Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Best Of and Year-End Review

 As I have prepared for this post and reviewed the activities of the year I am filled with joy and gratitude... despite of the strangeness of the year with unrest and division of "camps" with the political, social, medical and financial ups and downs, twists and turns and unknowns.

I think I have mentioned previously that a friend told me years ago that I was an optimistic pessimist... all because I plan for the worst, but hope for the best.  Life is far too short to dwell on the hardships of life... when life gives you scraps, make QUILTS!  

I believe with all my heart that I am not the only quilter that lives by this quote!  So many of us dove into our stash to make masks earlier in the year... creating more scraps for even more quilts!  

As I recalled the various quilts I made this year (20 in total all in varying sizes from postcard to King-sized) by looking through my digital photo albums I thought of each recipient that was on the receiving end of them.  Words cannot express the joy I felt when I saw or heard of their reactions when they saw their memories recreated into a quilt for the first time.  Several of them were t-shirt memory quilts, one was a quilt that told the story of a family's legacy, and one that made me feel as though I was crawling up into the lap of my Grandma Schleich -  the Pieces From The Past Sew Along Quilt.

Top Five?  In order of popularity???  Aside from the obvious Pieces From the Past Posts, (and the 500th Post celebration with a give away) it is as follows:

5)    Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness featuring an improv pieced 5"x7" mini-quilt mug rug

4)    Live Love Laugh ~ another mini-quilt using half-hexies and free-motion to replicate the sound waves of laughter

3)    A Time For All Seasons ~  The finish of the Block of the month hosted by Sew Incredibly Crazy & Friends

2)    Masks from Fishes & Loaves ~ When I thought I had reached the end of my elastic supply there was more to be found... I also found some much needed inspiration and creativity.

1)    Feeling Ambitious ~ When I felt as though I was stuck in a rut, with the help of Roseanne and Sue over at Home Sewn By Us, and their linky party for weekly planning, I had overcame that rut, but then just bit off more than I could handle.  There is just something about "announcing" a plan for the coming week that can help to keep moving forward.  Though it is important to remember that sometimes life happens and the plan doesn't go as well as you thought, but you can pick up where you left off and move forward... and there are still friends that offer encouraging words and pats on the back to get you going again.

As part of the year-end review it is customary to review the goals that had been determined... What were they?  

1)  Host the Pieces From the Past Sew Along

2)  Finish Scrap Dance Minuet Mystery Quilt and 2019 BOMs

3)  Further experimentation with Eco-Printing

4)  Continue with my Camping Journal Quilt

Did I successfully accomplish them???

The Pieces From the Past Sew Along had its kick-off in January.  To date, I have published 17 of the 20 blocks.  There is still time to join the fun.  With permission from C&T Publishing, the patterns are free and released every three weeks.  The blocks vary in sizes and techniques as well as skill levels, from beginner friendly to more challenging.  No need to be afraid of the most difficult blocks because I have included alternative blocks that can used as an option.  Most of the blocks take about an hour to piece, some a little longer... but there is still lots of time before the wrap-up in March.

To date, I have had 322 participants download patterns from 19 different countries.  And I have loved seeing the variety of blocks that have been linked up on the blog for the fat-quarter give away with each post.  From the traditional 1930s fabrics to modern, bright & brilliant colors and prints.  Each one is so unique and I look forward to seeing the finished quilts.  

I did successfully complete the scrap dance minuet, the 2019 color challenge and the Time For All Seasons quilts...

I did not get to experiment with the Eco-Printing.  😥  This was something that I had wanted to continue with my friend Kayleen and the timing just never worked out.  I did, however, use some of the amazing fabric we dyed in The Legacy Quilt - the commissioned, king-sized quilt for my friend's God-son.  You can read the entire story, the meanings of blocks and the reason for selecting them, colors and more details by following the high-lighted link above.

The Camping Journal grew by 37 blocks this year!  I continued using some of the blocks from Fiona Sandwich, but designed a few of my own as well.  We camped 25 nights at 12 different locations between February and November.  We enjoyed hiking and biking, just the two of us and a few times with friends.  Memories made every. single. time!

