Sunday, April 14, 2024

Friends & Sew & Tell ~ April 15, 2024

I've written about a special group of ladies that I am part of... Friends and Sisters in Christ... We've loved and supported each other throughout many years, life's challenges, up and downs.  

It has been almost 4 years since the larger group of gals has gathered together to fellowship for a weekend.

This weekend it happened!  In total, eleven of us gathered at a special place called "The Refuge."  Because of this, I don't have a great amount of time to write.  



I worked very peacefully on Tuesday and Wednesday as I wrote and tested/pieced the final three blocks of the purple version of "Pieces of My Life" and made two sets of pillowcases for my Mom.  


While retreating with the ladies, I worked on another paper embroidery Psalms picture.

We laughed about past memories and made more as we shared and caught up with each other.  

We had an abundance of food, not enough sleep, and just a beautiful opportunity to love on each other.  

Life is short... make sure that those you love KNOW that you love them... tell them the actual words.

Keep Piecing,

Melva

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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Pieces of My Life ~ Bachelor Puzzle & Square in Square


Welcome back to the Pieces of My Life sew along!  I hope that you have enjoyed piecing the blocks and the opportunity to document memories, details and stories of your life.  This week there are two blocks again... 

Topic of the prompt questions is your teen years... 

I enjoyed elementary school.  In general, I also enjoyed my teen years in school... But Junior High was a tough transition in the "friends" area.  There were all the same kids that I had been going to school with during 5th & 6th grade, but there were dividing lines that seemed to have formed.  That was when I discovered the "if you're friends with them, you can't be my friend" thing... If you have ever watched the movie, Mean Girls, you will understand. High School was a little better.  I recall having "senioritis" and was relieved and happy that I was permitted to leave the HS campus to go work at my little office job during the afternoons.  As a freshman, I found a new group of friends in the gymnastics team.  My best friend was a year older than me and drove the "carpool" for the mandatory two-a-day gymnastics practices.  I felt a little lost when she graduated and we got new team managers to replace her.  Though there were still a few "mean girl" situations, I learned to steer clear of them.  Georgia, one of my closest school friends from the last "Life" story and my hat party, is in the middle of the back row, next to me.  We ran in different circles for the most part, but were always cheering on the other in practices and meets.


I blame the sport of gymnastics for most of my aches and pains in my joints now... as well as the striving for perfection that I have slowly been letting go of since my 30s.  To grow up watching the Olympics and Nadia achieving a perfect 10 told me that I too could/should strive for that same goal.  

No one on the team was anywhere near being an elite gymnast... but it didn't mean that we didn't have that goal in focus.  A few years ago, while assisting with planning a small gathering of classmates, one of the gals stated, "Oh, Melva, you were the star of the team!"  I was shocked at that... It certainly didn't feel that way... It seemed that I was always competing with, and just tenths behind, one other team member. 

None the less, I am proud to say I am a recovering perfectionist and people pleaser.  There were many hard lessons to learn along the way, and I can fall back into those ruts, but the time spent there is much shorter and happens less often.


The Bachelor's Puzzle Block is 12-1/2" square, unfinished; Of all the blocks I made for the blue QAYG quilt, this is my least favorite.  I used all solid color fabrics, and they just did nothing for me.  I seriously considered swapping out the 4 square pieces for a print or floral fabric... In the end, I left it.  

My purple Bachelor's Puzzle block turned out much better and is one of my favorites of that traditional quilt, so far.




The Square in a Square (SQ²) is a 6-1/2", unfinished block that will be used as a label for the traditional layout quilt. 

I hope you will consider a similar label for your quilt.

Time to grab the patterns!  They are in my payhip store...


I've made the first section of the memory book as available for purchase if you happen to be a little late to the party.  Remember, the memory book page links are available only through my newsletter.  PLEASE NOTE:: If you are a no-reply or anonymous commenter and would like to have your email added to my newsletter list, you need to leave it in the comment or send me an email at MelvaLovesScraps (at) NolanQualityCustoms (dot)com.

