Sunday, May 26, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ May 27, 2024

Welcome back to Sew & Tell! Another week has passed by, and the unofficial beginning of summer is upon us.

Here in the United States, we are celebrating those that gave their lives in service as they protected our country with Memorial Day.  A few years ago, in 2021, I offered a brief history of the holiday... Go check it out here.  It really isn't about backyard cookouts, swimming and parties.  To those Gold Star Families, I'm so sorry for your loss... And I would be remiss in remembering those that returned from service but had lost a little bit of themselves.  Again, I, am so sorry for your loss.

All gave some... some gave all

On to Sew & Tell...  Dave and I enjoyed our short time away.  We rested, he played guitar, I sewed, we walked and hiked... and Shelby enjoyed watching for gopher activity on the edge of our campsite.

We enjoyed meeting the folks in the sites across from us.  One young woman, Christine, was traveling alone from Dallas, TX to Lake Powell.  She was taking a full month to make the trek and enjoy the various sites along the way.

I thought I was being sneaky and leaving a quilted heart on her site post unseen... until I was busted.  She thanked us profusely for the kind gesture before she left for her next destination.

I've been perusing the I Found A Quilted Heart webpage and have discovered that a few of my hearts have indeed been reported.  I was beginning to feel discouraged about it... not that making them and leaving them around for others to find isn't worthwhile.  But I just couldn't imagine that NONE of the 60+ hearts were reported.  It just makes the thing a little more fun... I found three reports. 

I finished one little postcard block for our Camping Journal quilt while we were unplugged, but continued on over the weekend and have, so far, completed two more.  The campfire is a duplicate photo... though I do have a need for another campfire block for one of our nights in Alamogordo. :)  The big dipper block represents one evening in Green Valley, AZ as we enjoyed the hot tub under the starry sky, and the howling coyote for a night at Elephant Butte State Park since we watched a pair of them roam not far from our campsite.

Jocelyn at Canadian Needle Nana linked up a contemplative post about lessons from childhood as well as her "Crossroads" flimsie.  It is a lovely top and the name makes me wonder...

How many crossroads do we encounter in our lives?  Each day we are faced with decisions to make.  Some are no big deal... others are much more significant.  Large or small... each decision made has the potential to change the course of our life.

As graduates wrap up their educations, whether high school or college, they are faced with a decision about their future.  Which brings me to my question of the week.

If you could go back and give yourself advice, what would it be?  
A "Dear younger me" type of thing...

I would tell myself that "you don't need to be a people pleaser" (it will only wear yourself out), "You really are "good enough"" (though there is always room for improvement, don't worry about being perfect) and "stop comparing yourself to others (God made each of us unique for a reason!)."

Your turn!  And time for Sew & Tell to begin...

Keep Piecing,


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Friday, May 24, 2024

Unplugged and Relaxed

The scrappy placemats were successfully finished and put into place before we left to unplug and relax... Yay! 

Dave noticed the tags and said... "don't tags usually go on the back?"  My response was "But these were too cute to put on the back... they asked to be placed on the front."

Do you remember seeing these tags from my Advent calendar?  I am slowly finding ways to use for them. 💕 They add a spark of fun to projects. 

I'll probably allow the grand-daughters to pick a label for any projects we may do while they are here for VBS in June.  Last year we made pillowcases and skirts.  I think we will give a pair of shorts a try this year.  I also have a tin of embroidery thread and hoops (acquired from my Mom's downsizing) that I think Emma will enjoy.  We'll start with a dish towel and see how she does.

What other projects would you suggest?

These were just some of the things I pondered as we were unplugged and relaxing.  We have just returned from a few days away and I'm feeling pretty mellow.  I don't have any big project that I'm in the middle of and wanting to finish...

I think I'll go do some slow stitching... or maybe continue reading my book.

Keep piecing,


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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ Scrappy Placemats ~ May 20, 2024

I finished the last of the three memory quilts for my client this week!  Woohoo!

That meant that I was able to play!  I always enjoy making the memory quilts (they are among my favorite to make because each one is unique), but all work and no play... need I say more?

I pulled out two bags of strips that were acquired from a quilter clearing out her stash several years ago.  I started sewing strips together.  I used two different sizes - 6-1/2" long and 4" long.  I pulled randomly until I had sections that were wider than 18".  When they were done, I pulled out the scrap bin and started making FPP scrappy double flying geese - 3" wide.