The year end reviews from instagram are always fun to look at... here are my top 9 and annual color analysis...

I just love the bubbles of color!  So me! Mostly calm and mellow colors with small, bright colors that pop.  And the top 9 pics reveal my sense of humor and love for Mrs. Bobbins as well as my quiet moments of meditation and encouragement.

Now that I have reviewed my year I need to begin looking forward to a new start with a new calendar year.  Aside from 2013 when Dave made a career change from college professor to being self-employed,  and the loss of my Dad, 2020 has  been one of the harder years we have faced together... and we are excited to see what 2021 has to hold for us.  

One thing for certain... well, two, but one is we cannot contain our joy about welcoming an new grand-daughter in May!

Who knew 6 years ago when I made these little shirts for our first grand-daughter, Emma, that we would end up with three little ladies to love???

The other thing we know?  Whatever may come our way, God will good from it.

What are YOU looking forward to in 2021?

Leave a comment... you know I love to hear from all of you!

As I sign off I share the wisdom from a yogi tea tag... "Peace of mind comes piece by piece."

I'll be working on that piece by piece... Happy New Year!


Linking with:

To Do Tuesday at Home Sewn By Us
Best of 2020 at Meadow Mist Designs
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
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

Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Blessings To You

 Because quilters are some of the most generous and kind people on this earth...

A Quilter's Night Before Christmas
(author unknown)

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And the quilts were not made.
The threads were all tangled, the cookies delayed.
The stocking weren't hung, the pantry was bare.
The poor weary Quilter, was tearing her hair.
Stacks of fat quarters, tipped over in streams.
Visions of Log Cabins, had turned into dreams.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a bus full of quilters with all of their gear.
They went straight to work with just a few mutters,
Sorting and stitching and brandishing cutters.
The patterns emerged from all of the clutter,
Like magic the fabrics arranged in a flutter.
Log Cabins, Lone Stars, Flying Geese & Bear Tracks
Each quilt was a beauty-even the backs.

Her house how it twinkled, her quilts how they glowed.
The cookies were baking, the stockings were sewed.
Their work was all done, so they folded their frames,
And packed up their needles, without giving their names.
They boarded the bus, and checked the next address.
More quilts to be made, another quilter in distress.

She heard one voice echo, as they drove out of sight,
Happy quilting to all and to all a good night!

In case you missed it... I released Block #17 - Double Cross - of the Pieces From The Past Sew Along on December 23rd... an early gift to you!  

I know that the holiday season is typically very busy and you may have had to set aside the blocks for this sew along.  But I want to let you know that I have extended the link-up deadline for Block #16 - The Corner Star Block - to January 1.  

And... if you are late in joining the fun, it is NOT TOO LATE!
All of the letters, stories and blocks are still available by selecting the tab at the top of the page for the Pieces From The Past Sew Along.

There are just three more blocks to be made before the sew along wraps up in March.  Where has the time gone?  

May your day be blessed and joyful,

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Mini Corner Star Ornament - Pieces From the Past Bonus


As I wrote the first Corner Star post I kept looking at the pattern and I knew that I wanted to use 1/4 of the block at a reduced size to make an ornament.  There were many other tasks that needed to be addressed before I could sit and play.  When I finally did, it took a couple of tries, but finally found the proper sizes.  And I have to say that I am pleased beyond measure with the finished block.  

As I read the accounting of a Christmas celebration at Camp Trinidad for the German POWs and how the tables were decorated with small wooden stars that held candles, I could not let this block get lost or set aside in my long list of tasks to be completed...  It nagged at me even after making the first one incorrectly.  

I continued to wonder about the humble celebration the men had here in Trinidad, as well as how they may have celebrated after their return home.

Written in 1943... "First Christmas day as POW.  We spent Christmas evening with beer and wine, coffee, tea and cookies.  We met in groups, and games, conversation and when available, the music heard on the radio helped us overcome our melancholic mood, as well as longing and nostalgia.  We had a small Christmas tree in our room.  A truck took us to a forest and under the supervision of a forest official we were able to cut down a few trees and take them with us. . .   We also gave presents to each other."

