Archives for the month of: January, 2014

I’m enjoying working my way through this sampler book because it is a fun challenge to make my scraps work. With each week I feel like I learn more about combining colors and prints of different scales. This time I began supplementing my scraps with Tula Pink Acacia fabric, and I look forward to featuring it more in coming weeks!





I chose not to name my blocks this week as I have lost faith in Sherlock Series 3. Fun as Episode 2 was, it lacks the punch of previous seasons for me. I miss the intense, interesting plots and would gladly trade the laughs to have them back. So… No Britishguy Sillyname blocks this time!


Last week I attended emanate, the young adult service that couples with the School of Supernatural Life and of which I’ve been part since it began (4 years ago this coming month!) I’ll admit, it has been a very rocky transition coming back from Sunderland, but in that meeting, I connected with God again in a way I hadn’t since I’d been abroad. Although He talked about many things, there is one I can share: He asked that I would invest my heart here with the same abandon I invested in Sunderland. Then He asked that I would invest my art here as I did there. I had to repent of withholding my heart and refusing to engage with the present circumstances – for being offended that God would have things His way rather than meet my expectations. And then I said, “yes.”

So yesterday I pulled out the last pad of watercolor paper I used before leaving for England. There were still some blank pages left. I found the last painting was from 17 August 2013, and of all things, my Mister watched me paint it – though we’d not been introduced at the time.


I took that pad with me to emanate, along with a second, brand new one. And I painted my heart, and I painted a new beginning:



Truly, I don’t know which is which. I don’t even know which way is up. But that’s okay. My life is a painting I’m making with my Papa, and even though I don’t know where I’m going or how it’s supposed to look or turn out, I know two things (maybe three): it’s full of life, it’s full of hope, and it’s beautiful.

Yay! There are 6 sections of blocks in this book and I’m now 1/6 through!





After crosses come rectangles! As BBC’s Sherlock Series 3 continues on PBS, I continue naming blocks for Mr. Cummerbund.


My sweet “auntie” sent me some beautiful Tula Pink fabric – absolutely gorgeous! – and I can’t wait to work with it. I’m contemplating remaking some of my original blocks with these fabrics, although I could see them fitting in with quite a few quilts rattling in my brain. Sometimes it’s just fun to set them in stacks and muse!


If any if the HOP_E interns read this, it will ruin the surprise! But I did ask what snacks they miss from home, and knowing first hand how hard it is to come by trail mixes and gluten-free noshes in Sunderland, I’ll ship a care package soon.


On a whim, I decided to include a few handmade goodies! For my “sister”, a lined knit headband / neck warmer. I felt a piece of bias-cut cotton from Tula Pink’s Parisville line made the tweedy wool sing! I hope she likes it!





My “sister” lived in a separate flat the floor above me, but next door five interns share a larger flat. For them, I made something to share:






I made a little 18-inch pillow cover based on this pattern. Each square finishes at 1 inch. Most were cut from a bold scrap leftover from my White Winter Quilt backing. I had to supplement a few other fabrics because my scrap wasn’t quite big enough. But I love how fun and cheery it is! And the more placid grey is suited to English style – and sentiment.

There’s just a few more items to pick up, and then I get to send [this part of] my heart [back] to England!

I decided to make a holiday quilt my way. No red and green, just nods to the season. In some ways, it is my answer to the “low volume” trend. In other ways, it focuses on the beauty of crisp, frosty tones in a winter landscape.


I emptied my scrap stash of pale prints and free-pieced (or improv-pieced) them into chunks. I then emptied my stash of grey and white yardage to complete the top.

When it came to quilting, I wanted something manageable and gentle. I chose unplanned, organic lines so my vintage Kenmore could zip through it. Sometimes I finagled it to strike a strong horizontal piecing line so I could stitch in the ditch and make it look intentional (haha). I think the quilting evokes snow drifts, or maybe the lines created by wind whipping over a loose dusting of flurries! (That same wind I had to fight for these pictures – ha!)



For the back, I featured a couple of festive prints. The color bursts reflect the joy and warmth of winter holidays, and I love the contrast to the demure top.




A half yard for binding didn’t quite cover the 6+ feet sides, so I chose an extra pop of purple.


With a quilt this size, I had future generations in mind. This will be the quilt that gets pulled out in December for cuddling by the fire and reading Christmas stories. But because it’s not overtly “Christmas” colors, it can stay out until the daffodils pop up! Which, in the South, means I finished this quilt just in time!