As I pulled the bags out, I remembered Susan and offered a prayer of thanksgiving for her and for the opportunity to make something beautiful (and useful) out of scraps.  Several of the strips reminded me of shirts that my Mom made for Dad.  As I pulled bits and scraps from the bin, I remembered the various quilts that the cut-offs had come from... some from these three memory quilts. :)

If you look closely, you can see I have them marked for quilting, which will happen lickedy-split fast as I FMQ straight lines, rather than using a walking foot (which is sooooooo slow 🐌).  I figured that if I can control stitch length and speed with FMQ twisted ribbons, vines, leaves and feathers, why can't I do straight lines??? I could not come up with a reason to NOT do it... so I DO do it. ;)  Granted... I do use a domestic machine.  Quilting on a long-arm may be something completely different.

Since the idea of placemats were from Dave, I will consult with him about whether I do rounded corners or leave them square.  I will have them finished and on the table before we leave for a quick get-away.  

This means that I need to gather together all of the supplies (patterns, fabric, glue and thread) I need for the blocks to be made for our Camping Journal Quilt.  I am looking forward to it.  

This brings us to our Sew & Tell feature ~ Leeanna at Not Afraid of Color showed off her RSC projects in pink. I just love the pink rose.  She also shared a couple watercolor paintings.  Go give some accolades 👏

Now it is time for you to Sew & Tell what you have been working on.

Before you go... 

Have you ever used FMQ for straight lines?

Kee Piecing!


Linking with:

Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Sunday Stash at QuiltPaintCreate
Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy’s Quilts
Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Monday Musings at Songbird Designs
Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do
Home Matters at Days Filled with Joy

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Pieces of My Life ~ Blocks #7 & 8 - Star and Bowtie

There is just something about remembering...

Here's a whole scientific explanation about it.

As I help Mom with her down-sizing, I see that she is struggling with the idea of letting go of the "stuff" that helps her reflect on various times of her life.

The thing is... we are both learning that we don't NEED to hold on to all of the "stuff" in order to keep the memories alive and to hold on to those feelings of happiness and comfort.

Taking pictures of special items and then writing down some thoughts and memories about them and what they mean to you is a great way to preserve them. Perhaps you could add them to your memory book pages that accompany your quilt.

The questions this time focus on Christmas and Easter celebrations and traditions...

I recall Christmas programs for both church and school with great fondness.  I have always loved music and I'm pretty sure I sang loud and proud in some of my younger programs.  There were always hand motions that went along with the songs to help us remember the words.  

Mom would make us new dresses, often matching, each holiday.  (This photo shows just one example.)  Our Christmas tradition included attending the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and having Christmas Stockings that Santa would fill for us to discover the next morning.  We could count on finding an orange, maybe an apple and whole nuts.  Candy canes and a few other small items were included as well.  

Because I had a cousin that was born on December 24th, I remember numerous celebrations at their house following the church service.  I also remember a Christmas spent with the other side of cousins.  The youngest had begged and begged to be able to open presents on Christmas Eve.  The adults finally relented and allowed it to happen.  

The next morning with only Christmas stockings to discover, was sooooooo disappointing!  Sure we had a new game or two and maybe some new clothes to wear... it just wasn't worth it to open them "early."

my first Easter Bunny... 59 years later

Easter has always special to me since I was born ON Easter.  I always view the day of Easter as something special.  I mean, it is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, and that IS special.  But it has always felt as though it was a new beginning for me.  Some years... most years I get to celebrate both dates as my birthday... even if only in my mind. 💖 And the opportunity to attend a Sunrise service on Easter still makes it all the more special.

I have always been an early riser, so it was never a big deal for me to wake while it was still dark and drive out to a pre-determined location on the prairie and hear the story of the women visiting the tomb to discover that Jesus was not in the tomb.

It was often perfectly timed as the sun came over the horizon... I still get chills as I recall the memory.

We would return home to find our baskets and hunt for the eggs that we decorated and dyed the day before.  

Our egg hunts always took place in the house.  I had friends who would talk about finding the eggs outside.  I asked Mom why ours were always inside... "because I don't want critters to steal them, or for them to get broken or forgotten."

The Star block & the Bowtie block reflect the questions with the Star representing the Star of Bethlehem and the Bowtie for all the little boys that wrestled as they got their faces washed and the tie put in place. :)

It's time for you to collect the patterns - Star & Bowtie - in my payhip store.  But before you go...

What sort of special holiday traditions did your family have?

I'd love to hear from you.  Leave a comment and then have fun piecing your blocks as you recall memories from your childhood... or adulthood even.  I have nearly as many memories of my own children as I do of my own!  Maybe you'll want to include a favorite family recipe. 