"The Führer sent $9,000 to Camp Trinidad, with $2,250 for each section of the camp, and the Pope gave 2 Swiss francs per POW.  We have not been forgotten."

The population of Camp Trinidad never reached more than 3,900, though it had been built to hold up to 5,000 men.  The Führer's gift was approximately $2.30 for each prisoner.  Adjusted for inflation, $2.30 in 1943 is equal to $34.97 in 2020.  That is a nice little gift.

And the Pope's 2 francs equaled about .47 cents (US dollars) which is equal to $7.07 in today's US dollar values.

Indeed, these men were not forgotten while at Camp Trinidad!  Sadly, they really do seem to have been forgotten once they returned home.  

These sweet postcards were included with another letter that has yet to be published, but  I just couldn't resist sharing them now.  After all, it IS currently the Christmas Season...

Can anyone tell me what they say?

I am guessing something along the lines of "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year"... maybe something of the new year being lucky, since there are 4-leaf clovers?

My mind takes lots of rabbit trails as I design and piece blocks and quilts... In my first attempt of the mini block I had thought that just making some 1" x 2" flying geese blocks for the points would work, but I was not satisfied and eventually, in the early morning hours I realized where I had gone wrong.  

The flying geese that I had tried were too long and eliminated the extra points from the half-square triangle!  

I knew what I needed to do and quickly set to it...  For those that don't like FPP, I apologize because I found it easiest to make the entire 3-1/2" block using this technique.  

In the Mini Corner Star pattern you will find two sizes of the block - 3 inches and 4 inches.  Be sure that when you print the pattern pages, you are printing at 100% and that the 1 inch test square is accurate.  When making the 4" block you will want to trim the seam allowance after it is pieced to 1/4" (as indicated by the arrows in the picture).

Also, please note that the side (rectangular) pieces will be a little long.  Piece #4 on both rectangular sections with the star points will overhang the square body of the block. (shown in picture)

Press open and trim to the appropriate size - 3-1/2" or 4-1/2".

If you happen to make any of the mini blocks I'd love to see them!  Use the hashtag #piecesfromthepastsewalong or tag me on instagram @melvalovesscraps or post on my facebook page.

Merry Christmas!

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

Friday, December 11, 2020

Naughty or Nice?

 I stumbled upon a list of Naughty or Nice for Quilters that made me laugh and I just had to share with you.


✦  You added more items to your UFO list than you completed

✦  You measured once and had to cut twice

✦  You bought too much and had to sneak packages inside

✦  You got busy sewing and forgot to make dinner

✦  You photocopied the pattern and cheated the designer out of her due

✦  You turned into the "Quilt Police"

✦  You bought the book/pattern you already owned because you have so many you forgot you already have it

✦  You spoke like a sailor when you realized you were sewing with no bobbin thread


✦  You finished your project!

✦  You gave a quilted item as a gift

✦  You can always find something nice to say about other people's quilts

✦  You rejoice in your friends' quilting successes

✦  You donate your time and talent to sew for worthy causes

✦  You shared your best scraps

✦  You shared tiny pieces for crazy friends or pet beds

✦  You taught your skill to a new quilter

✦  You did a sewing chore for someone who doesn't sew

If you need a little help with item 4 on the naughty list - forgot to make dinner a time or two I can help you out.

Here's a new No Guilt::Go Quilt slow cooker recipe that I found for Cashew Chicken...

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thigh tenders or chicken breast tenders

1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
4 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
4 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 cup cashews


Place diced chicken in a slow cooker. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes in small bowl; pour over chicken. Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.

Combine 1/4 cup water and 4 teaspoons Tapioca starch (or corn starch) and stir into the sauce to thicken. Serve over rice with some stir-fry veggies.  Garnish with cashews. 

Makes 4-6 servings.

So how do you measure up?  

Are you a "Naughty" quilter?  

Or a "Nice" quilter?

In all honesty, I confess to a few of items on the "naughty" list, but I can check off more items on the "nice" list.  How 'bout you?

