Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Save The Bees Block of the Month #2

In August I somehow found myself signed up for anther Block of the month that could involved applique over at Jaquelynne Steves' blog.  

I did applique the first block...  I then placed it in a wall hanging for the Welcome To My House blog hop earlier this month.

One of the options for this block of the month was to embroider the block.  I learned how to embroider when I was about 8 or 9 years old, and as a young Mom in my twenties, I enjoyed doing counted cross-stitch in the evening when the babies were tucked in for the night.  I found that it kept me awake by keeping my hands busy... otherwise, I would snooze on the couch for the evening.  I probably could have used the extra sleep, now that I think back.  

I really didn't have much interest in pulling out my collection of (now nearly vintage) embroidery thread, but I did want to try out some of the stitches on my machine.

I traced the pattern onto my fabric with a wash out pencil and then selected various colors to "paint" and outline the lines.  

I used the straight stitch and a stitch I call "lightning zigzag" for my outlines.   It offers a sort of "fuzzy" look to my bee and the flower stem and leaves, that I really like!

I then filled in the bee using fabric markers.  

I think because of all the applique that I have done in BOMs this summer, I found the slower pace with the "painting" relaxing.  

(These blocks were projects for me to enjoy on Sunday afternoons.  I try to make sure I don't "work" on Sunday in my studio and do something for fun, for me.)

I do like the fact that the fabric is not stiff from fusing pieces onto the background.

Honestly, I am not a fan of bees... they sting.  And it hurts.  I am grateful that I am not allergic to bee stings!

We tend to have more wasps or hornets in our area... I don't like them either!

But, a few years ago, when our dog was only a year old and still a very curious pup she would snap at flies and other insects that would bother her... 

She once enjoyed some mushrooms that were growing in our yard... that turned out very badly!  I still gag when I think of the mess...  *ugh*

On this particular day, as the photo shows below, she snapped at something that was a stinging insect!  

Poor thing... she earned herself a trip to the vet, a shot followed by some benadryl.  

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She has since become a smarter and more mature dog that no longer (or rarely) snaps at the insects... she shakes them off.  Oh, and she doesn't eat the mushrooms in our yard either!

Have you ever done any thread "painting"?  

I realize mine isn't really painting... 
or maybe it is just by a beginning artist!

I would love to hear about your techniques and any tips you might have... 

Leave a comment!  I love hearing from my followers. :)



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

Monday, September 24, 2018

2018 Color Challenge - Red Violet

The 2018 Monthly Color block pattern may have been simple and fast... but the fabric selection was not!

Red-Violet... my selection was limited.  I have used lots of various shades of purple, violet and lavender in the past with several of quilts that I donated to the local Alzheimer fundraising events.  But because of this... my options were limited, but I was sticking to my guns about using only fabric in my stash... I refused to purchase anything.

I had several pieces that were acceptable but were not large enough in size.  I have a fabric storage area in our guest room closet on the main level as well as a cabinet in the basement... and the scrap bin in my sewing room closet.  I must have walked back and forth at least 20 times in the hopes that something new would reveal itself.

In the end I finally settled...

I had to sew two pieces of the mottled red-violet fabric together to make it large enough.  It really isn't horribly noticeable, but it was not an ideal situation...  Sometimes you just have to accept the imperfections of life and move on!

If I were to do a second-chance block, I would make the corner squares four-patch blocks and do a totally scrappy look with the center nine-patch as well... 

This block was particular in "who it wanted to play with".  With scrappy blocks and quilts, the more the merrier!  You can just move a small piece around until it seems happy.  Something like a large group of people or a classroom... You can't seat Jimmy next to Adam because all they will do is fight.  And you can't seat Melody with Samantha because they are too much alike and will just get lost together...  You see, you want contrast as well as blending, but sometimes it takes placing a Billy or a Jennifer in between two "clashers" or two "too much alikes" to bring everything into peaceful a harmony.

In the music world, melody is the lead... harmony is to enhance the sound and offer a depth to the song.  It is meant to support the melody, not overtake it.  And when done properly, it can be a beautiful sound... However, if harmony overtakes the melody it sounds "off" and when someone sings the harmony part alone, well, let me be honest... it can be down right awful.

Finding the balance in music, as well as life, can be a challenge.  And when all is well balanced, it can be beautiful!  But when out of balance... things don't sound well or go well.  This is where I seem to be right now... life seems a little out of tune.

Image may contain: 9 people, including Dana Harvey Storch, Melva Nolan, Betty Flores and Phyllis Dana Beals, people smiling, people standing and indoor

I haven't had any needle and thread action for a number of days because of a class reunion event {{How is it possible that 35 years have passed??}}... It was definitely a good time, but I have MISSED my creative outlet/therapy!!!!  I think I will see if a scrappy version of this block can help to bring things back into balance.  

