Friday, October 29, 2021

Friday Fun Finish

It may be small, but for the week following our time on the road, playing "catch-up" and working on the computer and electronic "duties", I am celebrating this fun little finish.


The individual "Paper Dolls" that I made for myself to be able to "model clothes" had been put away in July unfinished.  When we decided that we would go spend some time with the grandchildren and Halloween being just around the corner I decided that I NEEDED time in my sewing room for some creative playtime.  I pulled them out along with the envelope of patterns for a variety of clothing styles.  I also pulled out some Halloween novelty scraps to create a pair of fun "seasonal" outfits.

While I was at it I found a bag that contained some fabric that had been leftover binding and decided I would finish the little gals.  They were appliqued into place and have been properly completed!  That bandana fabric was perfect for the binding.

No... this was not on my to-do list.  Yes, there are items on my list that hold a higher priority.  But sometimes a girl just has to create so that she is more productive in other areas! Nina Marie often shares some encouraging ideas to spark inspiration and creativity...   Go check her out!

Balance is key in life... of this I am a firm believer!  All work and no play... well, it isn't pretty!  And sometimes you just have to make pretty things. :)  Whether something tangible or just memories... But... then again, all play and no work can break the bank. :/

How do you keep your life in balance?

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

Stay calm and keep piecing,

Melva

Linking with:

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
UFO Busting at Tish’s Wonderland



Sunday, October 24, 2021

On The Road...

You may have noticed my absence in the blog and social media circles for the past 12 days or so... Or maybe not 🤷  That's ok too!

It was a much needed time to be away from home.  A time to explore, travel and camp, and visit with some family as we celebrated our niece's wedding.  Long story made short... There was ALOT of driving involved... almost 3,000 miles logged in 9 days.  Some days were shorter than others, but every night it felt good to lay our heads down on our pillows and wake up rested.  Some nights we slept for nearly 12 hours!  We saw sunshine, experienced some wind, clouds and rain... even snow!  We pulled a trailer behind the truck and picked up a John Deere tractor along the way for about 2,000 of the miles.  


Here's the scoop... Day one started well before sun up in Colorado (no sewing then because it was 0'dark 30), heading northeast to Kansas, up to Nebraska and ending at dusk nine miles into Iowa.  It didn't take long for me to discover that with the trailer on the back of the truck there was more bouncing than normal.  As a result, there was very little sewing going on.  We did enjoy an audio book ~ Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (we've seen the movie, but the book was good too).  We pulled into our campsite in time for a quick walk around the campground followed by dinner and another stretch of our legs.


We picked up a 'hitchhiker' early on day 2 and moved on down the road.  Doesn't Dave look happy???  I love that grin on his face!  The bouncing down the road was totally worth it. 

Here are the two blocks I did manage to get pieced... A new mountain scene (adapted from a block from a block in the "Destination Quilt Along") and a feather that I designed.


We arrived at our destination for the wedding weekend and settled in quickly as we enjoyed pizza from one of our most favorite places to get pizza... I'm told that it was as amazing as he had remembered.  Sadly, I had a rather boring gluten-free crust with sauce, peppers, onions and chicken... and no cheese since they couldn't/wouldn't put parmesan cheese on the pizza before baking.  I. was. drooling. over that Village Special Double Decker.  Sometimes life is unfair... and sometimes I just have to get over it.


The bride looked absolutely beautiful! 

Family gathered as we passed time between the wedding and dinner.  It was great to catch up with everyone that made it. 

Sunday was a lazy relaxing day as everyone else enjoyed watching the Chicago Bears V. Green Bay Packers... Dave napped... Twice. Ironically, the Bears only played well while he slept!  Haha!  
I enjoyed the quiet time and used it to piece one more block for our camping journal quilt


Monday morning coffee with an Uncle was pleasant, followed by a quick stop at a grocery store to replenish all that we needed and then we were on our way to be vagabonds as we headed north into Wisconsin.  
We were anticipating seeing some brilliant leaf colors as we headed to Minnesota.  Sadly, we were deeply disappointed.  Occasionally there were splashes of red and yellow, but primarily we saw browns and some greens...  Our night at the KOA was noisy with a farm next door with the sound of fans in a silo full of corn.  Ugh... 


