Author Archives: Sandra Colwell

Mid November Quilty Fun

I feel we are heading straight into the holidays now and I’m super excited for it! Christmas is my favorite and we already have one tree up in the house. I do host Thanksgiving and I consider that our holiday kick-off! Of course there’s a fair amount of cleaning and prep work to be done in addition to working every day with students and on customer quilts. This year I tried to narrow the deep clean down to 5 areas in my home that REALLY needed the most attention. By only choosing five (believe me, there are more than five that are crying out) I am taking the pressure off myself to have a spotless house and perfect holiday that is never going to happen. Instead, I’m going to be satisfied with what I’ve completed, enjoy my family, and continue to work which brings me great joy. That’s not to say I don’t have panic quelling up here and there but I’m going to try my best to not worry about it and journey on. What are your holiday plans and how do you deal with all the stress of preparation?

This week I finished up the blue and white quilt. I adore this fabric line by Gerri Robinson called Charming. It is perfect for this quilt pattern which my mom also made and several of my students are about to take on as well. It’s a fun pattern that my mom found in an older magazine.

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I have Nancy’s quilt on the long arm and about 3/4 of the way finished…I finally purchased the plastic overlays to place over the pantograph so that I can use a wet erase marker to mark my guidelines. I ordered these from APQS and I love them.

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My students have all been busy too! They are all quite prolific in their quilt making which makes me so happy. Sharyn just finished up this neat wall hanging that she made with a panel. It’s just perfect for the holidays with that snowy window look.

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Next she’ll be taking on this pretty purple and green quilt…and my mom might be taking this one on as well. The best part of having talented students is that we all get to share the great ideas with one another!

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Gail finished up this adorable Minnie Mouse quilt and I’ll be putting it on the long arm soon. Aren’t the polka dots darling?

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Gail didn’t stop there though, she also whipped up this awesome 1930’s Christmas jelly roll race quilt!

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We chose this cute holly and berry pantograph with green thread for the long arming (or ‘larming’ as Amanda calls it).

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What are you all working on this week? I’d love to hear about it. I’d also love to know what’s on your quilty wish list for Christmas this year?
Sandi

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November Happenings

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I hope this guys intends on eating all those leftover candy bars! We had two huge bags of candy for Halloween last night but it was a bit too much for the crowd of 70-80 kids that we got. I’m pretty sure I can figure out a plan for the peanut M&M’s though…

 

 

 

 

October was busy and the blog definitely suffered. I do keep up with project photos and info on Instagram almost daily so follow me over there if you would like. My handle on Instagram is Sandi Colwell.

The long arm machine has been busy! I am about to begin work on this beauty that belongs to my student, Nancy.

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I’ll be using the Pipeline edge to edge pantograph with a pretty mocha colored thread.

 

 

 

 

I have been piecing this blue quilt on the weekends. It needs two sets of borders and then I’ll be ready to quilt it.

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Last month I purchased a new rotary cutting mat and I do like it so far. It’s reversible. The colors on the opposite side of the mat not shown are just the inverse of these ones. I find that side (the one not pictured) a little easier to read. It’s a good size 24×36 and a great price. I got it on Amazon for $29.97.

My book club is meeting tonight and we are discussing the book, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. It was excellent. This is the link for it if you are interested.

Have a wonderful week!

Sandi

***this post contains affiliate links that help sponsor the blog/podcase/website

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Catching Up and Crossing The Finish Line

I think I missed my weekly post two weeks in a row! October has been a busy and good month complete with quilty finishes and a new member of the family! Let’s start with furry goodness…you know how I love bunnies….

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Meet Ginny…she’s a three month old Lionhead Lop Mix and I don’t think there’s anything cuter than she is!

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With those airplane ears that go one up and and one down…oh my. I couldn’t pass her up to save my life. She is a sweetie and I’m glad to have her join our little bunny family! The girls adore her and I think Nala and Daisy don’t mind her too much, either.

Ok, on to quilty things…my longarm machine has been busy over the last two weeks. I finished up the Christmas quilt I was long arming for my mom. This was the one with the holly and berry pantograph.

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I also finished up the jelly roll race quilt with the Halloween theme. The pantograph is called Pumpkin Fest and it was a true joy to longarm. I just love how this came out. Leah had requested a Halloween quilt and so now we have one. I’m really surprised that I finished it before Halloween because usually I start these things with the best intentions and lose interest somewhere in the middle. But, here it is!

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The binding was finished up today and Leah’s skeleton buddy thinks it’s A-OK.

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I also finished knitting one sock on the sock loom! I have started the match to this pair and I can’t wait to wear them! The next pair will be for Amanda.

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My students are busy too! Carol is beginning work on this awesome quilt by Missouri Star Quilt Company. We ordered all the same fabric and I can’t wait to see it progress. Carol has all the background fabric cut and is just beginning to piece snowball blocks.

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On the home front, we’ve got Lindsey’s college applications sent out and soon I’ll be writing the check for her cap and gown! I think that’s due in the beginning of November. Time is really flying around here.

Amanda was accepted into her new major today which is Communication Sciences and Disorders (speech pathology). She will also minor in deaf and hard of hearing studies. I think she’s going to thrive in this major. She’s also involved with the University of New Hampshire’s Model UN and she is so looking forward to this each week. They are representing Kazakhstan in the UN and Sweden in the Security Council. They’ll have an opportunity to travel to NY to go the actual UN and represent their countries. Amazing. I’m beyond thrilled for her.

That’s about all the excitement I can handle! Every time I turn around something new is happening. It’s exciting and a wee bit exhausting!

Sandi

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A Fun Foot, A Finish, A Christmas Quilt

Lately I noticed that I am having trouble coming up with titles for my blog posts! Now I just list out what I’m planning on sharing with you all. Kind of lame but it gets the job done, lol!! So let’s unpack the blog title item by item…

I saw a very cool presser foot being advertised on Facebook last week. It’s a guide foot that allows you to keep your decorative stitches in line as you sew. It was advertised for $19.95 and I was totally ready to purchase it but then I took a look at Amazon and found it for $6! What??? So I bought two! One for my mom and one for me! Check out how cool this is-the link takes you to Amazon and from there you can see the photos of what it does…

I had the pleasure of finishing and delivering one t-shirt quilt to a special young lady! Here are the photos of the finished quilt. I ended up buying a photographer’s backgroud stand so that I could get a picture of the finished quilt! It’s giant.

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and…

 

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Two more…

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and lastly…

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Now that this one is done I am in the process of longarming this awesome Christmas quilt for my mom. I’m using a holly and berry pantograph with gold thread…

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I’ve been busy catching up with all my students and everyone is coming along so nicely with their projects! I’ll have more to show you of that next week when I see them all again!

What are you all working on this week? Feel free to share your projects here! I’d love to see them.

Sandi

*post contains an Amazon affiliate link

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Maria Shell Workshop and Projects

This past week has been so full of quilty goodness, I can hardly stand it! I had several teaching days, I attended a guild workshop, and I was busy in the studio all week long. It felt so good!

Saturday was our guild’s monthly workshop and the presenter was Maria Shell. Maria has found her niche in improv quilting and has done some truly beautiful work. She is the author of Improv Patchwork which is coming out next month. In our guild, the teachers do a one or two day weekend workshop and then they lecture at the regular meeting on the following Monday night. So if you’re coming to teach at our guild, you better pack for a few days! My mom and I signed up for the Saturday workshop back in May and then we promptly forgot about it until the supply list showed up in our emails! I wasn’t even sure I could make it because Leah auditioned and received a role (actually 2 roles) in the Nutcracker production by the Braintree Ballet Company and rehearsals were supposed to start that day but got pushed back a week. So…I was free to travel to Bentley University where our guild is held and sew all day! Truthfully, I didn’t really care what we were making in the workshop, I was just excited to spend a day sewing with my mom! This is the classroom and sadly, we blew several fuses as soon as the irons all got plugged in. We had to get maintenance to fix it and then limit ourselves to just two irons for the entire room! Yep, 2 irons for a whole bunch of people who needed to press after every seam. We made it work though!

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And my mom contemplating her fabric choices!

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The idea of the workshop was to choose a color palette and then using Maria’s technique, stitch pieces together and make a new piece of fabric. I ended up going with a Halloween theme and made this little piece which could be a mug rug. Of course, I want to stick a little applique pumpkin on there or something. Lol! It’s not a quilt til it has some applique on it!

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When I got bored with those colors, I did a technique called a bead string with a palette that reminded me of a Maui sunset. I didn’t have time to finish it but this is as far as I got…

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My mother didn’t really get her projects off the ground. She didn’t like the colors she first chose and couldn’t quite find her rhythm. In the end, she decided improv quilting isn’t her cup of tea and that she really more enjoys traditional quilting. We packed up our stuff and had a lovely dinner together afterwards.

The t-shirt quilt for my friend’s daughter is nearly done now. I took it off the long arm yesterday and now I am working on the binding. I chose a loopy stitch design for the sashing on the quilt. I love how it looks with the black on black. It’s a great texture and doesn’t detract from the t-shirt logos.

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I’m also working on the start of a mosaic landscape quilt. I have all the fabric selected and the cutting has begun!

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The fusible grid is marked and ready!

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So it’s been a full week and a weird and sad week. Hurricane Irma coverage has been very hard to watch as we have several relatives living in Florida. Most have been lucky but we are still waiting to hear how a few made out and if their homes are intact. There’s been a lot of praying going on. It is quite a thing to see how people help people in times of trouble. There are good people everywhere.

Have a wonderful week,
Sandi

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New Projects and Student Work

Hello September! I honestly never thought we’d get here lol!!! What a crazy month August ended up being. We started the first weekend of August with a wedding that Greg was a groomsman for then we headed to Hawaii for 11 days, came home and moved Amanda into University of New Hampshire, got the other two kids back to school, and spent this last weekend in Vermont touring three colleges for Lindsey. I’m ready to quilt now.

In between the craziness I did get the top of the t-shirt quilt pieced. I just put the top and bottom borders on this morning before my lesson with Sharyn.

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This afternoon I’ll piece the backing and get it ready for the long arm.

Earlier today I was helping Sharyn with her quilt projects. She has several going at once which eliminates boredom and gives her plenty to work on in between her lessons. Today we were auditioning border fabrics for this pretty quilt.

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Sharyn had started this one many years ago and wasn’t sure she had all of the directions as she had begun it in a local quilt shop class. We figured out the block measurements and the on point setting and here it is nearly done! Way to go, Sharyn! She has a few more unfinished projects that she is about ready to turn into beautiful finished pieces. It’s so fun to be involved with her process and many finishes!

Once the t-shirt quilt is finished I’ll be using this photo from our Maui trip to make a mosaic landscape quilt a la the style of Pat Durbin.

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I have everything I need to begin and I hope I chose well on the photo. Time will tell…I also have a few quilts to bind and one that needs long arming. I also started a Halloween jelly roll race quilt. So I’ve definitely got enough irons in the fire at the moment. Mostly I’m looking forward to being back with my students! I’ve missed them so much!

Last week I ordered a poncho from Jenny Boston Boutique. It’s a shop that advertises items for sale once a week on Facebook and you just comment  “sold” and your size and they send you an invoice. I pay with Paypal and the item is on the way! This is the second item I’ve ordered from them and I really like their stuff. It’s good quality and decent pricing.

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This month for my business book club, we are reading Uncontainable. This is the story of the CEO of The Container Store and how their business philosophies have made them so successful both in sales and in corporate culture. It’s pretty interesting so far.
Here is the Amazon description of the book:

“You’re going to sell what? Empty Boxes?”

Back in 1978, Kip Tindell (Chairman & CEO of The Container Store) and his partners had the vision that people were eager to find solutions to save both space and time – and they were definitely onto something. A new category of the retailing industry was born – storage and organization. Today, with stores nationwide and with more than 5,000 loyal employees, the company couldn’t be stronger. Over the years, The Container Store has been lauded for its commitment to its employees and focus on its original concept and inventory mix as the formula for its success. But for Tindell, the goal never has been growth for growth’s sake. Rather, it is to adhere to the company’s values-based business philosophies, which center on an employee-first culture, superior customer service and strict merchandising. The Container Store has been named on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” list for 15 consecutive years. Even better, The Container Store has millions of loyal customers.

In Uncontainable, Tindell reveals his approach for building a business where everyone associated with it thrives through embodying the tenets of Conscious Capitalism. Tindell’s seven Foundation Principles are the roadmap that drives everyone at The Container Store to achieve the goals of the company. Uncontainable shows how other businesses can adapt this approach toward what Tindell calls the most profitable, sustainable and fun way of doing business. Tindell is that rare CEO who fully embraces the “Golden Rule” of business – where all stakeholders – employees, customers, vendors, shareholder, the community – are successful through a harmonic balance of win-wins.

For my regular book club, I just finished reading The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware which was more of a mystery but I didn’t care for it much. The book was repetitive and a bit boring.

That’s about it for today. I hope you all have a wonderful and quilty week!
Sandi

*contains an Amazon affiliate link

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Post Maui

After 10 days on the beautiful island of Maui, we’re back to reality around here. It’s a week of getting ducks in a row for a new school year for Lindsey and Leah, and packing for another year at college for Amanda. I’ve even made the trip to Canton to pick up my sewing machine which was getting serviced while I was away. I’m still missing this view every morning…

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and this one from our perfect beach spot…

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and this one from sunset each night…

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I do miss these greatly but I’m also happy to be home again. After 10 days and 12 hours worth of flights each way, your body has a way of telling you it’s time to return to your normal routines. While I was in Maui I went to the Maui Quilt Shop which I know a few of you have been to also. It’s a wonderful but small store. They pack a lot into their store space.

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I purchased the pattern for this pineapple quilt on my last trip there. I haven’t made it yet but I am collecting fabrics for it here and there.

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I can’t show you what I bought this time because I purchased the same thing for my mother and I haven’t given it to her yet!

Since I haven’t sewn anything this week, I’ll show you a few pictures from the trip including these beautiful flowers which were just a sampling of the stunning colors found everywhere on the island.

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This photo is from our walk around the Grand Wailea hotel which is just amazing in it’s own right…

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These two are from the Maui Tropical Plantation. We took the tram tour and enjoyed walking the property…

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and

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Lastly, Leah took this selfie picture of all of us at the Sheraton Maui where we watched the cliff divers at sunset one night.

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I have so many photos, it’s hard to choose which to share but these were some of my favorites.

Next week the kids are back in school and I’ll be back to work. I’m looking forward to finishing up some quilts I’m working on and getting back to my teaching schedule!

Have a great Thursday everybody!

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Aloha from Maui!

We’re starting our Hawaiian adventure in Maui! It’s so beautiful here that I’m thinking I may never go home! This is the view from the condo we rented in Wailea.

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Not too hard to take every morning!

I’m hoping to get some great photos to come home and make a mosaic landscape quilt. I bought Pat Durbin’s book before I left and I’m eager to try her technique.
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On the second plane ride yesterday from Arizona to Maui we lucked out and had an empty seat between Greg and I. I quickly ordered a glass of wine and pulled out my hexies!
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I’ll be having a lot of these this week!
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We’re having family photos done today at the beach. Lindsey needs a senior photo and I can’t think of a better place to do it!
Have a great day!
Sandi

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Trip To Keepsake and Cute Baskets

This week we took our sort of annual trip to Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, NH. I say sort of because my mother and I try to get there once a year but we missed it last year. It takes about 2.5 hours to get the Center Harbor from where I live in Massachusetts and it’s always well worth the ride! This year we had Amanda and Leah along with us. They kept themselves busy in the book shop next to the quilt store and also in the very inviting Adirondack chairs on the big front porch. They also chose fabric for small projects they’d like me to make them.

