Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 37 - "Crops and Flowers"

Block # 37 - "Crops and Flowers"
Started on 7/11/11
Completed on 7/11/11
Technique: Piecing

This block makes me think of, "You reap what you sow." And you have to have an extra special talent to make your rows all lean when you piece them together. I know, I'm good. Seriously, I think I had my thread tension too tight.

I didn't work on this project today. I have been finishing a Christmas quilt I started back in 2008 as a block of the month project. I have one large border left to put on the top and then the top will be completed. I cut the binding strips today but still need to piece those together and press them. I have the backing already but need to pick up some batting.

I'm not a big believer in holiday quilts. It is way too much work to go through for something you'll only use or display for a month out of every year. This one was just too cute to pass up.

I'm longing for happier times. I don't mean to feel overwhelmed or down right now. Actually it kind of makes me mad that our dog had to be put to sleep at the same time my cousin is struggling to come back to us. Both events of which occurred during a month that was horrible enough already.

Mark Lowry once said you should just tell God when you're mad at him because if you don't you're lying and you'll have to confess that later anyway. I'm not mad at Him. I'm mad at the crummy circumstances of late.

So on a happy, positive note William is learning to read more and more every day. I love the look on his face when he realizes what word he just pronounced without any help from me. Today we learned "ar" and buddy that made his millenium, because, of course, that word list included CAR.

Trinity has been doing Yoga on the Wii and it makes me happy to see her doing something so good for her body. William joined in today and they are funny to watch. I tried one pose with them. Will said, "Mom, look at me."

I said, "I see you Will."

He said, "Then do what I'm doing 'cause you aren't facing the right way."

Righteous child ... at least about that.

Father, thank You for the day I spent with my kids. Thank You that we didn't give Will away last night during a meltdown. Thank You for date night and for a good babysitter. And thank You for my massage therapist. I probably didn't pay her enough.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #36 - "Windmill"

Block #36 - "Windmill"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11
Technique: Applique'
Total blocks completed to date: 79 of 121

I love my cute little windmill. This project is so neat! I am so enjoying it. It has been a blessing to me to read about the relationships of different cousins in the stories that go with each block seeing as how my own cousin is fighting for her life right now.

Rosemary, the author of the book I'm working through, has told me more than once that this blog will be as important as the quilt itself when I am done. I'm starting to realize that she is a wise woman. : ) Lately so much of real life has flooded into my blog so it really will be a source of documentation of my life during the construction of this most special quilt.

Today I feel particularly blessed because I have a number of friends here that I could call on to get together to pray on Friday night ... and eat pancakes. : ) We've got it going on, let me tell ya. Mark and I felt the Lord's will for us to come to Colorado in 2007 and even though we've had some of our most tumultuous times, over and over again we see the blessings He has rewarded our faithfulness with.

Father, You are the wind in the windmill of our lives. Flowing through our days gently lifting us on your breeze. Thank You for your constant presence and for your unfailing love.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #35 - "Pinwheel Blocks"

Block #35 - "Pinwheel Blocks"

Started on 7/11/11
Completed on 7/11/11

Technique: Piecing

This was so fun to make. I love the sharpness and angles of this block. The only pinwheel quilt I've made before was in quilting classes and it ended up being for my Trinity. She loves it and helped pick out the fabrics. I'll include a picture of her quilt today.

Quilting has been so therapeutic for me this week. It has been an escape from negative thoughts. (It puts me in such a happy place to quilt.) I've had my Women of Faith dvd's on which have been quite uplifting. I listened to the book "Captivating" on CD. Parts of it were looney to me but other parts of it spoke directly to my inner most person.

I have spent so much time in the Word since April. I have felt things changing in my heart and my connection to God growing. It irks me that the trials of late seem to be a declaration of spiritual warfare. What if there's a kink in my armor?

Father, keep my eyes on You. Keep the arsenal coming to fight the good fight. And, if it isn't too much to ask, wake Courtney up soon!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #34 - "Apple & Apricot Blossoms"

Block #34 - "Apple & Apricot Blossoms"

Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Applique'

Blocks completed to date: 71 of 121

This is another block I enjoyed making. Cute and simple to do. I've never seen a real apple blossom. Now that I think about it, that's weird.

Here's a tidbit. I can make apple blossoms out of icing. They are one of the flowers I learned to make (and one I taught others to make) in Cake Decorating Classes.

Despite the trials of late, I'm trying to stay positive. Quilting has been keeping me sane and given me a much needed distraction!

