Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Melanie Testa. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Melanie Testa. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Melanie Testa: Meadowlark

After a wonderful holiday weekend, what could be better than getting some beautiful fabric in the mail? 
by Melanie Testa

Windham Fabrics and artist/sewist/designer Melanie Testa hit the jackpot with this amazing combination of fabric designs.  Melly is known for her unique surface designing abilities, and combined with her love of color and cloth, she has created this absolutely beautiful collection of fabrics that combine her own unique stamping and surface designs with color co-coordinating prints and blending solids.

My fabulous packet of 10" squares arrived this week, and I could not wait to open it up and lovingly lay each beautiful piece down...all over everything. I could not believe how beautifully they co-ordinated with each and every room in my house..and my rooms are all different and in different colorways!

Somehow this collection just brought out whatever tone needed to be brought out and every single piece just melded into one gorgeous display of color, print, blender, or even as a whole. It didn't seem to matter what style of furniture, or decorating accents I had used in each room.

I had way too much fun taking each piece's photo on my vintage quilts which grace my loft wicker daybed in my sewing studio!  Here are just a few, I'm trying so hard not to 'get carried away' by showing ALL of my photos  ;-)

I loved that whether my decor was traditional, vintage, more modern, or my personal favorite 'eclectic', Melly's fabric fit right in.

Check it out at the Windham Fabrics site...they are even more gorgeous when you see them in larger viewing size than what I managed here with my own photos! And because I love to play, I actually lay each piece down against my vintage daybed decor and took photos of each square just to prove how wonderfully they all seamlessly fit right in.

Gorgeous fun! Now, that I have played with them and have them all out of the colorway order that they arrived in, I can't decide which ones I love the most...guess I'll just have to use every single one of them ;-) 

Oh, it's just so nice getting something so lovely, and so much fun in the mail!  Thank you, Windham Fabrics, the amazing and talented Melanie Testa, and the oh so lovely Vivien Zepf who introduced me to these beautiful fabrics during Melly's blog hop!

So much fun..."After a wonderful holiday weekend, what could be better than getting some beautiful fabric in the mail?"...Why, thinking of wonderful and creative ways to use it, of course!!!

But first, I need to take a bit of a lie down on my daybed and just wallow in lovely fun for a while....ahhhhhhh ....


And to show my appreciation for this wonderful packet of fabrics and to learn more about Melly's new line of fabrics and see some of the amazing things that others have created from them, check out the links from the following textile artists/sewists/quilters

Vivien Zepf
Chrissie D
Sue Bleiweiss
Leslie Tucker Jenison   
Jamie Fingal
Lyric Kinard
Jen Eskridge
Jacqui Holmes Calhoun
Stephanie Forsyth
Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Teri Lucas
Scott Hansen
Helen Eckard

by Melanie Testa
And what's in a name? And why "Meadowlark" you ask?
Melly is an ardent birder, or lover of birds. 

 Melanie Testa - Martha Stewart Living   What inspires you?

Birds. I am passionate about birds. The main print, the bird print in the Meadowlark by Windham Fabrics line features 6 of the Audubon's list of Common Birds in Decline. These birds have declined in population by 72% in the last forty years, in some cases. If we act now, by learning the needs of and accommodating those needs, these birds can flourish-but they need our help. As an artist and a lover of birds, I decided to create my own awareness campaign to help these birds in whatever way I can.
Western Meadowlark Photo

Western Meadowlark 

Sturnella neglecta  


"The buoyant, flutelike melody of the Western Meadowlark ringing out across a field can brighten anyone’s day. Meadowlarks are often more easily heard than seen, unless you spot a male singing from a fence post. This colorful member of the blackbird family flashes a vibrant yellow breast crossed by a distinctive, black, V-shaped band. Look and listen for these stout ground feeders in grasslands, meadows, pastures, and along marsh edges throughout the West and Midwest, where flocks strut and feed on seeds and insects. "

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Art from the Heart: Quilting Arts Magazine

I wait with great anticipation for each issue of "Quilting Arts Magazine" to arrive in the mail. It is such a treat, and such a treasure, that even though I was in a shop buying fabric yesterday, and saw all the new magazines out, I only looked at this beautiful cover and did not thumb through it..wanting to wait for my own subscription issue to arrive and savor it at my leisure. Well, it arrived today and....

...lo and behold..I had a project in this newest issue under the title "Art from the Heart: The Breast Pocket Project."  And, I must say that I am just so proud to be part of Melanie Testa's wonderful project!

And its such fun to open a magazine and see a photo of one's own project and know I've been #published again!  Such fun!!

I had previously blogged about Melanie Testa and her amazing and courageous battle with breast cancer, her decision to forgo reconstructive surgery and to live the valiant life of a warrior.....battle scars and all.

