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.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #53 - "Signature Squares"

Block #53 - "Signature Squares"
Started on 7/31/11
Completed on 7/31/11
Technique: Pieced
Blocks Completed to Date: 112 of 121

Sorry I checked out for a few days! My house needed some attention due to company coming! And then they arrived and I've done my best to be hospitable. They are out at a movie tonight so I have some down time to blog!

The author of this portion of the circle letter thanks the other letter participants for signing and sending back to her fabric squares to create a friendship quilt. I love this idea and somehow I'm going to organize one of these for myself. I have friends and relatives all over the country so it would be neat to pull one together.

It was nice to be back at church today. Will was sick last weekend so I had to stay home with him. Singing was terrific and the message and the shepherd's moment were all wonderful. Our church has lots of new things happening and starting and it makes me so happy in my heart. I believe it is a direct response to prayers I have offered on behalf of our family and our church.

Life feels like it is getting back to normal. It is nice to have a chance to catch my breath and recharge my batteries a little!

Father, thank You that I am lucky enough to have more than a handful of friends! Thank You for answering prayers. Thank You for a wonderful church family and shepherds who care about our spiritual growth and well-being.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #52 - "Pennsylvania Dutch Heritage"

Block # 52 - "Pennsylvania Dutch Heritage"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/14/11
Technique: Applique'

Wow! I love the story that goes behind this block from the book. The writer says the pattern on this block was traced from a design on a hutch that had been in her husband's family for many years. What a lovely representation of a rich and beautiful heritage.

I was thinking earlier today about my children's heritage. What has followed us through our family trees and infiltrated our lives today? It is actually pretty easy to get started on an answer to that. Love of God. Love of Family. Commitment, loyalty, and even passion in our marriages. That's right I said it! We can still see passion flairing in our grandparents' and parents' marriages. Longevity, endurance, faith, and hope in our Savior are all qualities that have trickled down.

Could any heritage be richer? Could anyone be so blessed? Thank you Granny and Poppa and Grandma and Granddaddy for exemplifying a legacy of love for me and my family. And thank you Dese and Pa and Grandma and Grandpa deValcourt for exemplifying the same for the best man I've ever known, my loving husband Mark.

Father, thank You for blessing me and thank You for the precious moments tucked away inside each day of my life.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #51 - "Crazy Quilt"

Block #51 - "Crazy Quilt"
Started on 7/31/11
Completed on 7/31/11
Technique: Pieced

This was a fun and easy block to make. I just started sewing a bunch of scraps together and then cut it down to the correct size once I had it put together large enough. I've since looked up the process of foundation piecing online and I would use that method should I try something like this again.

So, I had myself all worked up today for my second mammogram. At 37 years old many women haven't had even one yet. But I'm one of those in the lesser percentage that has enough family history mixed with discoveries of my own that lands me annual diagnostics already. Anyhoo, I didn't get to have it done even after undressing and traipsing back to the room.

In June I found two areas that concerned me, one in each breast. I went to see the doctor in early July. She encouraged me to wait a month and see if they decreased in size. They had appeared so quickly she thought they might be related to my menstrual cycle. Well, they haven't changed and I finally got a mammogram scheduled for today.

I go in and the technician is going through the work order. When she says, "And your physical exam was normal," I started shaking my head. After much discussion, since I had not had a normal exam, I needed to have a diagnostic mammogram with a radiologist present. There wasn't one present and a new appointment would have to be made.

I told the very nice lady she was likely about to witness me being very upset and I assured her it had nothing to do with her. I've had this issue in prayer for so long and I'd made a strong effort to prepare myself for the process and for the impending results. Well, I didn't show my backside and kept my cool but I felt like someone deflated my enormous balloon. Hopefully I'll get a call tomorrow rescheduling me. Argh.

I've been feeling a lot like the little character (is it Pigpen?) on Charlie Brown that has the little dust cloud that follows him everywhere. When so many things go wrong and go badly, it is really hard not to develop a "woe is me" kind of mentality. But I haven't given up hope! I'm still looking upward.

