July 17, 2017

Which Blue?

Devotion for the Week...

This past week has been crazy busy, so I cut myself some slack and didn't rush to get a new devotion ready for this Monday morning. Instead, here's one of my earliest devotions posted on the blog. I hope you enjoy it 😊


Imagine you have blocks made and assembled into a quilt top center, but you still need to figure out the border. You decide a singe, wide blue border would perfectly frame the center you have pieced. Of course, that's not the end of the decision-making. Because there are so many amazing fabrics available, 'blue' just begins to narrow down the possibilities.

There are light blues, dark blues, medium blues, green-blues and purple-blues. There are floral prints, geometric prints, solids, marbled and ombre. Prints can be large-scale or small-scale, tone-on-tone or multi-coloured.

A trip to the fabric store can set your head to spinning as you try to figure out which fabric suits your quilt best. It's so much fun laying fabrics by the quilt, seeing which one is too light or too dark, too busy or too bland. Then the joy of finding the 'just right' fabric, the one that makes the rest of the quilt feel complete.

Just as there is a myriad of different blue fabrics, so there is a myriad of different people. God made some of us musicians, some excellent cooks, some detail-oriented and some who love to visit seniors or the sick. In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues." (1 Corinthians 12:27, 28) So, not everyone does the same thing well, and that is exactly the way God planned it.

After listing all those possible roles, Paul continues, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?" (vv 29, 30) The implied answer is Of course not! What would the world be like if everyone had the same talents? Without pastors, our churches would lack the teaching of God's word. Without those who are good with numbers, our finances would be in a shambles. Without those who love to visit others, many who can't leave their homes would spend their days in lonely isolation.

Earlier in the same chapter, Paul also says, "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men."(vv 4-6) Note that Paul writes 'the same God works all of them in all men.' All men. Now, I take 'men' here to be the general, meaning mankind, not the specific, meaning males. In all of us, male or female, God is working through the special gifts and abilities He gave us.  None are left out. None are without abilities given by God to be used for His purposes and glory.

When I am trying to find a fabric to suit my quilt, I am limited to what I can find either in a local store or an online retailer. I may have to settle for something that isn't exactly what I had hoped to find. But when God created us, He was not limited in any way. He never has to settle, making do with a talent that isn't quite right. To each one of us, He gives the exact skills and abilities we need for the role He would have us fill. This doesn't mean we never have to work at improving our skills. Even when given the ability to play piano, a musician must practice and work hard to hone that craft. It's the same for other talents God has given us.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Think about this - based on who you are and what you do well, what role might God be asking you to fill? Are you doing that? And remember, no one is left without a talent and a related kind of service.

July 14, 2017

Christmas in July Blog Hop Begins!

I'm just popping in to let you know there's a blog hop starting today - 12 Days of Christmas in July, hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. There will be bloggers sharing great Christmas ideas every day, plus Sarah is hosting a quilt-a-long AND there's a giveaway EVERY DAY!

I'll be sharing my project next weekend, but in the meantime, pop on over to Sarah's blog to check it all out!

July 10, 2017


Devotion for the Week...

We've had our firewood for next winter delivered, which means our backyard looks like this.
Firewood | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Every year when the big truck comes and I'm left staring at that huge pile of wood, all I can think is, "I have wood, anyone have sheep to trade?" That only makes sense to you if you've played Settlers of Catan...otherwise you probably think I'm crazy 😊 In the game you're trying to build roads, settlements and cities, all of which require certain combinations of resources (cards that you pick up as the game goes along). Players are allowed to trade resources, which is great because sometimes you have an abundance of wood and no sheep so you can't build that settlement you've been eyeing, and trading can help make it happen.

Of course, humans have been trading things forever. Payment "in kind" used to be a common thing, meaning you could pay with the vegetables from your garden or the eggs from your chickens or whatever else you had. Even today we are really just trading our money for the things we want to buy.

