Monday, January 28, 2013

The Disappearing Nine Patch (a tutorial)

Last summer when I posted about my first baby quilt, I shared a few of the steps in putting together a disappearing-nine-patch pattern but someone asked me to attempt to put together a tutorial on it . . . so here it goes!

First step is picking out your fabric. I had about 7 different fabrics; ideally I think I would have had 9 or more, but it worked just as well. The more fabric options you have the more combinations you can create so each block will look different.

Start by cutting them in 5x5 squares - or you can buy a charm pack which are pre-cut to that size. Then sew 9 squares together in rows of 3 as pictured below.

Next you'll cut your large square into four -- down the middle in both directions. See the image below. Try to get cut them accurately (I know now, that if you don't, the seams will be off when you put the whole thing together.)

Once you have all of your squares cut you can lay them out in a way that looks pleasing to you. This can take a while as you try to avoid matching like fabrics together. I did my best here but still ended up having a few of them end up together.

I would recommend taking a digital photo that you can look at often when you are at your sewing machine -- that way you know you are sewing the right squares together in the right direction! I've had to rip out a few before just because my stack got rotated half way through!

I sewed my rows together from the left to right, then once I had all five rows sewn, I sewed each row to the one below it until they were all together.  (A picture I didn't take was how you line up each row and match the seams. It's important to match up the seams and helpful if you pin the seams together before sewing.)

 See the finished top piece below!

After the top piece is finished, you are almost done! Create a sandwich with the bottom piece (a few inches bigger on all sides than the top piece), the batting (also a few inches bigger in case of shifting during quilting), and the top. Pin these together every four inches or so to avoid wrinkles/pinched fabric. Now you're ready to quilt it! For this quilt, I did a free-motion machine stitch, but you can see here of the echo stitching I did last time.

The final step is to attach the binding -- which will have to be another tutorial. 
Thanks for reading! Good luck!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two Times the Fun

When I found out my cousin was having twins I couldn't wait to get started on new baby quilts. I have never had very good luck finding cute fabric at JoAnn's so this time I tried ordering online. I found a set that I really liked by Moda Fabrics. These designs are from their "Modern Vintage" collection. It is exactly what I was looking for. And by buying a kit (or fat quarter bundle as they call it in the quilting world) they all matched perfectly!

The first quilt I did was in a pattern I had already done once. The "Disappearing Nine Patch." I took photos along the way so I can show you a mini-tutorial on that one soon. But today you get to enjoy the final piece!

The second one is called "Small Plates" which is a small square inside of a big square. (Secret: The big square is really four strips sewn around the small square. Tricky, I know.) I did one in mostly pinks and the second with red. That way they looked very different from each other, yet used most of the same fabrics!

The other new thing I tried with these quilts was the way in which I quilted them. In the past, I've used a walking foot on my sewing machine and did straight lines along the seams. (Stitch in the Ditch and Echo Stitching.) This time I did Free-hand quilting with a free-motion foot, meaning I could move the material any direction I wanted. I did try to follow the basic idea of stippling. Although it was really scary to try this on a real quilt (my test scraps were awful), I'm glad I did. I loved the way they turned out!

They are both square, about 32 x 32 inches.

Little girls, know that you are loved!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Love and Respect

I just finished reading a marriage book called Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs. I have owned this book ever since I worked for Focus on the Family (because I got that awesome staff discount) but had never read it until now.

I have to say, it is probably one of the best teachings on the biblical relationship between husband and wife I've read (in my 3.5 years of marriage). The subtitle really says it all "The Love She Most Desires and the Respect He Desperately Needs."

The author is a marriage counselor and does marriage conferences based on his study of scripture, specifically Ephesians 5:33: 
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
The basic idea is that a women's deepest need is to feel loved and a man's deepest need is respect. When those needs aren't met, we react to situations and each other in ways that are unloving and disrespectful. Making this cycle of feeling unloved and disrespect go round and round. There's also a language barrier in the way--the author uses pink and blue sunglasses and hearing aids as an illustration of how we misunderstand each other.

His book is made up of three sections where he defines what he calls the "Crazy Cycle" - where men and women don't show love or respect to each other and have difficulty communicating/relating to each other; the "Energizing Cycle" - where women learn to respect whether or not they feel loved and men learn to love whether or not they feel respected; and the "Rewarded Cycle" - the focus is really about your relationship with God and obeying His word; you are storing up treasures in heaven by loving/respecting your spouse (and in most cases experiencing a better marriage on earth) because you are obeying a command from God.

He gives examples and shares stories of how this can be done and the kind of changes that can happen in marriage when these principles are lived out (and the Holy Spirit is at work). He shares success stories and stories where it didn't work so well. He's honest; but also confident that this scripture is key to having a successful and happier marriage.

I hope to write on it more as I digest some of the things that hit home, but for now, I just want to encourage you to look into this scripture if you haven't already. Check out this book if you need a refresher on how to respect your husband (or love your wife). It's never too early (or too late) to improve your relationship with your spouse!

You can check out more from Emerson Eggerichs here:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mountain-moving Faith Renewed

"Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you."
It's been a while since I've read the very first blog post I wrote. We were in the midst of leaving all familiar things behind to chase our dreams. We wanted to live by faith, and in this situation, had no other choice. I had named my blog "Moving Mountains" after reading the passage above, using it as a focal point for the story my blog would (I hoped) tell.

And now, three years later, even though we are still waiting for those original prayers to be answered, we have seen the Lord do many great things. Our lives have more stability and we are more comfortable living in a city that isn't quite so new anymore. And for all of this, I am so incredibly thankful.

But I don't want to lose sight of our passions and dreams in the midst of this comfortable season. I don't want to forget that we are called to live by faith and pray with expectation. Lately, I have felt a renewed desire to realign my life (and blog) with this idea of mountain-moving faith. So, I thought it was a good idea to bring the original title back to my blog to remind me of this desire. And hopefully it will remind me of the things worth sharing with you. Stories of faith, stories of hope, and stories of love.

"Moving Mountains—living by faith in the city" is my new tagline; the new look was done by my amazing sister who just graduated with a degree in graphic arts. As we came up with the design, I could just imagine the buildings of downtown being the mountains the disciples saw. And Jesus telling them they could be moved. I'm not really praying that the actual buildings be moved. But I do pray for our city, that the hearts of the people here would be moved toward Christ. That His Kingdom would be known in this place. That He would use us to make a difference somehow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Successful Stop at Walgreens

I felt like I had a little bit of a high from my last stop at Walgreens. I walked out with so much stuff and only spent $2.72! Take a look:

I bought:
  • 3 packages of ThermaCare heat wraps on sale for $4.99, buy 3 and recieve 4,000 points; I used three $3/1 coupons from ThermaCare's website making them $1.99 each
  • 6 Balance protein bars on sale for $1 each; I used two $1/3 coupons and one $.50 off each store coupon making them $.17 each
  • Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner on sale for 2/$5 with 1,000 points; used $1/1 coupon making them $2 each.
My total came to $12.72 including tax and I had a $10 off coupon from my last purchase of vitamins so my out-of-pocket total was only $2.72! And I earned 5,000 points which is worth $5 for my next trip!

Honestly, I probably wouldn't have purchased the shampoo but I needed to exceed $10 in order to use my coupon which would expire next week. All-in-all, though I felt pretty good -- and my back will feel even better with those heat wraps!