Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gracie May is One Year Old!

Today is Gracie May's 1st Birthday!

Who would have known this darling little 4 week old kitten (photo from her foster parents)...

...would turn into this lovable, precocious little beauty! Yes, her eyes changed color all by themselves.

 She knows when to sleep....
....and when to play!  We're so happy she joined us here at the Squash House!  Happy first Birthday, Gracie May!

I will be taking a brief blogging break.  Hopefully I'll be able to visit many of you and leave comments, though.  I've turned comments off for this post but Gracie May wants you all to know she is grateful for your good Birthday Wishes - Meow!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

More Fine Visitors!

It seems the Squash House is a gathering place for all creatures wild this spring!

Last evening I was buttoning up some things on the patio when I saw movement in the side yard.  I turned to see Mr. Turkey staring at me!
Knowing my camera was just inside the door, I quickly retrieved it and started snapping away.  Just then he started walking away from me, but then I heard a thump to my right and a brief flash of another visitor!
Turns out both Mr. and Mrs. Turkey came to visit!  If you click on the photo to enlarge it and look to the right of the basketball hoop, Mrs. Turkey is on a neighboring roof and the Mister is on their garage to the left. 
We "chatted" for quite some time - me doing my best impersonation of a turkey.   I almost had him interested for a bit!  Then the sounds of thunder began and I felt it best to retreat and let them do their thing!  I wonder who will visit next?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Quilt Show in the Big City

Friday I attended a quilt show in the "Big City" as Mr. Squash and I like to say.  It's the closest large city from where we live and about 50 miles from home.  I went with my friend Tammy whom I met blogging.  Tammy also lives in the big city. We had a great time!
Here is Tammy with her entry in the show.  It's an adorable house quilt which combines patchwork, needle turn applique, hand embroidery and lots of love!  The theme of the show was "A Quilter's Journey" and Tammy's quilt very much fit the bill.  Each house has some significance and even her pets are featured!  Great job, Tammy!
I took a lot of photos but whittled them down to just a few for your viewing enjoyment!  Isn't this one a stunner?

I thought this one had an interesting use of color that really works!
This one is by Eddie Walker, a local artist, who prior to quilting and designing her own patterns was well known as a figurine artist!  This quilt is called Wedding Ring...Ring and is based on her pickle dish design.
I thought this was an interesting Dresden variation.
Quilters who do landscape quilts always fascinate me.  Look how this one is so close to the actual photo!

This quilt was made in the 1890's.  I was blown over on how bright the colors have remained!
Click on the photo to enlarge this crazy quilt made in 1912, which contains pieces from one of Mrs. Lincoln's dresses.
 Of course I couldn't leave you today without a couple of cute kitty photos!  Sasha likes to sit next to me at the computer every afternoon.  She was so happy and relaxed here that her little tongue peeked out!
Gracie May thought she was hiding from Mr. Squash under the quilt on the back of his chair.  We see you, Gracie :>)

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Fine Visitor

Yesterday I was in the kitchen when Mr. Squash exclaimed there was a pheasant in the back yard.  I'm not sure why, but the vision of a peacock came to mind first.  Probably because when I was a child we lived down the street from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.  Every so often one of their peacocks, a feisty bird named Freddie, would escape and wind up in our backyard.  When I got a little older I realized that Freddie escaped on purpose on Sunday's because my mom would feed him leftover pancakes from breakfast until his keepers could get there to retrieve him!  Obviously he liked my mom's pancakes more than what he was fed at the zoo!

I think I'll call this pheasant Freddie, too!  No doubt he was either looking for food (sorry Freddie, no pancakes here today) or hiding from the local Pheasant hunting club.  We told him he would have a safe haven from hunters here at the Squash House for as long as he wants!  Guess I'd better make pancakes next Sunday - even if Freddie doesn't visit again, Mr. Squash will be happy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Scraps, Anyone?

You probably remember the scrap project I started a while back.  I recently finished all 440 squares! It didn't even feel like it took that long.  I tell you, I was really headstrong on this one.  Even Mr. Squash was in awe of how much significant time I spent sewing these together!
Here they all are sorted into light, medium, dark and red.  Why red, you ask?  As I constructed the blocks I knew in my mind there were a lot of reds.  What I didn't realize is that there isn't a single wall in the Squash House big enough to hang the batting so I can lay them out.  So, I decided to just randomly sew them together from the piles making sure to put an even amount of red in each row.  Cross your fingers this harebrained scheme works!
Here is a portion of the first row all sewn together.  It's so long that the other portion is hanging from the back side of the door!
So, this brings me to all those leftover scraps!  I really don't want them anymore.  Each piece now has two quilts made from it and that's enough for me.  I want to start a new scrap bin, as crazy as that sounds!  So, I'm offering each box for just the price of postage which is $17.95 Flat Rate Priority for the large box, stuffed to the brim.  I can only offer this to U.S. residents.  To sweeten the pot just a tad, there will be a surprise in each box - maybe a pattern or two, some orphan blocks or even a small kit.  You need to take your chances on what might be in each box.  I have three boxes now, but can fill at least two more.