When you're considering a trade (in a game or with your money), you have to look at what you're giving up and what you'll be getting in return. Then you decide if the trade is worth it to you. We've all said something like, "I'm not paying that much for that!" or "I'd love to have it, but I just can't see spending that much money on it." On the other hand, we've also all said, "It was such a good deal, I just couldn't pass it up!"

What you may never have considered is that God made a trade for us.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). This is probably one of the most well-known verses in the Bible and for good reason. It sums up salvation perfectly.

God so loved the world...this is what God was going to get in return for this trade. Not the physical world, but the population of the world. God loved (and still loves) the people He created so much that He was willing to trade Jesus in order to provide a way for our salvation.

that he gave his one and only Son...just think about the cost of salvation for a moment. Jesus gave up being in heaven and came to earth as a human being, making Himself subject to emotional hurts and physical pain. Think about how much of both He endured as He paid the price for our salvation.

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. We had no part in making the trade, but we definitely benefit from it. Whoever believes really means that anyone is welcome to benefit from the trade that God made for us. As soon as you believe that Jesus came to earth and died for your sins, you receive the eternal life that God gives to everyone who believes.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The amazing thing about this is that God considered it all beforehand. He knew what would happen while Jesus was on earth. He knew the cost of the trade. And He knew what He would get in exchange for the trade (us!). Knowing all of that, He considered what He got in return to be worth what He gave up. We were worth the cross.

Aren't you glad He made the trade for us?

July 03, 2017


Devotion for the Week...

Do you read the book of Proverbs? I think it was Chuck Swindoll, of Insight for Living Ministries, who said he once knew a man who read through Proverbs every month, reading the chapter that corresponded with the day of the month. For a while I did that and, though I'm not doing it now, I do sometimes read the day's chapter in Proverbs before any other Bible reading. It's amazing how many nuggets of truth are packed into those 31 short chapters.

Consider this, for example: "Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty" (Proverbs 28:19).  When I read this verse last week I just stopped and thought about it for a while. Most of us aren't working the land to produce the food we eat, but the same principle still applies. Doing the work = food on the table. Lazing around and thinking about doing the work someday = no food. Simple enough, right? 

For some reason, though, I couldn't get the verse out of my head, mostly the 'those who chase fantasies' part. I have to admit, I don't often daydream about going grocery shopping, or having firewood to heat our house, or buying clothes for the boys or any of the other necessary things our jobs provide the money for. If we didn't have the money for those things, I probably would daydream about them, but we definitely know the work = food formula and the income from our jobs keeps us comfortably fed, clothed and warm through the winter. I hope the same is true for you.

But there are things I daydream about. Things like turning my quilt design business into my full-time job, having a more consistent Bible reading schedule, going to QuiltCon someday, writing a book of devotions, a big vegetable garden...I could go on and on (I've always liked to daydream 😉). You probably have things you daydream about too. Maybe your dreams include a better relationship with a family member, or a bigger house, or a smaller waistline. 

It doesn't matter if we dream about big things or little things, either way, those dreams won't come true unless we do the work. Whether we want to lose 10 pounds or write a book, dreaming of the day it's done won't make it happen. If it did there wouldn't be an obesity crisis and I'd be the author of about 1000 books by now.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Unfortunately, it's a lot easier to dream than it is to actually do the work. But this verse in Proverbs reminds us that unless we do the work, we'll have our fill of poverty. Sure, it may not be financial poverty, but what about relationship poverty or health poverty or even just dream-fulfillment poverty?

It's time for us to stop just dreaming and start putting some work behind those dreams!

June 30, 2017

2017 Mid Year Review

Somehow, while we were busy doing all the many things we do, half a year has slipped by again. How is it possible that the days can seem so very long sometimes, but the months slip by so fast?

Since we are here at the end of June, it's time to take a look back at the goals I set and see how I'm doing with meeting them. This should be interesting...