Father, ease our hearts. Bring healing to Courtney. Shower us with comfort, peace, and grace.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #33 - "Log Cabin Quilt"

Block #33 - "Log Cabin Quilt"

Started on 7/11/11
Completed on 7/11/11

Technique: Piecing

This was the first type of block I learned to make when I took my first quilting classes in January 2008. I've made two log cabin quilts and oddly enough they were made for my husband and myself. His is an LSU Log Cabin and mine is, well, it's not! Ha. I love mine very much.

I found time today to work on more blocks for this quilt. I guess it was more like I made time. I needed to get my mind off of the loss of our Golden Retriever, Simba, yesterday. And then of course there's my cousin Courtney who is still battling for her life in I.C.U. in Shreveport. I'm a little overwhelmed right now but prayer is keeping me sane. I always wonder how people without faith get through difficulties in life.

Father, thank You for today. Thank You for my life and my family and the infinite blessings and grace you've bestowed on me.


Here's the other two Log Cabin quilts I've made:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #32 - "Spring Flowers"

Block # 32 - "Spring Flowers"

Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Applique'

Oh I love this block! I had so much fun putting it together. This is the most successful I've ever been creating anything that blossoms. (And keeping it blooming!)

I often tell people I have a black thumb. That is way more advanced at plant killing than those with brown thumbs. Our house sitter gets a kick out of the fact that I had a half dozen or so plants when she started working for us and now I'm down to only zero.

I do appreciate those with a green thumb. And I appreciate the value and beauty plants bring to our world. Just don't let me near them.

The lighter color petals are made from the backing Trinity chose for a throw quilt I made for her. The words on it say Love, Charity, and Faith (her middle name). I have used using scraps of it here and there throughout the quilt and I really like that. It shall show up again.

Father, I have more on my heart tonight that I can put into words. I ask the Holy Spirit to intervene for me and lift my cares and worries directly to You, Great Physician, Beginning and End.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #31 - "Wool Fan Quilt"

Block # 31 - "Wool Fan Quilt"

Started on 7/10/11
Completed on 7/11/11

Technique: Piecing and Applique'

I'm freshly back from Yellowstone National Park. We had a fabulous time but I have to admit, I missed blogging! I think blogging about quilting is pretty awesome.

So ... Wool! I have not used any wool fabrics yet in my projects but I frequently use wool batting. Initially I used it because I thought I would like it. Then, I fell in love with the way it looks once quilted. Now, I've had a quilt with wool batting on my bed for a month or so and I love the utility of it. It is summer full throttle here in Grand Junction and we are sleeping so comfortably. We stay warm without sweating and it is blessed!

I am not sure it would be as easy to hand quilt through this batting. Once I learned to machine quilt I cast aside the idea of hand quilting for awhile.

My block was done a bit awkwardly. I was working on it late one evening and my tired brain was having a hard time wrapping around how to put this block together. I ended up applique'ing the fans onto squares of the background fabric. I think I have since figured out how I would do it differently.

My prayer for today is completely unrelated to this quilt block, fyi.

Father, wrap your ample arms around my cousin Courtney and bring her back to us with her full health restored. Wake her up with a healed mind and heart and let her continue to shine her precious light on the lives of so many.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #30 - "First Robin"

Block #30 - "First Robin"

Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Applique'

The letter that goes with this block talks about, as you might guess, seeing the first robin of the year. Immediately, one song that tells a story about a robin came to mind and since that was all I could think of, I suppose I must share it.

Broken Wing (as recorded by LeAnn Rimes)

Today I watched a robin in our front yard
I thought by now that they should all be gone
With winter around the corner
And the snow on its way
Surely, there must be something wrong

Then in that old oak tree I finally saw her
Where she sat gazing down upon her mate
And the song that she was singing
Seemed to say, "I'll be right here.
I'd like to go but your love's made me wait."

He's got a broken wing and that's why he can't fly
She just can't leave him there, so she stays by his side
They're just like you and me
Oh you should of heard her sing,
"Don't give up, it's just a broken wing."

I wish we all could learn what they seem to have found
To love our family when trouble comes around
I'll bet that God saw fit to show them unto me
Him on the ground, her in that tree.

Isn't that just the most precious little song? It gave me goosebumps the first time I heard it. I performed it somewhere, maybe my sister Kara's graduation party? I just love, love, love it.

