Sunday, March 31, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ Happy Easter!


We are home... and our internet is down. 😪 I'll tell you all about our trip when we get unpacked.
Don't forget to invite a friend or two to the party.  :)

Keep Piecing!


Thursday, March 28, 2024

Pieces of My Life ~ Pinwheel and Friendship Stars

I am a country girl... I grew up outside the city limits a small rural town.  It was a 15-minute drive to town.  We lived nearly at the end of a long gravel road between the Fort Lyon Canal and the Arkansas River.  Our closest neighbors were at least 1/4 mile from our driveway.

One of my first friends was Georgia. Her bus stop was the next stop after ours in the mornings.  We both had blonde hair and blue eyes and we thought we might be able to fool the teacher and get her confused if we fixed our hair the same.  Georgia and I were "school" friends. By this I mean, we were friends while at school.  It wasn't often that we would go to each other's houses on weekends or after school.

This was at my 7th birthday party... a Hat Party.  Mom made the cake to look like a hat and we made our own hats using paper plates, ribbons and silk flowers.  I am holding the cake and Georgia is right behind me.  The other friends that attended were Paula, Tawana, Jolynn and Carrie... and of course, my brother, Kelvin.  Paula passed away several years ago, but I am still fb friends with the rest of the girls.  

During recess we had a wide variety of playground equipment available to us.  The tall slide that was metal and had the ability to scorch our behinds and the backs of our legs, the merry-go-round that had a deep rut around it from kids running as they pushed it, trying to make it go faster and faster so that the riders would fly off or get sick... there were the monkey bars and jungle gym - the girls had to wear shorts under our dresses so that the boys couldn't see our undies. There were two tetherball poles, basketball hoops and a diamond where baseball or kickball could be played.  There were four-square boxes painted out on one of the basketball courts.  And what playground is complete without the swings and teeter-totter?  It seems like I forever had scabs on my knees from jumping out of the swings.

And there were the "woods".  A small wooded area where hide-and-seek was played.  I was a big fan of Winnie-the-pooh and the Hundred Acre Woods and imagined that our woods were much the same.

There was always access to jump ropes and "skip-it" balls.  For a while, Chinese jump ropes were popular, and the game of Jacks was always popular on days that it rained.  I remember there was a Jacks tournament one year.  I didn't win, but I did participate.  

Other games that were "indoor" games were Red Light-Green Light and Mother, May I.

These two blocks represent your childhood friends and games that you played together.  Please note, if you are making a quilt in the traditional layout, you can choose to not make the Pinwheel block, which is a 6" block.  (FYI, I plan to use four of the eight 6" blocks in the corners of the borders and one as a label for the back.)

The patterns are available in my Payhip store... Pinwheel Block ... Friendship Block

I'll be sending out the memory book pages in a few days... in the meantime, enjoy making your blocks and your personal trip down memory lane.  I'd love it if you would come back and participate in the block parade. :)  

What games did you play as a child?  

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

Keep Piecing,


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Quick Check-in

Hey everyone!

Just a quick check-in...  We've been having a great time.  Wish you were here LOL!

We've had some great adventures so far... We've camped near two different lakes, explored some ancient cliff dwellings, enjoyed some sun, civilization and a pool in AZ as we visited with a couple good friends.  

We've had lots of long walks with Shelby and we have listened to one audio book, so far.

We were on the side of a mountain on the east side of the Organ Mountains for two nights.  What an experience that was!  The winds were ferocious as they came over the needle-like spires.

I'll sshare more pictures and details after we get home.

For now, here's the Sew & Tell party.  My apologies for the tardiness!

Keep Piecing!


Sunday, March 17, 2024

Be Still ~ Sew & Tell ~ March 18, 2024

Did you hear that Colorado had a big ol' snowstorm.  Feet!  Yes, FEET of snow... but not by us.  We got 10 inches of the wet, heavy stuff.  Here's a collage of the progression.  The final satellite image was something I saw on the internet about the storm... and then I discovered that it was actually from 5 years ago and a huge windstorm.

