Friday, December 19, 2014

Too Cute to Resist!

I have all of the Christmas presents done and most of them wrapped, as planned.  I hate the feeling of rushing and pushing to get things done just before a deadline, so I always try to plan on having all of my projects done a few days before necessary so that I can sit back and relax and actually enjoy the days just before Christmas.

This year it meant that there were a few less lights and decorations.  And a few less cookies and goodies in the house, but our waist-lines will appreciate that fact in January. **wink, wink**

So, as I was relaxing and (again) scrolling through facebook I found a blog that had an adorable Tea Cup pincushion tutorial ( ).  Check it out!

I had to make one for myself!  I have a set of everyday dishes that had been my grandparents' sitting in a box in the basement because I just couldn't bear to let them go to the second hand shop when my daughter was moving (and was done with them).  I am such a sap for sentimental things.  I don't think I am a hoarder, but I do love to repurpose special things. So, with that said...

Here is my pincushion!

Some avid sewers collect all sorts of pincushions... I don't.  In fact, I now have only three!  One is the traditional "tomato & strawberry" cushion that I have had since 7th grade home economics and the other is a little girl that is made of an empty spool of thread with a bead and "hat" on it that my oldest daughter bought for me when she was in Kindergarten.

My "tomato" is now tucked away in a drawer and my tea cup is proudly displayed on the shelf by my sewing table.

What is your favorite pincushion? Does it have a special place in your studio?


Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Throw-back... waaaaaay back

While cruising through facebook the other day I saw a question - "How long have you been quilting?"

The very first quilt that I made was in 1993... I wanted to make it when I saw the pattern, because I loved cross-stitching at the time and I loved the wild rose.  I stitched these 7 blocks for over a year.  There were supposed to be many more blocks, but I couldn't take it any longer... I had to be done with them so I settled for a checker-board layout with wide borders.

I really didn't know what I was doing when I got to the quilting part of the project.  I made up my own rules as I went since I was self-taught.

I did a free-motion outline on the rose blocks and then diagonal lines.  And all of it was done "quilt as you go" - meaning that each block was quilted individually and then sewn together.  I remember using an interfacing to sandwich the individual blocks.

So, 21 years is the answer to the question "How long have you been quilting?".

My projects have become much more refined and traditional.  And to be honest, I would be somewhat embarrassed to share pictures of a few of the quilts that followed this one... until I started the block of the month classes in about 2000 and learned some "proper" quilting techniques and color selection.

There has been a just a little bit of time spent at my machine *wink, wink* and how many miles of fabric and thread have I used?!?  Too much to really worry about, but there are so many more projects and techniques that I want to learn and improve upon.

So, tell me, how long have you been quilting?

See what other quilters are blogging about at

Monday, December 15, 2014

I have a problem...

As I have been getting ready for Christmas I have come to realize I have a problem. It is a problem that many quilters or crafters don't even think twice about. I hear about and read about quilters and crafters that have stacks of unfinished projects. Projects that are years old sometimes.

I have the opposite problem. I cannot set a project aside and move on to the "next thing". I got the binding sewn on to the photo quilt and ready for hand stitching this morning.  In my mind I thought, "Ok, I will set it aside and work on the pajama pants (that had been requested for Christmas.)" 

It was a good plan... then I found myself sitting in the living room hand stitching the binding.  Ugh! 

My name is Melva and I cannot leave a project unfinished.  That being said, I have a binding to finish tonight and pajama pants to make... tomorrow.

Merry Christmas! 

See what other quilters a blogging about at quilter blogs

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Enough is just enough...

I consider myself an organized person.  I make every attempt to keep things neat and tidy and everything "in its place".

This week got things got out of control!  I knew things were messy.  And then the box of batting that I had ordered arrived.  I knew that there was no way it was going into the appropriate place in the closet at that time.  Near the end of the day my husband, Dave, asked "where would you like for me to put this box?" 

I hung my head and responded... "Well, it should go into the closet, but I can't even get into my closet."  I KNEW  right then that I needed to stop my work in getting ready for the show on Saturday and call it good and get re-organized.

I think my supply for the craft extravaganza is enough.  It will just HAVE to be...

I have a plethora of items... pillows, wine bottle gift bags, coffee cup sleeves, plastic bag storage tubes, and gift card holders.  All in addition to the table runners and quilts that I always have. 
Some might consider it a disease...

So, I am off to clean up my mess and re-organized...


so that I can get ready to work on the custom quilts that are wanted before Christmas.  I think I may be working on a couple of gifts that I have planned much closer to Christmas than I really wanted.

I'm sure I will survive... After all, a blessing is a blessing!  I get to do what I love AND offer a supplemental income.

Happy quilting!  Or in my case... "Happy cleaning!"



