Sunday, April 28, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ April 29, 2024 ~ Lovely Teal Memory

April is nearly over... time marches on.  And sometimes at the beat of its own drum. LOL!

Last week went along smoothly as I spent time in my studio working on the first of three custom t-shirt quilts.  By Friday afternoon I had it finished, sans the label.

I sat down to the computer to do a quick post about it... that was when I was waylaid by the fact that our business website was AWOL... again.

After seeking help from tech support, to no avail, I began the process of creating a new one, using the free program from our webhost.  It has been something I have been dreading for a looooooooong time.

Surprisingly, after a few hours of figuring out the program and slowly adding our information and photos, I had a good start.  By late Saturday morning I was able to get it to a point that we could publish it.  We still have a few details to add and tweaks and adjustments to make, but so pleased thus far.

Had I not had to take care of techy business, I would have been making a new spring table topper for our kitchen with the hummingbird fabrics I used in the "thank you" table runner I sent off to our friends.  Oh, well... 

I have to remind myself that I am the only one making up the deadlines here.  

I have two more t-shirt quilts to make for my customer, Colleen.  An order for fabric has been made with the fabrics chosen by Colleen.  I'll have plenty of time to focus on a fun table topper this week.  YAY!

In addition to the table topper, I will be preparing for the next release of the Pieces of My Life block.  Block #6 will whip up in no time, leaving you with plenty of time to answer the questions that will be available via my newsletter.  

Last week Andrée at Quilting & Learning showed off some Cathedral Window potholders.  These are so cheerful and bright.  She shared some tips and had suggestions on how to get the corner points nice and crisp. Be sure to show her some love and tell her that I sent you. ;)

Before you go...

Do you do the "self-imposed deadlines" thing too?

Leave a comment... we can commiserate together ;) Or leave me a tip to get out of that habit.

Be Blessed and Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ April 22, 2024 ~ Pieces in Purple

It's Done! It's DONE!

Ta-da!!! The purple Pieces of My Life is done... label and all.

To say that I am pleased with the finished quilt is an understatement. The challenge of getting the varying shades of purple to "play well together" was a little intimidating, but one that I rose to conquer.  The sashing strips, cornerstones, borders and binding supervised any clashing that may have been there.

I could go on with more thoughts, but I'll just keep it short and sweet and get right to this week's Sew & Tell feature... Deb was getting ready for retreat season and had a few projects that she was taking with, including these blocks.

"I have had the black log cabins looking me in the eye for a long time."

I look forward to finding out if she chose to include sashing strips or not... 

I am not a big fan of black in quilts... I mean I just kinda forget about it as an option for backgrounds... but it certainly does make the colors pop.  I mean POP!  

What is your "go to" for background fabrics?

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

Keep Piecing,


PS... If you missed the table runner I made last week, jump over here.

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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Friday Finish ~ Quick Table Runner

The thing about ordering fabric online is that you take a risk in the accuracy of the colors AND you have to wait for them to arrive.  

I had ordered fabric to be used as the sashing strips and borders for my purple Pieces of My Life quilt last week and they seemed to take f o r e v e r to arrive.  That was when I decided to pull out the "souvenir" fabrics I picked up while in Arizona.  I had originally planned on placemats but couldn't decide on a pattern/layout that I was excited about.

I dug through some patterns and came across a "Ten-minute Table Runner".  Now this I could get on board with.  I've made them before, but they are not quilted... 😐I modified the assembly so that it would be quilted (which ended up taking longer than I thought it would... oh well.🤷)  I think the quilting in the center portion of the runner is a nice touch. 

It was a nice way to feature both hummingbird fabrics, which is exactly what I was looking for.  I'll get it washed up this weekend and sent off to our friends that graciously hosted us for a few days in Green Valley, AZ.

AND, I still have enough remaining to make something more for me.  Dave has come to like the table toppers I have for our kitchen table.  I added a Valentines one in February and pulled out a St. Patrick's Day one in March. These fabrics could become a nice spring and summer topper.

