Category Archives: teaching

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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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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Projects Galore!

So I missed last week’s blog post and I remember thinking I didn’t have much last week that was new. This week, there has been progress on just about every front and I’m super excited and feeling challenged by it all. Let’s dive right in!

I am working on my first long arm pantograph! This pretty quilt was pieced by my mother and I was given free reign on the design. I was eager to try pantographs and so I chose this flowery one called Lilac. The fabrics in this quilt are darling and I am enjoying every minute at the machine.

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Last week Lindsey asked me to make her teacher a Star Wars baby quilt. This beloved teacher is married to another of Lindsey’s teachers and they are big Star Wars fans. I’ve been waiting to try out the Accuquilt Orange Peel die and so I began this last Friday night.

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My students are also making progress as Gail is about ready to apply binding to her log cabin and Nancy is working on sashing  and more starts for this beauty!

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The mermaid tail crochet project moved forward with the suggestion of Nancy that I use a stitch I like throughout the project instead of learning a new row each time! Genius! I decided to go with the shell stitch throughout and now I have about 5 rows done instead of 2!

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My back basted applique table topper has been started in earnest. I have the sails of two of the four boats appliqued onto the background.

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Recently I was watching The Quilt Show episode featuring Jill Finley and I loved seeing her method of applique which is a freezer paper method. Her quilts are gorgeous and I might try her method next.

Lastly, I ordered silk roving and the supplies to try Silk Fusion. I am going to blog in detail about this next time but here is a picture of the soft and luxurious feeling silk roving!

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Tomorrow we continue our college tours with Lindsey and we’ll be checking out Bentley University which is Greg’s alma mater! So far her first choice seems to be University of Vermont followed closely by UNH (how great it would be to have 2 kids there!) and now we’ll see what she thinks of Bentley.

Have a great weekend everybody!
Sandi

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New Projects, New Bunny

Hey there,

This is turning out to be a great week for getting things done in my own little crafty world. I often struggle with myself over my own perceived lack of productivity but in reality, we’re all just doing the best we can with the time we have in a day. Not everything is getting done but enough is getting done that I feel pleased. Next week might be a different story but this week, all is well…except for the coffee I just spilled all over the laptop.

So let’s start with honest to God cuteness…Amanda surprised us by coming home over the weekend. She wanted to help her boyfriend move in to his college dorm as he helped her. Our plan was to use Saturday morning to visit the 4H Fair which is where we got our bunny, Nala, last year. I pretty much think we all knew if we saw another Lionhead bunny, there’d be a good chance that bun would come home…and here she is!

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This is Daisy and she is four months old. She’s adorable and doesn’t mind being held which is quite different than Nala who hates to be picked up. We noticed that Daisy was banging into things every so often and I took her to the vet to confirm our suspicions that she can’t see all that well. Yup, she’s partially blind. In our family that means she gets more hugs, love, attention and supervision! Nala and Daisy are experiencing a very slow introduction as Nala isn’t too sure what this little white snowball is doing in our house yet. I’m sure in time, they’ll be best buds.

Ok, for the quilty news, I finished the Seaglass quilt top! I am very happy with how it came out and now I’ll look forward to quilting it on the long arm. When it’s complete, it will be a pattern for sale on Craftsy.

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Yesterday I finished up quilting Nancy’s beautiful quilt on the long arm. She was brave enough to entrust this beauty to me and I’m so glad. It came out very nice and I can’t wait for her to see it in person!

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I got the great news this week that another of my blocks has been chosen for the next QuiltMaker’s 100 Blocks magazine coming out in November! That means another blog hop and give away! More details will be posted later.

I finished the Disney scrapbook from the trip that Greg, Leah and I took with the dance team that Leah is on. It felt so good to wrap that up.

And I am taking on another new crochet project or two. I am the worst, slowest crocheter in history for sure. But I can’t say no to Lindsey when she asks for this…

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Really. Ummmm ok. Let me order that along with some sock yarn and book on crocheting socks while I’m at it…

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Once I struggle through the first mermaid tail, I have two other requests from Amanda and Leah for one. Lord help me.

That is what’s happening this week here at Quilt Cabana. What are you working on this week?

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Project and Long Arm Progress

This week featured extreme heat around here but also some finishes! I’m thrilled to show you a finish by my student, Priscilla! She worked with beautiful nursery fabrics and the Yellow Brick Road pattern. I just love the texture she got with her serpentine stitch quilting in the border. That texture got even better when the quilt was washed!

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I think this came out so cute and I’m thrilled for Priscilla and the awesome progress she has made on her quilting journey.

I had two finishes…one was a pillow case made with the cutest sheep flannel fabric. Lindsey saw this when we were at Joann’s looking for curtain fabric for her room. It has to be the softest, nicest flannel I’ve worked with…and the price tag pretty much confirmed that as well. I think I paid $15 for one and a half yards and that was ON SALE!

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It didn’t matter to Lindsey! LOL! She wanted that pillow case and she got it…I actually put this together very quickly on the serger. My mom was visiting and she had her serger all set up so I jumped on it and in 30 minutes, this was done.

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My second finish came in the way of a baby quilt. I had a charm pack in my stash and decided to whip up a quick quilt that I can put on the long arm to get some practice…

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I have been practicing quite a bit on the long arm. This was the first practice cloth I pulled off the machine…

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Greg has asked when I’m really going to quilt something and I try to explain how these things take time but I do believe I’m ready to load it with the baby quilt. I’ll be doing a simple meander as I feel confident with that design. I ordered six pantographs and they arrived yesterday. After the baby quilt is done, I’ll load another practice cloth and work on following the pantograph designs. Following those designs with a laser light from the back of the machine isn’t as easy as I thought it would be LOL!!!! As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will my long arm skill set be.

If you are looking for a really great iron and missed my review of the Black & Decker Digital Advantage, you can check it out here. I highly recommend this one.

Have a happy and quilty weekend!

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Finishes, Progress, and Grad Party

This week I had a finish of the garment kind and my student, Nancy, had a finish as well! I’m completely thrilled for Nancy as she wrapped up her floating heart quilt with a beautiful binding! This quilt is completely done and ready to be gifted to her granddaughter.

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Nancy also finished up her second quilt top and it is stunning! I’m completely in love with her color choices. The next stop for this quilt will be on my long arm once I’ve practiced a bit more. I can’t wait to quit this one.

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I finished up the knit shirt I was making. I haven’t worn it yet but I will soon! I have fabric to make another one which will give me more practice sewing with knits. I need all the help I can get!

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I spent some time yesterday installing the laser light on the long arm and trying out pantographs. The pantograph for those who don’t know, is a printed pattern on a paper roll that you trace with a laser light and the design stitches out on the quilt. The laser was very easy to install on the Simply Sixteen. I ‘drove’ the machine from the back and followed along the pattern.

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I realized very quickly that things went better when I kept my gaze a few inches beyond the laser light as opposed to looking at the light the entire time. The pantographs will definitely take some time to master. This was a holly hock one and seemed fairly simple but I was nervous and need more practice.

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The Saturday before last we had Amanda’s graduation party. It was a bit of an overcast day but we had a great time and the younger kids stayed in the pool all day (it’s heated so the clouds and cool weather didn’t bother them). We had 94 guests and enough food to feed a small army. Here are a few pictures from the day.

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I ordered these frisbees as party favors months ago and almost forgot to put them out on the tables. Imagine how suprised I would have been to find them hidden away in my closet after the party!

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Greg and I trying out the photo booth props…

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The guest of honor (on the right) with her friends…

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Amanda had requested homemade cakes for dessert we made four…lemon with cream cheese frosting, chocolate with chocolate frosting, red velvet with cream cheese frosting and yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Everyone had fun guessing which cakes were in the lead all day…I can tell you there was not a bite left of the lemon or the chocolate with chocolate by the end of the night! Cake decorating is not in my crafty repertoire so sprinkles and paper fans ruled the day!

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It was a fun filled day with family and friends!

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