Tag Archives: Christmas and holiday season

EverGreen or Deciduous?

It’s Spring in Oklahoma, which means the Deciduous trees  have all leafed out, giving out landscape a full lush look, adding to the greenery of the Cedar trees.

Deciduous trees are those that who lose their leaves, in the autumn, after the leaves have turned the landscape colorful with their new orange, red, yellow, and brown before dropping off and leaving the tree bare for the winter.

Both types of trees are needed. We enjoy the benefits of both. The Cedar trees, the evergreens stay green through the cold, dismal winter, giving us a bright spot to view.

Our writing is the same. Some of our stories and articles are like the Deciduous, they have their time, and like the Deciduous trees come back, for use. Seasonal stories and articles can be used each season. Articles tied to events can be revived on the anniversary of the event.

It can be yearly, articles relating to the events of December 7 (Pearl Harbor), September 11 (Twin Towers), and April 19 (Murrah Building bomb) are often used every year as the anniversary approaches. Calendar dates can also trigger posts, Memorial Day will be next month. You may want to consider if, and what post you’ll write  for the day, and those who served.

Other date-related stories are used on significant anniversaries, the fifth, tenth, twenty-fifth, hundredth, and so on. For example, Arizona was admitted into the Union of the United States in 1912, the first foreign feature film was shown in the United States. If you’re a sports writer, pitcher Cy Young retired, among other sporting news.

What does that have to do with you, the blogger? Just as other publications need both types of stories, you need both for your blog. Sure, around the holidays, write holiday related posts. Your readers are probably going to expect them. Besides, they’re fun to write. And yes, you could relate every post to an event or happening in history. But why not intersperse a few ever-green articles? The advantage of an ever-green is that you can write it when you have the time and energy and save if for those days you just don’t know what to write. You can be calm when considering your blog post.

Although, truthfully, most days I look like this when working on a blog post.

Maybe I could enjoy the calm a little more if I had more Deciduous articles on standby.

You might want to check out a few of my fellow bloggers bloggers who have full lush blogs with Evergreen and Deciduous articles:

Funny lady Amy Mullis writes humor pieces, both on her blog, Mind over Mullis, and with other funny writers at, An Army of Ermas (as in funny lady author, Erma Bombeck.)Some of  Amy’s posts are timely because the humor is based on current events, however, most of her humor is timeless. Warning, don’t be eating or drinking when ready Amy’s posts, you don’t want to have to take time to clean your monitor screen.

Pamela Foster, author of, REDNECK GODDESS, intersperses timely posts, like her most recent, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen with funny fictional pieces like, More – On the Road with Chesty and Rocca.

Beth Bartlett says she has more  One writer who includes evergreens with timely posts is Beth, on her blog, The Writing World of Beth Bartlett. Beth says she has more sides than a D20 die, her blog has a little from all her sides, and includes both Deciduous and Evergreen articles on her blog.

What about you? Are you a calm blogger? Do you have a few, or more, Deciduous articles in your arsenal? Leave a comment and share how you choose a blog topic.

After Holiday Debt

 11But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. Romans 8:11-12 KJV

It’s Wednesday’s word, and I’m back to memorizing Romans 8. I joined up with Do Not Depart several weeks ago in this endeavor.

We just celebrated Jesus’ arrival on this earth. A gift from God. A gift of life everlasting. A gift we can’t pay for. A gift we couldn’t afford if there was a price tag attached. There is no money amount on this precious gift from God.

Instead, we are to accept the gift. We accept Jesus and allow Him to dwell in our hearts.

We accept God’s gift of life. We don’t chase after material items and wants.

This doesn’t mean we can’t have things we desire, but they come after God, after time with the family.  We don’t spend so much time earning money to buy ‘things’ that we don’t spend time with our families and with God. God does not want us to debtors to the flesh.

Oh, some things must be bought on time. We will have to owe the bank, or lending institution for some items. Few people can buy a home outright. Medical expenses often are paid out over time. There are other monetary debts that are necessary, each person and family must make that decision as to what is a worthwhile debt.

