Sunshine Quilts

Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

August 1 is our wedding anniversary - 9 years! Vince and I are so much alike in so many ways but so different in so many ways. Together, I think we make a fine pair! No doubt, I'm a better person due to Vince being in my life. Not sure Vince can say the same thing. He's the kind of person who carefully plans out every major decision, will make lists of positives/negatives, and really ponders his decisions. A thought runs through my head and I'm off and running . . never stopping to think. If Vince were a quilter, he would know exactly how much fabric he needed before he started a quilt, he would know exactly how he was going to quilt it before he ever started piecing. I start quilts, having no idea how much fabric I'll need and then run out and have to scurry to find more. Vince is a wonderful, caring, kind husband and he would do anything (within reason) to make me happy. He's so darned honest! I don't think he would even tell a little white lie! And, that brings me to another point. Remember last week I was talking about how he drags me up and down the aisles of every store and my plan was to visit the jewelry counter in hopes that if I started costing him more $, he'd leave me at home. Saturday we decided to go out to lunch. That was fine. Then he decided we should go to the new Best Buy but first, let's go to T. J. Max! Oh, great .. they have a jewelry counter. We walked in and I said "I want to look at the jewelry". Vince said "JEWELRY? What do you need?" What I really need is to never have to enter a retail shop again. I knew if I said I wanted a diamond ring or necklace, he would think I'd lost my mind. I don't even wear my wedding ring because I never wear jewelry (and I've gained too much weight and it's too tight!) My gold hoop ear rings really are bent and I could use more so I said "I need new gold hoops!" I honestly couldn't go to the jewelry counter and keep a straight face so we wandered to the back of the store. Then we went to Best Buy and I mentioned that I need a new speaker setup for the Ipod to keep in the front of the house. Oh . . no problem! He has one at home that he's never used because he's never used the Ipod so he'll bring that to me. Later that night he sent me an e-mail with a link to . . gold ear rings! He had gone home and gone through all kinds of jewelry stores online and found good ear rings for me to look at and pick which ones I wanted. OMG! I don't want new ear rings! I just want to never go shopping again! Today I had to admit to him that I had created a scheme to stay out of the shops, I did not want ear rings and I told him the whole story and read him my earlier blog entry. Certainly not an issue now since I am apparently having plumbing repairs and air conditioner repairs done tomorrow and that is the best anniversary gift I can think of right now! Even though Vince never reads my blog (or he would have known about the jewelry plan!), Happy Anniversary and I hope we have many happy years together! Judy


These photos are too good not to share. When Chad and I left on 7/15 to fly to Louisiana, we understandably were having a rough time. We flew from Evansville, IN to Memphis, changed planes and flew to Lafayette, LA. The Lafayette flight arrived at 10:30 p.m. so it was just a bit before dark when we left Memphis. Chad looked out the plane window and noticed the sun setting, with the clouds below. It was gorgeous and I think the pictures turned out nice, considering the plane window was a bit dirty and scratched.

The RIGHT Fabric!

As much fabric as I ordered, I had to get the right one sooner or later, right? The one on the left is what I needed. I can see how I got confused and ordered the one in the middle but how I ordered the one on the right, thinking it was the one on the left, I'll never know. I ended up with 5 yards of the correct one, 15 yards of the one in the middle and 5 yards of the one on the right. The one in the middle was actually called two different names by two different shops so I thought I had 4 fabrics but I only have 3. And, the reason I was desperate is because I have a quilt half made using that background. Now I can stop fretting about that quilt! We have a plumbing problem and it's probably not a minor one. Last night I walked into Chad's bathroom with no shoes on and . . uh oh . . the floor is toasty warm. Not good . . means there's a water leak somewhere in the concrete foundation probably. The plumber probably can't get here til tomorrow but I'm betting that is not going to be cheap to fix. Part of being a homeowner I suppose. I tried a new recipe for lunch today - Chicken Saltimbocca. It was good and fairly quick and easy to make. . only messed up one pot and that works for me. I had no idea I could buy frozen purple hull peas at Kroger. They tasted pretty good too! The red stuff is Tomato Relish from my great grandma's recipe files. Here's her recipe. The directions are just as she wrote them and the cooking/processing times are left up to your judgment. You want the tomato sauce to get kinda thick -- like salsa. Then when I add the spices, I just let it cook til I figure everything is blended. I processed using the water bath for probably 40 minutes. I ended up filling 12 jelly jars with a whole recipe. Mama Salter's Chili Sauce

1 gallon peeled, sliced tomatoes 1 cup chopped green pepper 1 cup chopped onion 2 T. salt ½ c. sugar 1 pint vinegar 4 Jalapeno peppers, chopped (Grandma didn’t have this – I added it) 1 tsp. Ground cloves 1 tsp. Ground cinnamon

Simmer all ingredients except cloves and cinnamon, til thick. Add cloves and cinnamon and cook longer. Pour into half pint or jelly jars. Process.

