Sunshine Quilts

Friday, March 31, 2006

Almost Home

We're all so tired but I think Speck has the best way of expressing himself. We arrived at the hotel near Memphis shortly after 5 p.m. Speck went straight to the bed and every time I tried to pick him up, he rolled over on his back so it's almost impossible to get him off the bed. That hotel in Lake Charles was possibly the noisiest place I have ever stayed. Seems like every door that closed on Floor #1, #2, #3 or #4 shook the entire hotel. The first couple of nights, there was a group of about 20 teens and they were up and down the halls . . running and slamming doors til wee hours of the morning. I was once a teen and then I was sometimes a chaperone on youth group trips so I wasn't about to complain. The third night they were gone and we were so happy to have some peace and quiet. NOT! The elevator went out and our room was right next to the stairs. One morning before daylight, there was a woman/man fist fight with lots of screaming and hollering in the parking lot right outside our window. But last night had to been the worst. We set the clock for 5:45 and went to bed at 10:30 so we would get a good night's sleep. Didn't happen. I can almost always fall asleep before my head hits the pillow . . unless there's a lot on my mind and last night there was so much on my mind. I kept tossing and turning, Vince was already asleep and snoring so finally around midnight I got up and went to the sofa. The last time I looked at the clock, it was 1:30 and I still wasn't asleep. There was so much door slamming and running in the halls. I finally fell asleep and at 2:10 Vince woke up and realized I was not in bed so he comes in the living room and wakes me up to see if I need anything. Do I look like I need anything? I am sleeping!! Never went to sleep again. Chad had spent the night at mom's and we told her we'd be there at 7 a.m. to get him and I knew he wouldn't be up and dressed til 7 so we got there on time to get him and we had said our goodbyes and were on the road by 7:30. We drove about 10 hours today and will have a bit over 5 hours to go tomorrow . . piece of cake! I drove the last 3 hours of the trip and had to turn my "Cookie & The Cupcakes" CD up full blast to stay awake. We'll all get a good night's rest and be ready for the short trip home tomorrow. Owensboro and my little house will look really, really good! :) Judy L.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Favorite House

If ever I've had a dream home, this one was it. It was my Victorian that we built in 1988. We patterned it after Sara's Bed & Breakfast in Houston. The lady who owned the B&B (not sure if she still does) was so nice. We were there with our contractor looking around and she gave us paint samples, wall paper swatches and just helped us so much. When we were building the house people would stop and asked us how we had moved the house into the subdivision because of the restrictions. They all thought it was an old house that had been moved in. Isn't that neat? Anyway, we lived there 2 years before selling it and moving to Texas. That was not a good move for me but it's been 16 years ago and I've gotten over it. Time to pack up the hotel room and hit the road early in the morning. I've already said goodbye to my niece and her family and once the tears start rolling, it's hard to stop them. We'll go by mom & dad's again in the morning before leaving. By the time we get to Baton Rouge tomorrow, I'll probably be finished crying. Mom and dad are coming for Chad's graduation so it will only be about 6 weeks til I see them again and if I'm lucky, we'll be back here in the summer . . Judy

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More Good Food!

OK .. you're thinking all we've done since arriving in Louisiana is eat and that's about a fact. I suppose when you live somewhere like this forever and the food is so "ethnic" and then you live where you can't get any of it, it's ok to eat non-stop for a week. I'll pay the price next week -- maybe I'm going to join the local health club . . maybe! For lunch we went to Darrell's who has the best poboys around. Their bread is fantastic. I got the roast beef which has yummy gravy and jalapeno mayo. I could really just eat the bread and gravy and forget the meat but .. I ate the whole thing. Vince had the grilled shrimp poboy and it was great too. Next stop was out to Hackett's Cajun Kitchen for boudin. We got two links of spicey and two links of crawfish and brought that back to the room for dinner. I could live on sugar and the cakes/cupcakes from Jo's Party House have been a favorite for years. They are so sugary that most adults don't like them but ohhh, I could live on them! We always get cupcakes when here so in the picture, you see our feast for the night . . boudin and cupcakes. And we haven't forgotten Norm. Here he is peering over into the box of cupcakes. I know he's wishing for one of these sweet treats! We got 10 white ones for me and 2 chocolate ones for Vince. The whole time he's eating them, he's saying "these things are TOOOOO sweet!" Tomorrow we'll spend the day with mom and dad and then Friday, we hit the road heading back to Kentucky. How did my week go by so quickly? Judy L.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Love Louisiana!