The important thing is to not let the debt control our lives. Not let the debt rule us. Not let the debt take the place of God in our lives and hearts.

The New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) translates verse 12:

 12 Brothers and sisters, we have a duty. Our duty is not to live under the control of our sinful nature.

For the quilter in me, that means not living under the control of fabric. Oh sure, I have fabric in every room in my house. And, yes, I’m working on getting a sewing room for both creating, and storing fabric. However, new fabric, patterns, sewing gizmos, and the sewing room are not to take the place of God. It’s one reason I don’t sew on Sunday. For me, not sewing on that day allows me to keep God in first place in my life. It keeps the fabric and the sewing projects from being all-important.  Not to say I’m perfect in any other area, this is just how I attempt to control this area of my life.

 

No, this isn’t my fabric collection. I don’t have this much fabric – yet. No room, remember? Just thought it’d be fun to show you a large collection of fabric. This is from Fave Crafts Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do to help avoid living under control of our sinful nature? Share with us.

 

 

 

The Christmas Blessing

Saturday is about sharing here at Patchwork Lives. At least that’s the idea. The goal is to share information about anything quilty.Today however, I’m sharing a personal story (another unusual thing for me.) It’s also a bit longer than normal.

The Christmas Blessing

For a variety of reasons, Friday night, long after dark, I was several miles from my house and in dire need of gas. I exited off the interstate and traveled along the old highway for a few miles, sure there would be a gas station on the road.

I was right, two in fact. I pulled into the first one, two lonely pumps, one marked out of order, and a small building, in need of a paint job.  The clerk on duty was barely visible through a window almost blocked with merchandise. As I pulled up to the next pump my eye caught the bright sign of the second store up the road a little. I bit my lip considering, that station looked more prosperous, and had better light. Still, the tank was empty and there was gas right here. Nothing looked dangerous, although there wouldn’t be a large selection of items inside, all I really wanted was gas. The decision made, I stopped at the tank and went in to prepay for my purchase.

Once inside, I found a clean, if crowded store and the woman working the night shift was friendly.

In fact, with  little encouragement she told me some of her recent problems. Her husband died a few months back (oh, how I could relate), two of her children had been involved in vehicle-destroying accidents in recent months. One child totaled her car, the other car was repairable, although the cost was extensive. Luckily no one was seriously injured The financial burden for this mother however, was extensive.

Thursday had been the funeral of her best friend. Last week she’d returned to a flooded home, thanks to her water heater developing a leak. She had to use the store’s credit to purchase a new one, her savings had gone to help her children get usable vehicles. Buying on credit, of course made the water heater more expensive. After cleaning the water damage, and replacing the water heater she began preparing for Christmas, This was to be a special Christmas for her son who would be leaving for Afghanistan next year, shortly after the birth of his first child.

However, those plans were changed when her home heating system quit. Repairing her heating, will take time and money. Christmas is now, one of her children will now host the family for the holiday. The Christmas dinner will wait until after five, when the store/station closes and she’s able to join her family.

Listening to her, my heart wanted to help her. How? I knew listening was helping, just being able to say the words, even if no one had a solution often helps. But, I wanted to do more.

I listened to her closing remarks, “The Bible says God will not give you more than you can handle. But, I think He has this time. I don’t know if I could take any more.” She said, looking outside as though hoping God would appear and fix her problems. Her words gave me the answer.

“Do you enjoy reading?” I asked her.

Her eyes widened, probably surprised at the question, but she nodded  that she did.

I practically skipped out the door to put the gas in my car. After fueling the car, I returned to the store with a copy of my book, which I signed to her.

“Maybe some of the stories in here will make  you smile.” I said when I handed her the book. “I hope next year is a good year for you.”

Before getting back in the car, I looked back at the store. Through the small clearing in the window I could see her looking at the book. I don’t know if she read it, or if it brightened her day, I hope it did. She certainly added to my day allowing me be her listener.

