Tuesday, November 24, 2020

To Do... #1 Give Thanks

 Last week's list...



✔  Sew on a label - it still needs a name, but I will wait for the little guy to arrive for that. 






✔  Postcard blocks - As I had anticipated, I didn't get very far with this one while we were away... but I took the time to finish it yesterday as I recouped from our time away and a busy weekend.  

This little hummingbird still needs an eye embroidered, but I think he turned out pretty cute!

Our time away was fun, wild and crazy and boy do we have stories to tell!  lol.


In the Purgatoire River bed at the bottom of Picket Wire Canyon is a trail of dinosaur tracks.  This, in my mind, was the ultimate destination.  However, it was a good distance...


And the other sign that was at the trailhead was a bit daunting...



We descended on foot on the first afternoon... thinking confidently that we would be able to make it to the Mission.  Ummmm... didn't happen.  We did make it to an abandoned homestead.

And were able to scout out the path prior to our trek with the bikes.  The next day we were loaded up with lunches, snacks and lots of water.


The sign at the top of the trail suggested we be prepared for flats... We were!  Two spare tubes and a patch kit with six "scabs".  We'll be good...


I was concerned about my tires because the back tire is nearly bald from our trip down the mountain at Telluride last year (another crazy idea/adventure!)  We enjoyed the ride once we reached the bottom of the canyon, visited the homestead a bit more and then headed toward the Mission.  Sadly, the first flat came before we reached it.  


We used the pump and ride as far as you can method until we found some shade.  


We had made the pact at the on-set, "when one walks, we all walk".



We made the necessary swap out of a tube and we were on our way once again.  With a few more "distractions" before we reached the Mission site, we laughed and talked along the way.  It was a much needed time of socializing that we all needed.  


After taking in the scenery and inspecting some of the gravestones we were on the move again.



A few more "walking sessions" took place because the tires were leaking nearly as fast as they were getting filled, but at long last we arrived at the dinosaur tracks!









Since we were by the river, we took advantage of the water and found/repaired the punctured tubes so that we could make our way back out of the canyon... after all, remember, it was MANDATORY!

While we were there we ran into another hiker who told us about a "shortcut" back out.  We were up for it, but in the end, I'm not sure it was a shortcut.  While it may have cut off some distance, it was rigorous and rough!  The trail was a single track and it was impossible to keep the bike on the path AND walk in the path.  We were dodging cactus on the left and the right and at one point it became rocky, rough and narrow.  So much so that we had to carry our bikes through a section.  
It was rOuGh... but we made it to the rim of the canyon! Woohoo!


And then it happened... one more flat tire - this one on Dave's bike. 😭  We had no more patches and we had taken the bad tubes and lined the tires of the "problem" bike to reduce the occurrence of the flats.  We resumed the pump and ride fast and as far as you can.  We had sent our friends on ahead for the truck to pick us up.
Keith arrived with his "chariot" when we were just .7 miles from camp.  Dave refused to give in so close... He had stopped to pump for one last time and the pin that held the handle in place had fallen out.  *UGH*  We were so close.  As Dave pushed his bike to the back of the truck the missing pin was found... laying in the middle of the road!  We were back in business.

Oh. My. Gosh... We made it back on our own wheels! Wow!

After consuming copious amounts of water we celebrated with some happy hour beverages and watched the sun set again.  It was gorgeous!


So... never think that you are over prepared... and always give thanks!

As for my To-Do list for next week?  

#1 Give thanks and enjoy Thanksgiving Day with our little family on Thursday.

#2  Spend a little time in the studio doing something creative... I have no idea what, but, I will certainly find SOMEthing.

Be blessed and stay safe!


 
Melva


Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Pieces From The Past Sew Along
that features vintage Kansas City Star quilt blocks!


Linking with:

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
To Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
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
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts




Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Ta-Dah! Tuesday

 I set forth my list of To Do's and they all became Ta-Dah's!  I love a productive week...

