Saturday, September 30, 2023

To-Do Tackled & Sew and Tell

Last week's to-do list was tackled bit by bit.  So, I have several things to share... 

I kicked it off by making a difficult phone call only to discover that there was nothing difficult about it all.  That call was to the owner of an apartment complex that Mom is interested in.  She has a friend living there currently and there is a vacancy.  They are in the midst of a remodel, and it won't be ready for a few months.  Possibly early next year.  She is at the top of their list for potential residents, and we will tour the property very soon.

When I spoke with her initially, she was overwhelmed with the idea of moving and the need to down-size.  Very understandable... but when I spoke with her a few days later, she was at peace with it and believes that God's hand is in all of it.  **Insert a little happy, praise dance here.**

With that out of the way, I was able to fully focus on getting everything ready for the crafting classes.  The Magnetic Prayer Boards were fun to make, and each one as unique as the 8 ladies that participated.

Up next was the craft time with the youth to make a dozen jar mixes.  Sadly, it was postponed.  But we have all of the ingredients, recipes, tags, jar covers ready to go in a few weeks.

As promised, here are the recipes/instructions for assembling them and for preparing them.

Sand Art Brownies

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour + 2 Tablespoons
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces

Layer ingredients in a 1-quart canning jar in the order listed.

In large bowl, combine jar contents and 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 eggs and 1/3 cup oil.  Mix well.   Bake in a 9”x9” pan at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


“Special“  Sand Art Brownies

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup GF flour + 2 Tablespoons
2/3 cup maple sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup GF flour + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup GF chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces
1/2 cup GF chocolate chips

Layer ingredients in a 1-quart canning jar in the order listed

In large bowl, combine jar contents and 1 teaspoon vanilla, 3 eggs and 1/3 cup oil.  Mix well.   Bake in a 9”x9” pan at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


Power Bar Jar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit
Top with pecan or walnut pieces

Layer ingredients in a 1-quart canning jar in the order listed.

In large bowl, combine jar contents and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup melted butter or oil and 1/2 cup peanut butter.  Mix well. 
Bake in a 13”x9” pan at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.


“Special“ Power Bar Jar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup GF flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup Guittard chocolate chips (made with coconut sugar)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit
Top with pecan or walnut pieces

Layer ingredients in a 1-quart canning jar in the order listed.

In large bowl, combine jar contents and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil and 1/2 cup almond butter.  Mix well. 
Bake in a 13”x9” pan at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

These jars make marvelous gifts for any occasion.  They are quick and easy to put together and the recipient can prepare for their enjoyment as their schedule allows.  The youth will get to take one jar with them at the end of the meeting and the remainder of the jars will be included in the Thanksgiving food bags that will be delivered for the holidays.  They get a sweet treat, a short lesson about how all things work together for the best... because just sugar all the time is bad for you, you wouldn't want just flour either.  But when all of the ingredients are combined in the proper way, we can have something wonderful.  And they are contributing to a local mission outreach.

In between the prep work and classes, I was able to have several little therapy sessions that allowed me to finish another crazy quilt ~ Wild Fans ~ from the orphan blocks of Mary Margaret Smith. The quilting design features over-sized Baptist fans with lines spaced 2" apart.  You can see more detailed photos by following the highlighted link above.

Our shower project continues, but we are almost ready to put tile in the shower basin.  Woohoo!

And the box of t-shirts will be started Monday morning... Fingers crossed, I'll have a flimsy ready for quilting by the week's end.

Last week, I was intimidated by the tasks I had before me, but once I just started... with the most difficult one, everything else went smoothly... all-in-all, a fabulous week!  I just had to get started.  I hope that yours was just as grand.

This week's randomly selected Sew & Tell feature is by Alycia at Alycia Quilts.  She shared thoughts on creatives and our tendency to start a lot of things...

"Who says we have to finish everything that we start? 

Who says that if we don't finish it we have wasted our time?