Despite the somewhat noisy night we managed to wake ready to move on down the road with the goal of making it to Rapid City, SD.  Let me tell you... THAT was another long day. 

The horrible cross winds picked up as we approached The Badlands and Wall, SD... and it was soon accompanied with rain.  There was no stopping there!  The rain gave way to freezing rain and snow as the temperatures dropped and we tried to locate a campground that was still open.  Many of the listings for campgrounds we discovered had "closed for the season."  


As we pulled into our "home" for the night we were greeted by the welcoming committee.  This small group of ducks were quite excited to see us... and even more excited as Dave walked toward a nearby bucket marked with "Duck Food"... only to discover that it was empty.  They followed him back to the truck making even more noise in protest to the lack of food but we could do nothing about and were more concerned with getting dinner started before the sun set for the day and the snow really began to fly.

The following morning!  3" of wet, heavy snow.
P.S.  The ducks weren't very happy about it either. LOL!

Mount Rushmore was beautiful in the snow and as the day passed the temps rose and and were enjoyed Crazy Horse in the sunshine.


Trying to locate a campground that had not closed for the season was interesting... We were grateful for the kind host near Custer, SD that even offered us a discount since we didn't need any hook-ups.  Custer, SD... where the fun starts, the sign says... we say "We bring the FUN wherever we go!"




The next day we headed toward Devil's tower.  That is an interesting monument and it seems crazy that some people even climb that thing! Do you like my "hat"?


I felt a little like the Muppets ... Movin' Right Along.  LOL!  We moved on down the road to a tiny town, Guernsey, Wyoming to explore a sight that a friend mentioned... A section of the Oregon Trail where the wagons traveled over a sandstone section of ground.  The heavy weight of the wagons as well as the large number of wagons that passed that way cut into the sandstone leaving 4 feet deep ruts!


As We celebrated one last night on the road as we enjoyed a lovely afternoon and a view from the Red Cloud Campground at Guernsey State Park.  The next day we headed south for 7 hours.  

We concluded that in the 9 days on the road Colorado ended up having the most brilliant and colorful fall leaves along the front-range and I-25... and that Colorado had the biggest and messiest road construction projects. 

There were many sights along the way that we would like to revisit someday with an opportunity to stop and really explore them... but for now my wanderlust has been quieted and I am enjoying our home and comfy bed without complaint... for now!  The camper remains on the truck and I may be able to coerce Dave to head south in November.  


Laundry is nearly caught up, grocery shopping needs to be done and the house never was cleaned properly before we left... but I have pulled out our Camping Journal Quilt and have determined what blocks I need to make and how it will layout with a few larger blocks.  

But then again... ❧I have a program to prepare for on November 5th.  My books arrived while we were gone. This is pretty exciting! Watch for an announcement about being able to purchase a book... I'll be figuring the final cost and cost of shipping and handling this week too.  NOTE::  This book does not include the patterns as I was only granted permission by C&T Publishing to share electronically at no cost.

❧I have a pattern that I need to finish writing for the next Santa Fe Trail Sew Along release   

and a pattern test to do for another quilter/designer/blogger.   

What will you be doing this week?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear about what you have planned.  

Stay Pieceful,

Melva

Linking with:

Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Patchwork & Quilts at The Quilting Patch
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
Scrap Happy Saturday at Super Scrappy
Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
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




Friday, October 15, 2021

Technical Difficulties

Ooops...  So sorry about the technical difficulty!


The link for the Wagon Trail block pattern has been corrected!  If you are looking for the excerpt of Marion Russell's memoir you can find it here...







Thursday, October 14, 2021

Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail - Wagon Trail


In the words of Marion Russell...

Fort Union had grown.  There were more adobe buildings and better ones.  I think mother would have liked to have lingered there.  I know that Captain Shoemaker tried to induce her to stay and take some military boarders; however, she wanted to get Will and me enrolled in school as quickly as possible so we pushed on to Santa Fe.

I think I was never so glad to return to any place as I was to Santa Fe that autumn of 1860.  I brought with me many eastern ways, and a rather nice wardrobe.  At first I showed off a bit, but failing to impress either the students or sister, I forgot all about it and settled down into my uniforms and the school routine as if I had not been four year an easterner.