I'll be wrapping up the table topper with our business logo


I love the way it looks! And the win-win is that when Dave wants to do photos of the the guns he builds or restores there is no need for watermarking the photos.



He did tell me that it is too nice to be left on the table between shoots so it will be protected from grease and oil stains.  

Just look at all that texture!  Though it seemed to take forever to do the acres of stippling, it was worth it. 

And the 80% cotton batting, after washing and drying it, adds to it!





 Releasing the next Pieces From The Past block - #15 - The Maple Leaf Block - a super simple pattern that is a very traditional and a family recipe for pinto beans that ties into the letter from former Prisoner of War, Erich Vogel. 

This is a hotpad that I made using the pattern...  I love the effect of the printed background and "disappearing" leaf.



 Starting a baby quilt for a special young lady we have known for about 20 years.  

Not only did I start it, I finished it.  The center panel featuring Tigger says "Let's Go Explore".  The quilt is a small one... perfect for a newborn baby and tummy time.

❧I'll be sewing on a label before sending it off... one of the projects I'll be taking with me as we run off for one final camping trip for the year.

We'll be headed to a canyon that has dinosaur tracks in it - The Picketwire Trail.  

❧I'll take along a few more postcard blocks to stitch, but honestly, I don't know how much time I will have for that since the trail to the bottom of the canyon is 5 miles one way.  I may be too tired when we get back to camp.  

No other great plans other than trying out a new No Guilt::Go Quilt recipe for Creamy Chicken tortilla Soup.  I'll be making a few adjustments to it so that is falls within my dietary restrictions, but that won't be hard.  Omit the corn and stir in dairy free cream cheese rather than sour cream.


With the holiday season looming just around the corner I decided to pull some pretty fabric out of storage and make some wraps to sell.  A tutorial to make them is available on Marie Bostwick's blog.   

As Marie said... "I saw a pretty ruana in a local boutique with a $129 price tag, then I had an epiphany…

Hey! I can make these myself!"

And make them I did... I had enough fabric for six... and I have sold five already (at a much more affordable price).  As my sister-in-law stated... this is perfect symphony attire - if they ever start up again.  

And two of my friends purchased some as Christmas gifts for family members.  

Thank you to everyone who supports a small business!

Are you making Christmas gifts?
What are you making???  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Stay calm and keep quilting,

Melva

Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Pieces From The Past Sew Along
that features vintage Kansas City Star quilt blocks!
Linking with:
Colour & Inspiration at Clever Chameleon Quilting
To Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us
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
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
UFO Busting at Tish’s Wonderland

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Pieces From The Past - The Maple Leaf


Today's letter is from Erich Vogel and he had much to say!  His writing was quite small and he includes plenty of details.  If you close your eyes, you can almost feel as though you were there with him.



Glauchau, 11 August 1947

Very honored Mr. Schleich!

In the assumption that you will be interested to hear the fate of one of the POWs who worked for you. I want to give you, your family and acquaintances (Eckart) a small report from the old homeland.  At the time, I belonged to the Ruhr Group and I often think back fondly of the lovely days at your farm and at the Eckert farm.  How we took such care to separate the beets as cleanly as possible; grateful for the humane and kind treatment you gave us.  Today, in view of our difficulties, it all seems like it was a lovely dream.  

I am at my home in the Russian Zone.  My friend Wenzel, who was always ahead of everyone when hoeing the furrows, comes from Silesia, which is now part of Poland.  He works as a press worker in a factory in the English zone, separated from his wife who is still in the old homeland and who is waiting for her transport and deportation.  Our countrymen from Silesia, East Germany and Czechoslovakia have already in large part been deported from those areas and have been spread out across all of the zones.  

Because of the vast wreckage of the wartime bombing, there is a severe lack of housing, and many families must share their apartments with immigrants.  That causes a lot of anger, and a lot of squabbling and fighting.  Many of the evacuees have nothing more than what they can carry on their person.  All things are lacking.  Luckily, my wife and I and our three children have our small apartment to ourselves.  

