Saturday, December 31, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - #81 - "Diagonal Patches"

Block # 81 - "Diagonal Patches"
Started on 9/7/11
Completed on 9/7/11
Technique: Pieced

This was a cute, easy little block. I have tons of tiny squares of leftover fabrics. I rarely throw away pieces that I can cut at least a 1.5" block from. I have containers of 1.5", 2". and 2.5" squares just waiting to be called on for use.

The letter with this block tells of grandmothers sewing together leftover squares from a sunshine and shadow quilt. That would be so fun to have my kids two grandmothers sitting together visiting, doting over my children, and sewing together pieces of fabric that will be much more than a utilitarian quilt.

I have 7 of the 9 blocks of the Christmas quilt quilted. 2 to go plus the borders and it will be ready for the binding. Oh, and I almost forgot the decorative buttons! This is the first quilt I have ever made with buttons. Won't be as user friendly I suppose but it will be stinkin' cute!

If you follow my blog because of the Amish Circle Quilt, please let me know if the addition of decluttering posts (and eventually devotional ones as well) is a nuisance to you. I have been going back and forth with whether or not to start a whole new blog for these other topics or not. Your input might very well make a difference. Of course, the Amish project only has 40 more block posts and then, other than some wrap up and quilt finishing posts it will come to a conclusion.

Father, thank You for all the promise that the New Year holds. Thank You more for the promises You hold for those who love You and seek to do Your Will.

Blessings Y'all!

Piece of Peace - Day 1

Piece of Peace - Day 1

In an effort to declutter my home and my body, I am embarking on a project I'm calling Piece of Peace. I had gotten great at keeping clutter at bay and then all of a sudden it is beginning to drown me again. So, clutter beware! Momma is on the war path and you have no chance.

It seems I've had extra body clutter most of my life. I can't really remember a time I wasn't feeling too big or too out of shape. My size was always a little bigger than my friends. I've had some success off and on but tend to lose my motivation or gusto. That has to change. I'm choosing life and I'm choosing to live God's will and purposes for my life.

So, today, comment if you'd like to take this adventure with me. Pass this on to friends and family whether they are fluffy or not or whether they could use less stuff in their lives.

Kapers for today:

You'll need three boxes, bags or bins. Put a sign on each one or write with marker the following three labels:
Give Away
Throw Away
Put Away

Pray over this. Tomorrow we start the 100 Days Challenge. See this website:

We are going to try, for 100 days, to move, intentionally, for 30 minutes a day. This can be in 5, 10, 15, etc. minute increments. I plan to walk, tread, dance, jump on the trampoline ... whatever it takes to get that 30 minutes in.

I'm making stickers (out of little round garage sale price tag type labels) that are numbered 1-100. Those are going on the main family calendar in the kitchen after I "take care of business / me" each day.

So, comment here or on facebook, that you are ready to declutter your home and / or your body.

Father, guide us to live simply and use our leased bodies to further your kingdom.

Blessings Y'all!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - #80 - "Laundry Machine"

Block #80 - "Laundry Machine"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Applique'

I can not imagine washing clothes require manual labor. I guess that's because my whole life long I've had the benefit of automatic washers and dryers. I'm wondering if my generation was the first one for that to be typical of?

I remember Granny still hung clothes out to dry on clothes lines, even though she had a dryer in the house. I don't know if it was to save electricity (therefore money), out of old habits, or to simply let them soak up the sun and the freshness of the outdoor drying process. Perhaps a little of all of the above.

I've tried to get myself on a Monday wash day. It doesn't always happen and it isn't always effective. I prefer to do all of the laundry in one day rather than a load a day. I picked Mondays because that seems to be the wash day for most Amish families as well. One little misstep can throw off my whole day though. If I forget to set the timer just once, the timer that tells me when loads are ready to be shuffled, I can literally go the whole day without thinking of it again. This drives me nuts!! I don't know how it is even possible to forget a chore you are in the middle of for the whole day.

I did pretty good with it this week even though I didn't do laundry on Monday. Mark was off work and I chose to hang out with him (not to mention he gets underfoot sometimes). The kids help with laundry too which is good for them and good for me. I keep giving them more and more responsibilities with it and soon they'll be able to be on their own for clean clothes. It is an important skill to master and plan for.

I think I have 5 of the 9 blocks of my Christmas quilt quilted now. Hope to do another today. Yay.

I've got two more blogs in mind to begin. I'm not sure if I should add both to this same blog or if I should start a new blog for each "series". One will be called, I think, A Little Piece of Peace. This one will be small daily tasks to begin decluttering and organizing our homes. Clutter has crept in over the last several months and it is driving me crazy. Thought I'd share that journey with others. Might make it a little more fun than funky.

The other new one will be called, I think, The Patchwork Heart. This one will include devotional thoughts, quotes and scriptures as I daily walk with the Lord. I'm hoping someone else will benefit from the things that appeal to me, touch me, and speak to me each day.

Father, show me Your purposes for my life. Empower me to act on those purposes. Remind me, dear Father, to trust in You; a trust I can count on.

Blessings Y'all!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - #79 - "Roof Frolic"

Block # 79 - "Roof Frolic"
Started on 9/7/11
Completed on 9/16/11
Technique: Pieced and Applique' (I think)

Gee whiz ... two and half months go by and I can't remember how I ended up making this little block. I remember having to try two or three ways. I think I pieced the basket together then applique'd it and the handle to the background fabric. But I'll have to pull it out and double check myself on that.

The letter from the book that goes with this block talks about a roof frolic the family recently attended. Work frolics are one of my favorite things about the Amish. It is fascinating to me how they all pull together to rebuild a neighbor's barn or home or shop. And doesn't the word frolic denote some sort of fun? I don't know if I would consider it fun to give up an entire day for one of my neighbors.

It always wonders me if the world might not be a better place if we would all help each other out like that. I think it would be fun to put insurance companies out of business. (Sorry Mom and Uncle Tony.) No one would need insurance because they would be taken care of by their church, community, friends, etc. and in return they would care for others when they found themselves in need.