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As always, I was pretty overwhelmed when I first entered the store. There’s just so.much.fabric. And it’s all beautiful and high quality. I had to calm myself down a bit by making a plan to just walk around the entire store once and then circle back again a second time to decide on purchases. One thing I really enjoyed in the past was all the quilty gift type items they carried but to my surprise, there wasn’t much of that this year. I also think the notions were not as many in number either. I know that Fons & Porter bought the shop so I’m thinking it must have to do with that. I’m sure the inventory has been streamlined a bit more than if it was still independently owned. I also noticed that a lot of the patterns/kits were from their magazines. That being said, I still found PLENTY to oogle over and purchase!

Leah was enthralled with the Halloween display at the front door and she quickly picked out fabric for a Halloween pillowcase. We then got the idea that it would be fun to have a Halloween jelly roll race quilt in the living room the month of October.

Here is what Leah chose for the pillowcase, the skeletons will be the main pillowcase and bats will be the band that goes on the end of it.

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This Moda Hocus Pocus jelly roll fit the bill for our jelly roll race quilt idea…

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Amanda wanted to pick fabric for a draw string backpack. I have made Lindsey a few of them and they are much more durable than the cheap nylon ones that kids collect at different events. First she saw this pretty fabric on the right but later in the sale room, she was enticed by the aqua blue on the left. We bought both and she’ll get two!

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I couldn’t take my eyes off this adorable puppy quilt kit and so it came home too…I can’t wait to make it-it’s so stinkin’ cute!!

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I was also in love with this blue swirly fabric and my mom purchased two yards for me to use in a future project. I love it!

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The night before we went up to Keepsake, we made a few of these adorable baskets…

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These are from a super easy tutorial from Shabby Fabric that was in a newsletter recently. While we were in Keepsake, I picked up this fabric to make another one.

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They work up so quickly and now I’m a bit addicted to making them. I have the cherry one on my long arm table holding scissors and clamps. They can be made in any size. The sides can also be a bit lower if you like.

It’s been a fun week of sewing and shopping! Do you have a favorite quilt shop that is considered a treat when you get to go there?

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New Pattern Published and Another Student Finish!

Happy Sizzling Thursday! It’s 90 today and it feels every bit 90. The weather app says it feels like 96 and I believe it! But I’m thinking about Christmas and cold weather because my Poinsettia Passion table runner just came out in the Quilter’s World Autumn issue!

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It’s a beautiful runner in bold colors with easy, fusible applique. It’s on sale now in your favorite fabric stores so pick up a copy and get a jump on the holiday stitching!

So, I have to brag about my students again!! How fabulous are they? Look at the t-shirt quilt that Gail made for her daughter. This t-shirt quilt is giant. I mean GIANT. It’s king size (100″ by 90″) and it was heavy. Gail quilted all of it on her domestic machine! I’m so proud of her getting this big job done and never giving up on it. It took months and it was worth it!

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Now we are moving on to a fun Minnie Mouse quilt with fusible applique. It’s going to seem to like a piece of cake after that big t-shirt quilt!

Last night I had dinner with my childhood friend, Sheila. It’s so nice to catch up with a friend and have it be like you never missed a beat even though we see each other infrequently. After a delicious dinner and much laughter, we headed to her car where I picked up a bag of t-shirts for her daughter’s quilt. I’ll be working on her t-shirt quilt over the next few weeks. All that practice with Gail’s has me primed and ready!

And this lovely lady, Leah, had her 15th birthday this week. My baby is no longer a baby and hasn’t been for quite some time. She is as sweet as she looks. Love this girl.

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Sandi

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