Friday, November 30, 2018

Save The Bees - Block #4

The fourth and final Save The Bees block by Jacquelynne Steves has been completed and they are all ready to be assembled as a quilt next month.

As I mentioned in last month's Save The Bees post, I am a tea drinker and prefer to sweeten my tea with honey.  So I have really enjoyed these blocks. 

As a young girl I remember visiting a Great-Aunt, "Auntie Bob" who lived in Stonewall and hearing about the beehives that her husband used to have (he had passed away before I ever had the chance to know him).  She was an excellent cook and baker and would regularly bake pies to sell at the small store located across the highway from her house.

Auntie Bob's given name is Viola, but when her youngest brother, Forrest (my Grandpa) was learning to talk, he couldn't pronounce Viola... it came out something like "Bi-O-Ba" and eventually everyone called her Bob.  My Mom spent much of her childhood with Auntie Bob and Uncle Ollie...  

Mom's memories varied a little from her brother's memories of Uncle Ollie's beehive, but here is a blend of what they recall...

"Uncle Ollie’s beehive was about 36 inches high, by about 18 inches wide.  It was on the back side of the house to the west.  It was a little south of the brooder house and under some tall pine trees.  

The honeycombs were about 6” x 1” and were in some kind of tray you pulled out of the hive. Uncle Ollie wore a big hat with a mesh over it.  The bees collected nectar from the blooms from the hay field. 

Uncle Ollie usually gathered the honey in the fall. Auntie Bob was never too far away waiting with the bluing bottle to dab the bluing on a bee sting.  The bluing took the sting out of the bite.  

Bluing was a laundry product used in the rinse cycle of a load to make the whites appear brighter.

It has many other uses besides laundry... and it is still available for purchase!

The honey they collected was for their own use.  Auntie Bob would set a honeycomb in a dish and let the honey drain out.  It was slow to drain."   

Did you know that when a beehive is invaded by an outsider, the bees protect the hive by stinging the invader to death?  If the remains are too large to remove, they begin to cover them with layers of wax, so thick that the features become blurred and difficult to distinguish... The intruder becomes a lasting part of the hive!

Do you know any tidbits of info on bees?  

Leave a comment to let me know or share your thoughts on the block.  I'd love to hear from you!

Buzz on,


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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Virtual Cookie Exchange and blog hop :: Give Away!

Welcome to the Virtual Cookie Exchange!  

This fun event is hosted by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt and is a place where you can sample everyone's favorite Christmas cookies and not consume a single calorie!  lol...

Once upon a time... I used to make lots and lots of Christmas Cookies.  

Among the favorites were Magic Cookie Bars.  You know those graham cracker crusted bars with sweetened condensed milk, coconut, nuts and chips (or holiday chocolate candies) sprinkled on top.  Mmmm.... I do miss them.  I recently came across a paleo adapted version that I may give a go...

I have never mastered the skill of rolling sugar cookie dough (or pie dough, for that matter).   

For this reason, I have always preferred bar cookies or drop cookies.  It just saves me the frustration and temper tantrum. 😳

But Sugar cookies were one of my Dad's favorites.  He enjoyed eating them, but the real draw to them was decorating them... he especially loved decorating them with his grand-daughters.  He was no Picasso with them, but he loved picking the color of frosting and the various toppings and sprinkles.  He was a bit like a child in the mindset of the more, the better!  I'm not sure my Mom enjoyed cleaning up after them...

And since I don't do rolled cookies... gingerbread included, I thought I would make a cute little table topper that is a little more up my alley and involved skills that I HAVE mastered!

He was super easy to make... My "recipe" called for  5-1/2" squares.  To create the rounded sections of his head and hands I used 1-3/4" squares and the stitch and flip method.  I decorated him with some ric-rac on his arms and legs and added some fused raw edge applique buttons, eyes and mouth (I remember using the small red cinnamon candies on cookies).  The bow is a small piece of ribbon stitched in place.