I can't help but think that the Amish live just as God intended in this regard in particular. I really believe that He meant for us to pull together and rally around our brothers and sisters in Christ in their times of need. Most likely He EXPECTS us to do this and even for those that aren't part of our church family. Perhaps even those who are strangers to us. Heaven knows they aren't strangers to Him.

Father, open my eyes to the needs of others. Prompt me to act on that awareness.

Blessings Y'all!

P.S. The quilt in the background on my blog was a template picture offered. I did not make it, unfortunately. But I did click on it in the background files. Does that count? : p

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - #78 - "Haystack Supper"

Block # 78 - "Haystack Supper"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Applique'

Well, here is another block I thought turned out rather cute. I really like cutting out and assembling little blocks like this.

The idea of a haystack supper appeals to me. In the letter that goes with this block the writer talks about a haystack supper that's proceeds went to help a man (and his family) that was injured on the job. Corn chips, meat, veggies and cheese topped with salsa or sour cream sounds yummo to me. (Okay, minus the veggies for me, but still.)

So now I have an event to plan. I just need to see who should benefit from such an event. Maybe our food pantry at church would be good? Or maybe I'll suggest this for some of my Girl Scouts who are struggling to get going on their Bronze Award projects. Creative juices = flowing.

I've started going through "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren for the third time. I have a more consistent time for devotions going on now than I ever have before so I am hoping I won't abandon the effort again. It hasn't been the book's fault. I really like it. I would just fall away from allowing time for it before.

I'm also enjoying a devotional book called "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. I just bought another one of her books called "Jesus Lives" and am looking forward to starting that one.

I hope to stitch a little on my "I Believe" Christmas quilt this afternoon. I think I have 3 of the 9 blocks quilted now. If I could get it quilted and machine stitch on the binding I would feel great setting it aside for awhile. I tend to get bindings done when we travel during the summer and while I'm sitting around at campsites.

Father, today, guide each decision I make and each step I take. Grow me into a better wife, mother, friend, person.

Blessings Y'all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - #77 - "Monkey Wrench"

Block # 77 - "Monkey Wrench"
Started on 9/5/11
Completed on 9/5/11
Technique: Pieced

I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas! We had a little snow on the ground here in Western Colorado and Santa was good to all of us. My greatest gift this year was peace! Peace of mind, peace of home, peace and quiet in my home (and my mind). It was a nice lull from the busy-ness that had been over-running us lately.

I sat down in my quilt room for the first time in weeks yesterday. It felt good to turn my machine on and have it whir to life. I quilted one of the nine blocks of a Christmas quilt I've worked on for the last 3 Christmases. It will be done by next Christmas. I just know it. Easily by 2013. Definitely by 2014. For sure.

So here's a nice little block that wasn't too much trouble to assemble. I like quilting so much that it seems every pattern or style is my favorite. I do like the lines and angles and the contrast in fabrics with this one a lot though.

The writer talked of her relative visiting and arriving by train. I find it odd that Amish live without so many of the modern conveniences you and I share and yet most of them are probably much more familiar with a train station and how it works to make passage via a train. I would find it absolutely hysterical to see a modern man or woman asking an Amish person for directions at the train station. It gives me a chuckle just to think of it.

My friend Nicole recently took a train to Chicago (from Grand Junction). I have to admit it has given me the itch to try it myself. I'm not sure that I'd want to go alone really but on the other hand I feel quite certain I wouldn't want to be cooped up with my kids for too long either. I don't know that I could get away with a train ride without William though. Well, dreams (itches) are nice to have. Maybe someday!

I am making an effort to quilt at least one block a day this week. I have a special quilt for a special someone that I need to get a binding on pretty quick like too. Just typing about it makes me excited for the projects to come in the year ahead.

I have hopes of blogging some devotional thoughts in the near future. I've been having some really great moments of devotion lately and it occurred to me yesterday that perhaps I should share some of those thoughts through my blog. I am considering starting a new blog for that but that may be more trouble than it is worth. Perhaps I will somehow meld all of my random thoughts and ideas into this one blog and just let it morph into whatever the Lord has in store.

Father, keep me focused on the good in my life. Make clear to me your purposes for the work You are doing in me. Deliver me from the Egypt of my life and make me a stronger servant of yours. Continue Your work on my patchwork heart.

Blessings Y'all!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 76 - "Shelling Peas"

Block # 76 - "Shelling Peas"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Applique'

I just love all of these applique' blocks! They are so fun to complete and then they come out so stinkin' cute! Like this one; who'd a thunk peas would make a cute quilt block?

So we've established I'm not a leaf eater. That applies to peas as much, if not more so, than other veggies. Ick. Especially green peas. And don't even get me started on the yuck factor of split pea soup.

I do remember shelling peas with Granny when I was little though. She and Poppa always had a nice sized garden out behind their house. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with them in it off and on for years. Now, I didn't retain any of the tactical knowledge of gardening and I certainly didn't inherit their green thumbs but it did make for some wonderful memories.

It's nice how so many grandparents have time to share with their grandchildren. I feel sorry for those who don't have that time (the adults and the children). Being delighted in by your grandparents and having them let you know how special and important you are play a huge role in a child's life. And what says I love you more than the sharing of time? Those mere moments become a lasting gift for a lifetime.

Father, thank You for the grandparents You bestowed upon me. Thank You for their commitment to my life and to helping shape the woman I am.

Blessings y'all!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 75 - "Diagonal Triangles"

Block # 75 - "Diagonal Triangles"
Started on 9/3/11
Completed on 9/3/11
Technique: Pieced Half Square Triangles

This is a scrappy little block. I like things like this because I have so many scraps. It is really hard to throw scraps of fabric away for some reason.

I love the letter that goes with this block. The author quotes Proverbs 27:1 which reminds us no matter what we plan the Lord is charge of our to-do list each day.

