Sunshine Quilts

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bridges I Can't Cross

This is a wall hanging made by Eve in GA. Eve does gorgeous applique and she made me this little wall hanging to carry with me when I cross bridges. Why would an adult need a wall hanging to help cross a bridge? Because I've gotten to the point where I have a fear of bridges. Don't know how that happened. As I was crossing the blue Ohio River Bridge from Owensboro to Indiana today, I wanted to share my bridge wall hanging. I'm the one in blue and Eve is the one in green. Wasn't she sweet to make that for me? The Owensboro bridge is old, narrow and is full of pot holes. I just hate crossing it .. too bad I have to cross it to get to the quilt shop! It really is a pretty old bridge though. There's a new one a bit farther down the road but it would be way out of my way. But, this is a bridge! This is the I-10 bridge from Westlake to Lake Charles. Try being a 15 year old new driver, sitting stuck in traffic on this bridge and every time you try to inch forward if you're on the uphill side, you roll backwards. Ughh! I'd never be able to do that now. There are a couple other bridges in the area now so you don't have to cross this one if you don't want to and they're supposed to be building a new bridge for I-10 and I guess they're going to take this one down. Here's another shot of the Lake Charles bridge that kinda shows how high up it really is. Seem scarey to anyone besides me? Judy

TV .. Who Needs It?

I am not ashamed to say that I really hate TV. I also do not like going to the movies at the theatre. Yes, I'm boring and it's a wonder I have a husband. Hopefully I'll never find the need for another husband but I'm betting if I did find myself in that position, there's not a man in this world that would be interested in being "Mr. Judy". Vince is such a special person to put up with me! :) Back to the TV. I think the main reason I don't like it is because I can't sit still for very long and even when I do sit still, my mind wanders and I miss important stuff being said and I have to keep asking . . who is he? what happened to her? why are they doing that? So, no one wants to watch tv with me. When I go to the movies (which happens way less often than washing my car!), the first thing I do is see when the next feature starts so I know the entire time how much longer I have to sit there. Anyway, Vince was talking to a friend yesterday and he was in a quandary about HD TV. Do you buy now? Do you wait? He asked Vince. Heck, we aren't getting a new TV. But, the friend says, in a few years, you're going to have to get a new TV because unless you have HD . . it won't work. Well, that makes it a very easy decision for me. Maybe we can finally get rid of ALL the TV's. Vince does keep the TV on all the time but he doesn't really watch it . . it's just on. I know there's not a chance we'd ever throw out all our TV's just because I don't like them but if, in fact, they aren't going to work anyway . . why keep them? Maybe I can convince him to just try it without TV's for a while and see how it is. Then, if he just has to have one, he can get an HD TV. What we'd save on the cost of Dish Network, I could use to buy fabric! :) The entertainment center in the living room would make a great storage area for my quilts!! :) Judy

Monday, February 27, 2006

Clean Car

You may think having a clean car isn't worthy of a blog entry but considering how often I wash my car, it's almost an historic event! This isn't really my car but just a picture of one exactly like mine. I actually love this little Honda CRV and if I had to buy a car today (I don't, thank goodness!), I'd probably get a new one just like it. We bought it new in 2001 and it will be 5 years old next month and I think I have 35,000 miles on it. If it weren't for trips to NY and Vermont, 4 or 5 trips to Louisiana, a couple of trips to Georgia, I'd hardly have any miles on it at all. I really like staying home! :) I'm not much into vehicles (except for that old Mustang I really want!). I'm real happy if it starts, stops, the a/c works and I can go for weeks without seeing that needle get towards the "E" mark. My personal goal is to use less than 3 gallons of gas per week and I usually have no trouble meeting that goal unless I make a trip to the quilt shop. I try to make sure the car gets washed at least once a year, usually in the spring after they've stopped using salt and whatever they use on the roads. Sadly, I never got around to washing the car last year. Isn't that awful! The other day when we were expecting snow, I was right behind the salt truck so I figured it was about time to wash the car but it's a bit chilly to do it myself outside with the hose, rag, etc. I guess because I get so little experience, it seems I can't wash the car without getting myself soaking wet. We have a new car wash not far from the house and I had to run to Fed Ex today. The weather is pretty nice so I decided to gather up my quarters and stop by for a car wash. What a shock! They don't even take quarters but dollars and credit cards! This is one of those car washes where you sit in your car and drive through . . not one where the workers come out and actually do the work. What's the world coming to? I feel so old! Every day I see a little more of my grandmother in myself! I used to go to the car wash, put in $1 in quarters and get a clean car so I figured $2 would be more than enough. No! $9 for a car wash and that doesn't include anything for the inside. I can do that home (probably won't but I could!) On the quilting front, thanks to all who have sent encouraging words to me. I made a list last night of what I've done in the last 6 months and what I have to do by my August deadline. I think I'll make it. And the best news is . . I thought today was the last day of February but I do have one more day. Hmmmm, wonder if that means that I need to add an extra day to my countdown til we go to Louisiana?? Judy