The azaleas are blooming! This is the yard next to mom and dad's. Here's the same azaleas with a house in the background. Notice more blue tarps. And, here's the view from our hotel room. This is overlooking Lake Charles. The I-210 bridge is in the background. Pretty, huh? Today I had lunch with an old friend who is also a quilter. I thought we had met about 20 years ago when she had a shop in town but she reminded me that she had worked in a bank in a building where I worked and that was more like 25 years ago. She now works for my uncle so Vince and I picked up hamburgers from our favorite hamburger joint (where we've already eaten once since being here), met them at their office and ate there. For dinner, we went to the new L'Auberge Casino. They have several restaurants there but at the Le Beaucoup Buffet, they had crawfish! They also had prime rib, fresh fish they would grill to order, shrimp creole, gumbo and more fantastic foods than I can remember. I am so stuffed! This is a tug boat that was passing as we were eating. Such pretty sights!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Cajun Crawfish Boil

Saturday morning mom and I went to the quilt show. Dad and Vince went looking for something for dad's tractor. The quilt show was very nice, saw some old friends and lots of pretty quilts. Didn't buy a single thing . . NOTHING! Can you believe it. After the quilt show mom and I met Vince and dad at Cotton's to get my favorite hamburger in the whole world! No place like Louisiana! My niece, Kristy, is married to a real cajun, Wayne, and they're so funny. I love to be around true cajun families. The crawfish boil was at Kristy & Wayne's house. They have three little girls. Wayne's sister, Toni, and her husband and three little boys were there. Wayne's brother and his girl friend were there. Wayne's mom and dad (I went to high school with them) were there. Mom and dad, Vince and I and Chad were there. I think that was 19 people there and there - 13 adults and 6 kids. They boiled 100 pounds of crawfish and we ate them all! So, here's the pictures of the crawfish boil. First you put them all in a kid's swimming pool and wash them off. Sometimes they purge them using salt water but I will spare the details of that process. Here they are taking a bath before going into the spicey hot water. Damon is braver than I am . . I wouldn't stick my hands in there with those live crawfish! In the second picture, the ladies are sitting patiently waiting for crawfish, potatoes and corn to be done. While some of the men are working getting the crawfish done, some of the men are taking it easy . . like dad and Vince! Once the crawfish are almost done, they pour them into an ice chest for a few minutes to finish cooking. It's really easy to overcook the crawfish and then they're mushy and not too good. Wayne is a fantastic crawfish cooker .. probably been doing it since he was knee high to a duck! Last of the pictures for today is a picture of my niece, Kristy, with her baby. Kristy is just so cute (maybe I'm a little biased but she really is pretty!). You'd never believe she has three girls, the oldest one is 8-1/2. Today we went to mom's for gumbo for lunch, hung out there til mid-afternoon, came back to Lake Charles and I was hoping to eat boiled crabs at my favorite crab dive (Crab Palace but now it's called Seafood Palace) but they are closed on Sunday. Decided we'd go to my favorite Mexican restaurant, Casa Manena, and they closed at 3 so we missed them. Ended up eating Chinese buffet! :( Came back to the room and one of the larger suites was available so we changed rooms. Now I have plenty of room . . a huge table with 8 chairs. Wish I had my sewing machine, rotary cutter, etc. Judy

