Saturday, October 27, 2007

operation happy holidays ~ phase 1 complete!

about 6 weeks ago inspiration hit. i decided to begin working on my Christmas presents for family now so i wouldn't be so pushed in the end of December with the conclusion of my latest class and gift making.

i decided on 4 quilt projects, all lap size, and all for family. operation happy holidays was ready for launch!

i decided to stash bust and get creative - using fabric and patterns i already had along with some of my current wips to fill my list. i decided on a quilt for my mother, one for my sister, and one each for my nephew and niece. now, my nephew and niece do have a quilt already, but they are both minkee baby quilts and i think the two little darlins are ready for their "drag around the house make a tent, play peek-a-bo" big kid quilts! also, i must confess that working with these fabrics make me so happy and is a great way to alleviate stress!

my nephew will be getting the assembled puzzle quilt that has been sitting - cut and ready for sewing assembly- in one of my wip boxes.

talk about happy! everything from rainbows to dancing farm animals, orange leopard prints to fun loving monsters. the colors are bright and bold, and the pattern - while requiring a lot of planning and careful piecing - is fun! i finished piecing the blocks this weekend and hope to have the top pieced by next week ready to go on my new Flynn quilting frame. it will be the maiden voyage of my Flynn frame, another great incentive to get the top done!

and, drum roll please.......operation happy holidays phase 1 ~ complete!

this lap quilt is for my little niece and its completion was my way of celebrating the successful finale of my first master's class this semester (i got an A!). in the week between my first and second class, i got this little gal's present cut, pieced, and quilted.

i used variegated pink and lime threads for this happy little blankie. machine quilting was much easier using a new method i picked up. you divide the block into eighths or the border into sections and then, using those grid lines, repeat a pattern but without a lot of marking - good for me 'cause i loathe marking.
the background and setting triangles have a heart pattern, as does the pink inner border. The checker border has simple lime green fluers, and the purple outer border has interlocking hearts. .....theme?....a lot of love in this quilt! aside from it's simplicity, i chose this pattern because it comes from "Sissy n me" designs, and this is for my big sissy's little girl - who is also a sissy! too cool! plus, honestly, what little girl doesn't love purple, pink, and lime green???
again, the quilting was sooo much easier when i divided up the block into eights - the checkerboard lent itself to a natural line of division - and then simply repeated the same pattern. the quilting is continuous in each section and is among the most detailed i have done to date.
i think my little gal will love it and that it will get a lot of great use. now, phase 2.......

Monday, October 15, 2007

be still.....

i will say that this whole stillness thing is new to me. the best i can usually pull off is a quick pause here and there to breathe, or perhaps even sit only to be treated to a movie in my mind, detailing all of those tasks that i am not currently completing. no sooner do i lie down and close my eyes, or sit to watch a movie with my little guy, or pick up a book before i get the urge to do….something….anything….everything. it is a personality thing, i am a task completer by nature.

this week cookies have been the culprit. no, seriously, i am not kidding! recently i purchased my new favorite cookbook filled with delicious, unfailing recipes for the biggest, gooey-est, most yummy cookies. i know because so far i have tested at least 8 of them. and, truth be told, while i enjoy baking i had, until now, not found recipes that met my high cookie standards. didn’t know i was a cookies snob, huh? well, between completing my latest course towards my masters (yippee!), completing my first few Christmas present projects, making my son’s hullabaloo costume, and working, i have filled my extra time with baking cookies. while i did allow them to be whisked away to my dh’s work – much to his coworker’s ( and my waist line's) delight- i realized that i was becoming addicted to movement, to task completion, to the satisfaction of finishing. well, the Lord always knows, so, of course, and at my women’s Bible study this week as we continued our study on prayer through the study of samuel, the session theme was stillness.

Pow! Ouch? Huh?

for clarification, our Bible study this semester is based on the book he speaks to me by pricilla shirer, and it focuses on preparing ourselves to clearly hear the voice of the Lord amidst the chaos and business of our lives. each week, we study a different characteristic of samuel that we can learn from, his child-like faith, his confidence in the Lord, and this week, she pointed out that samuel heard God’s voice when he was lying down, preparing for sleep. she shared a new perspective on stillness from a story in the Bible that I knew all too well, just never from this view.

the feeding of the five thousand, as found in John chapter 6 is one that I have heard, and taught on, several times over, the focus being varied – the miracle of God’s provision beyond our natural sight, the faithfulness and unselfishness of a little boy which blessed the multitude, etc. but pricilla gave us a new view, based on one little word I had quickly read past, unnoticed so many times…..


v. 10: Then Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.”

her point in directing our attention to these specific instructions was to show us that Jesus asks us to still ourselves, to sit down so that we may receive from Him. He had food for the hungry, but He asked them to sit to receive it.

v.10 “Now there was much grass in the place.”

why does this matter? because when the Lord asks us to sit, it is always in a comfy place, for us now our “grass” is found in the comfort of reminding ourselves of the many times the Lord has been faithful, of how He has met our needs and provided for us unfailingly. as we meditate on these things we can truly be comfortable and rest as we are still, preparing to receive.

v.11 “And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down…”

catch that? to those who were sitting down. Wow. not to everyone, not to all who were gathered, but to those sitting down.

our discussion then continued as she shared that in ancient times, sitting was actually a symbol of authority, not a sign of weakness or submission. when you were seated, you were confident of your position and your place.
God wants us to remember who we are, children of the living God, heirs to the throne.

by golly, we can SIT DOWN!

i have thought about that little boy Samuel several times throughout this week. i have found myself picturing him, lying on his cot, awaiting sleep, and as he was still, hearing the audible voice of the Lord. that is what I desire, to hear my Lord speak, and while it has been tough, i have been practicing sitting still. it has taken some sacrifice, but, nothing i have left for later went forever undone, and nothing put aside was worth more than that quiet and still time with my Father.

this has been a wonderful eye-opening week for me, the Lord has been so very faithful to meet me where i am, to remind me that He accepts me with all my faults, hang-ups, and personality quirks, and that where friends have failed me He has remained steadfast. you see, He revealed to me that i was covering my hurt with the artificial satisfaction of doing things, of completing tasks that i knew i could do well when instead, i needed to turn to Him and be still. only in that quiet place could He give me the reassurance of His confidence and satisfaction in me that no matter what others had done or not done, no matter who had hurt me or left me, He never would.

now, while I don’t normally share such things here in blogland, the Lord has so blessed this message for me and I felt compelled to share it here. this is my blog, and i will use it as i wish. i make no apologies and simply would say that if this isn't for you, click on my friend! honestly, i don’t know who visits me, I don’t know who will read this, but someone out there needed this as much as i did. for whoever you are and whatever your need may be, I encourage you, my friend, to be still. I am praying for you.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Ps 46:10