November 18, 2017

Ultimate Bundles Giveaway

Just a quick note today, to let you know that the people at Ultimate Bundles have a great giveaway going on right now to help fuel your crafting addiction! You could win a Cricut Maker machine or a Brother embroidery and sewing machine or one of 18 other great prizes.

And it's open to international winners! So often, these big giveaways are only for those in the US, but not this time 😊

Head on over to the Ultimate Bundles site to enter before November 26th. There's no purchase necessary and it only takes a few seconds to enter.




*Note - This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click the link and then make a purchase, I may receive a commission. This does not affect the price you pay.

November 13, 2017

Reference Letter

Devotion for the Week...

As a senior high teacher, my husband Paul is often asked to write reference letters for his students. When I asked him once if he's ever asked by a student he doesn't feel he can write a positive reference for, he said he has been and he always tells them that he'll write it, but he'll be honest. Generally, though, the ones he wouldn't be able to write a positive letter about don't ask him for one.

I'm not sure how long job/school related reference letters have been around, but I can remember reading in 18th century books about 'letters of introduction.' These letters were written by people of influence and given to someone who was traveling, to allow them to gain access to people of influence where they were going, based on the introduction in the letter. It was essentially a social reference letter, I guess.

There is a man mentioned in the Bible named Demetrius, about whom we know almost nothing. What I find interesting, though, is that the brief mention of him sounds remarkably like either a reference letter or a letter of introduction. "Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true" (3 John 1:12).

That's all that is said about him. We're not told why John mentioned Demetrius to Gaius (the recipient of the letter that is 3 John), or what Demetrius has done to deserve this positive reference. While studying about this verse, I read speculation that maybe Gaius already knew Demetrius, so this was simply an update about him, or maybe Demetrius was the one carrying the letter from Paul to Gaius. There was even mention that perhaps this is the same Demetrius who riled up the artisans in Ephesus against Paul (in Acts).

Whoever Demetrius was, just look at what John has to say about him:

He was well spoken of by everyone. Sounds like he could have asked anyone in town for a reference letter, doesn't it? Now, sometimes, being spoken well of by everyone means you're trying too hard to appease everyone and not holding firm to any convictions. A person like that will do anything to keep people happy and thinking well of them. That doesn't appear to be the case with Demetrius though.

Even the truth itself could speak well of him. This speaks to Demetrius' willingness to hold firm to his convictions as a Christian. He wasn't the type to just go along with anything in an effort to make people happy. But when he disagreed with something or someone, he likely did so with compassion and kindness, rather than judgement and condemnation.

John knew Demetrius personally, and shared the general good opinion of him. It is one thing to have the general good opinion of 'everyone', and quite another to have the good opinion of one specific person who knows you personally. When John says to Gaius, "and you know that our testimony is true", I take that to mean that Gaius would know that John doesn't just hand out these sorts of references lightly. John was speaking from personal experience with Demetrius and that experience had left John with reasons to give Demetrius a positive reference.

Would we be able to receive such a reference letter?
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Do we have the good opinion of everyone around us? Or are there people who could rightly say we are difficult, judgemental, condescending or negative? Are there those who would claim we think we are 'better than them' in some way? It's not that we should be seeking to make everyone like us all the time, but that they should not be able to speak negatively about our character.

Would the truth be able to speak well of us? Do we live out what we believe no matter who is around? Or do we go along with things we believe are wrong in the interest of having people's approval? Do we sometimes act like it is more important to have the approval of people than to have the approval of God?

And lastly, what about the people who know us the best, the ones we live with or work closely with? They're often the ones who see the worst of us, aren't they? Would they be able to say that they too speak well of us?

Who we are in daily interactions with the people around us affects not only how they see us, but also how they see the Gospel we say be believe. What kind of reference letter would they give us?

November 09, 2017

HST Making

I've been working with gorgeous batiks from RJR Fabrics and I absolutely love the colours! Here they are all washed and dried, ready to be used. My favourites are the deepest purple and the deepest blue. Oh, and the lightest purple...they're all so pretty it's hard to choose 😊
Fabric from RJR Fabrics | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
The batiks are destined to be a baby quilt for Paul's nephew's new baby, who arrived on Sunday morning, almost 6 weeks early. I had everything all scheduled out so I could have the quilt made well ahead of her due date, but her early arrival means her quilt will now be late, lol. All is well with baby Riley, though, so I'm not too concerned about a late quilt.