That's been the theme song of my life for the last 5 to 6 months. No matter what I've had on my agenda as far as trips or plans, that has all taken a backseat to the Lord's design on my life. And I will be the first to tell you that I haven't been too thrilled with some of His goings-on.

One of the biggest shockers and sources of great concern for me has been my cousin Courtney's freak reaction to anesthesia during surgery back in August. She came home from the hospital today so it seems only fitting that I dedicate today, a little bit of blog space to her and the journey she has been on to recover.

My family was in northern Montana on our way home from Yellowstone when my mom calls. I had just turned my phone on to see if I had service yet when it rang. My stomach sank when I saw it was Mom calling. (She hates the phone and avoids making calls if she can.) Sure enough, she told me Courtney had suffered a reaction to the anesthesia and they had revived her but she was in a coma. At that point she was in Shreveport, LA, and the doctors there hoped to start waking her up the next day.

She was in a coma for 21 days.

Finally she was moved by ambulance to TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston. There she began to wake up. She has gone from a coma to walking short distances on her own. To speaking, be it slowly and in a new voice. To communicating rather effectively. To realizing how many people that don't even know her have been praying for her and her husband and children. To appreciating just how many have been cheering her on.

I finally got to go see her the day before Thanksgiving. We had about 2 hours to visit and talk and let me tell you those moments were some of the most precious of my life. I pulled my chair up in front of her and planted myself where I could keep my eyes trained on her easily.

She told me of a recent dream she'd had about me. She said we had gone downstairs to McDonald's. Some guys were bugging us but we ignored them. She said they got mad and I grabbed her hand and we hurried back to her room.

I said, "So I took care of you?"

She smiled and shook her head yes.

I said, "It sounds like you got us into trouble and I got us out?"

She shook her head yes.

I asked, "So some things never change?"

She laughed and shook her head yes with a smile.

When we started relaying the story to my husband Mark a little while later she added that I lived in a mall. I told her that if that was true she would visit me a lot. Again, she agreed.

We'd been in Galveston earlier that day and a seagull had defiled Will's (my son) hair. In an effort to engage him with Courtney I told him he should tell her about it. He refused but she looked back and forth at him then me. She very slowly said, "Will, did a seagull poop on your head?" What a wonderful moment.

She told me that she looked awful. I said, "No honey. You are beautiful. You are beautiful inside and out." She took that opportunity to pick at her husband some and again cracked us up and had us laughing.

I was able to give her the quilt I made for her from one of the t-shirts her friends had made to sell to raise money to help offset the costs of her care and her family's expenses. She loved it. I told her she didn't have to share it with anybody. She said she wished her kids were there. (I'm thinking, oh, I know you miss them.) She said, "I would tell them that's Momma's!" My heart did flip flops.

I had a hard time leaving. I wanted to continue to visit and I wanted to help take care of her. I know she is so well cared for but it was really hard to walk away.

After we left I had a hard time talking for quite awhile. My emotions ran the gamut. I was angry this happened to her. I was thankful she is still with us. I was sad she is having to work so hard to regain a portion of her previous abilities. I was glad to see her walking and talking. I regretted the time she has missed with her kids. I was so proud of her spirit and so proud to be her cousin; this woman that a whole community has rallied behind and prayed for.

I know God works in mysterious ways. I know this experience has made us all way too aware of how fragile life is. I implore you to make sure you say what needs to be said to those you love. Make sure you do what needs to be done for those you love. Don't waste a moment.

Father, thank You for my cousin and for her perseverance. Thank You for her sweet spirit and for the love she showers on others. Thank You for her life and for letting her make our world a better place.

Blessings Y'all!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 74 - "Shetland Pony"

Block # 74 - "Shetland Pony"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/28/11
Technique: Applique'

I love this block. So does my 10 year old horse loving daughter. She couldn't keep her eyes off of it after I finished it and showed it to her.

I have a healthy respect for horses. Trinity has been taking riding lessons for a few years now. She looks so small atop a great big beast. It makes me uneasy but she never wavers. She loves it and she communicates with them quite well. Ms. Barbara, her instructor, says she has a way with them.

While driving through southern Colorado in early August, we sought out one of the Amish communities down there. Imagine my surprise and awe when an Amish man driving a wagon pulled by at least 4 huge horses (I'm thinking Percherons) met us on the road. A few yards behind him came 4 children crowded into a pony cart. I could have sat and watched them forever but I made myself "be cool" and not continue to stare as they passed.

My interest in the Amish stems from a huge amount of respect and a respectable amount of curiosity. If I was ever one of those tourists who offended them or encroached upon their privacy it would break my heart. I guess my interest would naturally be misinterpreted but I would do my best to be respectful.

It is December 1 and I am still not getting into the Christmas spirit. These last few months we've been so beaten down and then to have Grammy pass away so unexpectedly right before Thanksgiving nearly did me in. Thanksgiving is my most favorite time of year. I love the holiday itself but it also kicks off the preparations for Christmas. I missed that time this year and I really feel the damper it has placed on me.

Oh, and to top it off we did away with all but a few channels of our cable service. This means I don't have Hallmark Christmas movies and ABC Family's Countdown to Christmas nor Fa-la-la-la Lifetime. My eyes tear up just typing that. It really makes me sad. Combined with everything else that has gone wrong this year it kind of pushes me over the proverbial edge.

I'm trying hard to get in the spirit of things. I'm going out with my best Colorado friend Nicole tonight and I know that will cheer me up. Tomorrow Mark is taking off work to do our annual Christmas shopping day (which was supposed to be last Monday which is another source of my funk). These two things are bound to kick off the joy of this time of year for me! (And Nicole and I are seeing Breaking Dawn so I'm getting a dose of teenie bopperism. Team Edward all the way!)

Father, I know with all that's in me You have a plan. I know You love me and I know You are present every day. I thank You and praise You for the good in my life. My husband, children, family, friends, and home are such great blessings. Help me cling to the good while the storms rage about.

Teaser: A blog in the near future will details my visit with my cousin Courtney!