Just as I was finishing this runner the fabric I was waiting on arrived!  I was pleased and relieved to see that my purchases would work just as I had hoped for the sashing strips and borders.  So... guess what I'll be working on this weekend?

What are your plans? 

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

Keep Piecing,


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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Tuesday's Thoughts

As I write and record the memoirs of my childhood, my parents and my life, I have come to realize the invaluable lessons I learned from them.  Some things I have mimicked and others I have tweaked or tried to leave behind completely.

As a child, I don't recall hearing the words "I love you" from many (if any) family members.  I always knew that I was loved... I was treated very well and never experienced abuse of any sort (though I did receive a few disciplinary spankings, they were never abusive).  We simply were not a big touchy-feely family.  

Words of affirmation or quality time were more the love language of our family.  My parents made every effort to attend school programs, performances or gymnastic meets.  

When I became a Mom I (unknowingly) wanted to make sure that our girls heard the words daily, multiple times a day even.  Our bedtime routine involved a story, a hug, a kiss and an "I love you".  (A routine we continue with our grandchildren when they spend the night.)

I remember one particular friend from a few years ago as we said our good-byes on the phone, she told me that she loved me... I didn't know how to respond.  I mean the obvious would have been to repeat it back.  I did in fact love her in a special way... but it was awkward for me.  

Love was something spoken to my husband and children, maybe even about how I love to quilt, or go camping, but never had I expressed it to a friend.  Love was something that showed and showered upon me.  I love God... unswervingly and faithfully.  But could I really say "I love you" to a friend?

As I gathered with my Christian Sisters over the weekend, I found myself saying those exact words to all of them... as we hugged and greeted each other, or departed the retreat, they were words of sincerity. 

Through the years I think of the many ways that Mom showed me how she loved me.  She patiently made Barbie clothes, doll clothes and most of my own clothing.  She taught me how to sew, bake and craft and unknowingly nurtured and passed on a desire for creativity and I passed on many of those same things to my children.

So last week when she told me that she had purchased some fabric to make herself some pillowcases, but realized she didn't get enough, she just gave it to me.  

In her recent downsizing activity, she had already cleared out all of the fabric she had.  At that same time, she had given me her first attempt at making a set of pillowcases from a dress that she had made.  She cut the bodice off of the skirt and needed to rip out the side seams.  She tried for a short distance but with her declining vision, decided it was too much work.

After learning that she had attempted twice to make pillowcases, I decided that if she wanted them, she deserved to have them.  I took some coordinating fabric from the quilt I made for her last year and fixed up the brown ones.  I then did a quick measurement of the dress skirt and made a few cuts using the rotary cutter (bypassing any need for seam ripping).  I quickly had her pillowcases ready for her use... and it fits right into my love language. ;)

It saddens me to think that she was unable to accomplish her goal.  But it also warmed my heart to think that something so simple as those pillowcases made her so happy when I gave them to her. 

I think she will be passing on her sewing machine to our youngest daughter.  Perhaps that is why she wanted to make them... while she still had the machine.  

The move-in date draws near, but fortunately we don't have to list and sell the house before her move.  We can get her moved first and then figure out what all fits and what is left to move on.  Unfortunately, spring seems to be here, and the grass is growing which means we have to find someone to cut her yard. It has become difficult to find someone to do this.  With my fingers crossed, I hope that it is just one time before the move. 

Speaking of downsizing and selling items... Is there anyone interested in paying postage only for a vintage thread/bobbin box with nearly 100 spools of thread?  How about a Bonnie Hunter Puzzle?   
Leave a comment or send me an email.  

Looking for this week's Sew & Tell party?  Look here.  Are you wanting to link up the latest Pieces of My Life blocks?  Look here.

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Friends & Sew & Tell ~ April 15, 2024

I've written about a special group of ladies that I am part of... Friends and Sisters in Christ... We've loved and supported each other throughout many years, life's challenges, up and downs.  

It has been almost 4 years since the larger group of gals has gathered together to fellowship for a weekend.

This weekend it happened!  In total, eleven of us gathered at a special place called "The Refuge."  Because of this, I don't have a great amount of time to write.  

