Tuesday, March 30, 2021

In The Garden

I feel like I have been repeating myself for weeks - like a broken record that just skips and skips and skips... Vintage Flower Garden Quilt, Paper Dolls, Santa Fe Trail Blocks.  While I have made progress on all of them, I haven't had an official finish in weeks!

This!  This is why I don't like to have more than one project going at once.  I feel like I am stalled.  Grrrrr....

There are 80+ "flowers" in the vintage quilt... As of Monday afternoon, I finished all of the vines and leaves are done and I have about 75% of the the flowers quilted.  I am so close to being able to move to the binding.

Would the current generation even understand the statement "broken record"?  Would they think it was a one upping of a previous best time or score?  

As I quilted the free-motion flowers I recalled the hymn, In the Garden... It seems as though I have been "in the garden" for weeks.  Life has been busy and a few times I put the quilt and the machine into time out because the top thread was breaking (way too often!).  I can deal with it when it happens once in a while.  But there seemed to be an issue when I was going in one particular direction.  I still haven't figured out if it is the direction, the speed, or just me.  But it was after an ugly temper tantrum that I set it aside for two days and worked on block designing and pattern writing for the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along.

But yesterday hearing that old hymn playing in my mind brought peace to me and reminded to tarry there...

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses...

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

Of course, I couldn't help but chuckle because of the joke about God's name being Andy... "Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am His own"...

But mostly the song brought peace and calm.  It seems appropriate to be thinking of being in a Garden during this Holy Week recalling the time that Jesus spent in prayer the garden... "Not my will, but Yours Father".

 So my time in the garden is being well spent.

As much as I look forward to this finish, I also look forward to a new beginning.  The beginning of a new sew along!  The Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail sew along.  The "formal" announcement will be on Thursday!  Watch for it...

And with that I am reminded that there are just two more days to link up for the Quilt Parade of your Pieces From the Past quilts.  Remember... there are FIVE copies of the Kansas City Star Sampler up for grabs.  So far I have just one top that has been linked up.  No need for a blog post to link... you can use an instagram link, a fb link or you can always email me a picture of your quilt top and I will link you up.  Use the hashtag #piecesfromthepastsewalong so that everyone can see your beauty!

Time to return to the garden quilt... I am so close!

Stay calm and keep quilting,


P.S. ~ If you missed it and might be interested... I was nominated by two quilty friends last week as an "outstanding blogger".  With each nomination I was given five questions to answer.  You can see what the questions were and learn a bit more about me by following the link above.  It really was an honor to be thought of.  💕

Linking with:

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
To Do Tuesday at Chris Knits & Sews
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Sunday, March 28, 2021

It's An Honor ~ Outstanding Blogger

It was with surprise and excitement as I read a few posts last week to find that I was considered an "Outstanding Blogger" by two different fellow bloggers - Roseanne at Home Sewn By Us and Kathy at Living In Rapid City.  

With each nomination, five questions from each, were offered for my answering...

Roseanne asked...

Have you had any major quilting/sewing successes that you’d like to share with us? (Please toot your own horn!)

When I quit my job in 2009 because of health reasons, one of my lofty goals was to have a pattern published.  This dream was realized in 2013 when my first block that I designed was included in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, volume 8.  The block is called Pieces of My Heart and is one of the reasons I have an obsession with the term pieces in my sew alongs.

Are/were you influenced by family members to get into quilting and have you passed on the love to the next generation?  

Yes!  I have a family full of quilters.  It was the fact that spurred my idea of the Quilters Through The Generations series that ran from 2017 to 2019.  I started with my own family and then interviewed other quilters and recorded their family’s stories.  There is a tab at the top of the blog page that has links for all of the quilters I featured.

Do you have anything on your bucket list that is quilting-related?  

Bargello quilts are always beautiful, and I have yet to make one myself.  “Art quilts” are always deeply admired at quilt shows.  Perhaps someday I will attempt one larger than a postcard.