Saturday, November 22, 2014

A little "magic"

My latest projects are for a couple cute little girlie girls - the grand-daughters of a friend.  I was asked to come up with something "princess-like".  After searching for "princess" quilt blocks, I decided on something of my own... using Disney's "Frozen" princess fabric.

My friend requested that one quilt be pink and the other blue. No problem!  I found Frozen fabric in the requested color schemes and began selecting a block pattern.  I settled on a "disappearing nine-patch".  And I chose to do it "big block" style, which means it makes extra-large blocks and goes together super fast.

I started with a regular 18" nine-patch...
Cut it into quarters...

Flip a two blocks...

And, voila!   
I have a magical quilt top that looks much
more complicated that it really is.

Everyone needs a little "magic" in their lives... and sometimes you have to make it happen... and sometimes its happens so much easier than you ever thought it could be.
May you find a little magic in your life this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving.  A time to say thank you for all that you have in life... And I have so much to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 14, 2014

A year in review...

I was recently scrolling through my fb newsfeed and saw that next week is Quiltmaker's blog tour for their 10th volume of 100 Blocks.  It has been a year since I was published in their 8th volume.  A year!  All ready?!?!

It is also the time of year that I begin thinking about our annual Christmas newsletter.

So, what better time to think about and recall all that 2014 has brought our way?

The big things are obvious to us... The celebration of Heather's wedding in May, the arrival of our grand-daughter, Emma Noelle in August, the brave decision that our daughter, Rebecca, made to call off her engagement and upcoming wedding just 6 weeks prior to the big day, the 1 year anniversary of Nolan Quality Customs and a noticeable growth in my sales of quilts.

I have had lots of joyful, productive and happy times this year in my sewing room.  So far, I have completed 22 quilts, throw size or larger, not to mention the numerous smalls that I have done for the farmer's markets and shows.

As I wandered through my photo gallery of 2014 quilts (and stuff) I can associate the various projects with a season, and the gamut of emotions as I worked on them.  Some of my favorites...

Heather's and Art's wedding quilt had lots and lots of prayers stitched into it... prayers for a healthy marriage, partnership and friendship, joy, laughter and happiness... and many more

A block of the month project that had been abandoned by my aunt brought back many memories of my childhood and times with my cousins...

This Carpenter's Wheel, made with leftover blocks from another abandoned project that came from some friends that thought of me.  While I haven't known them long, Dave has known them for several years and I finally got to meet them in January.  It was a whirlwind weekend that was packed with fun and laughter, but I recalled and enjoyed the memories as I worked on this quilt.

Boobies Make Me Smile... what can I say?  This inception of this project came from my daughter, Rebecca, when we were shopping for sports T-shirts in September, though the "Boobies" shirt was one of the last ones we found.  As I stitched this one I recalled the too short of time spent with my Mother-in-law who lost her battle with breast cancer in April 1995.  As I sewed, I thought of so many questions I wish that I could ask her... I recalled many happy times together and, of course, shed a few tears over the loss and prayed for my girls that they would NEVER have the same battle.

And this very special baby quilt for my "Sweet 'Tater", Emma, with special messages of love from friends and family. Again a quilt stitched with lots and lots of love and prayers for her future (and a few for her mommy and daddy).

So, there you have it... It was a big year!  Lots has happened since the blog tour a year ago... and this little 12" block was at the start of it all.  If you want to read about the learning curve of creating this block check it out at

And see what other quilters are blogging about at

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Busy! But it is a good busy...

Yesterday I worked.  Actually worked... went out in the BITTER cold temp and drove to a job.  Granted, I have been doing this every other Wednesday since August, but yesterday was different.  Getting to work wasn't all that bad. I mean, after all, the car had been in the garage and was several degrees warmer than the outside frigid air.  It was the trek home that was SO cold.  At 4 pm, after blowing snow all day long, it was still only 9 degrees, the car was barely getting warm during my short 10 minute drive home.  Ugh!  You would think that it was January or something!

Ok... enough whining.  Despite the cold, I have been busily sewing in my studio.  I helped my daughter to make some super cute Victorian Christmas Stockings, and I made  a Colorado Avalanche quilt. 

I am simply amazed at the interest in these sports team quilts. But, also, so very thankful for the interest in them!  Since there is such interest, I plan to continue making more.

Next up?  A memory quilt for a friend's sister that is to be a Christmas gift.  I am certainly glad that there are several people that are already planning for Christmas...  Some adorable princess quilts will be in the works soon for some adorable little girlie-girls. 

In between these projects, I will be getting ready for a Christmas Craft Extravaganza show/event on December 6th.  I think I need to go make some small hand warmers to fit inside mittens.  Burrrrr! Or go fix a cup of hot tea to warm my hands.

Stay warm, folks!