Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Good Lent

For Palm Sunday we had the treat of going to Mass with our Goddaughter Mia Clare, who is in town with her family visiting from Colorado. Her dad, Chris, is our daughter Sofia's Godfather. Mia and her big brother Max like to see who can make the smallest cross out of the palm branches...
Max made the smallest this year :)

 For this week's photo challenge a beautiful stained glass window
in the hall at St. Bernadette Catholic Church.
Week 12 : Architecture - Windows Looking Out

A priest from our old parish once told me that "a hard Lent = a good Lent."
Lent isn't meant for perfection, rather it's for purification and preparation.
Purification through self denial which in turn prepares us to receive the grace and joy of the Resurrected Christ in our lives.
When we give up everything, He gives us everything we need....Himself.
We can't fully receive Christ when there's junk standing in the way.
We deny ourselves when we give up attachments to sin, whether it's past or present sin.
I didn't think I had an attachment to sin but I do.
I hold on to certain sins when I refuse to have them forgiven because I think they're too bad for God's mercy, that's like saying "no Lord, your dying on the cross just wasn't great enough for my sins."
I hold onto sins when I withhold forgiveness to someone who has sinned against me when instead I should pray, "forgive them for they know not what they do."
Looking inside ourselves and confronting this sort of selfishness isn't easy.
Harder still, is giving it up.

Just before Lent began, me and a dear friend shared via email the things we were gonna give up and our plans on deepening our prayer life. In less than a week I sent her a text asking her if Lent was over yet! I have failed at giving up selfishness and self pity, the two things that I want most to give up, my two greatest weaknesses. My loving husband reminded me that even though I may not have been able to totally give these up, what counts has been the honesty with myself about it and the effort that I've made in trying. It's been an extreme challenge just to acknowledge these weaknesses and even more so to be mindful of when they are in action. One thing that has helped during these times of mindfulness has been to say the Jesus prayer while acknowledging the particular sin,

"Lord Jesus Christ, 
Son of God,
have mercy on me
a sinner."

I know there's still much work to be done in order to even get nearer the point of totally giving these weaknesses up, but the one thing I'm determined to never give up, is trying. This Lent has been hard, but it has been good too.

May you all have a blessed Holy Week and a Joy filled Easter!
Christ, come be our light!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Super Simple, Super Fast, Super Hero Finish

You may remember from my last post a picture of the next fabric on my cutting table was some Marvel vs. D.C. super hero fabric. I had every intention of cutting up said fabric to make a super hero quilt for one of my nephews the very next day. I had collected all the fabrics and acquired just the right pattern and was very eager to get started!

The morning after my post I received a text from my sister-in-law that her water broke, seven weeks early, and she was headed to the hospital. After getting lots of prayerful peeps on the prayer chain, I decided to prayerfully stitch away the anxiety of this new nephew's premature birth with a super hero quilt, not my original plan but it was all right there and ready to go! I had originally planned a much different quilt for new baby. The super hero quilt was planned as a birthday gift for new baby's big brother and would have allowed me plenty of time to make since big bros birthday isn't until May and I still had some time, 7 weeks give or take, to put together new baby's quilt.

The quilt top itself took less than an hour to stitch up, including cutting time. By the end of the next day, St. Patrick's Day, I was hand stitching the binding down. I didn't have it completely done though until Friday morning, nothing like binding to slow down yer super quilty powers! My eyes are getting old!! I really need to make that eye appointment!

Anywhoooo, that sweet little nephew who was in such a hurry to get here decided to wait until Friday night to show up! My little no-name nephew (mom and dad are still deciding on a super name) arrived at 10:25pm (Colorado time) on March 20th weighing in at 5.13lbs and 18.5 inches long. Mama and baby are both doing great, THANKS BE TO GOD!!

The quilt top consists of seven different fabrics, two being used twice. The measurements from top down are;
red 4 inches by wof (width of fabric), 
Spider Man in blue 6 inches x wof, 
light gray 3 inches x wof, 
dark gray 4.5 inches x wof, 
feature super hero comic fabric 22.5 inches x wof, 
dark gray 4.5 inches x wof,
light gray 3 inches x wof,
Spider Man in red 6 inches x wof,
royal blue 4 inches x wof
Finished quilt measures approximately 41.5 inches wide x 57.5 inches long.