Mother moved again into the same house fronting the Plaza, and soon had more boarders than she could well handle.  But this time there was no adjustment period for us.  We chatted with our Mexican neighbors in their tongue.  We cooked the hot chili and ate it.  We shouldered the sleepy burros and sheep out of the way as we walked down the narrow crooked alleys... alleys that were ours by adoption.

Life slipped back easily and quickly into the worn, old groove. Some of the girls I had known four years before had grown to womanhood and had left the walls of the convent. Some of the nuns had been sent to other schools and new sisters had taken their places. I remember how we day pupils ate our lunches in the little refectory in the side yard of the Academy. And how when the sisters left us for a moment we would all begin laughing and telling stories. The gossip we repeated was a bit different from the gossip in Leavenworth. One girl would whisper that while the Navahos tried to be on good terms with the white folks, they were really spies and not to be trusted. Another one told of how an old Indian woman had stolen her mother's red mother hubbard (a long, loose-fitting, shapeless woman's dress or undergarment) right off the clothes line. Another girl whispered that the strangers in town, the ones with the wide leather belts and strange looking trousers and the spurs that jangled, were Mexican guerrillas from old Mexico.

One more happy year passed thus in Santa Fe, town of manana (Spanish for tomorrow).  Then again mother conceived the idea of returning once again to Leavenworth.  I really do not know why she wanted to go back but I think it was the lure of the trail that drew her.  I know she loved Santa Fe and liked living there, but at heart my mother was a nomad.  She gaily betook herself back and forth over the trail on first one pretext and then another.  Who am I to condemn her, when today I would rather embark in a prairie schooner for parts unknown than to embark on white wings for a place in the skies called Heaven!

Sometimes today I am reminded of what the Indians told us about the scrub cedar - I think the cedar tree reminds me of mother.  They said the cedar tree had power to close its branches on the approach of a snow storm, that way the snow fell only on the sides of the slender leaves.  I have seen the cedar trees lifting up their boughs and turning the edges of their leaves to meet the falling snow.  I have seen my mother lifting up her heart in an attitude of prayer that always helped her to bear what misfortune brought her.  Today when I think of my pioneer mother I feel a joy unspeakable.

So once more we embarked in an eastern wagon train bearing cargo from far away California.  Mule-drawn the wagons lid easily down to the cluster of huts on the Purgatoire.  Many houses had sprung up there like little mud-colored mushrooms.  There was a frontier store and a quaint Catholic church.  We forded the river and camped this time on the northern bank beneath the tall, white bluff.

While we loitered around the fires that evening an old Mexican, wearing the tattered remains of a sombrero, slouched beneath the taut ropes of our wagon-corral and came toward us.  He told us that the cluster of mud huts was call Trinidad, and the river was called the Purgatoire.  The early Spaniards had called it El Rio de las Animas Perdidas en Purgatoris, the River of Lost Souls in Purgatory.  When we asked him why it was so called, he said that many moons ago a tribe of cruel Comanches was forced by the Great Spirit to live forever beneath the surface of the earth, never again to see the light of day.

The old Mexican believed the Indian myth of the lost Indian tribe because there were places along the river where one might still hear strange sounds like the moans and curses of a people in pain.  I remember how Will and I smiled at the story told by the old Mexican.  In later years I was to be perplexed  myself at hearing strange sounds like moans and curses coming from beneath the earth at places along the banks of the Purgatoire.

Even a year had wrought a change along the trail.  We found a bit of plowed land here and there, black strips traversing our sea of silver grass.  On the plains of Kansas the white men were killing the buffalo, killing them ruthlessly and in great numbers.  

This time mother moved to Kansas City.  Once more I entered school, and Will found employment on the Kansas City Journal.  He spent all his spare time that winter studying for the ministry.  In the spring he united with the First Baptist Church.  However, when Civil War came upon us he joined a Kansas regiment and marched away to war. 

I remember how he smiled at us and how mother tried to keep smiling.  I tried to take my cue from them, and the last morning I stood beside mother as Will was leaving.  I stood very straight and returned smile for smile while I wondered if I would ever see my brother come marching back again.  Had we known, Mother and I, that we were not to see him again for fifty long years, perhaps we would not have been able to keep up the smiling.

Before those fifty years were ended Will was to have fought through the War, been ordained a Baptist minister, sent as a missionary to Calcutta, India, and then sent as a minister to Mexico City, Mexico.

