Saturday, March 17, 2018

Quilters Through The Generations - Mary Jo Cousins

Mary Jo Cousins is the most recent quilter to be featured here in the Quilters Through The Generations series.  She is a lovely lady who has a heart for the Lord, her family and quilting.  Mary Jo and her husband, Bob, have lived in several states as he is a (now retired) United Methodist Church pastor.  Here is Mary's story...

I come from a long line of quilters! Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers and great grandmothers were quilters. My mother (pictured at the right), Florence Bruning, has also quilted. 

 I really did not start quilting large projects until I was retired. However, I was a sewer. I made clothing for my children as they grew up and also myself and husband. 

My first real project was a tea towel. I participated in 4-H from the time I was 6 years old. Later in college one of my majors was Home Economics, now known as Human Ecology.

When I married, my husband and I received several quilts. One from each of my grandmothers, that were hand pieced and hand quilted. That was the beginning of my collecting quilts. I now have many quilts from many places. To name a few, there is a sunbonnet sue circa, 1960, a quilt of state birds that are tube painted and also a lone star that was made by my mother. 

My husband has received quilts that were made by his mother and grandmother (maternal). Among them are a Dresden plate and double wedding ring and a hand embroidered flower basket - included in the picture below.

The family quilts pic shown above is as follows  left to right back row.

White with cross and flame of Harley Davidson bandanas, I made for Bob in 1995. It is and applique on minky
Little sliver of green print is  comforter my Grandma Maude (Mom's mom) made for our family.  It uniquely has another quilt as batting.  It is tied.
The Turquoise and white Half square triangle zig zag was a birthday gift in 1990 from Grandma Maude
The Sunbonnet Sue was a Graduation Gift from Grandma Murphy ( No relation only family friend)  It was made in 1964,
The next little brown print was a comfort quilt I made for my son Bobby when he was 4.  It snapped around him while he watched Heman! Made in 1970s
The red and white check was made by Grandma Maude.  Unsure of date.  
Grandma was a hand quilter, and sometimes hand piecing.

Next row  left to right.
Yellow  state bird quilt was a gift for our wedding in 1966 from Grandma Maude
Sliver of pink and white is half square triangles lap quilt - tied - from Grandma Maude.
The next Churn dash Or Monkey wrench was made by my Grandma Lottie Mae Bruning, (Dad's mom) as a wedding gift.
The next quilt is a double wedding ring, pieced and hand quilted by Bob's mother Helen.  It is dated 1931.  It has been quite worn.  I am sure Helen used it on their bed for quite a while.
The next is a Dresden plate or friendship ring that Helen made and hand quilted - no date.

The lone star in front was made by Grandma Maude.

In the future I will receive quilts made by my Great Grandmother Bruning who made a lone star for my Dad as a wedding gift.

The first quilt I made for my Grandson was a bow tie baby quilt. Then I made him a “Tigger” fleece and flannel quilt that he wore off the binding. The latest quilt was his high school graduation T-shirt quilt. 

Our Granddaughter received a youth flannel quilt for Christmas 2013. I did not get a baby quilt made for her. Her most recent quilt was a fun Halloween quilt. 

These latest quilts are my own design.

I recently finished a memory quilt for a friend of my Grandson. The young man lost his life in an auto accident with a drunk driver. His mother had saved some of his t-shirts, and I was glad to make them into a memory quilt.

I have fun making quilts for others... 

I belong to a church quilt group that makes charity quilts for the homeless and several charities across the Colorado Springs area. 

I piece tops for my long arm quilter, who prepares children’s’ quilts for children of active military service persons who are on assignment away from the family. Each quilt is made with a photo of the parent. This to keep the image of the parent close by. 

I have made Quilts of Valor for veterans. 

I seem to give away my quilts and hope they provide snug warm feelings for the recipient.  Like all quilters I have UFO’s and plans for many more. My greatest pleasure is in piecing and design layout.

As you can see Mary has a generous heart and a wonderful collection of family quilts!  I have provided the link for the QOV if you have an interest in supporting the organization by making quilts for them.

When asked which quilt is her favorite, she answered with the Lone Star quilt that is currently on our bed.  I love the darker, rich colors!

I personally like the Double Wedding Ring quilt... 

Which one is your favorite?

Leave a comment to let Mary Jo know which one you like.

Sew Happy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

UFO Blog Hop

Welcome to the Quilt Qwazy Queens blog hop hosted by Marian at Seams To Be Sew! The subject of this hop is UFO's - for those that may be new to quilting terminology, also known as Un-Finished Objects.

Prize details and the list of participants follow my UFO post...

UFO's are a bit alien-like to me because I dislike Un-Finished Objects (projects) It is just my personality type. So, for me, a UFO sighting in my studio is a rare thing.

I only have a few that I would consider Un-finished... and one is actually un-started, but I have fabric set aside waiting for some brilliant inspiration to hit!

#1 - is the t-shirt quilt that I have had stored in the basement dresser for a number of years. A few years ago the collection of shirts had grown to the point that the drawer was over flowing. So, to save room, I cut the blocks out of the shirts that I wanted to use. This project has moved forward this year in the manner that I all of the said blocks now have fusible interfacing on the backs of them - they have been relegated to the basement dresser once again until further notice.

#2 - Some would not even consider this a real UFO because it is nothing more than three large pieces of fabric - but I really do have specific plans for it! I just need to drag my scrap bin out and start making some wonky log cabin blocks to create furrow rows alternated with some of the farm land fabric.

#3 is the collection of 6-inch blocks from the 2017 Moda Christmas Blocks...

I am open to suggestions for these blocks!

#4 (and the final one) is the star of this post. Last year, using my Grandpa's ties (and the only two of my dad's - indicated with the arrows in the photo) I started making Dresden plates. I was unsure how many I could cut from the ties so the size of the project was/is dependent upon the availability of plates. After working through about half of the tie fabric I had six plates.

I was stumped...  I am unsure of how many plates I can complete with the ties I have available.  As well as being unsure of what layout I wanted to use. Did I want to use only plate blocks?  It seemed to me that they needed to be alternated with filler blocks... Perhaps with crocheted doilies?  But I only had five in the closet...

And then as I was rummaging around for something else I located a table cloth that had some "fancy cut work" on it.  It was quite large and in good shape with the exception of the center of the cloth where there was a hole or two.  I grabbed my 12-1/2" ruler and started fussy cutting...  I have 16 blocks!  They will look great with the dresden blocks...

I am still unsure of how many plates I can get from the remaining ties, but at least I feel as though I moved forward.  YAY!

Are UFOs a common occurrence for you?  
How many do you have?  
(Is it even polite to ask that???) 
Probably not...

Leave a comment with a suggestion for the Christmas blocks or let me know how many UFOs you have sighted in your closet.  

I love to hear from other quilters!
You can keep up with me on facebook or Instagram as well!

Prize details 

The FatQuarter Shop March 15 - 22, 2018 150.00 Gift Certificate

X-Block Rulers = US Shipping Only 
BasiX Template, Baby BasiX, 6 1/2 X-Block, 6 1/2 X-Block Mini, 6 1/2 X-Block BellyButton Rulers/Templates


Thursday, March 15, 2018
Friday, March 16, 2018
Monday, March 19, 2018
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

No Guilt - Go Quilt!

Every quilter that I have ever met always wants more time to quilt. Right???

Recently there was even a blog hop that was focused on how to "make time to sew" over at Faith & Fabric where a few bloggers shared their tips on doing so.

I am here today to share with you one way that I make time - with no guilt I can go to my sewing studio and quilt to my little heart's content.  Yep, Aaaaaaaa-all day!  Well, ok, so I need to stop for lunch and potty breaks...

My method takes a little planning ahead and some prep work (and freezer room), but I like to prepare crockpot freezer meals (like 20 of them!) all on one day.  Now the idea is NOT my own, and many of the recipes I use are adapted for my restricted diet, removing even more guilt!

Let me tell you how I got started with the whole thing... Two years ago we had received a call from some good friends stating that they had received the devastating news that the wife had just received the diagnosis of breast cancer and would soon be facing surgery, chemo and radiation.  It was going to be a long battle for them... and they had two children in elementary school that she home-schooled.

I knew that they would need help with meals on a long-term basis so I approached our church asking the body to help financially to purchase the ingredients for 20 crock-pot meals as well as some hands-on help to prepare all of them.

I gathered some of the recipes that were our family's favorites and then compiled a shopping list and hit the aisles of the stores.  

I prepared large freezer bags by writing the name of the meal on a bag (BBQ Chicken, French Dip Sandwiches, White Chili, etc.) and made sure that each marked bag had the correct corresponding recipe with it.

A group of 12 gathered on a Saturday morning and we went to work.  It is easiest to work as a pair so that one can hold the bag as the other adds the ingredients.  

Once the ingredients are sealed in a freezer bag, it is placed inside a second bag, along with the recipe.  

Yes, double bagging prevents major leaks and the meal can be easily identified and all ingredients listed.

It took this group of 12 just 2-1/2 hours to prepare 20 meals - 2 each of 10 different meals...  However, if you don't have that much help, I understand.  I have prepared 20 meals for my husband and I in 4-5 hours.  

So in just 1 day you can get yourself 20 days (or more if you consider the left-overs) of guilt free sewing!

There are lots of websites that offer recipes and the shopping lists and you can google them, but I have found that (being a picky eater and having dietary restrictions) not all meals appeal to me.  

Here are a few I have pulled recipes from... Who Needs A Cape and Newleaf Wellness

I will be sharing a few of my favorite recipes here on the blog for your enjoyment... Today I share an all-time favorite - White Chili

Now, the recipe says to brown the chicken and turkey... I do not.  I dice up the raw chicken and break the ground turkey into small chunks and put it all in the bag raw along with all the rest of the ingredients.  

It is best to remove the meal from the freezer the night before and allow to thaw in the refrigerator over-night - this allows for easier removal from the bag and for fitting into the crockpot.  And for making clean up even easier, use the cockpot liners!

Have you ever prepared freezer meals?  
What sort of recipes do you use?  
Do you have any tips or secrets you are willing to share?  
Leave a comment... I love to hear from my readers. :)

No Guilt - Go Quilt!


P.S. - The family enjoyed the meals throughout their long battle and have returned to a normal routine.  The freezer meals lasted approximately 4 months and we did a second set, along with some casseroles (since the season was then a cooler time of the year).

Oh and the Small, Smaller, Smallest blog hop is still going on this week!  Below is a list of the participants and the links to their pages... have fun!

March 7

March 8

Linking with:
 To Do Tuesday at Stitch All The Things
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Little Dresses for Lent & Small, Smaller, Smallest Hop

Last November I spent 10 days or so making 26 "Little Dresses" for the Operation Christmas Child shoe box event that took place at our church.  

And a few weeks ago, in the early morning my brain was awake, but my eyes were not (again), and I was contemplating the Lenten Season that had just begun.  I have never really been one to "give up" or fast from something during Lent, it just wasn't something the denomination I was raised in did... 

The whole idea of the fasting is to do without and draw closer to God - it isn't something that you are supposed to be able to really benefit from, like giving up chocolate and losing 5 pounds.  Whatever it is that you give up is supposed to be a challenge, difficult - a sacrifice.  Same in taking on something... 

I know several people that, rather than give up something, take on something.  A niece years ago agreed to do the dishes after dinner for her parents.  A facebook friend has done various things such as making quilt blocks for a charitable organization or quiet books for the children of her church.

But the other morning, the Lenten season, yards and yards of plaid fabric and the pattern for "Little Dresses" would not leave my mind - until I had decided that I would take on making these dresses for OCC shoe boxes through out the 6+ weeks of the Lenten Season. 

So, I made a list of supplies and headed to my local quilt shop (I say this tongue in cheek, because it is the fabric department of Walmart) and purchased the necessary elastic, bias tape and thread that the project required.

Thanks to the help of a friend that asked to participate in this project, I have 16 dresses done... ultimately the goal is to get 40 dresses complete or run out of fabric - which ever comes first.  I'm telling you I have yards of the plaid fabric!  

However, because the majority of the shoe boxes that will have the dresses will end up in the same little village, I have decided to add in a few others with some other fabric that was given to me.

Can you imagine it?  A village full of children, let say 50 children, and half are girls, and all 25 girls have matching dresses!  This makes me giggle, just a little...

As the title of this story indicates a hop, I am participating in the Small, Smaller, Smallest blog hop which is hosted by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt.  Today is day 2 (my post was shared yesterday) and below you will find a list of all the bloggers participating today.

You will find creative projects from each blogger and get lots of inspiration.  Have fun!
Be sure to come back after Easter to see all of the "Little Dresses" that get created!

Would it be bad to send  all of the dresses to the same village (again, I giggle)?  Or would it be better to send some to the  Little Dresses for Africa office?  Do you know of other organizations that could use some?  Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Be blessed,


Linking up with:
Fiber Tuesday at the Quilting Room with Mel
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Main Crust Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Movin' It Forward Monday at Em's Scrap Bag
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Melva Loves Scraps - Home of "Quilters Through The Generations"

Monday, March 5, 2018

Small, Smaller, Smallest - Blog Hop

Welcome to the Small,Smaller, Smallest Blog hop  Hosted by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt.  You can be certain that there will be lots of creative quilts and inspiration to be found all week.  You can follow the links provided at the end of this post to visit all of today's participants.

In more recent years I have found a love for small quilts.  For a very long time I focused on throw sized (or larger) and table runners.  

In 2016 I was in need of a quilted wall hanging gift for a friend and used the pattern from Amy Ellis at Amy's Creative Side and her Majestic Mountains.  It finished at 22" x 28". 

This was small for me...

Last year when Jen & Jan announced their Quilter's Laundry Day hop I was hesitant to join in because of our daughter's wedding date quickly approaching... but I took a day's break and joined the fun! The mini finished at 16" square and had lots of opportunity for creative license.  

I used Amy Ellis' paper piecing technique for my mountains and made a play on my "Pieces of My Heart" block from volume 8 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks publication.

This one was Smaller...

This year when Yvonne announced her Transparency Quilt along, it was offered in two sizes, but I wanted to do something smaller than the given patterns.  So with some time spent on figuring out the math, I was able to create a 24 inch square wall hanging...  Another Small

And then last month The American Quilters Society made a challenge in their facebook Project Parade group to create a landscape quilt.  This is something that I have long desired to do.  So I finally picked a Sunday afternoon and did some improv layering to create a postcard... I shared my pictures and they were featured, along with others, in their recent monthly challenge wrap up.  How fun seeing my mini-mini as the "cover" for their story as it appeared on fb!

I started with a photograph as my inspiration... 

I cropped the photo and then pulled out my scrap bin and started trimming and placing and changing and trying something new until I was pleased with the look.  


I had some fall vegetable fabric on the table and thought it would be fun to use this as my "advertisement" for when I will be at the Farmer's Market... thus the incorporation of a head of lettuce... or cabbage, or brussel sprout or whatever it is. ((giggle))  It is 5 inches by 7 inches.

I had such fun with it that I wanted to try another, not quite so whimsical, and maybe 8x10...

Well, maybe a few more... so I took a quick walk up the road and snapped a few more pictures for my inspiration - The Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

When I returned home, I pulled the scrap bin out and started layering and trimming and such...

You can't see it in the photo, but Trinidad lake is there but obstructed by the trees... I chose to place the lake in the appropriate place.  Creative licence. 

The whole process is really easy!  And addictive.  I just love the hand-dyed fabric as the mountain range... and those trees - they came from some light house and soaring eagle fabrics.  

I have several more photos that I want to play around with, but was running short on time... BUT I had just one more thing that I wanted to try...

Last fall while in Ouray, CO I purchased a quilted card (measuring 5x7) that I have been wanting to replicate.  

Using one of the same photos I used for the mini landscapes, I pulled out my xacto knife and cut out the areas I wanted to have fabric.  I glued the fabric to the inside of the card, added a layer of batting and another layer of cardstock and stitched around the openings...

Now, admittedly, this is not a final template for the cards, but it is a good start.  It needs some tweaking... and I need to acquire more batik fabrics.  As I finished the card I kept telling myself "I don't have time to do any more"... 

yet, I pulled out more scraps, wanting to make a quick card to send to a friend who recently had a double mastectomy and will begin chemo in a few weeks.  I want to offer her some love and encouragement... 


with the picture to the right as my inspiration, I quickly (I mean quickly - I really wanted to spend more time!) made this card letting her know she is loved and supported in prayer...

I could easily get caught up in making cards like these to sell at the Community Farmers Market... I mean people spend up to $5 on Hallmark cards at the store all the time, right?  Maybe cards is a new niche for me...

Small, Smaller, Smallest...  

From 24+ inches to 5x7... all blessed from above and made with love.  

Which is your favorite?

Let me know in the comments below... I love to hear from my readers.

Quilt Small, Love BIG.


Be sure to visit all of the other blogs to see their Small, smaller, smallest quilts!

Melva Loves Scraps - home of Quilters Through The Generations