The back was made with a single cut of gray.
Quilting was super simple, echoed seam lines in the strips and comic book lines in the feature print.


After photographing the quilt on Friday morning, and seeing what a beautiful day it was, I decided to once again to head for the beach. Most of last week we had pretty weather, pretty enough to finish up the yard work started last week, so I wanted to treat the girls to some down time. We headed out and got all the way out to the beach to be greeted by, you guessed it--FOG! We decided to go ahead in hopes that the fog would roll out. It didn't. But, it was wonderfully peaceful, we practically had the place to ourselves in spite of spring breakers starting to flow into the area. 
The fog couldn't foil us!
The girls challenged the fog with a Haka pose for last week's fun photo challenge.

Week 11: Outdoor Photography - Haka

This is what I get for making them submit to my photography challenge whims :-)
But hey, silly selfies really are the best!

And then, they were off....
to the sea, to the glorious sea.
Fog and all.

We spied a ghost boat...

When you have a hard time seeing clearly through the foggy times in life, 
remember who the painter is, and trust that even the Lord has a few works in progress.

God bless!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

9 Stars

Hi everyone! How was your week? I know for us it was like starting all over with our weekly routine due to "springing" forward. As much as I welcome later sunsets, gives us time to actually have dinner before heading down to the bay, the dark mornings just make me want to roll over when the alarm goes off! Here's a few highlights from our week...

I'm so happy to report that on Tuesday I finished all nine of my blocks for the Ladybug Star Swap! Yay! I couldn't be happier with how they turned out!!! And, yes, I did a "happy" dance that had my kiddos say I was ready for the nut house ;-) 

Yesterday the weather was beautiful and we did lots of clean up around the yard.
Sofia doesn't much care for the game "pick-up-sticks".

Too funny not to share.
A laughing Luigi.
Only clicked like 46 while he was having a lick fest before catching this shot.

Up next on the cutting table...
Marvel v. D.C.  

For last week's photo challenge. I'm pretty limited with what I can do with my phone so I played around with the same shot and tapped the screen where I wanted focus. 
Be sure to check out this week's  challenge, it's gonna be a fun one!!

Week 10: Numbers -- 50mm

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Six and Counting

Stars that is! I had hoped to finish my star blocks this week but hey, four more 'aint too bad! Only three more to go and I'll be done! They're only taking about an hour to sew together and I'm coming up with all sorts of ideas for a future project to add to the list! That's how the creative process goes, start one project and it spawns all sorts of other "must-make" projects! Sew many ideas, never enough time!

I mentioned in my last post that once you get the hang of strip piecing these paper pieced star blocks, liken that idea to chain piecing, they are quick and easy. My girlfriend Teresa came over this past Monday, so I could help her sew up a couple of cloth napkins into pillow covers, and we got to talking about quilting and seeing my assembly line spread out she was curious to know how the method worked and asked if I would show her. She has sewing experience but hasn't touched a machine in years and has never made a quilt, much less even knew what paper piecing was! I showed her the initial set-up, told her to pick a color for the center (she chose pink) and then invited her to give it a try. Before long she had that star all sewn up and was just giddy with excitement that she went out to Joanns a couple days later and bought up a whole mess of fabric so she can make a few of her own!

Here's one of the pillow covers that was made using two cloth napkins that she brought over. This was such an easy project to re-purpose; just sewed around on the outside of the eyelet with wrong sides facing leaving about an eight inch opening on the bottom, stuffed with the pillow form and whip stitched the opening in the bottom closed. 
To think, these cloth napkins were on their way to the garbage--the garbage?? 
Rescued and re-purposed--a very happy ending!

 On Tuesday we had another foggy adventure. 
This was on our way to Mass through our neighborhood at around 6:40am.

By around 9am it had shaped up to be a beautiful day and I thought about taking the girls to the beach for a little fun. They worked on their school work and I made a grocery run. I took the next photo around 10:30am while waiting for the bridge to go down.

After the groceries were put away I told the girls of my beach plan and they quickly got to making some sandwiches for a picnic lunch. We donned our flip flops and grabbed our stuff and headed out. As we crossed over the draw bridge I noticed this dark and threatening cloud on the horizon line--the very place we were headed was completely shrouded. I drove on to the marina so I could stop and take a longer look and decide whether or not to continue with our plan. As far as I could tell it looked like it was headed out to the Gulf and I thought maybe it would clear out by the time it would take to get to the beach, about 20 minutes or so with light traffic.

