Thursday, June 30, 2016

Meet June's Desire to Inspire Challenger - Sandra Walker with Better at the Lake projects

We got really excited about choosing Sandra Walker because she was so excited about being chosen! She lives on Lake Erie, which she told us in CAPITAL letters when she entered the challenge. We could practically see her jumping up and down. The other really cute thing about Sandra that made us laugh was her blog name: which is mmmquilts.com  - simple enough, right? But the name in the heading is Musings of a Menopausal Melon! So her effervescent personality showed through.

We sent Sandra some fabric from the Better at the Lake collection by Janet Rae Nesbitt of One Sister Designs at the first of June. She has had a very prolific month of sewing!
Here is a shot of all the work Sandra has done this month on the shores of Lake Erie. 

Here are a few photos that she has let trickle in via email this month:

The day her fabric arrived! 

Quilt in the works...Her own design, called Blue Skies and Sunny Days, now for sale! 

Playing with design

A little landscape pillow in the works


Meet our June Challenger: Sandra Walker.





I live in Kingsville Ontario; sitting way down on the 42nd parallel, we are Canada’s southernmost town.  The town is right on the north shore of Lake Erie, about a half hour south of Windsor, Canada’s southernmost city.  Windsor is the only city where you have to go north to get to the US!  It is on the south side of the Detroit River, with our big sister, Detroit, on the north side.  Living on a Great Lake means we have a fairly temperate climate; as a result, Essex county is home to 18 wineries, a lavender farm, orchards, multiple greenhouses as well as produce farms, and the best (IMHO) tomatoes and corn in North America.  I am fortunate enough to be able see Lake Erie, between some trees and other houses, from my patio.
Picture perfect day on Lake Erie, with the Better at the Lake quilt in view
Close-up of quilting...back and forth to represent the lake motion
The entire quilt - Sandra will be donating this to the Windsor Sexual Assault Centre 
I was born in Alberta, and spent the majority of my life there.  My husband is from Essex County, and we spent five years in the 80's living here and both our daughters were born here.  We moved back to Alberta to be by family, but a few years ago made a huge life-changing decision to quit our jobs pre-retirement age and move back here and slow our lives down.  Our youngest daughter, Dayna, moved here a couple of years before we did, to go back to school.  She now works and lives in Michigan.  Our eldest daughter, Brianne, and  her son, Brady, our almost-8-year-old grandson, live in Alberta.  He is the light of our lives, an amazing child.  September has become the traditional trip for the two of them to come visit us, and my husband and I take turns going back west to visit them and the rest of our friends and family.  I now teach yoga part time, quilt as much as I can, read and walk my beloved ‘pibble’ Rocco.

Sandra's own paper pieced block design for the lighthouse pillow.  A nod to a few of the different lighthouses in the Lake Erie area. Her own little corner is represented just to the right of the lighthouse.


Better at the Lake, on the back side of the pillow too!

  Lake Coasters: Front and Back


Mariner's Compass and Migrating Geese Table Centerpiece
 Although my nana, my mum’s mum, was a talented seamstress and knitter, she didn’t quilt, and so I don’t have a history of quilters in my family.  My grandma, my dad’s mum, was a talented crocheter, and she did make a heavy black and red squares wool quilt I remember, that sat on the couch, used for afternoon naps during long harvest or calving time days.  I made my first quilt around age 10, for my Barbies. I hand sewed scraps from my mum’s scrap bag (she sewed clothes for us kids) into small squares, stuffed them, and stitched all the little pillows together to make a quilt.  It was in 1995, when I went into the local quilt/sewing shop, Lori’s Country Cottage, to buy some fancy lace for dresses I was making for my girls, that Brianne spied a quilt BOM for $1, and made me buy it, “You bring your block back here, and you could win all the blocks, Mum!”  Well, wouldn’t you know it, I did.  So I had to learn how to put them together, and from there make the quilt, which went to Brianne of course… I, uh, didn’t do much dressmaking after that! 

Lake Rules Sign
(which is also the backside of the Mariner's Compass piece shown above)

I like all quilts, all sizes, from mini-minis to bed size, both traditional as well as modern design.  As for techniques, I enjoy pretty much everything but if I had to pick one for a quilt top, it would be piecing.  I LOVE playing with colors and shapes.  I’m happiest when I’m rummaging through my stash, which is pretty plentiful I’ll admit, after 20 years of quilting(!), pulling multiple fabrics to work into a quilt design.  I mainly have sewed from patterns, at times altering them to suit my needs, at times combining a couple of designs.  Occasionally I have made my own designs, which I’ve been doing a lot more of over the past year, which is very exciting for me!  I also just love the quilting part of making a quilt.  Seeing Kathy Sandbach on “Simply Quilts” was a huge game-changer for me, showing me I could ‘draw’ with my sewing machine!  I saved for a few years prior to leaving teaching, and purchased a barely-used Avanté in 2013.  It is so much better than wrestling a bed-size quilt through my Bernina!  However, I do still love to quilt from time to time on my Bernina; the projects I’ve made for this challenge show both methods of quilting a quilt.

