Post Christmas – PreChristmas


I’m only a year late posting last Christmas’ quilt and realizing it is time to start thinking about this year’s Christmas projects.  This fabric was another find I couldn’t leave behind.  It was a layer cake I bought at the IQS in Gimli, MB.  The result was a lap quilt to donate to the church’s annual bazaar.

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Alas, it did not sell.  I gifted it to a wonderful and faithful member of the congregation.  She does not get out to Sunday morning worship any longer.  She has type of dementia that she handles fairly well by leaving post-in notes everywhere as a reminder.  She would call me Mondays after she had attended church with appreciative words for the sermon.  Not long after she would call again, same reason.  And then again, and again, until she remembered to throw out the post-in note reminding her to call me to tell me she appreciated my sermon.  It was a blessing.

I gave her this quilt at the end of the bazaar, just as she was preparing to leave.  During her ride home she mentioned to the driver someone had given her a lovely quilt.  The driver answered, “Yes, I know, the minister gave it to you.”

“Did she?!  How thoughtful of her.  A good preacher and generous too!  To bad I won’t remember to thank her.”

Psalm 119:49  Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.

For the Love of Fabric


As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I am way beyond being a fabric collector.  I see something I like and I buy it, without thought of what it might become, or when I might get around to using it.

Here is another case in point.  I really, really, liked this fabric.  It was the combinations of colours that caught my eye.  They spoke Christmas to me.  Luckily, I belonged to a small gift exchange in the congregation and I made a table runner and four place mats for the church secretary.  She greatly dislikes birds, but assured me these were ‘okay.’

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Luke 12:24  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Christmas/Easter/Communion/All Saints’/Transfiguration/Baptism Banners


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48″ x60″

This is how far behind I am.  We did manage to get ten banners completed in time for Christmas.  We hung and dedicated them the first Sunday following the celebration of Christ’s birth.  That would be January 29th!  They have been hanging in the sanctuary up until last Sunday when they were replaced with the Lent banners.  I know it was a week past the beginning of Lent but we celebrated Holy Communion on March 9th, white and gold being appropriate in that case.

They were all a variation of log cabin blocks done in yellow and set in white.

 

DSC_0332DSC_0326DSC_0324Eight of them were 36″ x 48″ and two were 48″x 60″.  Each quilter could place the star and quilt their banner as they pleased.  When it came time to switch them out I finally got out the camera to take and post the pictures as I promised I would.

Of course for at least one of my banners I had to do something entirely different.  I wanted a project with more of a modern feel.  I absolutely love it.  There are a few people in the congregation that aren’t as impressed with it as I am.  After all, breaking with tradition is a difficult thing to do in the church. 😉  Resistance to change seems to be a defining characteristic of Christians.  There are lots of jokes about it.

How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb? — We don’t change!

Although, my favourite is, because I am — How many Calvinists does it take to change a lightbulb? — None, the lights will go on and off at predestined times.

And my second favourite, because I am — How many Presbyterians does it take to change a lightbulb? — Well, it requires a least five committees to study and review the need and procedure behind changing the lightbulb, each committee represented by at least half a dozen people, so — 30?

I wonder when the Christ returns and there is a new heaven and a new earth if any one will want to be part of it because they have never ‘done’ it that way before …

The ‘modern’ banner is still my favourite.

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Isaiah 43:19  I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Planning for Christmas


Whaaaa?  Christmas?  I know, pushing the season conjures the urge to roll my eyes and tata the major retailers.  However, when you are a quilter and have a project in mind for Christmas, it’s time to get at it.  Our quilters at the church are creating banners for the sanctuary.  We start tomorrow.  I am in the process of getting a sample done so they will have something to follow.  Here’s a preview.

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Luke 2:1  In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.

 

Shortbreak Cookies


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For many of us, Christmas isn’t unless accompanied by the familiar traditions of our youth.  One of mine, shortbread cookies.  I made the first batch the week before Christmas, bringing some for the fellowship hour after worship on the 23rd.  Since then I have had four requests for the recipe.  Since they seem so well received, I’m sharing.

Shortbread Cookies – 350 F oven – 10-15 minutes – makes about 8 dozen

  • 1 pound butter – leave on counter to soften for at least a day, cream well with beaters
  • 1 cup sugar – gradually add to the butter mixing it well with beaters
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon extract (typically vanilla, I have used almond) – beat in well to the butter and sugar mixture
  • 5 cups flour – fold in one cup at a time, at the fifth cup you’ll likely have to use your hands to knead like dough

Roll the dough into balls (about the size of a chocolate truffle) and place on a cookie pan.  Flatten with a fork in a cross hatch pattern.  Garnish with small pieces of candied cherries, coloured candy bits or those silver candy balls.  (I use an almond slice when I substitute almond extract.  I suspect if you tried a citrus extract pices of candied orange rind would work too)  Or you can leave them with out any garnish, still tasty!

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Bake in the centre of the oven for 10-15 minutes.  This is the trickiest part.  Because of the high butter content the bottom browns easily.  You’ll have to watch them to know how many minutes is required for your oven.  I find if they brown too much they seem very dry.  (You might notice that my oven is set at 340 F, the cookies took 13 minutes at that temperature.  At 350 F the bottoms browned before the centres were cooked, possibly due to it being a gas stove?).

These are great cookies for Santa to enjoy with a glass of milk!

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Christmas Stole


DSC_0787This was a difficult project.  A dear mentor and colleague had mentioned quite some time ago that she wanted a white stole.  I promised her I would make her one, and promptly ran into all sorts of difficulties.  I had an over all vision of the finished product, but wasn’t sure how to get there.  I searched the web for block patterns.  I knew I didn’t want to do applique, but would if there were no other options.  Of course the cross had to be included, that was easy.  The star was fairly straight forward as well, the challenge was not blunting the points.  The goblet block came together well for the first attempt at one.  The challenge was the companion for the goblet.  I had some lovely brown and gold batik with a wheat print that I intended to make a loaf of bread from.  But the colour was much too dark and would over power the rest of the symbols.  I thought to bleach it, should work, right?  Not.  It turned, PINK!  Frustrated I put the project aside two months ago.  I pulled it back out, determined to finish it in time for Christmas.DSC_0784

The solution was to hand stitch wheat heads and stalks opposite the goblet, using yellow wooden beads for the grains of wheat.

I’m satisfied with the finished stole.  I learned a few things that will improve the next should I try a quilt block process again, a stiffer backing is needed to keep it flatter, and more generous excess fabric beyond the symbols are needed to trim the entire projected to a uniform width.

My friend was pleased with her new vestment.  She’s looking forward to wearing it when celebrating Holy Communion, baptisms, Christmas, Easter, All Saints Day, Transfiguration, Christ the King Sunday.

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John 6:33
“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”