Today I want to share a a great pattern featured at Angela Pingel’s blog called “Cut to Pieces”. When I saw this pattern awhile back, I immediately thought what a great idea; knowing that we all have many scraps in our bins to choose from, thought this was well worth passing along. So enjoy, and to Angela we say thanks for the great tutorial called ” Cracker Scraps”.
September 2015 found both hubby and I eagerly wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. While we knew we were taking a long RV trip later in the fall, we decided to hop in the motorhome and head for Kerrville, Tx, one of our favorite go-to spots in the Texas Hill country.
Once in Kerrville, we took a couple side trips; one day we went to Comfort, Tx,. Tucked away in this small town is the neatest knitting and needlepoint shop called the “Tinsmith’s Wife Shop”. You can read more about this quaint shop here. If you love to needlepoint, cross stitch or knit, then may I suggest you plan a trip to Comfort, Texas.
On our last day in Kerrville, we stumbled upon an amazing new “sculpture park”, just on the north side of Kerrville, at the junction of I10 and Hwy 16. It’s called “The Coming King Sculpture Park”. As we started to drive into the park, our eyes gazed upward. There on the side of the hill stood this enormous cross. Investigating further, we learned the cross was created by The Coming King Foundation (TCKF) founder, artist and evangelist, Max Greiner, Jr. This seven story cross called “The Empty Cross”, was erected on July 27, 2010, it is 77’7” tall; the cross arm is 40’ across and the center space is 7’ wide. The carbon and cor-ten steel cross weight approximately 70 tons and is anchored in solid rock.
Below the cross, inside the concrete foundation, is a Bible which was anointed with water, soil, and oil from Israel. The cross is located at the same latitude as Israel, and is approximately halfway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on IH-10. This cross symbolizes the Door, the Way, the Narrow Gate, the Strong Tower and Mighty Fortress that allows the Light of the World, Jesus Christ , to shine from Heaven to earth.
In the above picture, looking at the bottom left corner of the picture, you’ll see an individual sitting in the chair. Comparing the man’s size to the cross, one can fully understand the enormous size of the “Empty Cross”. As we stood in awe of this enormous cross, one just felt a bit closer to God, as you could feel his presence everywhere. It was an awesome experience.
At the base inside the cross, there are many plaques and posters, describing the vision for the park and many testimonies from individuals who have been touched by visiting the cross/park.
Shown below is Christ the Fisherman, one of the many bronze sculptures, that have been created and donated to the park by a sculptor….
The returning Christ…riding on a white horse with the ram’s horn and sword.
Near each sculpture is a brass plaque, providing scripture of the event…
If you’ll look closely behind the sculpture, in between Christ’s legs, you’ll see some dark squares. These are scriptures that are placed on bronze plaque/squares and then cemented into the rock path. In each walkway scripture stones are placed approximately 10-12’ apart.
There’s also a prayer garden where visitors have penned their prayer requests penned onto the rocks and stones. This trail of rocks continues for approximately 600’, winding around the hillside. Every rock represented someone’s prayer request; the feelings of hope and faith could be felt as we walked around this 600’ trail of rocks.
Worldwide attention will soon be focused on Kerrville when Dr. Pat Robertson’s “700 CLUB” broadcasts a special feature on the spiritual art park, via the CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK. The program is scheduled to air around the world during EASTER 2016.
This free art park is located in Kerrville, TX just one hour northwest of San Antonio. If you’d like to know more about this amazing place, please visit www.thecomingkingfoundation.org.
This is part II to a discussion I’m having on the the Journey of Quilting. So sit a spell and join in…now for the conclusion…
We left off last time on “Piecing” …. Ok, so we’ve discussed cutting our fabric and next comes the piecing…or just in case you’re not familiar with that term, it’s the sewing of the blocks, squares, etc., together. Aww to me just the hum of the sewing machine I find can be so relaxing. With a bit of soft music going in the background and the hum of the machine, I’m lost for hours on end in my work. Guess that’s why I love to piece.
