Tag Archives: long arm

NYC and a Long Arm Finish

It’s been a few days since I blogged but I have a good excuse. Leah and I took a trip to NYC with her dance studio. We had a fabulous time traveling with friends and seeing the sights. This is the second time we’ve done a weekend in NYC with this group and we all travel really well together! We arrived in Times Square on Friday afternoon and we shopped a bit, had dinner at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, and then we saw Get On Your Feet which is the broadway show of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s story. It was amazing! It was at the Marquis Theatre which is just beautiful.

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Saturday the girls attended a workshop with a cast member from Get On Your Feet then we shopped til we dropped. We had dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Cafe and then we pretty much fell asleep. While we were walking around we came upon the ballerina balloon that is currently displayed at Rockefeller Center. We knew it was there, we just didn’t know it was so huge and amazing.

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Sunday morning the girls had another workshop at the same dance studio. We picked them up and headed to the 9-11 Memorial before heading home. It was a strange experience being there with so many kids who weren’t even born when that tragedy occurred. I think they all appreciated seeing it. I was in awe of this national quilt that was hanging on display. Every victim has a block. It’s very large and evokes all kind of emotions when you see it.
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We got home late Sunday night but it was worth it! It was a great weekend.

Last week before I left, I finished the quilting on the Hawaiian flower quilt. I used a hibiscus pantograph and I love how it came out. So now it needs binding.
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Yesterday I spent time getting these Love Notes blocks sewn into rows. If I have time today, I’ll stitch rows together. This one is for Lindsey.
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For Mother’s Day, I ordered Judi Madsen’s new dvd on background quilting for applique quilts. She has so much information in her dvd’s. I just love them. I’m a little more than half way through as it’s pretty long – 158 minutes. Hoping to catch the rest of it tomorrow morning.

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That’s about it for today. What are you all working on?
Sandi

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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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Fillers, Favorite Rulers and a Selfie

I’ve happily spent the last two days working on quilting the blue monochromatic quilt. I had to laugh at myself that I finally got the long arm machine extended by two feet and then I put a super small quilt on it! LOL! One of the reasons I made this quilt was to practice ruler work and fillers. The other two reasons were to play with color and to figure out improv piecing.

Because this piece is small, the quilting also had to be small. I had a few doubts as to whether my machine could handle going as slowly as I needed it to. That might sound weird because typically you see long arm quilters buzzing around at a decent pace. But when the mission is accuracy and you are using rulers, you have to go slow. The slower I went on the machine, the happier I was with the results and I’m thrilled to pieces that my long arm can work well in a slower speed.

Using Cindy Grisdela’s improv style and Judi Madsen’s methods of marking and quilting, I was able to tap into techniques I haven’t done before. I keep wanting to call this quilt Small Blue for some reason so that shall be its name and here she is…

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Each pieced curve has a different style of filler quilting. I used several designs including wishbones, geometric squares, pebbles, meandering, half moons,  paisleys, swirls, and continuous line curved squares. The top and bottom borders have curved lines.

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In deciding whether to use the continuous line curved squares on that last bottom strip, I knew I had to go very small. I marked a half inch grid and then set about quilting in between the lines. It was exhilarating to quilt! Each row was inspiration to keep going.

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My favorite rulers so far in this long arm journey have been the ones you see here in the picture. The A1 Straight Edge which is yellow and has the
handle on it and the set of Mini Curve It rulers. Both of these were ordered from Judi Madsen’s website, Green Fairy Quilts.

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While I was quilting, I knew my face was holding a very serious and focused expression. I started to wonder if I might be one of those people who sticks their tongue out or something while they work lol!!! Curiosity got the better of me and I set my phone up on a timer for a selfie. No tongue is wagging so I guess I’m good!!!

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The black straps on my shoulders are the straps for my back weight. I try to use it when I’m long arming or piecing for a long time at the sewing machine.

If you listened to the last podcast episode, you’ll remember I mentioned having joined the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals led by Morna McEver Golletz. One of the benefits of belonging to this organization is being in contact with like minded individuals in the craft business world. This week I started up with an accountability partner. Her name is Janice. After an initial phone call where we got to know each other and get a feel for each other’s businesses, we set up our weekly goals and plans for how to achieve them. We will talk again on Monday night to check in and share how we did on meeting those goals. I have four areas to work on this week and I’m feeling pretty good about them. One of my goals includes getting 10 hours on the long arm and I’m halfway there. Getting time on the machine gets a little bit difficult on teaching days but I will have to work around that to get to ten hours. I find myself thinking about Janice all week and wondering how she is coming along with her goals. Hopefully we’ll both hit the mark this week!