Blessings y'all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 73 - "Bathhouse"

Block # 73 - "Bathhouse"
Started on 9/2/11
Completed on 9/3/11
Technique: Applique'

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth. Our road of life has continued to develop bumps and potholes (okay ... sink holes really) and we've been having to take detours and do road repairs. I'm telling ya ... spiritual warfare is afoot for the Brassette family of Colorado.

I haven't worked in my quilt room for forever. Not much hope in sight either seeing as how I lost a week of holiday prep time making an emergency trip down south. You see, almost two weeks ago my step-dad's mom was killed in a car accident. Her funeral was on December 20 so we headed down to Texas to be with family and say goodbye to Grammy. She was such a wonderful person and I will talk about her in this blog entry.

This quilt block is about a bathhouse. That's a topic not too many of us these days can fully relate to. I know I'm thankful for a tub (and toilet) in my house! Actually, we are blessed to have a tub, a shower, and a combination of both, as well as three toilets in our house. I can not imagine having to trek out to a separate building to bathe or potty. I could warm up to bathing in a big tub in the kitchen but that's not my favorite idea either.

Oddly enough I think of Grammy when I think about bathtubs and bathing. She had the most beautiful claw foot tubs in her house. Taking a bath at her house was one of the highlights of visiting her. And she always smelled like she'd just come out of the tub or shower. She smelled so nice. Always.

She had a gift for hospitality. She knew how to treat guests, whether they were family or not they got the royal treatment. Often ironing sheets for the bed and cleaning in such a way as to pass any white glove test she let you know she was glad you were there.

I read in a devotional recently that it was more important that a guest feel the love when they visit you than that they be served a perfect meal in an immaculate setting. Grammy was fantastic at the feel the love part and I will aspire to be that kind of hostess in the future.

When people are visiting, give them your time and attention. Don't get bogged down in keeping the house perfect looking or cooking a seven course meal that keeps you in the kitchen away from your company.

Let yourself off the perfectionistic hook this Holiday season. Enjoy people ... let them leave your home feeling loved, not merely tolerated.

Father, thank You for sharing such a wonderful human being with me. Thank You for her love and for what I learned about love and family from her. Thank You for my bonus Grammy.

Blessings Y'all!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 72 - "Softball Game"

Block # 72 - "Softball Game"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Applique'

This is cute block. If I knew a young softball player I'd be inclined to repeat the block a few times for a nice little throw!

So, here's the shocker. I am SO not baseball fan. I know. I know. The favorite American past time that so many devote their hearts to ... it isn't for me.

I remember going to a Texas Rangers game with my family when we lived in Garland, TX. I do remember that being fun. However, as an adult, I attended and LSU baseball game. Once. I have never been so bored in my life. Totally not fun.

I suppose I'd not mind watching one of my children play. That would be a vested interest of sorts so I could probably manage to stay awake. But I don't think I would be one to sit in the rain (which would be cold rain in Colorado) or in the baking hot sun for said match up. Isn't life too short for that??

Okay, so you've got me. For my babies I would endure rain (cold or not) and sun. But I wouldn't like it. At all. Have I been in any way unclear here?

Father, thank You that neither of my children have discovered baseball or softball. Yet. I hear tell you don't place more on us than we can handle. I praise You and love You for knowing me so well.

Blessings Y'all!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 71 - "Jacob's Ladder"

Block #71 - "Jacob's Ladder"
Started on 9/2/11
Completed on 9/3/11
Technique: Pieced

I like this block just fine. I might would go for a little more contrast between the two aquas next time so the triangles would pop out a little more.

I find myself having not been in my quilting room for a couple of weeks now. Between the kids each being sick and me taking a turn, a short trip to Salt Lake City and of course the regular calls of motherhood and home manager I just haven't been able to get in there.

Everyone seems well enough now. A cold (or I guess it would be a couple of colds) cycled through me and the kids. One of us would have it, get well, and then it would start with another one of us. It went through most of us twice!

The trip to Salt Lake was so fun. It was a birthday celebration of sorts for me. We did a little bit of something for each one of us and it worked out that we all had a great time. We drove up to Park City which was a neat little town with beautiful scenery. On Tuesday I took the kids to Farm Country at Thanksgiving Point while Mark went to his training class for the day. We had such a lovely time.

I've begun working on some projects at church. I'm finally getting involved here. It has only taken 4 1/2 years! I'm trying hard to listen to God's leading and I've prayed over this for months (okay, so maybe I was hoping He would change His mind). I'm going to ease into things and see what happens.

About quilting: I have a handful of quilts that need the binding hand stitched on. I've got a handful that need piecing, and a handful that need to be started. Never a dull moment or a lull in action needed when it comes to this rewarding craft of mine!

Father, thank You so much for the cool days of Fall; for the glorious golds, oranges and reds on the trees that beckon a leisurely walk. Thank You for your creativity and for sharing it with the humans You so love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Blessings Y'all!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 70 - "Fruit Roll"

Block #70 - "Fruit Roll"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Applique'

So I have to admit that when I saw the name of this block I immediately thought of a fruit roll up. I pictured an Amish mother vigilantly cooking, pureeing, gelling and somehow rolling out a fruit based dough of sorts. Yes, it seems ridiculous now as I type it to share with others, but I thought I was going to learn how the Amish made their own, homemade fruit roll-ups!

How tickled I was to read the letter that went this block explaining what a fruit roll actually was. All of the children take a piece of fruit to school on a particular day and unbeknownst to the teacher roll it to the front of the room as they are getting their lunches out. Moms show up and put it all together in a fruit salad. Is that not one of the coolest things you've ever heard?

Okay, so maybe it is just me but I was intrigued and impressed and well, pleased to learn of this tradition and activity. Too fun.

If we still used one room school houses I would send my kids to school. So I guess that means I need to be Amish if I ever decide to quit homeschooling.

For those few of you who follow me, I am sorry I have been spacey on my posts. There's been a spell this last couple of weeks where I was rushing through my mornings and too exhausted in the evenings to tackle writing at all. I've missed it though and I'll try to get back on track. We are taking a short trip to Salt Lake City in a couple of days so I don't know if I'll blog from there or not.