I liked it so much that I thought the the gingerbread man needed a partner!  

Aren't they cute???  They finish at 17 inches square...

As I pieced them I kept thinking of Karen over at Tu-Na Quilts and her recent love for mug rugs.  I did some quick math... using 2-1/2" squares and 3/4" pieces to create the rounded-ness (is that a word?? It is now!) and I came up with this little guy!  He finished at 6-1/2 inches and is decorated with some of the decorative stitches on my machine.  

I will share details below about how to have a chance to win this gingerbread man mug rug for yourself... 😉

Since my dietary restrictions were implemented 1-1/2 years ago I have found few outstanding recipes for cookies.  I have ONE that is a staple for us...  The original recipe called it Gluten-free Shortbread.  I didn't think that Dave would enjoy them as Shortbread - in his words, "Shortbread is a waste of time and ingredients".  He tasted these before asking what they were and exclaimed "these are good - you can make these again!"  

Now, maybe it was the fact that sweets had been basically non-existent in our house for several months because of the anti-inflammatory protocol I have been following for my thyroid condition, or maybe because I call them something other than "shortbread"...  I won't question it!  lol!  

Butter Cookies

2 cups Almond Flour
6 tablespoons butter - softened
6 tablespoons powdered Sugar 
(I use 1/3 cup coconut sugar - pulverized in the food processor until it is a super-fine texture)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix in food processor until all ingredients form a ball.

Shape into 30 small balls.  

Use a spoon or finger to form a divot in the center of the cookie.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  

Place a small amount of mini chips or a large chocolate chunk in the divot.  Return to the warm oven for 1-2 minutes... just until the chocolate is softened. 

Gently spread the chocolate.  Let cool... enjoy!
I need to work on increasing my cookie selections... 

I included some GF banana-chocolate chip muffins in the photo.

And a bonus... 

They are reversible!  Yep!  I had these panels hanging out in my stash for a couple years now and finally found a use (other than a pillow)...

What is your favorite cookie - Christmas or otherwise?

Time for the give away details... Leave a comment before December 3rd about your favorite cookie.  Simple as that...

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my sneak peek on Sunday... You can catch me over at facebook or on bloglovin' too.  

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit all of the other bloggers that are participating!  You will NOT be disappointed in the recipes and ideas shared.

Merry Quilt-mas!


November 27

November 28

November 29
Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Quilters Through The Generations series

Linking with:

Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrap Bag
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Friday Foto Fun at Powered By Quilting
Show and Tell Monday with Bambi
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
Color Inspiration at Cleave Chameleon Quilting
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
WIP Wednesday with Esther
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Monday, November 26, 2018

Let's Go Camping :: Finish!

Recently Dave and I wanted to make one last camping trip.  Thanksgiving was a week+ away and we had just received 8-9 inches of snow on Monday... 

... and we were longing for warmer weather and an opportunity to ride some trails on our bikes.  

I had been working on quilting my Let's Go Camping BOM quilt during the snow storm... I had made progress and had hoped to be able to get all of the quilting done so that I could finish the binding while on the road.  Things were looking good for that plan... 

We had planned to head south to Texas on Saturday, BUT because of another storm front they said would move through that area over the weekend, we chose to leave a few days early and enjoy the beautiful weather that was predicted for Thursday and Friday.  The binding was not meant to happen.  Oh well.  It would all wait for my return... 

We had some beautiful days in Quitaque, TX!

Caprock Canyon State Park has some beautiful views...

Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: mountain, sky, outdoor and nature

On the Thursday we rode 13.7 miles on just the park roads.  We had to wait patiently for the Bison to get off of the road at one point (but who is going to argue with them?), we navigated a short section of 16% grade as we crossed the river at the bottom of the canyon, this also means we walked our bikes up a section of it since we didn't make it all the way to the top; we watched prairie dogs, listened to coyotes call out in the wee hours of the day, headed to bed at 8 p.m. and slept eleven (11!) hours with no problem.