We had moved my own mother down from Juneau, Alaska to Seattle, Washington, and then down to live with me for the next nine months in Salem, Oregon after her own diagnosis of Stage 3b Inflammatory Breast Cancer in 2001. This became a journey shared with the loved ones that surrounded her, my father, and myself.

Melanie Testa was surrounded by a gigantic circle of powerful women every step of the way as well as by her own loving husband and family. So, her story felt in many ways like our story.  When she wrote on her blog about her experience and her "Breast Pocket Project for Flatties", I knew that I not only wanted, but needed to make some in my own mother's honor.

My mother only lost one breast, not two, but the loss of it, even at almost 80, was huge for her and for my father, and we had to use a lot of healing love to get her through her own 9 months in the battlefields of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and then finally, radiation.

They gave her the strongest forms of each of those that they had, her chances of survival were already so low.  But she not only survived, she made it to her 5 year survivor's milestone and didn't die until 2013 and then after an 8 years battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

We have fought many healing battles she and I, as women do with their supports groups all over the world with these diseases. And those diseases, and their scars, and the judgments from those scars live on and become a battle of their own.

For every stare, for every rude comment, for every curious glance at a flat breast, lies a warrior woman (and yes, even some men who have had breast cancer)  and in that warrior woman... or man, lies the true and valiant heart of the strongest of warriors.

A breast pocket is a symbol for all that lies within, all that heart and that breast that sacred place carries, all that it has nurtured, all that it has healed, and all of the proud scars of that journey to get to that ultimate and courageous place of survival.

Melanie is sounding a louder call to action. A call for all of us to make many, many more breast pockets and to submit them for publication in a future issue..either print or online..of Quilting Arts Magazine.

Pick up an issue and check out pages 10-14. And while you're there take a look at my little be-ribboned heart pocket...right under the title word 'Heart' made with muslin and velvet and satin has a secret pocket in the back, where no one can see what it holds, or what it has gone through.... yet every stitch, every bit of all that covers, or adorns, fills it with all of that love that still lies within.

Feel this powerful place, this pocket of power and healing and love, and make and donate a pocket of your own.


  1. Reader Challenges - Quilting Daily
    Read more on page 10 of the October/November issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. ... Create a Breast Pocket using your own design, the template on page 14 of ...
  2. Quilting Arts Magazine, October/November 2014 - Quilting ...
    View more artwork by Amy Cavaness, Karen Anne Glick, and Susan Purney Mark plus additional Breast Pockets and submissions from the Opposites Attract ...
  3. Art from the Heart: Quilting Arts Magazine - With Heart and ...
    17 mins ago - I wait with great anticipation for my issue of "Quilting Arts Magazine" to ... A breast pocket is a symbol for all that lies within, all that heart and that ...

'Breast Pockets' for Melanie Testa'...original project on Melanie's blog

Melanie Testa: Meadowlark

Snippets and Threadtales:Yes, I'm Certifiable!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Monday, January 19, 2015


Birds have always been seen as special messengers of hope from above. While bird feathers, besides being engineering masterpieces, are often seen as symbols of reconnecting us with hope, and a belief in the unseen and as yet unknown.

I love finding feathers along my own path whether I am simply walking in my own yard in Oregon where feathers are more likely to have been left from one of my own flock of domestic chickens or along the beautiful beaches along the channels of ocean waters in my home state of Alaska where I reconnect with childhood, family, and the feeling of being home and truly returning to my own nesting rebirth year after year.

In a time of transition, and the beginning of a New Year, I seek the same reconnection. After many months of continuing my own daily life with all of the traditions of family, celebrations and feathering my own nest with the bringing in of the holi-day lights, the creation and giving of gifts, and the joys and sorrows of life and living, reconnecting with my own past took on new meanings this month.

After months of being in an internally aware state of grief for the loss of my youngest sister-in-law to cancer, and the tragic death of a dear family friend of 45 years, I was reconnected with the loss of his wife and daughter just 17 years ago, my best friend of many decades, and my youngest daughter's loss of her best friend since birth. A family that we shared the building of our two homes together on the same acreage, the births and raising of each of our three children to adulthood.

Reconnection to grief and mourning needed to rise up and be filled with constant reminders of life, of light, and of the grace and the beauty of our natural world.And I needed to bring those reminders of the natural and outside world into my my inner and internal world..both in my heart and in my home.

And then a new loss. One of my four little grand-cats was killed in a tragic accident. As someone who has loved animals her entire life, this new loss was just one more on top of those that had come at the end of the year. Again, I reconnected with the deep emapthic grief of anothers loss that mirrored my own and yet, was still my own.