Father, thank You for the sweetness of life. Thank You for your consistency and your trustworthiness. Thank You for your guidance. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Blessings Y'all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 69 - "The Quilting"

Block #69 - "The Quilting"
Started on 9/2/11
Completed on 9/2/11
Technique: Pieced

Happy Halloween everybody! I know my posts have slowed way down. We've had a virus move through the house that hit the kids and myself (hubby avoided the carnage). It knocked us for a loop but it won't stop our trick or treating efforts tonight I don't think.

I like this delicate, pretty little bar quilt block. I have a pattern for a full size version of this. I may have to make one sometime. Ya know, it takes a special talent/skill to make the straight lines curve some. ; )

I've decided to try to join the ladies' quilting group at church. They get together on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month. I'm going to be out of town next Tuesday and I don't know if they'll do it the week of Thanksgiving. If so, I will try to make it then.

I like the idea of quilting with other ladies through different generations. I like the idea of having my kids around other women of faith. We'll see how it goes. I'll have to make up school work folders for each of the kids the night before so they can keep up with their studies. That's not too big of a deal though.

I finished quilting Courtney's quilt this weekend and machine stitched the binding on. I got about a yard of the binding hand-stitched before I ran out of steam. Gotta get back to that. It isn't my favorite thing to do so I have to buckle down to get it completed. Tomorrow is my kick-off for holiday preparations so I don't want this to get lost in the shuffle!

(I have a tub full of things that need the binding hand-stitched on btw!)

Father, thank You for the lull in the craziness of life. Thank You for your leading, your support, and your goodness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Blessings Y'all!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 68 - "Maple Syrup"

Block #68 - "Maple Syrup"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Applique'

I can enjoy maple syrup with the best of them. I've never tapped a maple tree before nor have I seen it done but I think it would be an interesting process to observe. I'll have to add that to list of things I must see and do before I die.

I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes back in 2005 or 2006. (I forget the exact timing because I was in complete and total denial about it at the time.) I've managed it decently I think. I take oral medications but no insulin so far. I think my highest fasting glucose level ever was 140 or so. It isn't a horrible case but I try to make good decisions.

That actually does relate to my post here on maple syrup. In the last 5 years or so, I've become rather sensitive to sugar. I gave up soft drinks altogether. Even Diet Coke didn't taste right and regular soft drinks were nastily too sweet for me.

I can't do cereal in the morning now either. If I get one very low in sugar I can force it down but otherwise they are way too sweet for me and I get a tummy ache mid-morning. If I don't get protein in me pretty soon after waking, I get a tummy ache and feel completely wretched.

So maple syrup ... Once every so often I will indulge in IHOP pancakes with maple syrup. However, I usually don't eat a whole short stack and I mask the effects with a meat filled omelet. I don't waste my calories or carbs on any pancakes other than IHOP.

Mark and I have been working on getting healthier. He's succeeding. I'm doing okay but it is more frustrating than one can imagine at how much easier it seems to come for him. If I dwell on it too long I could probably turn that into an excuse, somehow, to give up. But, I'm smarter than that. So, I persevere!

I suppose if I would rise before dawn and work hard all day in the garden and washroom and on the farm I wouldn't have a nibbling problem. But that is not my life and I will strive to fill myself with God's Word rather than food that my body isn't in need of.

Father, thank You for the abundance of love I'm surrounded with and for the opportunities you've given me in this life. And I give You much praise and thanks for the progress Courtney is making in her recovery. You are sovereign and there is no one better to trust with my life!

Blessings Y'all!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 67 - "Grandmother's Choice Quilt"

Block #67 - "Grandmother's Choice Quilt"
Started on 9/1/11
Completed on 9/1/11
Technique: Pieced

In honor of Julia Nell Dillard May, Mary Louise Davis deValcourt, and Mercedes Rita Dufour Brassette and in memory of Faye Lavica Bridges Capps

The author of the letter that goes with this block writes of presenting her own grandmother with a Grandmother's Choice quilt. I like this block and I just pieced it together! Straight forward and simple to do it was.

Between Mark and I we still have three of our grandmothers with us. (And three grandfathers too for that matter!) But today I honor the matriarchs of our families.

My dad's mom, Julia May, lives in Lufkin, TX, which is where I was born. She's a spit fire! She's quick witted and funny as all get out. She was always patient and kind with me growing up. She was a good teacher and companion and always had time to sit and visit, play games, or create art master pieces from construction paper and pipe cleaners. And a woman of faith she is to this day.

When I married Mark I inherited two grandmothers-in-law. Since I'd lost one of mine 5 years earlier, it was a real blessing to at least partially fill that void. Mark's mom's mom, Louise deValcourt, lives in Lafayette, LA. She is one of the gentlest, endearing people I've ever known. She and I exchanged letters for many years and now we try to stop in each time we are down south. And a woman of faith she is to this day.

Mark's dad's mom, Mercedes Brassette, lives in Mansura, LA, with a home right on the river there. She likes geneaology like I do. She is expressive and creative and as dedicated as anyone I've ever known to her family and her husband Truitt. She is the quintessential Cajun heritage grandmother. All of her grandkids call her Dese. And a woman of faith she is to this day.

My mom's mom, Faye Capps, was born and raised in Lufkin, TX, where she lived her life long. She kept me a lot when I was little as my single mom worked to support us. I would cry when left at day care and Granny would rush to pick me up. She was another patient teacher who taught me to cook, craft, fish, and in general be a good person. I regret my kids don't get to know her, although I keep her memory alive in the stories I share with them. She went on ahead to Glory in 1990, at the age of 63, another victim of the "c word". And a woman of faith she was until she drew her last breath.

Thank You, Father, for these wacky, colorful, women of faith, who have molded their children and their children's children into the wacky, colorful, people of faith they are today. Thank You for the nurturers and the strengtheners they are and were.