The long dark drive back to my house was a much easier drive than I’d anticipated. Helping someone else had blessed me beyond measure.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Christmas Stories – Celebrating Christmas

Here are a couple of Christmas stories for your reading pleasure. I didn’t write either of them, but enjoy both of the. The first story, doesn’t have a title as far as I know, it is from fellow author Janet Brown‘s blog, she received it from her daughter who had received it in an email. As Janet said on her blog, many of you may have received and read the story. It’s such a sweet story she posted it for those of us who hadn’t read it, and I’m paying it forward. Enjoy.

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church In suburban Brooklyn, arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw Their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.

They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest – a driving rainstorm hit the area and lasted for two days.

On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church, his heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.

The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth
with exquisite work, fine colors and a cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.

By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later.

She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. “Pastor,” she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into It there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria .

The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten “The Tablecloth”. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria .

When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her husband or her home again.

The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the Spirit were great. At the end of the service, the Pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return.

One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving.

The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike?

He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between.

The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier.

He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.

True Story – submitted by Pastor Rob Reid
who says God does work in mysterious ways.

 

This second story is actually a poem by Helen Steiner Rice. I first heard it, years ago, performed by Grandpa Jones. You can hear it here. You can find more of her poems, here.

The Christmas Guest

It happened one day at the year’s white end,
Two neighbors called on an old-time friend

And they found his shop so meager and mean,
Made gay with a thousand boughs of green,

And Conrad was sitting with face a-shine
When he suddenly stopped as he stitched a twine

And said, “Old friends, at dawn today,
When the cock was crowing the night away,

The Lord appeared in a dream to me
And said, ‘I am coming your guest to be’.

So I’ve been busy with feet astir,
Strewing my shop with branches of fir,

The table is spread and the kettle is shined
And over the rafters the holly is twined,

And now I will wait for my Lord to appear
And listen closely so I will hear

His step as He nears my humble place,
And I open the door and look in His face. . .”

So his friends went home and left Conrad alone,
For this was the happiest day he had known,

For, long since, his family had passed away
And Conrad has spent a sad Christmas Day.

But he knew with the Lord as his Christmas guest
This Christmas would be the dearest and best,

And he listened with only joy in his heart.
And with every sound he would rise with a start

And look for the Lord to be standing there
In answer to his earnest prayer

So he ran to the window after hearing a sound,
But all that he saw on the snow-covered ground

Was a shabby beggar whose shoes were torn
And all of his clothes were ragged and worn.

So Conrad was touched and went to the door
And he said, “Your feet must be frozen and sore,

And I have some shoes in my shop for you
And a coat that will keep you warmer, too.”

So with grateful heart the man went away,
But as Conrad noticed the time of day

He wondered what made the dear Lord so late
And how much longer he’d have to wait,

When he heard a knock and ran to the door,
But it was only a stranger once more,

A bent, old crone with a shawl of black,
A bundle of faggots piled on her back.

She asked for only a place to rest,
But that was reserved for Conrad’s Great Guest.

But her voice seemed to plead, “Don’t send me away
Let me rest awhile on Christmas day.”

So Conrad brewed her a steaming cup
And told her to sit at the table and sip.

But after she left he was filled with dismay
For he saw that the hours were passing away

And the Lord had not come as He said He would,
And Conrad felt sure he had misunderstood.

When out of the stillness he heard a cry,
“Please help me and tell me where am I.”

So again he opened his friendly door
And stood disappointed as twice before,

It was only a child who had wandered away
And was lost from her family on Christmas Day. .

Again Conrad’s heart was heavy and sad,
But he knew he should make this little child glad,

So he called her in and wiped her tears
And quieted her childish fears.

Then he led her back to her home once more
But as he entered his own darkened door,

He knew that the Lord was not coming today
For the hours of Christmas had passed away.

So he went to his room and knelt down to pray
And he said, “Dear Lord, why did you delay,

What kept You from coming to call on me,
For I wanted so much Your face to see. . .”

