Author Archives: Sandra Colwell

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

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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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Fourth, Food, And A Finish!

What a short week it has been with the holiday in the middle of it! For those in the USA, I hope you all had a fun celebration with your family. We had a great day of relaxing and eating followed by a fireworks display and watching the Boston Pops! I love the 4th of July so much. We had a few culinary delights happening that day. Amanda had a recipe for short ribs made in the crock pot and she asked if I could try that out. And Leah found a recipe for fried Oreos that didn’t quite pan out but we were able to switch the recipe up and make something even more delicious! In order to get those ribs in the crock pot to be able to eat around 2pm, I had to get up at 4:20am to put them on. I’ll tell you though, it was worth it. They were scrumptious.

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Leah’s fried Oreos were supposed to be made on a skewer, dipped in melted chocolate, and then dipped and fried in a Funfetti cake mix batter. Well, Pinterest made it look real easy but they left out the part about how all the Oreos crack and fall apart on the skewer. LOL! In the end we dipped the Oreos in melted chocolate then put them in the bottom of a muffin tin. Next we poured the batter over the tops of them and baked them into cupcakes. We skipped the frying part and they were so, so, so, so good. We ate them all!

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So you might have guessed my diet is suffering a bit. Ah well. Later that night our neighbors put on their annual fireworks display. It’s always a good show and we enjoy watching from the front lawn.

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I like to pull out my hexagon project on the 4th of July. I’ve been working on it for a few years and seem to only work on it the week of the 4th. This year I’m a bit more motivated to keep working on it because all the hexies are made, they just need whipstitching to put them together.

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My big finish for the week though was the Love Notes quilt! I finished the long arm quilting of it and now I just need to bind it. I’m so thrilled with how it came out. I took the time to mark the border lines and the flowers and I am pleased with the result. I enjoyed every step of it. Several people have asked what I use to mark the quilts and I use the Clover Fine Line Blue Marker and also the Collins Wonder Marker. They both wash out beautifully.

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And lastly, Amanda and Leah have been binge watching episodes of the Beat Bobby Flay show. I put them in charge of dinner tonight because I was going to be busy today taking Lindsey to visit Wheaton College. They took up the challenge and prepared a wonderful pasta carbonara, bread with dipping oil, and a fun punch with sherbert! It was all so yummy!

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And Lindsey liked Wheaton College very much despite the rain!

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That’s about it for today!

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Student Work & Applique Project

We are enjoying fantastic weather here this week! The girls and I made it to our favorite beach on Monday. It was a perfect sunny day and we followed up our beach fun with ice cream. I can’t wait to do it again!

Last week I had the pleasure of working with my student, Sharyn. She is a prolific quilter with many great projects started and so many more finished. We worked on getting her set up to complete a quilt that she started several years ago at a local quilt shop that has since closed. We also celebrated her finish of this gorgeous log cabin!

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It’s a gift for a couple getting married and I love how she incorporated the red center into each block as traditionally that is meant to signify the hearth of the home in a log cabin quilt.

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I just love the fabric Sharyn chose, especially this gorgeous border fabric!!
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She did a fantastic job quilting it with the serpentine stitch and I just know it will make the perfect gift!

My mom also made progress this week with her pillow. She took over the ice cream applique that I stitched, put a fun border on it, and turned it into a pillow for wonderful girl.

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All this progress makes me want to get quilting! What are you all working on this week?
As a side note, I just watched a wonderful TED Talk on time management. My time management gets real fuzzy in the summer with a houseful of kids, a pool full of kids/friends, and a longing on everyone’s part to do something fun ALL DAY long. The video points out the fact that we all have 168 hours in a week to do the things we want to do/have to do. That’s a lot of time! Even if you worked 60 hours and slept 8 hours each night, that still leaves 52 hours to exercise, quilt, go to the beach, read a book, visit someone, or volunteer. All you have to do is put down the phone and turn off the tv to take advantage of these hours! Something to think about…

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Let’s Hear It For Summer!

It’s finally summer here! School ended yesterday and there were shouts of joy! There was also a shout of pain as I threw my back out on Monday night. That’s what I get for cleaning out a bunny cage. I was hunched over the top of it and when I stood up, my back just went out. It wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that the girls had a pool party the next day and I could barely walk. Thankfully the kids all pitched in and we had ourselves a fun end of year party. The only casualty was the swan who suffered a broken wing. We’ll have to figure out if we can patch it or not.

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I did feel like I could try standing at the long arm machine this morning but I was only able to stand there for about 10 minutes. It was too much so I switched to a sit down sewing job. I worked on the orange peel quilt instead.

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My assistant was busy this week organizing my fabric stash. Everything is neatly folded and arranged by color. It’s a great job to have someone else do except for the fact that I don’t get to reacquaint myself with older fabric as I fold. I’m sure it will need doing again before long and I can pet all the fabric myself.

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It’s a quiet week without much to report on the quilting front. Too many things happening with the wrap up of school and the upcoming music show this weekend!

Don’t forget the summer quilt patterns are on sale my Craftsy shop.

Sandi

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Summer Pattern Sale!

Three of my favorite summer patterns will be half price on Craftsy all summer long! You can find these three patterns for $5.25 each HERE.

Nautical Table Runner QCP-304

Seaglass QCP-109

Third Seasonal Trio QCP-103

So come and get your summer patterns while the weather is hot and the sewing room is hopefully cool!

This week I’m still plugging along on quilting the love notes quilt for Lindsey. I am enjoying ruler work for the lines on the  inner border and the center block flower motif. The outer border is getting a stipple treatment. The corners of the love notes are getting a free motion back and forth squiggle. How’s that for a technical term?

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I have this much left to do…
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This is taking time but as I mentioned, I’m ok with that because I like the results. The rulers are fun to work with and I’m discovering more things I can do with the ones I own. It’s also the first time I’m floating a quilt top which simply means the top is not attached to a roller. I’m using the painter’s tape that you see in the photo as a guide on each end of the pole. I know my quilt top must line up with the tape or it will be quilted crooked. It’s good to keep learning and using easier ways to quilt.

Have a super weekend, everybody!

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