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

Merry Christmas,



Melva Loves Scraps - Home of the Pieces From The Past Sew Along

that features vintage Kansas City Star quilt blocks!

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Throwback Thursday Christmas Style

Hey there!  Time is flying by and before we know it we will be turning the page, the last page of the calendar for 2020.  Who's ready??? 🙋

But before we do that let's take time to look back at some of our most favorite Christmas quilts.

At the top of the list for me is the restoration of a vintage tree skirt.  My friend Jamie tells the story of it...

"I recall the tree skirt fondly.  Some years it was under our pine Christmas tree that we'd cut down from our wooded back yard.  Some years it resided under the three tier ceramic Christmas tree that Brenda Collier made when "everyone" was doing ceramics."

Another favorite is the Advent Calendar that I created using 4" blocks from the 2017 Christmas Countdown, tutorial included.  

Each block was a pocket where you can place a small gift, a scripture card or some candy.

Now it is YOUR turn!  Link up some of your favorite Christmas quilt projects... 

Or, leave a comment telling me about a special Christmas quilt and why it is a favorite of yours. 

You know I love to hear from you. 

Stay Pieceful,


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Best Laid Plans...

Sometimes we make plans and everything falls into place... and sometimes... we are taken for an unexpected ride.

We went for a detour ride (again) this week.

✔  Playmat quilt for our Great-nephew.

I had great fun creating the various buildings, landscape items and  more for this playmat.  

The hot air balloons that help to form the mountain range is one of my favorite features.  

I quilted waves into the water and added some loops to be like grass in the light greed and some rolling hills in the dark green.

Remember the pattern was free over on the JoAnn Fabrics webpage.

Now we just need to purchase some little cars, wrap them all up and ship them off.

That is where the the remainder of the list stalled.  Here's why...

A few weeks ago (on a Saturday afternoon) we received an unexpected call from a few of our Church's leaders stating that the newly appointed Pastor had resigned and that he felt that the Sunday Worship service needed to be cancelled. WHAT?  As Worship leaders we offered to add a few songs and extra prayer time, but agreed with the leaders that the service should NOT be cancelled.

And while Dave was at it... he offered to give a brief message.  WOW!

All went well.  Well enough that he was asked to offer a message  for the following Sunday - the first Sunday of Advent.  Hours went into the preparation and it was all well received.

This was a detour!  The leaders were so impressed that they asked if he would continue for the remainder of Advent.

BIG DETOUR!  While a little surprised, we were not shocked.  However... MAJOR DETOUR, they asked if he would consider being the interim pastor.  Oh My!

We are currently "handling" it, being in constant prayer, but know that the reality of it being a long-term solution is unrealistic - for the Church and for us.  I mean... we have a business to run.  We also know that God works in mysterious ways, but we are both confident that it is not part of God's long-term plan.  As one of my friends stated, "For such a time as this" have we been prepared...

So... as we prepare for the third Advent Sunday we tread water and try to carefully balance our regular routine/work and all the extra "holiday" stuff AND navigate the detour.  

So for this week I will pick up on last week's list where I stopped.

❧ I want to create some small quilted Christmas Ornaments based on the current Pieces From The Past block - Corner Star - with plans to write about it and share a modified pattern for them.  I may not get as many done as I would like, but whatever I get done will be just fine  because they are just extras and I am not going to stress over them.

❧ Annual family Christmas letter.  As I mentioned last week, our letter is unusual with each of us writing our own "column" - a tradition that started about 17 years ago.  As the girls grew into adulthood we had originally planned on having it in a new format that included just the two of us - but at what point do we "cut them out"?  

As the family has grown with the additions of sons-in-law and grand-children, we thought that we would simply have to fill in with that news on our own because so many of the recipients on the list have known all four of us for all of the girls' lives.  But who better to offer an update on their lives than the ones living them???  So the tradition has continued...  Though it expanded from a standard page to legal sized, front and back.  And if the updates are not received??? I have a back-up plan that includes a pictorial telling of the year for them.  (This is not a new idea - I have had it in place for a few years since our oldest is a bit of a procrastinator and likes to submit right at the deadline.)