Dave and I had planned ahead and loaded as much as we could into the camper before it was muddy and sloppy wet.  All dry goods, clothing, bedding, etc., were loaded in on Wednesday morning before the storm started on Wednesday evening.  All remaining items were loaded Saturday morning before we pulled out.

Left top: 8:30 a.m.; Left bottom:  10:30 a.m.; Right top:  11:30 a.m. and the last shot of our yard was at 12:30 p.m.  It continued to snow until evening, but the heaviest accumulation had passed.  

While it was snowing on Thursday and causing the electricity to blink off and on, (while I was working on the computer...NOT good) I decided to go sit and slow-stitch.  I finished my second paper embroidery piece.  And let the words of the picture soak in.  

With that, I'll say... 

Talk amongst yourselves while Dave and I are unplugged.  
Love on and encourage one another by making a visit to the other party guests.  Be sure to leave a comment so that they know you stopped by.

Keep piecing,


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Thursday, March 14, 2024

World-wide Quilting Day

Saturday, March 16th is World-wide Quilting day!  I'll am celebrating National Quilting Month all month with an exhibit of three story-telling quilts on the "Art Wall" at my local library, Trinidad Carnegie Public Library.

Below is the press release:

During the month of March, the Trinidad Public Library is excited to exhibit on its Art Wall quilts by local artist and author, Melva Nolan. Melva has titled her exhibit, “Three Storytelling Quilts.” Melva began her interest in quilting in 2001. During the next ten years she honed her quilting skills with the help of her grandmother, and by 2011 was designing and sewing her own quilts. In 2013 she began posting to her blog, MelvaLovesScraps. “I decided that using my blog while I worked on my quilts would be a great way to document and share the stories of my quilts and some of my thoughts and experiences of life.” This eventually led her to writing two books that documented two of her quilt designs and the stories behind them. Pieces from the past: a collection of letters from former prisoners of war, and Pieces from the Santa Fe Trail: The story of Marion Sloan Russell's journey on the Santa Fe Trail and her life told through a quilt, are both in the library’s catalog, and also available for sale from the author. I hope you can take in Melva's exhibit the next time you visit the library!     —Tom

At the beginning of March, I kicked off a new sew-along series with a new "story-telling quilt" ~Pieces of My Life.  Participants will be making 24 blocks that correspond to a series of pages with questions that, when completed, will tell their personal stories and memories and make up a lovely memory book to accompany the quilt.

Full details can be found on the Announcement story and the first block a big bow block, here.  If you are interested in the pages you must sign up for my newsletter by sending me an email with "Newsletter" in the subject line.

How are you planning to celebrate National Quilting Day?

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

Keep piecing,


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Sunday, March 10, 2024

Sew & Tell ~March 11, 2024

What's new with you??? The big news for me is that I have completely finished the first of two Pieces of My Life quilts. Have joined the sew along?  The first pattern is available by following the highlighted link.

With the blue quilt done, I was able to turn some attention to the fact that we are leaving for 2 weeks... 

The camper pantry needs to be restocked.  I've been busy in the kitchen mixing up my homemade seasonings and condiments.

Dave was gone for a few days to a men's conference so I spent time with my Mom to help her down-size... declutter... whatever it may be called... she has LOTS of "stuff".  Some of the stuff could be viewed as junk... some are treasures.  It just depends on who is considering its value and worth.  I have a large box of items that will be listed on ebay at prices guaranteed to sell.  But that and so many other things (like the purple Pieces/Life quilt) will wait until April and our return home.

I prefer to leave the house/studio nice and tidy... or appearing clean... so, I HAD to spend some time as I cleaned my studio and put a bunch of piles away.  They were everywhere and it was driving me NuTz!  Depending on which machine I needed, the piles were moved back and forth between my tables and a chair.  They were moved out of the studio and placed on the guest bed... I felt a lot better about my studio!  BUT... Since we had discussed having a house sitter, I needed to clear out the guest room.  Fabric and quilting items were put in the stash closet, and "stuff" (that big box I mentioned) got put "away"... 

