Friday, December 19, 2014

My Quilty Adventures

As I mentioned in my 15 Before 2015 post, I am working on a fun little quilt on Instagram with Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet. There are some days that I don't get to work on it at all - although I'm trying to be organized enough to get at least a few minutes of sewing each day - but on those days I do, I get two or three blocks done. Here's a glimpse of the blocks I have done so far:

House, Christmas Tree, and Mug

Gingerbread Cookie

Vintage Lights, Candle, and Twinkly Star - and a candy stick added to the mug!

Ornament and Basket (basket still needs a heart appliqué)

Gift and Spools, with 4 of the blocks already joined
The final two blocks: wreaths and a stocking and candy. There will be red bows on the wreaths.
I had a bit of a problem with the String of Lights block. Each of those lights has little triangle corners in each corner, and every time I make triangle corners that small, they get distorted, causing the block to come out crooked and/or too small. The blue one in the third picture above is my second try at this block, and it's still wrong. It won't fit above the cookie and mug up there on top. So I made another one last night, and it's going in the quilt no matter what! LOL I am done with that block.

I'm still hoping to have it done by Christmas, but that hope is growing dim. Beth is home, and the boys and Juliana will get here tomorrow night, so my crafting time will be limited. But I'll push through a little and see if I can finish it. If not, it'll be ready early for next Christmas! ;)

Are you still working on Christmas crafts, decorations, cookies, shopping (I still have a little shopping to do!)? Leave a comment telling me what you're doing this weekend before Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Keeping Our Focus on Jesus: Weeks 1 & 2

I started the Women Living Well advent study, Keeping Our Focus on Jesus, on December 1st. I expected it to be all about the characters of the nativity story - Mary & Joseph, Elisabeth and Zacharias, Anna & Simeon - but instead, it's been more about the promises of God, His love for us, and our joy in Him. It's been fantastic! There's still time to download the study and join in; we've just started week 3. Even if you only get this week and next in, I believe it would be beneficial!

I had planned to share something with you each week, but the past two weeks got away from me without my doing that. So I wanted to take the time now to share with you one thing from each week that especially spoke to me.

My morning coffee with my Bible study
:: From Week 1, Wednesday:

The Scripture passage was Jeremiah 33:14-15. In verse 14, God says, "I will perform that good thing which I have promised . . ." That statement caught my attention right away! God always keeps His promises (II Corinthians 1:20)! As I thought on some of the promises I claim for myself, my heart became joyful:

  • Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13
  • Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37
  • Call unto me, and I will answer thee. Jeremiah 33:3
  • If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God. James 1:5
  • If we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us. I John 5:14
  • Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Matthew 7:7

These are just a tiny amount of God's promises! What a blessing that we can claim all of them with the assurance that He will keep them!

:: From Week 2, Tuesday:

The Scripture passage on this day was Mark 12:28-30. The basic gist of the passage is that we are to love God above all else, and this is the commandment from which all other commandments flow. Every part of my life should stem from my love for God and my desire to please Him - my relationships, my money, my hobbies, my time. When I choose to please God in these areas and others, I am loving Him with my whole heart. It's simple, really, but so hard to put into practice!

Are you doing any special study this Christmas season? Share some things you're learning, or share some promises you're claiming right now. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Trip of a Lifetime: London - Windsor Castle

Hi, folks! I've been meaning to get our pictures from our trip to South Africa on my computer, and it's just not working out. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to share our pictures from London and Paris, and if I can get the South Africa pictures, I will post them too. But something is better than nothing, right?! So here we go with some pics from our first full day in London, when we toured Windsor Castle.

We had another 11-hour flight from Johannesburg to London, so by the time we arrived in London we'd technically been up for two days. It was early morning when we got to London, and by the time we retrieved our luggage, went through customs, found which train(s) to take to our hotel in the suburb of East Croydon, and arrived at said hotel, it was around 10:30 in the morning. And we were already exhausted! So we begged for mercy at the hotel front desk, and they allowed us to have our room early. We both had showers and a short nap, so we felt refreshed enough to venture out in the afternoon. We wandered around a bit and ended up at Trafalgar Square, but we didn't do much that day.