He was stationed in Mexico City when that place was stirred by a great religious riot.  With his own two hands he rang the first Protectant church bell in that city.  Later he was ordered back to the States.  Finally Will did the thing that surprised us all.  He renounced the Baptist Church and united with the Catholic Church.  He never in after years discussed his strange conduct.  I cannot explain to you what I never understood myself.  Will was always honest and sincere.  Religion was the guiding motive of his life.  Perhaps the seed planted by Father Lamy in his heart so long ago had born fruit at last.  Always I remember his childish prayer, "Please God, may I some day see your face."

The Wagon Trail block representing this part of the journey that Marion and her family made is a variation of the Jacob's Ladder block with a fun combination of 4-patch and half-square triangle units.  


Marion has stated several times before that New Mexico had captured her heart and she longed to live in Santa Fe.  Before you go, tell me...

Is there a specific place that you long to settle?  
Or even repeatedly visit because of a special connection you feel when you are there?

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

Stay pieceful,

Melva

Get your pattern, make your block and then share it!  Don't forget to use the hashtags #PiecesoftheSantaFeTrail #PiecesoftheTrail #PiecesoftheTrailSewAlong and tag me on instagram @MelvaLovesScraps or share to my fb page Melva Loves Scraps.  
 
Be sure to come back and link up your block for a chance to win a fat quarter too!



Linking with:


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wonderful Windy Wednesday

I did it!  I got the Bright & Cheer Sunflowers quilted and ready to send off!


Other things that have been accomplished are basically non-existent, but I feel really good about this.  We are focusing on getting the camper loaded with some food, bedding and clothes, wedding clothes selected, wedding quilt wrapped and reservation information for our overnight in Iowa on the way.  Did I mention that Dave recently purchased a larger lawn tractor and we are picking it up on our way???  


The other day the wind decided to pick up and there only a few leaves remaining on our maple trees... but what remains matches the centers of the sunflowers perfectly!

With this one and the Butterfly Garden quilt on their way home I am ready for a vacay!

Almost...  Audio book acquired, sewing kit and a few postcard block patterns are ready to go... snacks and beverages available...

What sort of road-trip activities do you plan for? 

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

Stay Pieceful,

Melva

Linking with:

To Do Tuesday at Texas Quilt Gal
Mid-week Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch




Monday, October 11, 2021

New Approach to No Guilt::Go Quilt

Am I the only one that struggles with change?


A few weeks ago I helped a friend who had recently become a Pampered Chef consultant and hosted an on-line party.  While I love PC and their products I had not really anticipated the amount of sales/orders that were placed. Because of the the fabulous hostess rewards and deals I received I am now the owner of an air fryer and a quick/slow cooker, all at a price that cost me less than $80.

Our daughters had gifted us an instapot a few Christmases ago when I asked for a rice cooker.  Honestly, I did not keep it because of the size of the appliance and lack of space to store it.  I did have room for the much smaller rice cooker.

We have seen and heard all the rage about the air fryers and now I have one of THOSE too!  Another over-sized appliance... and the same lack of countertop space and storage space.

So... I need your help.  Sell me on these two appliances by telling me where I can find your favorite "no-fail" recipes!

I have tried a few recipes in the air fryer but we have been less than impressed .  Perhaps I am just an old dog when it comes to my preferred cooking methods.  I enjoy my crockpot and the extra time that it affords me in my sewing room.  The pleasant aromas of the meal as it simmers away is always enticing.  

Again, maybe I am just an old dog struggling with change and I need to get over it... HELP!

Speaking of No Guilt::Go Quilt, it has been a while since I have shared any recipes.  Here's a yummy one for Garlic Butter Chicken and Veggies.

I'll pulling out one of my freezer meals as I prepare for our trip to Illinois for our niece's wedding.  I have plenty to do but the primary and first focus will be my customer's Sunflower quilt.  

Isn't it a bright and cheerful quilt?


It is certain to pick up the spirits of who ever is lucky enough to snuggle up underneath it!