Last (and the best part for sugar addicts like me) is the Buttermilk Pie. Chad would never drink a glass of buttermilk but he loves this pie. This is a recipe I've used for 30 years and everyone loves it so don't let the buttermilk stop you from trying it. Here's the recipe for it:

Buttermilk Pie 1-3/4 c. sugar 1/4 c. flour 1/2 c. buttermilk 1/2 c. butter, melted 3 eggs 2 T. lemon juice 1 tsp. vanilla Pinch of salt 1 - 9" pie shell, unbaked Combine all ingredients in the order given. Mix well and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until brown. Filling is set when a light crust forms on top. BTW, I love buttermilk! Judy L.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

It's Working!

I'm kinda surprised how much I like this quilt. I think it's going to be plenty masculine enough to be a gift for a man and I believe the greens are working together just fine. This definitely wouldn't quality as a scrap quilt but it surely is a stash quilt. I'm still a bit apprehensive about using some of my best greens, so they'll no longer be in my stash but maybe with time, I can overcome that kind of thinking. It's going to be 70" x 86" so I have a few more blocks to make! :) Judy L.

Ready for Winter!

Whew . . it's HOT! I just came in from gathering some herbs for the spaghetti sauce and decided to check the weather. Heat index is 118. Who'd ever have thought it got this hot in Kentucky? I am so ready for winter! We bought 40 pounds of tomatoes yesterday and with what I picked here, I put up over 50 pounds, the last batch is in the canner now. I'm making a buttermilk pie and then I'm going to get out of the kitchen and go work on the green quilt. Maybe I'll have pictures to show of my progress this afternoon. Judy

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Learning to Stash Quilt

It's easy to talk about using the stash but when it comes time to actually do it, I find that it's difficult. Why do I have such a hard time using my stash? If I were making a totally scrappy quilt, I might not have so much trouble. I want interaction here . . tell me what's wrong with me but be kind please! :) Here are some of the reasons that have run through my hard head this afternoon.

  1. This is probably the main reason - It's so much easier to run to the quilt shop and pick out fabric that matches! They have so much and with Betty's help, I can always come away knowing my quilt is going to be perfect. When I use fabric from the stash, I sometimes have to settle for second best. So, what I'm choosing from my stash may not be totally perfect, but it isn't horrendous either . . is it? And, besides, most of the time, the quilts I make don't actually have to be totally perfect. Who notices??
  2. The old standby reason - I pull a fabric to use it and then decide I like it too much to use. What if I use it and then want it and it's gone? It has happened so maybe the best thing to do is leave all the fabric in the stash and buy more?? Nope, can't do that. I'm going to use it!
  3. Probably the best reason - I make the biggest mess when I'm trying to find fabric. What I need is always on the bottom of the stack and until it gets just so awful that I can't stand it, there's fabric everywhere. I can go to the quilt shop, find the fabric I need, get it cut, come home and never make a mess. But, then I'm going to retire a pauper if I don't stop buying fabric!
So, I've convinced myself to use the stash. After all, I just bought 20 yards of the wrong fabric and I committed to Vicky to buy no fabric in August. I decided on a quilt design and I needed 3 greens, a background (you know I have plenty of that right now!) and a brown. Here are the greens I pulled. I have to choose 3 and I wanted something that kinda goes from light to dark. They're in no particular order here. After taking the picture, I found another green hiding in a corner and I think it works best for the lightest green. I'm going to use one of the wrong backgrounds fabrics and after laying out a few browns, I think I'm going to use red with the greens. I don't want it to be a holiday type quilt but I don't think it's going to look like Christmas with these fabrics. The red is on top, the background on the left and then the three greens, light to dark. They aren't what I would have chosen if I'd been to the quilt shop but I think they will work. In reality, I think the darkest green isn't as bright as it appears in the photo. And, if the quilt turns out ugly, I can always donate it to a worthy cause and make another quilt for Randy, right? The best part is the backing fabric. It's a bit greener than I thought. From the photo online, it looked more tan but it goes perfect with the greens and will be the best backing for this quilt! Maybe I can learn to be a stash quilter! Judy L.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I Knew It!