And if your memories start to flow and you discover that you don't have enough space on the pages I provide or have additional thoughts, feel free to let them spill over to another page.  I'm including pictures in mine as well. :)  I'm certain that your loved ones will cherish every detail you give!  Don't forget to come back to join the block parade!  I'd love to see what your blocks look like.

Keep Piecing & Keep Writing!

Melva
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m

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ April 8, 2024

Hey everyone!  I am back among the cyber world and reconnecting with everyone.

Last week the newsletter was sent out... delayed even more that I had anticipated due to an internet service issue.  I also had a few glitches with the mailing but believe they have been fixed and got everyone covered.  

There was a reader or two that have stated in anonymous comments that they want to be added to my newsletter list.  I would love to add you... but I need an email address left with the comment or you need to send me an email message with the word "newsletter" in the subject line so that I can add you.

The next two blocks will be released on Thursday, April 11th.  The next newsletter with the next section of memory book pages and pattern links will be sent that day as well.  Watch for it!

I have made the first section of the "memory book" available for purchase in my payhip store so it is available to all, whether on the newsletter list or not. 

I've been steadily getting final patterns written and tested (3 ready to test and just 3 more to write/test) by making the blocks up in purple for the traditional layout for the quilt and I am getting so close to being ready to add sashing strips and borders.  I had been worried about getting the blue-violets and red-violets to play together nicely... I think I've done well. Nothing is clashing or glaring at another.  I'm still on the hunt for the perfect fabric for sashing (and backing?) to tie all of it together.  I trust and believe I will find it when it is time.



I've had some exciting email messages this week.  The first from the publisher of my books... Blurb.com.  Their message requested a headshot and higher quality photo of my Pieces From the Past Book.  I will be a featured author across all of their social media channels.  How exciting!  I'll be sure to let you know when that happens.  For all of you that have supported and participated in my sew along events in the past 4 years, I say thank you!

You have helped to make what seemed like a pipe dream come true!  

The second exciting email I had was confirming a date for a presentation with a quilt guild.  I am looking forward to having the opportunity to present "Storytelling Quilts"... another "dream" I have had for a few years. 💕


That is about all I have for this week's Sew & Tell... Let's take a look at the featured quilter... DonnaLeeQ had a lovely finish of a Sunbonnet Sue quilt that was started 20 years ago.  Well done!  If you want to see the backing she used, go check it out... it is perfect!

Do you select the backing for quilts as you pull/purchase fabrics for the quilt top?
Or do you wait until the top is done and then choose the backing?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Keep Piecing,

Melva
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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Playing Catch Up

We had a fabulous 15 nights in our home away from home.  
2,145 miles, 
200 gallons of gas ($630+), 
15 days of memories, laughter, joy, sunshine, a little wind (usually at our back), hikes, naps, and adventure together... 

Priceless!



We kicked the trip off with 2 nights at Elephant Butte Lake NM... with a flat tire as we pulled into the campsite!  Boy, were we glad that we weren't on the road.  As my Dad would have said... "Thank God for little green apples!" We were quickly reminded of God's promises with a double rainbow that spanned nearly the entire lake. We enjoyed watching the wildlife and even watched a pair of coyotes call back and forth to each other.  We had noticed a potential den for some animal as we walked along the rocky shore and collected a few shells... now if I could just remember just exactly what "safe place" I put those shells in. haha!

An incredible phenomenon of nature that we got to see was this bee nest/hive filled with honeycomb!  

Green Valley, AZ was our next stop.  We stayed with a friend from Dave's years as a summer instructor of gunsmithing.  He has a lovely place with a saltwater pool and hot tub.  Shelby enjoyed playing in the pool. Her favorite thing to do was drop a tennis ball in and wait for us to retrieve it.  Silly dog!  I enjoyed the hot tub... hot tubbing under the stars with a "natural space" that featured a saguaro and a few other varieties of cactus just beyond the fenced area was fabulous. 


