Sunshine Quilts

Friday, September 30, 2005

A Breakfast Recipe

This is a great recipe and it is nice if you need something that doesn't require a lot of fuss. It's what we're having in the morning! Peach French Toast 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup butter 2 Tbl water 1 29 oz can sliced peaches, drained 12 slices day-old French bread 3/4 in thick 5 eggs 1 1/2 cups milk 1 Tbl vanilla ground cinnamon In a saucepan, bring brown sugar, butter and water to a boil. Cool until slightly thickened. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with the sliced peaches. Arrange bread over peaches. In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk and vanilla. Slowly pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes longer or until the bread is golden brown. This is extra good with a dollop of whipped cream. JL

Thursday, September 29, 2005

An Amazing Story

There's a message board for those from Lake Charles trying to get information about the hurricane. One of the sections is on "Business Updates". One firm had mentioned the plight of one of their employees. Here are the pertinent facts: The lady's husband worked for the sheriff's department. On Wednesday night before the storm hit, he was involved in an accident and suffered pretty serious injuries, consisting of a torn Aorta, bruise on his brain, fractured skull, broken ribs and a broken pelvis. He had surgery for the torn Aorta which necessitated collapsing a lung. Then with the hurricane heading their way, he was airlifted to Monroe, where he is still in ICU. Then Sunday, the wife had a baby! He arrived a few days early but can you imagine being 9 months pregnant and (1) your husband being involved in such a serious accident; (2) the hurricane heading your way and having to evacuate and (3) having the baby early with all this going on? I don't know these people but I think the mom and baby both need a quilt!! So, that's on the agenda for today. I think I'll see if I can find a panel type baby quilt for the baby and make something really pretty for the mom. JL

Art Quilts?? What am I Thinking?

I have been bitten by the art quilt bug. I have never liked art quilts! I watched my grandma quilt with scraps of old fabric, needle and thread. How can a quilt have paint and beads and raw edge applique?? Well, I'm going to try it. I blame my friend, Gayle from PA. I never accept blame for anything so this is all Gayle's fault! :) I have a plan. I know what I want to make first. No doubt it will not be fancy or an award winner but it will be a start. We don't have a JoAnn's Fabrics here but we do have a Hancock's so I'm going to go by there today to look for some fabrics. I know I need some good blacks and whites, maybe a couple of tan/browns and . . a new collar for the dog. Maybe a red collar! Can you guess what I'm going to try to do? JL

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Garage Doors

If ever I build another house, I am going to have a carport and NOT a garage. Am I the only one who has horrible luck with garage doors? I hate them! At our home, several years ago I managed to totally destroy the garage door. We had to replace it. (No, I didn't run into it!) There must've been (yes, there was!) something (a bucket behind my car so I couldn't see it) under the door. I hit the button to put the door down, it hit the bucket and went back up, I hit the button again (and probably again) and finally, the door just crumpled around the bucket. We replaced that door and then Vince managed to get a Nordic Track ski tangled up in the new door and messed it up. It was fixed . . somewhat, but it still works. Then, the garage door at my studio. It was an old door with regular glass. When Vince repainted the door, he took the trim off around each pane and then as he was putting the trim back, he broke 6 out of 8 of the panes. You never get good results when nails go through glass! Couldn't just change the glass because you now have to use some kind of safety glass and it was going to be about $200 to replace the glass. Who cares if the glass is broken? So, we left it. Then, as is often the case when things go wrong, Vince goes out of town. I came home one morning and as I put the garage door down, I heard a pop (that big spring), the door fell, every pane shattered and glass went everywhere and. . the garage door will not open. Another new double garage door! But, what really set me off is this. I never carry a house key. Never have. Yesterday morning I returned from taking Chad to school. The garage door would not open. OK . . no house key, every window is locked tight and the garage will not open. Could be the electricity is off but that rarely happens in town. I called the house from the cell phone to see if the answering machine picked up. Yes, so I knew the electricity was on. Called Vince. He said he'd come to my rescue. What a husband! But right before he got here, I clicked the button and it opened. He changed the battery in the opener and now it seems to work. But . . just in case it ever does that again, I now have a front door key on my key ring and I put a new battery in the old remote opener and I keep it in my car too! Judy L.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Heavy Heart