With all that, it has not been going well for me.  For months I have suffered from open sores and dropsy.  Mostly it is a problem of obtaining food.  Above all, it is the lack of fat; but all other food supplies are also scarce.  Quite often as you walk the streets, you see people looking through trash piles and garbage cans for vegetables or similar things.  

The farmers receive, by law, a portion of grain, milk, eggs, potatoes, meat, fruit etc. in return for what they produce.   Naturally they prefer to sell their products for more money on the black market or to trade them for scarce products, such as shoes, socks, clothing, tools and other necessities.  But in our zone they are carefully supervised.  

The lack of coal or other heating supplies is also painful.  Last winter, trees from the center of the city were cut down and stolen.  Many are plagued by the fear of the coming winter.  

If you met your friends after your release from captivity (I was released from Russia at the beginning of March due to sickness), you had to ask: is it him or isn’t it?  Everyone is so thin and their pre-war clothes hang on them as if on the clothes hanger.  

This year, on several occasions, it happened that just after a farmer had brought in the grain from the field, bands of hungry people rushed in and stole away sheaves of grain.  Very often I have thought about the brown beans that in your area so plentiful.  Something so nourishing is barely available to us.  Unfortunately this summer is especially hot and dry, so there is not enough grass and clover for the cattle.  That badly affects the milk industry.  That and the fear that the potato harvest will go badly lies like a press on the people.  

The hospitals and doctors’ waiting rooms are overfull.  Most of the sick suffer from diseases caused by hunger.  Dropsy, weak heart, skin problems of all sorts.  And still, over two years after the war ended and things do not seem to be getting any better or not in the least bearable.  The gravediggers already have quite a lot to do; if the poverty does finally come to an end, then by then there will be a mass grave the size of which the world has never seen.  

Many of my friends from Camp Trinidad have lost their jobs and can earn just a minimum in the next best job.  Under such circumstances, I dream about those days that we spent on what I must call the blessed corner.  When we stopped work at noon, your dear wife would come out with the large cooking pots.  We from the old Ruhr Group greatly regretted that we were not more often assigned to work in the sugar beets fields at your farm and Mr. Eckart’s farm.  

After you, back then in June we were assigned to Mr. Baker and Mr. Hart, and also to Mr. Wenger.  For the harvest, we were with an Italian farm family, Marconi or some such name, the son-in-law was called Phillip, and last in the corn field of Mr. Meyer.  He did not feed us so well.  

Tell all of your acquaintances that the poverty in Germany is really terrible and that the least little thing would be a great help.  In the hope that things are going considerably better for you, I send best regards to you, your wife, your children, as well as to the Eckart family in grateful memory.  

Eric Vogel

Another heartbreaking letter, written 2+ years after leaving Camp Trinidad.  His mention of the brown beans that were so plentiful in the area - pinto beans -  captured my attention and drew me into my memories.

My Dad would make a crockpot of beans for various family get togethers... not the holiday meals, but every other time - like camping, picnics or "holiday" weekends and celebrations.

It always started with sorting the beans to make certain there were no "bad" beans that were shriveled or damaged.  But more importantly, the sorting was done to make certain there were no small rocks or clumps of dirt with them.

My cousin Glenda was one of the lucky grandkids who would be invited to spend a few days with Grandpa and Grandma (Phillip and Katie) and then later with Grandpa & Ottie (his second wife).  After she was married in the 1970s, she and her family would travel to visit Grandpa in Trinidad.  She learned first-hand from him how to make beans with ham... this is the "process" (because Grandpa didn't use recipes) that she shared with me.

Start with two cups of sorted and washed beans.  Place in a pressure cooker with a smoked ham hock or ham shank and just enough water to cover the beans.  Salt and pepper to taste and add a pinch of baking soda. (Grandpa told Glenda that the baking soda helped to reduce gas when you ate them. I'm not sure it worked... Haha!)