On Saturday, our first full day in London, we decided to go to Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of Queen Elizabeth. We took the train out into the country to the village of Windsor, and I was surprised to see that the castle is just up a little hill from the village! I've always thought of English castles as way out in the country with nothing around them. We shopped a few minutes in the village, then made our way up the hill to the castle entrance in the rain. Pouring rain. Since we hadn't brought an umbrella with us, we bought one in the gift shop. Lots of money.

Here are some pictures from outside the castle.

Walking up the hill to the castle
The round tower, which is probably the most famous part of the castle - when the Queen is in residence, her flag flies from that pole at the top

From inside the castle grounds, with St. George's chapel on the left and the employees' living quarters on the right

A montage of other pictures from the castle grounds
Wes bought me a crown charm for my Pandora bracelet at the Pandora store in Windsor village
Cath Kidston! I love so much from Cath Kidston, but I don't have the money to buy very much! This shop was in Windsor. I also went to the flagship store in London, where I bought a couple of souvenirs.

Of course, pictures are not allowed inside the castle! Each room was gorgeous, though, and I just love the history that goes with the castle. I especially loved seeing the State Apartments, where the Queen still receives guests and hosts dinners and holds ceremonies. I like lots of pomp and ceremony and splendour!

We also toured Queen Mary's Dolls' House, which is a miniature castle all on its own, with electricity and running water and everything else to make it a working replica of an aristocratic home of its time. At the link I included above, there's an interactive tour, which is probably better than the one we took just walking around the house and looking into the rooms!

And we toured St. George's Chapel, which was built over 1,000 years ago. I find it amazing that buildings this old still exist! This chapel serves as the burial place for ten rulers, including Henry VIII and one of his wives. They still hold services there three times a day, so it's very much a working chapel. The architecture is fascinating!

You can view a video of Windsor Castle, if you'd like. You'll see some of the inside in this video and learn some of the history of the castle.

So that was our first day in London. I'm not sure if I'll have to make each day its own post, but we packed a lot into the week we were there. I'll have more pictures ready soon!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day - I Won Something Too!

I'm so tickled to have won something in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day myself!

Kristel, the Canadian blogger behind Work In Progress Girl, was offering two giveaways on her blog, one for a $25 gift certificate to Mad About Patchwork, a Canadian online fabric shop, and a set of fat quarters from her personal stash (scroll down on the linked page to read what a fat quarter is!). I liked that she had a system for making it easier for people outside the US to win her giveaway! Apparently it worked! LOL

On Sunday morning, I received an email from Kristel notifying me that I'd won the $25 gift certificate to Mad About Patchwork. I love getting new fabric, and free fabric? Yes, please!

My certificate arrived in my inbox Sunday afternoon, and today I ordered two fat quarter bundles using the certificate with some of my own money added to it. Here are the bundles I ordered:

Up Parasol in Pink by Heather Bailey for Freespirit

Kona Cotton Solid coordinates for Up Parasol
These fabrics are scheduled to be delivered December 23rd. I sure hope they get here by then; otherwise, I'll have to wait till two weeks from today because of all the stat holidays next week - Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. I can't wait to see them!

Thank you so much for your generous giveaway, Kristel! Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to make!

Do you like to enter giveaways? Do you win very often? Leave me a comment to let me know what you've won!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway: We Have a Winner!

Last Monday, I offered a set of my handmade miniature notecards in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day. I just used to randomly select my winner, and the winner is . . .

Alexis Boorsboom

Congratulations, Alexis! I've sent you an email, and as soon as you reply with your mailing address, I'll have your cards in the mail to you!

Rejoice Mini Notecards by Vintage Grace on Etsy
Thank you to everyone who stopped by and left a comment. I enjoyed reading about your weather all over the world. And wouldn't you know it . . . as soon as I said we live where it snows all winter, the temperatures went above freezing, it started raining, and washed away all our snow! What's up with that??? It's been raining all week. I hope it will snow again before Christmas, because that's one of the things our kids are looking forward to when they come!


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