What do you do when things feel a little off?  

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

Seek Piece and find Peace...


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

Linking with:
2018 Color Challenge at Patterns By Jen
BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts
Main Crush Monday at Cookin' Up Quilts
Monday Making at Love, Laugh, Quilt
O Scrap at Quilting is more fun than housework

Friday, September 21, 2018

It's A "Wild" Life :: He's So Foxy

Carole over at Just Let Me Quilt has created another super cute block for the It's A Wild Life Block of the Month...

Again, it is so cute foxy, I hardly minded the applique!

At the beginning of the summer Dave and I headed just a mere 80 miles to our north to Pueblo Lake State Park for a few days.  We enjoyed some time with our kiddos since they all live in Pueblo.  How convenient for them... and fun for us!

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On our last morning at the park we followed a paved path that winds its way from near the camp ground and visitor's center to the Arkansas River.  It actually goes all the way into downtown Pueblo... (we want to enjoy the trail again soon, now that the hot summer temps are going away soon.)  

As we rode our bikes and enjoyed the view and the quiet Dave noticed some activity not far from the fish hatchery.  We both stopped and watched a Momma fox with two kits romp and play.  

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Shortly after our return home my photographer friend, Cindy,  shared some great shots she captured of a family of foxes that were in her backyard.

Be sure to show her some love over on instagram...

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And one final one...  This one just makes me laugh!

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Now you may have noticed that I wandered from the original pattern (I simply cannot follow a pattern.  I mean, maybe if my life was dependent upon it, but even then... )  I just HAD to sneak in some piecing... Using another orphan log cabin block from my Farmland quilt, I created the grass (similar to what I did in the Lunchtime block in July.

I then paper pieced my tree and then basically "filled in" the sky area.  I used a short cut on the flowers by using some sunflowers from my stash.

I was told by a little birdie that the October block likely includes applique... I am not surprised!  I am over it.  The whining and complaining that is.  I will find a way around or through it.  

Watching wildlife can be quite entertaining.  We have been lucky enough to have turkey, deer, elk, bear and mountain lions in our yard - most without any damage or harm.  (The mountain lion was trapped and removed...)  I once saw a bobcat cross our yard!

My husband used to do lots of hunting... I know not everyone is a fan, but bear with me - he is a wise and moral hunter, though he doesn't hunt much anymore.  

He favorite was bow season for deer.  In the early hours of the morning he would watch deer come into the area.  He liked it best when does would come in with their fawns.  He would never draw to shoot in such a case, rather, he would drop acorns, twigs or leaves from the stand and watch them.  He had many stories of the young deer looking around (but never up) to see where they were coming from... and he would never startle them in such situations, but chose to wait for them to quietly leave the area before exiting his stand. 

Last fall we had five to six deer in our yard that would frequently cause both of us to pause our work and watch them as they wandered in our yard. 

What is your favorite wildlife creature to watch?

I'd love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below to let me know...  

Piece Peacefully...

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

Linking with:
It's A Wild Life BOM at Sew Incredibly Crazy
BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River

Monday, September 17, 2018

Irish Vortex

After I agreed to do some pattern testing for Shannon at Shannon Fraser Designs for her #IrishVortex quilt pattern that will be released next month, I received her directions and I began my fabric pull.  

I had settled on a crib sized quilt (the pattern will include 8 different sizes) and I wanted to use some of the "Captain Frog" fabric that I had in my closet...  

All of this fabric is stuff from a stash from a retired sewists (or is that sewologist?  may be simply sew-er, because sewer doesn't look right).  Either way... What a gift!  That Captain Frog fabric was purchased from an Alco and dated back to 2003... it's been around a while!

Now, I have to say you will not want to miss this pattern.  It is a wonderful pattern that will be loved by beginners as well as some more advanced... because, well, you know that even those of us that have been quilting for some time can use some simple, fast projects in our libraries!  Shannon will announce the release in October... watch for it

As I started this quilt it was Labor Day weekend.  My husband and I had attended the local parade and spent some time enjoying some social interaction (need I remind you that we are self-employed and have little face to face interaction with our members of our community? And my husband is an extrovert?) It was fun to bump into friends we hadn't seen or talked to in months.  

**Spoiler Alert** There is an emotional story of an event that played out as I progressed on this quilt...

Upon our return home we received the terrible news that the 8 year old son of friends we hold dear in our hearts had also been in a parade in the North Denver area and had fallen off of the float and died.  

Image may contain: 3 people, including Melissa Zerby, people smiling, people standing, tree and outdoorThe parents (Jimmy & Melissa) as well as the grand-parents and numerous aunts & uncles are people we hold so dearly to our hearts because they have such generous hearts and only want to live to share the love of Christ, their Lord and Savior.  