Friday, March 24, 2006

Made it to Louisiana

We did stop as we entered Louisiana so Norm could have his picture taken with the Louisiana sign. Goodness, Norm is a little guy . . you have to look hard to see him sitting down there on the first step. Norm is such a good traveler. He could teach Chad a few rules of the road. Next stop was our favorite crawfish hole -- Steamboat Bill's in Lake Charles. Norm was happy to look but I don't think he had any interest in tasting the mud bugs! It's always so good to get crawfish after not having them for a year. Next stop was the hotel. I think AAA needs some serious help with their rating system. Granted we're traveling with a dog and finding a hotel that allows pets isn't always easy to do but . . I wouldn't call this place a dump but I'll be real happy when check out day arrives. The first thing we noticed upon arrival was that the roof is (or was) covered in tarps. This is a picture of the hotel taken from across the street. Notice the tarps? Yes, there was a hurricane here 6 months ago and I understand the construction work is going very, very slowly here. We get in the elevator and the maintenance guy is in there. I ask him "when it rains, does it leak?" He said "I ain't saying a word!" I said "But, does it leak in the rooms when it rains?" His response - "I ain't saying a word!" This is something hanging down from the roof .. not real sure what but it is dangling outside our window. The whole place smells funny. You know how it smells when people try to cover up stink with too much cheap smell good. My dad told us the hotel had 8 feet of water during the hurricane. That probably explains the smell. The good news is that we've been here a few hours and I'm starting not to notice the smell. After being here 7 nights, I'll probably think this place smells normal. Despite the damage from the hurricane, this is still such a pretty place. This is the sunset overlooking the lake. The I-10 bridge that I don't want to cross is in the picture too! The best news is . . tomorrow there's a quilt show across the street at the Civic Center. Some of the vendors are staying in this hotel and I talked to them in the parking lot. Oh, I can't close out this entry without sharing this picture. My dad is the funniest man! We were looking at some storm damage pictures and I just had to share this one. Dad was cutting limbs off the roof and somehow one managed to pop him in the face. He had a cap on one of his front teeth and it got knocked off too. He turned in his dental bill to FEMA and they wouldn't pay it! :) Judy

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Traveling Wears Me Out

Poor Norm! He's so tired . . he's turning in early tonight! It wasn't enough that I got to bed at midnight and had to get up at 5 a.m. so we could leave at 6, but my neighbor decided to do something that involved a visit from Owensboro's finest (the POLICE!) not once but twice between 1 and 2 a.m. Those police cars sound like airplanes sitting in the street with their motors running and the conversations got a bit loud so we were all awake. I'll admit to trying to hear what was being said but couldn't quite make it out. Wonder what time she got up! I'm betting she got way more sleep than I did! We drove to Jackson, MS and will spend the night here, then head to Louisiana tomorrow. Judy L.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Almost Ready!

Peggy over at Hidden Haven Homestead had asked a while back if anyone wanted to have Norm the Garden Gnome visit and of course, I love visitors! Norm arrived today. He and Speck are getting acquainted! Since we're all going to be spending 14 hours in the car together in just a day or two, we all need to be really good buddies! I think they've bonded and we'll be fine. Norm will be traveling with us to Louisiana. I mentioned that we would have to stop at the Welcome to Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana signs so Norm could get a picture and my family isn't so sure about that! :) I'm almost ready to start packing! I had intended to get the tires checked on the car but that isn't going to happen. I did get to the vet today and got Speck's nails cut and got Advantage. We don't have fleas here so I don't normally use Advantage but in south Louisiana, there are definitely fleas! In the last week, I've quilted 6 tops. Thankfully only two were custom, two were pantos, two were meandering stars. I've finished piecing two tops that were started and pieced one from start to finish and . . I am tired! On my goals for this week, I have two listed to add binding but I hope to get binding on three so I can take them all with me and do hand work at night in the room. I have slept about 4 hours each night for at least a week and I'm going to be in bed before 10 p.m. tonight! Speck loves to get in the batting that hangs down from the machine. This is why he isn't allowed in the quilting room when there are customer quilts on the machine. This was my own quilt and this piece of batting was extra long because there was already a hole in it (more Hobbs quality control) so I didn't mind Speck laying on that since it was going to get cut off. I thought this day would never get here but it's almost time to leave and now . . I'm going to pack! Judy

Friday, March 17, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! No big plans here. I may pick up corned beef sandwiches at the deli tonight. One of my best memories of St. Patrick's Day is one when Vince was still living in GA and he had flown in to Houston for the weekend. We went to Plain & Fancy Quilt Shop and they had a big sale . . 25% off everything that had any amount of green. I came home with a van load of fabric! Probably still haven't used some of it and that was at least 10 years ago! Just so you know I'm still quilting, even though none of my recent blog posts have mentioned quilting, this is a quilt I just finished for a customer. It is a Jinny Beyer kit and it looks like it was really hard to make . . or it would have been hard for me because I hate tiny pieces and "Y" seams. It is a beautiful quilt though! Even though I know how much work went into the top, I always love the backings when the quilting shows up! One more quilt to get done before we leave, two more tops to finish this week in order to meet my goals! I can do it though! This Jinny Beyer quilt took longer than I had hoped but that's because part of the time was spent ripping .. more time with my best friends - the seam rippers! :) The feather design in the triangles is by Keryn Emmerson who is on the Mavericks Ring. This is probably my favorite stencil and one that I use over and over again. Thanks Keryn! Now . . I'm off to torture myself -- clothes shopping! :( Judy

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Great Day!

About time, huh? Today was wonderful. First, and foremost, I got an e-mail from Chad's advocate (which is like what we called the homeroom teacher). She's a sweet, sweet lady and we were so blessed to have gotten her for an advocate. They keep the same advocate for the whole four years of high school. I'm the advocate mom and had sent donuts yesterday and she sent me an e-mail thanking me for the snacks. Then, she added: I talked to Chad yesterday about his plans for the future. I told him he needs to think of something in the “service” field – whether it be working in a hospital or even retail customer service….. He’s always willing to help others & he’s so thoughtful!! That really made my heart sing! Second, and probably really most important, I lit the gas grill at lunch to fix steaks and while quite apprehensive about turning on that gas, everything went fine! And thirdly, and maybe even more important, I started thinking about our trip to Louisiana and all of a sudden, I just thought . . why don't we leave a day early since my time with my family has been cut short. I wrote the principal to see what would happen if Chad missed school one day. Unexcused! No excused absences without a doctor's note on the day before a holiday. Hmmmm, not what I wanted to hear but also not to be stopped, I wrote to his teachers. He has three classes and I heard back from two of them. Math teacher said they were having a test that day but she thought by the time spring break was over, she would have "forgotten" that his absence was unexcused and he could make up the test. (She had a little "wink" in there!) The Medical Terminology teacher said the students were giving a presentation on Thursday but she would let Chad give his on Wednesday. The Military History teacher was out today but I figured . . worst case scenario is a zero in that once class so I changed all our reservations. Now I get an extra day with mom and dad. I called to tell them and they had already decided to drive to Lafayette at least one day while I'm there to spend the day with me while Vince is at his seminar so I'll probably end up getting to spend more time with them than I would have had our plans not changed. Can't beat a day like today, huh? Judy L.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Just got this info from KPLC TV (Lake Charles, LA) web site. According to Morgan Quitno, Louisiana is the "Most Unlivable" state! This should help convice my dear husband that we should move to Louisiana. Anyone want to move with me? :) With back to back hurricanes it comes as no surprise that the Bayou State is dead last in a newly released report of the most livable states. Here are some of the stats they quoted: Poverty -- 45 (ranking among 50 states) Percentage of households receiving food stamps -- 50 Residents with no health insurance -- 45 Average monthly electric bill -- 46 High school graduation rate -- 47 Teen pregnancy -- 44 Infant mortality rate -- 49 Highway fatalities involving alcohol -- 49 And, another interesting fact - Rounding the bottom five were South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi. Guess there's not much difference in living in Kentucky or Louisiana . . just so there's a fire station close by, I should be ok! :) Judy L.

Stranger than Fiction!

If you're thinking that's a heating pad that may have just caught on fire . . you'd be correct!! All day I've been scared to touch anything. This morning I thought about making some adjustments to the longarm that required using a screw driver and then I decided to wait til I've had a few days with no catastrophes. I heated up some homemade soup and made a salad for lunch. That went fine . . nothing wrong. I smoked chickens for dinner, made hash brown potatoes to go with those. That went fine . . nothing wrong. It's 8:00 p.m. The day is almost over. I was feeling confident that I may have made it without incident through the entire day. Chad comes in to where I'm quilting and said "Mom, the heating pad caught on fire!" Vince hurt his back, apparently Friday while trying to figure out what to do about the roof so he's had the heating pad on his back all weekend and during lunch. Chad said he decided to put it on his back to see how it felt. Yesterday Vince said "This heating pad gets hotter than the one I have at home." Yep, it got just a little too hot! It burned the cover, burned holes through Chad's shirt but just scorched his undershirt and didn't burn his skin. Thankfully, he unplugged it and threw it outside before coming to tell me. If you think I'm really getting paranoid about what might happen next, you are right! Sure hope my insurance agent doesn't happen across my blog! I've had two real house fires (in 1979 a whole house burned and in 1992 about half our house burned but there was arson with both of them and I wasn't the suspect!) and this is really getting to be scary for me.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Kitchen Privileges

