Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Scripture: Blessed

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.
 Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
~Psalm 1

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, George Washington

Convenience isn't always better.  Such is the case of the federal holiday called President's Day, created apparently because it is just too much trouble to honor two great leaders in the same short month.  On President's Day, did anyone hear George Washington mentioned? Or Abraham Lincoln?  Or was it joy that there was no school and big sales at the mall?

I am concerned that children today are not being taught about where they come from, about leaders that struggled and sacrificed and gave everything, sometimes their lives, so our country could be free.

George Washington couldn't afford to go to college.  He left school when he was fifteen to learn to be a surveyor.  He was a born leader, and said yes when asked to lead a bunch of untrained men against the British army. He persevered in spite of unbelievable conditions.

The new Americans, this body of people who had witnessed the birth of a nation, loved George.  They begged George to be their king.  He refused, saying I didn't fight George III to become George I. Instead, he was made President with limited powers.  He laid a foundation that worked.

What a man he must have been!  He really deserves a few minutes to be recognized on his birthday.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Quilting Class Week 7

The weatherman had been predicting heavy storms all day, and I worried that we wouldn't be able to meet for quilting last night. However, Dolly, Roselyn, and Jackie all came, and we quilted right through the storm. The storm only lasted a few minutes here, and although I had cleaned up the basement just in case, we never even thought about going down there.

Our Stars and Stripes quilt is looking good, and we should finish it the next time we meet.  During our break last night, we talked about tee shirt quilts.  They are not traditional quilts, but a great way to get sentimental tee shirts out of the closet and display them.  

This is a block of the W.C. Handy quilt that I made several years ago.  The Handyfest has been going on many, many years, and tee shirts are easy to find.  Once I had collected enough tee shirts (they are all different), the quilt went together quickly and is now a treasure. 

This is the Handy tee-shirt quilt hanging at the Marriott Conference Center during the Handy Festival in 2011.

This class was made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mississippi Tree

I love strong oaks, maples in the fall, crabapples and redbud in the spring.  I love all trees; in fact, I have been called a tree-hugger more than once.  However, the strangest tree I've ever seen may be this:

Mississippi Shoe Tree!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Concrete Angel

Concrete Angel
The sun rises,
the sun sets.
She watches, still,

Her static eyes
watch stoically
as people come and go.
Some pause,
sit at her feet,
and weep.

Sulfuric rain has
eroded her wings,
dulled the hands
that hold a
rigid rose.
Mold grows in
her crevices.

She stands patiently
as the sun beats down
and birds come
to sit on her head;
a silent sentinel for
the bones
beneath her as they
turn to dust.
                                                                               ~Wanda Stricklin Robertson

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Scripture: Strength

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,  to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
                                                        ~Ephesians 3:16-21

Friday, February 14, 2014

How to Make a String Quilt

I make more string quilts than anything else, and everyone asks how to do it.  Here goes:

If you are a quilter or seamstress, you already have a tub of scraps.  If not, buy several quarter-yards of different fabrics and cut them in strips.  We called them strings; they were usually fabric scraps that were not big enough to use any other way.

Cut squares of desired size from newspapers.  These are 6.5" squares, and I use 9.5" sometimes.

Take a piece of fabric that is long enough to cover the center of the square diagonally. 

Add another string, place right sides together, and sew.  

Flip it around, and sew another piece of fabric on the other side of the center piece.

Press.  Don't worry about trimming right now.

Add two more pieces, one on each side.  Press.  As you can see, the paper square is covered on one side already.

Add another piece, making sure it covers all the paper.  Press.  It doesn't matter how wide or narrow the pieces are.  In fact, I think it looks better if there is a variety of sizes and colors.

This is how it will look when you turn it over.

With a rotary cutter and ruler, trim along the sides of the square.  You can use scissors, too, but why would you when this is so much easier?

Looks just like a paper square again.  But, when you turn it over, Ta Daa!!!!!!!!!! 

So pretty.  Now, make a stack of them, a big stack, and you can put them together any way you like.  Maybe like this:

My siblings and I had such fun with scrap quilts, picking out pieces that were left over from our school dresses or summer shorts.

By themselves, these small pieces of fabric are worthless and ready for the garbage truck.  By putting them together, you have a work of art, something that will warm and comfort you, and something you can be proud of. In addition, you have added something beautiful to the world.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Snow Days

I was awakened early yesterday by a call from UNA saying classes were cancelled.  That hasn't happened in a while.  Then, the police asked that everyone stay off the road, and they didn't have to tell me twice.  What could I possibly do?

I am determined that hand-quilting will not die as long as I'm breathing, so I hand quilt at least one a year (in addition to the ones I help with in quilting class).  This top was finished on the last day of 2013.  It has been so long that I can't remember exactly when it was started, and I promised myself and others that I would get it finished before the end of the year.

In early January, I pinned the top, batting, and backing together, and put it on the back of the couch.  Some nights, especially if I'm tired, are spent watching television and quilting on this quilt.  Yesterday, I spent most of the day quilting in my jammies in front of the fireplace.  I spread most of the quilt over me, so it is already helping keep me warm, even before it is finished.

There are 36 blocks in the quilt, and my goal was to get it quilted before daylight savings time starts.  With the extra time spent yesterday, I have completed 32 blocks.  With another storm and snow day today, I'm thinking it will be done before then.

With maturity comes the knowledge that we won't be here forever.  I get a strange satisfaction from knowing I'm making tangible things that will be here after I am gone.  We have no time to waste, even if the weather is frightful.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Scripture: Redeemed

Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story-

 those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,                                        

                                              ~Psalm 107:2

Friday, February 7, 2014

Quilting Class Week 5

Last night, Dolly, Roselyn, Jackie, and I started on our second quilt.  The first one still needs some work, but we were anxious to start on this one.  The first one was quilted in the ditch, or around every piece, and the back is almost as pretty as the front.  This second quilt will be quilted using a fan pattern.  As you can see, we are off to a fantastic start.

Last night, like too many nights lately, was blue-butt cold and I'm so glad the ladies were brave enough to leave their warm homes to venture out to quilting class.  The cold does make one appreciate toasty quilts.

This is a small trip-around-the-world quilt that we talked about during the break last week.  This easy pattern is included in their notebooks; I hope all my students make one when this class is over. In 2012, this quilt was displayed at the Alabama governor's mansion during their Christmas open house.

The UNA basketball game was away last night, so Hub was home.  He has watched The Barefoot Contessa during the afternoon, and was in the mood to cook something.  So, about the middle of the class, the smell of chocolate just about overwhelmed us.  When the class was over, we had hot brownies.  Not a bad way to end the night!

This class is made possible by a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.  Thanks!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Scripture:Who You Gonna Trust?

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

                                                                      ~Psalm 118:8-9