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!