This Monday is lacking inspiration... Maybe I'll go find a quilt to snuggle under myself... I hope the remainder of the week improves.  Don't forget to come back on Thursday for Block 10 of Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail sew along!  I have the bundle of patterns 1-9 available at a sale price of $7.   Grab the patterns and link up your Comfort of Home block using the hashtags #PiecesoftheSantaFeTrail #PiecesoftheTrail #PiecesoftheTrailSewAlong and tag me on instagram @MelvaLovesScraps or share to my fb page Melva Loves Scraps.  

Piece Out,

Melva

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
  

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Top Four Thankful Thursday ~ Fall Style

As I reflect on all that I have experienced in the past week I have much to be thankful for!

#1  Restored health for both Dave and myself

While we have been fortunate enough to have suffered mild symptoms (very mild for me), we feel like we are functioning at about 80% and I am SOOOOOOOO happy to be out of the guest room!  I attribute my extremely mild case and quick recovery to my regiment of supplements for my thyroid health and immune system, as well as the use of some essential oils... but I will not deny that the power of prayer was instrumental as well.

#2  The return of my Babylock Lyric

My machine was in need of a tune up.  It had been in for servicing in February, but sadly was returned home not fully repaired.  I got by fine for most of the summer, but when my frustration in the feeding of the fabric reached its pinnacle and cleaning did not improve it, I went in search of a new repair shop.

Boone at Diablo Sewing is a retired guy with a shop in his home and was quite thorough.  I would guess that he has had some experience in repairing machines that the previous shop has had their fingers in.  

I haven't given it a try, but the sample sewing he gave me looks really good!


#3  The colors of Fall!


Our flaming red maple trees are gorgeous this year!

And look at the multi-colored look of the larger one!  Talk about inspiration for a fall quilt...



#4
  The delivery of the proof of my book!  Pieces From The Past ~ a collection of letters from former POWs is becoming a reality!  

What are you thankful for?  

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

Stay Calm & Thankful,

Melva


PS -
Block 10 of the Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along will be released in a week.  Which means... you still have PLENTY of time to get the pattern for block 9 - Comfort of Home - and link up your finished block for a chance to win a free fat-quarter!  Patterns are free to download for six weeks.  After that each pattern has a nominal fee of $2 each.  However, for the remainder of October you can get a discounted bundle that includes nine patterns for just $7 - rather than $14.  No code needed, but you can only access the patterns via the high-lighted link above.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Monday Morning Musings...

We had considered ourselves lucky but we knew it would eventually catch us... that dreaded bug. I am certain that Dave brought it home with him after his most recent grand jury session.  That is the only place and time that we have not been out and about together... 😕

He has had a mild case but dealing with some lingering lethargy and I am just starting with a burning throat.  My mighty prayer warriors are on duty and I can feel every one of their prayers.  

While he was convalescing on the couch watching "man tv" I was in my studio cranking through last week's To-do List.   


✔Both the butterfly garden quilt and the memory quilt were completed, including labels and being washed and dried on Friday. 


The camping trip was not going to happen, even if the bug hadn't caught up with us because of snow above 10,500 feet.  We're just not THAT crazy!


As I was trying to avoid as much contact as possible with the patient I assumed my position back in my studio for much of Saturday as I made some quilted cards to sell at the Historical Society's dinner in November.  Three different landmarks, five of each and I have more cut and ready to finish.  It may or may not happen this week, but I have time.

Honestly, I miss my bed... the guest bed is not really, well... they say that a guest bed should never be too comfortable lest the guests may over-stay their welcome.  haha!  That seems to be exactly where our guest bed seems to be... not intentionally, but seriously, I think we need to get something better!  My lower back and left hip hurt.  Tylenol, hot soaks in the bathtub and essential oils help.

❧  The plans for the coming week?  Get my health restored and get back to normal.  I am grateful that it seems to be a mild case and with the help of supplements, fluids, plenty of rest and essential oils (and the many prayers being spoken on my behalf) it WILL NOT be around long.

The internet service, facebook and the laptop that I am working on are not working all that great and while I have many more thoughts to share, my back is telling me it is time for another dose of tylenol and a soak...  I'll take it as a sign to sign off.

Are you a user of essential oils?  

I have been using Thieves and Immunity Boost as well as peppermint and eucalyptus... Before you go, tell me what are some of your favorites?

Piece Out,

Melva

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 Texas Quilt Gal
Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter
Stitch Sew & Show at Life in the Scrap Patch