I may lose my kitchen privileges soon. I had another fire in the kitchen this morning. Amazing as it sounds, I don't panic nearly as much as I used to when these things happen. I stood there for a minute thinking . . is this bad enough to call the fire department? Then I decided that the first thing I should do is grab the camera so I could get a picture for the blog. By the time I got the memory stick out of the computer, the fire was out. No picture for the blog, no fire department call . . just a stinky house! I was cleaning the oven. Yes, it was long overdue but I have an excuse! We bought this oven a little over a year ago and the first time I cleaned it, the oven wouldn't open again. No way . . it was stuck shut! After about 10 days of having no oven, Whirlpool finally got someone out here to fix it. Warranty work apparently doesn't rate real high on Whirlpool's schedule. Some kind of switch (or something technical) was bent. The repairman ordered a new one but just bent the old one back so it worked. He told Vince he could just keep the new one and if the old one ever stopped working, showed him how to change it. Every time I thought about cleaning the oven, I'd decide to wait because there was always something coming up and I needed the oven and had no idea how long it would take for Vince to fix the switch if the oven door didn't open. I promised myself I'd clean it after getting Vince's birthday cake made. So, I waited way too long and there were just a few too many splatters in the oven and when it heated up to clean . . well, the splatters all caught fire inside the oven. I couldn't open the door because it was latched during the cleaning process. I figured the fire would stay inside the oven and even if the firemen came, they couldn't open the oven door either. Anyway, fire is out, house stinks! I turned off the cleaning cycle, let it all cool down, got in there with Softscrub and cleaned as much as I could, and now the cleaning cycle is on again. And, this weekend there was a family of six that died in an house fire in southern Indiana. Vince and I were talking about why people don't have smoke alarms and I told him . . hmmmm, I don't think we've changed the batteries in the smoke alarms in this house since we've been here(four years!). He was going to check them because he thinks they don't take batteries. Not sure about that but there was a tremendous amount of smoke in the house this morning and no alarms went off. Not good! The good news is . . the roofers got out to the other house today and were able to get the roof patched to keep the rain out. The estimate for repairs to the roof and a new roof were even more than we had thought but . . it has to be done so it's scheduled for right after we get back from Spring Break. Hopefully Vince can do the repairs inside, depending on how much damage is done to the ceiling. I think we have a $7,500 deductible now on wind damage and by the time they pro-rate the cost of the new roof, it probably isn't worth turning in to insurance. It surely costs a lot to live these days! Judy L.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Vince!

At some point, birthday cakes become a fire hazard and we may have reached that point. Today is Vince's birthday. Happy Birthday my dear husband! He huffed and he puffed and he blew out all the candles! We had a nice meal of Prime Rib, Eggplant Salad, and Asparagus (honoring the diet!). The cake is a carrot cake, which we had with homemade vanilla ice cream, and that's not on the diet but it was good and it's ok to go off the diet on your birthday. Judy

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Don't Try This At Home!

We love spaghetti squash! I knew better but the instructions said to puncture a few holes and microwave it whole 5 minutes per pound. I always cut them in half, scoop out the seeds and bake them, cut side down with about half an inch of water. I sometimes bake them in the oven and sometimes in the microwave. I've never tried cooking it whole and I thought . . it's so hard to cut them in half when they're raw, maybe cooking it whole would be great. Then, I thought . . I'm not so sure poking holes is enough so I poked about 10 holes even though the instructions said to poke a "few" holes. I set the microwave for 5 minutes, checked it, then set it for 5 more minutes and thankfully, walked away. When it exploded, it blew open the microwave door and there was spaghetti squash *everywhere*. I'll go back to my usual way of cooking spaghetti squash! Judy

