WIPS, VAT & New Goals

Happy Thursday Everyone!

The countdown to Christmas is definitely on around here! The shopping is complete, the wrapping is almost done, the fudge has been made, Christmas cards are out, family traditions are being checked off one by one. It’s glorious and exhausting!!

We took some time to head into Boston on Saturday night. We had dinner in the North End and walked around Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall. The weather was great and we had a nice meal at Rabia’s.

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I especially love walking through the little shops in the old Quincy Market building (top left). They have some really unique stuff in there.

Sunday was my annual fudge day. I made 2 batches of chocolate, 2 batches of peanut butter, 1 batch of white chocolate/almond/cranberry and then Leah made 2 batches of toffee and Lindsey made peanut butter cup bars…a little photo of the fudge in progress…

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My mom started the tradition of making fudge and delivering it to the neighbors when we were growing up and I’ve continued that here in my own neighborhood. It’s fun for the girls to make the deliveries.

I’m sure most of you have heard by now about the VAT (value added tax) in the European Union and how it is going to affect small pattern designers who offer downloadable patterns in PDF form. If you haven’t heard this, here is an interesting blog post that describes it in more detail. The gist of this is that if I sell a pattern download on Craftsy or Etsy to a buyer in any of the 75 EU countries, as of 1/1/15 I will now have to pay the sales tax to that particular country. This means filing tax papers in any of those countries individually…what??? Who has time for that? Ummm, no one. As far I can tell in my limited research, Craftsy and Etsy nave remained silent on the issue for indie pattern designers. Designers can not just hit a button and turn off sales to those countries on Craftsy or Etsy. Sadly, many designers are having to close down their download shops on those sites. Personally, I don’t have a lot of sales outside of the USA but if I do, I will have to file tax papers in that country…the questions is whether that is worth the trouble or not? I’m hoping and praying that Craftsy gets the hint that we need them to change their platform so that we can turn off sales to those countries. I know some software will allow for this as QuiltWoman has done this for the designers already. It’s a lousy situation for sure.

This kind of segues into goals for 2015. I am hoping to sit down this week with my notebook and see where I wanted my business to go in 2014 and if I’ve achieved any of it or not…I know I have. Maybe not all but definitely some and even some things I didn’t see myself doing when I wrote the goals originally.

It will also be time for new goals and challenges. Have you thought about your goals for 2015 yet?

My works in progress this week are pretty non existent. I’ve been focused on getting the Christmas shopping completed and wrapping. I do have to make a few Frozen makeup bags today for an order and after the holidays I’ll be working on getting this beautiful wall hanging quilted for a friend of my aunt’s. Isn’t is pretty?

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I’m also just beginning to read an advanced copy of Karen Ehman’s new book, Keep It Shut. I’ll be posting more about this as I read more of the book. I’ve volunteered to read it and share my thoughts about it on the blog. You can see the book’s trailer HERE. Karen is a speaker and writer for the Proverbs 31 organization and I enjoy her work very much…more later on this.

Have a beautiful Thursday!

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Stitch Fix Recap

Happy Wednesday! In Monday’s post, I did a recap of my first vending experience complete with a printable vending packing list. If you missed the post, you can find it HERE.

Today I wanted to give you a recap of my clothing order from Stitch Fix. Many of you expressed interest in hearing how this process worked so I figured a blog post was in order! LOL!!

After seeing several bloggers ordering from Stitch Fix, I decided to give it a try as well. Let me just first start by saying that I am a stay at home mom running a quilt design business. I do get up at 5am and get dressed for my work day. I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes and lately I feel that I have missed the fashion boat all together. I frequently hear from my daughters, “You wear ‘mom’ jeans”…ok, well…I am a mom. I do know what they are getting at though…my jeans are outdated and I have never put a pair of skinny jeans on my not so skinny body. ‘Nuf said. I am also desperately in need of tops and sweaters. The house is cold, therefore my work space is cold. I wear sweaters a lot.

The premise of Stitch Fix is that you fill out an online profile of your likes and dislikes based on pictures of clothing items that are shown. You put in your sizes (they currently run up to size 14 on Stitch Fix). You answer more questions about what type of items you would like sent to you. They send you 5 items which could include accessories like purses and scarves. A stylist then uses your profile and any information you gave them about what you are wishing for and they hand select 5 items for you. There is a $20 stylist fee that is deducted if you keep any of the items. There is a 25% off discount if you keep all 5 items. You have 3 business days to try on the clothes and then go online and pay for the items you wish to keep. Any items you don’t want, you simply put in the enclosed mailing bag and drop in a USPS mailbox. That’s it! Let’s see how it worked out for me.

The beautiful box arrived Saturday.

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I had asked for clothes only, no accessories this time. I received 3 tops, 1 sweater and 1 pair of skinny black pants.

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In the box was also a styling card showing two different ways to wear each article of clothing. I thought that was cool. There was also a personal note from my stylist about what she chose for me. I felt very special.

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Two daughters were present when I opened the box. The bright, green blouse was immediately poo-poo’d by them. I had mixed feelings on it as well because who can’t use a beautiful green blouse at Christmas time? I waited until Monday morning to try any of it on…I wanted to be alone when I did it.

I tried on the green one first…

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I liked the style of it but decided after the holidays, I would not wear it. I also have a similar green cardigan. Next…I tried on the blue peasant blouse which I loved right out of the box….it didn’t love me though. It was too tight across the upper arms. The next item was a multi print blouse…

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This was so comfortable and flowing and I loved it!! We had one for the keeper pile!

Next was this crazy color blocked sweater that looked similar to the sweaters my teen daughters wear. I liked it immediately but worried about the upper arm thing…but it fit!! The stylist recommended a blank tank top and boots with it.

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Another keeper.

And next were the dreaded pants. To the touch, they felt so smooth. The stylist promised they were stretchy and comfy. I had severe doubts that these would fit or look good…

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And oh my gosh…they were stretchy and comfortable and I didn’t want to take them off. They were also the right length. They were also expensive. They weren’t ‘mom’ pants, they were real people pants. REAL. PEOPLE. PANTS….a keeper.

I pulled out the enclosed price list to assess my damage…

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Not cheap but good quality, nice fitting, non Target clothes. I ordered the multi print blouse, the pants and the sweater. I returned the blue peasant blouse and the green blouse. This order ended up costing me $170. I would say that’s reasonable for three items that are not purchased at a Big Box store.

Today is the first day I am wearing the sweater and pants. I styled it exactly how the styling card did it right down to the jewelry. I am feeling really good!

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Would I do this again? Absolutely. Will I do it often? Absolutely not. Stitch Fix invites you to place a recurring order with them or you can just go in and order a box of goodies whenever you want. I think a few times a year to spruce up my wardrobe will be perfect!

I encourage you to go check it out if you are fashion challenged like myself. If you do, feel free to put my name down as a referral and I’ll get some type of discount down the road.

I think it’s a great service and I liked trying on items that I may never have chosen on my own in a store. I know for a fact, the sweater would have stayed at the store but now I’m loving it. It’s warm and comfy. All of the items I kept can be washed and dried.

Let me know what you think!

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Vending Recap

I did it! I was a vendor at a craft fair for the first time. The town we live in has an annual Christmas event run by the Kiwanis Club. It’s a day long holiday festival complete with a parade, a craft fair, photos with Santa, music & dance performances, delicious food and the selling of Christmas Trees. It’s been going on for about 31 years and it is something that our town is very proud of. It is called Christmas On The Common. The food and parade are held outdoors and the rest is held inside the high school. I’ve always been a fan of the craft fair that takes place and I thought it would be fun and educational for me to vend there. I contacted the man in charge of the vendors and he sent me a contract to fill out. The price of a table space was $50 which I found to be reasonable. We did have to bring our own tables and chairs which seemed to be something new. The school decided not to supply them this year for some reason.

I spent many days preparing and packing for the fair. I made a master packing list and just kept piling things in the dining room until the morning of the event. The doors opened at 7:15 for vendors to set up. The fair opened at 9am and ran until 3pm. The set up went well. It took two cars to get everything there and one extra trip that Greg made for a card table and table cloth. We got inside and quickly realized that everyone else had two tables and two were really needed in order to not be cluttered. I also quickly found that my table banner was about 6″ too tall for the table. Thanks to duct tape, we got that “hemmed”. I received the banner as a free gift for reviewing the banner company awhile back.

Here is how my table and displays looked once I was finished setting up…

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I had one clothes rack that I covered with a table cloth and pinned the quilt samples to. I now realize that I should have had two racks so I could display more of the quilts. People really enjoyed looking at the samples and I easily could have fit two racks behind me.

A few days before the fair, I embroidered this apron for myself and I’m glad I did as I seemed more professional with it on.

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I brought two chairs along but I never sat in them. The girls were performing that day in the parade and in the auditorium and so in between events, they would come sit with me at the table. I didn’t mind standing though as it was much easier to talk to customers standing. The stream of people was constant all day long. However, the next day I felt like I had somehow pulled every muscle in my body.

Here are some pictures from both sides of the gym where the fair was held…

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Other vendors were selling candles, jewelry, pillow cases, wreaths, wine bottles with lights inside, soaps, ornaments, Avon, Scentsy, artwork, scarves and sweatshirts. I felt unique in the sense that no one else was selling patterns or advertising classes. I made it a point to ask each person who came up to the table if they quilted or sewed. I had so many conversations with people by doing this. I heard all kinds of stories about quilting and early attempts at sewing. It was fun and I had a segue to recruiting for beginner sewing lessons. I’m not sure how many Coffee & Quilting postcards I handed out but it was a lot! I also had sign up sheet for the newsletter which I forgot about until midway through. I was able to get some names and email addresses for the next round of newsletters that I send out. I’m not sure how many people will sign up for a Coffee & Quilting session but even if it’s only one, that’s a good start.

I was glad I brought some waters and snacks as outside food from the carts (hamburgers, etc) were not allowed in the gym. I had protein bars and snack crackers packed that I ate. I could have run out for something to eat and left Greg and the girls at the table but I really didn’t want to miss a minute of the fair. I paid for that later in the day with a massive migraine.

It turned out to be a profitable day for me. I had advance sales of the Frozen make up bags which covered the cost of the table space and then I made a couple hundred dollars in sales. I also had an order waiting for me when I got home in my email from someone who couldn’t attend the fair.
I went into this thinking that even if I didn’t sell a single item, that I would have had a good time and that I would have learned something. I learned a lot on Saturday and the goal of getting my name and the business name out to the community was achieved. I’m calling it a success!

Here is a pdf file of my vending packing list. It might be helpful to you if you are thinking of vending a show.

Vending Packing List

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The Post Thanksgiving Post

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year! At least that’s what I think! Thanksgiving is in the history books now. I definitely ate too much of this…

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And this…

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But we were all thankful and shared how very much on our blessing tree…

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And now I’m back to this…

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And I ordered one of these for Christmas even though I could really use it now…

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It’s a Sunny Health & Fitness Stepper Twister that I found on Amazon. I like it because it’s small and I can put it right in front of the TV and then store it again. Our treadmill is in the unfinished side of the basement which is so cold. I can’t stand using it in the winter. I’ll let you know how this goes after Christmas.

I’m back to working on quilts this week and I’m getting ready for the Christmas On The Common craft fair which is Saturday. I am in the process of gathering all my vending items and figuring out displays, etc. This is the mess I’m making in the name of progress!

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I think I have everything pretty much ready to go except now I’m wishing I had some sort of an apron that says Quilt Cabana Patterns on it. It’s too late to order but I do have an embroidery machine that might see the light of day this week…but no promises!!

I’ve missed my quilting time lately so now I’m off to do just that!
Sandi

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Blog Tour Winners!!!

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I hope you all enjoyed the 100 Blocks Blog Tour!! It was wonderful to see so many comments on the blog and to hear all of your stories about Hummingbirds.

I used a random number generator to choose two lucky winners who will each receive a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 10! The winners are Kathy G. and Lisa Marie. I will email you both in a few minutes for your mailing addresses.

I’ve managed to get a small amount of quilting done this week on a project I am working on for a magazine submission. I have also worked on an afghan I’m crocheting at night while watching tv. The rest of my time has been spent watching my oldest daughter, Amanda, grow up right before my eyes. Last Tuesday she was inducted into National Honor Society, on Wednesday she had four dental implant posts placed in her mouth and on Sunday she passed her driver’s license road test. Phew…that’s a week for the history books! I’m happy to say that the mouth pain is finally starting to subside for her. She and my other two daughters were all born without a significant amount of second teeth under their baby teeth. This is hereditary as I am also missing about 5. The girls are missing many more than that and it has been a very long road for Amanda. Now we can finally see the end of the tunnel so even though the week felt unending and nerve wracking, I rejoice in knowing we are making progress.