Roosevelt Lake, cliff dwellings at Tonto NP, a trip to Apache Lake for lunch and touring Globe, AZ as we collected souvenirs were part of the next adventure. We watched a few storms roll in as we watched the sunset.  
After a wine tasting I made my selection and got a glass :)
The prickly pear honey was interesting, much more like a jelly than honey and assorted gifts for the grandchildren
The fabric will be used to make a few placemats as a thank you gift for our hosts in GV


We left Roosevelt Lake as the rains were beginning and headed toward Las Cruces, NM and found ourselves on the eastside of the Organ Mountains in the Aguirre Springs Campground in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument area.  This was probably the most disappointing part of the trip.  It was a beautiful area... but the winds coming over the mountain spires was horrendous!  We managed to get our camper into a site that was overlooking White Sands Missile Range.  It was cloudy and cold - highs in the low 40s.  The camper was not level, despite our best efforts.  We can laugh about it now as we recall how Dave kept rolling into me as we slept and I ended with more covers than normal... all because of gravity.  LOL!  


We made the best of it and enjoyed our time together as we hung out in the camper and read books.  We had great radio reception and listened and danced to some good music. I also worked on a few quilted hearts and blocks for our Camping Journal Quilt.

We did make a trip to LC to get a few groceries and as we were returning we saw a sign for a visitors center at White Sands Missile Range.  We went and explored there to escape the wind and the sound of wind for an hour or so. 

Our original plan was to stay at Aguirre for 4 nights... we stuck it out for 2 and headed to Alamogordo, where we found a space at the KOA.  A "deluxe" patio site with a grill, fire ring and swing.  Before we left the windy mountainside, we were gifted a beautiful site of the spires...



Feeling like we were "level" we began exploring the area with a visit to White Sands NP... The wind was still blowing there, but it was worth the trip to walk among the dunes. 

We have heard many say that it is one of their favorite places to visit... maybe we missed something... Our feelings were the same about the Sand Dunes in CO... We don't regret having made the trips to see them, but have no need to return as a particular destination... 

Wind-blown and messy hair... I don't care ;)

As we were driving to the campground, Dave saw a winery and restaurant that he wanted to take me to.  

It was a lovely place, great choice in background music, good food and a chef that was well aware of proper food prep for food allergens and wide selection of wines.  The choices of wine here were much better than what I had in Globe.

It was fun to clean up a bit and "tame" the wild, wind-blown hair.  We visited the local history museum, the space museum, as well as a quilt shop.  I selected two more fabrics... with the intention of using them in some of the postcard blocks for our camping quilt.


After two nights we headed toward our final destination of 
Bandelier NP.  We made a stop at the Three Rivers Petroglyph site where there were hundreds of ancient petroglyph drawings.  Some were easy to decipher, others... not so much. 

What does this one mean?



After several hours of driving to and through Santa Fe to get to Bandelier, we settled into another level site and made plans for the next morning.  Since dogs are not permitted on any of the trails in this park, we made certain that Shelby had plenty of exercise and was ready to nap while we hiked the trail to the cliff dwellings.  These dwellings were very different from the dwellings at Tonto.  The population of residents here were two to three times larger... and we had to use ladders to access these dwellings. 



There were a few petroglyphs here as well, but sparse and as one ranger had stated after hearing that we had stopped at Three Rivers, "unimpressive".  However, the finished interior walls of some of the dwellings that have been preserved made up for the petroglyphs. 

A hike on Falls Trail was not a disappointment the next day.  
The changes in rocks and vegetation were interesting... and the sound as we approached the falls was so soothing.


On Easter Sunday morning we hooked up the camper and made the easy drive home.  All was in good order at home.  Other than when we tried to reconnect to the internet and the cyber world so that we could resume our work. It seemed that the modem and wi-fi refused to let us do this after being turned off for 15 days.  


My newsletter was delayed by this fact... After several calls to tech support and a visit from a repairman, we are back in business.  Yay!  Since I was unable to do much on-line business, I focused on laundry, housekeeping, shopping and even some pattern writing/testing.  I was also perusing my patterns for blocks to document our camping journal quilt.  I was lucky enough to catch a sale at Fiona Sandwich, the originator of the National Park System Postcard blocks. 