Blessings Y'all!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 66 - "Warm Chickens"

Block#66 - "Warm Chickens"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/15/11
Technique: Applique'

The author of the letter that goes with this block tells of her daughter bring chicks into the house in her boots to keep them warm. What a charming tale and what a precious child.

I think somewhere in my heart of hearts I've always hoped we would end up with a little acreage somewhere that would allow us to have some chickens. Perhaps a goat and a horse (for Trinity) and room for the kids to raise animals for 4H or the like. I like the idea of it. Not sure about the reality of the work it would entail.

I'm still sleeping under 2 quilts. Since my cold week before last I've had a hard time getting warm enough. Well, except for during worship yesterday. It was warm in that sanctuary!

Father, thank You for your warmth. Not so much in temperature but in your emotional ties and comfort to us.

Blessings Y'all!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 65 - "Hexagons"

Block # 65 - "Hexagons"
Started on 9/3/11
Completed on 9/3/11
Technique: Templates
Blocks Completed: 121 of 121 - WOO HOO!

Earlier today I finished my last block for this project! The one I made today was one of my most faves of the whole thing too! I've started cutting the cornerstones now. I still have sashing to cut and borders to cut. I look forward to moving toward assembling it.

So, hexagons. Hexagons were not made with me in mind. I used a template to cut out the hexagons. If I was forced, at gunpoint, to work with hexagons again, I would probably do them with applique' techniques. I found a decent method for putting them together if they are bigger so I guess I might would try that if there was a next time.

Having said that, the block turned out okay after all!

Courtney's quilt top is finished. She is doing very well in the TIRR program in Houston. She's accepted to stay in the program through October 25. After that it will be up to her progress and to the insurance company. Argh. Anyway, I need to go get some batting tomorrow so I can sandwich it together. Here is a picture!

I am going to use a sheet for the backing fabric. I've never done this before but one of my Girl Scouts said her grandmother does that and it is cheaper than buying fabric off the bolt. I love the softness of sheets so I'm hoping this will make the quilt even more snuggable.

Father, please continue to restore Courtney's health of mind, body, and spirit. Cover her with your love and comfort her family as they continue to wait for her recovery.

Blessings Y'all!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 64 - "Wood Stove"

Block # 64 - "Wood Stove"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Applique'
Blocks Completed: 115 of 121

I love wood stoves. I don't think I'd excel at cooking with one. But the quaintness of them and the warmth they represent is most charming.

We have a gas log fireplace in our home now. I love it. Snuggling up next to my honey from fall through the winter just about every evening is one of the great joys of my life.

Warmth is one of the things I love about my quilts. I've been sleeping under 2 quilts since last Friday. A cold caught me and I had a hard time getting warm for days.

My little Will is sick again. I think the cold that caught me caught him. He was so clingy and needy of me today. I ate it up. He's generally a Daddy's boy. But today ... Mommy was the hero. He made a fort under the big table in my quilting room and we watched Aladdin and the second Night at the Museum together.

Trinity got her school work done and then we set up my Singer so she could start sewing blocks together for her own quilt. She wants to make this one to send to the Bastrop Church of Christ in Texas for one of the thirteen families of that congregation who lost their homes. She might as well have wings and a halo.

Father, thank You for my blessed, charmed life. Thank You for my sweet husband and for my beautiful, compassionate children. And thank You for the calm seas I am sailing now.

Blessings Y'all!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 63 - "Bow Tie"

Block # 63 - "Bow Tie"
Started on 8/27/11
Completed on 8/27/11
Technique: Pieced and Paper Piecing

This little booger took me a couple of tries to figure out. I ended up paper piecing all of the angled blocks. Then I simply pieced those together with the regular squares. FYI, I don't think the picture does this one justice. My green and brown contrast and blend quite nicely!

So, bow ties. I love bow tie pasta. As far as pastas go bow ties are at the top of my list. To tie a bow, not so much love there. I stink at it. Bow ties to wear? Well, I've never worn one. And other than at my wedding, I've never been to an event that required my husband (or former dates) to wear one either.

Nope. No prom. No formal dances. No fancy, schmancy parties. I hadn't ridden in a limo until a Girl Scout trip last summer. Guess I'm a little to plain. Hmmm ... maybe there's Amish hope for me yet. Surely that statement will make sense to someone else too.

It is possible I will have my quilt top for Courtney finished sometime tomorrow. I am so excited! From the Amish Circle Quilt Project I used the following blocks: Sunshine and Shadow, Pinwheel Blocks, Butchering the Pigs, Apple Orchards, Box Social, and Diagonal Patches. The whole quilt is in red and white with a few black accents and a couple of specialty blocks. I am loving it and it has come together nicely.

Father, thank You for showing me ways to bless others with my abilities and talents. Allow Your light to shine from me. Let others see the difference You have made in my life.

Blessings Y'all!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 62 - "Cradle"

Block # 62 - "Cradle"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Applique'

The author of the letter that goes with this block talks of a hand made cradle her baby sleeps in. We had a Noah's Ark themed bassinet for our babies but I think if we were ever blessed with another child, I would want an old-fashioned wooden cradle at the foot of our bed.

Both of our children were co-sleepers for a long time. They were breastfed and so their sleep deprived Mommy found that to be not only easier but a blessed time of bonding and cuddling.

I've been slowed down on my Amish Circle Quilt Project again because I started a new project that I'm kind of in a hurry to complete. And it is ultra-exciting to me because I am laying it out all on my own. I've used a number of blocks from this project and then half a dozen or so others. I guess it will be called a sampler. The large center section of this quilt though is the piece de resistance. (Please read that with a French accent.)

The center revolves around the front and back of a t-shirt designed by friends of my cousin Courtney. These shirts are being sold to raise money for her medical expenses and for the family members that are caring for her. Anyway, I made two large blocks from the t-shirt. I am making this quilt for Courtney. I'm hoping it will encourage and inspire her to continue fighting to regain all of her motor function and cognitive abilities. She makes progress every day and our prayers continue.

Father, thank You for my family, including the extended part that stretches far beyond the walls of my home. Thank You for these amazing people who have made me the wife, mother, and friend that I am.