Be sure you come back to join the block parade!  

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, May 12, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ May 13, 2024

I'll be keeping it short today... I have a date with "Jaquie" the seam ripper to remove the borders on the third of three memory quilts.  This was the most difficult quilt of the three.  It just did not want to come together easily.  I don't know why...  I even auditioned my border choices.

I kept telling myself that the borders were fine.  They bugged me until I relented and grabbed Jaquie.  I talked of my wanderlust last week and my longing to go camping.  Well, we are currently stuck in a season of rain which makes mud... which means we are not going camping. **big sigh** Wah, wah, wah!

So, a self-imposed partial unplugged session is due.  I will turn off my phone and computer and enjoy some silly hallmark movies as I rip.  I'll still need wi-fi to stream the movies. ;)

So my goals for this week...

#1 - Find the proper combo of borders for memory quilt, #3/3, get it quilted and complete the binding.

#2 - Send Pieces of My Life newsletter, edition #5, out with the next set of pages and patterns.

#3 - Write and publish the blog story for the release of blocks 7 & 8 of Pieces of My Life Sew Along.

No fluff and no rabbit trails means that it is time for this week's Sew & Tell feature.  If you missed Melisa's wee flag mug rug that she quilted while camping in Texas last month and recently added the binding, go check it and all of her lovely little cross-stitches at Pinker 'n' Punkin Quilting.

She stages the best photos.  Go show her some love.

Time to party... When I check back in, I will be ready to see what everyone has been up to.

When you make/select your borders on your quilts, do you have a standard size/set/formula that you use?

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

Keep Piecing,


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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Wordy Wednesday

The production level coming out of my studio has been off the charts lately!  Despite interruptions like my husband's business website crashing and needing to be re-created, making sales on-line as Mom continues to downsize and prepare for a move.

This green memory quilt, #2/3, is my latest finish...

It's all been amazing and great!  But quite honestly, I am longing to escape, unplug and go camping.  If it doesn't happen soon I think I will just pretend. You know... turn off the wi-fi, pull out all the hand-sewing projects and books... and take a deep breath and MAKE a Sabbath.

Not that we haven't enjoyed a few trips out of town to watch one grand-daughter play softball and another to celebrate the 3rd birthday of our youngest grand, as well as relaxing Sundays with a morning of attending church and an afternoon walk.  But I am feeling a bit of wanderlust setting in and need more than a few hours to relax.  I am needing a time away... away from the list of items that need to be done (along with my imaginary and sometimes ridiculous deadlines that I place on them).  A time to decompress and get plenty of fresh air.

The winds here have been obnoxious lately.  I have forced myself to get out for a walk each day despite them.  It does wonders for the mind and body!  I never regret our walks.  The winds are very typical for spring though... I keep reminding myself of this fact... even though it does not make the wind stop.

But a little time spent slow-stitching in the evening has helped.  Stitching the Psalms has been soothing and relaxing.  

I have two in progress because I started one (the pink one)... I didn't really like the way it was looking so I set it aside to start the second one.  The stiches in the purple flowers are boring and I have to fiddle with the variegated thread I am using to get the proper shading. (I am using only threads that I have in my stash and refuse to purchase more because... well, it is all about using what I have!)

As I have added more to the pink photo the better I like it.  Plus, the stitching is more fun... lazy daisy and french knots. :)

I can remember learning these two embroidery stitches from a cousin, Helen. I think I made a dish towel first and then I made an apron.  I still have the apron.  Our daughters would take turns wearing it when they played "restrump".  That is how Heather pronounced restaurant.   They would have a small pad of paper and take orders.  They would bring the pretend food shortly later, along with a bill.  lol!  As they grew older they would take orders for lunch and then actually make us lunch.  

Enough of my rambling.  I have a to-do list staring me in the face.  But before you go...

Do you do embroidery?  Who taught you? 

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, May 5, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ Pieces of My Life QAYG

What a week!  There were several new stories/posts last week here at Melva Loves Scraps.  Block #6 of the Pieces of My Life was released as was the newsletter with the link to the memory book pages and additional stories and memories of my life not shared here... AND I hosted the Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday linky party.  Whew... 

Last week I had asked you about the self-imposed "imaginary" deadlines... I found I was not alone.  I also decided that rather than push myself into a state of frenzy... I offered myself some grace and moved the release date of the QAYG step-by-step a few days.