Do you have any short- or long-term goals that you are working toward that you can share with us?

I will be kicking off my second sew along very soon.  It will feature stories of Marian Russell as she traveled the Santa Fe Trail in the late 1800s.  Each excerpt from her memoir will have a block to accompany it.  There will be 12 blocks, all 12-1/2” unfinished, all traditionally pieced (I think… I am still in the designing stage) and suited for beginners to intermediate quilters.

Have you done any pattern testing for other bloggers or would you like to? If so, do you enjoy it?

I have done pattern testing.  It was really the beginning of my growth as a quilter.  I was a tester for Quiltmaker Magazine first and have since tested for other bloggers and designers, and have even enlisted the help of others to pattern test for my sew along blocks.  It is an invaluable step in the designing and publishing stages.

Kathy Reeves asked...

How do you learn best? Lessons, watching, a mentor…..

My learning style is a combination of watching and trial and error.  A video is always helpful, but if that isn’t available pictures are suitable.  If I have only pictures, no written or verbal instruction?  Trial and error is it.

Did you do post high school training to prepare you for a career? If yes, what was it, and are still doing that? If no, tell us how you got to the career you are doing! (Or did, as the case may be.)

I did receive a “Secretarial Certificate” at a junior college.  You can tell how archaic that really is since “secretaries” are a thing of the past.  The certificate program consisted of shorthand, typing, business language, data processing and basic accounting.  All skills that I still utilize (except for shorthand) with our small business.  I am Dave's personal assistant, bookkeeper, marketing director and "Girl Friday"; my education has served me well.

What do you look for in a friend?

Honesty, authenticity and dependability.  I am a people watcher and can pick up quickly whether one’s actions align with their words.

Early Bird or Night Owl?

Early bird!  I have always been a morning person and while I may not be up and ready to rock and roll like I used to, I am always up by 7 a.m.  My mind is usually much busier that my body is… and I am okay with that.  If it is necessary to be up, dressed and ready to go, I do so without complaint.  
Keeping me up past 9 p.m. is a different story.  Hahaha!

Favorite Instrument to Listen to?

Guitar by default since that is what my husband plays.  Piano music is second.

Now for the fun of passing on the honor of Outstanding Blogger...  These quilters are a few of the bloggers I follow on a regular basis... 

I nominate:  

Alycia from Alycia Quilts

Here are your five questions...

★  How did you get started with quilting?
★  What is your favorite block?
★  Do you participate in a quilt club or guild?
★  Have you ever entered a quilt in a competition?
★  What is something you enjoy doing outside of the quilting world?

It is always fun to get to know an individual just a bit more... I look forward to hearing from my nominees, and I hope that you do to!  Thanks for joining in on the fun.

Piece out,

Monday, March 22, 2021

Monday Ramblings

The first finished quilt top of the Pieces From the Past Sew Along has emerged!  Did you see my share on facebook ?

Karen Wang from LilyPadLoveQuilt presented it and linked up last week.  She resized most of the blocks since she had a limited amount of fabric that she planned to use for the quilt. 

"The fabrics that I used in the blue quilt top were all up-cycled:

one cotton white shirt that my son worn twice for his piano recitals:

one cotton one-piece skirt that my daughter loved but didn't get to wear too often;

one pair of my "big size" maternity pajama ..."

There is still time for you to link up and be included in the random drawing for one of five Kansas City Star Sampler pattern books by C&T Publishing.  No need to have a US mailing address with this give away!

Last week I had sandwiched the vintage scrappy Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt but didn't get started with the quilting until Saturday.  I have a good start on the vines and leaves...

You may wonder what I was pre-occupied with...  It was those cute little paper dolls!  They have all been machine appliqued and and ready for facial features.  After cleaning my machines I thought I would just stitch a few of them.  And then the next thing I knew I only had a few left.  LOL!  The only snag I had was when I encountered bobbin issues.  I was using clear nylon thread and I do sometimes have issues with it feeding properly... but the issue was getting progressively worse and quite frustrating... and then I discovered the problem!