Reconnection is truly connecting to source and to the divine that lives within each of us, just as spirituality connects us to spirit and religion links us back to the beginning and source of all understanding. Our awareness of any separation is simply an illusion or perhaps better yet, an allusion. For each of us is part of one another and a part of all that truly is.

And because I am always finding feathers in my own spiritual journey, birds and feathers as two of the many joys in the gardens of my own life.  And it was all of these feelings, all of this joy, and all of this pain that was transformed into a prayer flag to grace a wall in my home. A wall that rises up the journey of the stairwell...step by step, just as enlightenment in all of its forms and all of its stages, has come into the journey of my life since I was a young child playing in the fern filled forests of Alaska.

I brought in the symbology of the bird feathering her nest, long recognized as signifying hope and of course the feathers as symbols of creating and manifesting the improbable, if not the downright seemingly impossible. With bits and pieces of fabric and thread, yarn, jute, feathers, twigs and twine it speaks without having a voice and is heard without having a pulpit.

Reconnection fills my heart and lights up my soul, my prayer flag graces the steps, the pathway, and the journey as I walk upstairs to my art and quilting areas. With each step, and each new awareness, I seek to rise each and everyday to greater and greater joy, inspiration, and creativity.

And I fill my heart not only with gratitude for each new day, each new step, and each new understanding, and allow the reconnection to soften and gentle within me as grief merges with understanding and joy once again.

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King
Be of and everyday
Reconnect..with empathy, caring, and love with one another.

For as Dr. King has said: "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."
And he is also credited with having said: "Be the peace you wish to see in the world."


Reconnect with YOUR past, your present, and how we manifest our own future! I do on an almost daily basis!! Today, I realized for the first time, why I am so drawn to Melanie Testa's Meadolark fabric and why I am constantly drawn to supporting Breast Cancer Awareness. Each of us in our own ways, kicks our challenges to the curb and keep on after day! Here is my latest Melanie Testa Breast Pocket contribution. This one donated at the end of last year to the Quilting Art's Challenge.

For not only did my own mother battle Stage 3b Inflammatory Breast Cancer and come down from Alaska for treatment but she ended up leaving with me and my family for the next 9 months as we battled..first her fear and refusal to go through treatment, but onto intense chemo, a mastectomy, and then intense radiation. She went from less than a 3% chance of surviving to not only surviving, hitting her 5 year benchmark and on to living for many, many more years. That she ended up with severe Alzheimer's and my traveling to Alaska for additional caregiving is another reconnection in so many ways.

This 'Breast Cancer Pocket' was created as soon as I learned that my beautiful 27 year old niece was not only diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2014, but had almost immediate surgery, and is now having chemo, then radiation. Time for not only this breast pocket, but for another prayer flag!!!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey from Alaska to Oregon with thousands of free Quilting, Sewing, and Crafting Patterns and Tutorials. Help change the world, one little quilt, art quilt, and prayer flag at a time!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Snippets and Threadtales:Yes, I'm Certifiable!

Have you been wondering about me? Wonder no more...I am fully certifiable, now!  Not quite sure what I am certified for..but let's just say I spend far more time in health care facilities than I do at home!

They may not have wrapped me in a white jacket yet, but I'm well on my way! Life is a challenge and that's all there is to it..but we still get to choose how we react to it, and what we do or do not choose to do with our lives.

So, yes...lots and lots of quilt therapy and the updating of all four of my active blogs., the very best I can. I also moderate a Caring Bridge site for updating close family and friends on my brother and sister-in-law and I still visit my MIL, Dorothy, who is now in hospice in end stage of advanced bone cancer.

Considering we live outside of all service areas for Internet service and don't have satellite anything, I'm lucky to get two bars out of five with my plug-in broadband internet service. Some days it's on par with the slowness of dial-up and someone flipped my dial to the wrong location!

But yes, I still blog, still update tons of photos to all of my blogs and yes...I QUILT!

Here is a worn out me, sewing with my group and here are some of the fun things I have made to donate to wonderful causes, lately:

My totally tubular streak of lightning quilts...tutorial coming soon to this blog, by me and near you!!!!

and four little leftover snippets and threadtales potholders for donation. The quilts go to the preemie ward of the Salem Hospital, the potholders are sold by my Mid-Valley Quilt Guild to raise money for other charitable causes.

And to showcase, the quilt, below......I just created a whole blog post full of links to free.....

Disappearing 9 Patch, 16 Patch and Twist/Turn check out my blog post about them

on one of my other blogs...Free Quilt Patterns 

Free quilt patterns are always available at this site...check my sidebar, right, for tons of links to thousands and thousands of links I've saved since 2006!