Place on stove and bring temperature up so that the "jiggler" begins to dance.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and carefully release the pressure.  Check the water level.  Add water, if needed, to just cover the beans again.  Seal the cooker and bring to a boil again until the "jiggler" dances and cook for 30 minutes.   

When I asked my Mom about how Dad made the beans it wasn't much different, but it was certainly "spiced up".  He would use the pressure cooker to begin the beans - cooking them for 30 minutes and then transfer to the crockpot to finish the cooking - often overnight or for a minimum of 8 hours.

My talented friend Kayleen created this little recipe card for me...



When I asked Mom why Dad's recipe was different from what Glenda had she explained that "until he was in his early 20s and started spending more time with his friends in town he had only known his Mom's or other family member's cooking" - pure German!  He is the one in the cowboy hat in the picture below. πŸ’—


His friend Joe, who was an Italian, introduced him to Mexican food at a local restaurant and the rest was history.  His Mom's food was still good, but Dad definitely like spicy and flavorful!  In his retirement he enjoyed watching FoodNetwork and often wanted Mom to watch with him and try various recipes.  She wanted nothing to do with it. 🀷

Earlier in the letter, Mr. Vogel mentions his friend Wenzel, who was always ahead of everyone when hoeing the furrows.  This friend Wenzel was the author of a letter dated November 18, 1946 and published with the Dragonfly Block.  You may remember him because his post-script made mention of the request to make an alarm clock into a wrist watch.

Mr. Vogel wrote of his poor health with open sores and dropsy... I had to look it up.  Dropsy is edema, but I think he was really referring to famine dropsy which is occurs with the hypoproteinemia of low protein intake occurring as starvation of a large population group. 

Mr. Vogel's concern for the drought affecting the grass and clover for the cattle, and the milk supply and the effects on the potato harvest did nothing to help relieve his and his fellow citizen's anxiety.

His plea for "the least little thing" was undoubtedly a subtle request for one of the CARE packages also mentioned in the Dragonfly Block.  You may remember, the cost of the CARE packages was only $10.  That was a good chunk of change in those times, and with inflation that $10 converts to $131.48 in today's currency.  

The ability to draw on his personal memories of his time spent at the "blessed corner" is, no doubt, what kept him going.  Even though it was only August when he penned the letter, he was already concerned about the coming winter and the lack of coal and heating supplies.  His mention of trees being cut down at the center of the city the previous winter is reminiscent of Christian Fruehbuss's letter with the Pine Burr Block.  It is again the reason that I chose the Maple Leaf Block to accompany this letter.  This simple block will measure 9-1/2" square when pieced.


Now is the time to head over to payhip to grab the free pattern, pull your fabric and start piecing.  When you are done be sure to come back and link up for the chance to win a free fat-quarter.  If you would prefer to email your picture to me, I am happy to link you up.  Send me a message at MelvaLovesScraps@NolanQualityCustoms.com.  Don't forget to tag me on fb (MelvaLovesScraps) or instagram (@melvalovesscraps) and use the hashtag #piecesfromthepastsewalong so that everyone can see your beautiful fall leaves.



A few weeks ago I saw a maple leaf block done in reverse and called Falling Leaves... I just had to give it a try!  And now I have another (much needed) hotpad.

I, personally, am not a big fan of pinto beans, unless in chili... How about you?  Must have?  or Pass?

Was there something else in the letter that spurred a question or thought?

Leave a comment... you know I love when you stop by for a chat.  As one of my long-time readers stated... it is like having a visit with a friend.

Piece happy!

Melva


Linking with:
Colour & Inspiration at Clever Chameleon Quilting
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Creative Compulsions at Bijou Bead Boutique
BOMs Away at What A Hoot Quilts
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
Friday Foto Fun at Powered by Quilting
Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts
Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veterans Day - Remembrance Day

Rudolf Kasulke   



As I prepare another pattern and letter release for the Pieces From The Past Sew Along I cannot help but remember the former German Prisoners of War that worked at my Grandparent's farm in Model, CO.  How the men that happened to be associated with an army known for doing atrocious acts and exhibited poor humane treatment to so many citizens viewed to be "lesser" than others.







