May 25, 2015

Jesus Outside the Lines, by Scott Sauls

With a title like this, who would not be curious about reading this book and finding out exactly what the concept of "Jesus outside the lines" means. 

Yes, that is what caught me - the title; the watercolor art was also quite intriguing for me, particularly because of the play on prime colors. Boxes around the title and blending in the colors - I knew I was interested in knowing what was inside the minute I saw the outside. And I was not disappointed. And I could not put this book down. I even read several chunks more than twice, because the reflections are complex. It is obvious that this book is the result of years of thinking and experiencing the outcome of christians' interaction with the non-christian world, whether positive or negative.

Forget about who says what and two sides of an argument! God created everyone, and God loves everyone - whether they agree with us or not. Scott Sauls has created a challenge for christians: being christian, as it is actually defined in the Bible and not by a certain concept, group or social trend. 

Loving people, and not just a nice, fluffy, rainbow-y love, but the one that cares, speaks up and even make people uncomfortable when necessary, for either party, is all throughout this book. Jesus Outside the Lines is all about reaching outside our comfort level and see people for their real worth, the sacrifice of Jesus, and moving towards them because they are eternal beings, with an honest, authentic motivation that reflects the character of God. 

Scott Sauls engages the reader and proves how relevant today's culture is to a christian, in that it is necessary to approach the needs of those who reject God, while loving and respecting them. And here is where the colors in the cover come in... Blue, red and yellow are blue, red and yellow; when they interact with each other, they become a new color. Something wonderful can be created by reaching out to others and being christian, not just by word, but by action.

Also, if anyone would be interested in going deeper into any of the concepts in the book, there is a well-marked pathway in the numerous books, movies and other reference materials. This would be a fantastic study book for those interested in studying the relationship between Christianity and the cultures and movements that mark today's society.

Well supported, easy to read and with deep ideas, I would definitely recommend this book, to christians and non-christians alike. Jesus Outside the Lines is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to know the character of Jesus. It may make some people uncomfortable, but I would suggest to take a deep breath and see if there is a window of opportunity to learn from Mr. Sauls.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers, in exchange for a review. This has not biased my opinion on the book or on the author.

May 8, 2015

April BOM - The basket and precision piecing in action!

Sooooo... Where did April go? Once more, life kicks in and it seems that I cannot have a bit of rest to stop here and keep up with... Almost about anything... I've about decided that I'll never do and that I'd better not sweat it and just enjoy... Somehow... 

After the first four Craftsy BOM blocks amd all its ups and downs, I have been able to see the effects of this course in my quilting habits - and it's fantastic! 

I must confess that I finished the April block on the first weekend of the month... Last month, it is... My quilting is getting better (or at least I woulkd like to think so), but my blogging is not keeping up with it.  Please forgive me. I just hope that you join in the adventure and have fun together!

Let's get started with the (almost) monthly adventure... 

According to the instructions, each piece is cut individually - well, that doesn't happen much in my book - the following instructions part, that is. I'm actually starting with a square for the half-square triangles. It may be the bias cut that gets under contol with this technique, but I found out that this ends up being more accurate, so it works best for me. 

Another thing that I started doing, particularly after my intersection findings, is marking the inner seams, even when it is a straight seam.  Of course, it takes longer, but it's OK. For me, this quilt is all about learning and enjoying each step; almost like enjoying a dessert and taking time to flavor each spoonful... Now, that's making me hungry!

And here is one of those little exciting moments, when the blue line of the border print is right off the seam, so it sort of frames the print.

And here are the basket pieces all ready to be put together, with all their little inner seams marked. I can't say enough how huge of a difference this makes!

Let's start with the triangles. Take a look at the bigger light blue triangle in the bottom. Can you see it looks WAY larger? Well, it will look even larger once his neighbors are sewn together...

Now, this is where the extra step of marking the inside seams comes in supper estra handy. Even here, if you match the intersecting points (can you see the pencil mark?)...

... You will have matching points, even if you end up with "dog ears," that little fabric that goes way beyoind the edges, and fabric edges of different lengths.

And when everything is sewn together, you'll just feel like jumping out of joy! Happy, pointy triangles! Yay!

And again, we have pieces that don't have matching edges...

...but if you "forget" about the edge and focus on the seam, everything will be fine!  Just take a peek at the template on top of the basket. See the corners? Happy precision piecing in action!

Of course, every single part is getting its inner seam marked and that little tailor's chalk has become one of my favorite tools! I tell you, it's getting quite a workout lately!

And this is the reason why I am talking about the inner seams this much. See how easy it is to see where the seams should match? Once you press these poeces open, you won't regret taking the extra steps...  :)

Make sure that the points where the seams intersect does not shift and pin as much as you like.

... As MUCH as you like, like every fabric fold, both ways, just because you like precise piecing and pointy triangles... :)

Ta-da! I didn't even have to cut any fabric to have straight edges!

The sides and bottom of the basket also come together pretty neatly, despite the inset seam. Just make sure to use matching thread! That's right... I was not smart enough to use my super black Isacord, and the chunky cotton thread had to come off! 

Maybe next time I won't get that excited and just pay attention to the (what would seem) obvious.

Well, my dear friends; this was my celebration of finally understanding how to do it! You know, people say that it's only after several tries something works that it's proven true and accurate.

I'll be posting the rest of this block very soon!

Thanks for reading and stay blessed!


May 4, 2015

Something about the Hill

A walk in the middle of April... The Hill right in the middle of spring... What a sight! Let me tell you something about the Hill.

The Hill is where these fantastic irises come back each year. When I was a little girl, I used to look at pictures and paintings of irises, wondering and wondering how it would be like to see one. I even made a picture in chalks, because I just couldn't grasp the beauty of petals going in different directions. 

The Hill gave me this incomparable surprise and made my heart jump with joy when I saw them for the very first time in 2010...  I have never had the nerve of picking one. 

The Hill is host of innumerable tinni tiny flowers. In another world, they may be weeds, but they are a beauty of their own in the Hill! 

The Hill makes sure that these little bushes adorn the road every year. They are a rare sight... This shot is zoomed at the maximum in the camera and Mr. Fuzz almost had a heart attack when he saw me attempt some kind of contorsion to keep my hand steady and celebrate getting a picture of these beauties.

The Hill is home of a shy stream that roars after the storm. It has been known to become the quickest route to dreamworld for those who gift five minutes of their time close to it - basically, on top of the bridge that connects the two sides of the Hill. 

The Hill is where everybody driving or walking on the West road is welcomed by this beautiful field. Even though it looks quiet, it surprised us one winter by sheltering a bunch of deer that quickly jumped over the fence and into the tree line when we drove by. We stopped. It was so sweet to watch the youngest deer stay immobile in the front of the car for a while and then start walking around it, in a short attempt to satisfy its curiosity, interrupted only by momma's snorting who may have been wondering if we were hunters...

The Hill is a place where a sweet lady carefully sneaks some colorful flowers... the fraying kind :)  It is not unusual to see her throwing seeds close to some trees so that "the little birdies have something for dinner." 

The Hill is home to beautiful bushes that flower each spring. Some are sweet-smelling and some don't bloom until fall, but they all conspire together to bring color to the winding road.

Ah! The Hill! Unique and changing with the seasons... Home to the sweetest neighbors, and with a new twist in color and greenery at every turn!

And yes... There's a lot of weeding to do as well! We are blessed to live in such a beautiful corner of the woods!

Stay blessed,