It's so sad watching my hometown, Lake Charles, LA, on the news. They're devastated and it breaks my heart. I've lost contact with my parents. I was able to talk to them Saturday but the phones aren't working again. They're at their camp 2 hours north of Lake Charles but they still lost power. I guess the cell phone batteries have died and they don't have car chargers. I talked to my nephew today. He stayed in Lake Charles but left yesterday. Said he HAD to have a bath and sleep in an air conditioned room. So much for roughing it! They first went to Alexandria but couldn't get a room and ended up driving to Shreveport where he *luckily* found a room at one of the casino hotels. Think he celebrated a bit much because when I called him at 10:30 this morning, I woke him up! They were heading to Monroe today to stay with family of a friend. I talked to my niece today too. Ahead of the storm, they had driven to their camp near Monroe. Then they heard the storm was going to be bad there so they left Friday morning and went to my sister's camp somewhere in mid-Mississippi. During the night, they lost power there. I don't think Pam's camp is really big and there were Pam and her husband and mother-in-law, another couple, Kristy, her husband and their three kids, Kristy's sister-in-law, her husband and their three kids so that makes 15 people in there. So, Saturday morning, Kristy and her family and her sister-in-law and her family all left and drove to near Jackson where they found 2 hotel rooms. They stayed there Saturday night, then drove back to Kristy's camp . . which also had no power. Kristy said they put glow sticks around the kids' necks last night so they could find them. The electricity came back on there this afternoon. Not sure how long they can stick it out. There are at least 15 people there now too. Damages my family has suffered have been minimal. A tree fell across mom's car (this was at their evacuation spot . . I knew they didn't go far enough!). Kristy has been told that they lost their fence, shingles on the roof are gone and some kind of vent was ripped off the roof which allowed rain in. A friend who had stayed behind did some temporary repairs to hopefully keep the water out. My grandparents had lived in a mobile home and they're both passed on now so dad had been working to get it ready to rent. Seems as though a tree or two fell on it and there are at least 7 holes in the roof. Not sure it can be salvaged. Also, dad still owns the house we grew up in and rents it. A tree fell on it. Mom and dad's house seems to have some a small amount of damage and they had a freezer full of shrimp and vegetables that will be lost but all in all, my family is very lucky. They've been told they cannot go back home until at least October 3 but that date is subject to change. Wish there was something I could do to help! Judy L.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Finished Two Quilts today

They both just needed the binding and since neither are show quilts or heirloom quilts, the binding was put on and finished on the machine. The purple heart quilt is the one I shared with you last week.

The quilting is pretty basic but I did do feathers in the heart

The second quilt I finished is from swap blocks from 1995 and 1996. I put the quilt together three years ago when we were at a cabin in Georgia for Christmas, quilted it a month or so ago and finally finished the binding today.

I think it was this quilt that caused my husband to tell me that all of my quilts looked like clown quilts! Judy L.

Darned Hurricane!

If you're a praying kinda person, please pray for the people in southwest Louisiana and along the Texas coast. My family is all in Lake Charles, LA and that's where I'll always call "home" but I'm afraid they're about to get nailed. Seeing the devastation, heartbreak and loss in New Orleans was terrible but it doesn't compare to the feelings I have now knowing my family is in the direct path of Rita. A mandatory evacuation order was just issued for the area in which my family lives so they're leaving. They had their vehicles full of gas and loaded yesterday so don't ask me why as of 9 a.m. this morning, they're still "getting ready to leave". Have you ever thought of how to decide what to take with you when you have a house full of your life's memories and possessions and you know you can only take what will fit in your car? They're going to their camp in north Louisiana (I think they should go farther . . like come to Kentucky!) The trip usually takes 2 hours but Dad said they're expecting to take 6 or more hours to get to there today. I wish they'd left yesterday. Not much else I can do and the news is making me cry so I think it's time to turn off the TV/radio, plug in the Ipod, fire up the longarm and hope for the best. Judy L.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Chicken Recipe

I want to share this recipe with you because it will give you more time for quilting! This is a yummy recipe. You season the chickens the night before, then bake them at 250 for 5 hours (while you quilt!) No fuss, little mess and a wonderful meal. The leftovers make fantastic chicken salad (I usually remove the leftover chicken from the bone and chop, add some toasted walnuts, celery, grapes, mayo, a little curry powder, sometimes add sliced radishes or chopped avocado. And, if you don't like some of the spices used, just leave them out (so long as it isn't the salt!) Once you make it and see if you like it, you can make up "spice bags" -- make up the spice mix in bulk (like if you're making 10 servings,you would use 10 x 4 tsp. salt, etc.), mix it all in a bowl, then put smaller portions in little ziplock bags. If you need a little "thinking of you" gift, write the recipe on a pretty card, and attach the ziplock bag with the spices. And, while we're at it . . have you noticed how expensive spices are? I sometimes order in bulk from Atlantic Spice. If you split up some of the big bags of spices with friends and neighbors, it's really economical. Here's the recipe. Let me know what you think about it if you try it. Roast Spicey Chicken 4 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons paprika 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon white pepper 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 2 onions, quartered 2 (4 pound) whole chickens In a small bowl, mix together salt, paprika, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Remove and discard giblets from chicken. Rinse chicken cavity, and pat dry with paper towel. Rub each chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Place 1 onion or 1 lemon (or both) into the cavity of each chicken. Place chickens in a resealable bag or double wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 to 6 hours. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place chickens in a roasting pan. Bake uncovered for 5 hours, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Let the chickens stand for 10 minutes before carving. Happy Cooking . . Judy L.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Quilting Gadgets

I'm a sucker for quilting gadgets and I'm betting you are too. While at the Nashville AQS show last month, I purchased a couple of gadgets and so far, I like them a lot. OK .. don't laugh but I bought the Alto Quilt Cut system. I had heard good things and bad things about it. I've probably heard way more people say they bought it and never use it but I have been wanting one for years so I bought it. So far, I can't say it's a whole lot quicker but I do think my cutting is more accurate. I believe I will be quicker with it once I'm more accustomed to using it. And, I bought a "Stich-n-Ditch Binder Foot" made by Martelli. It comes with several contraptions and several adapters to make the "foot" fit different machines. It is great for stitching binding by machine instead of by hand. I've used it twice. The first time, the binding looked ok. The second time, it looked a lot better but the adapter (which is plastic) broke. I sent Martelli e-mail and they have already sent me another adapter. I do so much charity quilting and this makes the binding finished by machine acceptable but the jury is still out on this. The plastic looks kinda flimsy. And, when the foot broke, it caused my sewing machine needle to break. I hate when that happens! Judy L.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Choosing Colors

I wasn't going to say anything here because it takes forever but . . I'm writing a book. If all goes well, it will be published in Fall, 2007. I can design the quilts and I can write the patterns but I cannot choose the colors! My favorites colors are lime, purple and orange but my editor wants a "wide range" of colors. Ughhh! I think she wants some tans and more muted colors. So, I'm struggling with my color choices. The next quilt in line to be done has three fabrics. Here are my choices. Are they awful?? Surely someone will like these colors??? Are they too boring? If you were browsing through a quilt book and came across a quilt made with these fabrics, would you say "yuck"? Be honest! For me to stay on track, I have to make two quilt tops a month. Yesterday (9/16) I finished the top that should have been finished on September 1. That means the one that should have been finished 9/15 has not been started. Not good! But, I'm not worried (although I probably should be!) because some of the tops are much easier than others and we're going to GA for a week for Fall Break, to Louisiana for almost two weeks at Christmas and then back to Louisiana for a week at Spring Break so that's four weeks of sewing time with little or no cooking, housekeeping, yard work, etc. If I could tear myself away from the computer, that would help a whole lot too! Back to sewing on a boring quilt! :) Judy L.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Quilt Mavericks & Bonnie

Thanks to all of you Quilt Mavericks who have welcomed me to the group. See the little star icon over on the right side --->? That says I'm a member of the Quilt Mavericks blog ring. What will they think of next? :) I'm thrilled to be a part of your group. I get up every morning, check out all the Mavericks' blogs to see what everyone has been working on, blow an hour or so on the web. So, to those of you who have wonderful posts, thanks for starting my day with a dose of quilting motivation. Bonnie Hunter started the Quilt Mavericks group and I'd like to share my Bonnie story with you. Bonnie is a wonderful longarm quilter with a wonderful webpage. I met Bonnie on a couple of the quilt e-mail groups in the mid-90's and knew she was a trustworthy, caring, sharing quilter. Bonnie has helped me along the quilting path in many ways and I want to thank her here for that help and for creating and maintaining the Quilt Mavericks ring for us. And for anyone who doesn't already know Bonnie, check out her website. She has tons of free piecing patterns and with her help, you can knock out those scraps in short order and have beautiful, quick quilts! Thanks Bonnie! Judy L.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Little Joys of Life

Home is where the heart is, right? Not really! Home for me will always be Louisiana where my family and friends are. Almost as much as I miss my family and friends, I miss crawfish and ginger lilies! We've been in Kentucky for eight years and, without fail, sometime in late summer I have this conversation with my mother (who knows how much I love ginger lilies!) Mom: You should see my ginger lilies. They are all blooming. Blooms everywhere! Me: Good! What have you been doing? Mom: They smell so good! I love walking outside in the morning and smelling those flowers! Me: Good. How's dad? Mom: I have so many more blooms than I had last year. Me: Good! How's Kristy and the girls? Mom: Remind me to send you some ginger lilies and you can see if they grow there. NEVER happened! So, when we were home last spring, I grabbed about five bulbs, brought them home and planted them in pots. I will bring them in when it gets too cold and I will have ginger lilies forever! In Louisiana, they've been blooming for several months now but my first bloom opened this morning and it smells SOOO good!! I wish I could offer a "scratch & sniff" button here but . . you'll just have to trust me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Day on the Road

Spent today on the road but it was a fun day. My friend, Becky, and I went to Nashville this morning so I could see the kidney stone doctor. Then we ate at Macaroni Grill, spent some time at Quilters Attic in Goodlettsville. I didn't spend a dime! :) On to Springfield, TN to Choice Fabrics where I bought a couple of bolts of wide backing fabric. Didn't spend much money but had a great day with Becky. No sewing today but tomorrow . . I'll be stuck like glue to my sewing machine!! Judy L.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Purple Heart Quilt

I had planned to spend the day cleaning the house but I think I'll quilt my purple heart quilt. I designed this quilt for the Quilt of Valor program. It's available as an EQ5 project or, the instructions/pattern are on my website for downloading.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Adding borders to quilts

As a longarm quilter, one of the problems I see most often is border problems. I'll give you my tips on making sure your borders are perfect and your quilt top is flat. 1. Measure your quilt -- measure your quilt several times. Measure across the top, the bottom and across the middle widthwise. Are these measurements the same? If not, how far off are they? If it's just a quarter inch, I wouldn't get too worried about that. If it's more, fix it! Let's just say this top is supposed to be 60 x 70. Suppose your top measurement is 60.5 (which is what it should be). Suppose your middle measurement is 61 and your bottom measurement is 61.5. Sounds pretty absurd but I've taken borders off quilts and found that the top and bottom measurements might be up to 5" different. To take out some of the fullness at the bottom, find a seam that you can adjust without causing problems. Be careful making adjustments in seams that create points because you may lose a point. Make a few seams 1/8" larger. Measure again and continue until you get it right. If your center measurement was off . . go back to the center and adjust some of those seams. Do the same measurements for the left, right and middle lengthwise of the quilt. Once you are sure your top measurements are correct, you're ready to add borders. 2. Be sure your corners are square. Place a large square ruler on the corner and be sure the quilt top corner is square with the ruler. If you're not mitering the corners, add the side borders first, then add the top and bottom border. 3. Measure your borders. For this imaginary quilt, the side borders should be 70.5". Find the halfway point in the border and then divide those in half to find the quarter point. Mark these so you have a mark at every quarter of the border. Then mark the quarter points on your top. Match those marks, pin . . pin . . pin! 4. Make your seam. Press. Square across the top and bottom by trimming the top and bottom using your ruler to be sure it is all straight. 5. Add the top and bottom borders. Press. Square the corners. You should now have a nice, square, flat quilt! Judy L.