I worked very peacefully on Tuesday and Wednesday as I wrote and tested/pieced the final three blocks of the purple version of "Pieces of My Life" and made two sets of pillowcases for my Mom.  

While retreating with the ladies, I worked on another paper embroidery Psalms picture.

We laughed about past memories and made more as we shared and caught up with each other.  

We had an abundance of food, not enough sleep, and just a beautiful opportunity to love on each other.  

Life is short... make sure that those you love KNOW that you love them... tell them the actual words.

Keep Piecing,


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Thursday, April 11, 2024

Pieces of My Life ~ Bachelor Puzzle & Square in Square

Welcome back to the Pieces of My Life sew along!  I hope that you have enjoyed piecing the blocks and the opportunity to document memories, details and stories of your life.  This week there are two blocks again... 

Topic of the prompt questions is your teen years... 

I enjoyed elementary school.  In general, I also enjoyed my teen years in school... But Junior High was a tough transition in the "friends" area.  There were all the same kids that I had been going to school with during 5th & 6th grade, but there were dividing lines that seemed to have formed.  That was when I discovered the "if you're friends with them, you can't be my friend" thing... If you have ever watched the movie, Mean Girls, you will understand. High School was a little better.  I recall having "senioritis" and was relieved and happy that I was permitted to leave the HS campus to go work at my little office job during the afternoons.  As a freshman, I found a new group of friends in the gymnastics team.  My best friend was a year older than me and drove the "carpool" for the mandatory two-a-day gymnastics practices.  I felt a little lost when she graduated and we got new team managers to replace her.  Though there were still a few "mean girl" situations, I learned to steer clear of them.  Georgia, one of my closest school friends from the last "Life" story and my hat party, is in the middle of the back row, next to me.  We ran in different circles for the most part, but were always cheering on the other in practices and meets.

I blame the sport of gymnastics for most of my aches and pains in my joints now... as well as the striving for perfection that I have slowly been letting go of since my 30s.  To grow up watching the Olympics and Nadia achieving a perfect 10 told me that I too could/should strive for that same goal.  

No one on the team was anywhere near being an elite gymnast... but it didn't mean that we didn't have that goal in focus.  A few years ago, while assisting with planning a small gathering of classmates, one of the gals stated, "Oh, Melva, you were the star of the team!"  I was shocked at that... It certainly didn't feel that way... It seemed that I was always competing with, and just tenths behind, one other team member. 

None the less, I am proud to say I am a recovering perfectionist and people pleaser.  There were many hard lessons to learn along the way, and I can fall back into those ruts, but the time spent there is much shorter and happens less often.

The Bachelor's Puzzle Block is 12-1/2" square, unfinished; Of all the blocks I made for the blue QAYG quilt, this is my least favorite.  I used all solid color fabrics, and they just did nothing for me.  I seriously considered swapping out the 4 square pieces for a print or floral fabric... In the end, I left it.  

My purple Bachelor's Puzzle block turned out much better and is one of my favorites of that traditional quilt, so far.

The Square in a Square (SQ²) is a 6-1/2", unfinished block that will be used as a label for the traditional layout quilt. 

I hope you will consider a similar label for your quilt.

Time to grab the patterns!  They are in my payhip store...

I've made the first section of the memory book as available for purchase if you happen to be a little late to the party.  Remember, the memory book page links are available only through my newsletter.  PLEASE NOTE:: If you are a no-reply or anonymous commenter and would like to have your email added to my newsletter list, you need to leave it in the comment or send me an email at MelvaLovesScraps (at) NolanQualityCustoms (dot)com.

And if your memories start to flow and you discover that you don't have enough space on the pages I provide or have additional thoughts, feel free to let them spill over to another page.  I'm including pictures in mine as well. :)  I'm certain that your loved ones will cherish every detail you give!  Don't forget to come back to join the block parade!  I'd love to see what your blocks look like.

Keep Piecing & Keep Writing!

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Sunday, April 7, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ April 8, 2024

Hey everyone!  I am back among the cyber world and reconnecting with everyone.