1. Host another sew-a-long of some kind. I'm not sure what form I want this to take this year, though it probably won't be a mystery. I'd like to try something new 😊

Well, I haven't decided yet if I want to call this one done or not. When I put out the call for quilt blocks to make quilts for the seniors who lost everything in a fire in April, I had no idea the response would be so incredible. Quilters from 9 provinces and 1 territory in Canada, 30+ American states as well as from Australia and the UK sent me blocks, full quilts, binding, batting, backing and even money to help with costs. It's not quite what I meant when I set that goal, but I did leave the type of sew-a-long wide open, and the block drive certainly got a lot of people sewing along together!

(If you've been wondering how the quilts have been going, there will by another update soon, so stay tuned 😊)

2. Start hand quilting my Hexie Flowers quilt. This poor quilt top has been sitting in my cupboard for over a year. I want to hand quilt it, both because I think it would complement the hand stitched EPP and because I find I'm wanting a hand quilting project again. Obviously, this will be a long term project, but I at least want to get it started.

Hand quilting | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

Okay, technically, this one is done. I did start hand quilting it. And then I stopped. I worked on it one evening, stitching around one flower once and part of a second time. I didn't particularly enjoy it and I haven't touched it since. EPP means there are seam allowances on both sides of the seam, so there's really no way to get around stitching through the seam allowance and it just wasn't going well. The quilt is currently sitting in my closet and makes me feel guilty every time I see it, so I think it's time to admit I'm not going to hand quilt it.

Let's officially change this goal to machine quilt my Hexie Flowers quilt before the year is out. We'll see where it stands when I check back in 6 months.

3. Grow my design business. I really enjoy the whole process of designing and writing patterns, and I do a little happy dance every time someone buys one of my patterns. I'd love to do more of that happy dancing in 2017!

Well, there has been some happy dancing going on because of pattern sales, so that's good. I've also started working with some brands as sponsors. Make Modern magazine (affiliate link) sponsored prizes for the Spring into Colour 2017 photo challenge and Northcott Fabrics has sponsored a secret sewing project I'll be starting soon. That feels like a step towards growing my business.

There's still a lot of room for growth, though, so I want to try to focus on this more through the second half of the year.

Want to see what patterns I have available? Check out my pattern store!

4. Keep seeking magazine publication. That's part of growing my design business, but I think it's an important enough part of deserve to be a goal of its own. 

This has been a fun year in terms of having patterns published or accepted for publication, including my first-ever print publication in Modern Patchwork's July/August issue. There will be more coming later in the year, and I'll be sure to keep you posted 😊

5. Share 10 new tutorials or patterns. Since I already have three patterns in the works, it should be completely doable to reach 10 before the end of the year. Especially considering how many ideas I have!

I've shared 2 new tutorials so far, both for new 12" blocks with fun secondary patterns - Connections and Layered Star.
 Connections and Layered Star quilt blocks | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I've also released 2 patterns - Love Birds and my free Wind Farm pattern, which is available exclusively to subscribers to my newsletter, The Bulletin.
Love Birds and Wind Farm quilt patterns | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com

4 of 10 isn't bad for halfway through the year, right?

6. End 2017 with fewer UFOs than I have right now. I have a few projects that were set aside in favour of starting something new and it makes me sad that they're not finished and being used. Time to get them finished up! Without actually digging around in my cupboard, I think I have 7 UFOs (not counting the hexie flowers one). Of course, ending the year with fewer UFOs than I have now will mean I can't keep abandoning projects as the year goes on 😉

Nope. I'm not at all on target for this one. The quilts for the seniors kind of took priority over any UFO sewing I might have been doing. We'll see how the second half of the year goes for this goal.

That's where things stand for me so far for the year. It's a mixed bag, but I kind of expected that with the quilts for the seniors being a big and unexpected project, so I'm pleased with where I am so far.

How about you? Do you set yearly goals? And if you do set goals, do you do a mid-year review?

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