Over the past couple of days, I have cut the batiks and paired them with a solid that seems to be somewhere between grey and green. Sometimes it looks like one, other times the other. I thought I was ordering a light grey, but thankfully this greenish grey works too. That's the trouble with ordering through a computer screen, I guess. Have you ever had that problem when ordering fabrics online?
Making half-square triangles | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Chain piecing is so pretty!
Making half-square triangles | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I trim my HSTs before pressing them open. I line up the seam on the 45° line on my cutting mat and then trim on the lines that match the unfinished size I want the HST to be. I should have taken a picture, but I didn't think of that.
Making half-square triangles | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
All trimmed and ready to go 😊 If you're thinking two of these things don't look like the others, that's because I'm making leader/ender HSTs as I piece the baby quilt.
Making half-square triangles | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
That's what I'm up to these days 😊 What are you working on? And what beautiful colours are you using?

November 06, 2017

Ask for It!

Devotion for the Week...

A group of us moms were talking a little while ago, telling stories about our kids, and somehow we got to talking about what they've asked for for Christmas over the years.

I told the story about the year the only thing Zachary told Santa he wanted was a purple balloon. Not sure why, but that was all he wanted 😊 And what did we completely forget about until after the stores were all closed on Christmas Eve? Yep. I frantically called my friends, hoping someone had a stash of balloons left over from a birthday party or something! Michelle said she had a balloon she thought was purple, but it was hard to tell for sure without actually blowing it up. I picked it up and into Zach's stocking it went. Whew, crisis averted. Of course, when morning came and we blew up the balloon, it was blue. Ooops! He was a little disappointed, but all the other goodies under the tree seemed to make up for it.

Deanne told the story about her daughter Rebecca, who decided one year that what she told Santa she wanted was a secret. She wouldn't tell her parents! Deanne finally managed to convince Rebecca to tell her, if she promised not to tell Daddy.

When it comes to gifts, asking for what we want can be helpful. When it comes to prayer, asking for what we want is crucial.  Jesus said, "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (Luke 11:9, 10).

Ask. Seek. Knock.

Those are all active words. Not 'sitting around, waiting for things to fall into your lap' words.

God wants us to tell Him what we want. Yes, He knows it all already: "Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely" (Psaml 139:4). For some reason, though, God wants us to come to Him and tell Him what we want. Maybe it's just a means of opening communication between us. Maybe it's to help us evaluate the things we want. Maybe it's to help us remember that everything we have comes from Him.

Whatever the reason, God tells us to ask. James even goes so far as to write, "You do not have because you do not ask God" (James 4:2). It makes me wonder how much God wants to do in us, through us and for us, but He doesn't because we never ask for it.

Of course, asking for what we want doesn't guarantee we're going to get everything we ask for. James goes on to say, "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (v. 3). Not everything we ask for is good for us, or part of what God wants for us. And we're not always asking with the right motives, as James points out.
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com #prayer #christianliving #devotion #christian
Yet, we are told to ask anyway. To come to God and tell Him what we want. Big things and little things, for us and for others; it doesn't matter. Whatever we want, He wants us to ask for it.

November 01, 2017

Medallion Magic in Modern Patchwork

My Medallion Magic quilt is in the November/December issue of Modern Patchwork! All of the fabrics for this quilt were generously provided by Northcott Fabrics. They are all solids except for the gorgeous brown background fabric, which is from the Naturescapes line.
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I have always loved the idea of medallion quilts, but I find most of them to be a little too busy, with no space between the rounds to allow each one to really shine. In Medallion Magic each round of blocks is followed by a solid round to separate the blocks and give the design a bit of breathing space.

I also wanted the medallion design to be rectangular rather than square since I know that some quilters prefer rectangular quilts (Jasmine, I was thinking of you with this one 😊). I added one row of these quick and simple box blocks to the top and bottom to create the rectangle. The quilt finishes at 62" x 70".
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
I had so much fun with the quilting! Each of the elements in the blocks got some custom quilting and then I filled the background with the swirl hook design.
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
As usual, I matched my quilting threads to the colours on the front. I used Aurifil 1130, 4140 and 1231. With a solid green for the backing, the quilting stands out beautifully on the back 😊
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
 Medallion Magic Quilt | DevotedQuilter.blogspot.com
This is another of my designs from the 30 Quilt Design IG challenge with Rachel at Stitched in Color. I have another one almost finished and two more waiting somewhat impatiently in the queue. Why, oh why aren't there more hours in the day?

Do you like medallion quilts? What elements do you look for when you're considering a medallion or sampler quilt?
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