them to Him!!