Saturday, 24 August 2013

Going to Church in My Nightgown

As a nurse, I work with people all week long. At the end of the day and definitely at the end of a week, I often feel "all peopled out," as I like to put it. I'm just content to sit at home alone and not be among people for awhile. That, combined with the fact that my church home is an hour's drive away, contributes to my decision to occasionally stay home for church. I then usually find a Sabbath School and church service online at one of my favourite ministries' websites and still get my "spiritual food." I will admit that I don't always shower and dress before these services, so, yes, I sometimes "go to church" in my nightgown. When I was a child, the "rules" of dress for church attendance were pretty strict: men wore suits and women wore dresses/skirts and blouses. Things have changed a lot since then, but even with today's relaxed standards, I still don't believe it would ever be acceptable to attend church in my nightgown.
That reminds me of a story Jesus told. It's found in Matthew chapter 22, verses 1-13 (all Bible texts are from the New King James Version): 
And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said:  “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son,  and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come... Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.  Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’  So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.  So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.  Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away.’  (for brevity's sake, I only included the pertinent verses).
So someone was not allowed to attend the wedding feast (go to heaven) because of what he was wearing. Well, much of what Jesus says in His parables is highly symbolic, and I believe that God is far more interested in what we are 'wearing' on the inside than what we are wearing on the outside. Job 29:14 says,
 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
My justice was like a robe and a turban. 

So we can conclude that what this man at the wedding feast was missing was righteousness. Some might say "doing right" or "goodness."
I meet people who say that they believe they are going to heaven because they are "good people" or "do good things." But is that "good enough"?
The Bible says,
 But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6
 And Jesus Himself said,
 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23
Ouch! According to the Bible, not only are we not good, but even the pseudo-religious people who do lots of good things are not guaranteed a place in heaven. With all our being good and doing good, we still end up wearing filthy rags. But there is hope. One of my favourite Bible stories is found in the book of Zechariah:
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”
So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by. Zechariah 3:1-5
 Satan knows every bad thing we ever did since he's the one who tempted us to do them. And he's prepared to testify against us to try to prevent us from getting to heaven. According to Satan, we don't deserve to go there. And he's really right. We don't, because we are clothed in the filthy rags of all the bad things we have ever done. And none of the so-called "good" things we do could ever earn our right to heaven. Only Jesus can take away our filthy rags and clothe us with His goodness, His righteousness. 
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He has covered me with the robe of righteousness. Isaiah 61:10
And that's our ticket to heaven.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Jesus, I must have Jesus, living in my heart, Lord of my life. 
 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. Romans 13:14
As the hymn says, "Live out Thy life within me, oh Jesus, King of Kings."
I could actually attend church in my nightgown, and someone may or may not call the police or the ambulance or ask me to leave. But I cannot go to heaven without Jesus living in my heart.

(Yes, today I did "attend" church in my nightgown. I went to Sabbath School here: Amazing Facts and church service here: Amazing Discoveries).

Monday, 19 August 2013

Welcome Home, Janome 6000

Hurray! The Janome Memory Craft 6000 is back home again where it belongs, and installed in it's cabinet.

I also picked up a walking foot for it. I already have one for the 8000, but that one's a high shank and the 6000 is a low shank. The quarter inch foot I can share between the sewing machines, because it's only a foot, but for the walking foot, I have to remove the "whatchamacallit" (the foot holder? - I'm sure there's a technical name for it, but I don't remember it), so each machine has a different walking foot. 
I also picked up this pattern at Quilter's Dream when I picked up my 6000 (and dropped off the 8000).

