Monday, January 16, 2017


One of the great things about the Christmas holidays is managing to tick off some items on my ever-growing to-do list. After everyone had gone home after Christmas and New Year, I pulled out my UFO (un-finished object) of many years standing and decided THIS was the year I was going to finish it.

And finish it I did.

According to my records, I began hand piecing this quilt on July 25, 2002. That's a long time ago. Granted I have made and hand quilted at least three queen-sized bed quilts as wedding gifts, two cot quilts, and two single bed quilts, made a number of  quilt tops and machine-quilted quilts, and finished off a variety of other projects (some of similar long standing duration) in that time, but fourteen years is still a long time.

However one advantage of taking so long to make the quilt is that it contains scraps from many of the quilts that I made during those years, making it a memory quilt. This was also my first attempt at trapunto, and I'm happy to say I learnt from my mistakes.

Without further ado ...

Almost done on the hand quilting ...


Quilting complete ...

Binding attached but not yet slip stitched to the back. (I had to take photos at this stage because after so many years of lying around it was rather dusty and I wanted to wash it before I went any further but I was very, very nervous of dyes bleeding as one or two pieces had done just that when I used cold water to remove my quilting marks. Thankfully dye sheets work incredibly well.) ...  


And finis ...

Well, apart from it finding a place on a wall ... which could take another fourteen and a half years!

Since placing the last stitch, I have sewn a hanging sleeve onto another quilt so that it can also be hung. Somewhere. DH is of the opinion that the sofa we bought last year (or was it the year before?) does not suit quilts. He prefers my hand knitted blankets thrown over the arm rests. They're snugglier too. So if the quilts can't go on the sofa, and there's more than enough on beds, and two is probably sufficient for the back of the rocking chair, then the only place to put them is on the wall, right?

Except that it takes a lot of convincing to get DH to make holes in the wall.

Now that I've finished this quilt (and I'm happy with it) there was nothing left to do but start another one ...

This pattern is also one I drafted a number of years ago (2007) and why I decided to make it now is as much a puzzle to me as to anyone, but I had the scraps, and it is summer, and I shouldn't really be spending my evenings knitting even if it's cool enough, and I needed a project, and, well, why not?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Thirty Three

Today marks our ability to survive thirty-three years of wedded life. Yep, you read that correctly. Thirty three years.

A few days ago as I considered this impending and momentous occasion (because, let's face it, thirty-three years is an achievement in this day and age), I was feeling really reluctant to celebrate. Life was feeling a bit blah, possibly an anticlimactic reaction after Christmas and having the joy of the whole family around, possibly tiredness (I haven't slept well over the past few weeks), possibly hormonal, and possibly just that I'm all celebrated out after weeks of celebrations leading up to Christmas (not that DH and I attended either of our work functions but there were still other celebrations to be had).

As I was thinking on this I was reminded of Captain Jim in L. M. Montgomery's "Anne's House of Dreams" where he says, "But it ain't our feelings we have to steer by through life--no, no, we'd make shipwreck mighty often if we did that. There's only the one safe compass and we've got to set our course by that--what it's right to do."

Now, while there is probably no "right" thing about whether or not we celebrate an anniversary (and I'm glad now that we did), Captain Jim's words are so true when it comes to relationships, and especially marriage.

In this day when we're told to "follow our heart" or that "we deserve to be happy" or that we should "express what we're feeling" taking a different road - such as ignoring our feelings or acting contrary to how we feel - is often frowned upon or misunderstood.

But as Captain Jim said, our feelings shouldn't be our compass in life, especially as Christians.

There are times we don't feel loving ...

Times when we feel that we deserve our own way ...

Times when we feel like giving up ...

Times when we feel like we just want to think about me for a change ...

Times when we may even feel unhappy ...

And if we act on those feelings we could very well find that we do indeed "make shipwreck mighty often".

Rather than letting our feelings govern us, we need to set our compass by God's Word and do what is right. Whether DH and I celebrated or not today, wouldn't have made a mite of difference in the scheme of things, except that it was a reminder to me that marriage is often about setting our feelings aside and doing what is right - honouring our vows, loving another human being, acting contrary to our feelings at times. And sometimes when we do (as I discovered today) the blessings can be more than we imagined.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Picnic: A True Definition

A picnic is an event that requires rising at dawn (or earlier) to prepare food that will make a meal served at a much later time look effortless and thrown together. Several elements must always be present: at least one "failure" (this time the buns failed to rise), at least one forgotten ingredient (only the sugar for Son#1's coffee), and an expectation that everything tastes better outdoors.