I started by moving it to the basement, but that was a project all by itself.  I had an order of books arrive and I didn't want to leave them on the basement floor should a horrible thing like the water heater decide to leak... I placed them in the storage area inside a tote and then decided I needed to move the "stuff" to the garage.

Someone else may look at the situation and see chaos and a mess... I see organized chaos with plans for future on-line sales.

After a quick stop at a local thrift shop to drop off more "stuff" I didn't want to deal with, I was able to prepare some hand-sewing items for our trip.  Quilted hearts with trims, buttons, lace and more will be on the agenda... 

and of course, some more Camping Journal blocks.  If I grow tired of those, I'll pull out my paper embroidery book.  This is my latest... I have just a few more flowers to finish near the bottom of the page.  

I think it will be finished before we leave.

It is now time for this week's randomly selected feature... There were 22 participants this week.  I extend my many thanks for the support and participation of this weekly party. 😍 Frederique at Quilting Patchwork Applique shared a story of she and a group of quilters that made quilts for babies and the neonatal unit at a hospital.  Just look at the bright, cheery colors!  Each quilt is unique and special, and I have no doubt in my mind that the parents of the babies that receive one of these will feel the love that was poured into them.

Well, that's all I have for now.  I'll have a few scheduled posts for the time that we are away.  If we have service, I may pop in and share a few pics of our adventures.  

Be well and Keep Piecing!

But before you go..

Do you get concerned about having stuff cleaned and looking organized before you leave on a trip?  
Or are you not concerned about what you return home to?

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


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Thursday, March 7, 2024

Pieces of My Life ~ Bow

This sew along, like the Pieces in the Garden, is loosely based on the  tradition and story of "The Bride's Quilt".

In olden days, it was traditional for young girls to make a “Baker’s Dozen” (13) quilts by their wedding day.  The patterns, often handed down from generation to generation, were usually planned when the girl was very young; and, as soon as she could hold a needle, she would start sewing her first quilt.  The last (or 13th) quilt was the fanciest of all.  After a girl became engaged, she would invite her friends to a party to quilt the top of this “Bride’s Quilt” … and in this way she would announce her engagement.

The patterns in this “Bride’s Quilt have been chosen to tell the following story…

“Bride’s Quilt”

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who wore a bow in her hair.  When she grew up, she began a friendship with a young bachelor.  As the hours and days passed, they began to look at each other with stars in their eyes, and as their love grew, they thought about taking steps to the altar.  So, the young girl got out her spools of thread and made clothes to get ready for their wedding ring day.

After they are married, some of their times together will be bright as noon and others will be dark as night.  But they will try to share their happiness, their miseries and their chores – she grabbing a wrench to help with household repairs and he grabbing a towel to help with the dishes.  Sometimes they will have broken dishes, but they will try to remember that “things” can be replaced, whereas harsh words, possibly spoken about the broken dishes, could chip away love.  They will try to follow the Golden Rule as they are learning to communicate openly with each other.

They will also try to keep in mind the symbolism of Jacob’s ladder – “steps of communication” between themselves on earth and God in heaven.

As I consider the stories and memories of my life, I am choosing to keep the details private since many of the answers could be answers to security questions and such... I would guess that much of it could probably be found easily by those not-so-nice people that like to steal, use and sell such data, but I don't need to serve it to them on a silver platter.

I was named after my Dad, Melvin.  I had an older brother, Kelvin, also named after him.

As a young girl, I had long hair and wore barrettes nearly every day. I had box with an assortment of ribbons and bows that I could choose from as well.

Here's a photo of me at age 5, with a bow peeping over the top of my hair.