The bobbin was in two pieces!  Well no wonder the machine was having issues!  I salvaged what thread I could and tossed the rest... and then I continued on with finishing those dolls.  

Since the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along is just around the corner I decided I should be getting blocks made and patterns written...  three blocks pieced and two patterns written.  Here's a little tease...

So what will life bring this week???  The usual household responsibilities, of course, but I think I will be offering the bulk of my attention to the flower garden quilt.  The customer selected option E with an open center.  We will be going with a soft scalloped edge to bind on the sides and straight on the top and bottom. 

Happy Monday folks!  Monday's have had a bad rap for years... but what if... What if we approached Monday with the same attitude that most of us approach Friday?  Yes, I know that Monday generally means "back to work"  but what if we said "I GET to go back to work" rather than "I HAVE to go back to work"?  It's all about attitude.  I know that I can get into a slump and have a ho-hum feeling about life, but life is what we make of it.  Be a positive influence to those around you and watch the smiles increase and the joy be spread around and sprinkled all over the place like glitter! 

Your mind is a garden.  
Your thoughts are the seeds.
You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.

What is one of your favorite positive quotes?  

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


Linking with:

To Do Tuesday at Chris Knits & Sews
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

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Letters and Packages

The last few visits from our mail carrier have been... well, let's just say I was busy ordering needed items that I had added to my "shopping" list while we were away at the goat farm.  We have kept her busy!

One of the items received was the letter that I had sent in October to the son of Klaus Hesselbarth, (his letter accompanied the Rolling Stone Block in the Pieces From the Past Sew Along) Tillman Hesselbarth.  How disappointing it was to see that it was back in my possession.  

I did a quick search for Tillman, thinking that, perhaps, with such an uncommon name, I might find some info on him.  I had success!  I located a picture and press release that stated that he retired in 2017 for "personal family reasons".

I have sent an email to the communications director of the company that released the announcement... so, again, I wait. In a way, I did, get my original wish granted, sort of.  I had wanted to have a response from the family (a far reaching wish) before the end of the Pieces From The Past Sew Along.  The end of the sew along is very near... just a few more days!

So, I didn't hear from the family.  But I did have the letter returned.  I no longer have to wonder if the family had received it and discarded it, or if it ended up in a dead letter section of some post office.  Having it returned spurred me to try a different avenue. I have my fingers crossed and have whispered another prayer that there will be a response.  🤞

Other mail received...  a wonderful quilting book from a high school friend and customer.

Chris had commissioned "The Legacy" quilt last year and gifted it to his Godson and fiancÊe and has a great appreciation for heritage as well as art.  

The book was from the library of his Mother who passed away a year ago.  

The title of the book is intriguing... it was derived from the story that a couple was making a move from Ohio to Colorado Territory.  The husband's plan was to open a small mercantile so the wagon was loaded with the building supplies he was going to need for his endeavor.  The wife was told that there was no space for excessive personal items, including clothing.  Her solution was to wear layered clothing.  Because the wagon ride was so rough they walked much of the way... for at least three months!  

After their arrival to their destination, and after some time passed and the clothing that she had brought with her wore thin in spots, she used the better sections of the dresses and skirts to make a quilt.  Thus the name!  I haven't had time to read the entire book, but I look forward to reading more as I get time.

I can't help but think that there is a story with each and every quilt... I think that most quilters can relate to this, but what about non-quilters?  Do they realize the significance and meaning behind each quilt?  It is our job to share the stories and inspiration behind each one!  And that is one of my passions.  

When I gift a quilt or complete a commissioned quilt, I like to share all that has been poured into it.  In a sense, it is the frame to finished piece of artwork.  

