Thursday, April 21, 2016


I have a confession...  I am an Emmaus "Junkie".  

My name is Melva Nolan, I was on walk #64 at Hermit Basin in April, 1999.  And I was at the table of Esther.

I met a "New Best Friend" on walk #122 and over the years we have become very close friends.  But because we live two hours away from each other we mostly talk on the phone.  She has been there for me through some very tough and difficult situations and some celebrations, and I have been there for her as well. We are each other's "sounding board".  We offer each other a safe place to vent and should someone ever ask, we can solve all of the problems of the world. LOL!  

This quilt is for my very special friend, Bonnie Johnson.  She is the Lay Director of Emmaus of the Rockies Walk #167.

People not familiar with the Walk to Emmaus movement - a short course (72 hours) in Christianity - would think it more than odd that one of the "symbols" associated with the event is a rooster... let me explain.

"De Colores" was written by a group of Spanish participants called Cursillistas or, what we call pilgrims in Emmaus.  They had been on a Cursillo event.  Cursillo is the Catholic forerunner and the basis of the ecumenical Emmaus movement.

This group was on a bus headed for home.  After having heard the many talks on the colors of God's grace, they were a joyful group indeed!  Suddenly the bus broke down.  Fortunately, there was a barnyard nearby.  The glorious show of spring colors in the fields, the flowers and budding trees inspired them.  The bright iridescent colors of the roosters and chicks and distant rainbow touched them.  so they wrote a song, "De Colores" which means "of the colors."  As they awaited rescue they, with joy in their hearts, wrote verse after verse!  Obviously they waited a long time, because the song has 99 verses! 

So... this quilt, while it is a rooster, also represents so much more!  

  • It has every color of the rainbow
  • The rooster reminds us of Peter and how quick he was to deny Christ... and how quick the Lord was to forgive Peter on the beach when He returned.
  • The tiny pieces of fabric that some would have considered waste and far too small to be useful, come together to make a larger piece - just as each of us come together to make up the Body of Christ 
(1 Corinthians 12:12-14 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.)
  • There are special messages of love quilted in - hearts, De Colores and Walk 167

Bonnie, what a blessing to be your friend and Sister in Christ.  I love you.

De Colores!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Read the Label

***I was invited by Doris at The Quilting Queen Online to be a guest blogger while she was enjoying a cruise.  This is what I submitted***

As a self-taught quilter, I find myself set in my ways and it is often years later that I learn the "proper" way to do something or, at the very least, an easier way. Thus was the situation for how I did my binding...  It is for this reason that I like to learn and gather as much information from other blogs or tutorials.

Recently, I have been seeing numerous blog posts about quilt labels.  I value the importance of such labels and am a firm believer in providing as much information on the label as possible.  I personally feel that the name of the quilt, the maker, who it is made for, the occasion, and a date are what I feel are the "vital statistics."

Here are two labels that I have used - both from pre-printed 
panels that were either 1/2 yard or 1 yard cuts.

I have read many of Jennifer Chiaverini's "Elm Creek Quilters" books and am fascinated by the storylines she has created emphasizing the importance of offering as much info on the labels as possible, and that when the proper info is offered, how much easier it is to learn the unknown history of family members.

I think it was in one of the Elm Creek Quilters books that I learned the importance of including all of this information not just on a label, but on the inside of the binding, when entering a quilt contest.  In the event of the quilt being stolen or that someone else tries to claim that it was entered into the contest by someone other than the quiltmaker.  For only the quilter would know that the info is there, but in the event of trying to "prove" who made it, the binding could be undone and the truth revealed.

For me, the label is the final step of the project.  About a year ago I listened to a podcast ( that the label should not be an after thought of the project.  Rather, it encouraged quilters to place it on the back of the quilt prior to quilting it, making it near impossible to remove the label.  Interesting thought...

I never thought that it was really necessary... And then I gave a wedding gift.  

(I have given numerous quilts as wedding gifts and as shower gifts with the thought that everyone appreciates a home made gift.  After all, I always received thank you's that were gushing with appreciation for the quilt.  Many times the note sender included comments on how it perfectly matched the room or how they looked forward to using it for years to come.)

But this wedding gift was different.  The thank you note was received... and then a few months later I noticed that a sibling of the original recipient has shared a picture of her apartment with the quilt proudly displayed in her room.  My husband and I had the opportunity to visit her and I snuck a peek at where label had been placed and discovered that the label had been removed. 

