Thursday, May 25, 2017

Birds of a Feather...

The first of the "Sister Quilts" has been quilted and is ready for binding!  It has been quite a week in my studio as I sat and quilted... continued quilting... and then quilted some more!

I chose to go with what I call and "orange peel" quilting in the sampler blocks.











As well as some pretty little vines and leaves in the sashing strips and the "non-HST" parts of the blocks.




I divided the wide borders into sections and did two runs of quilted feathers divided by a section of vines and leaves.



I was really at a loss for ideas of quilting as I sandwiched it.  Thank goodness it all started to come to me as I moved to the machine and progressed!  I had considered doing a serpentine pattern in the borders as I had done on the "enlarged quilt" last month, but my left hip argued with me stating that I sat nearly enough and that I needed to do something a little faster.  Free-motion is much faster than the walking foot!  So, free-motion won. 

What sort of quilting do you do on sampler quilts?  
Do you treat each block individually, or do you go with an all over quilting?

Also, what do you do to avoid the aches and pains that come with sitting at the sewing table for too long?

Let me know your ideas and suggestions by leaving a comment.  I love to hear from my readers and have the opportunity to interact with the quilting community in cyberland!

Happy Quilting!
Melva

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rainy Day Quilt

Last week was a wet, rainy and cloudy week...  




Not very typical for the area (we live in the high-mountain desert), but the moisture was welcome in our drought stricken area.  We had so much rain that the drought conditions have been reversed and everything is looking lush and green!

As it rained, day after day after day, I was happily in my sewing room working of the sister quilt of the "Snowy Day Quilt"... "Rainy Day Quilt"



The rain clouds have moved on and the borders of both quilts are on and ready to be sandwiched and quilted.

As I spent time perusing the gallery of the finished quilts I found several interesting quilting options for the sampler quilts.  You will have to watch for when I post about the finished quilts... how's that for a tease?

On a personal note, it was the early morning of the snowy day that my husband and I had ventured out for the local health fair, and it was at the end of the rainy week when we received the lab results of the health fair. 

The news of my TSH levels being low was a bit disturbing.  Mostly because I had been through the 2+ year treatment for Graves Disease several years ago and had been medication free for 5 years.  The endocrinologist had stated at that time that if my TSH levels dropped again surgery would be necessary.  My heart sank!

Not only surgery needed, but also the knowledge of needing medication for the remainder of my life does not appeal to me.

I quickly called the Natural Health Center of the Rockies and let them know that I was interested in some sort of natural alternative in treating my thyroid.  They helped me a year ago to find natural relief from seasonal and environmental allergies and it was life changing for me!  They reassured me that with a strict and radical diet change and a few supplements there was hope for correcting my thyroid activity.  YAY!

So, this week I have been exploring options for a gluten free diet... So long bread... farewell buns and English muffins... good bye pasta...  I know, I know, there are a lot of gf options, but in just the few days I have been searching, I have discovered that- 
1) the options in Southern Colorado are extremely limited and 
2) that most of the options are bland tasting and a weird texture.

I have openly admit that in the past I have enjoyed food...  for the flavors... for the textures...  and the variety.  And I refuse to succumb to eating strictly for nutritional necessities.  

I know that I am not alone and I am on the hunt for tried, tested and TASTY recipes - that are not only gluten-free but also soy-free and corn free. 

Many people suggested corn tortilla as an option to flour tortillas... Ehhh! (that is a buzzer sound, btw - lol.) No good - I can settle for a "burrito bowl" with some brown rice or quinoa instead of tacos or burritos.  But only if there is no pork or seafood.  **sad, pathetic sigh***

Thank goodness I had become adjusted to the biggest part of the diet change a year ago and know where and how to make substitutions... and that I don't mind taking the effort and time in making things from scratch.  I have recently looked into making my own vegetable stock since many of the stocks are not gluten free.

Most of the time I would welcome the opportunity to be in the kitchen, but I really, really would prefer to be in my studio quilting these sister quilts...



So if you are willing to help me out by sharing your tried, tested and TASTY gluten-free recipes, so that I don't have to search and experiment, I would greatly appreciate it.  You can leave the recipes or links in the comment section or feel free to e-mail me at davemelvanolan@aol.com  


Many thanks & blessings to you,

Melva

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Snowy Day Quilt

It was a snowy day when I finally had the time to devote to The National Quilters Circle Quilt Block Challenge...  