Friday, March 10, 2006

So Few Pictures

This is a feathered wreath on Deb's nine patch. I love making feathers! I still have it on the machine because if I mist the blue marks while the quilt is still tight on the machine, it doesn't shrink (cotton batting) so I leave it on there til all the marks are gone. Using the blue marker is a last resort but sometimes I have to do it. Amy suggested I post more pix. I've almost stopped taking pictures of customer quilts because as we moved more furniture from the other house to this house, I ended up with no place to take a picture without a sofa or chair in front of it. I can get a decent picture outside but that's really more time consuming than it's worth. And, I can only take the quilts outside if the weather is good and then I fear what a passing bird might do over the quilt! :( And, I should get permission before posting a picture of a customer's quilt and then I normally wouldn't post a picture here before the customer sees the quilt. If I'm shipping it off to the customer, it usually takes 5 days or so for the quilt to get there and by that time, I've forgotten all about posting a picture. Another thing that bothers me about posting pictures of other people's quilts . . and where do you draw the line . . but, if it's a quilt made from a copyrighted pattern, am I supposed to get permission from the designer before posting a picture of the quilt? In theory, I think I should get permission. In the least, I think I should acknowledge the pattern name and designer and therefore, I've just chosen to not post many pictures of quilts done by others. Having said all that, here's a picture of another quilt I did this week. I was taking a picture of the trays Vince made me to share with other longarmers who were wanting to get their DH to make some. The quilt happens to be in the background because it's what I was quilting on earlier this week. Actually, this lady had two exactly alike so I don't know if this was the first one or the second one I did. Finally, during the storm last night, we had roof damage (house in the country) and ended up with a pretty nasty leak in the master bedroom ceiling. I just hate it when the ceiling gets damaged . . it's so hard to fix! But, the good news is . . let's see, I'm sure there is good news! Oh, yes, the good news is that is the only room upstairs that doesn't have a wall paper border around the ceiling so we won't have to deal with a border when painting the ceiling in there. The bad news is that there seems to have been lots of roof damage last night and the roofers are all tied up. Our roofer told Vince he would try to get there by Monday. We're going to have to get a whole new roof but for now, we need to keep the rain out. Vince had some shingles left over from the roof in town (even though they're brown and the other house is gray) and he was going to try to tack them up there himself this afternoon but he said it was too steep and he didn't feel comfortable getting up there. Not sure what he's going to do but he'll come up with something. And, the weather forecast isn't looking very hopeful for keeping the bedroom dry! Judy L.

Setting Goals

Having written goals and holding myself accountable is the only way I can stay on track. Quilting is more than just a hobby for me. I have commitments to do quilts for others, as well as a major quilting deadline approaching. A few months ago I started posting my monthly goals on my sidebar. I am a procrastinator! Maybe not so much of a procrastinator as I lose interest in projects and am always wanting to start something new. At the beginning of the month, I'd have 25 or 30 days left to work on those goals so I'd work on something else . . I had plenty of time to get the goals done. Not so! I'd end up scrambling towards the end of the month to get the goals done. Last month I started doing weekly goals. That seems to be working better for me right now. I suppose I'm a bit fickle so who knows what will work best next week. Even though some of the weekly goals look pretty intimidating, they're all do-able. Next week will be a bit tight but I work best under pressure! :) As I read through the blogs of other quilts, there are some tremendously productive quilters out there. But, if you aren't happy with what you're accomplishing, set some goals and write them down. Be accountable to yourself! Please don't let my goals influence how you feel about what you're accomplishing. Remember, I have no outside job, my only child is now 18, my husband lives at a different house so I never have dinner to cook (nor do I do his laundry!). So, what else do I have to do? Just quilt!! :) Judy L.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Still Kicking

It's been an non-eventful week at my house. Several times I signed on to blogspot and couldn't think of a single interesting thing to report. So, here's a little rundown on what's happened so far this week.

  • Whooping Cough - there's at least one case of whooping cough at Chad's high school. I still don't have the details because the note that was sent home (via students) on Monday still hasn't managed to make it home. I did call the school secretary and she told me that it basically said that we should watch our kids, be aware of the symptoms and contact our doctor if we think they are sick. Pretty informative, huh? :)
  • Quilting - I've quilted three customer quilts. Two were quick, one has some really pretty feathers hope to get another one done tomorrow.
  • Piecing - I've pieced a whole top this week and sewed the binding on another one

Spring break plans have changed. Looks like I'll end up with three partial days with my parents instead of the five whole days I had planned. Amazing! And, I was looking so forward to spending all the nights in one hotel .. well, after we got there. As the plans are now, we'll have one night in Jackson, one night in Lake Charles, three nights in Lafayette, one night in Lake Charles, one night in Memphis. Maybe I'll just make a trip back this summer . . alone.

See why I haven't posted . . there's NOTHING interesting happening here!


Sunday, March 05, 2006

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Vince needed a copy of Chad's school ID so I told him I'd take a picture of it and send it to him in e-mail. I asked Chad for his ID and before even asking me why I need it, he said "It's not going to work!" He's probably right!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Circle Lord for the Longarm

Vince and I were talking this week about all the lack of customer service. It makes me crazy when I call somewhere and can't talk to a human. I'm always really quick to fire off an e-mail or make a phone call when I feel like I've had bad service and I try to do the same thing when I've had excellent service although I'm never quite so fired up about sending that "great service" e-mail as I am when I've had bad service. But, for those of you who do not have longarm machines, you've probably gotten sick of hearing about the Baptist Fans template and the Circle Lord set up we use. Michael and Kay are the best! (and I'm not getting anything for saying this!) But here's my little story about them. Back in probably late 2003 I decided I needed the Circle Lord so I bought it. At the time I had the APQS Ult. I and because of the setup, the machine had to be raised by adding a few washers here and there. Just the thought of messing with the machine scares me to death so I never installed it. Every 5 or 6 months, I'd decide to do it. I'd write Michael an e-mail and say "I'm going to do it!" and he'd promptly (like within 10 minutes) write back with an encouraging note and say "let me know if you have any questions". Once I even got so close that I looked for all the supplies and I was missing something that I had originally had so I let Michael know and he promptly sent me another whatever it was. I'm sure he thought the Circle Lord would never get installed on my machine. In July, 04 I switched to the Millennium so I again wrote Michael and told him of my change. I think he might have sent me something else to make it work with the Millennium but still I didn't install it. In December, 04, we got 22 inches of snow and we were stuck for 6 days in the house. For part of that time, the satellite dish was covered in snow and not working so we had no TV. For part of that time, the antenna for the internet was covered in snow and not working so we had no internet. Good grief . . what can you do for 6 days with no TV and no internet? Hey . . I know! Install the Circle Lord (which took all of 5 minutes) but then I had a new toy so I was able to make circles while Vince twiddled his thumbs til he decided to brave the elements and figure out how to get the snow off the internet antenna and satellite dish. There has never been a time when I've written to Michael, that I didn't get a response within 10 minutes. The Circle Lord is an excellent product . . it fits, it works, it isn't hard to figure out, it isn't hard to use. If every company had half the customer service and business integrity of Circle Lord, doing business would be a pleasure and the world would be a happier place. And, now they have a blog! Check it out - Circle Lord Blog. Judy L.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Horrible Parent . . at least I can quilt!

Well, at least I'm a decent quilter because I'm a failure . . a total failure a parenting. If you don't believe that, just ask my son! He has NO privileges; he has NO life. What it really boils down to is .. he doesn't have a car! I'm one of those parents who believes you work for what you get. In the summer before Chad started 11th grade, Vince and I discussed the car issue. Chad could have gotten his driver's license when he was 16-1/2 and that was in the middle of the 11th grade. Vince didn't think he needed a car at that time. I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea for him to have a car to drive back and forth to school. We decided that if Chad made A's and B's the first semester, we'd get him a car for Christmas. It wouldn't be a new car but it would be a decent car. We sat down with Chad and explained it to him. We asked him if he thought that was reasonable. Oh, yes! That was great. He never once brought a book home; he didn't turn in assignments, he did *nothing* and he failed Algebra. OK . . so much for the car! Vince and I talked and I suggested that we give him another chance. Maybe if he makes A's and B's the second semester, he can get a car when school is out. Vince said no, we never stick with what we say. I convinced him that every kid needs a car their senior year. We sat down with Chad again and explained we're giving him another chance. Oh, good! I'll do better. Nope, didn't bring a book home again. Didn't turn in assignments. Made three C's and one D. Then we told him he HAD to get a job for the summer. Nope, didn't happen. Kinda half heartedly looked for a job. Put in three applications and that was because I drove him to Target, Toys R Us and one other place and said "you're doing it!". Here we are at the senior year. We told him if he gets a job and gets a car, we'll put him on our insurance and pay the insurance but he has to get the car himself. Of course, with no job, there's no car. So, now, it's all MY fault! He has no money to go out with his friends, he has no car, he has no job. I'm thinking . . in a few months, you may not have food because he is not going to sit here after graduation, sleep all day, stay up all night and not work. He's real quick to share his opinion on people who don't work and expect something for nothing and I'm thinking . . huh? What are you doing? OK . . now you know I'm a rotten parent and I've ruined my son's life. On the quilting front, I am doing the next mystery for QOV and I tested the instructions today. For my own quilt, I'm making it a little larger, didn't have enough fabric to finish but it's real close to being finished. Called the quilt shop yesterday and they were sending me more fabric so maybe it will get here tomorrow. I cut out another one tonight but the weekend has to be spent longarming on customer's quilts. Thank goodness I have a hobby and I can get some satisfaction from knowing I'm a good quilter. You don't even want to hear about what I did to lunch today! :( Judy

