Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quilt in a Day...Well... Episode 2 [Thursday 13]

If you remember from our last episode here, I chronicled my journey into (and back out of) the world of quilting.  Well, I may have cracked the code...maybe.

Here are thirteen steps to making your first real quilt:
  1. Take sewing lessons in high school and learn nothing useful besides threading the machine and backtacking.  Thanks angry, hateful, impatient "teacher" who will remain nameless but everyone who went to Jacksonville High School (AL) in the 80's and took Home Ec will know who I'm talking about.
  2. Watch several years of quilting shows on PBS and get lots of information and inspiration you can't do anything with (see #1).
  3. Take a beginning level adult quilting class that isn't one.
  4. Buy almost $100 worth of quilting supplies you don't know how to use and really can't afford.
  5. Take a couple more sessions of "beginners" class that still isn't one.
  6. Cuss a lot and make absolutely nothing.
  7. Quit the class before you punch someone in the throat, and stuff expensive quilting supplies in a closet to gather dust.
  8. Watch more quilting videos on TV and later, the internet, for about a decade.
  9. Dust off your supplies and make butt ugly quilts you wouldn't take to a rat killing, but donate them anyway because the fabric was expensive and the items were needed.
  10. Find other uses for quilting equipment.  Examples:  Use your cutting mat as a mat under your painting easel, use your rotary cutter and lip-edged ruler to cut paper cards, and use your quilting thread to patch and sew buttons back on clothes.  Oh yeah, and use your sewing machine to make diaper bags.  Hey, it's something.
  11. Give up on real quilting and resolve to make crochet quilts (as mentioned in episode 1).
  12. Make a new friend who quilts and gives you the best advice ever given--to take your time and do what works for YOU.
  13. Throw out the rule book of "ought"s and "should"s and finish a real quilt.
And here it is.

Around the World Baby Quilt

The back label.

So what's next?  More study and practice to improve on the techniques I've already learned. And MORE REAL QUILTS!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fear the Beak

"Fear the Beak"
8 x 10 Acrylic on canvas
Also available as a 4x6 greeting card set with envelopes.
Interested in purchasing?  Send an e-mail to

The inspiration:
Matthew 26:34, 72-75 - Jesus said unto him [Peter], Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice....And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.  73And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. (KJV)

My alma mater's mascot is the Fighting Gamecock. 

Picture it, thousands of fans, over 500 marching band members (yes, over 500!), a gaggle of cheerleaders, and a giant rooster as a mascot.  Now picture those same fans at the biggest game of the season yelling "Fear the Beak!" 

That's great if you're on the side of victory.  But what if you're on the wrong side of the beak like the Apostle Peter?

Like Peter, we may start out with the grandest of intentions in our walk with Christ.  Like Peter, we may have the erroneous idea that we can stand unwaveringly on our own (I Corinthians 10:12).  Like Peter, we may have fallen asleep when we should be praying (Matthew 26:40-41), jumped the gun in our own strength (John 18:10), and tried to tell God that His plan won't work (Mark 8:31-33).  Like Peter, you may think that it can't get any worse.

Then the cock crows.

Uh-OhWell, I guess it's over.


Just like Peter, when we mess up, God is ever ready to forgive and restore.  Notice in Mark 16 after the resurrection, the angels tell the ladies at the tomb to tell the disciples and Peter that Jesus is waiting for them at Galilee (verse 7). 

...the disciples and Peter... 

Not only did He know Peter by name, He knows us by name.  Just as no good parent forgets and neglects his child, so the Father doesn't forget or neglect any of His children. 

Just in case you didn't know, that's you!

Peter was restored and walked out his restoration.  Later in the book of Acts, Peter was part of some of the greatest evangelistic miracles recorded in Scripture.  Jesus said in John 14:12 that anyone who believed in Him would do even greater works than He did.  That message wasn't just for that time; it is also for you.

If you find yourself feeling like Peter at his lowest ebb; defeated and ready to give up, don't let the crowing rooster be a sign of the end, but a sign of the beginning of restoration.  Where I'm from, a crowing rooster is usually an alert to the beginning of a new day.  Let that same crow alert you to the beginning of your new day.

You'll never again need to fear the beak!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The New Wine

The New Wine:  16 x 20
Acrylic on Canvas.
Interested in purchasing?  Send an e-mail to

The inspiration:
Matthew 9:17 - Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. (KJV)
I recently heard Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church  teach a message on how to be lead by the Spirit of God.  One of his points was that in order to start hearing from God, one must stop focusing on both the inner and outer voices that would lead one astray.  One of the loudest voices is current culture.

Though oxymoronic, current culture is often an "old bottle."  Ecclesiastes 1:9 in the New Living Translation says, "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new."  Styles and attitudes are based on what was before.  The riotous behavior we see splattered across the news isn't new.  It's been going on since the fall of man, but new technologies simply bring it before our eyes faster and more frequently.

The Holy Spirit is represented in Scripture by wine (Ephesians 5:18), or spiritual drink (I Corinthians 10:4).  When we receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit immediately takes residence.  As we "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12), the attitudes of the Spirit--the new wine--clash with the attitudes of current culture--the old wine bottles. 

