Fabric, Flowers and Fruitage

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I started this quilt several weeks ago.  A dear friend called me that chilly March morning to tell me that her mother had passed away, somewhat unexpectedly.  She lives several hours away, and I just wanted to reach through the phone and hug her, comfort her.

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I had just received a WONDERFUL birthday present from my WONDERFUL husband – a Janome Horizon MC8200.  So almost as soon as I hung up, I thought, I’ll make her a quilt!  I hurried home and began culling fabrics from my stash.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do yet, but I knew I wanted flowers and color.

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It’s a mix and match of some contemporary fabrics as well as fabrics I have had for years.  Some Amy Butler, Tula Pink, Marmalade, Dena Designs – and many fabrics I can’t even begin to remember where I got them! ! I LOVE Kona Snow, so I decided to use it for the sashing.  I had hoped to get it done quickly, so I chose a simple lattice pattern.  The large squares give the fabrics a chance to ‘speak for themselves’, don’t you think?

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I found this GORGEOUS, colorful paisley and decided to use it as the binding.  It just seemed to pull all the colors I used together.

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Since I was just breaking in my new machine, I used a large all-over stippling pattern to quilt it.  Machine quilting has not been my favorite thing to do since my old machine didn’t have a very large throat plate.  The Janome has a nice big workspace, so maybe my skills will improve!!

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The quilt measures 65 1/4″ x 65 1/4″.  I can’t decide which is my favorite fabric!  I love this one from Tula Pink’s “The Birds and the Bees” collection:

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And this one from the “London” collection by Dena Designs for Free Spirit Fabrics just makes me smile:

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. . . which is what I hope my friend will do when she gets this. I have SUCH a problem estimating how long a project will take!!  I had thought I’d get it done within a week – silly me!!  When did I finish it?  3 days ago!  So when I heard about the Blogger’s Quilt Festival, I decided to enter this one. I will get the quilt to her soon, though, with the prayer that she will know how much she is loved.

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Tomorrow is Palm Sunday.  In churches all over the world little children will be given palm branches to wave, and perhaps enter the worship service singing, “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna”.  The celebration stems from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as recorded in Matthew 21:1-11:

 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt the foal of a beast of burden.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (ESV)

It sounds like such a happy time.  People singing and praising God, children crying out  “Hosanna to the Son of David!” in the temple (verse 15). Little did they know how their prayer would be answered in a week’s time.

You see, the word “Hosanna” means, “Oh, Save!”  The phrase “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” comes from Psalm 118, a song associated with the celebration of the Passover, and which bears many references to Jesus the Messiah.  In verse 25, the Psalmist pleads, “Save us, we pray, O LORD!”

And our compassionate, gracious God, knowing that we were dead in our sins and unable to save ourselves, did just that.

 “Hosanna in the highest!”
That ancient song we sing,
for Christ is our Redeemer,
the Lord of heaven, our King.
O may we ever praise him
with heart and life and voice,
and in his blissful presence
eternally rejoice.

Hydrangeas, Roses and Alstroemeria in a $2 thrift store teapot.  Aren't they beautiful?!

Hydrangeas, Roses and Alstroemeria in a $2 thrift store teapot. Aren’t they beautiful?!

These lovely flowers were purchased for me by my daughter for my birthday.  The creamy hydrangeas really make the color of the roses and the alstroemeria pop! When they first arrived I arranged them in a taller vase, but a few days later cut them and placed them in this teapot I got from a thrift store for $2.  The lid was missing, which was why it was so inexpensive, but who needs a lid for a flower vase?

Flower Tip #1:  Whenever you receive or purchase flowers, ALWAYS recut the stems, preferably underwater, before putting them in the vase.  Florists like to use a knife but I haven’t quite perfected that skill.  I picked up some floral snips from Hobby Lobby and those work well for most flowers.  And to give your flowers the most life:

1. Be sure to use the flower food packet, and follow the directions exactly.

2. Make sure all the foliage on your stems is cut off above the water line.  Foliage will deteriorate in the water and create bacteria.

3. After 2 days, 3 at the most, pour out the water, wash the vase, and fill with new flower food solution. Then recut the stems – at least 1″ – and put them back in the vase.

4. Some flowers will last up to 2 weeks if you keep doing this, making your flower budget go much farther!

My first completed quilt in ages!  I call it "Wiinter Ocean"

My first completed quilt in ages! I call it “Wiinter Ocean.” I used Elizabeth Hartmann’s The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker.

I combined three block designs in one quilt – Fenced In, Snapshots, and Small Plates. I decided on a wavy-line quilting design for the ‘Fenced In” rows.

I chose a gray medallion print for the back, but I just had to “flash it up” with some scraps from the front.

Winter Ocean 10

This section backs up to the ‘Snapshots’ row, so I decided on parallel diagonal lines for the quilting here.

I love the beach!!  I lived in Florida as a teenager and the ocean has never lost its allure for me.  Even on gray, cold days the sound of the surf and the smell of the salt air are so captivating. When I pulled these fabrics together the gray-blues and the toned-down aquas mixed with the gray brought the ocean to mind, hence the name.

You can find Elizabeth’s book here.

I have been mulling over the idea of starting a blog for some time now.  I enjoy reading the thoughts of Reformed thinkers such as Tim Challies, Stephen Altrogge, and Kim Shay.  I love the posts by modern quilters and designers such as Kate Spain and Elizabeth Hartman.  Their projects make me drool!!  And I love flowers, and the beauty they bring to life, but I know they can be expensive!

So here we go!  I hope you enjoy your visit.  Blessings!!

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