Blessings Y'all!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - # 61 - "Bar Quilt"

Block #61 - "Bar Quilt"
Started on 8/26/11
Completed on 8/26/11
Technique: Pieced
Blocks Completed: 113 of 121

Can't believe how close I'm getting to finishing all the blocks! That means I'll get to start assembling the top soon!

The author of the letter that goes with this block writes of quilting with her daughters. She mentions how she used to sit at the quilt frame with her sisters and mother when she was a little girl. Her own daughters had a hard time picturing her as a child.

My Granny had a huge quilting frame that she would set up in the den by the fireplace. She was so good about letting me help. As you can imagine, I so wanted to help.

I machine quilt mostly so that eliminates the opportunity to gather around the frame with others and visit or reminisce. I have a wealth of appreciation for the hand quilting on a frame process though!

I'm not great at sharing my craft with my kids or my Girl Scout troop either. It is partly because quilting is my "me time" thing. The other part is that while I feel competent at what I'm doing, I do not feel competent enough to teach it.

Father, thank You for giving me my own fun thing to do. I can't imagine not having an outlet for my creativity! Thank You for getting me! Not everyone does.

Blessings Y'all!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - #60 - "Teapot"

Block #60 - "Teapot"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/15/11
Technique: Applique'

♪♪ "I'm a little teapot short and stout ..." ♪♪

Is it just me or did anyone else go there automatically with the name of this block?

So, here we go again. Another thing in which I apparently differ in from the Amish I so adore is the drinking of tea. I would be willing to try hot tea. But I don't care for iced tea. At all. Blah! (I know, I'm a Southerner. It is practically sacreligious!) So I have no reason to think I would like it hot. I will say the additives of honey and lemon make it sound a little better.

This was a fun little block to make. I promise I didn't work on it exclusively for over a month as the dates would indicate. Life unleashed on us just after I got the pieces traced and prepped for this block. I just got delayed a good bit on assembly.

Father, my "tea time" with you is the highlight of my day. I love growing closer to You! I love the Father, comforter, counselor, defender, and protector You are.

Blessings Y'all!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 59 - "Sunshine and Shadow"

Block # 59 - "Sunshine and Shadow"
Started on 8/16/11
Completed on 8/16/11
Technique: Pieced

Arriving at this block was sort of like reuniting with an old friend. I've made two Amish style Sunshine and Shadow quilts. I absolutely love this pattern. The thought behind it and what it represents make it incredibly meaningful to me.

One of the two Sunshine and Shadow quilts I made went to my little sugar dumpling, Logan. He is the son of my dear friend Corren (and hubby James). I decided that when I make and gift these quilts, I wanted to express to the recipient somehow exactly what these quilts mean. While I may not be Amish, and my understanding is in no way complete, I feel like I have a decent grasp on it! So, I wrote a poem to go with my gifts. Yep, I occasionally write poetry too!

Sunshine and Shadow

By Lesa May Brassette

May sunshine and shadow fill each of your days

May your prayers be full of thanksgiving and praise.

May the days of sunshine be many and bright

May you glorify Him as you walk in His light.

May the days of shadow be present but few

In times of shadow let His love carry you.

For without the shadows; with only sunshine

The splendor of light would fade over time.

To value the sunshine the shadows must fall

Cling to the Savior, our Lord through it all.

May goodness and mercy and joy follow you

During laughter and tears may His love see you through.

Sunshine and shadow both sent from above

A reminder, always, of God’s unfailing love.

(The Amish make this quilt for babies and as wedding gifts. They pray for both sunshine and shadow in life. They value both as God’s will. I share their blessing with you and pray God’s love in your life now and always.)

Logan's Sunshine and Shadow Quilt:

My very first Sunshine and Shadow Quilt:

Father, I don't know if I'm far enough along in my journey to say thank You for the shadows. I acknowledge they help us grow. I acknowledge You create good from them. I certainly trust You and I certainly find peace in knowing You are my head cheerleader.

Blessings Y'all!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 58 - "Christmas Cookies"

Block # 58 - "Christmas Cookies"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 8/15/11
Technique: Applique'

The author of this letter writes of children getting together to make sugar cookies. I would love to have all 11 of my nieces and nephews here making and decorating Christmas cookies. My kids and I make them every year. Funny how we only tend to make them at Christmas.

I love being with my kids in the kitchen. They ask questions and we talk about so many different things. Often we talk of where the recipes came from and I get to share memories from when I was their age. We've been doing it long enough that they now have their own memories to share!

I used to teach cake decorating at Hobby Lobby. I also taught several project classes for gingerbread houses, cookie bouquets, and more. It isn't as big a thrill to me these days to spend so much time and effort creating a work of art to be eaten. I'll still do it for my family and enjoy the challenge that brings. Cake decorating plays second fiddle to quilting now.

So anyway, I can totally appreciate the fun of cookie baking and decorating, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yummy they are, but the fun and making of memories outweighs the culinary value hands down!

Father, thank You for the "sweet" moments You give us. Thank You for knowing just what we need before we know it ourselves.

Blessings Y'all!

P.S. For those of you who follow my blog, you'll remember a few weeks ago I had a frustrating visit to get a Mammogram, which didn't happen. Well finally, today, I got back in. After way too many image views and angles, and ultrasound imaging on both lumps, I got very good news. One lump looks like a large lymph node (close to my arm pit) and the other is most likely scar tissue from the biopsy I had a year and a half ago. Praise God!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - #57 - "Streak of Lightning"

Block # 57 - "Streak of Lightning"
Started on 8/23/11
Trashed 8/24/11
Trashed again on 8/25/11
Threw a tantrum on 8/26/11
Completed on 8/26/11
Technique: Paper piecing and normal piecing

In the entry below, when "ehnk" appears it represents the unpleasant sound of a buzzer. Think wrong answer on the Family Feud.