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My First "Longarm" Machine

To understand this story, you have to know that we don't do debt. We don't even consider buying something if we can't pay for it. I may complain about Vince being a penny pincher but I so much appreciate that he is frugal and we'll never have to worry about paying our bills. We're blessed that Vince has a good job and neither of us are very materialistic. I'd rather do almost anything than go shopping and that includes car shopping, clothes shopping . . just about everything except fabric shopping! But when we moved to Kentucky in 1997, I left behind my longarm quilter, Martha, in Sulphur, Louisiana. I kept making quilt tops and after about a year decided I'd better find a longarm quilter locally. Found one but she only did pantos. Didn't want that. Found another one and she only used poly batting. Didn't want that. What's a girl to do? So, I began looking at that 26 x 28 family room in the basement and thinking how a longarm might fit in there. I didn't have a clue how much they cost at the time but I planned out my most convincing speech for Vince, knowing they weren't cheap and doubting he'd see the use in getting something that size for my hobby. He thought it was a great idea! So, we ordered the info from Gammill, who was really the only name that came to my mind since I knew little about longarms. The packet arrived and oh, those machines looked so nice. They sent a video so we sat down and watched it together. Vince thought it was a pretty neat setup. Then he saw the price. WHAT?? No way. So, he decided we'd find a used machine. At this point, he took over the research and figured out there's a short arm machine and it doesn't cost so much. He suggested I start out with a short arm and see if I like machine quilting. It's a lot of standing, it takes a certain amount of commitment. Ok, sounded reasonable. Then, he called Mr. Murphy, the local sewing machine guru, to see what he recommended. So happens that Mr. Murphy has a used machine in his warehouse and if we want it, we can have it for $500. WHAT?? We've been looking at spending $15,000 or more and we can get one for $500? We'll be right there. So, we hop in the 1986 Ford pickup truck, and go down to Murphy's. This was the ugliest machine I had ever seen. I'm standing there shaking my head NO! Vince says "we'll take it!" I was so upset. The wooden table had vinyl with cigarette burns, it had an on/off switch. No speed control, no front handles. Everything had to be done from the back at full speed. It was NOT what I wanted. Vince wasn't being frugal, he was being cheap and I was not happy. Well, Mr. Engineer came home and took everything apart. I was kinda happy because I figured he'd never get it back together again and I could go back to the original plan for a new longarm. He changed out the vinyl on the table and put a nice black and white remnant that we got for $5 from the floor covering store. He put a speed control so I could go slow or fast or in between. He had his friend who makes stuff make front handles. We figured out that the "wheels" ran on rollers from sliding glass doors so we ordered new rollers. What a difference! It worked and I kinda liked it. I didn't have a lot of quilting space because it was a short arm machine but I had my own machine and it was paid for and I had fun! Eventually friends started to hear that I had a "longarm" and they asked me to quilt for them so Sunshine Quilts was born. Here's a quilt I did for June in Baltimore. She wanted "echo" quilting. Heck, I didn't even know what echo quilting was. Not even sure how I figured it out but it surely came out pretty. This quilt won at the MD State Fair and then I just kept getting more and more contacts. This was in 1998 of 1999 and the business hasn't slacked since then. After a couple of years, I couldn't keep up so I discussed with Vince getting another machine. I had done my research and knew I wanted an APQS Ult. I. I really wanted a Millennium but didn't have the cash. I had been saving $$ from the quilting I had been doing and wasn't going to spend more than I had saved so we found a used Ult. I that APQS had and it came with a warranty. I sold the old short arm and ordered the Ult. I. I used the Ult. I for 2 or 3 years and continued to save some of my quilting income and then, in the spring, 2004, I finally had enough to get the Millennium. So that I wouldn't have to be without a machine for any amount of time, I traded the Ult. I in on the new machine and was able to keep it til the Millennium arrived. And here's the Millennium, quite different from the machine I started with, huh? Judy L.