I had signed up way back in February and dutifully printed out each pattern as they arrived in my e-mail each week - ALL. NINE.  




At the time I thought, "No problem.  I'll have an hour each week to devote to the block"...  Yeah, right.

And then the wedding shower for my daughter happened.  And then I had to finish the wedding quilt.  And then I needed a baby shower gift.  And then, and then, and then.  And then it was time for the wedding!



It had been three weeks since the wedding... and then it was a cold, snowy Saturday that I didn't have any commissioned projects with pressing deadlines staring me in the face and no other obligations pulling me away.

I pulled fabric and started piecing... 

Six-and-a-half hours later I had eight of the nine blocks complete.  And there was a total of 8 inches of wet, heavy snow blowing outside... and it wasn't done yet! The quilt blocks OR the snow storm...




But I just couldn't muster up any more interest in the last block, shut down my studio and called it a day.  I did, however, return on Sunday afternoon to finish block #9...  For the most part, it really was a "snowy day quilt"!

A few days later I had an inquiry about a couple quilts for a customer's two young daughters.  He and his wife want to give them each a quilt that they could use while growing up and then take with them as they head off to college and spread their wings.  "A couple girly quilts."  And BOOM!  I had a purpose for all of these blocks.  

I made a few more blocks of my own, added sashing strips and "jewel stones" and have it ready for the final borders.




I have some fabric pulled for the second quilt and will get started on that next week.




For now the weather has turned warmer and I have enjoyed having the windows and doors open with a soft breeze passing by... Maybe the sister quilt will be "A Breezy Day" Quilt...

I had a random selection for the winners of the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks Volume 15 issue... And the winners are Allison and Karen of Tu-na Quilts.  Congratulations!

Thanks for participating!

Melva


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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Damselfly

















And welcome to Melva Loves Scraps!  I hope that you will take some time to look around my blog and learn about me.

My block is "Dragonfly"... or as QM re-named it, The Damselfly.  What a clever name!  I love it!  


My inspiration came last summer when I was participating in the Cloud 9 Blog hop, where all of the participants designed and made an original block.  I believe there were 40+ blocks created and will soon be made into quilts to be donated to charity...  I started sketching...I started with a butterfly block that I had previously made and then moved forward...  I wasn't very successful.  I had something that resembled an ugly bumble bee (right below the butterfly)... 




but with just a few tweaks here and there - once I had the wings figured out, I had the Damselfly!


Did you know... 






Dragonflies are not your average insects. These mysterious and ancient creatures have lived on earth for millions of years, far longer than humans. They sometimes appear fearless and maybe even a bit nosey, not hesitating to land on a nearby twig or even on a gardener’s hat. (from Dragonfly SymbolismIf a dragonfly repeatedly flies alongside someone as they take a morning walk, following the passing of a loved one, what would it mean to them?  For those involved, these real life experiences symbolize hope, immortality, and the afterlife. They offer comfort during a time of need. 






Dragonflies remind me of lazy, laid back summer days.  Especially the lazy summer days at the cottage on Indian Lake that my Father-in-law and his wife, Connie, had in Michigan. 


It was in August 2005 when our family road-tripped our way from Colorado to Southern Michigan.  Paul & Connie had planned a family gathering and we were among the few that were unable to be present at the time that it was planned.  We had already had a trip to Gettysburg and Washington DC planned, but we re-arranged our schedule and showed up as a surprise to Dad & Connie.  Boy were they surprised!  All of the eight siblings and their spouses were present, and all but two of the grand-children.  


It is quite the bunch when everyone is together... 27 in number! (at the time)



 There were giggles between cousins. 
          There was food. 
                    There were birthday celebrations.


 There were card games. 
            There was laughter.  




Some water skied. 
          Some tried to water ski.   
                    Some swam.   


















  
Some tubed.  
            Some floated.   
                      Some paddled.  
                                     And some rested.




















There were chairs, towels, toys, and kids everywhere! 























There were memories made...