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Quilt Show Display

Amy went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA this weekend and she sent me this picture. Thanks Amy! It's the booth at the quilt show of my local quilt shop, Village Mercantile, who was a vendor at the show. And, the yellow quilt is my Stars in the Meadow pattern and the quilt way over to the left is my Vienna Tiles pattern. I talked to Betty last night and she needs more patterns before going to her next show, which is Indiana Heritage Quilt Show next weekend and that makes me happy! :) Wish I had a few more shops selling as many of my patterns as she does! I've been piecing and there's a good chance I can finish the big quilt top tomorrow. That will make me feel really good. Last night I quilted one of my tops and that energized me too. I found out today that the Lake Charles quilt guild is having their annual quilt show the weekend we're there so I'll get to go to that. What great timing on their part! :)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

End of Week Ramblings

This week has been kinda busy and just went by way too quickly. I've sat down and started a blog entry no less than five times and then thought . . this is so boring, no one wants to read about my life. It isn't boring to me and every day I realize how lucky I am to be me but goodness, my life would be boring to others. Here's how my week has been. I'm not complaining about anything . . just explaining; maybe venting is a better word. Vince would say complaining, I say venting . . more of that Mars/Venus stuff.

  • I've been teaching quilting for our county community ed for quite a few years and I love teaching. They let me teach at whichever school in the county I prefer, they let me set my classes, times, dates . . they give me total charge of the quilting. They pay quite good also and I've met several friends, one of whom is my best friend and partner in crime here, Becky. Anyway, the girl who runs the community ed . . well, I'm not going to say she doesn't do her job but dang, it is a mess. I had told her towards the end of the spring semester in 05 that I would not teach any longer. She begged and promised to do better so I told her I would continue. Then it was worse than ever so I said NO, I am not teaching again. It got time for the spring schedule to come out and she sent me a long e-mail promising to do better. OK, I need lessons from Vicky in saying NO, but I did send her a long e-mail explaining exactly what I expected from her. To make a long story short, things were worse than ever so I sent her a long e-mail and asked her to cancel the remainder of my classes. I feel it makes me look bad as a teacher to show up for classes and have not a clue how many students are going to be there, those trying to take the classes can't get any information . . it's just a mess. It really hurts my heart to do things like that but it was past time for me to sever that relationship and I feel relieved to have done it.
  • Quilting for Customers - I had planned to do no customer quilting in 06 except for quilting for a few customers who have been with me since I started and I really don't want to lose. I have probably done more quilting in the first two months of 06 than in the first two months any year prior. As I was closing out my books for February, I told Vince how many quilts I had done in February and he was surprised. I told him that's why I'm going nuts. His most considerate response was "short trip!".
  • Then, today I started getting e-mails from Virgina from people wanting me to do quilting. Once upon a time when I first started out, a girl named June from the Baltimore area had me do some quilting and one of the first quilts I did for her won a state award. I began to get a whole lot of business from Baltimore and I still have many customers in that area. But I was trying to think of why I was getting e-mails from Virginia and couldn't come up with anything. When I received a third contact within about two hours, I wrote back and said "where did you find me?" The response was and I should have remembered . . the local quilt shop is vending at a show in VA this weekend and she must be passing out my cards. I've done most of her samples and sure enough, I called her on her cell phone. Where are you? Virginia! BINGO! It's nice to have people calling wanting quilting done but . . who is going to finish this darned book??
  • Quilts for the Book - I didn't meet my February goals. Oh, yes, I have two more days. There's hope! But, I have one large quilt to finish (it's barely started) and one small quilt to start and finish in order to stay on track. Not gonna happen. Who ever came up with February having only 28 days should be shot. Why can't we have just one month with 40 days . . or even 50 days? I could get my monthly goals done maybe if I had more days

There are many good things happening though. Let's see . .

  • Only 26 days til I get to go home (Louisiana) but who's counting? Heck, it was 26 days this morning so it's closer to 25 days now! :) Funny how I never thought Louisiana was so great til I left. I think I'm a momma & daddy's girl and I don't like living so far away. Maybe it's not Louisiana I miss but just mom, dad and the crawfish! As it gets closer to time to go home, I can hardly wait. Today as I was quilting, I was thinking of things I need to pack and I thought about stopping and getting out my bags and then I thought . . no, there's no reason to start packing 26 days before I'm leaving!
  • Memoirs of a Geisha - I got this book on tape and listened to it on the Ipod while quilting this week. I got the unabridged version and I think it has 17 or 18 hours and I listened to it all in 2 days. I thought it was a great book. I have almost all the Left Behind series books but have never read them so I downloaded the first one and I'll listen to it next.
  • Computers - I was in Books-a-Million Friday and an older lady came up to me and asked if I knew anything about computers. I laughed and told her I knew she didn't want any advice from me. She had a little scrap of paper on which she had scribbled "Compaq" and some numbers. She wanted one of the "Dummy" books for that particular computer and the Books-a-Million people had not found one for her but she was so sure they must have one. I explained to her that they probably don't have the "Dummy" books for every single make and model but what she needs is just a general book. I asked her what she wants to learn to do and she said "Honey, I don't even know how to turn it on!" For a fleeting moment, I almost handed her one of my business cards and said "call me if you need help" and then I came to my senses. I did find a book for Windows XP . . getting started and recommended that for her. I also suggested she check into a computer class at the community college or maybe community education.
  • And last but not least, we have beautiful sunsets in my little part of the world. From home, they're really pretty. Well, I suppose they're no less pretty here except there are roofs and roofs and more roofs in the way. At home, there are wide, open spaces and nothing to obstruct the view. Tonight as Chad and I were watching the sunset, I snapped a picture. Pretend we're not seeing 2 or 3 roofs . .


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Friendship Star Quilt

Several asked about the Friends for a Cure quilt. Here's an EQ drawing of it.

I used a regular friendship star block but the sashing is a stretched quarter square triangle. And, I set it on point.

Here's a two block drawing with the blocks set straight which might make it easier to understand what I did. On the Friends for a Cure quilt, I made one quarter of the quarter square triangle sashing out of the same fabric and the block so the block doesn't look like it's a square. Here's a drawing that may help visualize what I did.

For this quilt, I asked those participating to make their star using a dark pink center with a light pink background or vice versa; and I asked for a fat quarter or quarter yard (can't remember) of the background fabric to be used for the sashing. Once I had all the blocks, I chose the darker sashing material which makes the smaller star in the sashing.

Hope this makes sense . .

As far as the stars showing through from the back side, I used a white on white backing and the sun was shining brightly on the front of the quilt when I was taking the picture so you could see the color through from the back side.


Monday, February 20, 2006

My Friend, Vicky

I've blogged about my friend, Vicky, several times. Vicky has now joined the stashquilts ring. Please visit her blog: LA Quilter. My funny story about Vicky, besides the fact that we grew up about 10 - 15 miles apart and didn't know each other back then, is the story of the Boomerang Quilt. I'm not going to repeat the story here but please read it if you haven't already read it. Here's the quilt. And, here's a picture of the back side: Glad to have Vicky as part of our blog ring! Judy L.

Becky's Quilt

I didn't get very good pix of the quilting but here's a few pictures of Becky's quilt. Some pictures include Becky so I'm sure she'll be squawking at me as soon as she sees them! She did tell me that she liked lime green even before she met me so maybe I don't get full credit for her crazy color preferences. She did seem to like the quilting and that makes me happy. The top is a design I did and a few of my friends made it but it is totally half square triangles and they gave me so much grief, I decided not to do anything else with the design. For the quilting, I did feathers in the border, loops through the green in the main section of the quilt, meandered in the white and did a squiggly line through the stars using variegated thread. In the blue/pink squares between the stars, I did a line dancing type design also with the variegated thread. And, here she is looking at the back side. It makes me so happy when I quilt a top for someone who truly loves what I've done! Judy L.

An Uncooperative Quilt, High School and a Mustang

I am having so much trouble with this quilt and there is no reason for it! In order to stay on my self-imposed schedule, I should have finished Thursday . . that was 4 days ago and I haven't finished yet. I will finish tonight, no matter how late I get to bed. When I wake up on Tuesday morning, this quilt will be in the "To Be Quilted" pile. Problems I've had (that I should NOT have had!)

  • I didn't get enough of the black fabric. I knew while cutting it that there was going to be a problem.
  • I must've been in another world while writing the directions because I totally left off one border and of course, it was the black . . I had about a yard left over of the other fabrics.
  • Where there are points meeting, the seams were thick and the 301 kept skipping stitches on the downhill side of the humps. That's when I switched to the Bernina and there's a slight difference in the 1/4" feet and I have some places where I had to really work to get the seams to line up.

The pattern is shown in purples and greens. The fabrics are black and orange with a little green so all weekend, I've been saying "purple is black, green is orange . . " so that's been confusing. I was just not liking this quilt at all. I showed it to Vince last night and he really liked it. I think at this point he likes anything that isn't lime green and purple!

The blocks are all done, I'm working on the pieced border now. I just walked away and looked at it and . . I might can learn to like it.

Here's what's kinda funny. As I was looking at the quilt, here's what I thought that made me smile. My high school colors were orange and black. We loved orange and black at Westlake High. The thought never occurred to us that those were ugly colors .. they were our colors!

In Louisiana back then (WAY back then!), we could get our driver's license when we were 15. Can you imagine? No permit . . just straight up driver's license! So, I turned 15, and on the day of my birthday, we got my license AND my dad bought me a Mustang. Not just any old Mustang but a white 1967 Fastback just like this one! I didn't have a clue how to drive a car with a standard transmission but I learned. Everything was great for several years and then . . for some reason my dad decided to have the car painted. There were a couple of rust spots on the trunk lid and dad had gotten a lid off another Mustang from a junk yard and it was green . . kinda that mossy green that is a fairly normal color for cars . . a factory color. You would think since I was happy with a white car, it would have been fairly simple to paint the trunk lid white to match the car. My dad has this bad habit of doing things that have a major impact on the lives of others and he forgets to mention that he's doing it. Once he took my mom's Buick LeSabre (tank!) to get gas or something simple and came back with a VW bug. He had traded mom's HUGE car for a Volkswagon. And, not just any VW but one with a stick shift and no air conditioning. She couldn't drive a stick shift and no one can survive in south Louisiana without air conditioning in the car. And, they're still married! Back to the color of the Mustang . . what do you think? Paint the trunk lid to match the car or paint the whole car to match the trunk? Yep, paint the whole car! We all swear my dad took the Mustang to a blind painter who matched the green and painted the whole car green. But, it wasn't the right green. It was some pukey yellow shade of green. I was sick! Can you imagine being a teenager and driving around in a puke green Mustang? No wonder I'm scarred for life! So, this quilt I'm working on reminds me of high school. Orange and black for the school colors, a bit of white for the Mustang I loved and a bit of green in memory of the blind painter! :) He really wasn't blind but he could've been color blind. Judy

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Friend, Becky

Ever notice how we always seem to pick up the bad habits of those around us. I think I've ruined my friend, Becky. Owensboro is the kind of little town that if your great, great grandparents didn't come here as settlers, you're not part of this town and you never will be. Having a name like Laquidara, there's no doubt in any of the locals' minds that we don't belong here! Somehow, Becky is different! She's from here and she likes me so that automatically means there's probably something not quite right. When I first started teaching quilting for community ed here, Becky took one of my beginning quilting classes and that's where we met. After a few years, I noticed that she and a couple others were taking every class, and I think Becky was taking some of them twice! We talked about it and decided to start a quilting group so they could stop paying $40 to spend time together. We did some research, tried a couple of places, then we met Shirley who works at Kentucky Wesleyan College. Shirley offered one of the meeting rooms at KWC for us and we meet there on the 1st and 3rd Mondays and it's a great group. Back to Becky . . I've ruined her! She will go anywhere with me. One year we even talked about driving to Houston to go to the quilt show. She goes to Paducah with me, she goes to the quilt shop with me. I think if I called her and said "pack your bags, we're leaving!", she'd start packing and never ask where we're going. Just to prove that I have ruined her, she's making lime green quilts now! I'm not showing a whole picture because she hasn't seen her quilt yet and she reads my blog. She'll get the quilt tomorrow night and then I can show a picture of the whole quilt. This is the quilt I was going to do fans on and then decided it needed something different. See . . I can think beyond fans! It doesn't get a whole lot better in my book than lime green feathers! :) Judy L.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sick Boy

Remember the barefeet in the snow? He's now sick! He's sitting in his room, which is about 10 degrees warmer than the rest of the house and he's freezing, has on about 4 layers. He's taken Tylenol so he should be warming up soon. Went to the doctor this morning and he has pneumonia! He does feel really bad. It was kinda funny at the doctor's office. The doctor is a quilter and she had a quilt in her car she wanted me to see so she ran out and got it while they were doing the x-rays. Chad was sitting there feeling really bad while she and I were talking about the quilt and he blurts out "So this is why we always have to wait so long to see you . . you're talking about QUILTS!" Argghh! Then we went to the pharmacy at Wal-Mart and the pharmacist's wife is in my Monday night quilt group. Monday night we're talking about labels and he wants to come listen to how I make my labels because his wife doesn't do much with computers. So, again Chad had to wait while I discussed quilts! Poor kid. He loves ribs so I have ribs on the smoker. I'm trying to be a good nurse/mom! I haven't been able to do much quilting today after spending a good chunk of the morning at the doctor; Vince brought home our tax stuff and I had to do my little IRA thing. Then I made cookies for Chad (more good mom points!). Now I'm going to quilt my friend's star quilt. I think I'm going to do the fans. I do love those! Judy

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Confession is Good!

That's what I've heard . . not sure I believe it but I suppose it depends on what you're confession and to whom. But . . this is nothing like that. Confession #1: I'm a halfway decent longarm quilter or . . I was! There's a very nice lady here in Owensboro who has given me 5 or more quilts to quilt each year since I first started longarming in 1998. She always says she's in no hurry and she doesn't care what I do on her quilts. The last one she brought me was probably in November and it had some huge open spaces kinda in the middle. I told her it would be January before I got to it and she was fine with that. I did get to it in January. I decided to do curvey, curly feathers in those wide open spaces but they just looked awful. Really terrible. When I first started doing them, I thought they looked kinda bad but figured they would grow on me. They did not and by the time I was halfway finished with this HUGE quilt, I thought there were too awful to leave on there so I ripped them out. Unless you've tried ripping out stitches put in by the longarms, you have no idea how hard it is or now long it takes or how uncomfortable to hunch over the machine and pick out stitches. Finally, after 3 or 4 weeks (or more), I got that quilt off the machine today. The lady came and got it and was thrilled but . . not as thrilled as I was to get it done. I kinda feel like a bad quilter today! Confession #2: See this quilt-----> Back in about 1995 (or maybe earlier), I don't know what I was thinking but I signed up for a two way round robin. Can't remember all the details but I sent out two center blocks with some of the fabric and coordinates, one package to the name above me and one to the name below me and they each went different directions, everyone added a border and I got back two tops. Two HUGE tops! This is one. The other one is about 102 x 102 and, by the way, was the first quilt I ever decided to quilt on my sewing machine. I think it was also the last! Anyway, this particular top, I just didn't like the outer borders at all so I took them off. That's probably a bad thing to do but I didn't it so many years ago, surely I've done enough good so that it would no longer be held against me! :) I'm just not sure what to do with it from here. I can't believe that 10 or 11 years ago, I took the time to make this center because I doubt I would make something like that again. Even the center circle is appliqued and it looks good. I can't applique!! Do I leave these borders and add more? Do I take these off and start over? Do I fold it all up and put it away for another 10 years? Of course, I have none of this fabric left! Putting it away for another 10 years is sounding like the best plan. Judy

Monday, February 13, 2006

Not Much Quilting To Report

Monday . . where did the day go? Is it because I'm getting older that time passes so quickly? Is it because I'm running around like a chicken without my head? I don't know . . just seems that I get up and it's time to go to bed again. Sunday night I went to bed thinking we'd have a snow delay today so I told Chad not to set his clock. I set mine for 6, thinking I'd check the computer and then go back to bed. Oh, so sure was I that we'd have at leat two extra hours to sleep. You remember that I can screw up any computer by simply looking at it. I never turn off my computers (could be part of the problem). At 4 a.m. the E-machine started squawking. I got up and turned it off, then lay in bed aggravated that it's only about 5 or 6 months old and something is wrong with it. At 5 a.m. I knew the tv would know which schools had delays so I got up. The counties to the west and south of us had a 2 hour delay but not us! So, I just stayed up. Took Chad to school, headed to Wal-Mart to buy groceries. He called . . "Mom, could you please bring me the paper I forgot in your car . ." Back to the school .. which I usually will not do but I was feeling kind this morning. Fixed lunch for Vince who has decided to go back on the Atkins Diet. I should do it too but I don't like meat a whole lot, much preferring veggies and fruit . . but even more so, I prefer Dr. Pepper and candy! :( So, Vince is on Atkins and I'm struggling to fix things that fit his diet and things that I like too. While Vince was here for lunch, I was showing him pictures from Patty's Morning Ramble blog. We have some prospects of moving some day and Vince tells me I can have a farm there, complete with a wood stove. We'll see. . if it really happens, if I can really do it. He said "I'll buy the farm and you'll be scared out of your wits when I'm gone at night." Yep, that's exactly what will happen. I don't like the dark! He left with my car to take it to get the oil changed. I was telling someone last night that I suppose I'm getting an oil change for Valentine's Day and if I'm careful and don't drive too much, I can get the same thing for my birthday in June! That's a joke, Steve! Vince offered to take me to lunch tomorrow but I'd rather go when he's not on a diet. So, he left and I made Honey Oatmeal Bread and then I made Patty's Grape Nuts. Amazing thing is Chad loves them. He ate a bowl with strawberries and milk and then decided to try another bowl with milk and cinnamon. They are pretty yummy. Chad likes to have hamburgers for snacks .. gotta love a growing boy. So, I seasoned 2 pounds of ground beef, shaped them into patties, froze them on cookie sheets then, put them into a ziplock bag. He can just grab a frozen patty and fry it or grill it when he's hungry. After work Vince came by to drop off my car and pick his car up. Chad wanted to go to Wal-Mart for a CD. I'm not quite sure what goes on at school (and I probably don't want to know) but he plays music for the senior hall every now and then. The principal or one of the assistants has to approve all the songs and there was some CD of ballads from the 70's and 80's that he wanted. I was not going to Wal-Mart again so Chad and Vince went. Then Vince took my computer apart, not sure what he did but it has stopped squealing for now. I did manage to get 3 blocks made. I don't know what I was thinking . . this quilt has 35 - 8" blocks. Not something I would normally do but, maybe I was drinking or something! Nope, I'm not much of a drinker and when I do, it's the cheap, sweet stuff I like . . the Arbor Mist is my favorite but I'd take Dr. Pepper any day over wine. Vince needed this picture so I took it yesterday . . I don't normally take pictures of wine! How's this for a rambling . . didn't say anything kind of post? Judy

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Busy Sunday

Oh, wait! These two aren't busy! They're both sleeping . . which is what both of them did most of the day! But, not me! I've hardly sat down all day. Vince brought over the sewing cabinet this morning so I was inspired to do a little cleaning and re-arranging in my sewing corner. I'm a packrat and I have so much STUFF in this house that cleaning and organizing is a real chore. It isn't perfect by any stretch but I do have the cutting table cleaner than it's been in ages. The pile at the back right is the quilt I just cut out that I may get started on tonight. You can't see the ironing board in this picture but it's kinda to the right of the design wall. All day, it has snowed and stopped, snowed and stopped. It will come down real hard for a while, then stop, everything melts and then it starts again. Definitely not a blizzard but it was a good day to be inside. Judy

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Way We Live

As I was looking through my webshots photos tonight, I came across pictures that made me stop and think. We have this whacky setup with the house in town and the house in the country. The plan was to sell the house in town and move back to the one house in the country when Chad graduates in May. Now it's looking like Chad may go to Community College so we may keep the house in town and then there's the chance we might sell both and move on to a new phase in our lives. But, look at the difference. The house in town is on a postage stamp size lot with houses as far as you can see . . lots of little houses. The house in the country has few houses within sight. I'm such a chicken though. Everyone tells me I should feel safer at the house in the country but I feel safer at the house in town. My friend and I were talking the other day and she said she feels safer out in the country and we decided it depends on how you grew up. I grew up in a neighborhood with houses all around and that's how I feel more secure after dark. I love having the house in the country where I have a clothesline and no "rules" about what I can do and when I can do it. This, of course, is the house in town in December, 04 when we got 20 inches of snow. Looking to my left, there are houses and more houses. The driveways here are barely long enough for one van to be parked outside the garage -- definitely an advantage when it comes to shoveling snow. This is the back yard . . pretty much the entire back yard right here! There is a little spot of grass on the left side and a little bit bigger spot of grass on the right side but not much at all. I do have a few herbs growing and managed to get some tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants planted last year. The good thing is that I can cut the back yard with the battery operated weed eater before the battery runs out of juice. Here's the driveway of the house in the country. It takes a LONG time to shovel this one and it goes downhill and uphill again before getting to the highway so you really need to have it clear of snow and ice before trying to get onto the highway. Not a good driveway for winter. This is Vince and Chad working on the lathe but it shows the the driveway and part of the front when things aren't covered in snow. I think Chad was making either a bowl or a rolling pin for me that day. Those two together are dangerous! :) And, last is another day with Chad working on the lathe but it shows the back yard. The house is my closest neighbor (the one with the blueberry bushes right there on the fence line). They're nice neighbors and they don't mind that I love blueberries and have none of my own! They have about 15 acres and they have chickens and horses and they share fresh eggs when I'm home. As you can see, there's a pretty vast difference in the house in town and the house in the country!

Blooming Nine Patch

I've shared here before my love of the Stack & Whack quilts but I also got hung up on making the Blooming Nine Patch quilts. They're in the book, Tradition with a Twist, by Blanche Young and Darlene Young Stone. This is the first one I made and it was a wedding gift to Liz, an attorney Vince works with. I'm never quite sure how they will turn out but Liz told me she liked red . . she gave me some specific decorator brand that she was doing in her house and this was as close as I could get. I can't even remember how I quilted it. I think it was made in 2001. The second one I made was for my friend, Sarah. She and I met in first grade! (She is OLD! :) We have been partners in crime for more years than I care to remember. Several years ago, Sarah went through a pretty heartbreaking divorce and I sent her this quilt. She has been such a good friend. We still talk often (thank goodness for free calls cell to cell!) I'll never forget one night when I was still living in Louisiana, I was so sick. I thought I was going to die (can you say wimp?) Sarah lived just a couple of blocks from me and our phone calls usually begin around midnight. She called and oh, I was such a wimp. My throat had never been so sore. In a few minutes, the phone rang again. She was on her way over with popsicles and dill pickles. I had never heard to try that combination for a sore throat. Can't remember if it worked but . . I obviously survived. That's a good friend to get out out at midnight, go to the convenience store on the corner and bring popsicles and dill pickles to a sick friend! The third one I made was for me. I was at Quilters Attic in Goodlettsville, TN one day and came across this purple/yellow fabric that I just had to have. I couldn't think of what to do with it but while walking around the shop, I thought of the Blooming Nine Patch and was able to choose all the fabrics right then and there! I wish the dark fabric was farther out and not so much in the center but I still like it. And, somewhere in this house there is a bag with another Blooming Nine Patch all cut out, to be made at some day in the future. I don't have a clue what the colors are . . haven't seen it in years!! What a fun house this is! :) Judy L.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sewing Machine Blues

I just keep wanting a new sewing machine. I've blogged about it not too long ago. I suppose the only reason I haven't gone out and bought one is because I don't know which one I want and .. because Vince doesn't think I need one and, in my heart, I know he is right. But, darn it . . almost all my friends have new sewing machines! Good grief! What would I tell my son? It doesn't matter what all your friends have . . you do not NEED another sewing machine. If I were buying a machine today, what would I get? I've been a loyal Bernina fan for so many years but I don't think they're what they used to be. I love that the Janome 6600 has the built in even feed system but I don't need all that extra "stuff". All I ever do is make a 1/4" seam and sew on binding. I used to think I'd buy a Pfaff but someone bought them . . can't even remember which company. So, I'm kinda at a loss as to what machine I'd get. I've been sewing on a Singer 301 and it is a good machine but I hate the 1/4" foot that I have. I've tried so many and while I don't detest them, I am not in love with them. Today as I was working on those 4" log cabins, which is torture, when I was sewing the blocks together, because of the bulk, I could not get a 1/4" seam. The presser foot would either slide off and I'd get about a 1/8" seam or it would just sit there and make a zillion stitches in the same hole. I'd finally had enough so I got out my plastic table and set up the Bernina 1230. Oh, my! That machine sews like a dream. I forgot how much easier it is when the needle always stops in the up position. The stitch is perfect. The tension is perfect. I don't need a new sewing machine! :( I've asked Vince to bring the cabinet over here for me this weekend . . which probably means I'll have to go home because the 930 is in the cabinet and I am not sure where the little plastic insert is for the 1230. I suppose he could just bring the 930 and I could use it. For what I'm doing, the 930 will be great too. The problem is -- there is not one square inch in this house that isn't full so I'm going to have to do some re-arranging just to find room for the cabinet, When you see the picture of the 1230, do you notice Ursula in the corner? Chad put that on there when he was 2 or 3 and he's now 18. I love having that sticker there and remembering him running around while I was trying to grab a minute to sew. At the time, we were living in Jasper, TX and had a big fenced back yard. I was so desperate for sewing time, I would take a table and extension cord outside and set the machine up under the porch so I could sew while I watched him play. Hard to believe that was 15 or 16 years ago. Judy L.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Tiny Cabins

I suppose I could blame Tracey but I will accept responsibility for my own actions. Sometimes when I sit down with Electric Quilt and I really need to design something, my mind is blank. Other times, when I'm more or less just "doodling" with the software, I come up with pretty cool designs. Quilters Newsletter and Electric Quilt are having this "Do You EQ? Contest" and I had thought about trying to come up with something, then the thought kinda passed over and I didn't do anything. Then I decided to try to do the black star that had won third place in the Planet Patchwork contest. Then I looked at the design and decided there was no way I would have time to make it, along with my other obligations, before the June 16 deadline. But, then I kept doodling. I came up with a design that is quite a bit easier than the previous design and I started it this weekend. There are four 13" blocks that make up the center. They aren't hard but I don't do hard stuff so they weren't easy for me. They are paper pieced and I do so little paper piecing that it all seems backwards. I was so happy to get those four blocks finished tonight. Then I looked at the next step. Oh, my! What was I thinking? 9" blocks are small blocks for me. I need 72 - 4" finished log cabin blocks. Each log finishes at 1/2". I should be happy . . Tracey's loggies finish at 3-1/2" and each log is 3/8" so mine are bigger than hers and I'm betting she needs more than 72 blocks. I made two of them tonight and I think I'll save this for a spring break project. These things are going to take me forever! Tomorrow, I will go back to working on 12" blocks! Judy


I finished my uncle's quilt and got it to Fed Ex Friday. It will probably be Tuesday when he receives it. I'm always more excited about giving gifts than receiving them so I'll be anxious to know that he's received it and his reaction. Here's the back side. He owned a Gulf service station for years so that's why I chose the fabric with the old cars and gas pumps. Big Horn didn't have enough fabric for the whole backing so I added black/white dot to each side of the gas pump fabric. The label has some old Gulf pictures. I was so lucky to have had this top already started and it was a perfect match for the perfect backing fabric. I quilted it with the Baptist Fans. OK . . the fans don't go with everything but the template was on the machine and I have two more Baptist Fans to do on customer quilts so I didn't want to disassemble the setup to load a panto. I didn't want to do a plain meander, didn't have time to do custom (and besides, custom quilted tops sometimes aren't very snuggly because of the extreme amount of quilting). My aunts who quilt will probably get a kick out of seeing the fans done by machine. As I got the backing fabrics out of the dryer, I tossed them on the floor before ironing them and look who thought he had found a warm place to snuggle. Sweet little Speck! Judy

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

January is History!

Stashquilters, how did you do in January? Meet your goals? I got the two heart quilts pieced, quilted, bound, labeled and delivered. I got Tina's quilt pieced, quilted, bound, labeled and delivered. I got the Christmas quilt pieced, quilted, machine part of the binding done but didn't get the handwork done. Not on my list of goals for January but I pieced, quilted, bound and labeled a donation quilt for the Mission of Hope project and pieced and quilted my uncle's quilt. I'll hopefully get the binding done this week and get it in the mail by Monday. I'm happy with what I did and having the goals posted really helped me stay on track. I felt accountable to all who read my blog! The best news of the day is that I was able to get a room in Louisiana for our spring break trip. Our Christmas trip got cancelled because there were no rooms due to Hurricane Rita. I am so happy to be able to go home for a whole week. I want to start packing NOW but I'll wait a while! :) Time to get started on the February goals. I set some lofty goals for this month and may be in for a disappointment. Not at all sure I can get all these tops made but I'll never know if I don't try, right? Judy L.