I absolutely love the realistic looking fruit and veggie fabrics, but you can't use them in just any quilt. So, when I saw this pattern, I thought it would be perfect. After all they're all "crops" and I enjoy the play on words in the name of this pattern, "Crop Circles." The squares in this quilt are 10" and the larger circles are 9", I think. So the pieces are large enough to get the benefit of the larger print of the veggie fabrics. Later, I went to Fabricland, and look what I found in the clearance section:
Makes me hungry... So, I've started collecting for my Crop Circle quilt, which might get done sometime next year, since I've already got enough on the go for this year. I need 8 different fabrics for the squares and a feature fabric for the circles, plus outline fabric for the circles, sashing, binding and backing. Now when I describe fabric as yummy or delicious, it can be taken literally... sort of.
I also like realistic looking nature prints, and I found these in the clearance section as well:
No project in mind for them yet, just stash building. I think it was in Jinny Beyer's book I read that if you see a fabric you like, you'd better buy it when you see it because chances are it won't be there when you go back. (Personally, that really doesn't work for me - my budget isn't large enough to accommodate all the fabrics I like). Here are some close-ups of the nature prints:
I really love autumn leaves. Actually, I like all leaves, and I enjoy the fall colours.
I'm really not sure what this is supposed to be, but to me, it looks sort of like rocks, and I liked it. There were a few different colours, and this one is sort of purple, which doesn't show that well in the picture. 
I really love cloud prints, so I couldn't resist this one. There was also one with a darker blue and I think a black. 
When I got home from the city, this was in my mail:
This is for my 2012 BOM project. This is my second 7-yard bolt that I've purchased because I not only intend to use it for the backing for the quilt, but also a bedskirt and probably some other trimmings as I work on this project. I intend to make pillow shams and bolster cushion covers as the bed this quilt is for is a daybed. I will probably have more than enough of this fabric, but I'd rather have too much than not enough and any leftovers can just be added to my stash. I really like this fabric - the bright colours on the black background goes well with the colour scheme of my quilt.
I also took my little antique sewing cabinet into the furniture refinisher/repairer. Yikes! He wanted $500 for the work. I think I'll just have him replace the chunk of wood where the hinge came out and re-attach the hinge. That should cost me less than $100, and I'll just add refinishing it to my " to do" list. Certainly, I won't be able to do the job that he would do, but as long as the hinge is replaced, it's still usable. I don't have that kind of money to throw around, even if he is a master craftsman. I really don't want to spend more money on repairing/refinishing than the cabinet is worth.  
When I got home, I got an email that I could buy advance passes to the Creative Stitches Show at Quilter's Dream. Why didn't I find that out before I went, or at least while I was there? It doesn't do me any good now that I'm home again. Oh well, I think I'd only save $2 by buying an advance pass, so I haven't lost much.
Back to work tomorrow, so better head to bed soon.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Pin Basting

I feel exhausted. My back aches. My shoulders ache. And the tip of the middle finger on my right hand hurts. I finally pin-basted Damian's quilt. Because I haven't had a chance to really check out the corruplast recommended by my local lumber yard, I took the quilt to work. The Health Unit is closed on weekends, but there's always a home care nurse working, and today a public health nurse as well. Besides, I work there, so I do have a key. And we have a nice big meeting room with tables. There were two tables set up, so I set up another one and spread out the quilt backing - not quite wide enough. So I set up two more end-to end. Five tables in all and this is just a 71" square quilt (give or take). It sure would take a lot of tables to do a king-sized quilt... Lots of leaning and reaching to get all the pinning done - hence the achy shoulders and back. I actually got on top of the tables to do the centre of the quilt. Made me a little nervous because I didn't know how stable the tables were and whether they were equipped to hold my weight. I think doing it on the floor would probably work better - less strain on the back and shoulders - unless I had a quilt rack that could roll up so I could pin the inner portion without having to bend and reach so much. Anyway, it's done. Took me about 2-1/2 hours. Next time I'll remember my thimbles for my third and fourth fingers. I did end up wrapping my middle finger with some masking tape and that helped a little. Sorry I didn't take my camera, so I don't have any pictures. Tomorrow, I'm off work and going to the city to pick up my Janome MC 6000. That's the one I'm going to use to do the quilting since it has a cabinet. I plan to take the 8000 in for servicing as well. And take my little antique sewing cabinet to get repaired and refinished. 
The Pets on Quits Show hosted by Lily Pad Quilting has gotten me thinking about doing a cat quilt. I have been accumulating some cat-centric fabric, but haven't decided what to do with it yet. There's a great cat quilt on this website, along with some beautiful cats  I googled to see if I could find the pattern. Haven't explored all the links I found yet, but I did find this fun website: Cats (and People) Who Quilt.
Well, it's time to vote on the Pets on Quilts Show. I have no idea how I'm going to do it. There are so many awesome pets and quilts, but I think I'll go make an attempt. Then I think I'll watch an episode of The Waltons as I'm too tired to do much of anything else.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Quilt Inspectors

Through the years, I've had much "help" with my crafts - sewing, crocheting, quilting and more - from my cats and my daughter, when she was younger. Eventually, I taught Sophia to sew and quilt herself, but the cats have always been content to inspect, supervise and trial my projects.
Mystery is my current primary Quilt Inspector. Here he is supervising the construction of the Contrary Husband block.

