Category Archives: teaching

Color Wheel Fun!







Friday was such a fun day around here! Four of my students came to learn about the color wheel and how it relates to quilting. We learned basic color terminology and how to use color recipes by seeing them used in existing quilts. We also played a game to reinforce our new knowledge of color recipes and talked about how we can tweak our current fabric buying habits to incorporate use of the color wheel for successful quilt making!









The remaining time was spent sewing and answering questions about current projects. We also had snacks…of course!

Gail and Nancy admiring Gail’s current project with luscious batik jelly roll strips…









Sharyn working hard cutting strips for her beautiful quilt…









And Priscilla getting ready to bind her adorable Valentine runner…









I can’t help but think how blessed I am to have these wonderful quilters in my life! Not only are they all talented but they are always willing to try something new and share what they are learning with one another. I’m a lucky girl!

Last week Priscilla’s gorgeous quilt was on my long arm. The mocha thread and swirling feather pantograph only added to the beauty this quilt already was.

















This week I have Amanda’s sorority auction quilt on the long arm. I have just a few rows done but I’m hoping to work on it this week. It’s school vacation week around here though so no promises! It’s also my birthday week and I’m planning on being kind to myself! LOL!!

What’s under your needle this week?


Open Sew Fun and More

Friday was open sew day for my students here at the house. This time around Nancy and Priscilla came to stitch the morning away with me! We had a wonderful time working on projects and catching up on life with each other.








Priscilla started this neat Valentine table runner…









And Nancy was hard at work on her Hearthside Quintet quilt…









I worked on a jelly roll race quilt that will be auctioned at my daughter’s sorority silent auction in the spring. I’ll post a picture of that when it looks like more than a bunch of rags in a ball!

Last week I finished up Priscilla’s beautiful card trick quilt. She was quite pleased with how it came out and so was I. It was a true pleasure to quilt this one.








Now I have Gail’s jelly roll race quilt on the long arm. This pretty quilt has all the soothing colors I love. I’m using a royal blue thread with a swirling feather edge to edge design.









We were excited this week to see that Leah’s professional Nutcracker pictures finally arrived in the email box. We weren’t allowed to take any photos in December during the production so now I can finally share these.

This was her angel pointe costume…









And this was her Chinese tea dance costume…









I think she’s already looking forward to auditioning again in the summer!

What are you all working on this week?


Getting A Jump on January!

January has arrived and we are cruising right through it! How are you doing on your goals for the new year and paying mind to your guiding word? The word I chose was ‘yes’ and my goals are basically to focus on long arming and teaching. I’ve been full steam ahead with both of those things as I remind myself daily to stick to the plan. In the newsletter that I mailed out last week, we talked about how to take steps toward achieving those goals. If you’d like to join the newsletter email list, please sign up in the menu bar to the right.  I have beautiful student quilts on the long arm machine this month and plenty of side projects to share. And of course the cute bunny photo at the end of the post!

The first quilt on the long arm this year was Gail’s beautiful 1930’s vintage Christmas jelly roll race quilt. I used green thread and a holly berry pantograph and it came out so cute. We worked on the binding together during class time and she finished it up on her own earlier this week.










Now I have Priscilla’s beautiful card trick quilt on the machine. She did an incredible job piecing this stunning top. Linen colored thread and a swirly pantograph will be the perfect touch for it.








and a close up…









I pulled out the mosaic quilt last weekend that I was working on in the fall. I decided I had been making it too complicated by not just using one piece of fabric per square but actually trying to fit 2 or 3 fabrics on a square and I was distressed by it all. I tore up what I had and began again. Now it is an official mosaic and it’s starting to come along. I’m excited by it again and that thrills me. The photo is from a lavender field we visited on Maui last summer.









I put the final stitches in Lindsey’s afghan this week. She reminded me daily that I wasn’t working on it and now I’m done! Feels good to have this one wrapped up….









My intention was to use purple on the finished edge but I ran out so I finished it with yellow and I like it well enough.









I did a little bit of embroidery one night during the week on the bunny door stop. I’m hoping to do a bit more this weekend but I think I’ll be knitting. When the Patriots are in the playoffs, superstition dictates that I have to knit in order for them to win! Those in my circle know that I have a job to do during playoff season and I take it quite seriously! It’s worked pretty well so far!









And now for the obligatory cute bunny post of my baby, Ginny….


Let me know how your goals are coming along and if you have any crafty things you do during playoff season? I’d love to hear about it.


Winding It Down & A New Word

Here we are almost at Christmas time! I had to look twice to be sure that I read the blog right. I haven’t posted since Dec. 1st! Time sure got away from me this month. It has been a busy season with classes, long arming, and being involved with the Nutcracker performances. I wish I had some photos from the Nutcracker of Leah to show you but no photos were allowed and it will be another month or so before we see the professional ones. I assure you though, she did a wonderful job as an angel and also as a Chinese tea dancer.

I’ve been busier than ever on the long arm machine and finishing up my own projects as well as student ones. I finished up the blue and white quilt and wanted to show you how it is being packaged as a gift. I read online recently that someone was using large cake boxes with windows as a beautiful way to give a quilt. I love the idea so much and found that Walmart carries the Wilton brand boxes. They run about $5.50 for two of them and they look so nice.








This month I was working on two quilts for Gail. I long armed her Minnie Mouse quilt and her Harry Potter quilt. We affectionately called these quilts Minnie and Harry. Gail pointed out to me that we were referring to them as living creatures. I had to laugh because she was totally right! It was fun to be that involved with them though. On the Minnie quilt, I stitched in some mouse ears on the four corners for her.















Here is the Harry Potter quilt…









Earlier this week I picked up Priscilla’s beautiful card trick quilt and I’ll be working on that come January.









Last night I finally finished a complete pair of socks on the sock loom!!! It took me a long time but I’m really so happy with how they came out.









The yarn was so saturated with color, I just loved working with it. I’m keeping these as it’s the first real pair but I’ve already cast on with some pretty pink yarn for a pair for Amanda.

I’m looking forward to spending next week with my family. I know I have some crafty gifts under the tree and I can’t wait to share those with you.

So January is almost upon us which means it’s time to choose the guiding word for 2018. My 2017 word was “focus” and I believe I succeeded in getting my business focus down to teaching and long arming. This year, I’m choosing “yes” as my word. Yes to myself, yes to my work, yes to becoming a healthier version of myself. Next year 2 out of 3 kids will be living away at college and I think it will be a great time to see what saying yes to myself will bring. What is your word for 2018? I’d love for you to share it with me in the comments below.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday with your families and I hope your hearts are filled with peace, love, and joy.


The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

I’m so excited that Christmas is going to be here soon. It’s my favorite time of the year for sure!! We spent Friday putting up the Christmas tree and decorations and of course pulling out some Christmas quilts. This is our living room…









I managed to get a few quilts on the long arm too. Eileen’s quilt came out so nice with the fall colors and the Abundant Leaves pantograph. This was a joy to quilt!










And the blue and white quilt is on the long arm and nearly finished. This is being quilted with a pantograph called Lilac. I’m happy with the progress on it and I’ll show more pictures next time when it’s done.









Progress is happening on all fronts and I keep adding to my list of projects to which Greg laughs and says, “You really know how to pile it on.”–yes, yes I do but I’m ok with that because I know it’s passion and a desire to learn that’s fueling it all. The list of handprojects is huge and I am thinking that I need to set myself up a schedule to work on them. I absolutely love knitting the socks on the loom and I’m almost done with the orangy colored pair. I find that I’m missing embroidery though and I’ve ordered a kit for myself for Christmas to get back into it. Lindsey reminds me daily that I haven’t finished her crocheted afghan and that makes me a groan a bit. It’s the least enticing project right now. LOL!

Amanda asked if I could make a quilt to donate to her sorority silent auction in the spring and we decided on a jelly roll race quilt made with the Kappa Delta colors of green and yellow. So I found this beautiful Moda jellyroll and it’s coming out this month. I preordered it and I can’t wait til it arrives.









My students are all keeping busy and purchasing fabric for new projects! They are a talented bunch and I am so looking forward to working with each of them on those projects. And of course, I’ll share them here so you can see too.

Our family has a busy weekend with the annual Christmas on The Common parade and dance performance. I decided not to vend at the craft fair this year due to an additional Nutcracker rehearsal that Leah was involved in on the same day. I figured the logistics were too much to stick Greg with for the day and in the end, that rehearsal was canceled so it didn’t really matter but I’m happy to have a year off! It will be fun to walk around and not worry about a table.

The Quilt Show Newsletter came this morning with this cute tutorial in it.  It’s too complicated for me to do at the moment but I just adore the red and white and thought you might want to try it!

Fabric Swedish heart tutorial

That’s it for today! What are you all working on this week?



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.









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.









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.









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!








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?








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








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









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?


November Happenings


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.


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.









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!


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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….









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









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.



















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!














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








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.









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.









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!



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.



















Two more…









and lastly…









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…


























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.


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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.









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.








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.









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.









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!

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