Father, let us learn from the robins of the air, how to help each other and love each other through the hard times. Heal our broken wings Father. We all have them in one way or another.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #29 - "Buggy Accident"

Block #29 - "Buggy Accident"

Started on 7/10/11
Completed on 7/10/11

Technique: Piecing and Templates

Blocks completed to date: 68 of 121

I wish I had a magical solution to keep cars from colliding with Amish buggies. It bothers me that the Amish are in more danger than the cars zipping around them often in way too much of a hurry.

I really love this block. I copied the colors from the book and I love how well they go together.

I haven't talked much about my interest in all things Amish have I? I read Amish fiction non-stop. I also read non-fiction about them as well. I admire their simplicity. Sometimes I wish I was raised Amish so that I would not have become addicted to television and then later to the computer.

I mostly admire the caring relationships the Amish form. The younger generations take care of the older ones by having them in their own house attached to the home of their children and grandchildren. They care for the members of their church family when they are in need. From taking over chores around the home or bringing meals when someone is sick or passes away to rebuilding barns and homes that are destroyed by fires or weather. And the fact that they don't have to carry insurance because they help each other out financially when needed speaks volumes for the Christian love they show to each other.

All churches could learn a thing or two from the Amish about how God intends for us to look out for each other.

Father, help me watch for ways others are in need and let me show your love to them with care and aide.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #28 - "Box Social"

Block # 28 - "Box Social"

Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Applique'

I didn't read the letter that went with this block until just now. It made me pause and have to catch my breath. A box social was held to raise money for a family whose five month old baby had an inoperable brain tumor. Oh the thought of it has me stirred.

The process of this event was quite interesting. I think it would be so fun to see young people in our community do this. The girls made meals or picnics which they placed in wrapped gift boxes. The boys bid on these boxes and I'm guessing got to feast on the contents maybe with the girl who made it.

I loved making this block and it is even more precious to me now that I've absorbed the story behind it.

Father, thank You for the health of my children. Help me not take a moment of their lives for granted.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #27 - "Ice Harvesting"

Block #27 - "Ice Harvesting"

Started on 7/10/11
Completed on 7/10/11

Technique: Piecing

I will most likely redo this block. The part that looks tan actually looked gray when I bought it. But up next to the blues it looks way off. It looks more tan in person than it does in the picture.

Harvesting ice blocks to fill your icehouse is a concept that could not possibly be more foreign to me. Growing up in Texas we never had ice that could be harvested. Plus, in my lifetime, I've always lived in a home that had a refrigerator and freezer in it.

I am intrigued with the show Sister Wives on TLC. The large family on there went ice blocking, at least I think that's what they called it. I'd never heard of it before. They bought huge blocks of ice and would sit on them and slide down hills as if they were sledding. Interesting I thought.

Father, thank You for refrigerators. Thank You for electricity. Thank You that we can store food to keep it from spoiling. We are far more blessed than a large portion of the world.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #26 - "Butchering the Pigs"

Block # 26 - "Butchering the Pigs"

Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Applique'

Isn't this little piggie so cute?

So the title of this block is pretty self explanatory. It leads me to a time of confession for anyone who might read this. When it comes to animals and the consumption of them, I am a hypocrite in denial in a big way.

I love meat. I live on it. Not being a leaf eater I would most likely starve to death if I gave up meat. However, I would give it up, if I could, on behalf of animals and my love for them.

I have to stay away from thinking about how the animals "get dead" as my kids would say. I will never be able to watch "Food, Inc." although I am probably quite sympathetic to the concerns and worries expressed in the film.

I have to say that I will continue to eat meats and I suppose I'll just pretend they come from the fridge or from the guy at the grocery store. Everyone let me stay in my happy place where animals roam free and meat just appears on the stove. Already cooked is even better.

Father, thank You for providing for our needs. And thank You, Lord, for keeping your eyes on even the sparrows.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 25 - "Roman Stripes"

Block # 25 - "Roman Stripes"

Started on 7/9/11
Completed on 7/10/11

Technique: Piecing

The writer of the letter that goes with this block talks of quilting a Roman Stripes quilt that her mother had made with scraps of cloth from clothing the family had worn. Her mother had recently passed away so it was bitter sweet to work on this quilt.

I'm blessed to still have my mother alive and well. She is only 18 years older than me so I'm hoping that gives me a good chance of having her around a good portion of my life.

It was just me and "Mudder" for a few years there. She worked at Timberland Insurance in Lufkin, TX, which isn't there any more. She had to drop me off at daycare which I greatly protested in the wisdom of my "youngsterness".