Gotthart Hauswald
So many of the men only wanted to live a good life and treat others with kindness - the same kind of treatment and hospitality that they received while at the Schleich farm.  That was evidenced by the numerous letters stating that they recalled their good memories of the time at the farm to sustain them in their current deplorable conditions that they returned to post WWII.  Details of those conditions can be seen by clicking the link above.


I know that the "holiday" was created to commemorate the ending of the Great War, now know and referred to WWI... 


I recalled that while Phillip never served in the US Military, he did complete the Draft Registration Card on September 12, 1918 at the age of 20 years.


If you recall, he and Katherine did not even become Naturalized US Citizens until December 1942 and June 1943... yet his commitment and allegiance to the United States was evident decades before by this act.  Of this, I am quite proud.







My Dad and Uncle Leroy both served in the 1950s...  




Veterans of all branches and eras, I honor you with this short video that touched me when I saw it for the first time more than 10 years ago...

Thank you for your service.


God Bless,

Melva






Monday, November 9, 2020

All A "To-do" Over What To Do

 The past week has been tumultuous for a deeply divided America... I know many people that enjoy the "adult coloring books" and many of my friends would think that I, as a quilter and quasi-artist, would enjoy them as well.  Truth be told... they sTrEsS me OUT!  and this is exactly what I would have done to a page this week had I been given one...


And just this morning I sent this to a friend... 


I retreated to my studio for some "therapy" on Friday to applique our business logo onto a quilt and again Saturday afternoon to begin quilting it.  I was tense and frustrated AND the wind had been blowing and gusting.  I just could not seem to get into a nice rhythm... My mind kept focusing on other things.  The stippling looked fine, but I was experiencing thread breaks far too often.  I did make some decent progress, despite feeling like I still had acres of area to finish... a brisk walk probably would have helped... but... did I mention that the high winds kept me from that?  *sigh*

I called it a day and shut down for the day to join my husband for an early happy hour.  It was Saturday after all. 🍺🍷

Sunday after lunch we did go for a walk... the wind speeds had reduced some and it was a pleasurable journey.  Upon my return I made my way back to the studio and resumed stippling the remaining vacant acres of area.  I was much more relaxed and calm and I didn't have a single thread break!  

I finished the circle area of stippling and decided to stitch in free-motion feathers on the outer edge of the circle.

I marveled at the fact that there was such a difference in the two quilting sessions.  Have you ever noticed such a difference yourself?

Do you have any tips or tricks to remedy such tension problems?

I will continue the stippling on the remaining 1/2 acre of area.  but I need to cautious about sitting for extended periods of time... too long of a session and my left hip screams obnoxiously at me.  

Speaking of obnoxious screaming...  I recently asked one of the EPP groups for tips and suggestions about what to do.  "I have been experiencing pain in my left hand, specifically my index finger joint and radiating up to my wrist.  Any suggestions to alleviate the pain?  Other than giving up the hand sewing?"

I have had a few suggestions such as a compression glove and stretching.  A few years ago I came across a link for stretching exercises for sewers and I was recently sent this one on hand health.

Do you suffer as well?  Do you have tips and suggestions on relieving the hand or hip discomfort that I experience?  

I am open to suggestions and will certainly be consulting our youngest daughter who is a Physical Therapist Assistant the next time I see her.

❧ I'll be wrapping up this special project this week...

Other items on the agenda will include...

❧ Releasing the next Pieces From The Past block - #15 - a super simple pattern that is a very traditional and a family recipe that ties into the letter from former Prisoner of War, Erich Vogel. 

❧  Starting a baby quilt for a special young lady we have known for about 20 years.  

Piece Out,

Melva
Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Pieces From The Past Sew Along
that features vintage Kansas City Star quilt blocks!
Linking with:

Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
To Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter