Sunshine Quilts

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Successful Trip to the Quilt Shop

I had to go to the quilt shop yesterday. Yes, I HAD to go! I try to go once a month to pick up and deliver quilts that I've quilted. It's about a 40 mile drive to the shop and it's mostly back roads but it's a pretty drive and I always enjoy going. A friend went with me and we went to Evansville, IN first so we could go to JoAnn's. I had a 40% off coupon and I bought some heavy duty fabric to replace the leaders on the longarm. Then we headed to Boonville to Village Mercantile. I needed fabric for three projects. The blue/pink stack at the top is for a project that I hope to submit to a magazine and if they don't want it, I'll maybe publish it as a single pattern. The bottom stack with the greens, ecru, black, etc. is for a Christmas quilt and I had no Christmas fabric in my stash. The pieces on the left are a panel and coordinating fabric for a panel quilt for a baby quilt for a gift for the lady/baby in Lake Charles whose husband was injured just before Rita hit. That is all I bought . . nothing I didn't *need*! Are you proud of me? I'm proud of myself! Judy L.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Stash is out of Control

In preparation for my journey through "The Artist's Way", I began thinking about what most seems to limit my creativity. And, without a doubt, it is the clutter which I allow to surround me. I've mentioned here before that I was going to make 100 stash quilts. Well, it may have to be 200! For the past several days I have been organizing my stash and getting rid of some pieces I know I will never use. Mostly it was stuff that I had kept that just had smidgens or the fabric was poor quality and I just couldn't bring myself to toss it but . . no more! If it isn't going to get used, it's outta here. Not to give any specifics but . . I have over 2,000 yards currently in my stash. There's no justification for that! It's a waste! It is a waste of space, a waste of money and I should never have done it but I did and I am not going to let it bother me but my promise to myself is that I am not buying fabric unless it is something I *need* for an important project and I have searched my stash and there is *nothing* that will work. Here are a few shots of my newly organized stash. I have all my fabric in my studio which is a fairly small three bedroom home. The longarm is in the master bedroom. In the bedroom where I sleep when I stay in town, there are two twin beds. I had all this fabric crammed in a closet so I spread some of it out on the extra bed. Picture #2 shows all the organized piles on the bed. I'll never use all this fabric! Picture #3 shows the neat stacks! Yes, they are going to stay neat! There are a couple of stacks of greens, (don't ask my why green is the only thing with its own section); a couple of stacks of florals, some stripes, some tone on tones except the Moda Marbles (they are in a stack by themselves on the bed). Picture #4 shows three stacks of batiks and then some not so special pieces that are stacked on the floor. I like them but they aren't my all time favorites. Last, is a picture of the four piles at the end of the bed. The Moda Marbles are in the far right stack. Yep, a stash to be proud of but I am not proud because this is totally out of control and I am going to make a HUGE dent in it. Just watch me! :) JL

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Just what a mom needs!

Yesterday my son's anatomy class took a field trip to UK. They left school at 4:15 a.m. and arrived back at about 6:30 p.m. I wrote to teacher an e-mail to let her know how much Chad enjoyed the trip and thanking her for her long day. Here's part of the response I received back. You would have been proud of him yesterday. He was the lead in answering many of the questions. I'm so glad to see him engaged and enthusiastic. He is a really good young man. Whew! I needed to hear that! JL

Narrow Fabric Drives me NUTS!

Why is it that fabrics are no longer 44" wide? Heck, some are barely 40" wide these days. It just bugs the heck out of me. It would seem that fabric manufacturers could agree on some width and stick with it! Look at this strip. The longer (actually almost 45" wide) fabric is Red Rooster fabric. I love Red Rooster fabrics! The shorter one is 42" wide, with a wide selvage so that when the selvage is removed, you have 41" of useable fabric. This one is "Nancy J. Smith & Lynda S. Milligan, Possibilities for AvLyn, Inc." I'm not picking on them because there are several manufacturers that keep getting narrower and narrower (wish I could say the same thing for myself! ) I think as a group, quilters should demand some kind of standard from the fabric manufacturers. So, for now, I am going to measure the width of fabrics at the quilt shop and I'm not going to buy those that are way short (unless I *really* like them!) JL

Monday, October 17, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Our time at the cabin in Georgia was wonderful! As much fun as we had there, it is good to be home to my own little nest of fabric, sewing paraphernalia, longarm and . . my own bed! Speck was happy to get back to his fenced yard where he doesn't have to be taken out on a leash. He loves his little backyard. Chad probably wasn't happy to get home because he had to go back to school today. No doubt Vince wasn't happy to go back to work today but he was happy to get back in his own bed too. I highly recommend the cabin in GA if anyone wants to spend a few days of R & R. It's Wally's Wonderland. The Blue Ridge area of GA is such a pretty region. The mountains are green and not so cruel and rugged looking as the Rockies, many of the streams and rivers are crystal clear but Atlanta has moved north! Just three years ago when we were in Blue Ridge, the area wasn't nearly so busy and commercialized. This community had been near the top of our choices for retirement but I think we may have changed our mind. My vote is to retire in KY maybe on one of the lakes but I have a feeling my vote doesn't count. Chad has to be at school at 4:15 a.m. for a field trip so night-night time comes early so . . goodnight! Judy

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Kodak Moments and . . no Kodak!

This is what I get for complaining about all the STUFF we were taking on the trip. I had my camera packed but I took it out to take a picture of my ugly fabric and . . I forgot the camera, picture and all. As we were backing out of the driveway, I remembered but I thought to myself . . Vince has his so I won't worry about it. We get here and I asked him where his camera is packed and he said "I didn't bring it, I knew you'd have yours!" We even went to Wal-Mart to see if they had a decent deal on a digital camera but they didn't. So, we've missed a picture of the one rainbow trout Vince caught and Vince falling through the step getting out of the hot top . . sprawled across the patio. What a sight! He wasn't hurt and as soon as I knew he was ok, it was quite a sight! I also had my square ruler packed, took it out to square up one block and . . forgot it too. The new rule at my house is ONE SOMETHING IS PACKED, DON'T TAKE IT OUT! This cabin is beyond wonderful. There's not another cabin in sight . . total privacy. The hot tub is on the patio; there's a huge jaccuzzi tub in the master bath, the kitchen has a gas stove (I had forgotten how nice it is to cook on gas); there's a pool table in the walkout basement and Chad has been playing pool when he wasn't fishing and there's obviously internet -- wireless DSL. I could live here! The guys fish all day and I sew all day, then we sit in the hot tub and sip wine for a while in the evening, then the guys watch a dvd while I sew some more. What a life, huh? JL

Friday, October 07, 2005

Whatever happened to the Simple Life?

We're leaving tomorrow for a week in Georgia, in the mountains, in a cabin. Sounds pretty simple, huh? This is the first year our schools have had a full week for Fall Break. We couldn't decide what we wanted to do. Initially, we wanted to go to St. George Island, FL. But, with hurricane season still in full swing, we decided against that plan since we were making reservations back in July. A lot can happen (and has happened!) on the Gulf Coast in that amount of time. We thought about going home to Louisiana but I wanted to go home at Christmas. It's a 14 hour drive (have to drive . . have to take the dog). No one wanted to drive 14 hours there and 14 hours back in October and again in December. Good thing we decided against that because they still don't have electricity in most of Lake Charles. What about trout fishing in north GA? YES! Vince and Chad love to trout fish so I found a cabin that allows dogs, has a hot tub, has a pool table, satellite TV, washer and dryer and .. has wireless internet. What more could you ask for? Maybe . . a larger vehicle! I have a Honda CRV which is large enough because 99.9% of the time, it's just me in the car. Not this trip! I'm trying to arrange everything and . . we have a problem! There's a crate for the dog, there's a Singer 301, there is a huge box with waders, there are 4 quilt tops cut out to be sewn. I could probably take 2 tops and still stay busy. There are 4 fishing poles, at least two tackle boxes. We all have clothes, Chad has a pillow and a blanket; Speck has a pillow because he will sit on my lap on the pillow, Speck has his quilt. Most of these things are required and they fit . . snuggly but they fit. Then, here's what I don't get and here's where I long for the simple life. There are three laptops, 2 Ipods, 2 cell phones AND a Blackberry, 2 digital cameras; Chad even has a set of speakers for his Ipod, cords and car chargers for all this stuff. Except for the laptops, none of this other "stuff" takes up a whole lot of room but why do we need it? We do NOT and next year, maybe we'll just break out the tent, the Coleman stove and go to a park. Leave behind all the electronics. Judy L.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Disaster Zone

My house is a disaster! I've managed to cut out four quilts to take with me next week. Two of the quilts are fabrics that I bought speficially for those quilts; two came from the stash. Not bad but I'm not doing a heck of lot of stash reduction. It isn't because I didn't try though! Every room in this house looks like a fabric storm has blown through. I was determined to come up with a combo out of the batiks . . didn't happen. Once the quilts for the book are done, I'm making 100 stash quilts . . front and backing from the stash. Think I can do it? JL

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bedtime Struggles

Not what you think . . :) I hate going to bed. I am never ready to stop what I'm doing when the clock tells me it's time to stop. Some nights I spend several hours thinking to myself . . you're going to be sorry! And, when the alarm goes off, I am very sorry (and very tired!). Sunday night, I was headed to bed at a respectable hour and a piece of batik caught my attention. I spent TWO hours trying to match other batiks; pulling fabrics and making a monstrous mess in the living room floor where I had about 40 fabrics out for auditioning. When I would think I had something close to perfect, I'd plug the fabrics into EQ, find they weren't quite perfect and continue with my fabric search. At one point, I even decided that maybe I would mix regular cotton fabrics with batiks so I pulled those out too. Shortly after midnight I decided my only option would be to buy more batik to match this one piece I wanted to use. On my second attempt at going to bed, I remembered a piece of fabric I had bought to be used for a backing. Perfect!! I have the backing for a top but can't come up with the fabrics for the top. Nothing to do but get out of bed, dig out the backing piece, try to match fabrics by using that piece. This is the closest match I made. One has an ecru for the light and the other is a yellow. I don't think either is perfect.

At 2 a.m. I went to bed . . defeated! With more fabric than any one person should have in one house, nothing worked! The alarm went off at 5:30 and I snoozed til 6:00 . . what a waste of time! But I told myself I would be in bed at a decent hour on Monday night. Didn't happen! Last night (Monday), I was making my way to bed, thrilled that I was actually going to bed at a decent hour. Then I remembered some projects! When I went to the Nashville show, I had cut out three quilts to take with me to work on in the room. I have one top made. Where are the other two? Hmmm, don't have a clue so I begin searching. There was a bag under the cutting table and I knew they weren't in that bag so I never looked but, that's where they were. One of the projects isn't on my "DO IT NOW" list so I took it out, found another couple of projects that need to be done in a fairly urgent time frame and again, it's almost 2 a.m. before I went to bed. Maybe putting this plan into writing will help me to do what I want to do. A little self-control would help too. I am going to be in bed, with the lights off by 10:30 tonight! JL

Monday, October 03, 2005

Questioning the Direction of my Quilting

Last week I was had a personal crisis in my quilting life. It would not be a crisis to those who have had a real crisis but for me, whose life is a bed of roses, it was a crisis. Here's how it began: I'm pretty bogged down with making quilts for my book. It's hard to make 20 quilts that will appeal to the book buying quilters. I want to make what *I* like and . . that's probably NOT what 99% of other quilters would look at and say "I have to make THAT quilt!" So, it's hard for me to choose colors that I'm thinking will please others. Then it's harder to make those quilts. I am sure I have ADD and sticking with a project til it's finished is just torture. But here's what really started my crisis: On several of the quilt lists I am on, seems like everyone was posting that they had been notified that their quilts had won awards at Houston. I began to feel sorry for myself. I want to win something! Heck, I'd be happy to have something to enter and I don't see that happening at all next year. About Friday, I was really second guessing the direction of my quilting. Do I want to continue longarming for others? Do I want to make art quilts? Do I want to make show quilts? Do I want to make scrap quilts? Do I want to write and publish patterns? Do I want to just work on whatever strikes me when I get up each morning and not have to stay focused on whatever might be expected of me (customer quilts, book deadlines)? I committed to thinking this through over the weekend to get myself back on track and that's exactly what I did. My conclusion is that what I *really* want to do is make charity/donation/gift quilts. Some people spend a whole year making a quilt for their "show" quilt. I don't have time to make just one quilt. I have Quilt of Valor quilts to make, teacher gifts to make, comfort quilts for people who have touched my heart in various ways. In conclusion, I would rather make 10 comfort quilts than one show quilt but if something has potential to be a show quilt, I will enter it, but I will not fret over making a quilt to enter in a show. I will finish the book. I will continue to quilt for others but the heart of my quilting will be making quilts for others, hopefully to show them that they are appreciated and the best way I can show my appreciation, mostly to people I don't really know, is with a quilt! Whew . . glad that's settled! Speaking of comfort quilts . . I posted last week about the lady who had several real crises during the approach and hit by Hurricate Rita to Lake Charles. I was able to find out her favorite color . . olive green. I think that's kinda weird - not sure I ever knew someone whose favorite color was olive green. But it turns out that I had a quilt that was made and quilted, just needed binding and it is olive green with peachy pinks. It's really pretty and was going to be a quilt for me but it worked out that it will go to Jenny. I'll get the binding done soon, get the baby quilt made and send those off to her. Then there's another quilt I want to make for someone special (I'll talk more about that one later). I've come to know her husband through his blog and I contacted him and told him I wanted to make his wife a quilt and asked about her favorite color. It's sage green! Isn't it weird that two people in a row like almost the same shade of green? JL