Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Learning Curves

I am committed to getting this quilt done before Thanksgiving.  I originally had planned on the end of this month, but with everyone home for fall break and catching a bug I just don't see it happening by Sunday.  This has been an interesting one for me.  I met some new designers and quilters during a quilt blog hop and this pattern belongs to one of them: Heather Mulder Peterson.
Harvest Time quilt in progress
 This was a stretch for me out of my ordinary color schemes.  I think it is the first time I have ever been bold with purples and oranges.  These are the fabrics I ended up choosing after a couple of days of deliberations, the colors show up so much better here.  From the photos it is hard to see that the background fabric is covered with tan flowers and vines so does not appear as white as it does here.  That actually was one of the harder choices-the background.  I had a more tan overall piece but the pumpkin seemed kind of lost on it so I ended up going with the lighter background.
I am really focusing on using up some of my fabric stash and am pleased that the only thing I had to purchase for this one was the backing- Go Me!
My new pressing table is giving me a space that I love as I can lay everything out as I get ready to sew.
The piecing has gone very well.  One of the designers on the blog had a special offer on her Clearly Perfect Angles.  I had something similar that I had to tape down to my machine every time I wanted to use it and this one was made out of that plastic that clings, which totally intrigued me and I decided to give it a try.  I love it.
It not only works for piecing half square triangles but gives me a nice long line for accurate seams too.
(I think my Dh did a very good job of cutting the plexiglass to fit around my machine so that I could drop it down in the table we made and have a nice big smooth surface for sewing quilts.

Yesterday it was on to machine applique.  This was only my third attempt and with some tips from Pat Sloan's techniques book I think I made some real improvement.   I am having to learn how to do curves on this one, the pumpkin that goes in the middle has a nice big curve but the oak leaves, lots of action there and it was a bit of a challenge for this newbie to applique.
Buttonhole stitch on my first oak leaf
Overall I am pretty pleased with how evenly the stitches are coming out, even on all those little curves.  I have one more oak leaf block to do and then it is on to the pumpkin in the middle and a couple of borders.  Looks like I will succeed in getting the top completely done by the end of the week.

Our dear mail lady came by yesterday- she truly is one of my best friends- bringing the new BOM I signed up for.  Another new designer for me, Terri Degenkolb, and another new technique to learn: needle turn applique.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fear Not

This is a photo I snapped while camping at one of my favorite places along the Rogue River in Oregon.  It is a foggy day here in Texas this morning too. I actually love foggy mornings, except when they last throughout the day and then into the next and the next.  The problem with fog is it hides things that we need to see.
It has not been long enough since I wrote about a mother's loss and once again my heart has been burdened for another mom who has lost her child.  At the same time there is rejoicing with a mom whose prodigal has returned.  What a roller coaster.  As I wept on Sunday night, God saw me.  He heard me.  As I rejoiced on Tuesday night, God saw me.  He heard me.  He is always there for me, even when all I can manage is a cry of weakness.  Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. -Luke 12:32, NKJ.  That is a lot easier to accept when the news is good.  Another verse hit me this morning, Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life...Matthew 7:14a.  Difficult is the way.  Isn't it supposed to be easy once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior?  I am back to the song that was on my heart a couple of weeks ago- Held-and this line in particular: Who told us we'd be rescued?  What is changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?  We're asking why this happens to us who have died to live, it's unfair.
I know that some of my nightmares have been my own doing.  Others have been the result of evil in the world around  me.  The only thing that has not changed for me is that God still sees me.  He still hears me.  At my best, He has been there.  At my worst, He has remained faithful.
My world is full of questions that I don't have good answers to.  This is one thing I do know- I don't have to live in fear.  By nature I am a very fearful person.  I jotted one more verse down in my notebook today:  But why do you call Me "Lord, Lord" and not do the things which I say? Honestly when I wrote that one down I was thinking it was for someone else.   But, how many times has He told me not to fear?  How many times did I read today in the Gospels that I should not worry about anything?  My life is a witness to God's faithfulness and yet I still struggle in this area.  O Father God, help me to trust You and not fear-lift the fog that hides what I need to see today.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On a Mission to Find UFO's

Pat Sloan's blog today challenged us to a mission involving UFO's.  Not the kind that fly around in the sky, but those unfinished objects in our quilting rooms.  This morning I gathered and sorted my UFO's into piles--at Pat's suggestion as she guides us in this process.

Here are three of my piles.  The first pile just needs to have bindings finished.  One is soooo close, just ten inches left to stitch.  The middle pile is ready to be quilted or in the process of being quilted..  The final pile is waiting on borders.

Now these are the projects in various stages of piecing, not including the one on my design wall currently and the wildflower applique I have going- oh and did I mention I started a small fall quilt yesterday inspired by some quilting gals in a quilt bloghop last week.  A couple of these are for a class I am taking, and another two are block of the months.  But the others...I think I need to work on finishing one before getting pulled in by another, so I am very thankful for Pat's encouragement in this area.

A huge blessing that came yesterday is the result of the benefits of being a college professor's wife- free stuff when the college is upgrading.  My dear hubby came home with a drafting table.  If I had the space I would have taken two, one for drafting patterns and the other for the purpose I had in mind.

The drafting table
After a few hours work the hardware is removed from the top, two layers of batting and a layer of muslin are applied and voila...

a pressing table is born.  Finally I can iron a yard of fabric without all the repositioning.   The height adjusts and it folds up when I need it out of the way.  I love it!

Now back to those UFO's that are waiting in my studio.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lot's of Work to Do

If we say we trust God but are not willing to wait--if we say we trust God and then come up with plans to "help Him along"--if we say we trust God and are still stressed by situations or relationships--then we really need to ask ourselves if what we say is true.  Do we really trust God?  Those are the thoughts I pulled out of my reading time this morning.  So very convicting.  I cannot go back and change my past but I can change how I proceed in the future.  He has a lot of work left to do in me.

