Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Stitch It & Gift It Blog Hop & Give Away!

Welcome to the Stitch It & Gift It blog hop!  

Many thanks to Carla at Creatin' in the Sticks for being the hostess with the mostest and coordinating this fun hop!

I am one of those people that want each holiday to get its fair share of time to be celebrated... 

I am also one of those people that will do Christmas shopping year 'round.  And though it is not yet Thanksgiving, it is totally fair game to begin thinking Christmas gifts... what to make and who gets the recipients will be.  

Several years ago I purchased a pretty little wallet at a local rummage sale.  Every time I go to the bank to make a deposit one of the tellers would comment about how much she liked it.  Once she asked if I made it.  When I replied "No, but I could make one like it" she expressed her interest.

And I thought, "What girlfriend wouldn't like a wallet like this one?"  So I added the project to my "To do" list in my mind...  you know... for "someday".

Recently I found myself with no batting in storage to be able to finish the current quilt project (How did this even happen???) Now was the perfect opportunity!  Someday arrived!

I delved into the storage bin of pretty silky-satiny fabrics in search of options, took some dimensions of my wallet and started cutting. 

(A few months ago I acquired a very large stash of all sort of fabrics...  I made skirts and shorts that will be included in the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes that the church does each year.  And I gave a good bit of fabric away... some to my daughter, some to my sister-in-law, some to friends and the remainder that I didn't think I could/would use (let's be realistic here... I CANNOT save all the fabric!) went to the local theater for their use for costumes and set designs.  (We happily accepted the offer of tickets for a performance in exchange for it ๐Ÿคฉ) )

Here you go... step by step tutorial. 

Cut two pieces of fabric 14-1/2" x 7-3/4".  Cut one piece of fusible interfacing (same size 14-1/2" x 7-3/4") to stabilize the outside piece.  With right sides together, layer the fabric and sew, leaving an opening of about 2-3 inches on one end (7-3/4" wide) to be able to turn.

Clip corners and turn.  Press, being careful to press the seams at the opening nice and straight.

Top stitch both ends and fold up 3-1/4".  Press.

Cut two more pieces of fabric 7-3/4" x 7" - this is for the pocket.  Stabilize one piece of the pocket fabric, stitch together leaving an opening, clip corners, turn and press... top stitch the ends (7-3/4").

Stitch a piece of hook & loop tape into place as shown... (You can choose to do smaller pieces in the center or a longer to cover most of the opening of the pocket.  You may notice that the original wallet has a zippered closure... I don't get along with zippers so I chose an alternate version!)

Fold in half and press.  Position the pocket slightly above (approximately 1/4") the crease of the lower section as shown in the picture here.

Pin top and bottom pockets in place and stitch...

You are now ready to gift this pretty little wallet!  While you're at it, make two or three, or more!  But you will certainly want to make one to keep for yourself as well. These little wallets make up quickly... about an hour.  Leaving plenty of time for other great projects too :)

You could make it as a checkbook cover for your favorite guy as well... just by picking some fabric that is a little more masculine like camo or a plaid.  

A PDF of the tutorial is available here.  This tutorial is free and available through Payhip.  You will have to set up an account with Payhip in order to download the file.

You may have noticed from the pictures in the tutorial  that I made two of these wallets.  My bank teller purchased one and I am giving away (YES!  Giving away!)  The second one.  Want a chance to win???  Simply leave a comment before November 18th in answer to the question below...  

What is one of your favorite Holiday traditions?

We have many traditions, but when our girls were younger we started putting clues on the gifts and we would one by one read a clue, try to guess the gift and then open it.  It takes away the rush and chaos of everyone opening gifts at the same time and we ALL get to enjoy gift and savor the moment.  It can sometimes take more than an hour to get through all of the gifts... but that is okay. 

Stitch it... and then Gift it!  


Be sure to visit the other bloggers to see what they are stitchin' up!  Happy Hopping!

Monday, November 11th

Tuesday, November 12th

Wednesday, November 13th

Thursday, November 14th

Friday, November 15th

Plan to join me for a fun sew along that will feature vintage Kansas City Star quilt blocks!

Linking with:

Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese

Creative Compulsions at Bijou Bead Boutique

Saturday, November 9, 2019


A few months ago my friend introduced me to a fabric dying process called Eco-printing.  She was making silk scarves dyed with a variety of things from nature, such as leaves and flowers, black walnut dye and rusty water.

When I did a search for it this is the description I found...

"At its root, eco printing refers to the act of directly applying plants to textiles to alter color, apply color and create interesting designs. “Natural dyeing” is a component, as everything used is natural, such as flowers, leaves, bark, bugs, roots etc. (yes…. bugs! I’ll get into that a little later)"

I love the way Kayleen said it...  "I love this process because you can put it all together, but like life, it often turns out differently than was expected. The outcome is a surprise and you have an opportunity to let go of the expected outcome and accept the gift of what is."

So let's start at the beginning...  It was suggested to me to use 100% silk, linen or cotton.  (You can also use 100% cotton t-shirts.) 