On Friday we ventured a few miles down the road to a section of the trail system that uses an abandoned Railroad bed.  

It was well maintained with crushed gravel that was well packed.  We road 4.5 miles to Clarity Tunnel, which houses some bats...  

Ack!  It was just a short tunnel, 582 feet long, with a bit of a curve.  It was fine dust and was, no doubt, comprised of years and years of accumulation of bat guano... and it was a little stinky!  Gross!! 

Of course, Dave told me to stop for a few seconds to snap a selfie... you could hear the bats "chirping" as they hung from the ceiling. I didn't stay stopped long once I realized what I heard!  

As we rode the trail we saw lots of deer tracks, as well as tracks from the cows that grazed in the pastures on either side of the trail.  And then I noticed this...

Just what do you suppose could have left such a track???  

We did see one small rattlesnake on another section of the trail after lunch, but it was just a little thing... what ever left this behind must have been bigger.  I shudder as I think of how many snakes we may have passed in the grasses on the edge of the trail... which is why I stayed carefully in the center of the trail!

We rode a total of 15 miles on the second day.  Our bums were a little sore! 

Upon our return home, after getting caught up on laundry, I settled in at my sewing table.  I went to work on my feathered wreaths embellished with some vines and leaves in each block and free motion feathers in the open edge blocks.

It has been fun making these blocks, recalling many of the places we have camped, time spent around the campfire, seeing animals and their crossings; taking inventory of what to take and things you do, the food enjoyed while stirring the pot.  Thinking of all the things you can camp in, the various camping activities, as well as friendships made.

My free-motion quilting is far from perfect, but I have improved sooooooo much... and you cannot improve unless you make projects that don't require perfection.  I used a plaid flannel for the backing... perfect for an extra layer of warmth for those cool nights in the camper!

Somehow, I found myself involved in four different block of the month groups this year.  Maybe next year I will keep it to a max of two.  

How many BOMs did you participate in this year?

What BOMs have you heard about for 2019?  

Please share!  I would love to see some more options out there... leave a comment so I can go check them out.  

Sew Happy!


PS... I would love to continue my Quilters Through The Generations series.  Please, let me know if you are interested in participating by emailing me or you can leave a comment below.

Linking with:

Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Moving It Forward Monday at Em's Scrap Bag
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Friday Foto Fun at Powered By Quilting
Show and Tell Monday with Bambi
Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River
Color Inspiration at Cleave Chameleon Quilting
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
WIP Wednesday with Esther
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Friday, November 23, 2018

November Color Challenge :: Blue-Green

Jen at Patterns By Jen chose Blue-green as the color of the month for November... one of my favorites.  I mean it is part of the blue family!  Blue!  What's not to love about blue... the various shades, levels and depths of life!  The sky, bodies of water, birds, flowers, etc.  

If you missed it, I recently finished a quilt inspired by Monet... I called it my Monet Mosaic.

Blue-green, or turquoise, is a common color found in the Southwest region of the United States and my Grandparents were all about the history of the Southwest and the Reservations.  They lived for a short time in Santa Fe, NM before moving to Tucson, AZ.

They had numerous "Indian Rugs" in their house and Grandma had a collection of turquoise and coral jewelry. 

And for the amount of jewelry Grandma had and the frequency that she wore her Squash Blossom necklace and Concho belt, you would think that there would be a picture somewhere!  But since once could not be located... you will just have to use your imagination. 

They loved traveling to the many canyons that were home to the Native Americans... places like the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and Mesa Verde are just a few that come to my mind.  I visited all of these places as a child and was unimpressed and under-whelmed. LOL! I do enjoy exploring similar places and learning about the history of the land and the people that occupied it now as an adult... in limited doses.   While my Grandparents would enjoy two or three days at Mesa Verde, Dave and I were content with one last year.   