That day is today!  🎉

Cutting instructions:

2 - 2-1/2" x 12-1/2" strips
2 - 2-1/2" x 18-1/2" strips
2 - 3-1/2" x 12-1/2" strips

Layout your blocks and strips as shown in the photos.  You can join units together as you desire but I used the following order so that I could chain piece until the final seam.  

Join your 6-1/2" blocks together.  
Add one 3-1/2" strip to the block intended for the upper right unit.  
Join your 6-1/2" blocks to the lower left block.
Add the second 3-1/2" strip to the upper right block.  
Sew a 2-1/2"x12-1/2" strip to each of the remaining blocks. 
Join the 18-1/2" long strips to the remaining units. 
Join the 18-1/2" long units to the 12"+2-1/2" strips units. 
Join the two units together to complete the section.  
Each section should measure 28-1/2" wide by 30-1/2" tall.

NOTE:  I used a variety of fabrics for the sashing strips within the section.  My original plan was to use the same fabric throughout.  I was not fully pleased after auditioning my idea on the design wall, so I started reaching for the scraps and discovered I was much happier with it.  

Prepare a backing piece a few inches larger, approximately 30" x 32", as well as a piece of batting.  Prepare to sandwich section 1 as you would any quilt.  

I use the fusible batting from Hobbs on a regular basis.  (It not only eliminates the sticky mess but also the smell from spray basting.)  For this QAYG process, especially when joining the four sections together and eventually the border, I highly recommend using a fusible batting.  I have no affiliation with Hobbs, just a big fan of this product.

There are multiple videos out in cyber-land but I follow the process as shared by Pauline from Pauline's Quilters World. I considered making my own short video (for about 10 5 seconds), but quickly talked myself out of it since Pauline demonstrates the process so well. She says that there is no need to pin.  I choose to use some pins... a few all over but mostly along the edges.  I find that this helps to keep the top from shifting or moving if not fully fused or if it pulls loose in the handling of the fused piece.  

Quilt as desired... don't you just hate when a pattern says that???  Here are the details of what I did.

I quilted the strips with FMQ of vines and leaves first.  Not up for vines and leaves?  Try a stitch-in-the-ditch paired with a 1/4" "echo" line.  Or stitch a continuous soft curve to create a single wavy line... or return back over that line with stitching in the opposite direction making a single serpentine line or chain.

I felt that each block deserved some special quilting to enhance the pattern or design, so I used a variety of straight lines and soft curves.  The soft curves were used to create "orange peel" designs in the bow, pinwheel and SQinSQ blocks; Straight lines created square grids and some interesting geometric designs in stars and the hours block; a combination of the two were used in the bachelor's puzzle.  I approached each block separately.  Even though I was unsure of what I would do in the Bachelor block I was not concerned.  I knew a design would reveal itself to me... and it did.  I encourage you to be patient and take your time.  Consider printing out a photo of a single block, or even the whole section.  Sketch out some quilting designs to see if you like it.  

Still unsure or not up to custom block quilting?  You could certainly do an all over stippling, lattice or grid or a hanging diamond design.  Here's a site that offers some simple beginner quilting ideas...

There will be sashing strips between each section.  You will not need to be overly concerned with making certain that the stitching from section to section align perfectly.  Whatever you do... have fun with the quilting! 

Between blog writing, publishing and related emails, I successfully finished the top of the second T-shirt memory quilt.  This one has green as its background.  I am planning on knocking this one out by the end of the week. :)

On Friday evening Dave and I enjoyed a stroll downtown to participate in the First Friday Art Walk event.  While at the Museum of Western Art, I noticed that the giftshop was running low on my books and quilted cards.  When the green memory top was done I turned my attention to the cards.  These four Fishers Peak cards are ready for delivery this week. :)

Time for this week's Sew & Tell feature.
  Did you see Bonnie's Quick as a Wink 3-yard quilt?

Isn't it lovely? 💖 "I used a new-to-me edge to edge pantograph called Quick and Easy Swirl by My Creative Stitches."  

Nice job Bonnie!  👏 

On to this week's party... Ready?  GO!  I look forward to hearing about your projects.

Keep Piecing,


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Thursday, May 2, 2024

Spring Table Topper & TGIFF


Welcome to Melva Loves Scraps and Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday (TGIFF)!

A new page has been turned as we start the month of May.  The weather has turned from cooler temps and chances of snow to warmer days, spring-like winds and chances of rain.  Spring is my favorite season, followed closely with Autumn.  The days of warm sunshine, comfortable temperatures so that you can have windows open and enjoy the varied sights, sounds and scents of the season.