So here are the "rules":

  • US shipping only
  • $17.95 flat priority postage payable by Paypal
  • First come, first serve
  • You get what you get, please don't ask me to tell you what is in each box, it's all good quality fabric
  • Please make sure I have your email address if you want a box
Wow - I had great response to getting my leftover scraps - they're all gone now!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Uncommonly Corduroy Winner and a New Cosmetic Bag

Thanks for so many wonderful comments on my post for Loft Creations Uncommonly Corduroy Book Tour!  All of the Supremes on the tour had wonderful posts and each of us are giving away a free electronic copy of the book compliments of Martingale Publishing!  I have chosen a winner for my post - congratulations to Pauline, of the Quilt n Queen!  I know she's excited to start making some of the projects in the book and work with corduroy!

This past week I have been working on making a new cosmetic bag to replace the bag I've grown to love for many years now.  It finally had to be sent to cosmetic bag heaven.  I'd heard there was such a thing as fusible vinyl, so I thought I would give it a try to line my bag.  Here is my finished bag complete with the little pull from the old bag. (Please note this was not made from the book, I just happen to have it on my cutting table right now so I can look through it frequently and admire all the great projects).
I used a pattern from Terry Atkinson here.  I modified the pattern a bit.  Instead of using a fusible fleece lining, I only used the fusible vinyl for lining.  I box-pleated the bottom to make more room for my goodies and left off the flower and the handle for simplicity's sake.
Here is a shot of the vinyl-lined inside.  For a first attempt, I think it came out quite well.  I'm sure I'll make it again and this time reinforce the box pleats a bit more.
A blogging friend asked for more photos of Sasha and Gracie May the other day.  Here they are on the bed in the guest room a couple of weeks ago.  This was a rare moment - they are most often chasing each other around the house and having a lot of fun!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Blog Book Tour - Uncommonly Corduroy!

Welcome to Day 3 of the Uncommonly Corduroy Blog Book Tour!  

Comments are now closed.  Come back tomorrow for the announcement of the winner of the E-book!

Stephanie of Loft Creations has published her first book called "Uncommonly Corduroy".  Many of you know that I am one of her team of "Supreme's" who test her pattern instructions prior to being published.  We make sure there are no errors so when you take it out of the package and begin sewing, you'll have a smooth and flawless finish!

Let me just say that Stephanie's new book is fabulous!  As Stephanie says in the book, corduroy just isn't for pants!  I know first hand from testing several of the projects in her book.  Let me show you!  Also, you can win a free electronic version of the book - keep reading....

"Images from Uncommonly Corduroy by Stephanie Dunphy, Martingale, 2014; used by permission.  Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved."

The first project I tested was the "California Girl Scarf".  This is the image from the book.

And here is my version.  Complete with vintage doily and button!  I didn't use corduroy on my version - any of the projects in the book can be made from regular cotton!  The scarf makes up in a jiffy and you can  embellish it to your heart's content!

The next project is the "California Girl Bag".  You see the image from the book up above along with the scarf.

Here is my version.  Except for the lining, I used corduroy for the entire bag.  I have to say how much I love working with 21-wale corduroy!  It's soft, supple and quilts so easily!  The needle goes through the fabric like butter!

The next project I Supreme tested was the "Abby on the Go Bag".  Abby is Stephanie's wonderful dog who also makes an appearance in the book! Here is the image from the book.
Here is my version!  This is a large bag - perfect for carrying any doggie or kitty essentials you might need!  I made this bag with a combination of corduroy and home dec fabric.  Stephanie's bag patterns are very easy to make and she is consistent in her instructions.  Once you make one bag, each pattern thereafter is a breeze!

The final project I tested for the book is "I Heart Dresdens".  This is the image from the book.

Here is my version!  There was a bit of a rush on making this bag, so I used some Sweetwater I've had on hand just waiting for the right project.  You can let your imagination run wild with this pattern - any fabrics, cotton or corduroy, home dec will make a terrific bag!  Notice the handle where I made sure Paducah showed?  I plan to carry this to the quilt show in Paducah - hopefully soon!

If you would like to win an electronic version of Uncommonly Corduroy, leave a comment on this post telling me if you've ever made a bag or quilt using corduroy, and if not, which would you try first?

Stephanie's book is available from Martingale or Amazon.  If you would like a personalized copy you can get it directly from Stephanie HERE, the link is on her sidebar.

Below is the schedule for all the stops on the Book Tour.  Each participant is giving away a free e-copy of the book and showing their fabulous projects, too!

February 19 -- Stephanie at Loft Creations

February 20 -- Martingale at Stitch This

February 21 -- Candace at Squash House Quilts

February 22 -- Carrie at A Passion for Applique

February 23 -- Mary at Mary on Lake Pulaski

February 24 -- Char at Cloth Stitched

February 25 -- Mary at Needled Mom

February 26 -- Linda at The Quilted Pineapple

February 27 -- Margaret at A Sampler of Stitches

February 28 - Ulla at Kotkarankki

Thanks for joining me on the Tour!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Stack Grows and a Whole Lot of Snow!

In case you're wondering where I've been these days, I'm still knee deep in my scraps making blocks!
You're looking at 350 here!  At first I was going to make the quilt a bit smaller than the original pattern.  Yesterday I measured the rails on my longarm and found that I had plenty of room to make the full quilt, which takes 440 - 5" squares! 
I stack them in sections of 10 with 100 in each stack.  I realized I had to have a system so I would know just where I am in the count.  My memory isn't as good as it used to be!
The other day I began to realize that I may run out of scraps.  I am really trying hard not to have very many fabric repeats.  Then I realized I had stacks of partially used charm squares.  I wasn't sure if I could get a 5" block from them, but it turns out I can!  I just have to be very careful when trimming them down.  I cut them on the diagonal and use a 7" strip down the middle.  That gives me just enough to trim off the pinked sides and a bit more.
One of the reasons Mr. Squash and I moved to this side of the state for our retirement was to have more defined seasons.  In four winters here we haven't had much snow - until the past few days!  I swear we've had close to a foot.  It's just gorgeous - light and fluffy because it's been so cold.  It's even relatively easy to drive in. I took this photo from the dining room yesterday morning.
This was taken on Thursday.  Mr. Squash goes out every day and completely clears the driveway, sidewalk and walkway.  What a trooper.  A friend of mine said she wasn't sure if he was waving in the photo or "making a gesture" under that glove!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Granny Stripe Blanket Finished!

I got on a crocheting streak and finished my Granny Stripe blanket!  
I actually finished a few weeks ago, but it's been so gray and foggy here that I've had a hard time getting good photos.  This photo was taken right after I finished it.
Day before yesterday it began to snow just as the Super Bowl started!  Yesterday it was still snowing so I thought perhaps the brightness from the snow would help my photo taking!  Of course Sasha is a ham and has to be included.  
I'm very happy with how the yarns I didn't like worked out in the blanket.  It's 100% cotton except for the luscious Pashmina worsted wool blend I used between colors and around the edges.  It's small - lap size, but just perfect for me.
If you click on both these photos you'll see snow lightly falling.  
I love how pretty and clean the snow looks.  We'll take it any day over the fog we've had for weeks now!

Today is the release of Stephanie over at Loft Creations new book - Uncommonly Corduroy!  You'll be amazed what you can sew using corduroy!  I know first hand as I helped to test some of the patterns in the book.  She's also having a giveaway.  Please go visit Stephanie and congratulate her on her book release!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Scrap Block Tutorial

I've had some requests to do a tutorial on the scrap block from my last post.  First I have to say that I did not design this block.  It comes from a pattern by Ann Weber of The Gingham Girls.  I can't tell you how much fun I'm having making them.  They go fast and you can make as many or as few as you like from your scrap pile!
First find two scraps that are big enough to give you a 6 inch block and an 8 1/2 by 1 1/2 inch strip. I like to make sure I have a light and a dark or medium rather than two lights and two darks.  It's your quilt, though, so you can decide what you want!
From the larger scrap cut a 6" square.  It really helps to have either a 6"  or 6 1/2" square ruler with a diagonal line down the middle.  You'll figure out why a bit later here.
From the smaller square cut a 1 1/2" by 8 1/2" strip.
Whoops - forgot to tell you to cut the 6" square in half diagonally.
Now you're ready to begin making your block.  I like to grab a huge pile of scraps and cut as many as I can so I can chain sew these together.
With right sides together sew one side of your strip to the diagonal cut side of one the triangles. I don't use pins here as I try not to mess with that diagonal cut too much.  If it helps you can finger press the center of each piece, but they should fit perfectly end to end without doing that.
Press to the triangle.
Repeat with the other triangle.
Now you're ready for some trimming.
Here's where it helps to finger press down the middle of the strip.  Line your ruler up with the diagonal line down the middle of the strip.
Rotate the block and align the outer edges with the 5" mark on the ruler and trim again.  You may be thinking this is a lot of waste, but remember, you're using scraps to begin with!  If you can't stand the waste, then adjust your pieces smaller so there is less.  I find when I get in the zone of cutting these that I can easily make a mistake, so I'm glad for the extra waste!
Now you have a perfect 5 inch block!  With a little math you can enlarge these blocks or even make them smaller to suit your needs!
For a look at another great scrap block tutorial, be sure to visit to Stephanie at Loft Creations!
I took a break from cutting and sewing to find Gracie May in the dining room sunbathing her tummy!
It was all I could do to keep from getting down there with her!