Last week the newsletter was sent out... delayed even more that I had anticipated due to an internet service issue.  I also had a few glitches with the mailing but believe they have been fixed and got everyone covered.  

There was a reader or two that have stated in anonymous comments that they want to be added to my newsletter list.  I would love to add you... but I need an email address left with the comment or you need to send me an email message with the word "newsletter" in the subject line so that I can add you.

The next two blocks will be released on Thursday, April 11th.  The next newsletter with the next section of memory book pages and pattern links will be sent that day as well.  Watch for it!

I have made the first section of the "memory book" available for purchase in my payhip store so it is available to all, whether on the newsletter list or not. 

I've been steadily getting final patterns written and tested (3 ready to test and just 3 more to write/test) by making the blocks up in purple for the traditional layout for the quilt and I am getting so close to being ready to add sashing strips and borders.  I had been worried about getting the blue-violets and red-violets to play together nicely... I think I've done well. Nothing is clashing or glaring at another.  I'm still on the hunt for the perfect fabric for sashing (and backing?) to tie all of it together.  I trust and believe I will find it when it is time.

I've had some exciting email messages this week.  The first from the publisher of my books...  Their message requested a headshot and higher quality photo of my Pieces From the Past Book.  I will be a featured author across all of their social media channels.  How exciting!  I'll be sure to let you know when that happens.  For all of you that have supported and participated in my sew along events in the past 4 years, I say thank you!

You have helped to make what seemed like a pipe dream come true!  

The second exciting email I had was confirming a date for a presentation with a quilt guild.  I am looking forward to having the opportunity to present "Storytelling Quilts"... another "dream" I have had for a few years. 💕

That is about all I have for this week's Sew & Tell... Let's take a look at the featured quilter... DonnaLeeQ had a lovely finish of a Sunbonnet Sue quilt that was started 20 years ago.  Well done!  If you want to see the backing she used, go check it out... it is perfect!

Do you select the backing for quilts as you pull/purchase fabrics for the quilt top?
Or do you wait until the top is done and then choose the backing?

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

Keep Piecing,

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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Playing Catch Up

We had a fabulous 15 nights in our home away from home.  
2,145 miles, 
200 gallons of gas ($630+), 
15 days of memories, laughter, joy, sunshine, a little wind (usually at our back), hikes, naps, and adventure together... 


We kicked the trip off with 2 nights at Elephant Butte Lake NM... with a flat tire as we pulled into the campsite!  Boy, were we glad that we weren't on the road.  As my Dad would have said... "Thank God for little green apples!" We were quickly reminded of God's promises with a double rainbow that spanned nearly the entire lake. We enjoyed watching the wildlife and even watched a pair of coyotes call back and forth to each other.  We had noticed a potential den for some animal as we walked along the rocky shore and collected a few shells... now if I could just remember just exactly what "safe place" I put those shells in. haha!

An incredible phenomenon of nature that we got to see was this bee nest/hive filled with honeycomb!  

Green Valley, AZ was our next stop.  We stayed with a friend from Dave's years as a summer instructor of gunsmithing.  He has a lovely place with a saltwater pool and hot tub.  Shelby enjoyed playing in the pool. Her favorite thing to do was drop a tennis ball in and wait for us to retrieve it.  Silly dog!  I enjoyed the hot tub... hot tubbing under the stars with a "natural space" that featured a saguaro and a few other varieties of cactus just beyond the fenced area was fabulous. 

Roosevelt Lake, cliff dwellings at Tonto NP, a trip to Apache Lake for lunch and touring Globe, AZ as we collected souvenirs were part of the next adventure. We watched a few storms roll in as we watched the sunset.  
After a wine tasting I made my selection and got a glass :)
The prickly pear honey was interesting, much more like a jelly than honey and assorted gifts for the grandchildren
The fabric will be used to make a few placemats as a thank you gift for our hosts in GV

We left Roosevelt Lake as the rains were beginning and headed toward Las Cruces, NM and found ourselves on the eastside of the Organ Mountains in the Aguirre Springs Campground in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument area.  This was probably the most disappointing part of the trip.  It was a beautiful area... but the winds coming over the mountain spires was horrendous!  We managed to get our camper into a site that was overlooking White Sands Missile Range.  It was cloudy and cold - highs in the low 40s.  The camper was not level, despite our best efforts.  We can laugh about it now as we recall how Dave kept rolling into me as we slept and I ended with more covers than normal... all because of gravity.  LOL!  