Have a super day today!
Sandi

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So much stuff….

I didn’t realize how many days had passed since my last blog post. I thought about posting several times over the last few weeks but each time I got overwhelmed by how many pictures I had so I bagged it. It has been a fun and busy few weeks here with the junior prom and Lindsey’s trip to Paris. She’s due home tonight and I can’t wait to see her! I’ll just jump in with what I’ve been working on. First off, I’m thrilled to say that my long arm frame was extended from 8 feet to ten feet on Wednesday. We didn’t have space initially to set it up to the full extent but after some furniture maneuvering, it does fit! I am so happy that I can now quilt a queen size on the frame. I’ll be updating my website this month with information on my long arm and the designs I offer.

I’ve been working on the small color theory quilts again and this time I worked in a monochromatic blue scheme. I wanted to continue my study of color and creating improv quilts by piecing gentle curves without pinning! GASP! I know, right? Unbelievably, I found it very easy and relaxing. The curves came together nicely even though I could have sworn they weren’t going to! Convex and concave can be con-tricky!!!

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Here is the final piece which I’ll mark for quilting next and then put on the long arm for ruler work practice. I love that by working on these small pieces, I learn color theory, improv piecing and ruler work! It’s the perfect hat trick!

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This week’s fun news is that my bunny block made the inside cover of 100 Blocks this time around!

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I will be hosting a stop on their blog tour on May 2nd! Here is the awesome thank you gift I received for being part of their magazine! I love it!

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While Lindsey’s been in France, I began working on her Love Notes quilt. I made the same quilt for Amanda when she went to France two years ago. Back then Lindsey asked if I would make one for her when it was her turn to go on the trip! I ordered the fabric two years ago and now I’m making it!

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I have the half square triangles done and in piles for 42 blocks. This afternoon I pieced the first two blocks. I love making these cute little love notes!

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and…
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For Easter I decided to surprise my mom with a bouquet she could really get into…who doesn’t love a flower pot filled with fat quarters!

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This week I also treated myself to new fine and extra fin pins! What a difference these make!

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And lastly here’s a little peek at my Lindsey and her prom date, Alex. They had a great time!
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Have a wonderful weekend, I’ll be back next week with more to share!
Sandi

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Didn’t Love This Week!

Oh what a long, strange week it has been over here at casa Colwell. Not much quilting has been going on as we’ve been in the middle of health emergencies and blizzards and a lot of snow days!

Last Thursday Leah fainted in the bathroom while I was trimming her hair (for the first time, quite possibly the last). She slumped forward into the sink and then fell backwards bouncing her poor head off the floor tile. She looked like she was having a seizure which we later found out she didn’t but then she came to, vomited and did it again. My mama heart just about died. Greg, Lindsey, and I got her into the car and set out in the middle of a nasty blizzard and got her to the ER. She was monitored for a few hours and then we made it back home again safe and sound. We have no idea why she fainted and probably never will know but she is doing well despite a nagging headache this week….oh and yesterday we finally finished the hair cut! Here she is smiling in the hospital because they finally said we could go home! LOL!

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And here’s the latest trend…it’s called the half cut! LOL!

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While we were in the ER, I was getting text messages from Amanda who was sick as a dog at UNH. We could tell she needed to come home, go to the doctor, and get rest. Greg and Lindsey headed up to her college the next morning and brought her home. She is still sick but happy to be here with us! Hopefully, she’ll turn the corner tomorrow as she needs to get back to her classes. The college had a snow day today as they are getting 12-16″ of snow.

Last night as we were hanging out in the living room, I did spread out my hexagons to get an idea of how many I have and what I can possibly do with them. I love the fabric and I have more cut to keep going. I do love them!

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I was super excited when the mail came this week and my pantographs arrived! These are an early birthday present from my mom! I can’t wait to try them out.

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And I did manage to get Nancy’s awesome star quilt on the long arm. I’m ready to quilt this just as soon as I can get a normal working day! Isn’t is beautiful?

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So here we are with another snow day and everything has been canceled! The girls are working on a huge puzzle, Greg’s working from home, and I’m thinking about how much I love having them all home and in one place.

Have a quilty week!

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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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Finding What Feels Right

It’s so cold here in MA! It’s the face stinging kind of cold that makes you feel like hunkering down indefinitely. On Saturday our town won the ‘snow derby’ by accumulating the most amount of snow in the state for this storm. We had a whopping 19.5″ and this is what my backyard looked like. We always guess the amount of snow based on how high it’s piled on the patio table!

