A Wasted Season Redeemed {Easter Thoughts}

You could argue that Utah’s weather cycled through all four seasons in a week, including two rounds of snow and freezing temperatures.  We need the moisture desperately, but the timing…. is hard.  A week ago I took a little walk around my beloved cherry tree to see the buds beginning to bloom.  But now, when we should have a show of lovely white blossoms, the tree already looks brown.  A wasted season, it seems.

I was sick last week.  A wasted week.

But today is Easter and we’re back to spring, so with the sun shining and blue skies overhead I wandered outside to see what survived the cold.  My peonies are coming in well, most of the tulips survived.  My honeysuckle looks dead, and the weeds are thriving as usual.  Honestly, my yard suffers from neglect and dearly needs my attention.  A wasted yard, perhaps.  But while my walk prompted plenty of guilt, I also had to admit that there are some beautiful things happening there.  Beauty I don’t deserve, but which is there for my enjoyment.  A gift.

I had the thought that I should return to the cherry tree in spite of its color.  To my surprise, a sound I’ve not heard for years greeted me:  the hum of hundreds of bees.

In spite of brown blossoms that froze, others had boomed after the storm.  And where the blossoms seemed lost, the bees were at work.  Undeterred by the wilting brown, they even seemed to prefer the “wasted” blooms over the fresh white ones.

I circled the tree with tears in my eyes.  My own little Easter miracle, it seems, with a beautiful lesson for me: a wasted season redeemed.  The scriptures teach that all things testify of Christ.  Today I witnessed that testimony in the form of bees and cherry blossoms.  Because of Him, our brown, frozen, spent blossoms can still bring fruit.

So many parts of my life are barren of the fruit I expected years ago.  Yet, haply, looking back today, I see Jesus Christ at work.  I see brown useless blossoms that have yielded good things:  humility, compassion, patience, and faith.  I am better for it.  The fruit has been years in coming, and even now isn’t ready to harvest.  But my wasted season is being redeemed.

This is my Easter witness to you:  whatever is broken, frozen, wasted in your life can be healed and used for good through Jesus Christ.  Just as the bees find my brown blossoms worth pollinating, so He finds you worth saving.  Such a lovely message, delivered by bees and cherry blossoms.

Happy Easter!

Fair Isle Quilt

It’s been a long time since I wore a Christmas sweater, but my kids think they’re great.  The Ugly Christmas Sweater trend seems to be everywhere, and still going strong.  And oh, my, are there some truly ugly ones out there!  This Fair Isle quilt is like a Christmas sweater on a quilt.

The Fair Isle quilt pattern is by Lee from Freshly Pieced.  I purchased it five years ago (ouch) when she first released it, and it’s been a start/stop project ever since.  For the most part, it was a fun pattern to make, and not too difficult.

The quilt comes together in rows, and the pattern is well written with clear instructions for cutting and sewing.

At first I resisted just cutting all the pieces, but ended up doing it and keeping them in separate ziploc bags while I worked on it.

Honestly, I stalled on the reindeer.  I wanted to piece them in longer strips instead of all those one inch squares.  It seemed like more work than necessary and my reluctance to just follow the pattern and sew them together in squares is most of the reason why it took me so long to finish this quilt.  When I finally humbled myself and just did it, I found that they came together quickly and easily.

My advice if you make this pattern is this:  just follow the instructions and it will all turn out great.  I have no idea why I needed to learn this lesson again.  If I’d done this at the beginning, we would have been enjoying this quilt for the last few years.

I found a fun fair isle style fabric to use for the backing, and it inspired me to add some blue to my quilt top.  I quilted straight horizontal lines and added solid green binding to complete the quilt.

The Fair Isle quilt is a happy, cheerful quilt that was fun to make in spite of my starts and stops over the years.  I hope we enjoy it for many years to come!

Prosper Christmas Quilt

WJust keep quilting, just keep quilting!  Sometimes it takes a message like that to reach the finish line with a quilt.  My shoulders and neck are still tight from wrestling this quilt through my Juki, but it was worth it.  I’ve finished my Prosper Christmas Quilt!

I made this quilt with my Prosper Quilt Pattern and a bundle of Swell Christmas fabric by Moda.  I threw in a number of solids and prints from other collections as well.  It’s a happy combination of color and prints, and makes a lovely quilt.

I quilted my Prosper Christmas quilt with scallops, using an acrylic ruler to create the pattern.  It’s got plenty of mistakes, but is much better than last time I tried this pattern.  I’m getting better!

Overall I think the texture of the quilting is fantastic.  I love how it looks in this light.  It takes a lot of patience to quilt an allover design like this, but I’m glad I did it.

I got really lucky this year and found the green poinsettia print on clearance.  Then I was so excited about buying it that I didn’t even think about measurements and only bought four yards.  I needed more than that, so there is a skinny strip of a red and white ticking stripe at the top of the back.  It plays well with all the other fabrics and I like it.  But seriously, why didn’t I stop and think?

I dug through my stash to find a binding instead of shopping for one.  This red and white scallop is perfect and I had fun adding it to finish the quilt.  Once again, I finished this binding by machine because I have a hundred other things to be doing!  I want to use this quilt for snuggling tonight when we read our Christmas story.

This last photo is a record of my son’s funny Rudolf snowman.  It makes me laugh.  He’s got a radish for a nose, and I think the antlers and stubby legs are great.  Life is wonderful, isn’t it?  And wrapping quilts I made around people I love makes it even better.

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