The Disappearing, or Fractured Nine Patch quilt has been finished and previously donated to charity.
Easy to make, and so much fun..and there are SO many above!!!

I made 'Breast Pockets' for Melanie Testa's projects to create awareness for those who choose not to reconstruct after mastectomies. 

Melanie is a wonderful free spirit with a rock star personality so hence the artsy and grungy grafitti look of well as my usual sweet love approach forthree others. Melanie is absolutely a '10" and a 'Star' as well as a "Rock Star" for all she does to continue to educate us about women's post cancer/post mastectomy choices.

I still take daily care of Matilda, Penelope, Georgette and Gig......our chickens.  Taking care of chickens involves feeding and watering, collecting eggs, and letting them out in the morning and locking them up in their coop at night.

But in our own free spirited, Gigi's also involves trying to get her to come down from trees!  My super zoom makes her super fuzzy with my small Nikon but there she is!  And yes, some chickens can actually fly..over fences, up into trees, and out of site in a single flight!

Kermit, our lone remaining cat, since the oh so very sad losses of my beloved Keira and Willow, has turned back to her true nature of only wanting to be outside.

But she and the chickens are best of friends. Well, except for Georgette, our alpha hen who literally chases Kermit across the back deck as fast as she possibly can! It's pretty hilarious and no beaking or biting is involved but still..poor Kermit!

She's a good natured gal and loves to hang with the best of them, no matter what!  Another little quilt that was made from cast off scraps from a guild member and is now a soft flannel baby quilt. I do so love my freecycle tables!

And I already showed you my Oceanside Museum of Art Prayer Flags

And then of course, my beloved Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) quilts..these two were donated for October and November as part of my   Quilt of the Month *QAM* promise.

My AAQI Quilting: Registered and For Sale Soon!

'Miss November':







12,614 - Imperfectly Perfect in Every Way!

And last month's 'Miss October'


Yep, always busy...but still having fun!

And did you wonder about the November AAQI Celebrity Quilt Auction??? Check out the
Celebrity Quilt Auction: Final Bids.....
  AMAZ.....ING!!!! Thank you Celebrity Quilters from all of us who support this wonderful cause!


And PS...Miracles continue! My brother is getting better, week by week, and day by day!!! And his wife, my SIL, Becky, is hanging in there awaiting a kidney transplant.


They just  moved Doug into a 'Respite Apartment' in the care facility. I call it the "Presidetial Suite". He says "I don't know what I did to deserve this room!" And I told him, they just discovered your no cap insurance plan." Yep, how it works with insurance!  He is probably over 5 million by now as my friend's son hit 1 million in a month. Yes, we need even more insurance reform and more equal coverage for all!  This may be very, very nice, but it does not make it fair...not even in our eyes, when he gets the room!


Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska and all of her AAQI Quilting. Sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join in the Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Year of Challenges, A Year of Miracles...

..and even a year of quilting adventures, learning, and great fun!  I'm not sure what I would have done without the opportunities to express myself through my blogs, my crafts, and my quilting art.

Thanks to all of you who came here to share, to read, to merge your hearts with I walked this by day, piece by peace.

All I had to do was click my heels, blink twice..and I just went over 4,000,000 views!  It was a very challenging year.....but just to know that many people came here and shared their love of quilting with me.... is awesome!

Many, many blessings to all of you in this coming new year!

And yes, I've originally published a bit early for New Year's Eve...but it's already arrived half a globe away ;)

(((Happiest of New Years!!!)))

shown above:
Some (but not all) of my finished projects for 2012:

baby quilts, 17 art quilts, two pillowcases and 3 senior bibs for a local care home, gifts and donations of 8 different "kitchen quilts" or potholders and mitts, a new meditation stool cover,  a multitude of small projects like bookmarks, business cards, mug rugs, coasters, breast cancer awareness pockets for Melanie Testa, my own quilting carry bag, and a praying for a miracle heart shaped pillow.  Plus three prayer flags that have flown in the Oceanside Museum of Art for all of November and December of this year!  And boy, did all of that flying help..miracles abound!


AAQI January 2013 Auction for Alzheimer's Research Funding!!!!

12,230 - Well, Hello Kitty!

 I am so blessed to have another quilt in the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI)
January Auction. The bidding runs from Jan. 1-Jan10th. All profits from the sale of my quilts go towards Alzheiemer's research funding. Please bid and (perhaps even win) my small format art quilt! 


Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her Heartbreak to Hope life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska with her AAQI Quilting. Michele is best known for sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and for inspiring others to see beyond their own personal challenges and to join in her AAQI  Liberated Quilting Challenge and make or donate small art quilts to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI)  We change ourselves, and our little quilt at a time!