I was working with this quilted fabric to cover a vintage cheese box which is now used for - what else? - fabric storage. At one time during the construction of this project, both of my cats and I were all on top of this fabric. Tinker is not as interested in my projects as Mystery is and she left before I got a chance to snap a picture.
I hope you will excuse the quality of the following pictures. They're taken from a scrapbook and scanned into the computer. My scanner does not provide the highest quality pictures. Some were taken before I had a digital camera and some were printed on cardstock instead of photo paper and have printing on them. I have no idea if I ever saved a digital copy of them somewhere and I've moved too many times to know where the digital copies might be... But all three of the cats in these pictures I hope to meet again in heaven because they are no longer quilting with me. So, I'm sharing these pictures in their memory.
Midget is in the foreground and you can barely see Ashley in the background, both testing out some fabric.
Snickers is helping me pin-baste.
He really wants to make sure we do a good job.
My daughter is holding up the finished quilt, while Midget looks behind to see how the backing looks.
Midget thinks I might need to adjust the tension.
Ever had your fabric slip while cutting? You just need a cat to hold it down.
Midget took his job as Quilt Inspector pretty seriously. Mystery took over the top job when Midget passed away and takes it just as seriously.
Midget and Sophia do the final inspection and approval before wrapping this quilt as a wedding gift. Midget almost blends in with the quilt.
Being a Quilt Inspector is a tough job. Mystery is taking a well-earned rest.
I created this post to enter the Pets on Quilts Show at Lily Pad Quilting. Go there and check it out.

pets on quilts

Monday, 12 August 2013

"Give Them Something Better" - A Recipe Review

I discussed this cookbook previously. Now I've had the opportunity to try a few more recipes, so I'd like to review them. 
First a comment on the pancake recipe that I previously reviewed. Not only did I use regular whole wheat flour rather than whole wheat pastry flour, but I discovered that my baking powder was outdated. So my ingredients were at fault for the dense, heavy pancakes. I haven't had a chance to retry the recipe with proper ingredients, yet.
I'd also like to comment on the stay-flat binding: while it may help the cookbook to stay open while being used, I think it makes the actual binding fragile and the whole cookbook shifts inside the cover and I have to peel the back cover off and reapply it to get it to close properly. 
Have you ever used soy curls? (See They are apparently made from the whole soybean, and non-GMO, so a much better product than TVP (textured vegetable protein). As a dry product, they have a long shelf life and are quite versatile. From this cookbook, I learned how to prepare them to make them "sort-of-like" chicken, then made the Bar-B-Q Chicken Sandwich (p. 96) and the Chicken Salad (p. 46). Both were delicious. For the Bar-B-Q Chicken Sandwich, I was lazy and used a commercial barbecue sauce, but the recipe offers a home-made version as well. Looking forward to trying it. It looks fairly straightforward. Both of these recipes I found to be a little on the salty side, so you may want to keep that in mind. 
A nice feature of this cookbook are the menu suggestions that are included with all of the recipes in the Main Meals section. With my chicken salad, I also had the Split Pea Soup (p. 46) and the All American Salad (p. 26). I found the soup to have good flavour, but it was too thick. I actually made it yesterday and it was more like stew. After sitting for a day, given split peas tendency to thicken further, it was pretty much a solid mass. One would either have to add extra liquid (though I'm not sure what pot I would use, given that this recipe calls for 12 cups of water...) or reduce the amount of split peas. Probably 3 cups instead of four. The salad recipe just gives a list of ingredients, no measurements. That's fine with me. That way I can add more of my favourites and I was quite satisfied with the results. The suggested dressing is Ranch and it gives the page number for the recipe (p. 34). This recipe requires a commercial product, Saucy Ranch Seasoning. I don't have it and I don't know where to get it. However, another cookbook, ,Seven Secrets Cookbook: Healthy Cuisine Your Family Will Love, does have a recipe for a Ranch-style dressing mix. And it tastes pretty authentic, too. So that's what I used and was pleased with the outcome. 
I might have mentioned before that this cookbook will probably not become one of my favourites, and that opinion still holds true. There are some recipes I have definitely enjoyed, but my concerns remain: not all the recipes are as healthy as they could be, too much use of convenience foods. And that annoying stay-flat binding. But this cookbook will remain in my library. As is true of any cookbook, it's not likely that I will love every recipe in it, but there are enough in this one that I do like to justify it taking up shelf-space.  