Wherever you sew, be it in a spare bedroom, at the dinning room table, etc., make sure your machine is at the appropriate height on a table or cabinet, so you aren’t straining you arms or back in any way. Also you’ll want a comfortable chair or your “tush” can get quite sore. You can also purchase a memory foam pillow/cushion that I found makes your chair all plush and comfy. Be sure your sewing machine has a 1/4” foot as this will ensure your seams are all 1/4” as you sew. Don’t forget the lighting…most important element I believe for sewing. Proper lighting takes the guessing game out of coordinating colors, plus reduces eye strain. I have ceiling lights and several different portable LED lights all over my sewing area. While I do have one large window, I find I need more light these days, so if you’re like me, add those lights!
Finally, the “quilting” process….to me this is the step that breathes life into the quilt! Maybe you’re one who prefers to hand quilt…kudos to you. I’ve seen many beautiful hand quilted quilts; the stitching on these quilts will simply take your breath away. I’ve always admired anyone who could make those beautiful stitches. I too started out hand quilting, then I tried free motion quilting (FMQ) and was instantly hooked. FMQ came easy for me, as when I was younger, I loved to doodle. However, it does take practice, practice, and more practice to get those stitches like you want them. FMQ can be done on a domestic machine or one of the new mid-arm machines. Just remember, when you FMQ on one of these machines, the fabric is moved under the machine needle, instead of moving the machine over the fabric. Again, there are many different types of domestic machines that have a wider harp, and if you’re wanting to use one to quilt with, you’ll love the wider harp. Finally there’s the long-arm machines; this is where the machine and quilt are on a frame and the machine quilts as it moves over the fabric. There are many good long-arm quilters and a good long-arm quilter is worth their weight in gold. So while their prices may vary, the quality of quilting may too. Be sure and check with friends or your local quilt shop for a reliable long-arm quilter. Again, if you’re wanting to quilt your own quilts, most quilting machine companies sell both long-arm and mid-arm machines, so take you time, try as many as possible before you make that decision to buy.
Well, our journey is complete; we started out looking for fabric and have come full circle to quilting the pieced top. There’s something to be said for the gratification we personally receive from making a product from start to finish. It always gives me a warm feeling when I give a quilt away; the recipient’s face says it all…happiness!
Yep, it’s a journey from start to finish and I must say…what a trip! Thanks for coming along…if you have a moment, leave me your thoughts as I’d love to hear from you.
Till next time, ….keep your eye on the needle and your foot on the pedal. Happy Quilting!
Considering my quilting is on temporary hold these days, I thought now would be a good time to talk about “the journey of quilting”. As a child, I grew up loving to sew, thanks in part to a loving Grandmother and Aunt, who shared with me their love of sewing. Later in life I discovered quilting; yes, that’s when the quilt bug bit me! So grab a cup and get ready to go on a journey with me!
Most of us have that desire deep inside to be bargain shoppers and many go crazy at the thought of a sale. For us quilters it’s the same excitement – there’s nothing better than going to a fabric sale, or getting together with quilt buddies and going on a shop hop! Just the anticipation of discovering gorgeous new fabrics, patterns and new ideas, it can sure get your blood to pumping. Plus, the food, oh gosh yes, let’s not forget finding those perfect cafés in those out of the way places that will leave us talking for days about the great food! Yes, a shop hop can do wonders for our creative spirits.
Visiting a quilt shop (SHOP), is so much fun to just stand there and take it all in; all new fabrics, samples, etc., plus meeting and talking with individuals who share the same love, is such a treat. I personally find my imagination begins to run wild as I gaze upon the fabrics, bringing ideas into mind that I have to resist least I go broke!! Yet the “feel of the fabric” is so relaxing, dissolving the stresses and cares of the day away with each stroke! Oh my gosh, I’m sure many of you are saying…”she’s weird”. Not really, think of the times you’ve stopped by a SHOP and your mind is bogged down with the cares of the day, but once you leave you find your spirits are lifted and you feel much better than before. To me, that’s the best pick-me-up! From my days of working at the SHOP, I still remember the feel of excitement as the delivery man arrives with new boxes of fabrics; why the anticipation of what’s inside the box was similar to that of opening presents on Christmas morning!