**Disclaimer**  I am NOT an expert on this process and am still learning with each session.

There are many techniques for eco-printing and these directions and results are based on my personal experiences.

Step 1:  Soak fabric in water, or mordant made of vinegar water or alum water.  Wring out until just damp.

A mordant or dye fixative is a substance used to set (i.e. bind) dyes on fabrics by forming a coordination complex with the dye, which then attaches to the fabric.  Basically, natural dyes will not adhere to natural fibers without the use of a mordant or fixative. While you may initially get a beautiful result from the dyeing, it will soon wash out or fade away!

Alum, vinegar, iron, copper, tin and chrome are some examples of a mordant.  I have only used vinegar, rust and alum as a mordant.  

Step 2:  Soak items that you want to leave an imprint in rust water or black walnut dye for a minimum of 10-15 minutes... the longer the better.  I am generally too impatient to wait much longer.  <>  

Step 3:  Arrange items on the damp fabric.  Top with a “blanket”.  

A rust blanket can be used repeatedly.  

In the photo to the right you will see that I have two different blankets... one was soaked in vinegar water and the second was soaked in rust water.

Step 4:  Roll the fabric onto a stick very tightly.  This is called bundling.  

Your choice of product for bundling can affect your final product.

You can use  a piece of metal rebar, a wooden dowel, a small branch, or copper pipe for a variety of staining.  You can also use PVC if you don't want any additional staining at all.)

Step 5:  Secure tightly with twine, or wire.

Step 6:  Steam for 90 minutes.

Step 7:  Allow to cure for 24 hours while enclosed in a plastic bag.

Step 8:  Unroll and allow to dry.  Press with hot iron to help to “set the color”. 

Step 9:  Wash with a gentle soap.  Dry and press one last time.  

And here is my first result >>>

You can see that the variety of staining from the rust blanket even though the center section of the silk scarf was covered with the rust blanket.  The lower end of the scarf had the "blank" blanket and the top end had no blanket at all.

Below is a picture of the "blankets" used with the silk scarf.  

Here is a small block of aspen trees (pattern from Fiona Sandwich's National Park Postcard library) that I recently made using the lighter of the two "blankets" shown above.

My larger piece of linen seems to be asking to become a wall hanging... What do you think?

As I pondered the results and the options with so many variables and the unpredictability for the finished product I wondered...  what would copper wire do?  What about maple or walnut dowels?  What if you wrapped the dowel with copper wire or silver solder???  The options are endless!!!

My very supportive husband graciously entertained my request for the dowels.  Because he has a supply of maple and walnut stock blanks for his business he allowed me to pick a few out...

The next printing session involved all of the above mentioned materials... Maple and walnut dowels, copper wire and silver/tin wire.

Here are some of my results...  

Here I am using a linen table cloth and placed items on the center 1/3 of the cloth...

I folded the cloth over the nature items and layered again...

I finally folded over the last 1/3 of the table cloth and bundled.  

I rolled the cloth on a walnut dowel that was wrapped with silver/tin solder.  

I secured the bundle with copper wire and steamed for approximately 2 hours because the bundle was so thick.

You can see that a maple leaf left some heavy staining and the copper wire cause some interesting colors as well...

The final results...

You can see the dowel wrapped with wire in the picture at the right and the pattern imprinted on the fabric.  The deep purple staining was from the walnut wood.

I am fascinated with this dying process and am curious about so many other options.  The combinations are endless!  I think I will need to exercise some self control because I have quilting that needs to be done!

I will be doing some more research about natural dyes and further investigation about the combination of different fabrics, mordants and the various reactions and results...

Want to know more yourself?  Do a search... I found that there is a "starter kit" available (no affiliation - I just thought it was interesting.)  I was lucky enough to have a friend that had already collected the various pots and pans and supplies required.

Have fun!

What are some of your ideas for using hand-dyed fabric like this?  

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

Stay calm and quilt on,


Join me for the sew along that will feature vintage Kansas City Star Quilt Blocks

Linking with:

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Brag About Your Beauties at From Bolt to Beauty
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
UFO Busting at Tish’s Wonderland
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
What I Made Monday at Pretty Piney
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Colour & Inspiration at Clever Chameleon Quilting

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Thomas the Train - Nifty Novelty Prints Blog Hop

All Aboard!

Welcome to the Nifty Novelties blog hop hosted by Marian at Seams to be Sew 

There will be a list of all participating bloggers at the end of this post, as well as details for a give away.  Everyone loves a chance to win, right? 

This hop is a time to celebrate all of the cute and fun themed fabrics that are out there.  Do you want a particular theme?  I'm willing to bet you can find it!  Bears, cats, dogs, horses, rainbows, music... and so much more!

A few years ago I acquired a fabric stash that had belonged to the mother of one of my friends.  {{Everyone needs friends like this!  lol...}} And the stash had many, many panels and novelty print fabrics.

To name a few of them... there was Dora the Explorer, hot air balloons, Captain Frog, Beatitude Bears, nautical themed and trains.

I had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use the Thomas the Train fabric.  Last year I was asked to donate an item for a silent auction and saw it as the chance.