I have found some things that I haven't finished, and I probably won't... so I put them in a decide later pile. That way... I can think on them - do I want to take the time, do I want to pass them on? Who would benefit from this? or.... is it better to use as a rag?  (and yes - that is acceptable too)"

I so get this! And, in the end, her cowgirl heart was happy... and that's all that really matters!

Now it is your turn... join the Sew & Tell party by sharing a link to your most recent project you are proud of! 🎉 Bun before you go... do you share this same train of thought?  

A few years ago I decided that the number of quilts completed did not matter. What matters is that I enjoy the process of quilting!  'Nuf said ;)

Keep Piecing,


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Friday, September 29, 2023

Wild Fans

I snuck in a finish!  In between the craft classes, phone calls and household chores.  I snuck in a few minutes here and a few minutes there... and this is what I came up with.

With orphan blocks from the collection of Mary Margaret Smith, this quilt is like a step back to the 90s with the wild prints ~ all silky fabrics but pieced on to stabilizer so they didn't move too much.  Her choices of fancy embroider stitches in bright, contrasting colors added to the wild.

Over-sized Baptist fans make up the quilting. The lines are spaced 2" apart.

A light green binding finished the edges and a 90s print with forest green background and pink and blue flowers is on the back.

In it's "ready for a new home" state, slightly shrunk and wrinkly soft, it measures approximately 44" square.  It is a nice size for a lap quilt or perhaps a baby quilt for one of Mary's great-grandchildren. 

These blocks are not my go-to style.  But as I worked on this quilt, I could not help but think of the love, labor and pride that went into making each one.  And to have the honor to finish them is something I do not take lightly.

I'll be turning my attention to the custom t-shirt quilt that is next in que... it happens to include a few shirts from the 80s (a great era, in my opinion, since I graduated in 1983).  I'll be jammin' to 80s hits as I work on the quilt this weekend.

What will you be doing?  
Do you like to have music playing when quilting? 
Or do you prefer to watch tv? 
Or maybe listen to a book?

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

Keep Piecing,


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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Tuesday To-do and Talk...

I've had lots of things going on... and feel a little scattered and unable to focus on what I really want to. And I was reminded this morning of something I learned way back in 1999... (How can it be that it has been 24 years???) I digress...

Unless you set your priorities, the world and those around you will set them for you.

Often times, when I am feeling distracted or unfocused, I realize that it is others that have stepped up and rearranged my priorities. 

And, sometimes, life just happens and there is no control over certain situations, and they demand my attention. 

You may recall my post a few weeks ago about talking with my Mom about a plan for her future.  Phone calls need to be made this week to schedule appointments to visit a few senior apartments.  This is something, even though I brought up, would rather set off on the back burner.  I keep telling myself, she's fine in her home.  And then I think of the approaching snows of the winter that Dave and I will be responsible for managing.  That alone, is (almost) enough to pull the subject from the back burner and get serious about it.

Ok... whining and complaining is done.  I'll just pull up my big girl panties and pick up the phone.

Other distractions... 
*  The partial remodel/shower repair.  It's not that big of a deal or disruption.  I mean, I am only the assistant to the repair guy (Dave), but when he decides to do something, I drop everything and make myself available to him.  It's just the way we do life together. :)

* I was asked to lead a craft activity for a youth group.  The youth meeting is on Friday.  They will be making two different jar mixes ~ Sand Art Brownies and Power Bar Jars.  I've made up one sample (slightly modified from the original recipe) so that we can all enjoy the tasting of the Power Bars when they are done assembling the jars.  Labels need to be made and fabric jar toppers need to be cut.  I'll share photos of the group and the recipes (original and modified) in next week's Sew & Tell party.

Pssst... This week's party is still open.  Join the fun!

* When I was asked to lead the youth activity, it was mentioned that perhaps I'd like to lead a craft activity for the Ladies Bible Study group.  That will take place on Thursday.  Magnetic Prayer Boards are on the agenda and all of the supplies for the projects need to be purchased and gathered together.  I'll share photos of the boards when they are done.  Each one ends up as unique as the individual.

* All the while, my mind keeps drifting back to the box of t-shirts that arrived last week for another custom quilt.