Yes, they will break.  Let them!

Let the breaking of those bottles lead you to seek new ones not damaged by sin and misguided thinking.  Let the new wine stimulate you to the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12), and bring out new attitudes of love and worship.

About the painting:

The pattern for this painting is from Susan Schewee Brown's instruction book Simple Elegance.  At first, I wasn't going to attempt it. Why?  Because the only other painting I'd tried with clear glass as part of the subject was a disaster.  The first time I painted it, my instructor took over to correct my mess.  The second time, I purposefully managed to creatively leave it out of the composition. 

The spiritual inspiration for this painting kept me from giving up before I started.  Yes, I know I had instructions for it, but those generally don't help.  I'm not using the same kind of equipment or technique as the author.  Plus, though I took painting lessons for years, I still don't understand most of the terminology used in the instruction manuals.

The best way I can describe how I completed this was that I messed up, wiped away the mistake, and tried again until I was satisfied.  Once I was happy with it, I left it alone.  I have a tendency to keep touching up a painting until I've absolutely ruined it and have to start over.  Not this time.

Maybe there is some "new wine" to my painting technique.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Red Hat Society

Red Hat Society:  11 x 14 (framed and matted size)
Watercolors on Paper. 
Interested in purchasing?  Send an e-mail to

Titus 2:3-5 - Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. (MSG)
We all need mentors, but we all should also be available to be a mentor.  There seems to be no shortage of mentoring opportunities for men.  In fact, I read where one self-described "virtual mentor" is selling tickets to his inner circle for $30,000
Good luck with that one. 
Ladies have had to get creative when it comes to mentoring opportunities.  Enter the Red Hat Society.  This organization was originally created for women aged 50 and over to encourage one another and to mentor younger ladies.  Now, it has morphed into a self-described "play group for women."
Yes, fun and play is important to having a balanced healthy life.  However, real mentoring happens during times of pain as well as times of joy.  Though the scripture from Titus chapter two seems to only place women within the context of the domestic, the true spirit of these instructions is to meet people where they are.  In other words, true mentors aren't only wives and mothers; they are "every woman."
Why the gender specific call?  Because some things can't be shared in mixed company.  Why the call to sobriety and discretion?  Because some things (meaning anything important) can't be shared with loud mouthed drunks. 
So, while we straighten our red hats, be encouraging and kind to she who's hat has been rumpled and knocked askew by ugliness of this world.  As we model our red hats and purple dresses, let's also be models of God's ourselves and to each other.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Window Garden

Window Garden:  16 x 20 Acrylic on canvas. 
Interested in purchasing?  Send an e-mail

Isaiah 40:8 - The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.  (KJV)

Each season, God provides beautiful flora and fauna for us to enjoy.  Spring bursts with azalea and dogwood blooms.  Summer is a symphony of color from huge yellow sunflowers to tiny pink dianthus.  Autumn is filled with the changing colors of leaves and pots of mums.  Winter rounds out the year with violas and pansies.  With each season is the reminder that though the beauty of last season is gone, there's more to come.

Our walk with God is like that.

Each season of struggle against satan's attacks is replete with stunning bouquets of God's grace that make us "more than a conqueror" (Romans 8:37).  Song of Solomon 2:1 calls Jesus the "Rose of Sharon" and "The Lilly of the Valley."  However, he's no mere perennial favorite--His love, His beauty, is everlasting--a continuous feast of extravagant elegance amidst the dead brown ugly that is this sinful world.

Jesus said in John, chapter 15, "I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener." 

What a beautiful garden he tends, and we get the benefits of it.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Card Sharks

Why do we love handmade cards?  From the crayon-scribbled cards we made for our parents as children, to a store bought card with a genuine handmade, handwritten message, cards show caring and creativity.

When I took painting back in the 90's, painting books full of card patterns intrigued me, but not enough to try it.  Years later, I saw a Pinterest pin of an embossed card to paint.

Unfortunately, I couldn't afford the embossing machine or the paper to make these cards.  So, I tried an economical version.

Nope, not as pretty.  Plus, since I used glue to try to get the embossed look, it made for a very sticky card.

Since then, I've thought about cutting watercolor paper to the size of card I want and painting them one at a time.  But, what if I want to make a set of 12 for someone?  That would take way too long.  So it hit me.

Why don't I paint something.  Scan it into the computer.  Use a program to create the card. Print and cut them out.

Yes, I know I need a proper paper cutter, but right now, my quilting supplies will have to do. 

In the future, I'll play with different designs.  I may even start writing sayings in them.  When I feel more confident about them, I may start posting them for sale.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Walking on Sunshine

8x10 Acrylic on Canvas
$35.00 unframed,  $50.00 framed + shipping
(Frame styles vary by availability)
Late summer blooms and butterflies enjoying the reflection of sunshine.  Keep summer in those corners during the cooler months with this piece.
A replica of this painting is being donated to the Jacksonville Senior Citizen's Center as a door prize for their monthly dance.

Interested in purchasing?