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.