Father, thank You for all that You make accessible to me and for watching over the parts of my life that I don't even realize needs watching over.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #50 - "Missing Cows"

Block # 50 - "Missing Cows"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 8/4/11
Technique: Applique'
Blocks Completed to Date:
105 of 121

I have one story about a cow but I'm not sure how appropriate it is. Oh, isn't that a great way to reach out, grab you, and reel you in. So, when I finally made my way to college in 1996, I decided to study Animal Science because I aspired to be a Veterinarian and that was the best way to start at the time. This was, especially at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, a highly agriculture oriented course of study.

As it turned out one of the hands-on events for the main Animal Science class was to palpate cows to determine if they were pregnant or not. Basically you put on a plastic glove that goes up to your shoulder and IN YOU GO. If you need more details, feel free to ask. It isn't for the faint of heart but it was an awesome experience in its own weird way.

One of the next "lab" days was a visit to a butcher shop and that's when I dropped out of college.

The other somewhat related story involves a yak. Yes, an official Mongolian Yak. His name is Yuki and he lives on a Yak ranch just north of Ouray, CO. We took our Girl Scout troop there in August at the end of a camping trip at Ridgway State Park. All was going well until Yuki nudged one of our adult chaperones and accidentally impaled her with his horn on her backside. We had to take her to the ER and she ended up with about 4 stitches and an unbelievable story. Many of us have fish tales ... she had a yak attack tale.

It was not an act of aggression. We liken it to a cat rubbing against your leg wanting you to pet it. He was lookin' for lovin' ... and it just went terribly wrong. He was as surprised to have a human stuck on his horn as she was to have a yak where she had a yak.

That was just one of the unfortunate events that has plagued our family this summer. I got up last weekend wanting to put my Christmas tree up. I guess it was more wanting to put this awful summer behind us than anything else.

Father, thank You for all of the opportunities you've given me in my life. Thank You for wanting good things for me and for getting me through the last couple of months.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #49 - "Flying Geese"

Block # 49 - "Flying Geese"
Started on 7/30/11
Completed on 7/31/11
Technique: Pieced
Blocks Completed to Date:
103 of 121

When my quilting teacher told us we were going to learn about making flying geese I had no idea what she was talking about. I think everyone else in the class had heard of them before so I felt like a big dummy having to ask what geese she was talking about. She kindly explained and even then I still didn't quite get it. I kept looking at the pieces upside down. I have learned how to make them though and my piecing is much more accurate today than it was those first attempts back in 2009. One nagging question remains though. If you make only one, is it a flying goose?

Didn't get to blog yesterday because I was busy with a sick kiddo and trying to get my mystery quilt quilted and ready to turn in tomorrow for the revealing party this coming week. The quilting is finished but I'm trying to get the binding on. The kiddo is still sick; his first ever case of Strep throat and an ear infection as it turns out.

Courtney is at a better hospital in a special section for people in her condition. She seems to be making progress and we are continuing to pray for her daily.

Father, thank You for each day You give me. Thank You for the love and laughter in my life and for the doors You continue to open for me.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 48 - "Vegetable Garden"

Block # 48 - "Vegetable Garden"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/13/11
Technique: Applique'

The writer of the letter that goes with this quilt block talks about how well her vegetable garden produced this year and how full their basement is with the produce. They are all set for winter and even had plenty to share.

In this synopsis, there are two things that would be unlikely to occur in my home. A vegetable garden and use of the basement. (This project is making me all too aware of my many weirdnesses.)

I have a healthy respect for gardens and plants in general. They add beauty to our world and the very important element of Oxygen that I appreciate greatly. Plants feed a huge portion of humans and animals so they are great living things overall. However, I am so bad with plants. I like to say it goes beyond a brown thumb ... mine is black. I have a hard time keeping plants alive.

And now let's talk about basements. I don't like rooms underground. I don't like spaces underground. When we moved to Grand Junction we looked at several homes that had a basement level and as soon as we'd start down the stairs to descend into the unknown, I'd get that sinking feeling in my tummy and totally write that house off. Our home now has a crawl space and I avoid it like the plague. I told my dear hubby he could store things down there but I would not be retrieving them. Ever.