As I think of prioritizing all of the items on my to-do list, I recall our visit to the Rio Grand del Norte National Monument and how the two rivers converged... Life is much like this convergence.  

Using one of the patterns from the National Parks Blocks by Fiona Sandwich, I made a block to reflect this photo for our Camping Journal Quilt.  (I used the Blue Ridge Mountain block and turned it 90 degrees.)

Life has a flow... consider the larger river your life and the priorities you choose.  And then as things come up, all those other things that can be good, even necessary, will meet up with the larger river.  It can cause a wild flow right at that point, but if you ride it out, it will all become smooth again.  In the meantime, hold on!

Two of the fabrics in this block (the far left & right pieces) were from a wax resist class/project that I made at a local art event that I attended several years ago. Trying to get the melted wax in the places I wanted them and blending colors to get the look I wanted was a challenge.  But I couldn't let the piece go to waste... Bonnie Hunter says that if you have an ugly fabric, just cut it smaller until the ugly is hidden (or something like that).  I have cut it up and included it in several pieces... the ugly was split up and made into something beautiful!

Enough of my philosophical thoughts, whining and procrastination... I have phone calls to make!

I find that if I tackle the most dreaded task FIRST, everything that follows is just that much easier.  

Do you find this as well?  

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

Keep piecing,


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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Baby Buffalo Check ~ Sew & Tell ~ 9/25/23

This week's mini-quilt is a baby buffalo check #39/52... Inspired by one of Alycia's recent finishes, I thought a mini would be pretty cute.  Turns out, I was right... at least in my humble opinion. 😉  Dave and I recently discovered that the 90s sitcom "Home Improvement" is now on Roku and it has been come our latest "just before bed, light-hearted" show to watch... I think Al's flannel plaids may have had an influence on me as well.  

We have our own "home improvement" going on in our shower...

A few weeks ago, as I cleaned our shower, I discovered a small crack in the fiberglass basin... again.  Dave has attempted to repair it several times over the past few years.  This time the repair meant removing the basin and lower tiles.  When this was done, we discovered that there was mold, as I had suspected, below the basin.  With the big mess cleaned up and the mold removed, we were ready to move forward.  Tile has been selected for the new floor, and the extra tiles we had from the original install have been pulled out. 

Between our "regular" jobs and this minor remodel, we were exhausted... so we unplugged from the world and relaxed.  We took off for a few days to escape.  Since we are self-employed and working right at home (my studio is in the house, and Dave's shop in the yard) we find ourselves in the constant state of "work"... even on the weekends.  

Our time away was pleasant... It was the last days of summer and we enjoyed a hike.  Wildlife was present all around the campground.  Deer could be seen each evening, a skunk scurried across the road not far from our site and we nearly bumped into another on a trail.  We waited for a short time, but it was in no hurry to move away allowing us to continue on the trail.  We turned around and took the trail the other direction.  

This was the view from the top of the mesa that we ascended...

And this was the sunrise on the first day of Autumn... What a spectacular kick-off!

I had plenty of slow stitching time... I'm caught up with my Camping Journal blocks.  I am ready to start roundin' the corner of the bottom border.  

While Dave practiced his fly-fishing, 
I dressed up a few of the quilted hearts... 

And read my personal copy of the Susan Magoffin diary of her trip on the Santa Fe Trail.

That's all I have for my Sew & Tell... Vicki from Vicki's Crafts & Quilting shared two fabulous quilts.  I am not a huge fan of Halloween, but I know many are... If you happen to be one of the many, you need to follow the link above because she shared the cutest little patchwork jack-o-lantern.  She also shared a pumpkin runner that is quite attractive.  I personally prefer pumpkin themed items because they are suitable for all of fall, Halloween and into Thanksgiving.  

Now it is your turn to Sew & Tell... Join the linky party and then be sure to visit a few other links and leave a kind word or two.  Ready? GO!

