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!