We made the best of it and enjoyed our time together as we hung out in the camper and read books.  We had great radio reception and listened and danced to some good music. I also worked on a few quilted hearts and blocks for our Camping Journal Quilt.

We did make a trip to LC to get a few groceries and as we were returning we saw a sign for a visitors center at White Sands Missile Range.  We went and explored there to escape the wind and the sound of wind for an hour or so. 

Our original plan was to stay at Aguirre for 4 nights... we stuck it out for 2 and headed to Alamogordo, where we found a space at the KOA.  A "deluxe" patio site with a grill, fire ring and swing.  Before we left the windy mountainside, we were gifted a beautiful site of the spires...

Feeling like we were "level" we began exploring the area with a visit to White Sands NP... The wind was still blowing there, but it was worth the trip to walk among the dunes. 

We have heard many say that it is one of their favorite places to visit... maybe we missed something... Our feelings were the same about the Sand Dunes in CO... We don't regret having made the trips to see them, but have no need to return as a particular destination... 

Wind-blown and messy hair... I don't care ;)

As we were driving to the campground, Dave saw a winery and restaurant that he wanted to take me to.  

It was a lovely place, great choice in background music, good food and a chef that was well aware of proper food prep for food allergens and wide selection of wines.  The choices of wine here were much better than what I had in Globe.

It was fun to clean up a bit and "tame" the wild, wind-blown hair.  We visited the local history museum, the space museum, as well as a quilt shop.  I selected two more fabrics... with the intention of using them in some of the postcard blocks for our camping quilt.

After two nights we headed toward our final destination of 
Bandelier NP.  We made a stop at the Three Rivers Petroglyph site where there were hundreds of ancient petroglyph drawings.  Some were easy to decipher, others... not so much. 

What does this one mean?

After several hours of driving to and through Santa Fe to get to Bandelier, we settled into another level site and made plans for the next morning.  Since dogs are not permitted on any of the trails in this park, we made certain that Shelby had plenty of exercise and was ready to nap while we hiked the trail to the cliff dwellings.  These dwellings were very different from the dwellings at Tonto.  The population of residents here were two to three times larger... and we had to use ladders to access these dwellings. 

There were a few petroglyphs here as well, but sparse and as one ranger had stated after hearing that we had stopped at Three Rivers, "unimpressive".  However, the finished interior walls of some of the dwellings that have been preserved made up for the petroglyphs. 

A hike on Falls Trail was not a disappointment the next day.  
The changes in rocks and vegetation were interesting... and the sound as we approached the falls was so soothing.

On Easter Sunday morning we hooked up the camper and made the easy drive home.  All was in good order at home.  Other than when we tried to reconnect to the internet and the cyber world so that we could resume our work. It seemed that the modem and wi-fi refused to let us do this after being turned off for 15 days.  

My newsletter was delayed by this fact... After several calls to tech support and a visit from a repairman, we are back in business.  Yay!  Since I was unable to do much on-line business, I focused on laundry, housekeeping, shopping and even some pattern writing/testing.  I was also perusing my patterns for blocks to document our camping journal quilt.  I was lucky enough to catch a sale at Fiona Sandwich, the originator of the National Park System Postcard blocks. 

I have a good portion of blocks from our last trips last fall to add to the borders of the existing quilt, and I have selected the necessary patterns ready to kit up for sewing together on our next trip.

I'll be back on schedule with the Sew & Tell party.  Be sure to come back and party with me. 

Thanks for joining me in this vacay recap. :)

Before you go... tell me what kind of souvenirs do you like to collect?

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

Keep Piecing,


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