As you can tell from the opening stats of this blog, I had a stinker of a time with this block. I tried just piecing it together to begin with. "ehnk" I tried paper piecing the whole thing. "ehnk" I tried paper piecing the individual strips. "ehnk" While that process proved to be the most encouraging, I kept misalligning my pieces. "ehnk" "ehnk" I finally asked Rosemary to nudge me in the right direction and her reply made me feel I was on the proper track. Needless to say it was not my favorite to assemble but I finally GOT 'ER DONE! "ding ding ding ding"

As I record this process for posterity's sake, I begin to ponder if Jesus gets this feeling with us?Look I stitched her together this way. "ehnk" Oh, I can get through to her this way. "ehnk" Maybe if I try to get her attention this way. "ehnk" "ehnk" And then, He hears me say, "I think I'm on the right track. Can you just give me a nudge today?" Does He sit back and prop His feet up and say to Himself, "I got 'er done!"? "ding ding ding ding"

I had another rough day today but this is just cracking me up.

Thank You Father for the gift of humor. Thank You for mercy and grace. Sometimes I think you stitched those two things together just for me and my hard head.

Blessings Y'all!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - #56 - "Gasoline Lamp"

Block #56 - "Gasoline Lamp"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/14/11
Technique: Applique'

The author of the letter that goes with this block talks of writing her letter by the light of a gasoline lamp. The letter was dated November 20 so her time of the year was close to mine. As I sit typing this blog on my laptop, powered by electricity, by the light of the track lights above my fireplace, I can picture her quite clearly.

It is a romantic notion to me; sitting in darkened room with only the light of a lamp to prevent the shadows from overtaking me. As I put my thoughts down on paper with an actual pen, I would feel the release of emotions and the satisfaction of sharing my life with loved ones and cherished friends.

On a side note: I've always loved the act, perhaps even the art, of handwriting. As a teenager and young married woman I was the bestest pen pal you could have ever wished for. I'm slowly getting back into writing with my daily devotionals and sending cards and notes. I hope and pray it blesses the recipients even a fraction of how it blesses me to do it. And I know someday, Lord willing, I will find an Amish woman who will exchange letters with me, a long time dream of mine.

Back to the subject at hand ... Without electricity, the days would end far too soon (for me). The setting of the sun would be the conclusion of projects be they for fun or utility. Lamps would be a bare necessity for me and my night owl ways!

While riding on this train of thought, it is significant to acknowledge that Jesus was called the Light of the World. As much help as a single lamp would be to illuminate a darkened room, I'm not sure we can fathom what the potential for the light of Jesus is for this old world of ours. His love heals my heart. His promises give me hope. His light illuminates the darkest days of my life.

How can even begin to discuss this without sharing one of my favorite spiritual songs?

Shine, Jesus, Shine
by Graham Kendrick (w. 1988)

"Lord, the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us,
Set us free by the truth You now bring us:
Shine on me.

Lord, I come to Your awesome presence,
From the shadows into Your radiance,
By the blood I may enter Your brightness,
Search me,
Try me,
Consume all my darkness:
Shine on me.

Shine, Jesus, shine,
Fill this land with the Father's glory.
Blaze, Spirit, blaze,
Set our hearts on fire.
Flow, river, flow,
Flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth Your Word,
Lord, and let there be light!!!!!!!!"

Father God, let my life reflect Your love and goodness. Let my life reflect your Light. Let me be Your hands, Your feet, personified in our troubled world. I bless Your name!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #55 - "Checkers"

Block #55 - "Checkers"
Started on 7/31/11
Completed on 8/7/11
Technique: Pieced

Tell me true; does this look like a Checkerboard even if there are no checkers on it? Cutting out tiny circles and applique'ing them on was just not something I was feeling when I made this block.

Wanna know a deep dark secret? I can not stand the game of Checkers. I am even a fan of Chess but I am so not into Checkers.

I guess I wouldn't fit in very well with the Amish. It seems like the more blocks I make and the more I write about their way of life, the more I discover just how unlike them I am. I mean who'd a thunk it? I would differ from them even in board games! And I love games. I am a gamer to the core.

On a separate note, I still haven't fully caught my breath. My cousin Courtney is still in the TIRR program in a Houston, TX, hospital. My mom, her sister, and my 5 year old niece all had surgeries this week. There's another severe situation in my extended family that has been emotionally wretching this week. I keep getting back up though ... the angels love that you know!

Father, thank You for the joy in the simplest of life's happenings. The clear, blue skies this week, the laughter of all my girls, and the lightbulb moments of William realizing he can read so much more than he knows!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #54 - "Deacon"

Block #54 - "Deacon"
Started on 7/31/11
Completed on 7/31/11
Technique: Applique'

The receiving of the lot to serve; what an interesting way to conduct inner church business! Amish men from the church's district are nominated for positions of deacon, elder, and preacher. On the day of appointment, one hymnal or Bible is collected for each man nominated. A slip of paper is placed inside of one of them with a Bible verse on it. Each man randomly selects a book and the one who receives the slip of paper is appointed to the vacant position of leadership. I find that to be so interesting and almost certainly ordained by God.

Our church nominates and appoints deacons and elders. They lead our congregation only. That is one thing I've always found to be exceptionally Biblical about the Church of Christ. Other than Christ, there is no one person or group making decisions for every Church of Christ in the country. Each one is autonomous.

Our preachers are usually hired employees. I've known some congregations, especially small ones that can't afford a preacher, that have men share the preaching responsibilities. I think that works well. And in our current church, our preacher was recently appointed as an elder, a shepherd if you will, of our congregation.

I am thankful for godly men who step up to lead and serve. I am thankful for men like my Poppa who served as an elder and my step-dad who has served as a deacon. I talked about heritage a couple of blogs ago. How's that for a legacy for my children? A legacy of serving our Heavenly Father is as good as it gets. I am thankful for a dear, sweet husband who has a love for the Lord that is evident in all he does.

Father, thank You for creating men who follow you. Thank You for men who can get themselves out of the way to serve You and do Your work in this world. Thank You for bringing loving, Christian men into my life.