When soft in the silence a voice he heard,
“Lift up your head for I kept My word–

Three times My shadow crossed your floor–
Three times I came to your lonely door–

For I was the beggar with bruised, cold feet,
I was the woman you gave to eat,
And I was the child on the homeless street.”

Helen Steiner Rice

Hope you enjoyed the stories. Have a Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah.

Sharing Saturdays

Saturdays are for sharing. Sharing time with friends and family. Sharing quilts from quilt shows I attend. Sharing other good information. Sharing projects I’m working on or have finished. Sometimes Saturdays are for parties.

Time with family – I’ll visit with all of my kids, either by phone, email or (gasp) in person. I always love spending time with the kids and grandkids.

Time with friends. One friend is having an open house, Home & Garden Show. I’ll stop by and offer her support, even if I can’t spend dollars.:) Our writing group meets today, a great group of writers, I enjoy spending time with them.

Quilts from quilt shows – Haven’t attended any quilt shows lately. Although I do have pictures from semi-recent shows that haven’t been posted, maybe next Saturday.

Projects I’m working on, or have finished – Most of the projects are gifts, and a couple of the recipients actually look at this blog from time to time, so postings will have to wait until after the gifts have been given. I did recently make some quilted Christmas cards, and gift tags, you can see a couple of them here, with a tutorial.

Sharing good information. I saved the best for last. There’s a party going on, and you’re invited! Click on the link on the left or here to start enjoying the party. Michele at the Quilting Gallery has gathered an eclectic group of quilt bloggers for the party. There are 238 bloggers participating from 39 states, 17 countries,and 8 provinces And we all have gifts (give-aways) for you.

I had planned to list links for all the bloggers at the party, but a list of 238 might be too big. Instead go to Michele’s site where she has them listed alphabetically. Michele suggested that rather than starting at the beginning of the list, start with the first letter of your name (I’ll start with N), work our way down the list, when we reach the end go back to the A’s and catch those blogs at the beginning.

That’s a nice organized way to go about visiting everyone. Have fun, enjoy the party.

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your favorite quilt or quilt pattern for my give-away, a copy of my book (either print or electronic) and the Mug Hug and Rug set (mug not included.)

Better Than a Sock Hop – A Blog Hop

Remember Sock Hops? We went to a party, took our shoes off and danced in our socks. Well, those that COULD danced, the rest of us just sort of moved around. They were fun – Then.

Now we all have busy lives and activities keeping us on the go, we seldom have time for parties. This party though is different, better. Quilters at the Quilting Gallery are taking part in a Blog Hop Party.

No getting dressed up, your PJs are fine.

No driving in bad weather, just turn on your computer.

No hassle of fitting a party into your schedule – this one lasts seven days, from Dec. 10 until Dec. 16.

No worries about being late to the party, the party is in full swing 24 hours a day.:)

No need to bring a hostess gift, there will be plenty of gifts for YOU from the bloggers. I am giving a Holiday Mug Hug/Rug set (mug not included),

as well as a copy of my book DEVOTED TO QUILTING, either in print or digital. To be eligible for my give-away leave a comment on any of my posts telling the name of your favorite personal quilt, either one you made, saw, or own, from Saturday, Dec. 10 until Friday Dec. 16. I will draw for the winner on Dec. 17. Everyone is eligible. I will need a way to contact you if you win.

Don’t forget to check with the other bloggers at the party, they will also have give-aways.

Directions to the party: The Quilting Gallery will have a list of participating bloggers with links. Have fun. Good luck.

Quilted Christmas Cards Tutorial

QUILTED CHRISTMAS CARD AND GIFT TAGS

If you want a special unique card, and you’re not crafty with paper and glue, consider making your own quilted Christmas card for friends and family. They’re simple to make, don’t take much time, and will truly be unique.  Here’s my super-simple way to make them.

  1. Start with a novelty Christmas print of your choice. I chose this one, printed in rows, it saved cutting time. Any novelty fabric works.
  • The Fabric

2.  Cut your fabric. Since this one was printed in handy-dandy rows, I simply cut two rows off.

3.  Layer your fabric with batting and a backing fabric. I used an old clean sheet, muslin works well too. Don’t use a fancy, expensive fabric here, it won’t be seen, it’s just to help with the quilting.