I thought my block over this stock photo of the Grand Canyon worked well...   If only I had been able to make the trip myself!  😉

All Pieces

If you have a love for Native American hand-crafted jewelry go check out my cousin's page Silver Sisters Jewelry (Lori and I were close friends in school and then became family when she married a 2nd cousin.)  I am certain that my Grandma would have selected a few items from her inventory.

Some people can rock the turquoise and silver jewelry... I find most of it too big and chunky for my tastes.  But I can appreciate some dainty pieces... or pearls and diamonds. It's just the way I roll. 😉

Are you a fan of Southwest decor, jewelry and history?

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

Quilt Happy!


Linking with:

Color Challenge Link Up at Patterns By Jen
BOMs Away at What A Hoot Quilts
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wishful Thinking - It's A "Wild" Life

I giggled when I saw this block designed by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt... Then I looked at it to try to figure out how to avoid aaaaaaaaaaaaaall that applique.  I considered paper piecing the trees but then told myself "just do the applique"! 

As I pulled fabric for the block I remembered that as a child we had an old hay wagon where my dad stored old lumber from various projects.  My brother once discovered a whole family of skunks living under it.  The babies were sooooooo cute!  We begged mom to be able to capture one and have the "stinker" removed and keep it as a pet.  My parents refused, even though they thought they were cute as well.  

We wanted to name it "Flower" just like in the Disney movie, Bambi.  But as with all "babies" they don't remain babies.  My brother was assigned the task of "removing" the family.  That is all I am going to say about that.  Well, I will add, that he never ended up smelling of skunk, to my recollection!

Once I got the sky, ground and trees done, I was less than enthused to begin the truck & trailer... and then I saw the "love" fabric sitting on the cutting table in the midst of the other black and white fabric I had pulled as options for the block.  It was at that moment that I decided that it was exactly what I needed for the truck and camp trailer!

Love was in the air!!!  I, for one, am grateful that the stench of a skunk is NOT in the air.

While Dave and I were still living in Illinois, one evening as Dave was returning home from work and our Yellow Lab, Samantha, ran across the yard to greet what she thought was our cat, Dotty.  Dave quickly realized that it was NOT Dotty. 😞  Rather, it was... you guessed it... a skunk!  I imagine that the look on the skunk's face was one of surprise... just like this one >>>

It was the middle of the winter so we couldn't simply leave her outside.  Though she really did love her dog house and kennel and would often prefer to "go to bed" outside rather than stay in the house.  

We took her into the basement where there was a bathroom with a shower.  We proceeded to use tomato juice and strawberry scented shampoo to try to neutralize the awful odor... it didn't really work, but it was certainly better than doing nothing!  I think...

For months afterwards (until she shed her winter coat) whenever she went hunting and retrieving in the Fox River or on the private pond where Dave hunted ducks and geese, she smelled the odd combination of tomato and strawberry.  It was a little gross...

This was before our knowledge of using baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap to remove the odor.  

More recently our Chocolate Lab-mix, Shelby, dashed across the yard after a cat... Dave thought it was a cat, anyway.  (We have never allowed her to chase after rabbits or cats in our yard.)  As soon as Dave realized what she was doing he yelled for her to stop.  And for once she listened!  We managed to coerce her into the house while he grabbed something to "manage" the situation.  

(I know, I know... this is not kosher to do in town, but we don't live in town and who really wants to worry that such a stinky creature is roaming in your neighborhood?  Animal control doesn't respond to such calls in the county... you just take care of it.)  He was able to handle the situation without setting off a 'stink bomb'... My Hero!  We actually believe that the animal was sick and could have been a threat to the pets in the area.

Well, there you have it.  My skunk stories... 

Have you had a close encounter with a skunk?  

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

Keep calm and quilt on,

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

Linking with:

Linky Tuesday at Free-motion By the River
Fiber Tuesday at The Quilting Room with Mel
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
BOMs Away at What a Hoot Quilts
It's A Wild Life BOM at Sew Incredibly Crazy