Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ocean Waves

Given the title of this entry, my initial plan was to compose it while I was still on the other side of the Atlantic. As of late last night, I have been across the Atlantic and back, so the title still is fitting.

The image above reflects a block from the Ocean Waves quilt (yes, that's really the name of it) that I made for my son and his wife in celebration of their marriage last December. I was able to have the quilt top completed to show them at Christmas, however, the work of getting it quilted and having the binding put together took until just a few weeks ago.

The planning stages for this quilt actually began about a year ago when I knew that the engagement was pending. Once I learned from my son about his fiancee-to-be's favorite colors, I started considering designs for the quilt. I decided to use the Ocean Waves pattern because it would allow the opportunity to feature a number of greens and blues in a variety of different patterns. I actually had a lot of fun going to the quilt store and picking out the different colors, mostly batiks, that would be included.

The Ocean Waves pattern is one that dates back to about the mid-1800s. As you can see from this picture from the National Museum of American History's website, this is a pattern that lent itself well to using up multiple scraps of leftover fabric. 

The basic unit for this quilt is a block comprised of two large triangles and 24 smaller triangles that are sewn together. The resulting blocks are rotated to complete a larger 4-block unit that is repeated throughout the quilt. In comparing my photo at the top and the picture of the antique quilt, you can see that I elected to have the points of the triangles for each 4-block unit point inward rather than alternate the direction of the points. 

I obtained the pattern that I used from the web: Ocean Waves Quilt. I used fewer 4-block units than were illustrated in the pattern and also included a white inner border and a sawtooth half-square triangle outer border. I also liked that this pattern featured a different color for the large triangles rather than just white.

I am particularly grateful to the wonderful quilter who did the machine quilting work for me. Her work is absolutely exquisite as you can see from this close up photo. Her website is Speckled Hens Quilt Co.

In contemplating life's challenges and, I am so very grateful that we are not at the mercy of the waves of the oceans with their randomness and uncertainty. Even though we may feel tossed about by our present circumstances, we can rest confident in the One who commands the waves of the ocean and find peace in the storm. As James reminds us:
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. …  But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:2-3,6

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Boston Baked Beans

Last year for the Fourth of July, I got it into my head to prepare homemade Boston baked beans to go with our dinner. After consulting some cookbooks and internet sites, I found a recipe that sounded easy enough. The combination of ingredients were ones that we had on hand so I decided to give it a go. I do have to say that the end result was rather impressive, and I don't think I have opened a can of baked beans since. 
Ceramic bean pots

Baked beans can be regarded as an American dish given that the beans are native to North American. Traditionally baked beans were prepared in a ceramic bean pot that was set in a bed of embers near the edge of the hearth and allowed to cook for six to eight hours. Baked beans also tend to have a bit of a regional flair depending on the region of the country in which they are prepared. In northern New England, beans often are seasoned with maple syrup while in Boston, they tend to be seasoned with molasses. In the South, the addition of mustard gives baked beans a tangier taste. Baked beans were traditionally prepared on Saturdays. Because they were left overnight in the embers, they would still be warm for Sunday dinner the next day.

The following is a picture of the ingredients for preparing a batch of baked beans.


2 cups of navy beans (16 ounce bag)
1/2 pound pepper bacon (other bacon can be used; we particularly like the flavor that the pepper adds to the beans)
1 large sweet onion finely chopped
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

Layered beans, onion, and bacon
  • Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Simmer the beans in the same water until the beans are tender. Drain the beans and reserve the liquid.
  • Layer the beans in a 2-quart casserole dish or bean pot alternating with the onion and bacon.
  • Combine the molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the beans. 
  • Pour the reserved bean liquid over the beans until the beans are covered.
  • Cover with a lid or foil and bake at 325 degrees for 3 to 4 hours. About halfway through the baking time, remove the cover and add additional liquid if needed. 

Beans with liquid added
Beans with sauce added

Monday, July 1, 2013


Yikes! With all of the demands of June, I didn't get my second June posting completed. Let's just pretend that today is actually June 31, and that this still counts as a June entry.

I thought I would use this entry to revisit a project that I featured in a January entry. At that time, I featured a couple of projects that I had begun at a quilting retreat sponsored by Village Dry Goods in Brigham City. Although I can claim credit for the wool appliqué work on this project, I paid to have the machine quilting done. Here are a few up close images of the machine quilting on this piece.

I love the detail on the flag portion that draws out the stars and stripes.

This image features the detail on the vase. The stitching around the leaves and vase as well as on the hydrangea blossoms is my own.

One of the reasons I particularly like this piece is its purpose of conveying welcome and hospitality. From the time that we began construction on our home three years ago, we have viewed our home as a means of being able to serve and welcome others. Our prayer is that our home will be a place of hospitality for many years to come.

I am also reminded that even our best welcoming efforts pale in comparison to the ultimate welcome we anticipate as Christ's followers. As Paul anticipates in his second letter to Timothy:

There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing. 
2 Timothy 4:8

The apostle John was allowed the privilege of gaining additional glimpses of the welcome that awaits us in the presence of God Himself:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.
Revelation 21:4