You can see the three layers here better.

4.  Quilt the three layers together. For me, it’s easier to quilt several “cards” at once and then cut them apart, rather than cutting them to size and quilting each card separately. Either way works, I’ve done both.

5.  Cut your fabric into card size. I started with two images per card, making a long skinny card but decided I didn’t like that look,  I cut the rest of the strip into three images per ‘card’.

I still didn’t like the proportions, and cut them in half again (more or less) across the candy canes and greenery.  Perfect. Some of them are now the right size, 4 X 6 which can be sent without an envelope and mailed as is.  Some of the cards are now too small to be Christmas cards. No problem, they become the gift tags, which can be any size you want.

5. At this point I added Fray Block © because I can’t seem to keep the little snippets of thread from peeking out, and I don’t like them. It’s a totally optional step. See the little threads?

6.  Now we’re ready to add the backing.  If you have card stock, great, if not, an old file folder  works well to give strength and weight to the card. If using card stock you’ll want to also add a clean sheet of white paper. The choice is yours. The white paper is optional, I like the look of it rather than the vanilla color of the file folder. If using card stock you can omit the extra paper.

7.  Cut the folder (card stock) and paper to size.  I attached the folder backing to the fabric with the Wonder Tape © . You can also use the two-sided fusible that comes in a roll. Place a strip across the center of the card stock and fuse it to the back of the fabric card, following the directions on your product.

You can sew the cardboard backing to the quilted top at this point. If you’re using a good quality card stock I would. However, since I was adding a cleaner paper to write on I waited until I had all the layers together.

I placed the ‘cards’ on a sheet of paper, rather than cutting it to size first, I usually make a mistake when cutting to size. Also, by placing the cards on the paper, I was able to get the best lay out. I zigzagged with a long stitch .around the cards to attach the white paper..Here’s the back of the paper with the ‘cards’ on the other side. Now I just cut them apart so they are easier to turn while satin stitch around the edges with a closer stitch.

8. For your gift tags, insert your ribbon between your fabric and the batting before stitching. A small dab of glue will hold it in place until you’ve done the first, bonding stitching.

9. Cut the cards apart, to make it easier to stitch around each one.  I go around each card two times changing the length and width of my stitches, this helps get better coverage around the card.

TaDa your very own original Quilted Christmas cards.  Add a sentiment on the back, sign, slip in an envelope. If you’re mailing them as Christmas Postcards the post office requires the word Postcard across the top middle of the back. Address, add your sentiment, a stamp, and mail. You’re done.

Additional Notes

  1.  If you choose an all-over print you can use it as is, for an eclectic look, or fussy-cut the design you like best. You can also sew two or three fabrics together to create your own look.
  2. If you’re adding ribbon for a tie, check that you place it at the “top” of your directional fabric. You’ll notice I didn’t, and the tag will be upside down. That’s okay for me, you might want yours to be right.
  3. You can also use a grommet  instead of a ribbon.
  4. Use an older needle, preferably one for heavier fabric, for your final zigzagging. You’ll be going through several layers and paper.
  5. If you use them as postcards remember they can be no smaller than 3 X 5, no larger than 4 X 6, and no thicker than 1/4 inch. You’ll also  want to ask that they be hand canceled.
  6. If you’re using an envelope to mail your cards you can embellish with beads, buttons, bows, lace,  embroidery, anything you like. I’m not an embellish kind of person, but these are your cards, make them reflect you and your family.
  7. Additionally, if you don’t want to do the zigzag, you can sew interfacing around the edge of the card, cut a slit in it and turn it (The Eleanor Burns method of applique).  The slit won’t show, because you’ll be attaching that backing to the card stock of your choice.

Have fun. I hope you enjoy making these cards. They don’t take much time, and are fun for your friends and family to receive. If you make your own fabric cards, I’d love to see them. You can post a link or picture here to share.

Merry Christmas.