Father, thank You for people who tend your plants and gardens. Thank You for creating such a variety of people that can take care of so many things in our lives.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #47 - "Four-Patch"

Block # 47 - "Four-Patch"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 7/14/11
Technique: Pieced

I've been looking at this block and thinking that I can easily use leftover scraps of fabric to make a quilt like this. I like the simplicity of it and that you don't have to have a lot of any one fabric to create it.

I started organizing my leftover fabrics yesterday. Jeepers there are quite a few. As I sorted them by color my brain began storming (read brainstorming) up all kinds of combinations and scrappy quilts I could make. I need to use patterns like this one to use up my plethora of scraps.

My baby turned 7 today. He had an idyllic day complete with fun, gifts and a party at Chuck E. Cheese. I felt so blessed to not have to worry about anything for that party (except the cake which I always make for my kiddos). They did the decorations, food, goodie bags, entertainment, set up and clean up, pinata and a great job of making Will feel special. God knew I needed an easy, just show up kind of party.

Father, thank You for making me a mother. Thank You that my children are healthy and happy and have hearts for You!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 46 "Blueberry Ice Cream"

Block # 46 - "Blueberry Ice Cream"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/13/11
Technique: Applique'

I have not had great success with homemade ice cream. In all fairness I haven't tried very many times but it sure seems like a whole lot of work to make something you can quickly and very inexpensively pick up at the supermarket.

Mudder (my mother) used to make Cookies and Cream Ice Cream homemade and now that was something to sing about. And Granny, her mother, made wonderful homemade ice cream too. I hear tell that my husband's family made homemade ice cream with the old fashioned crank freezers.

If I went to the trouble of making homemade ice cream, it might have chocolate added to it or Oreos as was the way with Mudder's recipe, but I wouldn't add fruit. Fruit doesn't suggest dessert to me so never the twain would meet in my doing.

Father, thank You for my life. Thank You for sweetness and moments You create just for me. Help me waste not a second and find ways to glorify You in all that I do.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #45 - "Rail Fence"

Block #45 - "Rail Fence"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 7/13/11
Technique: Pieced
Block Completed to Date: 100 of 121

I love how these fabrics look together. Just enough contrast and since I love those fabrics anyway it makes it all the mo betta!

My friend Nicole Thompson took all of my first quilting classes with me. She and I could never remember the name of this kind of quilt / block. Half the time we called it a Split Rail Fence. I think I know it now but it was funny that it confused both of us.

I've made only one quilt with the Rail Fence pattern. I called it a Buggy Rail Fence and it went to my one and only mini angel man, my son, William. He loves that quilt and it tickles me to pieces! You can see it here in the bottom picture.

I'm working on several projects right now that has slowed down my progress on this one. I'm finishing our local mystery quilt for the mystery quilt revealing show on the 20th. I've got two almost identical quilts I'm making in hopes of selling. I've got a Christmas quilt I'd like to get done before this Christmas.

Luckily I am way ahead of my blog on squares completed so I have some time to devote to other projects. This one is still dear to my heart so I will continue to blog about it and share my progress!

Father, thank You for giving me work to do that is a craft I love. Thank You for giving me the ability and the means to do something I so enjoy. I am blessed. And Father, bring healing to Courtney. We're all still hoping and praying she returns to us.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #44 - "Family Fish Fry"

Block # 44 - "Family Fish Fry"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/12/11
Technique: Applique'

I can so relate to the letter that went with this block. A family fishing together, catching fish, having a supper of fried fish together and ending with a singing! That could have been an excerpt from my childhood!

My grandparents owned a cabin when I was growing up in a little community called Smith Point on the northern side of Galveston Bay in southeast Texas. We spent many, many weekends there and the joy that filled me when I knew a trip down was on the calendar was palpable. I loved it there.

I loved that we always had to mow the yard when we got there and turn the water on. I loved that 4 couples and 9 kids could squeeze into a two room cabin with 3 full size beds and 2 very old fashioned sofa sleepers. (And we loved it.)

I loved going crabbing and going out on the boat. I loved how Poppa always seemed to know where we were out in the water. I really loved dragging the shrimp net and sorting through the catch after we pulled it in. I love that Poppa didn't get very angry at me when while I was tossing junk fish or crabs over the side of the boat with tongs I accidently liberated the tongs too. I think that happened more than once.

I loved the fresh fried fish we had and the crabs and shrimp. And who could forget the homemade ice cream and playing in the kiddie pool and sprinklers with my cousins and sisters?The spiders in the bathtub hold their own historical moments as well as the pranks that were played among the adults ... usually involving ice cold water in the outdoor shower stall.

And then there were the evenings of singing acappella hymns as the sun went down ... swatting at mosquitoes and soothing the youngest of the children as their day finally caught up with their exhausted little bodies.

Father, thank You for those blessed times. Thank You for loving me enough to give me such a remarkable family. Thank You for every day and for the simplest joys of life as they are the bestest.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #43 "Eight-Pointed Star"

Block # 43 - "Eight-Pointed Star"
Started on 7/13/11
Completed on 7/13/11
Technique: Pieced

The author of the letter that went with this block said she hadn't had much time to quilt lately. I get grumpy when that happens to me. I need time in my sp
ace doing my thing.

I like this block. Apparently sharp, clean angles are my thing. It appeals to me. I've made a quilt with this type of block before. I'll add a picture of it.

Stars ... I sure love a night sky filled with stars. The stars in Yellowstone were phenomenal! Stars are one of my favorite things about camping.

Father, thank You for the "night lights" You created for us. May we all appreciate the beauty of your simple gift.


Monday, September 05, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 42 - "Strawberries & Raspberries"

Block # 42 - "Strawberries & Raspberries"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/12/11
Technique: Applique'
Blocks Completed to date: 97 of 121

I love my little berries! Even though I'm not a big fan of berries in general, this was a fun block! Strawberries have seeds that bug me. Even Julia Roberts knows all about that. But I like the flavor of strawberries and their texture is actually okay by me.

This project has made me grow rather fond of applique'. I love all of the different blocks and I keep trying to decide which block would make the best quilt for which people. The last block of the book is an Amish buggy and I'm going to make one to frame and hang in my quilt room.

My mom, step-dad, 3 nephews and niece were all evacuated today from their home near Bastrop, TX, due to fires in the area. The shelter they went to is actually at their church. I know what it is like to leave home like that and to fear it being destroyed. We evacuated from Deer Park, TX, when Hurricane Rita hit in 2005. It is a horrible feeling.

I've been taking the hard knocks in stride. I'm getting a bit of a complex with so much bad stuff happening to me and those I love. About the time I catch my breath and come out of the funk, another whammy hits.

Father, give comfort and peace tonight to those who have lost their homes and who are waiting to see if their homes will be affected. Bring healing to Courtney who is still struggling to return to us. And Father, please help me through these rough patches.


Sunday, September 04, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block # 41 - "Ocean Waves"

Block # 41 - "Ocean Waves"
Started on 7/12/11
Completed on 7/13/11
Technique: Pieced

I like this block pretty well. If I was making a quilt full of this one I would definitely add some teal and aqua fabrics in the mix as well as a fabric with some white. (I'm thinking sea foam.) I think some fabrics with sea animals printed on it would be fun too.

I love the ocean by the way. The beach, not so much. But I could sit and look at and listen to the ocean for forever. It soothes my spirit and calms my soul. It is my happy place. Now that I live in Colorado, I have to say that I love the mountains too. Couldn't choose between so I guess I'll just say how awesome our Heavenly Father is to created both for us!

It was great to be back at church today! We've been out of town so much this summer (all but 2 or 3 weekends) that we were missing our church family very much. We don't have anything else scheduled right now but another trip or two isn't out of the question.