The next few days will be spent preparing my home and kitchen for Thanksgiving. There won’t be much quilting to blog about.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving if I don’t get a post up before then!
Sandi

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Welcome To My Day On The 100 Blocks Blog Tour!!!

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Welcome to old friends and new for my day on the 100 Blocks Volume 10 Blog Tour! I hope you are all having a wonderful time jumping from blog to blog reading about everyone’s block designs.

My block choice this time around was an easy one. A few years ago I put up a Hummingbird feeder that suctions to my living room window…ever since that day, this has been the view out of the window. The Hummingbirds love this feeder and they visit several times throughout the day.

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Once in awhile we’ll get a bird or two with distinct markings and we know that those birds are repeat visitors! This has been such a fun experience for my family and so I decided to design a block around the Hummingbird theme. My block is Hummingbird Haven.

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The way I made the block was to first enlarge a good photo and print it out on regular paper. I made two copies. One for cutting up into templates and the other as a placement guide.

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I cut out templates for each design element and then used to Heat N Bond Lite to create the fusible appliques. I am a huge fan of fusible applique and most of the patterns I design are fusible.

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I cut out my fusible backed appliques and ironed them to the background.

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I’m also a huge fan of blanket stitching the edges of my fusible appliques as I did here…

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I added some French Knots for the eyes of the Hummingbirds and also some metallic silver ribbon that I had on hand for the feeder to hang by.

Now that you’ve seen my block and have a feel for the design of it, how about a give away? QuiltMaker will give one lucky reader a copy of 100 Blocks Vol. 10 and I will also give a second reader a copy as well! Here’s how to enter for chance to win. I will pick two random winners this weekend after the tour has ended. Just leave me a comment below and you are entered! Be sure to fill out the email address so I can contact you.

If you like this fusible project and would like to see more of my designs, please CLICK HERE to be taken to my website and online shop. You will find some adorable patterns and fun notions under the SHOP tab.

Check back here on the blog for updates about quilting fun, recipes and life updates.

If you enjoy podcasts, give mine a try…It’s called Quilt Cabana Corner and you can find it HERE on Podbean or on iTunes.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog today. I hope you enjoyed learning about the Hummingbird Haven block. I’d love to hear from you in the future! Over at my website Quilt Cabana Patterns you can sign up for my newsletter too!

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Episode #40 Is Up!

Episode #40 of Quilt Cabana Corner is up on Podbean now at www.quiltcabanacorner.podbean.com or later today on iTunes.

We talk about a recent quilt show I attended, the Boston Modern Quilt Guild, life updates, book reviews and a magazine round up! Lots going on so go have a listen!

Books mentioned were The Husband’s Secret and The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty, The Motivation Manifesto by Brendan Burchard and Kansas Troubles by Earlene Fowler.

The Flickr Group for the Fall Postcard Swap is HERE.

I spent some time the other day gluing more fabric pieces to The Lindsey Project art quilt. I’m almost finished now with the foreground she is standing on. Here it is…

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Friday is my blog tour day for the 100 Blocks Blog Tour for QuiltMaker magazine…join me here for a neat post and a give away!

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Have a beautiful day, everyone!

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Friday Post & Flash Sale

Happy Happy Friday!!!!!!!

It’s snowing here and it’s very cold seeing as we woke up to cold air coming out of our heat vents! I’m pretty sure I didn’t set the heat to 62 degrees when I went to bed last night. Hoping the repairman gets here in a hurry this morning. It looks like this which isn’t bad but makes me feel even colder.

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This week I’m still working on Frozen Makeup Bags for the craft fair in December.

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I’m running in to a little snafu as stores seem to be sold out of this Frozen fabric. My intention was to bring 12 to the fair with me to sell alongside my patterns but I’ve already sold a few and I’m not quite sure I’ll be able to get more fabric. Tomorrow I’m heading to the Fabric Place Basement to visit the Boston Modern Quilt Guild for the first time so I’ll check there for it. I ordered some online at Joann’s and got notification that the order was canceled because they didn’t have it. I’m also awaiting an order of zippers…so a bit of a standstill at the moment.

I am happy to say that I’ll be delivering 10 more Comfort Bears to the police station as they get ready to head into the holiday season.
It makes me happy to know that they have something comforting to offer any child under duress.

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While I was pricing items for the craft fair yesterday, I flipped through Little Quilts For Big Occasions and started thinking about how fun it was to design these projects and what a great book it would be for kids as well as adults. The designs are holiday themed and timeless so I decided to put the book on a flash sale this weekend for 20% off in the Quilt Cabana Patterns Shop . You can purchase it for $7.95 Here are some great photos of the projects that I borrowed from the Leisure Arts website. I’m going pull out my Thanksgiving one and hang that up today. These are all about the same size so once you choose a spot in the house to hang them, you can just switch them out holiday to holiday.

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I know many of you own this book already and if you do, pull it out and make one these wall hangings today…there’s plenty of time before Thanksgiving and Christmas to get those ones done!

Sandi

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100 Blocks Blog Tour!!!

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It’s coming! The 100 Blocks Volume 10 Blog Tour is almost here! I’m super excited because…

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My Hummingbird Haven block is in this issue!

The day that I am hosting the blog tour is November 21st. That’s next Friday. Here is your personal invitation…In the top left corner, click on Playlist and scroll down to Hummingbird Haven by Sandi Colwell

 

 

I’ll be giving away a copy of the magazine and QuiltMaker will also give away a copy to one of my readers! When we received notification that our blocks were to be included in this very special 10th volume edition, we were asked to help out with creating a video montage celebrating this 10th volume! This is the video montage that was produced…do recognize anyone in this video? I just know that I was so excited to be in the same video as two of my sewing crushes…Nancy Zieman and Nancy Mahoney!! Take a look…in the top left corner, click the playlist and and click on the 2nd video that says QuiltMaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 10.

The blog tour runs all next week and if you don’t know how it works, this is the deal. Each day the QuiltMaker blog will list that day’s designers and their blog links. You go visit the blog and see how the ideas for the blocks were conceived and any other information the designer thinks is fun to share. Each blog will have one or two give-aways to participate in! It’s a week of fun and chances to win! QuiltMaker has a big give away at the end on their blog. So you don’t want to miss it!

Have a wonderful Wednesday. I’ll be busy working on my Frozen make up bags for an upcoming craft fair. I’ve made a few but they seem to be disappearing quickly….must.sew.faster.

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Sandi

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My Favorites From A Quilter’s Gathering Show

Happy Monday!
How was your weekend? I hope it was fun and spent creatively! On Saturday I headed up to Manchester, NH to A Quilter’s Gathering quilt show. It’s a good size quilt show that attracts some awesome teachers such as Kimberly Einmo and Esterita Austin. I wasn’t able to attend classes but I did get to walk the show and explore the vendors. The quilts were gorgeous and I limited my photo taking to the ones that I absolutely adored. I didn’t get close ups of the cards that went along with the quilts as my iphone was running out of memory. I think I just got one closeup. You’ll have to enlarge the photos to see all the words, sorry. I also didn’t take photos of the items I purchased because I didn’t buy very much and what I did purchase was mainly zippers…yep, exciting stuff. I’ll be vending a craft fair in December so my main goal was to walk around the vendors and see how quilt samples were hung and displayed in the vendor booths. I also wanted to pick up information on upcoming shows to vend at and leave my own information on my lecture and trunk show. I was very excited at the end of the day to run into Lori Kay who listens to the podcast and lives in my old hometown. Lori, if you’re reading, it was so very nice to meet you!

So here are my favorite quilts of the day…

Seriously, how gorgeous?

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Loved the color on this one…there’s something so nice about a red quilt.

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The very lovely Martha’s Vineyard Illusions quilt by my friend and guild mate, Pat Delaney…If you’ve ever visited Martha’s Vineyard you may have walked through that section where the little cottages look like gingerbread houses. This reflects the trim of those houses.

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This one was so cool. It’s called Pan Blackened Applique and the card says it is put together the Maine way of making each block like a potholder, so each one is completely made,quilted and BOUND and then the blocks are whip-stitched together. Love this….want to try it.

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Ok, my absolute favorite of the show…bum bum bum (that’s my trumpeting)…

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This is Fir Tree Tangle which is done with Zentangle stitching! It’s red and white which happens to be my new favorite color combo, apparently. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. I went back to look at it several times. It’s done whole cloth and she painted the red outlines. I think I like this so much because it’s do-able. It’s a fairly easy concept that we can all create and have it be uniquely our own. That’s the beauty of Zentangle. I wanted to run home and start doodling with the books I purchased last year to make some Zentangle doodles.

Do any of these inspire you?

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