Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bear one another's burdens....

Yesterday was one of those days where the cares of this world weighed heavily on me and on some of those I love dearly.  In the midst of the weightiness, God in His lovingkindness, reminded us of Galatians 6:2:   "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."  What a striking thing!  Bearing each other's burdens fulfills the law of Christ.  And His law is love.  And grace.

And after reminding us of this, He gave us His body yesterday to help us bear our burdens.  Such blessing.

Then this morning I read this in Streams in the Desert:

If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back--
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perhaps, Faith's light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest's roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the lofty air was still.

O friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet sprint in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin-darkened sky;
If you have gone a little way ahead, O friend, call back--
It will cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.

We can't -- shouldn't -- minimize the role we have in each other's lives of helping bear the burdens of this life.  God Himself gave us Jesus to erase our sin and reconcile us to Him -- the biggest burden there is -- and then Jesus gave us His body to help us walk this stony path, carrying the weight together.

Today I'm suiting up, getting ready to help someone else pack their burden, "calling back" to them, so to speak, to let them know He is sufficient.  Then we'll talk it out, and after that we'll take it straight to the foot of the cross and remind Jesus He walked this stony path before us, and would He please take this weight for us?  Because He longs to.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Quilted Nativity Advent Calendar

This fall I got a bee in my bonnet to make a quilted Advent calendar for my grandchildren.  I Googled those words and up came a pre-printed panel by Nancy Halvorsen from a few years back.  I did some more looking online and ended up finding a place that had some left.  I ordered a couple of them - you know, "just in case" - and then went on the hunt for border fabric.  One of the gals in our local quilt shop helped me find the right piece and off I went to put it together.

All the little figures are backed with felt and then have a loop attached with a button on the back.  There are also button-type fasteners on which the figures hang, both in the border (for before the date) and in the center (for after).  I also marked, with numbers, each figure and then underneath the fasteners in both the border and center, so the kiddos would know where everything belongs.  It didn't come with a solution for numbering, so it was kind of a "winging-it" thing.

Here are pictures of it before I gave it to them, and then a couple of shots of them with it.

 This one is at our quilt group when we were celebrating it.
All the figures are hanging in the border.

Close-up of some of the figures.

With the figures in the center hanging in their appointed places.

The kiddos with it on Day 2.....

.....and again on Day 13!

Oh, I love these two!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Rituals.....

God's Garden

THE Lord God planted a garden
In the first white days of the world,
And He set there an angel warden
In a garment of light enfurled.

So near to the peace of Heaven,
That the hawk might nest with the wren,
For there in the cool of the even
God walked with the first of men.

And I dream that these garden-closes
With their shade and their sun-flecked sod
And their lilies and bowers of roses,
Were laid by the hand of God.

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,--
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

For He broke it for us in a garden
Under the olive-trees
Where the angel of strength was the warden
And the soul of the world found ease.

Dorothy Frances Gurney

Spring is upon us, and my heart and mind have gone to the garden.  I haven't been able to plant a vegetable garden in two years and my hands miss the joy of digging in the dirt.  So, this year we are making do with what we have and planting in a long and narrow planter box alongside a building, and using whiskey barrel halves for container planting.  I made a foray to Kaija's nursery today and found my seeds.  The packets are so pretty, I just had to take a picture.  I'm being very careful to get only organic and GMO-free seeds, being that Monsanto has its finger in so many places these days.  Next will be hauling in some soil and amendments and getting ready to plant!  Yay!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

My Quilting History

I've been wanting to do this for a long time, and today just kinda ended up being the day it worked out.

In the past year, my interest in quilting has revived -- in large part because I now have a wonderful group of women with which to quilt each week.  It keeps me going to need a project to take with me.  That, and with the need to slow way down because of my health, it is good to have quiet, undemanding projects to do at home.

So,what I've done is gather pictures of almost every quilt, or quilted piece, I've made over the years, and I'm posting here so I have a chronology of my work.

So, here goes.....

The first quilted piece I ever made was this basket topper for my mom.  The story behind it is that she grew up with a delightful Sunbonnet Sue quilt which had been made for her by her maternal aunt.  I wanted to commemorate it by making her this cover for her workbasket.  More on the Sunbonnet Sue quilt at a later date.

The first quilt I ever made is this log cabin.  It was for our first daughter, Jessie, but later became her brother, Daniel's.  There is nothing left of it but tatters now.  It was well-loved and well-used.

This "Partridge in a Pear Tree" wall hanging was made in the mid-80s while we lived in Columbia .

Then there was a very long gap of probably 18 years or so.  I was doing other things, like raising kids, schooling them, making costumes for our family and for drama productions for the kids.  I was sewing all the time, just not on quilts.  Then for the Christmas of 2003, I kinda re-entered the quilting fray.

This is a wall hanging made for my mom's best friend.  I used one of their favorite pictures of their log cabin in winter, transferred it to fabric and created a quilted frame for it.  She loved it.

This pillow was made for my mom who was in a care facility in California.  She was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease very young.  There was so little I could do for her, but had she been aware, she would have loved to have pictures of us close to her.

I also made quilts for my dad and his companion.  The quotation on each of them says, "There are few blessings greater than the love of family."  On each quilt I used favorite pictures of children and grandchildren.