These sort of gatherings don't happen much anymore since family members have scattered across the US and the world - from California to South Carolina and Colorado and Texas to Illinois... and let's not forget Abu Dabi!  









Dad and Connie have passed on and our lives has moved on, but we all have such fond memories of this weekend!


This is what "Damselfly" reminds me of...  




So, tell me... 
What does the visit of a Dragonfly remind you of? 


Leave a comment by 11:59 p.m. (Mountain time) May 7th for an opportunity to win a copy of Volume 15. 
There are two chances!

Remember, if you are "no-reply" blogger be sure to leave your e-mail address with your comment to ensure that I can contact you if selected.

Good luck!  And thanks for stopping by!

Blessings,

Melva




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Surprise!

It was a total surprise when a package showed up on our doorstep that contained five copies of volume 15 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks.


I quickly flipped through the pages and found that my dragonfly block had been accepted and renamed Damselfly!  How exciting!!!!

Having participated in previous blog tours and knowing that space was limited I really didn't think that I would be able to participate this time.  But, as luck would have it, there was an opening and I will be a part of the

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Blog Tour Road Rally!

There are daily prize winners!

Be sure to come back on Thursday, May 4th to see where the inspiration for Damselfly came from.

See you soon,

Melva

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Challenge Accepted

So a friend called me a few weeks ago asking if I might be able to "enlarge" an existing twin-sized quilt so that it would fit on a queen-sized bed.





Challenge accepted!


I simply thought, "easy, peasy".  Find some coordinating fabric and add 18" on each side.  

And then I got the quilt in my hands. **sigh**  


The first thing I noticed was that it had been hand-quilted.  

Problem #1... I would have to charge an arm and a leg to hand quilt this.  

I pulled out my owner's manual for my Babylock and discovered that it has a stitch that looks as though it is hand stitched.  Game on!



I then started the search for some fabric.  I am about 5 years behind the times to be able to locate the blender/marbled green that at one time was everywhere.






I did some on-line shopping and found a large print green gingham that would coordinate with the existing gingham backing.  












But the other green that I found was to "emerald-y".  

**sigh** Okay, that will simply go into my stash for a future boy quilt using some of the frog fabric that I received in the gifted stash several months ago...








I then did what I probably should have done in the first place... I headed to my "local quilt shop" - I say that tongue-in-cheek because it is really just the Wal-mart fabric department... I selected a nice forest green that will work great.



My next challenge was the batting... My "go-to" batting is a fusible 80-20 blend, but the quilter had used a polyester batting.  This meant that I would need to use spray basting... **sigh** It is just a stinky messy process that gums up my needle.  

After removing the binding I realized that this quilt had probably been washed (and therefor the new fabric would need to pre-washed/shrunk).  After measuring and cutting the fabric to the length needed, into the washing machine it went.  And then the dryer.  It was then that I realized the fabric shrank 4+ inches! Ugh! **sigh** (again...) Okay, so now there will be a seam...

I attached the front and back fabric on the sides of the quilt that needed the "expansion" - just as you would for a "quilt-as-you-go" process.  I then inserted the batting, (sure wish I had taken pictures along the way... ooops!) spray basted them and then pin basted to make sure that everything stayed in place.  

I repeated the serpentine diamonds from the border of the quilt in the enlargement...


And then stitched in flying geese so that it would match the flying geese crayon section of the quilt.

The original binding had been a forest green, but with so much green it really seemed to need a pop of color... I had the perfect gold/yellow for the binding that matched the gold/yellow in the border around the apple center.


Despite the challenges and road-blocks that I faced, I over came and pleased with the finished, and now larger, quilt!  It could have been so easy to have told my customer that it just wasn't possible once I saw the quilt.  

It is projects just like this one that make me a better and well-rounded quilter.  Thanks Debi for thinking of me - and trusting me - to modify this special quilt. Not only challenge accepted... Challenge overcome!

Have you ever had to modify a quilt?  
Is there a different approach you would have tried?

With a little bit of thought and time (patience) you can always be successful... Don't get discouraged.  Don't give up.  You will be glad in the end... Guaranteed!

Happy Quilting,

Melva

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Emma's First Year

A baby's first year goes by so quickly!  You wait for months for the new addition to the family to arrive for months and then in what seems to be just the blink of an eye you are celebrating a first birthday.

This was true for my own children and it is true for my children's children.  Emma Noelle is 2-1/2 years old and I wonder, almost daily, where has the time gone???  My little "Sweet Tater" is a spunky little girl - has been been from day one - and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Her Momma was so diligent in making sure pictures were taken each month and on holidays.  Digital cameras make it so easy!  I wish that I had been a little better about photographs... but developing film in the late 80's and early 90's could get a little pricey and there was never a guarantee that the photos would be clear and capture the moment... ah, but I digress.  This is really all about Emma...

After gathering up all the little shirts, outfits, hospital hat and blanket I decided that circles would the primary shape of the quilt.

A few of the items weren't quite circles, but an oval shape would be acceptable...  



So, there is a picture that coordinates with each item...








First up the blanket from the hospital was used as the background blocks that I appliqued the circles to.

"Welcome to the world, Emma Noelle"

She is known as my "Sweet Tater" because her momma wanted sweet potato fries towards the end of her long labor.






Just a few days old her Mom stated...

"Way too much cuteness out of this girl at 330am"
 Just look at that little smirk! Isn't this hat the cutest???
With Big Brother, Tyshan...
"Cutest Sister Ever!"


"One month old!"

"Can't believe our big girl is one month old today! How is that even possible?"








Taking a nap before her first Bronco Game with Dad

























"This beauty is 2 months old today! We can't believe how fast she's growing up." 
















This was a shameless plug by Grandpa and Grandma and our business, Nolan Quality Customs.  


"Emma has it right! "Life IS too short to shoot an ugly gun!"



















Emma's getting into the Halloween spirit!




























"3 months old! Getting bigger and more beautiful every day."

Baby Girl is 3 Months old today! I can't believe how fast she's growing. She amazes me daily. Big Girl.  Gorgeous."

"Happy Thanksgiving from our littlest turkey"



"My pretty girl is 4 months old today. Can't believe how fast the past few months have gone. Every day is a new adventure!"












"Emma's first Christmas.  She's a beauty."  



























"Emma can't believe it either.... this girl is 5 months old today! We can't believe how fast the time has passed and how she grows and changes daily! Smart, beautiful, and happy as can be... what more can a parent ask for?"













"Celebrating this girls half birthday today!  How is it possible that she is 6 months old already?  Mom's not ready for you to be big yet, bug!" 










"Happy Valentines Day from our little love bug!"


























"This can't be possible..... the Love Bug is7 months old today! 

Time is flying, and miss Emma is growing way too fast. 
She is Beautiful, Smart, and Happy...
what more can a parent ask for?"









"I know she's wearing green, but I pinched her cheeks anyway!  Happy St Patty's day!"

















"8 months old today, and let me tell you... she's got a mind of her own!  This is the only way my little stinker would let me take a decent picture."


















"Our beauty is 9 months old today. That's 3/4 of a year! And I still cant get over how adorable she is. We make awesome kids."













"10 months old today!  Emma has 6 teeth (2 bottom, 4 top), stands fairly well on her own and has taken a couple steps!!  She's also ornery as heck, so don't let that sweet smile fool you! 😉"















"This gorgeous girl has been bringing smiles and laughter to our family for 11 Months! Hard to believe that we only have one more month until she turns one. She's growing up so fast!!!" 










"Our big girl is one!"

I have certainly enjoyed the trip down memory lane.  And I am pretty certain that Emma's Mom & Dad will too.  

Last weekend we had the joy of spending time with Emma (and her little sister, Maggie)... so here are the most recent pictures... 


Have you made a memory quilt for a baby?
What tips, techniques or ideas would incorporate into the quilt?

This is actually my second first year quilt... the other one turned out good, but not what my customer was really expecting - you can read about it here.  I think this one will be much better received.

Oh, and don't forget the label!  I used a few of the embroidery alphabet patterns available on my Babylock.  It isn't perfect... the thread broke as it was moving from the E to the m and I didn't get it lined up perfectly, but it isn't bad.  I'm pretty sure that my Sweet Tater won't mind. 



Enjoy the time you have with the young ones in your life... make memories with them... before you know it they will be all growed up.

Blessings,

Melva

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