Yep... REMOVED! 

It took me back a bit.  Ok, I'll be honest... I was hurt.  My quilt was rejected!?! Really? How could someone not appreciate or want the quilt that I had carefully pieced and made for them???  And then I thought about it....  At least I didn't find it at a thrift shop or for sale on the local swap shop...  When I realized that the person that had it proudly displayed was doing exactly what I had intended it for I felt better.  I wanted someone to love it and use it!  I have long stated that I make my quilts to be used... I overcame my hurt and disappointment and embraced the fact that at least SOMEONE loved it.

So, if I had placed the label on the back and then quilted it, making it very difficult to remove, the recipient may have kept the quilt... or not. I state again, I am happy to know that the person that currently has it loves it and uses it.  If the label could not have been easily removed, it may not have ended up being the situation at all - It may have ended up shoved in the back of a closet or even tossed out!

Last year I was contacted by StickerIt - - asking me if I would be interested in trying one of their QRC labels that when scanned takes you to a web-site where a personal written or video message would be waiting for them. I accepted the offer and placed one on the back of a wall hanging that had been made for a dear friend.  The message I left for her included the reasons I picked the blocks and the meanings of each one.  There was a large group of friends that were to sign the back of the wall hanging.  Not everyone signing the wall hanging had heard why there was a QRC label on the back. A well meaning friend carefully peeled off the iron-on label, thinking it was there by mistake. 

They thought that perhaps it had been purchased and were removing any such evidence... Thankfully, I found the label tossed aside and hand sewed it back onto to the wall hanging.

(I am not a paid spokesperson for StickerIt, simply an impressed customer.) 

And they have some fancier looking ones so that they would not be mistaken for some sort of UPC barcode. They have a variety available... some you can color yourself or the color printed ones are nice too!

I am sure there are lots of options for labeling your quilts... What do you do?

Have I changed when/how I place the label?  Not yet - I still do the quilting and then add the label.  As I stated at the beginning... As a self-taught quilter, I am set in my ways.

Happy Quilting!

Thank you Doris for inviting me to be a guest blogger while you are out enjoying your cruise!  And to Doris' readers, join me over at Melva Loves Scraps!

See what other quilters are talking about at Quilter Blogs

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Relay for Life - Hope, Fight, Celebrate & Remember

My latest quilt is a donation for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The shirts and fabric were sent to me by a friend who fought and overcame her battle with cancer.

Here is Colleen's story...

When I was 17 my grandmother, my hero, died of Ovarian Cancer, I still get a bit teary when I think about her and still miss her terribly.  Since grandma, we have lost so many people to this hideous disease, Mother-in-law, father in law, brother in law, three uncles, a few cousins, and my Dad.  Multiple friends have also fought the battle and lost. 

The research and steps made to find a cure have made it a happy ending because I have several close friends that are survivors!  We have identified several of the genetic markers in family members thanks to the research; this has given us many awesome years with some of the family due to the knowledge of the genetic markers so they have been able to get preventative testing for early detection.  There are so many people touched by the disease, as I was talking to the car salesman, he told me about his mother and his aunt.  While going through my own treatment, I met a man in the grocery store that told me the story of his wife that had cancer and died; he had a tear in his eye and looked so sad.  At the swimming pool while I was trying to regain movement in my arms and upper body, I was approached by a lady that told me of her daughter who was battling a rare cancer; she was in her 20s….   

I know people think they may not know anyone that has been touched by cancer but just listening to the heartbreak and stories and looking at my family that stood by me when I was not able to lift more than a few pounds with my arms, could barely move some days and was so sick during chemo that laying on the cold floor was the only thing that I could do because the energy to get up and wait for another round of getting sick just took too much energy…  The journey has taught us about the genetics of cancer and unfortunately there are many bad genes in our family.  The good part of knowing this information the capability/opportunity to be proactive and get the testing for early detection!  Early detection seems to be the best treatment as of now…   

As I made the quilt I thought of all those that I have known and loved that have had to fight in their own battle with cancer.  Some won.  Some did not.  I asked some of my friends to share how they had been touched or affected by cancer and to share their own personal stories.  Many thanks to all that shared!

This quilt is in memory of ...