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, September 17, 2023

Micro-Green Mini ~ Sew & Tell ~ Sept. 18, 2023

Welcome to Melva Loves Scraps and this week's edition of Sew & Tell!  I've been sending out multiple invitations to other bloggers to join my party.  If you happen to be new to MLS and the Sew & Tell party... WELCOME! I think you will find plenty to ooh and ahh over.

When I finished Table Topper #4 in green, I set up a photo shoot in the kitchen... who wants to join me for a cup of tea? 

You can see more details of the topper, including the FMQ feathers at the highlighted link above.  After stitching the first side of the feather (that side is easy-peasy and straight on), I adjusted the needle position to the right and started the second side.  No more skipped stitches!  I did discover, also, that I have to change the orientation of the piece to almost 45 degrees for the best results.  

I then turned my attention to mini-quilt challenge #38/52 ~ Micro Greens. 💚

It measures just 5" x 7" and features some simple embroidery and stitching. It seems "elegant and fancy" in its simplicity and small size. I think it will rank near the top of my favorites at the end of the challenge.

This week's randomly selected feature is Leeann at Not Afraid of Color. Jump over to her blog to learn more about what she learned in making this wall hanging. 

It is now time for this week's party.

Keep Piecing,


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Friday, September 15, 2023

Still on the Greens

Kermit the Frog had a song... 

It's not that easy bein' green
Having to spend each day
The color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer
Bein' red or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that...

But green's the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly like
And green can be big like an ocean
Or important like a mountain or tall like a tree.

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why
But why wonder, why wonder?
I am green and it'll do fine
It's beautiful and I think it's what I wanna be.

I selected two different sets of green blocks to combine them for another table topper, bordered with a print of cream and shades of green of pink vines/flowers.  The wavy grid in the center was needed since the blocks were inconsistent in size and corners didn't match very well.

This left the border wide open allowing me to continue the practice of feathers.  Last week I shared my experience and frustrations with problems on the right side of the feathers.  I attempted to flip the direction that I made the feathers... better, but not the best.  

As Dave and I enjoyed our walk after lunch I was visually practicing the new direction of movement (including moving my hands/arms).  He laughed and asked me what I was doing... I explained that I was ending up with skipped stitches when I went one direction and wasn't sure if it was something *I* was doing, or if it was the machine and the direction that I was making the stitches.

He suggested that I move the needle position to the right.  You see... a few weeks ago when we reset the timing of our friend's sewing machine, he learned about where to adjust the timing of the hook/bobbin thread and why.  It's all a little complicated and confusing, but I gave it a go when we returned from our walk.
And... IT WORKED!  Well, it took care of 95% of my problems.  I feel so much better now!  My "groove" returned and now that I feel confident with the basic feathers, I'll be able to move on to another piece where I can try some fancy feathers. I'll be honest... I am intimidated by these. 😟

Are you doing any sewing this weekend?  

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

Keep Piecing,


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Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Leaving a Legacy

There have been many things that have popped up as life has been going on that bring me to this post about leaving a legacy...

The conversation with my Mom, the recent recovery of my business fb account and a conversation with Dave about the need for a record of the various on-line accounts and passwords... all of this, as well as a blog story I read from quiltblox about leaving a legacy.

And yesterday, as I created a mini-quilt to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, I thought of the many lives that were lost and how families had to cope with the tragedy of the event on top of all the rest of the "normal" end-of-life desires... 
And more than that, I decided that I need leave clear instructions for my loved ones.  

Dave has certainly made his wishes known to me regarding his business, machines/tooling and small collection of items in the safe.  It is only fair I do something similar for him on my side of the business.  I have informed him (and our daughters) that at my celebration of life service, they need to gather all of my quilts in one place.  If anyone attending has received a quilt from me, they should bring it.  If anyone attending has never received a quilt from me, they should be able to select one to take home with them.  

Not that I will ever care about what's going on after I am gone from this earth.  I mean the promise of eternity in the Lord's presence is something I look forward to with great anticipation!  But I have also been on the other side saying goodbye to loved ones and facing the decisions of finances, houses, bills, etc. that go with that.  