To celebrate May Day, I created a "souvenir" Table Topper with the fabric I purchased while on vacation in Arizona in March.  It is a "sister" to the thank you gift I sent to the couple that welcomed us to their home for a few days in Green Valley (shown below).

I had only a 8" strip WOF of the light-colored hummingbird fabric remaining.  I wanted a simple patchwork as the center of the piece.  Since I could get six 7" squares from it, I matched some lavender squares for the middle 4-patch...  

Taking inspiration from the various colors from the orange-ish floral/hummer print, I selected fabrics for the borders from my stash.  A flange binding offers a pop of yellow against that purple border and makes me smile.  The iris bed was begging to be the background for the photo shoot. 💜

I couldn't resist adding a tag to the back of the topper that features the third fabric that I purchased... 

As you can see, it was a little short so I added a strip of teal that coordinated well.

The finished size is 39" square... The rounded corners reflect the edges of our table, allowing it to come nearly all the way to the edge.... and way better than bought ;)

We celebrated the turning of the calendar page with a "surf & turf" meal... bacon wrapped filets, shrimp orzo salad and fruit salad.  The orzo salad is one of our favorite summer side dishes... And because of that, I'll share it with you!  

This is a recipe that Dave and I enjoyed with his sister and her husband when we went for a visit to South Carolina several years ago (which is why there is a photo of them with the recipe).  

I use a GF orzo pasta.  I either go without the feta or use shaved parmesan cheese.

Marcie doesn't like olives so she subs capers for them.  We prefer the kalamata olives over the capers.  It is all about personal tastes.

The shrimp I used this time was precooked and I diced it.  I have also used salmon rather than shrimp.  Enjoy!

Time for the party to start... Remember, the party is for celebrating your finishes. ;)

Keep Piecing,


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Pieces of My Life ~ Block #6 - Hours

Welcome back to Melva Loves Scraps and the Pieces of My Life Sew Along! Block #6 is named "Hours".

I remember being asked about my age as a kid... the typical, "how old are you?"  I went through a phase of responding with a very precise "I am 7-1/2 (or 8-1/2) years old."  I must have recently become familiar with fractions (probably from baking cookies on Saturday mornings ;) and I once answered even more precisely that I was 8-3/4 years old. LOL! I remember that my brother made fun of me.  Apparently, every day counted for me! 

It's funny that now I can't remember why they counted... Perhaps I needed to be a certain age to gain a privilege of some sort.  Maybe it had to do with being allowed to walk by myself from my Mom's part-time job to the bakery or to the library.

I loved visiting the library during the summer and participating in the summer reading program.  If I close my eyes and think really hard, I can still see the shelves and shelves of books and even recall that particular musty smell that comes with an old library and old books.  It was a time when it was safe to allow children to wander the sidewalks alone.  {My, my... how times have changed, and not for the better. 😢}

I do know that that 1/2 of a year made all the difference in the world with getting a driver's permit.  I remember the excitement of counting down the days until I could get it... Many of my friends shared the same excitement.  Driver's Ed was a class offered at the high school, though I had driven some along the long lane that passed our house by the time I was signed up for the class.  Unlike two other students that had never, ever been behind the wheel of a moving car. The teacher stated that he would take these two students out alone.  We were left in the classroom unsupervised each day that he took out drivers.  Most of the time it didn't even turn into total chaos.  Haha!

And, of course, just as the countdown for getting a permit took place, the countdown to getting your license was a big deal too!  During our sophomore year there was a new driver or two each week.  Many celebrated with their closest circle of friends by "cruising the drag" on Friday or Saturday nights.

How did you pass the hours of your childhood and youth?  

What were some of your favorite television programs?

When I didn't have swim classes or tagged along with Mom to her job so that I could walk to the library and bakery, many a summer morning passed as Kelvin and I watched The Price is Right and other game shows.  

My Mom enjoyed watching the daytime soap General Hospital.  As a teenager I joined the ranks of so many others that watched the story and relationship of Luke and Laura unfold. Anyone else???  

I was a fan well into my adult life.  Each afternoon when it was nap time for the girls, I watched GH and took advantage of a peaceful hour or two as they slept. The girls eventually followed the storylines into their early teen years until we eventually lost interest in them.

Enough with my trip down memory lane... It is now time to hop over to my Payhip store for the Hours pattern.   

When you have your block complete, be sure to return with a link to your block. With the completion of this block, you will be ready to assemble the first section of the Quilt-as-you-go group.  I'll be back next week with the cutting directions as well as the process I used to use the QAYG method.

Keep Piecing,


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