Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.--2 Cor. 4:16-18
Well, here I am, another year older. My birthday falls in my favorite season of the year...when I look out the window and see the trees in vibrant colors, with a carpet of fallen leaves covering the ground. Many trees are a topaz yellow color, with some splashes of ruby, emerald and orange garnet interspersed. I enjoy the coolness in the air and the smell of fires burning. I enjoy the cloudy gray days and cool rain, but I also take pleasure in seeing a sapphire sky behind all of the beautiful colors of nature on a clear day. I anticipate the arrival of winter, when the snow blankets everything in a dazzling display of glittering diamond snowflakes.
There's so much to be thankful for, too. During this time of the year, we start to turn our thoughts toward Thanksgiving--traditionally a time to give thanks--but it's important to stop and realize just how blessed we really are all of the time. Every time I come into the house from outside, I think about how glad I am to have a warm cozy house to live in. I'm thankful for my health, despite the problems I've been having. I'm so thankful for my wonderful husband and best friend. I'm grateful that we always have food to eat in the fridge, and the extra income to eat out if we so choose. I'm blessed to not have to worry about any basic need being filled. There are many who can't say that. Mostly, though, I'm thankful for the gift of salvation that I have been given, and the assurance that when I leave this life, I'll be with the One who created me, and there's no greater gift to be thankful for in life. There's a total peace that comes with that knowledge, and nothing on earth can offer that.
In the midst of all of my reflection, I took the time to start making things with my new fabrics. I created a simple, yet pretty, set of table mats that I thought I would share with you! The instructions below are for making two matching mats.
You will need:
4-3" x 13" strips of border fabric
4-3" x 12" strips of border fabric
2-9" x 12" center panel of contrasting fabric
2-16" x 13" coordinating backing fabric (I used the same fabric for the backing and front border)
One spool of matching thread
2-2 1/2 yd. packages of matching piping
Pin the long sides of the center panel to the long sides of the 3" x 12" strips, right sides together. Sew these edges using 1/2" seams. Iron the seams open.
Pin the 3" x 13" strips of fabric to the sides of of the middle panel, right sides together. Sew these, making sure to keep the seams flat on the sewn piece. Iron the new seams open.
Cut lengths of piping to slightly larger than each side of the panel. Pin the piping to the right side of the fabric edge of the top panel. Line the bottom edge of the piping up to the raw edge of the panel on the right side of the fabric. Overlap the piping on each corner, and sew along the edge of the piping (usually 3/8"). You can use a special sewing machine foot, but my regular foot worked fine for me.
Pin the backing along three sides of the panel and piping, with the right sides of the fabric together. Leave the fourth side open for turning out. Sew along the same line that you created when you sewed on the piping for a guideline. Iron the edges flat, then turn the last raw edges inward and pin. Sew along the edge of the piping to close the mat. Iron the remaining edge flat.
Repeat the steps for your second cover. You should now have two table mats for your living room end tables! Great job. Your overall size should be about 15" x 13". You can be more creative than me and add batting and quilting, or you can simplify it by leaving out the piping (and skipping a step or two in the instructions). This is just a basic, simple pattern that you can use as a base for whatever you can create!