Making quilts means more scraps for my City Sampler blocks! I am happy to add in some new fabrics to this week’s mix.





Sherlock Season 3 begins airing this week in the States. Thanks to the internet, I’ve already seen all episodes, but that doesn’t keep me from getting excited! Block names this week:


I begin to wonder if I set the bar too low for my first Lovely Year of Finishes goal of 2014. But then I remember that the point of setting a goal is to help motivate a less-than-favorite task. Adding sashing and borders is the needle scratch in my quilting dance party, so without the goal, this pile o’ blocks would have sat indefinitely. As it is, I have the rest of the month to sandwich, quilt, and bind it, if I dare!


The blocks are partly from the Music City Modern Quilters Guild’s 2013 block of the month, supplemented and modified with other favorites.


Anyone else still keeping up their January goals?

My Mister had a hankering to go to the symphony as he’d never been. We got tickets to hear Mahler, a great introductory experience for him. Prior visits recommended me to the seats above the orchestra, facing the conductor and audience, our backs to the organ pipes. It was spectacular, the setting enhancing the performance and the view unmatched.




Other patrons were just as entertaining. One knitted her way through. A father-son pair burst out in unison during the final bars, throwing themselves back in their seats and exclaiming, “Whoa! Bravo!” (The description does them little justice.) My attention happily flitted between the five percussionists, two harps, slew of horns, mandolin, and the effervescent conductor Guerrero.



Because this is Nashville, we were flanked by musicians. A young man to our right sat with rapt attention to the expressive, emotive Guerrero. Come to find out, he is studying to be a conductor himself. The gal to my left plays French horn and came to hear that section especially celebrated.


Though I’ve had the privilege to attend the symphony several times, this experience set a new high water mark for me. The Mister was euphoric, to say the least, and we look forward to attending again as soon as may be.

Around half-nine on a Saturday night I got a knowing feeling: “Maggie needs a quilt”. I stopped for a moment, because of course it was true. So after a bit of planning, I had a simple design sketched and was cutting blocks. Within a few days it was done, down to the hand-stitched binding. Today, I caught a ride up to the therapy center to deliver my surprise:


So let me tell you about Maggie. She and I know one another through working in children’s ministry. (Bonus: she’s engaged to a great friend of mine.) A few weeks before Christmas, soon after her sweetheart had left on mission in South Sudan (yes, that South Sudan, but that’s another story), Maggie had an accident which landed her in a trauma bay with spinal surgery following. Immediately calls for prayer went out. Friends started a funding project for her medical expenses. And Maggie began spreading sunshine.

I spent a joyful hour or so laughing and getting excited about what God is doing. I heard of all her friends in the trauma ward (sad to see her go when she moved onto therapy), of the new friends she was teaching to tie-dye (patients now have their own tie-dyed sheets and pillowcases). She gave me some statistics, too: how thousands of people are reading her updates, how she gets daily reminders that complete strangers feel compelled to pray for her, how her joy is inspiring others. The lives she has already touched run the gamut: a staff member asked her to pray for an inoperable tumor; a fellow patient began to smile in therapy; a father started to pray after 15 years off religion.

“The thing I don’t get is… why me?” But she wasn’t asking, “why did this happen to me” – rather, “What’s so inspiring about me?”


It’s easy: the doctors say she will not walk again. Maggie believes in a God who does differently.

And so we laughed. Everything we talked about was in light of the belief that she will walk again – “milk those sweet parking spots while you can, ’cause you won’t need ’em for long!” And in regards to all the upper body strength she’s developing – “I guess I’ll be doing some heavy lifting on the future!” But we couldn’t think of what she’d need to lift.

And the quilt itself is one big prayer of agreement – because you only need to keep warm when you can feel cold! So I gave her a new nickname:


And her children will play I-spy with the blocks, and her grandchildren will ask to hear the story of “when you couldn’t walk when Grandpa was in Africa”. And Miracle Maggie – in that unassuming, kind, and fiercely tenacious way of hers – will tell the story of tragedy-turned-victory because Jesus is really, really that good.





Please keep praying with me for my sweet friend and all her family. She hopes to be discharged before her birthday and would love to walk out of there! I say, “Yes! Over and abundantly more than she could ask or imagine!”


I got a little ahead on my City Sampler blocks and have completed my 4 for this week!





I broke into my fabric stash a bit as I could not find scraps to give these blocks the impact I wanted. But in keeping with last week’s blocks, I’ve again named them for my favorite consulting detective.