First Block of the Dreamweaver Quilt

Remember that gorgeous "Space" fabric that I shared some time back. Well, here's the first block I used it in:
I'm doing a whole quilt in this pattern for my daughter. It's the Dreamweaver pattern from  Craftsy's Quick Strip Paper Piecing Class. Each block will have a different purple and a different orange fabric in the star. Orange is Sophia's favourite colour and purple is mine. Blue is her father's favourite colour. When I decided to use this pattern for her quilt, I wanted just the right background fabric for stars, something that looked like a night sky. So I was quite excited when I found this fabric. Now that I've finished the quilt top and backing for her son's quilt, I'm ready to start working on hers. At least until I figure out where and how I'm going to do the pin-basting for his quilt and get my Janome MC 6000 back from being serviced. That's the machine I plan on using for doing the actual quilting, since it has a cabinet.
Here's a sneak preview of Damian's quilt top:
Sorry I couldn't lay it out totally flat. I'm still looking for enough floor space to do the pin-basting on. As you can see, the floor space in my quilting room is not quite large enough. And it's also carpeted. I've tried that before. Lot's of fun trying to detach the quilt from the carpet after you've pinned everything together. Once I get it quilted, I'll share more pictures and details on its construction.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

One more quilting book

365 Fun-To-Stitch Quilt Blocks just came in the mail today.
I ordered it after doing the Lena's Choice block. I googled to see if I could find a way to do this block more simply, and I found this book. It's another great find, in my opinion. It divides the blocks into the following categories: Strips and Pieces, The Good Old Days, In the Garden, All God's Creatures, Nature's Glory, Beneath the Stars, Around the World and Blessed & Beloved. Each section contains several projects made from blocks in that section.
It also includes a sampler quilt for each section.
Then it goes into a description of how to piece each of the blocks, including pictures of the block and lists the required templates. 
Full-size templates are found at the end of each chapter, for ones that are used only for a specific block, 
or at the back of the book for common templates that are used in numerous blocks. 
All of the blocks are 12", so are interchangeable for the projects.
And yes, it has templates for Lena's Choice, though I still don't know if I will do this block again. It was a lot of work, and though it will be simpler with the templates, I'm actually a little happier with my original block now. If you recall, not only did it end up smaller than it was intended to be, so that I had to add a border, but I felt it was a little too busy without any background fabric. And the worst thing was that the centre ended up puckered. I had a bit of a mole hill in the middle. Meanwhile, after constructing my Maple Leaf block I started worrying about colour bleeding. The reds I had used in that block were cheaper fabric. So I tested a piece of the fabric by swishing it in some water in the bathroom sink. Uh oh - pink water. Then I got to thinking that I had several cheaper fat quarters and had used some of them in Lena's Choice as well. So I washed all of these fabrics (not all at the same time, of course), including the two or three blocks that I had already used them in. When I pressed the Lena's Choice block after washing, a lot of the puckering came out of the centre, which pleased me immensely. It looks much better now. Not only that, but I really didn't have the bleeding problems that I was worried about, even without colour catchers. But it's still better to be safe than sorry. And I intend to make my own colour catchers soon... now that I have my supplies. 
Meanwhile, I've finished most of the top for my grandson's quilt. I just have to decide if I want to put a border on it or not. I have enough fabric. I just wasn't sure if I'd have enough of the bandana fabric for the binding if I increased the size of the quilt by adding a border. Thanks to the Quilter's Paradise Binding Calculator, I now know that I have plenty. 
I took a break from quilt piecing to brush my cats this evening. I never used to get around to brushing them - and one of them is long-haired! But now I know that if I take the time to brush them, I spend less time cleaning up hairballs and vomit. And they actually love it, spoiled brats. They each think they should be the one getting brushed. Even though I have two slicker brushes (I actually found the second one when I was organizing my sewing room), it's rather difficult to brush two cats at once. Especially when they keep moving around while I'm brushing them, and not generally in the same direction. They're both sleeping on the bed behind me and I need to head off to dreamland soon as well. Good night for now.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Quilting Books