Do you share the reasons for a pattern and/or fabric selections of a quilt that you gift?  

One example is the quilt that was a wedding gift for our nephew and his wife in 2016.  The story of making the quilt, True North, was printed out and included with the gift.  After sharing it here on MLS, one of my sisters-in-law commented that it was an incredibly well thought out gift.  You see, without knowing the story it is just a "blanket"... it is the love and care that makes it more.

If you haven't ever considered telling "the story" behind your quilt, I encourage you to do so.  It doesn't need to be long and elaborate or for the world to read, but it will undoubtedly be appreciated by the recipient.

Let me know your thoughts... leave a comment.  I love to hear from you.


Coming soon!  Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along.
Beginning April 1, 2021

Monday, March 15, 2021

Productivity Level at an All-time High

After a week away with our friends my productivity level upon my return was astonishing!  And I didn't even work hard at it.  I had planned on doing a Friday Finish post, but I was on such a roll I didn't want to stop.

✔Hanna's name bunting is adorable, if I must say so myself... and will be a perfect addition to the shower decorations and the nursery.

The labels for the two commissioned t-shirt quilts were added to the quilts and shipped off.  This is the message I received from my customer...

"They are beautiful!!!      I could never have gotten even close to that!     I know I am going to reach out to you again.   You are so talented.   We hid them and need to get an occasion to give them!

The recipients of the quilts have not received them yet so I have removed their names from the top of the labels...  But it is so nice to hear back from a happy customer. 💗

I have finalized the wrap-up for the Pieces From the Past sew along and sent it off to C&T Publishing for them to post as well.  It will be released on Thursday.  Instructions to finish the quilt are included and will go quickly.  

✔The first three blocks for the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along are pieced!  So far, they are all easy blocks, as I imagine that they may have been blocks that were simple enough to be among some of the first blocks a child just learning to sew would piece.

And as bonuses for the week... 

I have ALL of the paper doll blocks (both quilts) with underwear and hair.  They ready to outline stitch and give details to the bodies.  

On top of all that...  I sandwiched a vintage Grandmother's Flower Garden  quilt that followed me home from Texas.  I have auditioned several quilting options and am waiting for feedback from my customer of her preference.  You can see the options below...

Now I know what I will be doing for the week...  But first I MUST clean my machines before I do any more sewing.

Which quilting design is your favorite?  

I know for certain I will be doing vines and leaves in the green sections.  Leave a comment... I will find interesting to see which designs are the most popular.  However, in the end, my customer will have the final say.  But I would like to hear from you too!

Quilt Happy!


Linking with:

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
To Do Tuesday at Chris Knits & Sews
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Why I Quilt

March is National Quilting Month and Amy from Amy's Creative Side is hosting the Instagram Quiltfest.  Each day she has the "word of the day".

Today, March 11th, she wants to know "Why do you quilt?"  

As I ponder the question, I find that I have so many reasons.  My love language is quilting! I love being able to pour love and prayers (and sometimes blood, sweat and tears) into a quilt.  {{don't bleed on the quilt, don't bleed on the quilt}}  It matters not whether it is a gift or a commissioned quilt for a customer... the same amount of effort and love is given to each quilt.

It doesn't matter the size.  It could be a 3" block featuring vintage flour sack fabrics from Grandma's collection turned into a pin cushion...

or a hand-sewn hello card or mug rug >> that measures as small as 5"x7" featuring local prominent landmarks, as shown below; 
A baby quilt or a king-sized quilt.  Size does not matter!

Scrappy quilts are my jam.  Scrappy Log Cabin blocks are among my most favorite with little to no attention paid to the width of the strips or seam allowances. 

"Art" projects that stretch my creativity and my mind are rewarding and satisfying... being able to capture the feeling or emotion of a moment, like the soundwave of laughter with friends, feeds my soul.  

