What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

'Tis the Season

I love days like this.  It's rainy and cloudy outside, so we're stuck in the house on this cold, cold wet day.  Truthfully, it's only wet, not cold.  We actually finished school before lunch, which is always the plan but rarely happens.  That freed us all up for an abundance of creativity all afternoon.   A rosemary/garlic roasted chicken is bubbling away in one crock pot, while green beans are simmering in another.  On the counter, a couple loaves of John's Easy Yeast Bread are rising.  The aromas wafting over from the kitchen are heavenly.

Meanwhile, from the sewing and crafting room, formerly known as the dining room, can be heard much buzzing and whirring of the sewing machine mixed with Christmas carols playing softly in the background.  Christmas carols, you ask?  Yes!  Abby and I are both working on Christmas projects.  I can't tell you how happy I am that my girl has been bitten by the sewing bug.  This is the child who grew up playing at my feet while I sewed and smocked a hundred dresses but who never showed any interest whatsoever in learning to sew herself.  So over the summer, deciding she indeed enjoys the art of putting fabric together in imaginative ways, she learned to smock and completed the smocking for Kyle's first Christmas photo outfit.  She now has another fun project in the works and is planning to offer her first give-away on her blog soon!  Be sure to bookmark her blog and keep your eye open for her give-away.

I'm also working on my Christmas give-away.  I challenged myself to construct this one completely from fabric I already have in my stash.  (You'd realize that's not a very impressive challenge if you saw my stash.)  The design finally gelled in my head last night.  This one is going to be in all traditional Christmas colors and motifs.  I will have dozens of hours for stitching during our fall mountain get-away to Blue Ridge in a couple weeks.

It's patchy; it's scrappy; it's appliqued; it's fun. 
I love it already.  And I hope that you will, too.


Bloom Where You Are Planted

I finished the little quilt last evening just in time to take it to Kristina this weekend.  It is my prayer that she truly will "bloom" here in her new home with her family.

The duffle bags are packed for Boot Camp.  I have some stitching loaded in the car, ready for the four-hour drive.  I'm starting my Christmas give-away, which will incorporate some English paper piecing, as well.

Remember: although you can not always choose your circumstances, you can bloom right where God has you today.

Have a blessed weekend, friends!


English Paper Piecing

The days seem to be moving at quite a clip this fall.  October could possibly be the busiest month for us in a long time.  We have an exciting family reunion with Tom's parents and siblings on tap this weekend in Dahlonega, up in the north Georgia mountains.  I promise you won't want to miss the photos from our Boot Camp weekend.  We are deep into costume, skit, and game preparation for that.

The end of the month we're taking the family to Blue Ridge, also in the north Georgia mountains, for a week-long get-away.  The countdown has begun!  Twenty-one days till The Glass Lodge!  Hot tub, here I come.

Meanwhile, the girls and I have completed eight great weeks of school since early August.  This is our ninth week and we're using it as a reading and creativity week.  We planning to pile the books, some projects, a big blanket, and lunch in the van and head to Hopeland Gardens in a little while to drink in the beauty of this crisp, autumn day under the sweeping live oaks.

Here is the project I'm taking.  This is a little something I'm making for a sweet someone special who joined our family by adoption about the same time as Caleb came home.  Tom's sister Beth and her husband Jack adopted their beautiful daughter Kristina from Ukraine in April.  This small wall hanging is going to be for her room.

The little flowers are made from an old classic quilt block pattern called Grandma's Flower Garden.  I decided to just appliqué three small versions of the block for the flowers and stitch some embroidery on it as well.  Maybe you'd be interested in seeing how English paper piecing is done? 

First you trace the shapes on freezer paper.  The paper has a regular side and a waxy side.
When the waxy side is placed on the wrong side of the fabric and pressed
down with a hot iron, it sticks to the fabric! 
It peels right off later without leaving a trace of residue.

You then trim with scissors around the shapes,
leaving about 3/16 of an inch seam allowance. 

Next, you baste the seam allowance over the paper, stitching right through the paper.  
These basting threads will be removed later.

You sew a couple of these together with a whip stitch along the edge.

And it looks like this when you flip it over.  

I have a whole stack of these shapes ready to take to Hopelands with me this afternoon.  It will be a glorious day, stitching in the garden while the children run as free as little lambs in the fresh air.  I hope you will find a few minutes or a few hours to spend outside today enjoying God's glorious creation.

I'll be sure to post a picture when I get this finished in the next couple of days.