"What do we do with ___________?" Be it the house, the car, the jewelry, the furniture... the fabric stash.  

The author of Quiltblox starts with this...

One day – it will be that day. Your loved ones will wonder what you would have wanted them to do with all your cherished quilting/sewing/crafting supplies, tools, equipment, and projects (finished or not).

Go take a look at the story and see what you think... She has quite the extensive list. 

I feel like I have wrapped up a huge project and feel good about taking the next, necessary steps (it's kinda like adulting life homework), I am going to head off to my studio for another therapy session... Another table topper from the green orphan blocks.

My plan is to do an all-over square-on-point grid in the center and maybe try some fancier feathers in the border.  I'm trying to take full advantage of the lull in my custom quilting schedule, so why not expand and improve my skills.

Keep Piecing,


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PS - The Sew & Tell Party is still open.  Follow the highlighted link to join the fun!

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Three in Green ~ Sew & Tell ~ September 11, 2023

My therapy sessions throughout the weekend as continued as I quilted the orphan blocks into useful decor while practicing/refreshing FMQ of feathers and stippling.

It is with ease that I can do one side of the feathers, but for a reason I cannot explain, the opposite side comes with a little challenge.  

The 2nd side took a little longer than the first, but in the end, I am pleased with the outcome... The final dimension is 43" x 9".  It will look beautiful down the center of a long dining room table. 💚

The second finish was the square table topper.  It was an easy finish with stippling in the negative spaces, rounded corners and a pretty purple/green print for the border to match the purple backing. It measures 29" square.

The third orphan project... I had several suggestions for some curvy quilting.  Great suggestions!  However, I had already started the matchstick quilting lines before getting them.  I was working on this one as I prepared my thoughts for a difficult conversation with my aging Mom.  She is nearly 83 years old and living alone.  She does really, really well. However, just this week I heard from a friend about her mother's fall while doing something she did every day.  The fall resulted in a broken hip and earned her a stay in a rehab facility.  Her father had a broken hip at the beginning of the year and was really unable to do anything for his wife other than call 911. 😢  I am told that she is doing well physically as well as being in good spirits. 

This prompted me to initiate the conversation at a time that my brother was present for it... and... it seemed like the right time since we had been in the ER just a few weeks before.  The close stitching that didn't need to be precisely spaced or perfectly straight soothed my nerves and my spirit.

Following the conversation (which was received relatively well), I returned to it and finished the lines.  Ahhhhh... The texture that happens with that close stitching is somehow comforting.  the finished dimension is 58" x 10"... again perfect for the center of a long dining room table.

The final project that my hands found in therapy was mini-quilt #36/52... I settled down to watch the new season of Sweet Magnolias on Netflix.

My needle and thread moved along following the direction of the improv pieced orphan.  The colors of thread were chosen to contrast all of the colors... navy blue in the pink sections and pink in the navy-blue sections.  White in the black and tan in the floral.  Again, the texture that developed with the close stitches was calming to me.

And my reverse tie-dyed fabric made a beautiful background, don't you think? 💗💙  I'm still trying to decide what project that fabric will be used for...

It is now your turn for Sew & Tell!  Join the party.  Everyone is welcome.  All I ask is that you make mention on your blog that you have done so... sharing the link back.  Take time to visit one or two others that have joined the party and offer an accolade or word of encouragement or compliment.  

This week's randomly selected feature is from Melisa at Pinker & Punkin Quilting & Stitching. Her summer days quilt blocks are all quilted and she is ready to move to the borders. 

As I turn my attention to the coming week...

1) I will be making some phone calls to inquire about some of the future options for Mom... for when she is no longer able to live in her home alone.  

2)  I'll work on mini-quilt challenge #37.

3)  Tackle a few more green orphan blocks.

4)  If I need something new and different to work on, I'll pull out the t-shirt quilt that our daughter started a few years ago.  Now that she has 4 children, and a full-time job, she simply does not have time to work on it... nor does she have the space to save/store until she does have time.

Keep Piecing and Have a Blessed Week,


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