We have been blessed for the past 15 years to watch their family & faith grow.    You see, all that Melissa had ever wanted in life was to be a Momma.  She and Jimmy struggled with infertility for several years before receiving their first miracle in January... and then just a few months after her arrival came to discover to find that miracle #2 would be born in the same calendar year!  Yep, Irish Twinsies!  Followed by a third little blessing a few years later.  

We have watched their little family grow in numbers and in faith.  Just in July Melissa was able to participate in a mission trip to Guatemala.  

And they were participating - as a family, all five of them - in an outreach event with their church that was promoting the opening of a new church campus in the town where the parade was being held.  Little "Brycen Boy" fell off of the float and the rest... well, details don't need to be shared... (I don't even know of all the details because I chose not to ask) but one can imagine how horrific they would be...

By the end of the day a go fund me account had been set up by Jimmy's employers to help cover any expenses the family might incur from the tragic event.  To date, more that $87,000 has been raised.  

A few days later Brycen's parents, with the strength and courage that could only come from God, released a statement saying that Brycen never would have wanted to cause such pain in his death and encouraged everyone to 

"...serve each other with unselfish hearts, be generous beyond reason, play as hard as you can, hold the door open at every opportunity, and seek Jesus with the faith of a child." 

So... as I pieced (and un-pieced a few times - maybe I was a little distracted...) the blocks for this quilt I naturally thought of the Zerby family... and the irony of the name of this quilt "Irish Vortex" ... 

that little red-headed, freckle faced boy, who was an Irish twin with his sister... and the swirling of life events moving in slow motion, yet spinning out of control, as his family simply moved forward with funeral plans for the end of the week.  

You can get a sense of the swirling motion that this pattern gives in the photo below...

Brycen's grandmother shared with me that following his funeral there were seven (7!) individuals that committed their lives to Christ.  I sit here in tears even now just thinking about this.  The soul of one little boy gone, yet through the actions of his parents and family members saved seven for Eternity.

It is the promise from Romans 8:28 that those surrounding the Zerby's cling to...

we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him...  

It was with mixed emotions as I finished this quilt... I had a bit of "the luck o' the Irish" with my bobbin... 

It was the last seam on the last block... It was as if I was playing Russian roulette and I won!

I had mentioned it to Dave, and he suggested that I go buy a lottery ticket since my luck was so good!  lol...

I added a border, but not too much of one, allowing it to still have a standard width of fabric - Captain Frog fabric - backing.  

I contemplated how to quilt it as I spent an hour or so laying awake in bed in the wee hours of 9/11.  I thought about a simple all over lattice... or even straight line quilting... 

but then it suddenly occurred to me, free-motion stars and loops!  

It was shortly after that revelation that I fell back to sleep.  

Does anyone else "quilt" in their mind when you can't sleep?  Please tell me I am not alone!  

Leave a comment below...  you know I love to hear from my followers!

My plan for this quilt is to sell it with all proceeds being donated to the Zerby family.  

Are you interested in purchasing this quilt?  Let me know.  You can e-mail me at ...  While every quilt that I make is "blessed from above and made with love", this one may have had a tear or two shed on it...  But I don't think that is a bad thing. 😘

If you feel so inclined to make a contribution to the memorial fund on the go fund me page, the link is provided above.  

Be blessed!


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

Linking with:
Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side

Friday, September 14, 2018

Let's Go Camping :: Camping Activities

Pat Sloan's "Let's Go Camping" Mystery Block of the month is all about Camping Activities.

I have already shared about some of the things we have done while camping... like our bike rides up the original Wolf Creek Pass last year...  and playing ball in the meadow and hiking or Uno or the card game Speed for hours on end when it rained...  

So when I thought of what other activities we would do I thought back to just six short weeks ago (and we need to go camping again... soon!) when we camped with our oldest daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.  We enjoyed time at the hot springs in Ouray, some time in the park and a good game of T-ball that was filled with some rule bending and giggles galore!

But I also recalled when my girls were younger and they would walk the meadow at my Uncle's property and gather wild flowers. 

See the source imageI don't remember where we were that I watched Heather with Emma telling her that they needed some purple flowers to add to the bouquet they had gathered.  It may have been in the same meadow my cousins and I would play ball when we collected firewood for them last year.  

Wild flower gathering is a great activity for the little ones.  It can be a calming time that invited conversation and... bonus!  You can sneak in some color recognition... and you can keep sending them back for different colors or grasses as filler.  I dug through several old photo albums and photo libraries on cds in search of one of the many bouquets we enjoyed as table centerpieces when we camped.