I wish I could see the progress He is making as clearly as I see the progress in my quilts.  I completed two more blocks in the Petals of my Heart quilt.  There are a lot of details in some of these blocks.  I love how I look at the fabric and try to decide the best place to cut out the shapes, and then to see how they all fit together to create a picture.  It is kind of like how I see God working on me.  It involves a lot of patience and careful attention to detail.  Taking a little bit of this and that and putting it together in the form of me.

California Poppies
even a little chipmunk

I hope that I will more and more resemble Christ so that when people look at me they think of Him just as when I look at these quilt blocks I think about the real flowers (and critters) they represent.  We both have a lot of work left to do.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Children of the King

Last week our zoo provided us with our first look at lion cubs.  I filled my camera's memory with photos of them on Friday.  These adorable cubs are children of the king of the jungle.  I am a child of the King of the universe.  But as many as received Him (Jesus Christ) to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.  -John 1:12 NKJV

I have been thinking a lot lately about what this means.  To be a child of God.  A daughter of the King.  Wondering how I am doing as a representative of his household when I step out the door.  One thing is very clear, He has a lot of work yet to do on this child.  Rebellious, forgetful, reluctant to submit, selfish, and full of pride--one who finds herself listening to the voice of the enemy far too often.  And what is that voice trying to tell me?  That I am worthless.

This morning I am listening to that other voice.  The One who loves me and has lavished His grace upon me.  I am of such supreme value to Him that He sent His Son to earth to die in my place.  To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. -Luke 1:74-75  That voice that says I am worthless- that is from the enemy and God has delivered me from out of his hand.  I can serve the Lord without fear- which for someone like me is an incredible thing.

I find myself wanting to make Mary's response to God when she was told she would carry the Savior my daily prayer.   "Behold the maidservant of the LORD!  Let it be to me according to Your word."   The angel had just told her that nothing will be impossible for God.  That has not changed.  He can take a girl like me and make me a child who will bring honor to His name.  He can take a girl who is frightfully shy and cause her to come boldly before His throne.  He can take all of my sin and shame and replace them with grace and truth.  I am a child of the King!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crown Jewels

I love this time of year in Texas.  The days are finally cooling off enough to turn off the air conditioner and fling open the windows.  The nights are cold enough that the leaves are starting to turn and the pecans are starting to drop.  I love this time of year.

The mornings are perfect for a cup of tea and a slice of friendship bread.  

I have started adding white whole wheat flour to the starter in an attempt to make it a little healthier, and yesterday I replaced the oil with applesauce.  It must have been a hit because there was only one loaf left this morning.

As I opened up God's word to let Him speak to me this morning I came across Zechariah 9:16-The LORD their God will save them in that day, as the flock of His people.  For they shall be like the jewels of  a crown, lifted like a banner over His land--Like the jewels of a crown....  I really don't think of myself as a crown jewel.  Do you?  I think a lot of things about myself but they tend to be rather negative.  The idea of being a crown jewel has me considering who I belong to.  I am a daughter of the King.  Am I living like a daughter of the King?
My Father has a lot of work left to do in me.  I hope each moment finds me more willing to be changed by Him into the woman He wants me to be.  I have a lot of letting go to do of the woman I think I am in order for that to happen.
I recently heard a young woman say something to the effect of: "Don't mess with me because my Father rules the world."  I admire her boldness, but more than that, she seems to have a very clear understanding of who she is in Christ. I need that knowledge to move from my head to my heart.  To be more than words but the way I live my life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


So I walked in to clean Matthew's bathroom and there it was.  He had warned me that the bug on the counter was something he was keeping.  Ewww, right?  Well, that is what one gets with an entomologist in the house.  (that is the official name of the field of biology he is into...BUGS.)  So as I clean around this thing I find that it really isn't dead.  I am not sure how high I jumped when it's little legs grabbed a hold of my finger. but it took a while to regain my composure and finish the job.  That was yesterday.  Today the counter is clear, but then I went to get something out of the freezer and there he was again.  My son keeps me on my toes.

Yesterday was a rather slow one, I think the events of the night left me feeling tired and a bit melancholy.  I needed to do something fun and take charge of something so I had a good time in my quilt studio today. 

 This is one of the Petals of My Heart blocks designed by McKenna Ryan.  I have several more yet to do before the quilt is ready to put together.  Certainly a much better way to spend my day than in the bathroom with "mostly dead" bugs.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What it Means to be Held

I snapped this shot at Yosemite in May.  The clouds were moving in, rain was starting to fall, and it was a very peaceful spot.  I had one of those nights where I awoke many times feeling the need to pray for a mother facing what no mother should have to face.  Letting go of her two week old son.  Praying with all of my heart that the Lord would grant healing even now.
My morning started with a heavy heart.  So many burdens yesterday--learning another friend has been diagnosed with cancer.  So I opened up my Bible when the house got quiet again and I began to read out of Isaiah.  My heart stopped when I came to Is. 65:17-20.  For behold I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing and her people for gladness...the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying.  No more shall an infant from there live but a few days....In the midst of my heavy heart there is a peace, not because things are any better in the here and now, but because the Lord truly knows and understands this kind of grief and is right here in the midst of it holding us every step of the way.  He gets that things here are not as they should be and He has a plan in place for that day when all shall be made right at last.
The last verse I made note of in my journal this morning was Is. 66:2b-But on this one I will look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.  I trembled at His word today.  How can it be that something written thousands of years ago would speak so precisely to my heart's cry this morning?