Cute Better at the Lake drawstring backpack with Panel Block as the pocket.
Free Craftsy pattern by Caroline of www.sewcanshe.com 


I started my blog in the Fall of 2013.  I must say the online community of quilters, something Helen of Midget Gem Quilts and I dubbed QBL, 'Quilting BlogLand', has enriched my life more than I ever could have foreseen.  I have friends around the planet, something that binds us (pun intended) together and gives me a sense of global community like nothing else ever has.  As well as doing yoga, I think politicians should learn to quilt; we’d have a much more peaceful planet!


The final project that is using all the last little bits...


Finally, about the perfect guy in my life... I’ve been happily married to my husband for 36 years this August.  He goes by MacGyver on my blog because he can make anything, from metal to meals, and fix pretty much everything broken, from cars to hearts.
Pieced Coffee Cozies


Thank you SO MUCH to Henry Glass Fabrics for the gorgeous fabrics and for trusting me with the challenge of creating something inspiring for other quilters.  It has been a truly amazing experience; creating a variety of items within the 3-week time limit has made me grow as a quilter/designer!


55 comments:

Tish Stemple said...

I have to say, I am so stinking proud of Miss Sandra Walker! I am lucky enough to call her my quilty BFF. Henry Glass Fabrics, thank you for letting her participate in your challenge. I dare say not only did she rise to the challenge, but she knocked the challenge right out of the ballpark! She puts all of herself into her projects and it shows. Sandra doesn't just create beautiful quilted pieces, she brings them to life!

minibea12 said...

I especially like your Blue Skies and Sunny Days. It is awesome!
nikilsend(at)outlook(dot)com

Sherry said...

Wow! Sandra, your projects are wonderful. I enjoyed reading this post and want to thank you and Henry Glass Fabrics for the inspiration these challenges provide.

Stitchin At Home said...

Wonderful work on all the projects Sandra.

Jenny said...

Wonderful, exciting work by Sandra. She has made the fabrics sing.

Lisa Marie said...

Oh my goodness Sandra! Your projects are wonderful! Loved the post with your fabulous photos and your "quilter's story". Thanks for sharing!

Marlene said...

Wow Sandra you have nailed this. An interesting read and what fantasic projects. A great choice Henry Glass.

anna brown said...

i love the colors of the fabric and the quilts are very eye catching ty for sharing....happyness04431@yahoo.com

Lisa J. said...

You did us all proud Sandra. Got lots of great projects done in the three weeks. I'm clapping out here in blogland.

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

All of these projects are stunning! Sandra, I can't believe how much you accomplished in 3 short weeks. Congratulations! My most favorite is the lighthouse pillow. I *LOVE* the way you quilted the shining light.

KaHolly said...

This post is one of the best! Sandra was a perfect choice for you to make for this challenge. I believe she must have used up every little scrap of her fabric! And just look at the beautiful and clever projects she completed! I'm in awe!

Crickets Corner said...

What wonderful projects! I can't even pick out a favorite as they are all so enticing but the lighthouse pillow kind of stands out.

Michele T said...

Beautiful creations!! I love those colours... My favourite combination too!!

Pat said...

Great work! Everything looks wonderful.

Jen said...

What wonderful ways to use those beautiful fabrics! I am especially drawn to the pillow and the drawstring bag.
AMAZING work!

kathy said...

Sandra,
I found you thru Tish, I love your work. Love the colors you use, just all around like your work.
Kathy
kfreddss@yahoo.com

Vicki H said...

Sandra, you are amazing to get all this done in such a short time span. Wonderful quilt and projects. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

Irene Storteboom said...

I love your enthusiasm, and the projects you created in such a short priod of time! As a very new quilter (and retiree) it takes me forever, and you crafted all these projects in only 3 weeks! Loved thwm all, and loved your pictures as well! Thanks!

Joy said...

I love the rich colours of this line and especially how you used the text. Fantastic mariner's compass and flying geese. They're a favorite of mine.

cindy m said...

Love your beautiful projects! Very talented lady!!!

Cindy Dahlgren said...

What a talented person! I really like all the things you made. cdahlgren at live dot com

Kathy Gorman said...

I love all the projects! Looks like you used every last scrap of fabric!

Miriam said...

Sandra, awesome projects! The fabrics are perfect for your lake setting. I really enjoyed your lake photos along with your inspirational projects.

Karen said...

I really love all of your projects. It is a beautiful line of fabric and you really showed it off so well!

Marly said...

Amazing, Sandra, that you made so much in just one month! I love the design of the lap quilt and how you cut up and used the panel. That's really ingenious!

Linda C said...

I am lucky enough to call myself Sandra's younger sister! So proud of you, your drive, creativity, and all these magnificent projects! ❤

lindawwww said...

Lovely quilt. Great use of colour!

lin.web.28 at gmail dot com

Jasmine said...

What wonderful projects with pictures to show them all off.

Michelle in Scotland said...