Something similar to the one I found on-line... >>>

So... my fabric selection for this block isn't really that out of place. The Route 66 fabric represents the road trip portion involved with camping and the floral print is a reminder of all the bouquets gathered with love.

Pat had suggested a scavenger hunt which is also a great idea.  You could make your own or use the link provided... you could even incorporate collecting wildflowers into the hunt!

What are some of your favorite camping activities?  

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

Have you heard about the 2018 Quilter's Meet & Greet hop taking place the entire month of September?  You can jump over to Benita Skinner's Creative Space to see the entire list of participants.  Did I mention there is a fantastic prize to be won???  Details can be found on both blogs.

Sew Happy!

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

Linking with:

Pat Sloan's Let's Go Camping Mystery Block
BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
TGIFF at Devoted Quilter
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, September 10, 2018

Welcome to My House! :: Hop & Give-Away


Welcome to Melva Loves Scraps and The Welcome to My House Hop (hosted by Carol Swift at Just Let Me Quilt.  This hop is certain to be a fun filled and inspiring event!  

There will be a list of participants at the end of this post.  I have a pattern to give away as well!  Details at the end...

When I signed up for this hop my idea was to create a wall hanging of only house blocks, all different colors and sizes and styles and call it "Won't You Be My Neighbor."  I loved watching Mr. Rogers with my children.  It was a favorite!  I was certain that the houses would be super cute too!

I started pulling patterns and found that I couldn't find the blocks in the sized I desired... mostly 12", 6" and 9".  What I found were 5", 8" and 10".  So much for my idea... 

I was determined that I could make my idea work... somehow!

I made up a few of the different blocks in their original size and pushed through... 

And then I had two commissioned t-shirt quilts show up and I had to set aside the house patterns and blocks.  I'll be honest... I was disappointed that my plan didn't come together easily.

  I considered using my August block from the "It's A Wild Life" BOM...

Did you see it??? It is super cute and looks like our house and the mountains you can see from the top of the hill behind us!

I had to keep repeating to myself... "I am not a quitter."  "I am not a quitter."  I had to make something work!  

Maybe I was avoiding my house project, but Save The Bees block caught my attention.  

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So I "played" with it... 

Face it!  

You have to answer the call when something captures your attention!  Otherwise your focus is distracted and you don't give it your all... 

Am I right???

And... (warning - rabbit trail ahead!) if you have been reading and following along this summer at all, you should know that I am not a fan of applique.  I have whined and moaned about the amount of appliqued blocks that have been included in the monthly Wild Life blocks... 

I am beginning to feel as though there is a conspiracy or something to force me to begin to love applique, because I caught a sneak peek of the September block... and it would appear that there is more applique. What???

Learn to love applique?  **record scratching sound**  NOT going to happen, but I am loving the look of the blocks... and the Save the Bees block is no exception.

My original idea with the Bee blocks was to machine embroidery or stitch the design on the blocks in hopes of giving it a hand embroidered look... kind of like the trail of bee.  (I may still sneak back into the studio this weekend to try that.  Stay tuned!)

But then I discovered that the block looked good with the houses...  (rejoining the trail again soon...)

I pulled out some letters that were left over from a project several years ago...

I discovered that I could form the word "Welcome" if I combined an "N" and a "U" for the "W" and the "M".  

Yep... signed myself up for another applique!  Heck, let's throw in some sunflowers that had fusing on them from someone else's stash while were at it!  

What is going on here???

Do I love applique??? No, but I am not whining about it anymore!

My finished project is 23" x 27" and has corner pockets to insert a dowel rod for easy hanging.

Wow... that was a bit of round about way to getting to my finished project!  I generally am not quite so all over the place with my projects and my thoughts... something strange is going on. While it is not all that my mind's eye envisioned, it is a cute little hanging.

What do you do when a project (or life) just isn't quite going the way that you would expect?  
Do you refuse to give up and stay on the main trail?  
Do you abort the project and turn around to head home?  
Do you modify your plans, sometimes following rabbit trails, discovering that the trails meet up again?

As I stated... I am not a quitter.  I refuse to give up!  Things may not turn out the way I thought... most of the time it is for the best!  God's little blessings.

I have a pattern to give away.  It is "Settler's Trail".  It is a wonderful pattern for a super scrappy quilt!

Entry for the give away is easy.  Simply leave a comment before Saturday, September 15th.

Be sure to leave your email address if you are a no-reply blogger so that I can contact you should be picked as the winner.

Thanks for stopping by and traveling down the winding trail with me.

Sew Happy!


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

September 10

September 11

September 13

September 14

Linking with:
Movin' it forward Monday at Em's Scrapbag
Monday Making at Love, Laugh, Quilt
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
Fiber Tuesday at The Quilting Room with Mel