About a half mile later we could see the fog had moved in the wrong direction!

Instead of going home and because it was pretty warm out, about 73 degrees, we'd save the drive to the beach for another day and stop across from the Salt Pot to have our picnic. I found a parking spot right at the shore and we unloaded and headed to the sand. We then flung off our flip flops, threw down some quilted color and had our lunch and watched the fog. It was wonderfully contemplative.

The girls chased a few seagulls and went exploring along the shoreline.

After about 90 minutes the fog started to roll out again. 
In the distance, to the left of where Sofie is in the picture, 
you can see the marina again whereas in the photo above 
it is completely engulfed in the fog! 
And, just in case you're wondering, those are "kitten's ears" that GiGi is wearing ;-)

On Friday we celebrated GiGi's 11th birthday!! After Mass and some Dunkin Donuts we headed to Wewa (short for Wewahitchka) and went on a field trip to the Smiley Honey Farm (famous for their Tupelo honey) with our parish home school group. While it was too cold and windy to see the bees in action, Mr. Smiley gave a great presentation on how the bees make honey and then afterwards allowed us to go inside the bottling facility to see how they put the honey into jars. GiGi's making a funny face because when I asked Mr. Smiley if I could get a picture of him with the "birthday" girl one of the other moms had the group bust out singing the happy birthday song! It was priceless! 

The photo challenge for last week (week 9) was Macro - Nature. 
With that in mind the girls captured a few pretty pictures with my phone, 
in spite of not having a macro setting :-)
Click here to learn more about the weekly challenge.

 May you all have a beautiful and blessed week!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Already?

I can hardly believe March is here! The year seems to be flying by at record speed! While other parts of the country are getting their fair share of snow, we've been getting lots of rain here in the South. The Sunshine State hasn't been so sunny, at least not in these here parts.

The first photo below was taken on Monday morning on our way to daily Mass. The photo challenge for last week, found over on the PhotoChallenge blog, was Architecture--Bridges. I had a place in mind that I wanted to get to for some photos but was unable to because either we were too busy and/or the weather was just too lousy. I had Sofie take the shot because of the fog. It was so eerie!

 Back home after Mass GiGi did a little hand sewing while 
I worked on my test block for the Ladybugs star block swap. 

Needing some sunshine in the day this is what I came up with. 
I plan on adding it to the pink and orange scrap blocks.

At the Ladybug meeting on Tuesday, and with some help from sweet Ladybug Rosemary, 
GiGi finished a cute little pincushion. Thanks Rosemary for your help! I should've gotten a picture of the two of them at the meeting but it was busy and I completely spaced it! 
Me, forget to take a picture?? 

On Wednesday, Thor was waiting for us to arrive so he could beg for some sweet treats. He's such a character! I love this gentle giant! Unfortunately, we were told he'll be going home to his owner at the end of this month. I've become very attached to this guy. I've never had an attachment to a horse before but there's something about him and his personality that has stolen my heart.

Also, on Wednesday me and my honey celebrated 21 years of bliss. 
This was what I texted to him.
Yep, total bliss! Tee-hee! ;-)

On Friday, I completed the star on the left and Saturday the one on the right. They;re the star blocks for the Ladybug swap. The turquoise fabric is the challenge fabric that we'll all use in our blocks. My plan is to make each one with a different color in the center. Two down and seven more to go.  

This afternoon I prepared an assembly line of sorts and my goal is to try to make one each day, or at least work on one. The pattern I'm using is from the book "Quick Strip Paper Piecing" by Peggy Martin. Check out more about her and her books here. The method, once you get the hang of it, is quick and easy. My first attempt on Monday I made the mistake of trying to save on fabric and didn't make the necessary seam allowance between units. But, I learned from my mistake!! Also, make sure to fold your papers on the lines before starting! My friend Sharyn taught me this when I first learned paper piecing from her last year, and just because this is a different method, folding your papers is still necessary when it comes time to trim! Trying to fold them once you start is still doable but slows you down and breaks your rhythm!

Happy creating! 
Have a blessed week!