I recall my Mom fixing my hair each day.  I always got my choice of style... one ponytail, pigtails, half-pony... but never braids...did I want a barrette or bow?  I'm not sure what the reason for not being allowed to have braids.  Hmmm... 

As I got older, my hair was much longer.  I hated riding in the back of the truck because of my long hair.  It was always in my face and it was a terrible experience trying to get the tangles out... and it would tangle horribly!  I still don't like the wind in my hair.  Don't bother giving me an invitation to ride in a convertible.

As you assemble this block make note that the half-square triangles (HSTs) you will want to pay close attention to the direction that you press the seams.

The units should be pressed 1/2 one direction, and 1/2 the opposite direction.  Pay close attention to your layout so that the seams will nest together, reducing bulk in the seams. Once the block is assembled, you can press the final seams open.

Time for you to grab the pattern!  Head over to my Payhip store to download it.

The newsletter, via e-mail, will have three pages of questions to accompany this block.  I am still trying to figure out the details of the newsletter mailings, so please, be patient.  We will be on our camping trip when the second pattern is scheduled to be released (March 28th).  Unless I get the process of scheduling the newsletter, it will not be emailed until the beginning of April, after our return.

When you have your block complete be sure to come back to share in the block parade.  If you don't have a blog or don't use social media but would like to share your block send me an email.  I'll be sure to link you up.

I don't have any prizes to entice bribe you with this time, but I do hope that won't stop you from sharing. :)

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ Winds, Furs and Freezer Meals ~ March 4, 2024

Everyone turned their calendar pages so fast that they created a horrible swooshing wind... Ugh! It sounded like the big bad wolf was trying to blow our house down with the high gusts overnight.  

The seasons are definitely changing.  The grass is greening, and the juniper trees are developing their buds... pollen is starting to fly, and allergies are getting ready to kick into high gear for many.

I love the smell of line dried clothing and the temps have been warm enough for that but have learned that it is best to avoid that for a month or 6 weeks.  All it does is bring the pollen and dust inside.  

Alas... I'll stop whining about my spring fever and move on to Sew & Tell. I'll mix it up a bit with the feature first. ;)  Maggie at Making a Lather is churning away with her scrappy churn dash blocks of varying sizes.

This is an excellent leader/ender project as well as a good stash buster.  Well done Maggie!  

I was successful with my list of To-do items from last week...  The second set of curtains have been hung in place (sorry, no picture, you'll just have to trust me on this) and the final two sections of the Pieces of My Life quilt are together and joined with the Sections I & II.  I shared this step with my young quilter friend, Joella.  She asked some great questions! 

I've started adding the borders.  Not as easy to do as one would think... The quilt math was giving me a headache... oh wait, that was the wind that did that, but the math didn't help it. The formal announcement for the sew along was made last week... Did you see it?  If not, hop over there and spend a few minutes reading over fabric requirements and such.  If you want to be included in the newsletter that will have the pages of questions send me an email... That bit of info is in the story as well.

I have nearly 1/2 of the patterns and question pages finalized and will set the remainder of them aside until after our trip.

In other news... It has been a long while since I made up any No Guilt::Go Quilt freezer meals.  I've been using my "quick cooker" (instapot) for meals and have enjoyed the change in routine and schedule.  I purchased a large bag of frozen chicken breasts and set to work in getting meals prepped for the freezer... Just a 90 minutes later I had one meal in the quick cooker and 5 in the deep freeze.  I'll be using them for the coming weeks as we get ready for our trip.  What's cooking?  Chile Relleno Chicken Soup, Chicken Fajitas, Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken, Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup, Dijon Chicken and Monterey Skillet Chicken (recipe has been adapted for a slow cooker meal that I will share another time).