I have a good portion of blocks from our last trips last fall to add to the borders of the existing quilt, and I have selected the necessary patterns ready to kit up for sewing together on our next trip.

I'll be back on schedule with the Sew & Tell party.  Be sure to come back and party with me. 

Thanks for joining me in this vacay recap. :)

Before you go... tell me what kind of souvenirs do you like to collect?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Keep Piecing,

Melva

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Sunday, March 31, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ Happy Easter!

 


We are home... and our internet is down. 😪 I'll tell you all about our trip when we get unpacked.
Don't forget to invite a friend or two to the party.  :)

Keep Piecing!

Melva


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Pieces of My Life ~ Pinwheel and Friendship Stars


I am a country girl... I grew up outside the city limits a small rural town.  It was a 15-minute drive to town.  We lived nearly at the end of a long gravel road between the Fort Lyon Canal and the Arkansas River.  Our closest neighbors were at least 1/4 mile from our driveway.

One of my first friends was Georgia. Her bus stop was the next stop after ours in the mornings.  We both had blonde hair and blue eyes and we thought we might be able to fool the teacher and get her confused if we fixed our hair the same.  Georgia and I were "school" friends. By this I mean, we were friends while at school.  It wasn't often that we would go to each other's houses on weekends or after school.


This was at my 7th birthday party... a Hat Party.  Mom made the cake to look like a hat and we made our own hats using paper plates, ribbons and silk flowers.  I am holding the cake and Georgia is right behind me.  The other friends that attended were Paula, Tawana, Jolynn and Carrie... and of course, my brother, Kelvin.  Paula passed away several years ago, but I am still fb friends with the rest of the girls.  



During recess we had a wide variety of playground equipment available to us.  The tall slide that was metal and had the ability to scorch our behinds and the backs of our legs, the merry-go-round that had a deep rut around it from kids running as they pushed it, trying to make it go faster and faster so that the riders would fly off or get sick... there were the monkey bars and jungle gym - the girls had to wear shorts under our dresses so that the boys couldn't see our undies. There were two tetherball poles, basketball hoops and a diamond where baseball or kickball could be played.  There were four-square boxes painted out on one of the basketball courts.  And what playground is complete without the swings and teeter-totter?  It seems like I forever had scabs on my knees from jumping out of the swings.


And there were the "woods".  A small wooded area where hide-and-seek was played.  I was a big fan of Winnie-the-pooh and the Hundred Acre Woods and imagined that our woods were much the same.

There was always access to jump ropes and "skip-it" balls.  For a while, Chinese jump ropes were popular, and the game of Jacks was always popular on days that it rained.  I remember there was a Jacks tournament one year.  I didn't win, but I did participate.  

Other games that were "indoor" games were Red Light-Green Light and Mother, May I.

These two blocks represent your childhood friends and games that you played together.  Please note, if you are making a quilt in the traditional layout, you can choose to not make the Pinwheel block, which is a 6" block.  (FYI, I plan to use four of the eight 6" blocks in the corners of the borders and one as a label for the back.)

The patterns are available in my Payhip store... Pinwheel Block ... Friendship Block

I'll be sending out the memory book pages in a few days... in the meantime, enjoy making your blocks and your personal trip down memory lane.  I'd love it if you would come back and participate in the block parade. :)  

What games did you play as a child?  

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Keep Piecing,

Melva


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Quick Check-in


Hey everyone!

Just a quick check-in...  We've been having a great time.  Wish you were here LOL!

We've had some great adventures so far... We've camped near two different lakes, explored some ancient cliff dwellings, enjoyed some sun, civilization and a pool in AZ as we visited with a couple good friends.  

We've had lots of long walks with Shelby and we have listened to one audio book, so far.




We were on the side of a mountain on the east side of the Organ Mountains for two nights.  What an experience that was!  The winds were ferocious as they came over the needle-like spires.

I'll sshare more pictures and details after we get home.

For now, here's the Sew & Tell party.  My apologies for the tardiness!

Keep Piecing!

Melva