As soon as I set up a new blog ring, webrings would be back up. Supposedly they've solved their problems so everyone please remove the ringsurf info from your blogs and tomorrow I'll delete that ring. And, if you haven't done so already, be sure to join Bloglines and get all your buddies added. I had not done that yet but I will do it before going to bed tonight. And, remember that fabric I ordered . . the one that I ordered five yards twice? It isn't right either! So, I now have 20 . . yes, that's TWENTY yards of wrong fabric, 5 yards of one, 5 yards of another and 10 yards of another. But, I'm still a trooper. I ordered 5 yards of another one today. And, if that one isn't right, I will come up with a new plan for this quilt. Thank goodness it isn't August yet because I committed to Vicky that I would join her in August and buy NO fabric in August. I shouldn't need any backgrounds for a while but everything I make will have the same Benartex background . . just in different colors. Judy L.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

StashQuilts Blog Ring

I'm just a bit worried that our webring folks have disappeared or something. They have not responded to my e-mail and I miss all of you whose blogs I didn't have marked. Therefore, I've created a ring using a different service. See the new box over there -----> I'm thinking maybe we can all join the new one and then we can decide which service we want to stay with if the other one ever comes back up. So, if you see this and you are in the old ring or if you want to join the new ring, please jump through the hoops and fill out whatever they require and we'll be back in business. Thanks! Judy L.

Accidental Stash Enhancement

See that little almost white strip in the middle? I had a few yards of it. It's Benartex Style 933 by Susan Winget. I had a block that I needed to test for a magazine submission. I made one block, then decided to make four blocks to see how the block looked in a setting. Hey . . I like it a lot! I'll just keep making blocks! Working without a pattern, I had no idea how much fabric I would need and since I also had no instructions, I cut a few pieces wrong and first thing I knew, I didn't have enough fabric to finish. This all happened before I went to Louisiana. I got on and found what I thought was the same fabric. Those little sample pictures just aren't very good sometimes. I ordered the one on the bottom (5 yards) which is obviously too gold but in the picture I saw, it looked like it matched. Then, as I kept looking at, I found the one on top. I thought to myself . . I think I just ordered the wrong color so I ordered 5 yards of the lighter one. Different shop of course! They both arrived while I was gone .. both are wrong! I'll use them for something else. Got back on and found what I hope is the right color (I think it's vanilla!) Ordered 5 yards from Big Horn. My credit card wasn't charged for a few days so I figured they didn't have it. Ordered 5 more yards last night from an online shop. Today, my credit card was charged by Big Horn so I guess I'll have 10 yards coming of the right fabric, and 10 yards of the wrong fabric. The brown on the right is a Michael Miller Krystal that is also in the quilt and I was afraid I'd run short on it so I ordered more of it and thankfully, it's the right fabric. I mentioned here that my dad had asked me to make a quilt for the wrecker guy's wife and I will but I figured I'd also make a quilt for the guy too. I know him and I don't know his wife and he was really the one who helped dad so much through all this. I found this fabric for the backing. Isn't it perfect? And, it was on sale for about $3.50 yard . . Michael Miller fabric . . what a deal! If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I hate shopping. I don't mind shopping for groceries and fabric but otherwise, I detest shopping. There was a time in my previous life when I lived to shop. It used to aggravate me that the mall didn't open til 10 a.m. I wanted to be there at 8! I don't know if my husband likes to shop or likes to torture me but he loves to walk through stores . . just looking for nothing! He's just a bit of a penny pincher too so I figured the best thing I could do to break him of dragging me through stores was to find something I want in every store and when he had to pay for all this stuff I didn't need, he'd stop taking me shopping. So far, my plan is not working so well. Today he offered to take me to lunch at Olive Garden. Sounded good. But he forgot to mention that we were going to Home Depot. I needed a light fixture because the one in my laundry room wasn't working. Got that but we had to look at everything else in the store. Went to eat. Then he needed to go to Sam's. I couldn't think of a single thing in there that I needed that wouldn't be in my way if I bought it so I followed him around like a puppy. Then he needed to go to Target. I was tempted to pick up a new speaker system for my Ipod. I have the Bose system but it's in my quilting room. I need something in the front part of the house but the cheapest one I saw was $150 and after all the money I just spent on the trip to Louisiana (flights, rental car, clothes), I figured I really wasn't going to spend another $150 just to aggravate him. I did buy some plastic clothes hangers and a clip on lamp for the longarm. Ahhhhh .. then he decided to go to the shoe store. A girl can't have enough shoes, right? I found these two pair .. aren't they cute? The black ones are so comfortable and the brown ones are leather and will be great to wear with jeans or a jumper this fall. I've even told him what I'm doing and he still takes me shopping. Maybe next time, I'll go straight to the jewelry store and try on huge diamond rings. I'll bet that works!!! Judy L.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ipods, Music & Books