As "editor" of the letter I have issued a deadline for the updates - by this week's end, so that Dave and I can prepare envelopes for mailing this weekend and get the letter printed (and folded) on Monday morning.

The best laid plans don't always go as we would like, but sometimes the detour is a grand blessing.  Any thoughts and prayers for us as we navigate our way through the remainder of the Christmas season are deeply appreciated.

Stay Calm and Piece,


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

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

New To-Do

 As the calendar page turns, it seems that all thoughts turn toward Christmas.  I know that 2020 has been a different and challenging year for so many.  One comfort is knowing that despite all that has transpired, there is One that has been, is and always will be the same - My Lord and Savior - the center of the Christmas Season for so many.

My faith is what has sustained me throughout the year... and we are smack dab in the middle of Advent - a season of preparation.  Trees go up, decorations come out, manger scenes get unwrapped and gifts get wrapped up and sent off.

That is where I have been - the wrapping and packing stuff.  I recently listed items from my inventory for sale and have been pleasantly surprised at the interest.  

While searching for something else in my studio closet I came across some fabric that was perfect for another Ruana (link to a tutorial was in the November 17th post).  This Ruana was one of the "creative" projects I worked on last week.  I can successfully check that item off of last week's to-do list 😁

We had a wonderful day together on Thanksgiving... indeed giving thanks for the opportunity to be in one place.  Dolls were being played with, a game of Battleship was going on, enjoyable conversation took place and our Momma-to-be was napping on the floor in the midst of it all. 

After the big celebration our quiet life resumed and I returned to the studio in search of a project to get some creative juices going.

I had picked up this fabric at a second hand store for just $1 and it has been hanging around just waiting for the perfect project.  

On Saturday I participated in the Saturday Sew In hosted by Jennifer Fulton at Quilting with the Inquiring Quilter. 

I got a good start on two of them...

And then I remembered that I needed to get the story for the next Pieces From The Past block release.

I really do try to start early on Christmas gifts but there is always one or two that are held until December.  One is always for one of the nieces/nephews of Dave's family.

He is from a large family - he is #5 of 8 kids.  We gave up on the gift exchange for the adults and have all agreed that we can make a family contribution to an organization chosen by one of the siblings.  This is the 4th year of doing this so the 4th child, Dave's sister Sharon, got to pick the non-profit.  The family will be donating to The Kukhoma Project that offers outreach to very young girls in the Lusaka, Zambia area who are susceptible to abuse and the fallout of that.

The family has continued the gift exchange for the children.  And we have the joy of gifting to nephew Liam, a 3-1/2 year-old boy.  When I asked his Momma what he had on his wish list she replied back with "He was asking for some little hot wheels cars yesterday, so that would be great."  

That is super easy... but he needs more than just a few cars.  So I thought I might be able to purchase one of the playmat panels to quilt and he could use it with the hot-wheels.  I know that time is short but I thought I would check with a couple of my favorite "local quilt shops" that I have made on-line purchases from.  I had no luck so I turned to Joann's.  

❧ While I did not find a panel for purchase, I DID find a pattern to make my own!

This is perfect!!!  Now you know where you will find me for the next week.  I need to do a quick fabric search (possibly a quick run to the fabric department at Wallyworld) and I will be on my way!

 If time allows, I want to create some small quilted Christmas Ornaments that can be easily slipped in with our Christmas cards/letter.

❧ This reminds me... I need to get a start on our letter.  It is unique in that each of us (Dave, Heather, Rebecca and I) writes our own section.  This came about years ago when the girls were young teens and I was pressed for time.  I said I need help and this is what transpired. A newsletter format written to highlight each person's interests and activities.  I used to print it myself, but have discovered that the cost is about the same by having the local copy shop print it for me.  It saves me the time and frustration... and they even fold it for me!

I'll be signing off for now.  But be sure to come back on Thursday for the release of the Corner Star Block and another letter in the Pieces From The Past Sew Along series.

Piece and Joy,



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