Grandma Olafson,  Grandma Walton, Dad – Steve Olafson, Mary Jo Frizzell, Walt Sr. Frizzell, Greg Frizzell, Lawrence Olafson, Bill Olafson, George Walton, , LaDonna Breidjford, Jean Hodges, Kris Larson, Karen England, Bonnie, Karen England, Mike York, Jim, Brian Wheeler,  - I am missing lots here - Colleen Frizzell

My Father, Robert W. Johnson died from pancreatic cancer - Mark Johnson

My dad went home with the Lord due to prostate cancer. - Lonnie Gibson

Top of the list of people in my life taken by cancer is Mom (Sandi Nolan), who lost her battle way too young on 4/22/1995. I miss her every day. Also cousins, Joe Weigel, who died from leukemia complications a couple of years ago and Scott Gromer, tragically lost many years ago at the age of 16, only days after being diagnosed with Hodgkins. - Linda Hopp

Lost my husband in 1998 and my Mom 2 years ago - Cindy White

I lost my sister Cathy in 2011 to cancer.  - Ruth Lopez

Dad, Dave Russell, went to heaven on November 19, 2014. Hospice care givers are a gift from God. - Lori Schleich

I lost my Dad to lung cancer in '09. I still miss him - Sheryl Blair

My God Mother Theresa Duran is a cancer survivor. - Susan Moreno

We lost our 8 year old nephew Dylan Maldonado in April of 2013 to lymphoblastic leukemia. Ron's father Carl Maldonado January of 2016 (lung and colon). Patricia Mascarenas February 2015 (had a few different types of cancer). Patricia Mabry (pancreatic). Sylvia Mantelli (colon) - Kathy Bell

Grandpa Schleich died of prostrate cancer, his daughter, Clara Wirth had cancer as well. Great Grandpa Bohl had throat cancer, Auntie Bob, Uncle Ralph, Aunt Marie, and my cousin Dyke.  Not so untouched by cancer after all. - Carol Schleich

This quilt is in honor of...

Mama Bessler, Julie Palermo, Linda Fischlein, Donna Gaul, Linda Kline, Laura Olafson, Joan neighbor, Colleen Frizzell, Susan McCamey, Marti Thompson, Karen the Piano Lady, - I know I am missing so many here… - Colleen Frizzell

My Mother, Betty J. Johnson beat breast cancer. I am a survivor, also. The memory I have is of the support of family and friends - like you and Dave -- who kept me going through your prayers and encouragement. And twizzlers. And cashews. Mostly prayer, though. - Mark Johnson

Steve Gibson (lung) & his parents (dad - prostate & kidney mom - breast). - Lonnie Gibson

Currently fighting are my brother in law, Tim, who has a rare cancer of the small bowel, My son-in-law Jon's Dad, Mike Krauski, currently in a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins for pancreatic cancer, Caryn's Mom, Nina, a friends daughter, Lynn Washabaugh, with multiple myeloma, who has had her own stem cells harvested and is going in today to have them transplanted back into her (she will be in isolation for some time). Also another church friend, Lynn Hammerlund, who has metastasized breast cancer, now in her bones. As for survivors, we have 2 musicians from church, Colleen and Chris, that are both brain tumor survivors, our friend Mike LeRoy is now free of prostate cancer, and Cindy Hopp's sister, Sheree Cannis, survived the removal of a large tumor from her abdomen a couple of years ago. I know there are more that I'm forgetting, but from this list it's obvious that cancer affects every facet of our lives! I'm in awe of the positive and upbeat attitudes of all of the people I know that have either survived or are fighting cancer and I pray every day for a breakthrough and cure. - Linda Hopp

My cousin Deb is a survivor and her husband Allen is currently battling cancer. - Ruth Lopez

Although my Dad passed 9/14/14 due to complications of Alzheimers, he did survive prostate cancer, I believe in 1999. - Sally Kilpatrick

My son and your cousin, Joseph Patrick Weigel, age 45, who went to be with the Lord on November 3, 2012, from complications after a bone marrow transplant. He beat leukemia, but lost his life to a subsequent autoimmune disorder that caused respiratory failure. - Sheila Weigel

I just lost a dear friend Marilyn Presley in March.  - Susan Moreno

Colleen is passionate about Relay and shares... "due to the changes we have seen just since my diagnosis I have chosen Relay as my event to support.  The genetic testing in 2012 when I went through it was over $2000, with new laws and information, it can now be done for under $100."   

I don't think that there is a single person that is not affected by cancer.  It is a nasty, ugly, mean disease and I can only hope that science can defeat it once and for all!  I know that this quilt will help to raise money to get one step closer to a cancer free world...

This one is for all those fighting!

Be blessed!


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