So let’s talk for a moment on purchasing fabrics at SHOPS. For the most part, fabrics at SHOPS are “1st run” from the fabric mills. Manufacturers like Moda, Benartex, Wilmington, Marcus, Blank, Robert Kaufman, Hoffman, Michael Miller, RJR, Windham, Henry Glass, to name just a few, produce quality fabrics. You may have a favorite manufacturer, as I do, but I’m always open to new ones as long as they produce quality fabrics. Most of the larger stores that have fabric, have good fabric, but many times it’s not the “1st” run. Some vendors are large enough that they order large commercial size rolls, then subdivide into smaller bolts and ship those to their stores. Again, don’t get me wrong, most of these are good quality fabrics, but many are “blends” and not 100% cotton, which is the best for making quilts. I remember one specific instance when I ran out of a certain fabric and someone told me they’d seen the same fabric at one of the big fabric stores. Upon inspection, I held the fabric up and what do you know… I could see right through it – I said “no thanks, that’s not going in my quilt”! I’m not quite sure which “run” that fabric was from, but I do believe it could have been better used as a sieve! So just remember, you get what you pay for!
Ok, back on our journey…we’ve purchased our fabric and pattern and once home, the cutting begins. Ugh, I must admit that cutting is not my favorite part, but it needs to be done. Now I can just hear a few of you saying “wait, she didn’t talk about pre-washing her fabric before cutting”. No, most of the time I don’t pre-wash the fabric. From my experience at the SHOP, fabric reps were always saying the dyes now being used are better and for the most part, do not bleed and run, thus reducing the need to pre-wash. So I decided one day to give it a try and as the saying goes, haven’t looked back since! When it comes to “reds”, I still feel the need to rinse the fabric under cold water, dry and press. Please remember that pre-washing/rinsing the fabrics rinses out the fabric stabilizers and finishers that have been applied to the fabric. So if you do pre-wash, you’ll want to use a good quality fabric starch on fabric before cutting. Then once the quilt is finished, it should be washed in cold water, then dried. Now here’s a tip you may want to try – I always use a “SHOUT Color Catcher” with my quilt; simply toss one in with the wash. The color is then collected on the sheet rather than bleed on your quilt. Believe me they work….I even use these when I’m washing new garments…
Back to cutting; being anxious to start piecing, I find the quickest cutting method is to use a rotary cutter and ruler. There are many different “cutting machines” on the market that are advertised to make the process easier and quicker; the Accuquilt, the Go Cutter, and Brother, plus many more. Most of these machines use dies to cut the fabric, which to me results in a lot of “waste”. Hmm, what generation did I come from….I’ve watched as many quilters at the SHOP, use the cutting machine and then simply toss the scraps into the trash or a recycle basket at the shop. Ok, so we don’t need all those bits and scraps of fabric, but just saying, some do come in handy for another project. Now for me, I can usually cut it quicker and smarter than a machine, and still have fabric left over for another project! HA, imagine that, me smarter than a machine. Again, I’m not saying these machines are not great – I’m just saying at this point in my quilting experience, I’d rather use a rotary cutter and a ruler. Now if you do appliqué, then one of these machines may just be what you need.
One additional thought on cutting….If you are new to quilting, there are various types of rotary cutters; Fiskers, Olpha’s, Clover, Ergo, Gingher and many more. So if you have a quilter friend, ask them to try theirs first, as our hands are all different and what feels good to me may not be the same for you. It’s heck to purchase a cutter, get home and not like the feel of it, so when possible, always try it out first.
Next up, piecing….however, since I’ve held you captive long enough, let’s stop here and we’ll pick up on our journey next time. Please leave me your thoughts and ideas and do come back and finish the “journey” with me.
Till next time –
In September-October 2015, I decided to make some quilts for both family and friends that were experiencing some health issues. You can read about them in this post. Then in late December, I finally got the last quilt quilted, so thought I’d share with you.
It started like this…
This is what it looked like after quilting….(since my “quilt holder” has been out of commission, I had to improvise and take picture in segments…so sorry).
When I started thinking of quilting this one, I thought I would do an overall pattern ; then I “listened” to the quilt and so glad I did! Each section/border is quilted differently and it just seemed to bring the quilt to life.
So that’s it for the deer quilts; this was #5 and I really don’t care to do another one any time soon. Even though Hubby is keeping me busy these days, my mind is planning…so stay tuned….