A picnic involves hours of travelling with at least one family member feeling sick (me) and another almost-sick or wanting to be (real or imagined - in this case I think The Most Adorable Granddaughter#5 was pretending). Usually at least one family member (but never the driver) falls asleep five minutes before reaching the destination.

A picnic involves an element of fear for the young (crossing the dam was scary!) and old (continually ensuring everyone is accounted for) and often, too, surprise (as when The Most Adorable Granddaughter#4 stepped onto what looked like sticks covering the track and ended up waist deep in water). It usually involves mud or dirt or something that will make adults wonder why they didn't bring a dozen packets of hand wipes. The younger members will charge ahead like there is no tomorrow ("You're rather slow you know, Nana", said The Most Adorable Granddaughter#3) collecting an unimaginable assortment of items for purposes only they understand, while those members in the middle will feel the irresistible urge to show off in some form or another (perhaps by trying to swing through the trees like Tarzan), and the older members will be praying that they all just make it back to the car alive.

A picnic requires the ability to "hold on" or "go bush" when one needs to "go" because the only amenity has been smashed - probably at the same time someone shot up the sign.

A picnic never has weather that is considered perfect. It is either too hot or too windy or too cold or about to rain.

Despite all this, a picnic is considered fun and something desirable of being repeated.






(You can read about our picnic to the exact same spot almost exactly five years ago here. It's hard to believe it's the same area at the same time of year. And note, that there was someplace to "go" back then. I thought there had been. I'm not going crazy after all. Well perhaps a little. I did agree to traverse those back roads again.)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Reason

This is really a Christmas post -  although not just about Christmas - and I've regretted that I didn't write or say something earlier. It was one of those comments (on Facebook actually) that had a grain of truth in it - just enough to make it dangerous and to blind people to the deception.

It went something along the lines of this: if we show love to others, work for peace, forgive others, care for the needy, then we're keeping Christ in Christmas even if we don't mention His Name because it's implied in the other things that we do.

Sounds good at first but dig deeper and what you discover is that it's just another ploy to throw Christ out of Christmas and replace Him with something else. Peace. Love. Good Works.

There is nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves. We all seek love. We all want peace. We are called to do good works.

But without Christ we end up with only poor imitations of true love and peace. Without Christ, good works are just, well, works. They do not show Christ to the world. They might fulfil something within us, but they do not in any way replace Christ in Christmas.

Perhaps it was because the original post had been shared by a person whom I suspect is anti-Christian and then was being reposted by Christians that I was so disturbed by it. It contains some truth, enough to make it sound appealing, enough to make us think that it must be true, but it is an incredibly deceptive lie designed to lead people astray.

Yes, Christ came to being us peace. Yes, He came because of love. But He came. And the reason He came was to bring salvation to a fallen world. That is the true meaning of Christmas and we must not throw it out for a more politically correct message that will not go one step towards turning mankind's hearts towards God.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

And So It Begins

The end of the year has arrived and this past week we have begun the round of birthdays that sees our family celebrating five between Christmas and the end of January (not counting in-laws or the wedding anniversaries that are also in that time period - and I guess now the celebration will officially begin two weeks' earlier with The Most Adorable Granddaughter#7's birthday) ...

[The Most Adorable Granddaughter#1 turned ten! How did that happen? Her beach party was rained out and so we convened to our house instead. Looking at the following photos it's hard to believe there was rain or that it was a less-than-perfect day at the beach!]

I have banned water play at my house after discovering mud inside in the most unlikely and out-of-the-way places ...

We have enjoyed time with family ...



[We sadly had to say goodbye to Son#3 and DIL#3 who only had a few days with us over Christmas - but the time we did have was special and made me thankful for the choices each son has made when it came to choosing a wife.]

DH has begun another garden project (a gate and walk to keep Nehli from churning up my flower garden) ...

[And I've yet again pulled out my scrap quilt to finish quilting this summer! No photos because I'm sure everyone is sick to death of seeing it. Including me. I began this quilt over fourteen years ago so it's time it was finished and hanging on the wall.]

And still not had our fill of cuddles from this sweetie ...

and probably never will!