Category Archives: teaching

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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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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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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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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Long Arm, Site Update & Give Away Winner

Happy Friday and congratulations to Margaret M. who was the winner of my 100 Blocks Blog Tour stop! Margaret has won a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 15!

The sun is shining today which seems like a giant prize for the cruddy weather week we’ve had around here. It has been conducive to quilting which is nice! I was able to get the borders on the Hawaiian flower quilt. I have it loaded on the long arm and ready to be quilted with a hibiscus pantograph and one of these pretty threads!

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So many pretty ones to choose from!

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Yesterday my Red Snappers came in the mail. They are a Mother’s Day gift from my mom! For those of you who are unaware of what these are, they are a quilt loading system for the long arm machine which eliminates having to pin the quilt layers to the leaders. The snapper clamps hold the quilt tight where it should be. That being said, I installed them yesterday and this Hawaiian quilt will be the guinea pig for using them. I’m pretty sure it took me longer than pinning just out of ignorance today though! Wish me luck! It typically takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to load a quilt so cutting that time will be a big help.

I spent the week trying out pantographs to see how I like them. I also practiced a bit of custom work.

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I also updated my Quilt Cabana Patterns website this week. It was in need of a facelift and boy did it get one! I added a menu tab called Long Arm Service which has information about how I can help you get your quilt tops quilted! Pricing and design information is all there and I’d love to help you get those tops done!

Last week I had a such a fun day teaching fusible applique to Nancy and Priscilla! It was by far the best morning of the week! Nancy and Priscilla learned how to make the Sail Away Mug Rug using paper backed fusible web and the blanket stitch technique for finishing the applique. They are fast learners and I can’t wait to see how they finished their projects up. Here are my ladies hard at work! If you’d like to learn this technique, contact me at colwellsg@comcast.net.

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That’s all for today! Be sure to check out the newly updated website!
Sandi

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Tired Monday!

As most of you know, I live in New England so last night was a late one for us with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl!!!! What a crazy game that one turned out to be. I had a feeling it might go like that since Brady and company love to give us all heart attacks and then really deliver at the end! It was exciting for sure! We had our friends over and really had a great time eating all of our favorite foods and it was the first time I’ve ever made chicken wings! I used a recipe that I found online for honey bbq wings and they were so good! I would definitely make them again.

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Here is the link for the recipe:
http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a50019/honey-bbq-wings-recipe/

On Friday I was thrilled to have Gail, Nancy, and Priscilla over to sew. I had been wanting to start a monthly patchwork group and luckily I have fun students who were willing to pack up their projects and hang out for a few hours to stitch! We had a great time chatting, eating, and of course, talking about and sewing our projects. Here they are displaying their latest creations!

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It was a very fun day and I can’t wait to do it again!

Hope you all have a quilty week! I think I need a nap now! Go Pats!

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Planners, Proms and Projects

Happy Sunday to all! I hope you had a good and quilty week! I was blessed to be able to meet with all three of my lovely students this week. I loved every minute of it! I started my week helping Priscilla with her basting of a beautiful pink churn dash baby quilt. Later in the week I saw Gail and we measured up her awesome t-shirt quilt for the long armer and then we worked on her binding of a super cute Disney Princess quilt. At the end of the week, I had fun with Nancy getting her gorgeous star quilt ready for the long arm and also planning out her next project! I love spending time with my quilting ladies! It fills my heart and soul.

This morning we are getting ready to bring Amanda back to UNH. She’s had a nice long break and she’s ready to get back at it. I’m feeling weepy and sad, of course. I love having her home and knowing my family is all together. We (the four ladies of the house) spent quite a bit of time in our living room being goofy…

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Watching Lindsey learn to embroider and give us the hairy eyeball…

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And just being with each other. When the girls were little and the mommy work was exhausting, I used to wonder what it would be like when the girls were teenagers and we’d be hanging out with each other, what kind of conversations would we have? Would we all get along? And I realize that this is THAT time! All my wondering was about this exact moment. It’s far better than anything my tired, weary, mommy mind could imagine way back then. I am completely filled with joy and thankfulness.

My own projects are moving along too. I finished my loom scarf and I’m working on getting my Quilter’s World project onto the long arm. I have finished piecing and now need to quilt and draft the pattern. The deadline is Feb. 10th. I think I’ll make it. The project will be in the Autumn issue.

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I’m also still practicing ruler skills on the long arm. I got very motivated after watching Judi Madsen’s Quiltiing Makes A Difference dvd. I loved this dvd and Judi’s methodical way of marking and quilting. It made me realize taking my time and relishing in perfection is ok! I have a long way to go but I think with practice, I’ll get this thing!

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I have been on a quest for the perfect planner as have a lot of you, I know. Sandy from Quilting For The Rest of Us has been blogging about her quest as well. There are just so many planners – DayTimers, Day Runners, Passion Planner, Happy Planner, Quilter’s Planner, the list goes on. I decided to go back to what I used when I had my first job out of college with Marriott. We all received beautiful Franklin planners and had to take a class on using the Franklin system. I did very well with that system and though it’s pricey, I’m returning to it. I ordered the Franklin pages but I couldn’t find a binder I liked, so I ended up with a DayTimer binder. It is all due to arrive today! I can’t wait. I need a planner where I can list out work things, home things and use time blocking to stay on track. What type of planner do you all use?

And lastly, my girl is going to Junior Prom in April! After much searching and dress trying on…and I mean a lot of dress trying on…Lindsey said yes to this beautiful red dress! It’s going to be a fun year!

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Have a wonderful day today, everyone!

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