The next quilt was one made to celebrate a significant birthday of a dear friend.  I called it "Triple Irish Latte" and ended up making a couple more of them over the years.  One for a significant birthday of another dear friend and one for the Care Center Quilt Auction a few years back.  And, I still have one in my unfinished projects tub......

My daughters and I made a couple of quilts together in the mid-2000s, but I only have pictures of this one.  It was such fun.  The delightful gal for whom it was made is a book lover.  The fabrics are book related, there are favorite book quotations on the blocks, and it's embellished with buttons.

This one was made for the daughter of some friends of ours.  Such a sweet thing happened when I gave it to them.  The mom said that no one had ever made a quilt for them before.  Imagine that!  I often gravitate toward log cabin patterns, and I used only fabrics from my stash for this one.  It was a fun project.

Again, here's a log cabin theme.  I called it Pine Tree Log Cabin, and it was made for a dear friend.  This one also came out of my stash.  I love doing that!

This is a Rail Fence pattern made for my grandson's first birthday.  I love blue. Period.

Another Log Cabin made out of scraps.  Can't miss with blue.   I turned it into a printer cover!

This one I made from a bundle of pre-cut diamonds.  It was a really fun project.  It was made for another friend for a significant birthday.  I think there's some kind of theme going on here!

This one is a single block made for a friendship quilt.

And here begin the projects from the past year.  My grandson turned 5 this summer, and I wanted to make him a 5-year quilt.  I had a really fun thing happen one weekend that prompted the use of this pattern.  I've had a favorite quilt book for many years, and when my grandson joined me in looking at it, he really responded to this pattern, saying, "Oh, Grandma, what is THAT one?!"  He and I share the love of blue.  :-)
So, it became his 5-year quilt, along with glow-stars and a couple of project days getting them stuck to his ceiling in constellations.  Fun stuff.  The back has quotations from Scripture about stars.  I love the idea of him reading his quilt and learning Bible verses in the process.  I also made a pillowcase to go with it.

My granddaughter turned 1 this fall, so I had my work cut out for me during the summer months.  I saw a lovely 1930s quilt in a book that had no pattern reference for it.  Between us, my girls and I managed to figure out the blocks and the layout, and after many, many trips to the reproduction aisles of several quilting stores, as well as the stashes of my generous quilting friends, I came up with "Rainbows for Ava" and backed it with lavender flannel.

In finding the fabric for Ava's quilt, I ended up with way more than I needed because buying fabric for a scrap quilt does that.  ;-)  So, I had to use those scraps, right?  Our nephew and his wife had their first baby this fall, so this is the result of using the scraps.  The back was a funny thing.  I intended to use muslin only, but I didn't have enough, the quilt store didn't have enough at the last minute before a weekend quilt retreat during which I had hoped to finish this, and I didn't have enough of anything else, either.  So my daughter and I bodged together a scrap back and it turned out way better than I would have imagined.  That's a quilting buddy in the picture.

And that's it for now.  To be continued, added to, and hopefully be enormously long in the end result!

* * * * * * * *

January 27, 2013

A good friend of mine in Missouri reminded me that I had made her this apron when we lived there.  It's not quilted, but the bib is pieced in a tulip pattern.  She sent me the pictures to share.  Thanks, Anne!

January 31, 2013

And here is my granddaughter's doll quilt which I made for her for Christmas to go with her baby doll.  The fabrics are leftovers from her one-year quilt and made in a pattern reminiscent of hers.

In April I finished a Broken Dishes quilt and gave it to Dale for his birthday.  Here's the story on that one.....

So, more than a decade ago, my friend Annie's quilt group, with which I was not yet familiar, embarked on a group project making a Broken Dishes pattern using Civil War reproduction fabrics.  Some of the blocks were orphaned and ended up in a bag in her stash.  Last summer she gave them to me and I turned them into this:

There are 6 original blocks, then several that were taken apart and put back together in different color combinations, and then there are many that were made new from fabrics from both Annie's stash and mine.

* * * * * * * * * * *

During the summer, I put together a quilt with a textile from Ghana that was sent by a friend who was ministering there a few years ago.  I only bordered it and then had my friend Barb quilt it.  The pictures don't do it justice.  It's kind of a wild one, but the folks I made it for like it.  They have both spent time in Africa and have made one of their spare rooms an African theme, and it works for them.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Advent Calendar!  I made this for my grandchildren for Christmas this year.  They have been enjoying it a lot.  Very cool.  :-)

It's a Nancy Halvorsen panel that I bordered and quilted.  There are button type fasteners sewn on around the border and the interior on which the figures hang.

* * * * * * * * * * *

And this is the last quilt of 2013 for me.......Unbeknownst to Jessie, I was making it for her under her very nose.  She thought it was for me, but when we celebrated it at our quilting group, she discovered it was for her as I read the label out loud:

A Christmas Quilt for 2013
Made with love
for my Jessie-Girl
Debbie MacInnis ~ Chehalis, WA

It was so much fun to surprise her!

I used 5" charm squares from the Wintergreen Collection by Moda, and just sashed them and then used one of the border fabrics in the line to frame them.  Easy and rather striking, I think.