First, I don't know what's wrong with the blog ring. Seems to be a problem with the webring group and it isn't just the stashquilts group. If you click on "next" or "list" or whatever, it just isn't working. I guess we'll wait and see what happens. Many have asked questions about the Ipod and books on tape that I mentioned the other day so I'll try to answer a bunch of the questions here. When I bought the Ipod a year or maybe 2 years ago, I had planned to buy a small Ipod for myself. This was before the Shuffle and Nano. I called Apple and because they were changing something cosmetic with the 60 GB Ipod Photo, they had a special. I think I was able to get it for less than I was going to get the 20 GB for and I think they had an extra discount if you bought a second one so I bought Chad and Vince one too. Can't remember all the details but I bought three of them and they were a great price. Chad and I love ours. Vince has never taken his out of the box. I download music for .99 each from I-tunes or I download books on tape. Our local library is affiliated with some national organization and I can download books in MP3 format there but they have very few books. I pay something like $22/month from and get 2 credits per month there. Most books are 1 credit so I get 2 books a month and can buy more if I want. If you sign up for Audible, tell them I sent you. I might get a free book or something! Since I spend so much time at the longarm and can't really hear anything with the machine running, I have cordless headphones that are hooked into my computer. Here are the options I have via the computer:

  • We have XM Radio so I can listen to radio online. That includes news, lots of talk shows, investment info, religious programming and more music channels than I'd ever need.
  • I can put a CD in my computer and listen to that.
  • Before we had XM, I listened to Live 365 online. You can find all kinds of radio stations on there.
If you have more questions, just ask. Judy

Monday, July 24, 2006

Back in the Swing of Things

Last night I went to bed before 10 which was very early for me. I truly slept like a rock and couldn't believe how well I had slept when the alarm went off this morning. Most days when I first wake up, I lay in bed for a few minutes thinking about what my day holds. This morning I decided to do whatever I felt like doing. Vince and Chad were both working so I had the whole day to myself. I decided that instead of quilting or working in the yard (both of those really need attention) I would spend the day in the kitchen. I made a batch of kibbie, which isn't fantastic. If anyone has a great kibbie recipe you'd like to share, I'd be real happy to try it. I canned 7 pints of tomatoes and have enough tomatoes remaining to make 7 pints of tomato relish tomorrow. I have beef stroganoff in the crock pot for tomorrow and I made Oatmeal Toasting Bread. Maybe in the morning I'll run down to the farmer's market early and see if there are any good tomatoes there. I'd love to put up a couple dozen quarts of spaghetti sauce but I don't have enough of my own tomatoes for that. Not just for my little 7 pints of tomatoes but I bought myself a new 23 quart canner today. For nine years I've heard that you can't can on a smooth top stove. Thankfully, I did a little research this morning. I found that I could buy a "5th burner" which is just an electric coil type thing -- like having an extra burner on the regular electric stove. I went to our local Rural King and found one of those for $10. OK, that fits the budget. Then I went to the canners and big as Texas, on the outside of the box, it says:

  • Canners are constructed of extra-strong, warp-resistant aluminum and are suitable for use on regular and smooth-top ranges.
  • So, I was able to get the canner, put the 5th burner thing back and now I'm all set. All I need is a bigger garden . . maybe next year. For those who have asked about the log house. We are not getting it. After Daniel's accident, there's no way I want Chad driving on these roads . . even though Daniel's wreck happened on a major highway. I'll hopefully go back and forth to Louisiana every couple of months til I feel mom and dad are ok and it's so much easier for us to work out of the house in town. It's less than 2 miles from community college, 5 miles from Chad's job and 6 miles to Vince's job. I think there will be some major changes in our house before Christmas and a big house with lots of land is not what we need right now. Judy L.

    Sunday, July 23, 2006

    Home Sweet Home

    I'm back home and while it feels good to be here, my heart is in Louisiana. I left mom and dad standing in the garage sobbing. When I left was the first time they've been alone since the accident and I know it's tough on them. I wish I could've stayed longer but Chad has to report to Kroger tomorrow and I have deadlines to meet. My life seems to be ruled by deadlines these days. I had told Vince when I finished the book, I wanted to get away for a whole week and that's what I did but it surely wasn't the kind of trip I had planned. The flights home were fairly uneventful or I should say they were as uneventful as flights on prop planes can be on cloudy days. I should learn that Corky's BBQ and carbonated drinks are not what I should consume before getting on those little planes. We had to walk halfway across the airport to get on the plane in Lafayette and it was pouring so we were all totally drenched when we got on the plane. I was in the first seat by the door and despite the flight attendant's best efforts at wiping the door, every time the plane turned one direction, water poured onto my leg so I was doubly drenched by the time I got off that plane. Not complaining though. It was still way better than driving. My dad is so funny. He thinks it is so quick for me to make quilts. The guy who owns the wrecker service that picked up Daniel's car has been a friend of dad's for years. In fact, his son has now taken over the business and Randy was so kind and helpful to dad during this time. Dad said "I want you to make a quilt for Randy's wife. She's so nice!" Yes, sir. I will get right on that! Dad will find out her favorite color and a quilt for Randy's wife has been added to my "to do list". Judy

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Good Timing!