Thomas and friends was a favorite show of my girls when they were little.  And I was certain that some baby boy would be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor...  It was a really quick quilt and the photo shoot was one of the first shoots where I tried to up my game and have more that just a quilt.  My goal was to capture some background that would relate to the name/theme of the quilt.

I still had yards of fabric left over and it went back into my stash storage closet until this fall.  Recently, I have been enjoying some pattern testing and when I saw the Quilt Crush pattern at Patterns By Jen I felt this was another great opportunity to feature Thomas the Train and rail yard fabric.  

I fussy cut the center of the squares to feature the various characters on the fabric...

I recruited a friend for the photography and I think she captured the theme perfectly!  When I explained that it was a train quilt and I wanted to use some of the local train setting areas she was on board. (see what I just did there? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

It was a bit gusty that day and we may have stopped the traffic because we were standing in the middle of road to get a shot... 

One visitor near the above engine snapped a few photos with his phone as he carefully passed us.  We got a good laugh as we said "be sure to mention Melva Loves Scraps when you post it on social media!" 

Look!  Even Mr. Conductor made it in the photos! 

Jen's pattern makes up very quickly.  The blocks are big and would be excellent for a beginning quilter. 

But I have to admit that the thing I overlooked was the placement of the half-square triangles...  

Oh the pictures here look fine. 

But take a peek at the photo below

I noticed the error of my ways before I quilted it...  I tried to ignore it.  I tried to convince myself that it was fine... but my conscience would not let it go!  I ripped out the misplaced blocks and turned them to make the correction.  

And I felt so much better!  And the change really did make it more interesting.

My stop on this hop is just a brief one... but don't jump off the fun train yet!

Be sure to visit all of the stops on the tour!  There are different prizes available at each blog... and you will not want to miss out on the opportunity these prizes!

So, how do you enter???  Well, let's see...  

Tell me about a train museum or train trip that you have enjoyed... 

Simple as that...  Leave a comment by November 4th!

But don't forget to leave behind an email address if you are an anonymous or no-reply reader... Like this >>>  MelvaLovesScraps(at)NolanQualityCustoms(dot)com  It would be very sad to select a winner and have no way of contacting them. 

Oh, and by the way, Marian has done an amazing job at acquiring the FQ prize bundles for this hop but has noted that the cost of mailing the prizes will be $4. Where else can you get 10 fat quarters for just 4 bucks???   

Thursday, October 24

Friday, October 25

Monday, October 28

Piece happy!

 To enter click here>>> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Quilters Through The Generations series

Linking with:

What I Made Monday at Pretty Piney
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Colour & Inspiration at Clever Chameleon Quilting
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Creative Compulsions at Bijou Bead Boutique
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Brag About Your Beauties at From Bolt to Beauty
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Time For All Seasons - Gathering Leaves

As the calendar turned over to October the days were still warm - quite warm.  We were still able to sleep with the windows cracked open... we even camped with very little need for the heater overnight.

As I write this post it is in the mid 30s and it there is snow on the ground!  Not just some snow... but at least 10 inches... and wet, heavy snow!  We desperately need the moisture as we have had little to none since August.  And with the fall winds that made their return (indicating a change is seasons), along with the warmer temps we had, it makes for high fire danger.

The seasons have definitely made the change...  

Carla over at Creatin' in the Sticks offered the patterns for the A Time for All Seasons block of the month.  

The flaming red maples in our front yard were in full glory and looked beautiful!

And then there was a cold front that moved in and we had a heavy freeze... so much for the flaming red!  The leaves actually turned to a deep purple, much like Carla's in the picture above.

As I started my leaf blocks I really had started with the intention that I would do two of them... one scrappy (of course!) and the other with all leaves one color (like Carla's).

However, because it was the day after driving to an appointment nearly 4 hours away, my mind said NO...  

I got the one color block done and decided that I would do something really  simple for the second block... 

using fall prints that had leaves on them and the same basic block layout, I created this one...  >>>

It reminds me of the falls in the mid-west... the variety of color in the fall was brilliant!  Colorado has some wonderful fall colors (mostly gold with some reds from the oakbrush), but my personal opinion is that falls in the mid-west are certainly more colorful, but definitely lack the warm fall days that Colorado gets.  

In the mid-west, once the cold hits it is there until the spring thaw... 

While Autumn has made a temporary disappearance... just before Halloween, which is typical in Colorado, I am not going to worry because Indian Summer will be back and we will have one last opportunity to go camping...   Promise!  

Fall has many traditions...  Harvest festivals, trick-or-treating, Thanksgiving... it kinda kicks off the "holiday season".  

What is your favorite Autumn tradition?  

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

Snow day, sew day?  Stay calm and quilt on, 

Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Quilters Through The Generations series
Linking with:

A Time for All Seasons BOM at Sew Incredibly Sew
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Creative Compulsions at Bijou Bead Boutique
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Off The Wall Friday with Nina Marie
Brag About Your Beauties at From Bolt to Beauty
Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More
BOMs Away at What A Hoot Quilts
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
UFO Busting at Tish’s Wonderland
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate