Sunshine Quilts

Saturday, December 31, 2005

2006 is Here!

Ready or not, 2006 is here. Stashquilters, what are your plans for using the stash in January? We're not really going to hold anyone accountable. This is just for fun; I don't want anyone to feel guilty if you make nothing using your stash or if you go on a buying frenzy. But, you all obviously want to use the stash or you wouldn't have joined the stashquilts ring. I've mentioned here before that I'm making a quilt for a chaplain's wife. I started reading the chaplain's "Training for Eternity" blog after reading about it or hearing Hugh Hewitt talk about Chaplain Lewis' blog entry on December 21, 2004 entitled "Mascal". Our family has adopted several soldiers through the Adoptaplatoon program. At the time of the incident Chaplain Lewis wrote about, our adopted soldier was stationed at the area that had been hit. He was a Stryker (Thankfully, he is now home and safe and we received a Christmas card from him this year). So, the whole incident kinda hit home for me. Even though our adopted soldiers are total strangers, I pray for them daily and send as much stuff as I can possibly send. After reading Chaplain Lewis' entry for that day, I just felt he was such a great guy. Then I spent a little more time on his blog and read several entries he had written about his wonderful wife and family. So, to make a very long story (that doesn't need to be long but I talk too much) short, I wrote Chaplain Lewis and told him that I wanted to make his wife a quilt and he told me her favorite colors. I went to the quilt shop, with pattern in hand, bought the fabric, came home and washed it and it is on my January list of things to do. Tonight I was going to start cutting the fabric and for the life of me, I cannot remember which pattern I was going to make. I have spent several hours trying to match up yardage requirements to what I have! Nothing fits!! Patty . . see why I need lists! :) I did get the quilting done on one of the heart quilts. As is often the case, I like the front but I love the back! This quilt (and its companion) will be in the American Quilter magazine so I'm not going to post a picture of the front of it yet. All the fabric from both tops and both backs came from my stash!! I hope you all have a very productive and happy 2006. Judy

Making a List and Checking it Twice!

No, I'm not Santa! On Patty's blog, she has an entry about lists and how she feels about them. While I don't make lists of everything I do, I live by lists. It could be because I'm so disorganized that I have to be ultra-organized or I don't function. It could be because without a list, I will sit at the sewing machine almost 24/7 and do nothing else. I enjoy having a list to follow. Otherwise, I'd be constantly trying to figure out what I was forgetting to do (not that I don't forget things even though I have a list!) One list that I make and pretty much live by is a weekly menu. We rarely go out to eat and I love to cook so this works great for us. We have our big meal at lunch and Vince is rarely here for dinner so I try to fix things for lunch that Vince likes and things for dinner that Chad likes. I'll eat anything so that makes it pretty easy! I think we have pretty interesting meals and it's a heck of a lot less expensive to eat at home than to eat out. I print two copies of the "menu". One goes on the fridge for everyone to see. The second one has recipes attached and it goes into a three ring binder. I don't know why I keep them . . I rarely go back and re-use a menu. I sometimes use the same recipes but haven't ever used the same menu. Here's our menu for the coming week. Judy

Gumbo recipe

You saw the roux last night. Here's the pot on the stove simmering: Several of you asked about my gumbo recipe. It's one of those things that I just do . . no recipe. If you can make a roux, you can make a gumbo. I found this at that has good instructions for making a roux (it isn't hard but you can't burn it!) That's basically what I do to make my roux. They say to let it cool a bit before adding the chopped veggies but I don't. I put the onions, peppers and garlic in while it's hot so they saute. Don't add the veggies until the roux is as dark as you want it. You have to get it pretty dark -- cook it slow and stir it constantly. Veggies: 2 onions, chopped 1 bell pepper, chopped garlic, chopped (however much you'd like) Add to roux and saute. Add about 2 quarts hot water (can mix a little broth in here if you'd like). I usually boil my chicken a day ahead of time. Put the broth in the fridge so the fat can be skimmed off. Remove the chicken from the bones and chop it for the gumbo. I don't measure but you can cook it down or add more water to get the consistency you like. Add salt, black and red pepper to taste. If you want to add sausage to the gumbo, slice it and fry it to remove the grease before adding to the gumbo. Add a couple of bay leaves. Simmer for a couple of hours. Before serving, add chopped parsley and chopped green onions. Serve with a bowl of hot rice and file (spice you probably can't find if you don't live way down south . . can't find it in Kentucky). But you can make your own file if you have a sassafras tree nearby. Here's how you do it: Never add the file to the pot . . it will get very slimey. Add it to your own bowl right before you're ready to start eating. Yum . . we're fixing to have ours now! Judy

Friday, December 30, 2005

It's All About . . Food!

Or so it seems today. Vince has a friend in FL and every year he sends us oranges and grapefruit . . not just everyday stuff but all kinds and sizes of oranges and red, white and pink grapefruit. He has them growing in his yard! Just goes out and picks them and sends them and they are so good! Too bad Vince was here when they arrived or I would have been tempted to tell him they never got here and hide them so I can have them all for myself. Vince had already grabbed some of them to take to work before I was able to take the picture. I've only had three of them today and I'm going to have a grapefruit for dinner! Thanks Steve and Ann for the yummy fruit! My family has been asking for gumbo so I made that tonight. Hard to believe something that starts out so ugly can be so good! I used leftover smoked chicken for the meat; will let it simmer for a couple of hours, then cool down before putting it in the fridge for our dinner tomorrow. I have one of the heart quilts on the longarm now. I'm doing McTavishing in the background which takes forever. I love piecing and when I haven't pieced in a few days, I miss it so much! But, I also love longarming and when I've been away from the longarm for a few days, I realize how fun it is and how much I miss it when not doing it. I suppose the solution would be to do some piecing and some longarming every day but I'm usually trying to finish a quilt . . whether piecing or longarming. Back to quilting so I can get this top finished tonight . . hopefully. Judy

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Welcome to 2 new StashQuilts members

We're growing! Hope our efforts to use the stash doesn't cause any problems for our local quilt shops! :) Jan Mac is in Australia and she and I (and probably Bonnie) met on the Sunshine Quilts online group years ago. Mary is in north Georgia, an area we love to visit! Welcome to the StashQuilts group! Judy

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Computer Guru -- NOT ME

I don't have to repeat it because you all know it already - give me 5 minutes alone with a computer and I can ruin it. It isn't like that with other things in my life. I never ruin a sewing machine, or the car, or the appliances. Heck, I think I've had the same curling iron for 10 years or more! The laptop is waiting to be picked up to be sent back for repairs. The tests show a hard drive failure and as best I can tell, that was not my fault. Some things just happen. The desktop . . that's another story. I'll take responsibility for the problems it has. I bought this E-machines computer in July, 05. I think they come with a 3 day warranty but . . they're cheap! And the salesman assured us E-machines was bought out by Gateway and they're not anything like the old E-machines. (Not only did I have one of the old E-machines once but I also bought stock in the company! That's another thing . . never take stock advice from me either!) OK . . so I bring the E-machines home and Vince sets it up. He knows that the less contact I have with a computer, the better the chances of him not having to replace it. I used it for at least three days but at some point, I figured out that when I put in a memory card from the camera, the machine was great . . read it with no problem. But, when I took out the memory card, the computer would not read it again unless I re-booted the computer. Not a problem because I had the laptop and it worked great (back then!). But Vince was out of town and I decided to fix the E-machine. I made the mistake of calling tech support . . about a dozen times. They log each call so they knew I was getting nowhere with fixing this problem. They finally had me do something and I knew I shouldn't have done it but it pretty much wiped out my whole computer. Vince came home and he wasn't happy that I'd tried to fix it but I had printed everything the E-machines guys told me to do so he didn't blame me for the screw up. We decided to just leave it alone because I had the laptop (HAD is the key word!). Without the laptop, I need the card reader to work in the desktop so yesterday was his day to fix that. He contacted E-machines and they suggested a couple of things which he tried. One of the things was taking the whole case apart (which involved Vince seeing the amount of dust and grime behind my computer!) and re-setting the memory card reader. He did it. I tried it and it worked fine the first time but would not recognize the memory card when I put it back in. Now . . before I knew better, when I needed to remove the memory card, I yanked it out. But Vince told me never to do that! I now click on the little "remove card" icon and it tells me it's ok to remove the card. So, when all else failed, I got online and read the E-machines manual and here is what it says: Amazing! Judy

End of the Year Ramblings

This is the time of year where many of us look back at the old year and look forward to the new year. Few years, if any, have I looked back and been thrilled with my accomplishments, probably because the first things on my "must do" lists are lose weight, get more organized and other similar acts that obviously aren't really at the top of my priority list. I set myself up to fail by putting those things that I know in my head I should change but have not yet totally made the commitment to change. If I really want to lose weight, and commit to doing it, I can do it . . no reason why I can't. Same thing with getting organized. I manage to organize the things I want organized but have just enough of my life disorganized to seem to always be living in chaos. So . . what do I do? Make a list of what I'd like to accomplish in 2006 and include at the top that I will lose weight and get more organized?? I don't think so! Not exactly sure how I'm going to tackle the List for 2006. There will be one because I do work better with a list. I still have a few days to think about this. But, what really got me to thinking about my life and where I'd like to go is Patty's Morning Rambling blog, which I came across by following a link on Bonnie's blog. This is a lifestyle I would truly love to live! This is similar to the lifestyle my grandparents lived . . not because they chose it but because they had no choice. I can never have a lifestyle similar to what Patty describes for several reasons but there are a lot of things I can do to change our lifestyle. I'm not sure exactly where I'm heading with this but whatever changes I make will have to be subtle. Chad and Vince might send me to live with Patty if I make too many changes too quickly but if I don't start somewhere, there'll never be any change, right? So, what are some of the areas of my life that are needing such radical changes (as I see it)?

  1. Stuff - Even though I hate shopping, I have so much darned stuff! You know about the fabric stash but I'm a Bath & Body Works addict! There are dozens of BBW items in my bathroom, bedroom, kitchen . . everywhere. I love lavender and I buy everything I see that has lavender - soap, shampoo, candles. If I never again purchase hand cream or shampoo, I would probably not run out if I live to be 100.
  2. More Stuff - I never get rid of anything! I haven't worked since 1997 but I still have all my work clothes,probably 30 or more pairs of high heel shoes and long, dangly ear rings. I will probably never work again and if I do, it is doubtful that a size 6 will ever fit again; if I tried to walk in those shoes, I'd break my neck and I never wear long ear rings any more so why do I still have this stuff?
  3. Computer - I'm spending way too much time on the computer. With the laptop, it was so easy to grab it and do something that should take 2 or 3 minutes but first thing you know, I've been on the computer for 30 minutes or more.
  4. Eating Habits - I love sugar and I eat/drink way too much. I don't eat healthy at all. For so many years, I could eat what I wanted and never had a weight problem but those years seem to have passed and I now gain weight just thinking about eating.
  5. Gardening - I want to grow more of my own veggies. I've had a fairly decent garden in the past but my nature is to plant it, tend to it for a while, then it gets hot and the weeds come with a vengeance and I give up. This summer I planted three mini Roma tomato plants and those little plants worked so hard. I have never seen so many tomatoes from three plants. Last week I paid $3 for a little bag of grape tomatoes and I truly appreciated my plants that had long since been frozen back. There isn't much room for a garden at the house in town so I may not be able to have a big garden this summer but I will plant what I can.

That's a start to my list of things I need to change to get to a lifestyle I'd like to live. Not everything I need to do but it's a start.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Limited Sewing Time

I do love my family but . . I am not used to having everyone around ALL the time! Vince is off work til Thursday. Chad is out of school til 1/4. I'm cooking and washing and cleaning and cooking and cleaning and cooking and washing! I had hoped to finish a top yesterday and I got one row done. So far, today, I've made one block. Deadlines are not going to be met at this rate! Last night I went in the quilting room (for time alone!) and quilted a log cabin quilt for the tornado victims. I miss my laptop terribly! We smoked 2 chickens yesterday. Oh, they were so good. I took the leftover meat off the bone, froze some of it and will make a gumbo with some of it. Doesn't that sound yummy? Might do that tomorrow. Today we did a pork butt and had the most delicious pulled pork I've probably ever had. Oh, it was soooo good! Here's a picture of the meat just as we were going to pull it out of the smoker. We really love this little smoker. Last night I found a fabric in the stash that I can use for the backing on one of the tops I've been working on so I'm going to load that on the longarm tonight. More stash being used!! :) Judy

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Vince's Present

The gift has now been unveiled. It is a smoker -- a Cookshack SM009 model to be exact! Vince was as happy with it as I had hoped he'd be. I can't wait to use it. Pulled pork is not something our family ate and I have fallen in love with it in KY. I have a pork butt all covered in rub and in the fridge to be smoked tomorrow. Takes about 16 hours to smoke an 8 pound butt so it will be Tuesday before we get to taste our first smoke. The smoker has to be seasoned before we can do meat and we didn't do it today because it was raining and snowing off and on all day today. I finished the top using the blue, purple and red fabric and have cut out another one that will have a plain (non-pieced) border. Here are the fabrics I'm using for the second one. The colors aren't very true in the picture but the one that looks blue is really royal purple. It's another stash quilt! The diagnosis on the laptop is sad! It's a hard drive failure. The good news is that I got suckered into buying an extended warranty so for once, it paid off. The bad news is that I have to send it off to be repaired and they say it will be gone 2 - 3 weeks. I hate using the desktop and for some reason, I just can't be creative while sitting at a desk typing on that monster computer. Vince would probably take my credit card but I'm seriously thinking about checking the sales to see if there's a notebook on sale. Never know what you might find in those after-Christmas sales. I was able to get all my patterns and EQ files onto the backup drive. Chad got a fly tying kit for Christmas and that was definitely his favorite gift. He has been tying flies all afternoon. He does love to fish! The prime rib turned out fantastic! I can't believe how easy it was to make. I used my Nesco roaster and it was so good! It was my first time to cook prime rib but I'll do it again. I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas! Judy

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Growing Stash

Oops! The stash is supposed to be shrinking, right? I have an excuse. I always will! Late last week I learned I need to make a purple/blue/red quilt. It also needed some background fabric. I hastily went through my stash and nothing jumped out at me. I was feeling rushed so I talked Vince into driving up to to the quilt shop with me Saturday. There wasn't anything there that really thrilled me but I had to make this quilt. I bought fabric, knowing that it looked way too "red hat". The blue was more of a violet so I ended up with red, pale purple and violet. The background was from the red hat line . . ecru, red, purple and violet. By Monday, I knew that combination was not going to work. Once again, I began digging through the stash. I could almost get the combination I wanted using batiks so I got online and ordered fabric from Big Horn. Because it is hard to be sure about the colors, I ordered a couple of reds, and a purple (maybe two) . . 3 yards of each! The thought kept occuring that there had to be something in the stash that would work. I began to dig more and came up with this combination. I've actually added about 20 yards to the stash that I didn't need to add. Lesson learned: Don't panic and rush out and buy fabric til I am positively sure there isn't something here that will work.

Christmas Crazies

Whew . . it's crazy out there. Got kinda crazy here last night too. You all know how much I love my dog. Poor Speck . . his front right shoulder/leg is defective, not sure if it's a birth defect or from an injury, and every now and then, it kinda pops out of socket. It happens if he jumps and lands wrong (he has one speed . . wide open!) or if he's playing with toys and running and makes a sudden stop. The vet here doesn't really like to mess with it. Speck has an orthopedic vet in Indianapolis. Thankfully he has a satellite office near Paducah (in Murray) and if we're lucky, we can see him there. It isn't something that can really be fixed, the ortho vet can put him to sleep and get it back into place if we can't do it ourselves but Vince has been able to get it back in place pretty much all the time. I've only been able to fix it once. Last night I gave him a bath and he always gets real energetic after a bath. He was on the back of the sofa, jumped down to the seat part and landed wrong and there went the leg. Vince was at the other house, it was almost 10 and he was already asleep. Lucky for us, he loves the dog as much as I do so he came to town, popped it back in place and for now, Speck is good as new. I get so upset when it happens . . I have to learn to be more calm in frustrating situations. I swore I wouldn't go near the shopping areas any time in December but there was one more thing I needed so we could make Vince's gift work and I want to put it to use soon! :) Oh, goodness! That sounds funny. I've built this gift up so that you're all probably going to be disappointed when I post what it is. So, bright and early, I was at Lowe's. They didn't have it but thought Rural King might which is on the other side of town. Not really a big deal because town is pretty small but I decided to check Home Depot and they had one . . even better than what I was hoping to get. Then to the meat market where I had ordered a prime rib for Christmas dinner. To make a long story short, I left without the prime rib and will not go back to that meat market. From there I went to Kroger for a few things I needed. Seems as though everyone else was at Kroger today. Everyone was friendly and cheerful and they had plenty of checkers so it wasn't bad. Didn't get everything I needed because I was meeting Vince for lunch and it's quite warm out today so I didn't want to leave meat and milk in the car. Met Vince, ate, came home and unloaded everything, back to the Wal-Mart on my side of town for gas and the remainder of the groceries. I think I am set and I am not leaving home again til 12/26 or later! I'm kinda wishing I had planned to do Christmas at home instead of at the house in town. Is this the smallest kitchen you've ever seen? I can't imagine why anyone would have a kitchen this small. This picture was taken when we first bought this house. We've changed out the stove (has a smooth top 5 burner with a convection oven), put in a new dishwasher and changed out the stove vent for a microwave/vent unit. If you're standing at the sink, there's a fridge and pantry to your back, and a closet with a washer/dryer so what you're seeing is all the space I have. Worse than the space is that I have only one fridge here, and it's not a huge fridge. At home I have a huge kitchen but since I spend most of my time at the house in town and all my "stuff" is here, we decided to do Christmas here. I'm not complaining (sure sounds like it, huh?) but this two house situation has gotten a bit frustrating at times. We're having prime rib (first time I've ever cooked this), baked potatoes, salad, rolls and something with carrots. I have a great carrot souffle recipe but I think I saw something in a magazine that I might want to try. Dessert is a grasshopper cake and maybe some kind of pie. Nothing like knowing exactly what we're having, huh? What's everyone else having? Judy

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Poor Little Helper

Speck has to be sitting as close to me as he can get. I sit on the sofa, he's right next to me; I sit in the recliner, he's in my lap; I sew, he's right by the sewing machine. I had a box of batting scraps to take to the quilt shop (they use them for practic on the sewing machine demos) and the bolt of fabric was actually some fabric that I hate and had thrown what's left of the bolt in the trash. Last night as I was gathering up the trash for pickup today, I decided I couldn't throw it out so I laid it over by the box of batting thinking maybe the quilt shop could use it for practice sewing too. Today, I'm sitting at my sewing machine and I can see out the corner of my eye that Speck is busy with something. When I looked, he had pulled this big hunk of batting out and managed to unroll some of the fabric from the bolt to try to make himself a snug spot. Isn't he cute? Judy

Welcome Cher to the StashQuilts ring

We have another stashquilter! Cher's blog is Marathon Quilter. Looks like there will be a bunch of us busting the stash in 2006. Think how much shopping we'll be able to do in 2007 to rebuild our stashes! :) Maybe the goal should not be to rebuild the stash but for me personally, it feels so good to be whittling down this massive mountain of fabric. I finished my December goals yesterday so I rewarded myself by setting the clock one hour later this morning. Ahhh, an extra hour of sleep! Felt good! Judy L.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Someone is Confused

On December 8, I ordered Vince's Christmas present. My credit card was charged on December 8. When I placed the order, I was told that before they mailed the present, I would receive an e-mail with the tracking number so I could follow its path from them to me. I never received the e-mail so I called on Monday and they said "oh, it takes 2 - 4 weeks before we mail it." That was on the web page in fine print and I should've paid closer attention. The lady told me that they were going to ship it on 12/20 and I would receive an e-mail with the tracking number. I did and when I tracked the package, it said it weighed 9 pounds and would be here tomorrow, 12/22. Well, the present weighs 85 pounds and one of the accessories weighs 25 pounds. There were other accessories which probably account for the 9 pound package. I called them back today and they were confused. Said they would check on it and call me back. They did. Very apologetic but the actual present will not be shipped til tomorrow, 12/22. Will probably arrive on Monday. Very sorry! It's ok . . I should have read that it wouldn't ship for 2 - 4 weeks and I would not have been disappointed. But, I was disappointed because I think this is such a cool gift. Vince is the type person who goes out and buys everything he wants and it makes it so hard to get anything that will be a surprise. I love surprises! And, it's hard to get something he really likes. One year I bought him some hand made really nice wind chimes and they're still sitting in a box in the basement. I loved them! Anyway, I think I have the perfect gift for this year. So, I wanted it here for Christmas but had accepted that it wouldn't happen. This afternoon, the doorbell rings and . . it's Fed Ex and . . they have the present. The driver had left it at my front door. I went out the garage door (can't hardly open the front door when the doorbell rings because of Speck) and the driver said . . oh, it's heavy, can I put it in the garage for you. I'm wondering what on earth he's bringing that's so heavy and . . there it is . . the present that isn't getting shipped til tomorrow! Someone (and it's not me this time) is very confused. I am so happy it is here. Now for the fun part. It's a big box and I don't think I could wrap it and I surely couldn't get it under the tree so I stuck it in the corner, covered it with a Christmas quilt and stacked more quilts (some tops not yet quilted) on top. Wanna bet Vince never notices that there's a box under that Christmas quilt? :) Judy

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Welcome Scrappy Happy Quilts by Starfishy

The stashquilts ring has a new member - Evelyn at Scrappy Happy Quilts by Starfishy. Evelyn takes the most wonderful pictures. Most of my day was spent backing up files . . poor laptop . . it is so sick!! Not sure what to do with it but something has to be done. Last night I was thinking about teacher quilts and it kinda made me sad that Chad's school days are almost over. I have all the pictures on my webshots page but wanted to share a couple of the quilts I have made through the years that were favorites. This quilt was made for Mrs. Orgeron when Chad was in third grade (1993). Look how little he was!! I just loved Mrs. Orgeron. This quilt was hand quilted! Probably the last one I did but I will hand quilt again. This one was made for the 7th grade math teacher when she had her baby. It was such a cute quilt. I think the pattern was in a McCall's magazine. I might try to dig that pattern out and keep it just in case we have a grandbaby . . a long time from now. Good news: I received an e-mail today that Vince's Christmas present has been shipped. There's a fair chance it will make it here by Christmas but . . until it was shipped, there was NO chance so things are looking up! Back to backing up my documents . . Judy

Monday, December 19, 2005

Teacher Quilts Delivered

Some days I hesitate to post because I get quite a few comments about the number of quilts I make. Please don't ever think I'm trying to say "look what I can do" because I'm not saying that all. What you may glean from my posts is that I don't have much of a life outside of my quilting. These pictures aren't great. It's 24 degrees outside and I was running in and out with a short sleeve t-shirt so I was just snapping and running back in. Don't ask me why that goofy tree in the background still has leaves either. It is some kind of oak and is always the last tree in town to lose its leaves and the last one to get leaves. Every year I think it is dead because it is so late in getting leaves and then I remember it seems to have its own calendar of when to shed leaves and when to get new growth. The schools here do semesters. When I was in school, we had the same classes all year (I think . . it's been too many years ago to remember). But here, they have four classes the first half of the year and then four classes the second half of the year. I make quilts for Chad's teachers for Christmas and on occasion, there has been an outstanding teacher during the second half so he/she will get a quilt for Teacher Appreciation Week. So, here are the quilts that were just delivered. This one was given to Mrs. Whitmer. She was Chad's "advocate" (would have called her the home room teacher when I was in school!). She's had Chad for the past four years so she has received several quilts. She likes purple. I love this crazy star pattern from Buggy Barn and will make another one for myself one day maybe. My friend, Becky, made one in reds and greens and it turned out really pretty. Might be a fun quilt to make for the holidays. This was a stash quilt!

This one was made from my Vienna Tiles pattern and given to Mrs. Gutsche who is Chad's English 4 teacher. I've never spoken to her so I suppose that's a good thing. They had to do lots of writing in this class and Chad isn't much of a writer so I'm sure she earned her quilt! :) It's quilted with the flurry of angels - pretty much overall feathers. This was a stash quilt!

Mrs. Koshy is the forensic chemistry teacher. I didn't speak with her this semester either .. another good thing. This is, of course, another Stack & Whack and wasn't included in the Stack & Whack quilts I posted the other day. Makes you wonder what else might be buried in my stack of quilts. It's kinda hard for me to give quilts to people I've never met, never even seen. Chad was no help but I'm thinking she's young so I hope she likes the bright colors.

Mrs. Markham is the Algebra II teacher and unfortunately, I heard from her often. And, as I recall, it was never good news. Sat to say but I'm thankful the school web page is down right now. I just tried to check Chad's grade. He exempted the math final so his final grade should be posted. Maybe I'll have a glass of wine (or two) before trying to check grades again! Anyway, Mrs. Markham's quilt was made from blocks that were from a one night beginning quilting class I taught several years ago. This was a stash quilt!

This one was given to Mrs. St. John who was the human anatomy teacher. This quilt was made from fabric a friend and I bought as a challenge to each other. It was the green/red floral. I worked on the blocks for a couple of years when we went to Georgia for Christmas. Glad to have it finished. I can't believe it but I didn't talk to her all semester either. I believe this is the first semester I have ever gone an entire semester without a conference with a teacher and looks like I never met three of his four teachers this semester. I'd like to think it's maturity on his part but I'm going to guess that the teachers feel by the time the kids are seniors, why bother?? There you have it . . the quilts are all in the hands of teachers and I hope they know how much I appreciate them having put up with my little darling for this past semester. Judy L.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Purple & Yellow -- FINISHED

This is the quilt that I struggled with a quilting design and had wanted to use as my entry for Paducah but finally gave up and went with my original plan for quilting . . something fun and not overwhelming for such a simple quilt.

I'm also putting up a picture of the back to show the quilting. There were still threads needing to be trimmed and a couple of "bird's nests" that need fixing. I should have used a print for the backing but I was afraid a print might show through to the front. My friend will use this one in her booth at the quilt shows this year. These almost solid backings aren't very forgiving and every little imperfection in the quilting shows. This was a *quick* quilting job and looks great from the front.

I had a really hard time getting pictures because it's been so windy. In fact, the wind ended up catching the quilt and toppling my display stands and both of them broke but I think Vince can fix them. I took probably two dozen photographs (I am not a photographer) and in most of them, the pink squares looked like Pepto Bismol .. which isn't a bad shade of pink but that's not the color of my quilt.

The name of this quilt is Cameron Square. This will be another individual pattern. We kept trying to come up with a name. Thanks to those who helped. I liked the "celtic" idea but many people who do not like celtic would have ignored the pattern because of the name. I also liked the flower names but with the brown/green one, I was hoping to attract some buyers who want to make masculine quilts. Chad told me it looked like the fields below when when you're flying. I thought it reminded me of the pictures of Cameron Parish, Louisiana after Hurricane Rita . . just various concrete foundations where homes and offices once were. In the pictures on the internet, it is impossible to tell where the town square once stood . . everything is gone! So, in honor of my friends and family in south Louisiana who are suffering so badly right now, the name of the pattern is "Cameron Square".

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday Happenings

It is getting dark earlier and earlier and when it gets dark, I tend to want to slow down and go to bed but can't do that! So far today I have gotten NO sewing done. But it's been a good day. Here's my Scrappy Happy Houses made from Bonnie's pattern. My blocks are a little larger than Bonnie's. I quilted it using the Angel Wings panto by Willow Leaf. The panto kinda reminds me of angels watching over the houses. I donated this quilt to the tornado victims in Evansville, IN. And, since the quilt shop in Boonville, IN is where the quilts are being collected,I had to go to the quilt shop today! :) Vince and I drove over there, and I bought the fabric I need for two heart quilts I have to make. While pulling fabrics for the heart quilts, I pulled out two that I loved but they ended up not working for the heart quilt. Vince was standing there and he said he liked the fabrics too and said "oh, just get it. It can be part of your Christmas." But, I said I was not buying anything I didn't need, no feeding the stash . . and I walked away without those two fabrics. That's a fantastic step for me! From Boonville, we went to Evansville and ate at Culver's. I forget how much of a zoo it gets to be in real cities. Traffic! Where do all these people come from? Makes me very happy to live in a small town. One of my new patterns will be Carmel Court. The blue/yellow quilt will be the main one on the pattern cover and the red/black one will be in the corner just to show it in other colors. I haven't seen the cover design yet so I'm not totally sure how it will look. I made the red and black one first and then made the blue and yellow one from my stash. Judy

Friday, December 16, 2005

More Goals Met & Another Stash Quilt

This week has gone by so quickly! If you're watching my December goals over on the sidebar, you'll see I'm zipping right along! Just one more on the December list but I have two that needed to be added to January which probably means some from January will have to move to February. Everything will get done (I hope!). Here's another stash top that's almost done. This is not the layout but I made all the star blocks first. I needed 6 yards or more (can't remember) of a background and I just didn't have anything that would work. I had fabric spread out all over this house. I was beginning to confuse myself . . which isn't hard to do. But I like the combination I came up with. This is totally not what I normally would use. There's no purple and no green!! But it all came out of the stash and that's a very good thing! Looks like Chad is going to pass Algebra 2 with a "D". Amazing that he scores in the 85 - 90 percentile in math on the standardized tests and he took Algebra I twice and Algebra II twice and is going to make a "D" the second time (which is what he made the first time he took it). One semester left til graduation so I sure hope Algebra III doesn't take two semesters. Maybe it will not be so windy tomorrow and I can get some good pix of the five quilts I've finished this week. Most just needed binding but two did get quilting and binding. Sleep . . ahhhh, I could sleep for a week! But there's no time for that right now . . Judy

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The BEST Gift!

A little family history here: Vince's dad, Frank, was born in 1897 in Sicily and immigrated to the U. S. in about 1910 - 1915. We aren't really sure of the exact year but know he was a teen when he came here. Vince's mom, Carmel, was born in 1907, also in Sicily and came to the U. S. with her family as a young child, about age 5. They were both deceased long before Vince and I met so I never met either of them. Vince's mom died in 1979 and his dad died in 1983. (Vince and I met in 1994.) Vince's dad was a concrete contractor in the Ballston Spa, NY area. Several years ago, we were visiting Vince's brother and he had a brass plate that Frank had used in sidewalks. Louis had framed the plate and had it hanging on the wall. I wanted one! All the Laquidara boys had worked with Frank at one time or another in the business (typical Italian family, huh?) but Louis had kept the business going for many years after Frank had retired. Louis explained that they had always stamped their name in the sidewalks but in 1930, Frank had just 2 or 3 of these brass plates made and the only other one Louis knew about was still in a city sidewalk. Louis called last week and told us he had sent a package and it arrived yesterday. Inside was a brass plate that Louis had rescued from the sidewalk that was being re-done. I am so happy to have this and I know Vince is too.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stack & Whack Obsession

I had commented to Samantha about loving Stack & Whack Quilts and she mentioned that she'd like to see some of the ones I made so . . here are a few. If you don't like Stack & Whack quilts, you'll think I'm nuts for making so many but I love them!

This was the first one I made. The fabric is kind of patriotic and has the New York skyline, including the World Trade Towers. I had the fabric for a while but made the quilt after 9/11 and this is one of my favorites. I never look at this quilt that I don't remember where I was, and what I was doing on 9/11. The hardest part of making this quilt was deciding on a background and accent fabric. This is the version my quilting classes call the "easy" stack & whack.

The second one was made using a fabric with pretty ladies and cars from the 50's (or sometime thereabouts. This is the fabric I used. I made one of these quilts for my dad and one for my brother-in-law. Both are in their 70's and I figured they'd get a kick out of the girls and cars. I used the same fabric for the backing on both. This is my favorite setting with the nine patches in the sashing.

Next one was made using fabric with Chinese food. There's a story behind this one. Vince loves Chinese food. I can tolerate it every now and then but for the longest time, every time we'd go out to eat, which is rare, it was Chinese. It got to be so bad that we almost had a serious argument about it and we never really argue. I was sick of Chinese food and besides, the Chinese restaurant here is on the poor to awful scale as far as restaurants go. So, I made Vince this quilt as a joke. I need to get a better picture of it . . this one is kinda blurry and the blue isn't nearly as bright as it looks in this picture. And, Vince now eats Chinese food when he's out of town and we don't go to the Chinese restaurant here.

Starting to think I might have had too much fun with these quilts? :) This one was fun to make but I do think it's kinda ugly. It really is sometimes surprising to see how some of the fabric is going to turn out when stacked and whacked. I gave it to one of Chad's teachers last year as a Christmas gift. It was a man teacher and he just loved it (or so he said).

This one was also a teacher gift last year at Christmas. One of Chad's teachers loves purple and green. The green wasn't quite as green as it appears in this picture. I also like purple and green so this one was hard for me to give away. I had originally wanted to use a lime green swirly fabric for the background but the star points just blended into the background and were lost so I had to switch to this darker green. Last but surely not least is my black stack & whack. This quilt won Best of Category at the AQS Expo in Nashville in 2004. It was so weird because I had two quilts in the show. My other quilt had won several ribbons at other shows and I really hoped it would win something in Nashville. My friend, Betty, went to the show with me and we were walking around looking at vendor booths. I told her I was going to look at the quilts so she stayed behind in the vendor booths. I got to my green quilt first and . . no ribbon or anything. I didn't even think the stack & whack might have a ribbon so I casually made my way through the remaining quilts. The quilt was entered in the "AQS 20th Anniversary" category and it had to be quilts made from an AQS book. When I got to that section, they had the quilts hanging with the first place quilt, then my quilt with a purple ribbon, then the second place quilt, then the third place quilt. I stood there for a minute trying to figure out what the purple ribbon meant. Wasn't sure. So, I went and found Betty and asked her. She said . . I think it means you WON. Hmmm, still couldn't figure it out so I bought a show guide thinking it might tell me. I called Vince and I was whispering "My black quilt might have won!" He called me back about five times before I ever figured it out. Yep, it won and I was so excited! There are a couple more stack & whack quilts in my UFO pile and a couple more in my "to be quilted" pile. Yep, they are so much fun to make! Judy

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Happy Birthday my dear son!

Chad will be 18 on December 12. Goodness, this time has flown by. It really seems like just such a short time ago that he was placed in my arms. I had no earthly idea what to do with a baby and I was scared to death. Not sure how well I did as a parent but I cannot imagine my how empty my life would have been without Chad. Things have not always been easy and I suppose any of you who have survived teens would tell me this is normal. We are back to the point where I truly enjoy spending time with him. So, at this Christmas season, there is a birth mother I will probably never meet, who more than 18 years ago, was a young lady, not sure what direction to take. She sought counseling for an unplanned pregnancy. Abortion was an alternative she did not choose. By taking the harder route, she gave me the greatest gift I have ever been given and I cannot thank her enough! Judy

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm not a quitter . .

But there comes a time when reality must prevail. Last night I stayed up marking the border on this purple/yellow quilt which I was about to dislike! I got it all marked using my big lightbox (which is really my 12' longarm table!). Before going to bed, I spread it out over the dresser so I'd see it when I woke up and see if the design had grown on me while sleeping. I didn't expect DH to be up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday so I had hardly stopped looking at it before going to sleep at 2 a.m. when it was time to face it again this morning. It just wasn't what I wanted. I had wanted to use variegated thread and there was no place for that and the design was pretty but it just didn't thrill me. After breakfast, I spritzed it all with water to remove the blue marks. Back to square 1, right? So, I just loaded it on the machine. I am doing some free motion stuff just to get it done. It will not be entered at Paducah which probably means I have nothing to enter. I do have a Judy Martin fractured star that hasn't been quilted but it is really big and I just don't think I have the time or desire to quilt it right now. Guess this is what I get for waiting til the last minute to get my entry done. Oh well, worse things have happened! :) Maybe if I'm really industrious, I'll have a picture for you tonight of the purple/yellow quilt after it's quilted. Judy

Friday, December 09, 2005

Wasted another day . . thinking

I still can't come up with a quilting design for that purple/yellow quilt. Last night Laurie spent a lot of time with me on IM trying to come up with a plan and we almost had one. I went to bed thinking something would work but when I tried it this morning, no go. This is a variation of my original idea but I just don't know. I trust all you quilters so will you please be brutally honest with me. Some will like it, some won't but please let me know, ok? Even though I love feathers tremendously, for some reason, traditional feathers just don't seem right for this quilt but I need something kinda exciting in that yellow border if I want to enter this in shows. So . . here's what I'm thinking. I hope the next time you hear about this quilt is when you see a picture of it finished! Thanks for your input! Judy

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Not sure about quilting plan

I'm trying to come up with a plan for quilting the purple/yellow quilt. I thought I knew what I wanted to do but now I think it looks kinda squashed. I practiced on an ecru on ecru piece using yellow thread so it would show up but on the real quilt, I'll use yellow thread on yellow fabric and I'm thinking the design is just too small and isn't going to show up. My other option is to do something using a variegated pink/purple thread, draft a curve and do some free motion leaves kinda like I did on this black stack & whack quilt. Sure got good results with this one! Any thoughts? Thanks! Judy L.

The Stash Reducers' Ring

Our little stash reduction blog ring is growing. I think we have a great bunch with lots of inspiration and motivation. Our newest member is Jeanne at "Spiral", who includes daily a list of gratitudes and her menu! Check it out! I'm afraid if I posted my daily menu, I'd be arrested or something. :) We have a snow day today and it has just now (2:00) started to really snow so I'm betting we have another snow day tomorrow. Fun! I finally came up with a great idea for Vince's Christmas present. I ordered it this morning so I'm not sure it will arrive in time for Christmas Day but it will be worth the wait if it's late. I'm not gonna say what it is because Vince sometimes (rarely) reads my blog but his buddy, Steve, might read it and tell!! Thanks Steve!! Judy L.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Quilting Goals being met!

Several of you have written me about the goals I set for 2006 and the goals you're thinking of setting for yourself. I realize that what works best for me may not work at all for you but setting goals really works for me. No one should feel pressured to set goals .. do it if you want to do it and if it makes you feel uneasy, don't do it. Or, if you want to set goals but not share them with us (and the rest of the world who's looking), just write them down and keep them for yourself. Whatever works for you and helps you to reach your ultimate goal is what you should do. And, if your goal for 2006 is to finish 1 or 2 quilts, that's great! Of the 17 quilts currently on my list, all but three are totally pieced and waiting to be quilted. With the longarm, if I decide to do a meander or panto, I could do a quilt in a day easily. What I'm mainly trying to say is: I am not trying to make anyone feel like an underachiever! I want anyone who is participating in our little group to work at your own pace, within your own comfort zone and just do whatever is fun for you. I can't imagine that quilting wouldn 't be fun and the last thing I want to do is cause anyone to fret about meeting a goal. Like I told Laurie in an earlier post, if you set a goal and don't meet it, you don't have to go to jail or anything! Speaking of goals, if you've looked at my goals, you'll see that I have 2 goals for December met and the binding is almost finished on the Happy Scrappy Houses. The two that needed piecing were partially pieced already but now the piecing is done! I think I've decided on a quilt design for the border of the purple/yellow quilt and that's what I'm going to try to begin drawing out tonight and tomorrow. It will involve trapunto and I would love to get the first layer of sewing done tomorrow so I can spend the weekend trimming the poly batting. Still don't have much of a clue what to do with the blocks but maybe something will come to me as I finalize the border plans. Maybe tomorrow I'll have a picture of the top with all the drawings on it. We're waiting for the snow and maybe a little ice to arrive. I'll be real surprised if we have school tomorrow or Friday. Chad was sick Monday so he may have a real short week if we have snow days. Vince is out of town (Bardstown, KY) and driving back home tomorrow so I surely hope he gets back before the snow/ice arrive. Time to start drawing quilting designs . . :) Judy L.

Monday, December 05, 2005

'Tis the Season . .

For credit card fraud! We just got a call from the bank about our Visa card. They thought there might be a problem . . I'll say! Someone charged a $24K light system or light fixture . . didn't quite get all the details and my brain was spinning at that point . . and $357 on AOL. Credit card has now been cancelled, I'm about to stop shaking . . please check your credit card statements carefully these days. Judy

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Quilting Goals for 2006

Without goals and feeling like I am accountable to someone for reaching those goals, I am perfectly happy to sit at the computer all day! Thank you (NOT!) to whomever it was last week who shared the Sudoku site! Debra Spincic has posted her quilting goals for 2006 and challenged her readers to do the same. My "goals" are just to keep me on track. They are not going to dictate what I do for the entire year but if at the end of the year, I have accomplished everything on the list, I'll have to give myself a reward of some kind. Rewards that seem interesting today are a quilting cruise, the Janome 6600 or maybe just a week somewhere with some of my best quilting buddies. I have to meet the goals before I spend too much time thinking about a reward, right? The manuscript for the book, and the 20 quilts to be in the book, are due in August. That deadline will be what really consumes my time in 2006 and I cannot get behind. This is supposed to be fun and if I feel pressured, it will no longer be fun. Many of the quilts for the book are being made by others but I still have to make at least one quilt from each pattern before sending out to the testers. Even though I plan to make 180 quilts from the stash, I’m not going to rush through them. I don’t think I ever want to be in the position of having no stash at all. Yeah, right . . like that could ever happen! So, without further adieu, here are my quilting goals for 2006:

  • UFO’s – Finish at least 15 of the quilts on my UFO list. Most only need quilting, binding and a label.
  • Book Quilts – 20 quilts. Even though some are being made by others, I can finish the “test” quilts I made and they’ll be available for trunk shows, etc.
  • Stash Quilts - Make at least 10 stash quilts.
  • AQS Show in Paducah – I’d like to get at least one quilt entered for this show. Deadline is January 4
  • AQS Expo in Nashville – I’d like to get at least one quilt entered for this show. Deadline is May 3.
  • EQ/QNM Contest – I’d like to get at least one quilt entered for this contest. Deadline is June 16.
That's at least 48 quilts and that's doable since so many of them are already pieced and I have the longarm so quilting is a breeze. 48 quilts translates to 4 per month. Piece 'o cake! :) There will be other quilts that need to be done for gifts or charities that speak to me during the year but for now, those are the goals that come to mind. Judy L.

Friday, December 02, 2005

How the Stash Happened

Laurie Ann has a post on her blog about the size of her stash and it got me to thinking about my stash. It isn't that I'm a compulsive buyer because I really am pretty frugal. My husband would disagree but he's so far beyond frugal but we will not even go there. Here's my reason/excuse/explanation about the stash. This is my story and I'm stickin' to it! When we lived in Louisiana, there was no quilt shop real close to me. I could drive one hour west to Beaumont, Texas to get to Sew What, I could drive another hour or so and get to any number of shops in Houston; I could drive one hour east to Opelousas, Louisiana to Ginger's or I could drive about another hour and get to The Thimble in Baton Rouge. This was all before internet shopping had gotten to my world. So, if I'm going to drive an hour or more to a quilt shop and then an hour or more home, I'm going to make it worth my while. And, I did! Then, the ladies at The Thimble in Baton Rouge must've noticed my addiction so one day one of them said Honey, would you like for us just to snip a little swatch off all the new fabrics that come in and mail them to you? Then, if you'd like any of them, you can call and let us know and we'll send them to you." OMG! What a great idea! Instead of spending time driving, I could be home sewing. Once or twice a month, a little envelope would arrive at my office, stuffed to the gills with little swatches. I'd spread them all out on my desk, ooohhhh and ahhhhh over them. My co-workers (none of whom were quilters) would pick out lovely fabrics, I'd pick out lovely fabrics. Never had a clue what I might do with these fabrics so I'd just order 4 yards of each! Stashes grow quickly at that rate. Once we were at Houston and it was St. Patrick's Day. One of the shops in Houston (ughh, don't remember which one but it was out past IAH . . not It's a Stitch but maybe headed towards The Woodlands . . or I could be completely turned around). Anyway, we went by the shop and they were having a sale! 30% off any fabric with any amount of green in it. We left with a trunk full of fabric. Then we moved to Kentucky. Wouldn't you know it! Not a quilt shop here either. I can drive about an hour north and get to the quilt shop in Boonville, IN or I can drive a little over two hours and get to a shop in Goodlettsville, TN. There are some in between but I like that one. So, once again . . if I'm driving that far, I'd better make it worth the trip! Then, the internet shopping hit and I found Big Horn Quilts. For a while, if you bought over $200, you got free shipping. What a deal! That helps grow the stash too! But, now I've come to my senses. I am buying fabric only if I need it for a particular project (like the quilt for the chaplain's wife . . I had no fabrics in the colors she likes). I am going to use the stash. I am not adding to it! And, you, my blogging buddies are my witness! :) Judy L.

Speaking of UFO's

Tracey has started a UFO Bustin Group and I tried to get it but couldn't figure it out this morning. So, I decided to list my UFO's over in my sidebar. Hey, that space is there for some reason . . might as well use it. The Quilting Post is a yahoo group and most every year, we have a UFO group. I joined in 2005 and the first half of this year, finished 15 UFO's. Pictures of them are on my webshots page. You might think that's really good to have finished 15 of them but those 15 were finished the first half of this year. It was divided up into two six month contests. Guess how many I've finished the second half of the year! Go ahead . . guess! ZERO! It's not like I haven't been quilting. . you all know I've been very busy. It just hasn't been UFO's. So, without digging too deeply, I've found more UFO's to list as a goal to complete in 2006. As I uncover more UFO's, I'll add them to the list. All except for maybe 2 of them just need quilting and binding. Amazing . . maybe I should find myself a good longarm quilter! :) I am not listing any of the quilts for the book. There will be 20 quilts in the book and all 20 of those usually end up being made twice before they go to the testers. There are probably 10 of them already made (not quilted) but because that's kind of not normal UFO's, I am not listing them. So, while I'm not officially in Tracey's UFO Bustin group, I'll hopefully get a few of mine done too. Judy L.

Dachshunds should not wear Sweatshirts!

Speck (a mini-dachshund) definitely likes to be toasty. Getting him outside in the winter is not easy. And he will wrap up in anything to stay warm. Last night I was quilting and for you longarmers, you know how you concentrate on what you're doing and get oblivious to your surroundings. Well, that's how I was trying to finish up a quilt last night. The house where I quilt is older and not so well insulated and the longarm is in a back bedroom that gets cold. I had on a sweatshirt during the day but then in the evening when Chad was home, I had the heater turned higher so I had taken my sweatshirt off and laid it across the back of a chair. It must've fallen and Speck had gotten wrapped up in it as best he could . . which wasn't too good! So, I'm quilting along about midnight and out of the corner of my eye, I see this black thing flopping around on the floor. My first thought was that a critter had found its way into my house and I was about to run when I realized Speck had crawled down the sleeve of the sweathshirt and was stuck! Only his nose was sticking out the end of the sleeve. He was in a panic and I couldn't get him backed up so I had to cut the sleeve to get him out. That dog! Quilt got finished and I got to bed about 1 a.m. Somehow the thermostat got changed and thought today was Saturday. I get up about 7 on Saturday so I have it set to come on at 6:30 on Saturday. But, on weekdays, I get up at 5:30 (actually, more like 6 after a snooze a few times) so I have it set to come on at 5:00. When my alarm went off, I thought . . why is my nose so cold?? Then, when I crawled out from the 4 quilts on my bed, I realized it was 50 degrees in the house and the heater had not come on. Brrrrr. That has all been reset but I still can't seem to get warm. I'm going to spend the whole day piecing! I should finish the top using the fabrics I posted on Thanksgiving Day. And, I think I know what I'm doing with the fabrics for Chaplain Lewis' wife so I will get started on that. And, Vince is having the oil changed in the pickup and it will not be ready before lunch so I'm picking him up and we'll go eat at my favorite little BBQ joint on the east side of town. Sounds like a good day, huh? Piecing and BBQ! What more could a girl ask for! Judy