    This was a pleasant surprise! Vince told me this morning I had received a letter from the Governor and I couldn't figure out why the KY Governor would be writing me. I have no idea how he knew about the QOV project but his letter couldn't have come at a better time. Vince scanned it and sent it to me in e-mail. I'm kinda proud of myself! :) Making quilts for our injured soldiers is such a great project. If anyone has time to make a quilt or two, please check out the QOV web page. Judy L.

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Thanks Everyone!

    Thanks so much to all of you for your kind words, prayers and compassion. Having never lost anyone close other than grandparents who were very, very old when they all died, this has been more difficult than I could have imagined. For those who have suffered loss, you know the pain that until now, I never felt. Daniel had lived with my parents off and on in his very early years but came to live with them permanently when he was about 9. They had teased him quite a bit lately about going out on his own . . getting his own place or getting married and his response was always "why would I want to leave here?" One of the boys who spoke at his funeral said Daniel loved the ladies and the ladies loved Daniel. He was the typical guy about whom you hear "they loved fast cars and women!" Mom joked that at the funeral, they were going to say "would everyone who ever dated Daniel, please stand up!". Saturday evening two girls came by the house and they were both crying. One said, "I'm Kathy (not the real name!) and I dated Daniel." The other girl said "I'm Suzie (not the real name!), I'm her sister (pointing to the other girl) and I dated Daniel too!" We almost laughed! Then my friend from Westlake's son is a policeman and I was talking to Sarah and asked her if Jared had heard any more about the accident. She said "Jared knew Daniel and Jaimie (Jared's wife) dated Daniel." It was really getting to be funny how many girls had dated him. The picture is one of Chad and Daniel that was taken in 1999. The quilt on the bed is one mom had made for Daniel and he loved it. Mom said he would never go to bed without his quilt so they buried it with him. Chad and I are going to fly home Sunday. He's going back to work Tuesday for Kroger at one of the other stores. I'll try to come back home in a month or so. Daniel's birthday would be August 10 so that will be another hard day for mom and dad. Small hurdles . . one at a time. Thanks again for your support! Judy L.

    Saturday, July 15, 2006

    Gone to Louisiana

    The call you hope you never receive just happened. My 27 year old nephew, Daniel Zito, was killed in a car accident last night. He had always lived with my parents so mom and dad are going to have such a tough time with this. Mom just called .. I'm trying to finish up a few loose ends with the book so I can get it in ready for Vince to mail and then I'll be on the road for a 14 hour trip. I don't know any details . . only that the car crashed and burned. Not taking the computer, not sure when I'll be home. Thanks for your prayers for my family. Update: I have a little more information. I'm flying home and in order to get a bit of a discount, I had to have more info. Called the state police to get the details I needed and it happened that the only friend I have who is a state trooper answered the phone. He was in tears too telling me the details. It was a one car accident on Highway 90 going from Westlake to Sulphur. Chad is going with me. We're scheduled to come home a week from tomorrow, July 23. Judy L.

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Quilt Backings

    How do you choose the backings for your quilt? I met a lady online . . can't even remember if it was through the blog or one of the many quilt groups I'm on. Her name is Jackie and she lives in north Louisiana but the funny thing is she grew up in Sulphur . . same place my buddy, Vicky, grew up. Sulphur is maybe 2 miles down I-10 from Westlake where I grew up. Back then (way back then), the world was a smaller place and I didn't know either of them. Westlake was such a small little place (still is), right in the middle of chemical plants and oil refineries .. the kind of place people drive through and say "Ughhh . . wouldn't you hate to live here?" But for those of us who call it home, it's a wonderful place. When I was home for spring break and attended the quilt show in Lake Charles, Jackie was there and we met in person and Jackie and I and both our moms were able to talk for a few minutes. Anyway, Jackie and I were corresponding via e-mail last week and got to talking about quilt backings and Jackie thought it would be a good topic and I think so too. Thanks Jackie!! So . . back to quilt backings. How do you decide what to use? My main method of deciding is: Which piece in the stash is big enough? I don't get real picky about backings. I don't mind using muslin when I'm doing an overall or a panto. I prefer to use a print when there are a bunch of stops and starts because no matter how careful you are on the longarm, stops and starts almost always show. Oh, yes, I could knot and bury all the thread tails but I'm not going to do that. I've had plenty of quilts in quilt shows with print backings to camouflage the stops and starts and have yet to receive a negative comment. In fact, the Glistening Rose Garden quilt has an ecru almost solid backing and it was in quite a few shows in 2004 and 2005 and won several ribbons and I didn't get any negative comments on the stops and starts. Here are a couple of my fairly recent poor backing choices. I was ready to quilt this one and had nothing in my stash. Didn't want to run to the quilt shop which is all the way across the Ohio River in Indiana so I went to Hancock's. Not what I would have chosen if I had been at the quilt shop but it worked for me. This is one of the quilts that was in American Quilter magazine a while back. The backing is pink. I had a whole bolt of this pink and heck, I kinda thought it matched. A friend was over and she was in love with the quilt and she looked at the back and said "Why did you use THIS?" I said "because I had it!" As a longarm quilter, I see all kinds of backings. It doesn't matter to me what people send so long as it's nice and square. Here are a few different type backings that come to mind.

    1. Sheets - Some longarmers refuse to use them. I've used them and some are woven so tightly that the thread just stays on top and doesn't sink in to make a quality stitch. Most are not straight . . no way you can tear them and get them straight. I honestly don't think sheets make a great backing for a quilt but I suppose if I came across the perfect sheet, I'd use it. To get a good quality sheet, you can probably buy an extra wide 100% cotton backing for the same price.
    2. Pieced - Some quilters piece a million little pieces together to make backings. I won't name names here but one is in the StashQuilts blog ring and likes cats and just went to Australia on her honeymoon! (Love your backings, Amy!) I'm not patient enough to do that but I've seen some very interesting and fun backings made from a bunch of pieces.
    3. Extra wide backing fabric - ahhhh, a longarmer's dream! No seams. Rip it and it's nice and straight. Good quality cotton so the stitches sink in and look like good stitches should. And, while we're talking about wide backings, Wilma at Christian Lane Quilters has a wonderful selection of extra wide backings. She and her husband are both longarmers and Wilma has been on one longarm list or another with me for a few years. A wonderful lady, wonderful service . . if ever you need a wide backing, check out Wilma's selection.
    So, I guess you can really use anything you want to use. But, once you decide what you're going to use, how do you decide what color to use? Does it have to be some of the same fabric you used in the front? Does it have to match? Can the backing be something totally different? Here's a quilt I made for Chad's chemistry teacher. I found the backing fabric first and then made a quilt that somewhat matched the backing fabric. Isn't that a neat backing for a chemistry teacher? When I make Stack & Whack quilts, I always try to use some of the focus fabric in the backing because no one ever believes that all the kaleidoscope type designs came from that one fabric. I love making Stack & Whack quilts! So, I guess it all boils down to: It's your quilt and you can use whatever backing you choose! What initially started this was that Jackie had used a backing on a quilt and someone liked the quilt because they liked the backing and it matched their decor! They kinda ignored the front of the quilt. Judy L.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    The House & Ipods

    Several have asked questions about the house and about the Ipod and downloading books. Here's a bit of info on all of it. I stole these pix off the realtor's web page. Hope I don't go to jail! :( The first one is a picture of the outside, a bit closer than the last picture I put here. It isn't actually a real log home but it's some kind of log siding. They're like quarter logs (real wood) and each are screwed on individually. The guy has a bunch of extra ones in the shop so if we ever have damage, we can fix it. (I sound like we already own the house, huh?) Vince prefers this because you don't have to worry so much about it all settling and the beetles that had done so much damage to the other log home we looked at. The deck is so nice! It's probably 7 feet wide and goes all the way around the house. I can't really remember downstairs but I think those doors to the left are off a second family room and I think that "V" downstairs is in a bedroom. I'd probably put the longarm in that bedroom and put the sewing machine/cutting table in the downstairs family room. Downstairs are three bedrooms, the second family room, a bathroom and a really big laundry room. The mechanical room is there too and it's plenty big enough to have my backup pantry. These pictures are probably going to get all jumbled up and I may end up talking about the Ipod next to a picture but you'll figure it all out. Next is the kitchen. Pretty nice kitchen, huh? I wish it had a 6 burner gas stove and a double oven but it doesn't. The house also doesn't have a garage and since we'd build one, I want to have an outdoor kitchen with a gas stove and I can have a second oven there, as well as some kind of bread/stone lined oven. I love how the kitchen has two windows and lots of light, not to mention that what you don't see here is that the family room and dining room are all open to the kitchen and there are windows everywhere! Next is the family room. It doesn't look big here but it's huge. I'm guessing it's probably 30 x 25 or maybe bigger. The door opens to the front deck and the lake is out front so looking out the window, you see what's in the next picture. Last of the pictures is the shop. This is in part of the barn with a built in dust collection system for the woodworker in the family (Vince)! See how many windows this shop has! All this on 13 acres!! About the Ipod . . when I got it, I wasn't sure how much I would use it but I wanted something I could listen to while quilting. Something I could just stick in my pocket, use the head phones and longarm all day. When I called, they had a special and I could get two of the 60 GB Ipods for not much more than I had planned to pay for one that was maybe 20 GB. So I figured Chad would like one so I got him one, then I figured if I got one for me and one for Chad, Vince would feel left out so I ordered three. Want to guess which one has never been taken out of the box? I consider that my backup. Every now and then you buy a gadget and you wonder how you lived without it. That's how I feel about my Ipod. We've had them at least a year and a half and there's hardly a day that goes by that I don't use it and Chad uses his way more than I use mine and we've never had a moment's trouble with them. They're so easy to use . . I figured it out by myself. You can copy from all your own CD's to your Ipod or you can buy songs from Itunes for .99 each. They have a bunch of old songs, all the new songs. I really love the whole setup. For the books on tape, I get those through I think I pay about $22.95 per month and I get 2 credits each month. Most books are 1 credit each. I can buy others for about $10 to $20 each. On the plan I'm on, if I don't order any books in one month, the credits carry over. I've been so busy that I haven't had time to think about books and I had 6 credits sitting in my account. Yesterday I downloaded Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. It's been years since I read that and I wanted to hear it all again. I also downloaded Cold Mountain on Tracey's suggestion and Love Rules just because it sounded good. I still have 3 credits left and will get 2 more for July soon. My taste in books is as diverse as my taste in music! Any questions .. just let me know. Tonight, I'm sewing on binding! I will sew it on at least 2 quilts tonight (just the machine part . . not the hand work.) Judy L.

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Remind Me Again Please!

    Can someone remind me again why anyone has children? I know .. most are not like mine and I suppose that's because everyone else is a better parent than I am. Chad decided that working at Kroger didn't fit his style. They treated him horribly! They expected him to be there some mornings at 8:00 (not even half the time!), they wanted him to be productive which he never quite comprehended. There was a 45 day "trial" period and that was up yesterday. They extended it for another 15 days and he was totally disgusted. I think he truly expected them to bump him up to store manager or something. Anyway, not quite sure what transpired last night but he came home thinking his time was extended. He was off today and the manager called and said they decided they didn't need him. Who needs a job anyway? I quilted 4 quilts over the weekend. They were all pantos which go quickly but it made me feel good to get them done. I think I have 5 or 6 more to quilt, then get the handwork finished on all 20. Guess we know what I'll be doing for the next 2 months! Manuscript is almost ready. Goodness . . is there ever a time when I can read the darned thing without finding more things to change/correct? I think I've used more ink and paper than the law allows! I do believe it's ready to go except I still need photos of 5 quilts and of course, there's rain predicted for the next month! Like everything else in my life, my Ipod is all jumbled up. Somehow, some of my audio books got mixed in with my music and about mid-day Saturday while quilting and listening to my music, I came across the book, Cover the Butter. Not even sure when I downloaded it but I was too lazy to stop quilting and skip over it so I started listening to it and couldn't stop. I loved that book! There was some language that was kinda bad in a few parts (not real bad but I wouldn't recommend it for a high school girl). I had been thinking I should write a book about my life and dang it . . I think someone already has! Whew! I want to go back and listen to it again. One night I fell asleep with the ear buds in and the Ipod under my pillow!! We're looking at the log cabin again Saturday. We just can't let go of it. I keep thinking of all the negatives (trying to talk myself out of wanting it) but Vince really wants it too. The big problem is that he thinks we're going to sell the house in town, move into the new house and then try to sell his house. Well, that's not what I was thinking. I was thinking we'd sell his house first, then move in, then sell the house in town. I suppose that can be worked out but I do NOT want to show the house I'm living in. I think we already have a buyer for it anyway so that's not a big deal. And just to see how many subjects I can cover in one post, I smoked salmon today using a method C. J. told me about. Oh, it was so good! I had to get up at 5 to get the salmon on the smoker and the bread going so I should get to bed now! Judy

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Thank you, Mr. Weatherman!

    What a wonderful few days we've had and look at the forecast for next week! Not a single day over 90. Is it really mid-July? Have I said lately that I really, really, really hate summer? Last night after dark I was out with shorts on and it was just a bit cool. I think our low was about 54 or 58. In fact, I got up during the night and turned the ceiling fan off. Please let it stay this way til October! Oh, my! I just looked at the 10 day forecast for Lake Charles and it's going to be cooler there than here. Amazing! Today I went to my friend Becky's house and we picked green beans, corn, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers and potatoes. Becky actually did more picking than Judy did! :) I had fresh corn and potatoes for dinner tonight. Boiled them with the crawfish boil . . too bad I was lacking the crawfish! I smoked 4 chickens today. My little smoker was stuffed to the gills with chicken! Also made two loaves of bread and took Becky 2 chickens and a loaf of bread. I'll trade chicken and bread any day for fresh veggies. She didn't expect anything in return . . she's such a sweet lady! The manuscript is almost ready to send off, quilts remain to be quilted but I'm feeling really good about my deadlines. No weekend plans. We're still talking about that log house. I wish someone else would hurry up and buy it so we can stop saying . . if only it wasn't so far out .. if only we could get DSL there . . if only we were happy with the house we have! :( Judy

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Happy 4th of July

    I hope you all have a happy and safe 4th of July. It's a quiet one around here. Vince and Chad were both off just for today so we stayed home and will enjoy the peace and quiet. We'll grill burgers this afternoon, a cheesecake is in the oven. There's also a cold watermelon in the fridge. We surely won't be hungry! :) Thought I'd share a couple of patriotic quilts that were handy to photograph. The first is from a Fons & Porter Love of Quilting magazine from probably five years ago. It's obviously a quick quilt to make and great for using some blue and background scraps. As simple as it is, I like this quilt a lot. The guild here taught this as a workshop and I've taught this class at least once so there are a bunch of these quilts around town. This second one was my entry for the Moda Challenge a few years ago when they had the packet of neutrals that had to be used. The center is paper pieced and the rest of the blocks are my standard nine patch variation type blocks. I'd be lost without the nine patch! Judy L.

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    This & That

    We have more new ring members: Bonnie Shelina Esteemarlu Mama Koch Tazzie Melanie Welcome to you all! About the house, thanks for all your good thoughts on it but the reasons why we will not get it will not change. They are:

    • The log house is maybe a couple of miles from our country house, but farther out. The reason we have the house in town and the house in the country is because I didn't want to drive on the back roads so much while Chad was in high school. Now that he's driving (well, not til he gets his own car and insurance but that will happen soon), I don't want him driving on those roads. He's obviously not going to be a very good driver and even though I can't shield him from everything, I really don't want to cause him to be on the really bad, windy, narrow roads any more than he has to be. If it were just Vince and me, the roads would not be an issue because Vince can get to work by staying on a state highway, although it isn't great either. I wouldn't leave home enough to worry about it but it's not just us for a few more years so the roads are a major consideration.
    • Second, we can't get DSL at that house. Our home must be about the last house going out that way that has it. Vince really has to have fast internet access because he does research and work from home. We could get satellite but it's way expensive and just not worth it.
    Neither of those can be overcome right now so the house isn't going to work for us. Otherwise, I think we would have made a deal yesterday. Judy

    Sunday, July 02, 2006

    The Perfect House

    I know there's never really a perfect house but this one is so darned close and I want it! We won't get it for several reasons and I knew we wouldn't get it but they had open house today so we went out and looked at it. It has 13 acres, a pretty good size lake, a barn with part of it fixed up for a woodworking shop with concrete floors and an elaborate vac system for removing the sawdust. The house sits way back from the road and from nowhere near the house can you see another house or see a road. There are hickory, walnut, dogwood, magnolia, oak . . all kinds of trees everywhere on the property. This is probably the most well built house we have ever looked at. There's not a spot in the floor that creaked! Nothing was left undone in this house. The ceilings are all slick (as opposed to textured) and you can't see a sheetrock nail anywhere. The master bedroom closet is bigger than some of the bedrooms in my studio house and in the closet are several sets of chests of drawers built of red cedar. The guy who built the house and still lives there is a woodworker and there is some gorgeous woodworking in this house. Those big windows in the front are in the family room and there's no window coverings on them at all. No need for it . . there's no one around to see in. I could surely live there and never want to leave for any reason. The people who live there are funny. The guy also does insulation (I think it's the kind that goes in liquid and then hardens in the walls . . not sure . . wasn't listening to that part) and there was a little dock out on the lake. Vince and I were out there looking at it and Vince noticed there was a trolling motor attached to the dock. Just at that same moment, the people came down and said "want to go for a cruise around the lake?" so they hopped on the dock, unhooked it from a stationary part of the dock and off we went around the lake. He had built it and then used his foam insulation underneath it to make it float. Just a neat, neat place in the woods. Judy L.

    Saturday, July 01, 2006

    More Changes to the Quilt

    Ughhh! A costly change since it's going to take time and since I'm short on the background fabric but after making a few of the border blocks (12 to be exact), I decided they're too big for the quilt. The border blocks on the right are 6" x 8". The border blocks on top are 4-1/2" x 6" and they're much better. Don't you think? I'll take the bigger blocks apart and cut them down so as not to have to waste any fabric. I am not sure I've ever done that but with no background fabric to spare, I have no choice. And, the inner borders have to come off because instead of a 1-1/2" side border, I now need 3-1/2" side borders. And, the top and bottom borders were 2-1/2" and they now need to be 1-1/2". I'll use the current side borders for the top and bottom borders . . what a waste of time but I think the end result is better. But first, I think I'll take a nap. I stayed up too late last night and knew I had to get up at 6:30 but . . little did I know the neighbors are getting a new roof and the roofers began removing the old shingles at 5:20 a.m. Oh well, if they were working on my roof, I'd want it done as quickly as possible and if I were the roofers, I'd surely want to start before it got too hot so I can't complain. Judy L.