I was just reviewing my blog and realized that I've been pretty quiet lately. Probably because I've been focused on getting Damian's quilt done and didn't plan on posting until it was finished. However, I'm taking a break from John Deere (the fabric in Damian's quilt), so I have the time to blog. I was in the city (Edmonton) yesterday, hit the thrift stores and did find some new treasures to share. Not fabric, not thread, not a vintage sewing machine. Though I did find one of those. I'm glad I didn't buy it however. It was a Singer Stylist from the 1970s and when I googled it, I found out it was made with cheap nylon parts that wore out quickly.
No, the treasures I found were books. Quilting books. 

 This is 101 Full-Size Quilt Blocks and Borders. Full-size meaning 9 inches. The blurb on the back says "Block pattern to template in seconds ~ Easy-to-trace 'lie-flat' book ~21 versatile full-size border patterns ~ 80 bed quilt diagrams ~ 7 exquisite sampler quilts ~ 181 block and border color options ~ step-by-step instructions ~ dozens of fun-to-make quilting projects." Here's a sample of what the inside looks like:
I like it. Fairly simple and straightforward. And, as you can see, it does lie flat, which is very nice. This is probably my favourite of the 4 books I purchased and possibly the one that will see the most use.
Well, everyone knows how to scrap quilt, right? But The Ultimate Scrap Quilt is more. It is constructing fabric by sewing scraps together and then using this "constructed fabric" to cut pieces for  your blocks. You can see samples on the cover and here's a preview from inside:
Doing this kind of thing is something I thought about years ago, but never did. Now I've got a book to help me do it. 
See my hand in there: this book doesn't lie flat.

Quilt Studio : Innovative Techniques for Confident and Creative Quiltmaking and Design is kind of a weird book for me to get because it's mainly about art quilts. Frankly, I really don't like art quilts. Maybe it's because I'm more mathematical than artistic and I like the rhythm of geometric shapes and how they flow together to make patterns within patterns. Most art quilts just don't "do it" for me. So, why did I buy this book? Actually, when I flipped it open to this page,

I was intrigued by how she could make a heron out of strips of fabric. There's also a great duck block in this book that I'd like to replicate. Plus there are some cool geometric patterns in here as well.  I don't know how much use this book will actually get, but I'm sure I can glean some useful material from it. And I can always resell it in a yard sale or donate it to the library once I've gotten what I can out of it. 
This book doesn't lie flat either.
Here's what the back of American Quilt Classics From the Collection of Patricia Cox has to say: "For the first time, the internationally renowned quilt collection of Patricia Cox is made public in this stunning and fascinating volume. Discover the rich history of American quilts, from the 1820s to the 1950s, and then re-create the finest quilts in the collection with 12 glorious block patterns that combine modern-day fabrics with traditional design." I love history, I love books and I love quilting, so this was a great find for me. 
a sample page from American Quilt Classics
And it does like flat. LOL!

So, yes, I did find some new treasures. I also picked up my new glasses. I think I mentioned in a previous post that I combined a coupon I got in the mail plus an in-store special and got 2 pairs of regular glasses and one pair of prescription sunglasses for what I normally pay for one pair of glasses plus clip-ons or fit-overs. And they're all designer frames, too. None of them have nose pieces, however, so they'll tend to slide down my nose...
Kind of funky mottled black and grey with a little brown. These are my favourites.
Another kind of funky pair with a hint of fuchsia  I can wear my fit-overs with this pair, but not the first pair.
These ones are really funky. I wouldn't have bought these frames for my regular glasses as I don't think I'd want this look all the time.
I didn't really like the look on my face in this picture, so I snapped another one.
Happy quilting!