She taught me many things through the years. She taught me to sing very early in my life. It is in our DNA I suppose but she ingrained in me a love for music. I was one of the only kids who ever knew John Denver, Anne Murray, and Helen Reddy. Those were the LP records most often played on Saturdays as we cleaned the house.

Thank You, Father, for the gift of music and for using my mother as a vessel to teach me to appreciate it.


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 24 - "Sleigh Ride"

Block #24 - "Sleigh Ride"

Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Applique'

Record high temperatures are soaring across the country and here I am writing about a sleigh. Be honest, a sleigh ride through snow covered hills sounds lovely right now. Although I've never ridden in a sleigh, I've been in a carriage a few times.

Mark and I took the kids on a horse pulled carriage ride while we were in Galveston, TX, a couple of weeks ago. We had just left a restaurant because our six year old was so out of sorts that we decided a good meal wasn't worth the strife. We were all cranky and tired and grieving the loss of a dear friend. As we left the restaurant and headed through the Strand area, we passed by two or three carriages waiting for fares.

All four of us perked up and were in agreement that it did, indeed, look like a lot of fun. Mark and I were $8 short on cash to pay for it so the kids pulled out their wallets and pitched in $4 each! It felt meant to be.

We had a lovely ride as the sun was going down and it felt as if God had calmed the storms that were raging around us.

Thank You, Father, for your peace that passes understanding. You offer it to us sometimes before we even know we need it.


Friday, August 05, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 23 - "Nine-Patch Quilt"

Block #23 - "Nine-Patch Quilt"

Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Piecing

The author of the letter that goes with this block talks of two things I'd like to discuss.

First of all, she mentions family get togethers and how at them they have a singing. This brings back so many good family memories for me since my family often did the same thing when we got together. For that matter, we still do when we have the chance.

I was raised in the Church of Christ which uses only a'cappella music for their worship. A large portion of my mother's family is part of the same church so when we were all together we would sing and sing and sing ... and then sing some more. 4 part harmonies with your grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins around gave you a glimpse of what Heaven might be like. I know now what a great gift that was and how special those times were.

The other thing that caught my attention was the hand piecing of quilt blocks together. While I have a healthy appreciation for those who have the patience, talent and time to piece by hand (and quilt by hand for that matter) I don't know that I would quilt much if I didn't have a machine to do most of the stitches.

When I initially took quilting classes I included a hand quilting class. I enjoyed learning the techniques and I could do it if I had to. I've done very little of the hand quilting though and grow tired of how long it takes to complete a project that way.

Today is my 16th wedding anniversary so if you'll indulge me, my prayer today will be related to that rather than my quilting.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the gentle man that shares my life. I thank You for the marriage of our hearts and souls that You continually bless and nourish. Thank You for loving me enough to design such a perfect match for me and for giving us the 16 years together we've had so far.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 22 - "Quilt Shop"

Block #22 - "Quilt Shop"

Started on 7/7/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Applique'

To date I have 53 blocks completed. I have only worked on a couple of them for the passed week or so because I had the mystery quilt project to catch up on and then complete. With that done, I can focus some more on my Amish project!

The author of the letter that went with this block talks of working at a quilt shop. I would love to do that if the time comes when I need to work. I prefer, I think, sitting at my machine and putting quilts together. But if I had to get a job it would be so fun to visit with quilters all day and work with notions and fabrics.

I used the monogramming feature on my Janome to add the words "Quilt Shop" to my block. Totally not an Amish thing to do I'm sure, but since I am not Amish I suppose I can get away with it. Gimme a shout out if you think this block is TOO CUTE!

I love to visit quilt shops. The craftier, homier ones with personality are my favorites. I went to one in a warehouse outside of Lafayette, LA, once and while I got some great LSU fabric, the atmosphere was not to my liking.

Father, thank You for letting me find the thing I love to do. Besides being a wife and mother, which are the greatest blessings in my life, You've given me a craft that I enjoy so much and have the ability to do.


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 21 - "Winds and Snow"

Block #21 - "Winds and Snow"

Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11

Technique: Piecing

I love the look of this block. I was very impressed that I could easily put together all of the little parts of this block. It made me feel very good about the quality of the classes I took to learn to quilt.

Grand Junction, CO, where we live now gets a respectable amount of snow each winter. People here tend to complain about it but I never do. I love to sit and drink my coffee and watch the flakes falling down. I love turning on the fireplace and snuggling with the kids on the couch as we read together.

Thank You, Father, for the peacefulness and beauty of snowflakes falling down.