I have enjoyed a few evenings doing another paper embroidery page...  The colors of this one are soothing, and the lavender flowers are fun to make with the stitches.  It is such a slow process, and my right index finger has a split on it making it difficult to do for very long or for several nights in a row.  
Lastly, we had a box arrive on our porch.  It has been a year since the initial conversation, and we've been waiting and anticipating its arrival.  Our friends needed room in their closet, but these fabulous soft and fuzzy furs needed a new home!  They sent them to me for an opportunity to repurpose them in whatever manner I desire.  

I don't have time right now to begin anything with them, but will be collecting ideas... Dave says teddy bears. Thinking back to last year when I made 10 memory bears from shirts, I'd rather not... I'm leaning toward a bed runner... not that we would use one, but I think it would be an easy transformation for the full-length coat that someone would buy.

What's your suggestion? 

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

Don't forget to join the party below! 

Keep Piecing,


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Friday, March 1, 2024

Pieces of My Life ~ MLS 2024 Sew Along

It's March!  I've been talking about this sew along for a while now and I have been busily preparing patterns, blocks and other content behind scenes with a few sneak peeks along the way.  I am still working a few last things... like my quilts.  Yes, plural.  Because I like to offer choices... and complicate my life??? It'll all be good. 

My first thoughts were to make a quilt in blues and whites that reminded me of the old Wedgewood or Courier & Ives dishes.  When I see dishes like this I am transported in my mind to my childhood.

I wanted to use a Quilt-as-you-go method with this quilt.  I am still in process of joining my sections together but am pleased with the way it is looking so far.  

As I mentioned, I am making a second quilt as well... it will be in shades of purple, using only the sixteen 12" blocks in a traditional layout and traditionally quilted.  

An email announcement was sent out with a few more details to those that have purchased patterns from my Payhip store. I'm including a portion of that message below just in case you weren't on the list...

My new sew along event is following suit with my previous events names.  Pieces From the Past, Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail and Pieces in the Garden… and now, Pieces of My Life.  It is a sew along that will include sixteen 12” blocks and eight 6” blocks, making a finished quilt of approximately 69” x 73” using a non-traditional layout for a sampler quilt.  A traditional layout design will be offered that will include only the 12” blocks, finishing at approximately 60” square.

Patterns will be available at no cost for 1 month.  After that they will be available for purchase in my store for $3 each.  

In addition to the patterns, I will offer a series of pages with questions about your life, so that your finished quilt will have a very special memory book to accompany it.  This portion of the sew along will be available only via the newsletter.  While this portion of the sew along is not required to participate, I do encourage you to document your life for your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews.  

I cannot express what it has meant to me to have the stories and memories from both my Mom and Dad and my maternal grandparents.  In a recent conversation with our daughters about churches we had been members of and why we made choices to attend a different church, I realized that even though they were present and affected by our choices, they didn’t know all of the details.  And if they didn’t remember some of those details, they probably wouldn’t remember details of other events… such as how we met, married and started our family… the significance of my wedding/engagement rings… who some of our closest childhood friends or teachers may have been… and so much more.

I could go on and on, but that is what the questions provided with each block are for.  Again, the document for the memory book will be available only via the newsletter, while the patterns will be available through a link here on the Melva Loves Scraps blog. If you would like to be on the newsletter list, send me an email at with the word "newsletter" in the subject line.  I will make certain that you are added to the list.

The patterns will be published here every 2-3 weeks.  The frequency will vary depending on how involved the blocks are and how many questions/pages will accompany each block.  I think you will find that the blocks are easy and quick to make.  They are all traditionally pieced and very basic and have taken me less than an hour each, some only 15-20 minutes.... leaving me plenty of time to answer a few questions without concern about being over committed or feeling overwhelmed.  I know my time is valuable and I guard it closely, and I have that same respect for you. :)  

Fabric requirements:

20 Fat Quarters
1-1/2 yards for borders
1 yard for sashing strips
4 yards for backing
1/2 yard for binding

So, there you go... The first pattern will be released next Thursday, March 7th.  See you then! 

If I have missed a detail, or you have more questions, please leave a comment and I will make certain that I answer you.

Keep Piecing,


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