Preserving a piece of a family's or individual's memories in special "memory" quilts, such as a quilt from a loved one's clothing; 

a pillow made from a shirt; 

or a quilt for a child to grow up with something of the Mom that didn't survive childbirth; 

Or a quilt that features a table cloth and ties of Grandma and Grandpa and seems to almost transcend time. 

So.... why do I quilt?  It is a creative outlet.  It allows me to connect on a very personal level with others.  It preserves memories of special times and people.

Because it is a gift I can share with others.  I stitch in love and prayers that another can then wrap themselves in to feel loved... not just by me, but by God.

Quilting is my love language and a gift from above!

Why do YOU quilt?

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


Linking with:

Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
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

Monday, March 8, 2021

Monday's Musings

Last week's activities at the farm were entertaining, awe inspiring and exhausting.  After witnessing the miracle of 40+ baby goats be delivered and the rapid changes from newborn wet to nursing and hopping and playing, including head butts and chasing, it was time to return home on Friday.  If you want to see an assortment of cuteness, click on the link on "farm" above.

One reader last week asked about the triplets in the feed bin... "Do the little goats climb into that basin or were they put there to snuggle together in sleep?"

These cuties had been born the previous day and when "Farmher" went to see how everyone had done overnight she found them this way.  Snuggled up and protected from the wind since the bin was just taller than them... perhaps it also offered a feeling of security and being back in their Momma. 💓

I am grateful that I was able to be a part of kidding season and happy to offer a helping hand where ever I was needed... in the pens helping with weighing, clipping ears and care of the nannies post-birth as well as in the kitchen.  My personal favorite picture is this one... two sets of triplets.  I love the patchwork of colors!  You can't see it in this picture but the kid behind the light-colored multicolored center front, has a white heart on the side!

Saturday was filled with loads of stinky goat farm laundry, but in between loads, I was in the studio working on the name bunting for our new grand-daughter.  The baby shower is still a month away, but I was excited to get it going.

Goal #1 for the week:

Finish the bunting.  I only need to get it on the binding/string and make the bows.

Other items on my list:

Create and sew on labels for the two t-shirt quilts that I recently finished.  This is a sample of the label that my customer has requested.

Other items I will consider?  

Finish up the border instructions for the Pieces From the Past Sew Along.  Have you made the final block - Pride of Ohio?  Have you linked up?  There is still time!  In fact, if you work diligently, you could get all 20 blocks done before the final post on March 18th when you can link up a pieced top for a chance to win one of five Kansas City Star Sampler books from C&T Publishing.

Begin the blocks for the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along.  I'll be ready to announce the schedule very soon!  Watch for details. 😚  Here is the logo created for the sew along (I think)I'm not 100% settled on it...

What do you think of this graphic?  

Leave a comment...  I'd love to have some constructive feedback.

Keep piecing to keep peace in your soul,


Linking with:

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
To Do Tuesday at Chris Knits & Sews
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

To-Do Goes On the Road

Over the weekend my attention was returned to the Paperdoll quilts.  I was able to get all of the dolls on both quilts dressed with underwear and the the smaller dolls have some wonderful and cute hair styles.  

Finally... We finally made the trip to visit our friends with the Lazy J Goat Farm!

We listened to The Hunger Games during our 7 hour drive and I sketched out quilt blocks.

This was a bargain find at a thrift shop about a year ago, for just $5. 

Here are a few sketches of blocks I plan to use in the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along...

Along with the sketches I have the cutting and assembly instructions.

One other project I sketched out was a bunting for our soon to arrive grand daughter... Both little Hanna and her name bunting will be "coming soon".

But for now... all I have to show are these adorable kids!  A total of 10 have arrived in 24 hours.  WOW!

I'm pre-occupied and in love!  It is just as well that I didn't bring any projects to work on.  

Have you listened to any good audio books lately?  Any in particular that you recommend?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Keep Piecing,


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

Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
To Do Tuesday at Chris Knits & Sews
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch
Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation