Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Advent Countdown

Hi, my name is Melva and I am a sucker for a fun Advent Calendar. My love for them began as a child.  We had a calendar with a Christmas tree and small pockets that held ornaments.  Each day one of the small ornaments was added to the tree.  

When our children were young, we used the same calendar.  I passed on the calendar to our grandchildren.  Though, I don't think it has been used for a few years. :(

My Mom loves them as well.  She also loves puzzles.  I found an advent puzzle for her!  She has always admired beautiful stained-glass windows and this puzzle just seems perfect for her. 

Months ago, while looking for some custom sew-in labels, I found this fun Kylie and the Machine set that includes two tags each day.

Aaaaaaaaaand... I have an advent ornament set from Joyce Meyer Ministries.

Won't you join me on social media as I share pictures of each day's tags beginning December 1?

You can find me on Instagram @MelvaLovesScraps or on facebook at Melva Loves Scraps

Last year I found an on-line quilter's Advent calendar.  Melanie is doing it again this year too!  Along with the calendar, she is hosting a Star-Toss Mystery Quilt.  I may be a little crazy but will plan to keep up with the sew along too.   

December 1st is just around the corner!  I can't wait.  

I know that there are many different Christmas Countdown calendars... 

Tell me about your favorite.

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, November 26, 2023

New Week = New Quilt ~ Sew & Tell ~ 11/27/23

The temperatures dropped as the week progressed and I happily snuggled into my studio. 
I played with mini-quilts and am now only 1 week behind... 

In case you missed the "Autumn Collection"... Starting in upper right, clockwise, Colors of the Wind, Thankful Pumpkins, Playful Turkey and the "Pardoned Turkey".

When I was done with the turkeys, I turned my attention to the latest custom t-shirt quilt.  This collection of T-s come from a younger (than me) gal that graduated high school with our oldest daughter.  She went on to medical school and up until a few months ago, was at the local medical office.

Our community seems to have a difficult time keeping doctors in the area.  The medical field has this thing with loan forgiveness... if you serve in a rural area for X-number of years, a good portion of the school loans is written off.  A benefit for the community... but also a detrimental situation in that when (most of) the doctors fulfill their commitments, they leave. Forcing patients to become established with a new doctor.  It is a bit of a revolving door...

This doctor, having grown up in the community, is staying, though not practicing.  She is taking some time to be with her family.  She and her husband have 5 children, three old enough to be in school, a 3-year-old and a baby.  

All this to say, I enjoyed prepping her shirts for the quilt. (Sorry about my rant) I recalled several of her shirts from high school, and I enjoyed seeing the various colleges she attended to become a doctor.

The top is complete and it is now time for me to choose a backing.  My local options are extremely limited, but fingers crossed that, I can find something that is suitable and "makes sense."

Let's now take a look at this week's randomly selected feature.  Andrรฉe at Quilting and Learning.  She has been sharing her progress on a t-shirt quilt... I thought her idea of quilting a block that has a pocket was clever.

"I quilted loops on the sweatshirt but only FMQ around the pouch/pocket. Won't that make a great hiding place ๐Ÿ˜"

Now it is your turn!  How are your projects going?  

Do you have special gift projects in the works? 

Tell me about them... or join the linky party.  I love to see all of the quilty inspiration you share.

Keep Piecing!


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Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Thanksgiving & Traditions

Happy Thanksgiving to all that are celebrating!

As so many of us are bustling about in the kitchen preparing our favorite sides to accompany the "Traditional" main course, I thought I would share my two latest mini-quilt challenges...

#45/52 was made using an orphan block, a variation of a dresden fan with a little turkey face.  Don't pay attention to the placement of his little hangy thing... Had I actually looked at a photo of a turkey before I did it, I would have seen that most pictures show that it is under, not over, the beak.  Oh well... 

Mini Quilt #46/52 is another turkey... this one was the lucky one that was pardoned by the president. LOL

I started reading into how this tradition started... It's a little silly, but multiple turkeys would be donated to the White House for a formal dinner.  One year, JFK?, decided that not all that were donated were needed... and one was released.

A few years later, a different President, had a similar situation happened... It wasn't until Ronald Reagan's presidency, the turkey pardon became a regular practice.  It was in 1989, under President George H. Bush that it became an annual tradition.

This year, President Biden pardoned Liberty and Bell. At that point they were settled into a special suite at The Willard Intercontinental for an overnight stay.  I say this part of the pardon is a bit extreme and very unnecessary...

None the less, my turkey was made by using a 50% reduced size of the Flower Garden block from Pieces From the Past quilt.  It is to be a view of the pardoned turkey's backside, making a break for it, as a freed bird. 

I have baked a GF Apple-Cranberry Cape Cod Cake for dessert and will be making my personal favorite side... fresh cranberries. 

The remainder of the meal - stuffed roasted chicken, potatoes and gravy and fruit salad - will be made Thursday. 

We're having a chicken, just because it is smaller and three of us.  Yes, Mom decided to not travel because of a forecasted storm that could delay her return home.  She will celebrate with us.

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? How about "Friendsgiving"?  What is your favorite side dish?

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

Happy Thanksgiving to you!


PS: As thoughts turn from Thanksgiving to Christmas (shopping), keep in mind that if you are interested in purchasing Pieces From the Past (patterns available on-line at no cost, but not included in the book) or Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail (patterns included) for a quilter friend/family member, there will be a 25% discount when purchasing directly from my publisher - Blurb.com - Simply enter the code GIVING25 when you check out.

Sunday, November 19, 2023

A Finish and Playing "Catch Up"

As last week came to an end, I put the final touches on Danielle's T-shirt quilt.  The binding was done on the machine, making it a quick and easy finish.  The label and the burying of the thread tails (it seemed like there was an abudance!) required some handwork as I enjoyed a quiet time watching a few movies.  

When Dave came into the house for something he noticed that I was watching the movie Fireproof... he quickly questioned why I was watching it then... and not in the evening when he could also enjoy it.  I wasn't far into the movie, so I went and found a different one... The Shunning.

I had made mention last week about Dave acquiring a storage shed... interestingly enough, when we cleaned it out, there was a box of various books and DVDs.  One of the books was the trilogy of Heritage of Lancaster County by Beverly Lewis... The Shunning is the first of the series.  

I haven't started reading the book yet, but I am curious to see if the movie follows the book, and if the common statement "the book is so much better than the movie" will stand true.

With the t-shirt quilt done, I did in fact turn my attention to my mini-quilt series, as I had planned and hoped would be the case last week.  On Friday I shared #43/52... Colors of the Wind has some "fabric confetti" covered with red tulle and stitched into place and is 5"x7".  If you desire to "catch up" on my other thoughts I shared, details are here.

Mini-quilt #44/52 is another autumn inspired piece with fussy-cut pieces from various fall-themed novelty prints.  It is just a tad bigger at 5-1/4" x 8-1/4 inches.

It is the holiday week in the Unites States and many families will be celebrating Thanksgiving as family and loved ones gather together.  We will (hopefully) have a quiet week.  Our daughters have other plans and I believe my Mom will be traveling to see my brother.  We have discussed the possibility of going camping, but with cooler weather and moisture predicted for later in the week, we'll stay cozy and warm at home.

I plan to take full advantage of the quietude of the holiday week as I continue to "catch up" with my mini-quilts (2 more and I'll be up-to-date) and the start of a new t-shirt quilt.  

While many view this as the kick-off of the "holiday season", I think it is only appropriate that we first have an attitude of gratitude as we enter the (over) commercialized season of giving.  

I recently saw a post about how we should not be offended by the statement "Happy Holidays" since at least 29 religious holidays will be celebrated around the world between November 1 and January 15.

That's a lot!  And I don't claim to know of all of them nor understand what they are all about... 

My youngest daughter and I have recently finished reading through the Gospel recordings of Jesus' life as part of our "read the Bible in a year plan".  We have less than 6 weeks left in our readings.  It has been an interesting time as I have "read" through using The Message translation and listened along (using BibleGateway).  

Rebecca and I have both enjoyed it and have selected a 52-week study of Praying the Names of God and asked Dave to join us. Rebecca and I both look forward to having him join us. I do know that when Jesus fed the multitudes that had gathered to listen to him preach, the disciples had just two fish and five loaves of bread (Matthew 14).  Jesus gave thanks FIRST and then passed around the baskets for all to partake and when collected back up, there were 12 baskets FULL.  I choose to follow His example. ๐Ÿ™

I give thanks for each of you that read/follow along and encourage me in my quilting/blogging journey as I share my thoughts and ideas for more than just quilts.  I'm thankful for each of you that join the Sew & Tell party each week!

This week's randomly selected feature is Frederique at Quilting, Patchwork and Applique.  She shared her method of making and attaching a hanging sleeve for finished quilts.  I like how she leaves an opening in the center for allowing for three hanging points, preventing any sagging in the middle.  Go check it out!

But before you leave, tell me...

What are YOU thankful for?

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

Keep Piecing,


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Friday, November 17, 2023

Colors of the Wind ~ 43/52


As I stitched this mini-quilt, #43/52, I embraced the colors, and feel of the autumn season I had a flood of memories of when our girls were young... and the Disney movie Pocahantas.  The scene of leaves swirling as young Pocahontas sang the words of "Colors in the Wind."

The tiny pieces of fabric confetti were stitched under a piece of red tulle cut into the shape of a maple leaf.  The addition of some fall leaves cut from another piece of Thanksgiving novelty scraps makes a nice footer for the mini, don't you think?

The quilting depicts the movement of the wind.

It's been a few weeks since I have done any "slow stitching" and it felt good to have that quilty texture form under my fingertips.  

As I stitched, I watched a documentary about Lilias Trotter who was an English artist that was studied under John Ruskin.  After giving up the likelihood of a career as an artist, went to Algiers in North Africa as a mission worker.  It was an interesting story and I plan to explore her life a little more.

Do you know of any other "little knowns" that might be interesting to learn about?  

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

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, November 12, 2023

Sew & Tell ~ November 13, 2023

Last week was a bit of a blur.  We returned from our travels on November 2nd and the very next morning we were at the local elementary school to help friends set up for the packing of Christmas Shoe Boxes.  The fact that this ministry was permitted into a public school is amazing!  The Principal was well aware of the Christianity Mission of the OCC boxes, but allowed it since it was presented to each classroom in a "generic" way, with the omission of Jesus.  But the students, K-5, all understood that the boxes were going to places all over the world to children than have never received a gift.

Dave and I jumped on board with the project when we were told that in addition to the boxes for OCC, there would be 30 students (plus any siblings in the household) that would receive a similar gift.  We have long supported the Samaritans Purse ministry but feel that a few of the churches that heavily focus on it seem to forget that there are local residents that are in need.  

We spent the weekend trying to catch up on household chores, laundry and the acquisition and plans to move a 10'x10' shed from a friend.  Monday and Tuesday were filled with giggles and laughter as 350+ students, teachers and staff carefully and thoughtfully selected items to place in "their" gift box.  Each student, in addition to filling the box with school supplies, hygiene products, games and toys, they wrote a letter including their name, grade and age.  

Since we were entering a large Petrie dish of germs, each day Dave and I loaded up with a large dose of vitamins and minerals... and went to bed a bit earlier than usual. lol!  It was exhausting but so rewarding.  Dave was responsible for keeping the students wrangled when they were done with their letters and boxes.  His favorite question to ask them was "What color underwear did you choose for your box?"  It was so funny!  Some girls that chose to pack a box for a boy were embarrassed to even touch a pair of the boy's underwear and asked an adult to help them with it. Some of the boxes were over-stuffed, but in the end the students got to choose what could stay and what had to go back to the tables.  When all of the boxes were packed in cartons and ready to be sent to the processing center, we had 366 boxes!

As our regularly scheduled routines resumed, I was able to get the current t-shirt quilt to flimsy status just in time to share in the Friday Finish parties.  As I sit and write this story, it is ready to go under the needle!  The grey sashing strips with a pop of color from narrow red/black border, followed with a 3-1/2" border of music notes and symbols reflect the recipient's high school colors and years as a part of the flag team and color guard, with the marching band.  

A 4" grid, on point will let the shirts speak for themselves, rather than allowing a fancy quilting design to draw the attention away from them.

When this quilt is finished, I hope to turn my attention to my mini-quilt challenge. I was doing really good in keeping up with the weekly minis... and then... well, I don't know what happened.  ๐Ÿ‘€  All I can say it, watch for more mini quilts. :)

Time for this week's randomly selected feature!  Brenda at Songbird Designs showed off her ByAnnie Bag.

It has lots of pockets and a place for everything.  It is enticing enough to me that I have actually considered giving a zipper another chance... Go check it out by following the link above.

Now, it is time for you to share the progress of your projects.  What did you do last week?

Keep Piecing,


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Friday, November 10, 2023

Friday Flimsie Finish

It is Friday, and it was a busy, busy week... but I have a finish!  I'll give all the details of the week's activities in my weekly Sew & Tell update/party on Monday morning.

For now... Here is Danielle's Flag Girl flimsie.

If all goes as planned, it will be sandwiched and under the needle of my Babylock Jazz before Monday.

I had a hard time selecting the fabric for the sashing strips... In the end, I used the back of the black fabric that will be the binding.

Have you ever purposely used the back of a fabric in a quilt?

Leave a comment... I'd love to learn that I am not the only one. LOL!

Pssst... I created a tutorial on how to make the magnetic prayer boards.  Take a peek!

Keep piecing,


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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Magnetic Prayer Board ~ Tutorial

A few weeks ago, when I shared about the craft-time activity with a Ladies bible Study group, there was request by a reader stating that she'd like to know how to make one herself.

So... here is the simple tutorial.

Items you'll need:

A metal (not aluminum) baking sheet
Assorted crafting or scrap booking papers, pretty cards, bookmarks, etc.
Fancy-edge scissors (if you have them)
Double-sided tape
Clear contact paper
Command hooks
String/twine or wire for a hanger

I purchased the medium sized, 10"x15" pans for the class at the local big-box store for less than $5/each.  (If you are willing to spend a bit more than that, a flat pan, with just one edge angled up, it will be less obvious that it is a baking sheet.)

Make your selection of what sort of paper background and featured items you want to use.  Using the double-stick paper, place them on your pan.

I used some die-cut letters, a bookmark and the front of a card.  Because of the rounded edges of the pan, I rounded the corners of the papers so that they would lay flat.

Cut a piece of contact paper the width of the inside of the pan and two inches larger than the pan.  For best results, this next step is best achieved with the help of another person.  Begin peeling the contact paper backing off for a few inches.  Position the starting edge of the contact paper on the top of the lip of the pan, carefully working your way down the lip so that the contact paper is just starting to cover the items you placed on the pan.  Have your helper slowly peel the backing off as you work from the middle to edge, working out any air bubbles that may happen, as you continue to press down the contact paper.

When you have your contact paper firmly pressed down and air bubbles walked out to the edges, trim off any excess contact paper.

Using your two command hooks, place them on the back top corners of the pan, making certain that the hook is pointing down so that your twine or wire will not slip off.

I have my prayer board hanging on the wall at the end of my sewing table, a prominent place where I see it often.  

Gather up a few magnets and begin placing the various prayer requests you have, your own or from others, and enjoy your time in prayer.  As I hear of answered prayers, I add the praise reports for a short time too, eventually replacing those as new prayer requests arise.

Do you have a prayer request?  

Leave a comment or send me an email message and I'll add it to my prayer board. I would be honored to lift your request.  

Happy Crafting!


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Sunday, November 5, 2023

Sew & Tell ~ November 6, 2023

What a whirlwind I have been caught up in! After extending our stay with friends in Seymour, TX last week by one day, (because of the rain and cold temperatures) we drove north to Black Mesa State Park near Kenton & Boise City, Oklahoma.  

It was a nice little park, filled with many trails, lots of history, a variety of wildlife (including deer, turkey, and doves), and absolutely no cell service for miles and miles. LOL.  It was a surprise to us since there were a few cell towers nearby... apparently, we had the wrong provider.  None the less, we enjoyed our stay there.

As we explored the area, we found a great view overlooking the lake.

And a small area of fossilized dinosaur tracks...

We did a short trek on a few trails... and both Dave and I held our breath as we watched Shelby walk right up to the edge of the cliff at the far right (pictured below) and peered over.  

We saw several sheepherder shelters, as well as areas in the rock shelves where the Native American women would have ground corn or other seeds. (We learned at Palo Duro that they ground mesquite seeds to use just as they did corn.)

We opted out of the 8.4-mile trail to the "high point" of OK, which would have taken us to the top of Black Mesa... and enjoyed an afternoon of letting Shelby take a dip in a small swimming pond which she followed up with a nap.

During our travels I worked on a few quilted hearts... and left a few sprinkled here and there. :)  

I completed two blocks for our Camping Journal quilt... a Mountain block with a road approaching them and a tall pine tree...

I have all of the blocks for our Camping Journal quilt selected... for Palo Duro I'll be using the Grand Canyon pattern, the Hiking Boot and a Shoo Fly block.  Ohmygoodness, the flies were pesty!  I was thankful that they were not biting.  That would have been just horrible.  

Blocks for Black Mesa will be a Dinosaur Track and a Turkey Tail.  Well, technically, the pattern was designed as a stained-glass window, but I will use just 1/2 of it in shades of browns to create turkey tail feathers.

Upon our return home, Shelby refused to accept the fact that our journey was done.  As we emptied the camper and drained the water lines, she watched from her spot in front of the door.  The only way we got her out when we were done was to take her on a walk, followed by a popsicle. LOL.  

In March, when we had the news that the tumor on Shelby's right shoulder was cancer, we vowed to give her a summer filled with camping... and that we did.  She enjoyed and each and every one of our trips - eight in total for a count of 30 nights. At this point, she is still doing great.  She has slowed down a little but is still able to get in and out of the truck, camper and jeep without issue. And only requires a few aspirin at the end of an overly vigorous day.  We feel confident that we will have one more Christmas with her but feel uncertain of another camping season.  I'd say we achieved our goal!

And with the way that Autumn lingers in our area, we can potentially get in one more trip this month!  But for now, we really need to get back to work.

Speaking of work... I have a new T-shirt quilt on the design wall!  This one is for the daughter of my HS bestie.  Throughout her years of high school, and college, she was a part of the flag teams.

I have a few more items to add in and some tweaking in the placements, but I should have a top ready for sandwiching by the week's end.

That's all I have to show for now... Let's take a look at this week's randomly selected feature.

Nancy at Grace & Peace Quilting showed us her blocks from October's Rainbow Scrap Challenge... "I have 60 blocks, enough for two throw-size quilts. I'm doing 6 x 6 postage stamp blocks using 2 1/2" squares from leftover bits as I'm cutting out quilts!"

She shares a picture of each one. It is a fun little I-spy adventure to examine each one in search of fabric that you have in your own stash. :)

Ok, time for the party to begin!  

What have you been doing while I was off playing?  

Leave a comment and link up for your projects.

Cherish each and every day, for you do not know when it will be your last.  

Keep Piecing,


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