Wow, amazing work Sandra, I take my hat off to you.

Suegodfrey said...

I count myself lucky to have found your blog Sandra. The work you do is inspirational.... so pleased for you that Henry Glass fabrics challenged you to use their fabrics, they chose wisely. Huge well done missus, you can relax now �� xx

Suegodfrey said...

I count myself lucky to have found your blog Sandra. The work you do is inspirational.... so pleased for you that Henry Glass fabrics challenged you to use their fabrics, they chose wisely. Huge well done missus, you can relax now 😀 xx

Lee said...

Sandra - what wonderful projects!! I love them and you are such a great person to donating your quilt to a charity!!

Susan L. said...

Great job Sandra! Love all your projects, especially the Mariner's Compass and Migrating Geese Table Centerpiece!

Heidi said...

Off the chart amazing, Sandra really outdid herself here! All her projects are wonderful, and I am inspired to make the pack!

cjmont said...

i love all of your projects especially the lighthouse pillow. thanks for the chance to win.

Susan McG said...

You did a great job on all these projects - quite a lot of variety to inspire virtually everyone. I follow your blog and enjoy seeing what other Ontario-based quilters are doing.

Karen in Breezy Point said...

You certainly have set the bar for the next Desire to Inspire sewist! Great job!

Knittingdancer on Ravelry said...

love the drawstring bag

kupton52 said...

Hey girl! You did GREAT!!! Each project turned out so well...and each one reflected your winning personality. I'm really impressed that did so much in so short a time...while still keeping up with blogposts. I'm beginning to think you may be in menopausal remission! Love you...quilty hugs....thanks for the inspiration.

Lara B. said...

Sandra - you blew this challenge right out of the water! Even with getting a sneak preview, I am just so thrilled to see all the wonderful projects you created with these beautiful fabrics! I love every one of them, but my favorite is your own lighthouse pillow design. Great placement of the fabrics and quilting!
I love what you wrote about your family members and the little bit of history you shared. :)

Lisa in Port Hope said...

Wonderful projects! Every one is filled with happiness and love.

Sarah Craig said...

Sandra, I just love all your projects - you did an amazing job with that bundle of fabric, which is absolutely adorable! I particularly love the backpack and the pillow - your thread painting is the perfect way to illustrate the light from the lighthouse. And so interesting to find out more about you!

Sharon and Bella the Yellow Cat said...

Love all of your wonderful projects! You are so talented! Especially love the pillow.

Cut&Alter said...

What an amazing job Sandra did - I love these projects and the setting of the Lake is just perfect. In fact I would like to visit this lake!! Thanks for the giveaway.

Cut&Alter said...

What great projects Sandra came up with for this fabric and the Lake setting is just perfect. I would love to go and visit this lake now! Thanks for the giveaway.

Bernie Kringel said...

Sandra, you never cease to amaze me!! How on earth did you accomplish all of these awesome projects in just a few weeks?? Your work is gorgeous as is the fabric line. So summery.

I loved reading all about you and your experiences. What a great post!

Julie said...

I've loved seeing a few of the behind the scenes shots this month as Sandra worked with the beautiful fabrics. I'm so pleased with the thought and workmanship involved, and will tell you she was tickled pink to be chosen! I hope to see more posts just like this in the future showing the many possibilities of your collections.

cheryl vega said...

I was very curious to see what you would design with this gorgeous fabric line and you did not disappoint. The lighthouse is just stunning!

Cheryl said...

Awesome projects! They showcase the fabrics so well!

Judy1522 said...

Sandra, all of your projects turned out beautiful and I really like all of them.

Kathy E. said...

I've gotten to know Sandra just recently through blogging. Henry Glass, she was a perfect choice to be featured with your fabrics! She's not only talented and creative, but she's funny and caring too! She's "all that AND a bag of chips"!! I'm glad I finally know who MacGyver is! It's also interesting how she started quilting with one little BOM.

Diane Beavers said...

Sandra,,,,,,I love love the Lighthouse. Living in coastal Virginia, USA that's a great tribute to this area, lots of history.
It's Cool to meet you and I'd love to visit the Lavender farm there.

bluestarof2(at)yahoo(dot)com

Joanne said...

These projects are WONDERFUL! As a quilter who lives across the water near the shores of Lake Erie, I love the staging for your pictures. Thanks for sharing so much of your talents with us. :-)

Anonymous said...

Well done. The creativity shimmered like the waves on Lake Erie.
Congratulations from the baby brother.

Marsha Hodgkins said...

Sandra, this is an amazing post! Congratulations on being the Henry Glass choice for the Challenge. They picked well and you did them proud. What wonderful projects. I have so many questions....
Do you have a pattern for the lighthouse for sale somewhere? Would love to make it for my daughter-in-law who loves lighthouses.
How did you do the lettering on the back of the Lake wallhanging?

THanks for stopping by my blog for the Twelve Days of Christmas. Now I've found you and want to stay in touch with what's happening here.
Marsha (QuilterinMotion)