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On Sunday, the roads were clear but I didn’t have to be anywhere so I put Judi Madsen’s dvd in the player and watched her quilt for two mesmerizing hours. Quilting Makes A Difference is the name of the dvd and it is part of the AQS Iquilt series.

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This video was amazing to me because it made me realize it is ok to mark your quilt, it’s ok to take a long time preparing the quilt to go on the long arm, and it’s ok to take all the time you can to make sure the quilt looks good. In a hurry-hurry world, this gave me permission to take it slow. Thank you, Judi Madsen! I love the way she marks her quilt with a ruler and disappearing ink. She is meticulous and it just tickles me to see it.

Coincidentally on Saturday, I put a practice cloth on the long arm and pulled out the two rulers I own. Nothing I did felt particularly good but it was practice. I did a few clam shells and other things but now I can’t wait to mark up a cloth and try it Judi’s way. Here are a few pictures of my practice session.

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I ordered Judi’s book and it will be here on Wednesday and I’m practically giddy about it! I also tried ordering her ruler but it’s out of stock at the moment. I’ll keep trying back though.

 

So let’s talk about that hexagon calendar…I bought the perpetual hexagon calendar and felt I could handle one hexagon a week instead of one a day. Well…I did all the work for the first one as I talked about in the last blog post. This is the one I was prepping for…

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On Saturday when I was hunkered down, I began stitching the teensy tinesy pieces together and guess what? I didn’t enjoy one minute of it. Not one. I got this far…

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And now I’ve quit. I just didn’t find it satisfying in any way. I do enjoy regular hexagons that I’ve gotten so used to, it’s mindless work. I guess at the end of the day, mindless is what I want and need. I felt terrible guilt over it for a few minutes then I thought to myself that it was silly to continue to say yes to this project when it didn’t make me happy. Saying yes to this would mean saying no to things I do really like to do at night or in the car or on a plane. So the calendar will remain just that, a calendar. I like to flip the pages each day and see beautiful work and I can smile to myself that I don’t have to replicate that work.

How about you? Have you ever given up on a project and then felt guilty about it? How did you handle the feeling?

Sandi

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Crossing The Finish Line, Finding A New Word

So do we all feel like we’re running a race about right now? The shopping, wrapping, baking, Christmas carding, and goody delivering are in full swing! I feel like I’m headed for the finish line  and in a few short days, the big day will be upon us. Hallelujah! I could use some focusing on that beautiful baby in the manger. The timing between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems super short this year, I haven’t gotten loads done in the way of quilting but I did finish this gorgeous quilt for my mother on the long arm. I used a pantograph called Pipeline which I like very much. By the time I finished it, I almost couldn’t believe that I had done that work! It was hugely satisfying and now I am hungering for more time on the machine.

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It didn’t come out perfect but I learned a lot doing the quilting. I have several pantographs here and I’ll be adding to them after the first of the year when I can really take my time looking at what’s available and what will work best on my long arm.

It’s almost time to choose a new word for the year! My 2016 word was ‘wisdom’ as in listen to it and seek it. It wasn’t an easy word choice but it made a difference in my year. My 2017 word for the year is ‘focus’. I’ve chosen this word in years passed but this coming year it will guide me through learning the long arm business and expanding my teaching and designing schedule. I’ve been home with my kids for many years and I’ve always set aside most of my time for doing the mom things and kind of waiting around to see what everyone needs me to do. This year, I have an opportunity to really expand my business and do more with it. I’m excited about that but also really have to retrain my brain to focus on the business and to give myself permission to focus on the business more. I need to recondition my thoughts so I don’t always feel guilty about it. That’s the big thing. That’s the hold up for me. That is what I need to focus on for 2017.

The second part of my word choice is to focus on health. I’ve had crazy migraines the last month and as usual, I don’t really know why. I’ll think I know what’s triggering and then I eliminate but they come back. The worst of the headaches last year were between Thanksgiving and Christmas and here it goes again. So of course stress but also not enough exercise and too much sugar rules the day. I’ll be focusing on eating less sugar and exercising more in the coming year.

Have you thought about your word for 2017? Please share what your word choice is, I’d love to hear!

I’ll close with a picture or two of my favorite girls! We are thrilled to have Amanda home from college! She is happy to be reunited with her bunnies! Here’s Amanda and Leah with Nala and Daisy who are doing just fine in their new garage location! They are in for a visit in this photo.

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And here’s Lindsey in the holiday spirit awaiting her friends to arrive for their annual Christmas party!

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One more thing! I just ordered this daily hexagon calendar for myself for next year. I’m thinking it will expand my English Paper Piecing skills with some pretty new patterns. Check it out on Amazon! There’s still time to get one before Christmas!

Have a wonderful day everyone!

*this post contains an Amazon affiliate link

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Day At The Craft Fair & Updates

Happy Tuesday!

Here we are at the start of December and amidst the busy season of shopping and wrapping, I find myself just wanting to retreat into the sewing room to create. I spent much of November preparing for our town’s annual Christmas On The Common celebration where I was a vendor on Saturday. This is my third year vending and I found it to be just as fun and inspiring as it was the first time around.

The day itself is a snapshot of small town life. The Kiwanis club organizes this day for our community complete with a parade, craft fair, Christmas tree sale, food, and performances by local dance studios and musicians all day long. Oh yes and Santa is there as well! It’s a fantastic day.

This was my first year representing both my quilt design company and Creative Memories. I recently had a new banner made up to incorporate both companies. Greg helped me get set up in the early morning and then I was open for business!

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I met many wonderful people Saturday. Since I was promoting both quilting and scrappbooking, I had twice the fun and twice the amount of inspirational conversations with new and experienced crafters from both hobbies. I am pleased to say that quilting and scrapbooking are both very much alive and well in our community! Several of you were looking for quilting lessons and several more were interested in attending a day long scrap retreat. I’d like to also have a day long sewing retreat and I’ll be looking into places to hold those types of events in the near future.

If you are reading this blog for the first time, I welcome you! I hope you’ll find it an inspirational place to hang out. I also collected a lot of new names for both of my newsletters and you’ll be receiving one soon!

This week I’m catching up with paperwork but also preparing to vend at my daughter’s dance studio on Saturday. I sold out of every ballerina item I had at the craft fair so I’m scrambling to make up more tissue covers and zippered pouches. I am also about to begin the quilting on my mother’s quilt with this pretty pantograph called Pipeline.

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I was having a small issue with the bar on the long arm machine but Greg was able to fix it for me and now I can’t wait to get going on this one!

Most of you know over the last two years we have acquired the most adorable Lionhead bunnies, Nala and Daisy.

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They are really the loves of all of our lives and our daughters just adore them. They have always lived in our house and had plenty of freedom to roam around our first floor. Well, last week we found out that poor Greg has developed asthma and is allergic to the buns. We decided to relocate the bunnies to the garage and I found the most adorable log cabin hutches for them! Greg put them together over the weekend and moving day was today!

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You all know I want to hang little Christmas wreaths over their doors! I moved the bunnies into their new homes this morning and they seem quite pleased with having a ramp to play on and an area under the hutch in which to run around. I’m glad they like their new space and I’m looking forward to seeing Greg feel better.

That’s it for today. I’ll hopefully be posting more frequently now that the craft fair is over. Enjoy your day, quilters!!!
Sandi

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A Finish, Some Practice & New Recipes

Happy Thursday! We’re almost to the weekend!! I finished a baby quilt this week. I used charm squares and some fabric from my stash as a border. I decided on an all over loopy design for the quilting.  This will be one of the items for sale at my craft fair table next Saturday.

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This afternoon I spent time practicing these two pantographs. The first one is called Pipeline and I like it a lot. It has easy curves and I think it will look great on the Seaglass quilt.

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The next one is called Lilac (I think). It also has nice curves and will look great on a feminine quilt.

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Last night I hosted our neighborhood book club and tried out a new recipe that I saw floating around on Facebook. It is called Caramel Pumpkin Poke Cake and it was absolutely delicious. It filled a 13 x 9 pan and tasted even better today! Now just pay no attention to the fact that there’s a piece and a half on my plate!

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In case you were wondering, the book we discussed was Caleb’s Crossing which is about the Wampanoag Indians on Martha’s Vineyard and the missionaries who came to ‘help’ them. It was very good. Our next book selection is Everything We Keep. This one looks interesting and I can’t wait to start it.

Tonight we decided on breakfast for dinner and I made Mocha French Toast. This was also something that popped up online and looked amazing.

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The recipe is made with Pillsbury Grands Biscuits that are layered in the pan. Next time around, I’d put one layer in the pan, bake it for a few minutes then add the second layer because it seemed the bottom biscuit pieces needed more time to bake than the top ones. It was yummy and I’d make it again.

That about sums up the week! What are you all working on?

Sandi

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