As you may have read in my previous post, we’ve had some trying times already this year. We found out in December that hubby needed some major surgery the first of the year. His progress was remarkable and he was cleared to begin walking and performing some light exercises on his recumbent bike. Then on January 29, after a quick haircut, we decided to stop by an eatery for a bite to eat. As the saying goes, that’s when it all went south! As we walked into the eatery I took a few steps and then I heard and felt it at the same time…hubby had hit the floor HARD, so hard it knocked him out. Almost immediately a lady came to help, stating she was an RN at a local hospital…to me she was an angel in disguise!
As we worked to stabilized my hubby and he was beginning to come around, I remember hearing the nurse utter “wet floors and canes don’t mix”. I then turned to see the floor behind us had been recently mopped. My mind began to race as I had not seen any signs when we walked in…as I looked around, the “watch wet floor” signs were on either side of the main walkway, mixed in with the tables and chairs…not the place they should have been. Oh my…he had slipped on the wet floor.
Shortly there after the ambulance arrived, he was loaded up and gone in minutes. After arriving at the hospital, he was immediately taken to the trauma bay with countless staff hovering over him. Since he was a coumadin patient, multiple CT scans were ordered to ensure he had no hemorrhaging. Luckily the CT scans were clear but…he had 4 broken ribs a broken collarbone, and a traumatic head injury, all on the right side. So of course he had to spend night.
Later that night a chest x-ray showed he needed to have a chest tube inserted as his right lung had been injured from the fall and air was building in his chest. So off to ICU we went. Then on Sunday our luck went from bad to worse; he developed a “coumadin” brain bleed. His speech was garbled, slurred, the whole nine yards, and he couldn’t keep anything down. At this point I must admit my faith started to wean a bit; I couldn’t help but ask God why all this was happening. At that point all I could do was pray and put him in God’s hands….the next day his speech began to clear and as the days passed his brain seem to be coming back to normal.
We came home Friday, 2/5/2016; home health has started, along with physical therapy. While the path to getting better may be long, I know once again, with God’s help we will make it.
Until then…my sewing will just have to wait but I know I’ll be back at it soon……
I sing because I’m free, For his eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches over me”; this is one of my all time favorite hymns. As a child I grew up listening to the golden voice of George Beverly Shea. His voice would resonate through the air as he sang this song. Today my heart sang this song as finally, we received some good news.
Guess by now many of you may think I’ve fallen off the face of the earth. Truth of the matter is we had a major “life issue” occur; one that scared both hubby and I to the core. Hubby developed some health symptoms right after Thanksgiving that required immediate attention. Luckily we got right in to see our family doctor and then the tests began. Almost immediately, he was diagnosed with colon “cancer”….yes, that six letter word that sends shivers down your spine all the while knocking you off your feet. You find yourself saying, “no, this is not happening to us, it’s not supposed to happen to us, we eat right, try to take care of ourselves…this is just not supposed to be happening”. Before I had much time to react, I realized I had to get a grip and keep it together, I had to support my hubby. Immediately I started praying, asking God to guide us as we went down this path and somehow give us a miracle. I didn’t know how, but I knew God would honor my prayer…I just felt it deep down inside.
As we progressed through the myriad of tests, (CT scans, lung biopsy, etc) we found ourselves wondering if this nightmare would ever end. The days and weeks before Christmas just passed as a blur. Finally, after conferring with the surgeon, a surgery date was set for early January. Once the surgery was done, the surgeon came out to tell me the results. During our conversation I questioned what she thought the “stage” of the tumor might be… she indicated from her initial sight and feel of the tumor she felt it was a “stage III”. Immediately my heart sank as I’d been praying for a Stage II. If you know anything about cancer, there’s a lot of difference between stages and whether additional treatment is needed…it’s all determined by the stages and “T” count, which relates to whether there’s lymph nodes involved. Stage III was definitely a big letdown…still I clung to my faith and put my trust in the Lord.
On Friday of last week, 1/15/16, during a quick doctor visit, we were informed of the pathology results…the tumor was completely removed, all margins were clear, and….the official stage was STAGE II, with 11 negative lymph nodes. Immediately I told hubby we got our miracle! The nurse concurred and indicated hubby was a very lucky man. So… today I sing because I’m happy … God definitely answered our prayer. I encourage anyone who reads this today to put their faith and trust in our God as he’s there’s to save and help all of us.
My sewing and quilting machines have been quiet for many, many weeks, but I’m edging back into my studio…stay tuned…I’ll be back soon!