Father, thank You for the beauty around me wherever I go. Thank You for giving us the gift of congregational singing. Thank You for acappella music. It speaks to me.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #40 - "Fireflies"

Block # 40 - "Fireflies"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/12/11
Technique: Applique'
Blocks Completed to Date: 86 of 121

I love this block! It is too cute. If I knew any little boys who could be gentle enough with an applique' quilt, I would make this for them. I loved it from the time I saw it in the book and was nearly giddy once it was completed and turned out so darling.

I miss fireflies. We don't have them in Colorado. Or if we do, they are hiding from the crazy transplanted Southerners because we've seen zero in the 4 1/2 years we've lived here. We had so much fun when I was little running through the field by Granny and Poppa's house through a gamut of "lightning bugs".

I've been thinking a lot this week about my cousins and how lucky I was to grow up with them in my life. Jenny, Danny, Courtney, Ryan, Crystal and Cody are first cousins on my mom's side of the family. I saw them often. On Daddy's side of the family first cousins are Cody (yes another one, Texas remember), Kyle, Cory, Caroline, Austin and Tucker. I was much older than these cousins and half of them live in Ohio so we didn't see each other very often at all.

I could start listing second and third cousins on my mom's side of the family, but I'd forget someone and life is too short for the trouble that would bring. : ) But I did get to spend a lot of time with many of them and as an adult I realize how special that was!

Father, I beseech You again to bring Courtney around. This waiting game is a bear! Thank You for cousins! And thank You for moments of chasing fireflies. Precious memories Lord!


Friday, September 02, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #39 - "Shunning"

Block #39 - "Shunning"
Started on 7/11/11
Completed on 7/11/11
Technique: Pieced

Shunning! That is one we have a hard time understanding about the Amish isn't it? I actually get it. I wouldn't like it and it would be beyond difficult to shun a member of my own family, but I do get it.

I grew up in ultra conservative Churches of Christ. It was rare but there were instances of disfellowshipping members that were straying. In some cases I believe it was done incorrectly and most likely not out of love in the way it was intended from their interpretation of the Bible. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth even now.

If the practice is to be observed, I think the Amish do it pretty accurately. You can tell they shun out of love and with mighty hopes that the lost sheep will find its way back to the flock. Unfortunately I never saw it used with love growing up.

Luckily, we are members of a Church of Christ (and I am thankful that each congregation governs itself with autonomy from other ones) that has not exercised that practice in the 4 1/2 years we've been there. And we were at another for 5 years before that that did not exercise the practice either. Grace and mercy and an abundance of love seem to rule. Makes my heart feel better.

Father, help me always act out of love and reach out to others in Your name. Help my life reflect the light of Your love.


Thursday, September 01, 2011

Amish Circle Quilt Project - Block #38 - "Mushrooming"

Block # 38 - "Mushrooming"
Started on 7/8/11
Completed on 7/8/11
Technique: Applique'

Aren't they cute little mushrooms? Cute isn't a word often associated with mushrooms. But the ones I made are cute indeed.

Mushrooms. Does anyone else find it totally weird that we eat such a thing? Long ago someone saw them growing in probably not so pleasant of an area and thought, "Oh, we should eat those!"

You'll find it strange that I love mushrooms, considering that in general, I am not a plant eater. I love them in casseroles, on steaks, and on pizza. I rarely indulge but I like them fried and I love the stuffed mushrooms at Red Lobster.

Today is the first day I've started feeling some peace about the turmoil in our lives right now. I found a great passage in a devotional reading in my Bible this morning that summed it all up. I love spending time each day in the Word and find great insight from the devotionals I read too! The passage is from a book called "The Deeper Life" by Nancie Carmichael:

"If I want God to be able to reap a harvest through my life, I need to be willing to let Him prepare the soil - even if that means experiencing brokenness or pain or humbling experiences or LESSONS OF WAITING."

Father, still waiting on Courtney to return to us. Nudge her forward Lord. Comfort us and give us peace during this time. Mostly, let our hearts be open to the lessons You are sowing. Let good ultimately come of this difficult time.