Monday, July 14, 2014

Backyard Friend and Volunteers!

So many of you have commented to say that you enjoy seeing photos of our Squash House gardens.  Now that summer is in full swing, I thought I would take you on another tour.
The other day I was tending to this bed of peas when I noticed this lovely volunteer!  See the pink petunia in the back?  I only grew petunias once and that was several years ago on the opposite side of the yard.  Not sure where this one came from, but I'm happy to see her!
We have alyssum all along the back side of the Squash House beneath my tea roses.  Check out the snapdragon I saw the other evening!  It appears to have been there a while as there are quite a few spent buds to the right.  Something else I've never grown in our yard!
We also have a lot of "friends" this time of year.  See the honey bees on the bird bath getting a little sippa?  I see them every evening when I change the water in the bird bath.
Click on this photo to enlarge it.  Just where the three fences meet is Mr. Squirrel.  He comes over every morning to show us his peanut of the day!  He likes to chatter at Mr. Squash as he picks blueberries and tell him how proud he is to have a whole peanut!
Look at the birdhouse gourd!  There are actually three plants on this trellis and quite a few little gourd-lets!
Here is a closeup of one I took on Friday.  Three days later it is triple this size.
There is another trellis with one gourd and several cucumbers to the left.  This one gets more shade so there may or may not be gourds, but it's very pretty nevertheless.
The echinacea is in fine form!
Check out this hydrangea!  The blooms are not fully open yet, either.  To the right is a European Cranberry.  Soon the berries will be a bright red.
You can see how the berries are beginning their transformation.  After the leaves go, the berries will hang on until next spring when the Cedar Waxwings arrive to have them for dinner for several days.
I love this little garden of bits and bobs.  Oh, look - Mr. Elf has made an appearance!
Love this unusual clematis and the bee balm to the left is just getting ready to bloom.
Our Kiwi is coming through the other side of the fence to highlight the barn quilt!
Back of the house.
Back of the house at another angle.  Mr. Squash ripped up all the alyssum last year including roots as it had gotten too dense.   Didn't seem to phase it at all as it came back again all on its own.
The Autumn Splendor Sedum is getting ready for a Fall showcase with full blueberry bushes in the background.
We asked our lawn/trimming fellow to take off the lower branches of the Yew bushes on the left.  Stray cats have used it as a hiding place to catch birds while they're on the feeder.  I really like the artistic quality of the exposed branches!
We couldn't help ourselves and planted Alyssum under the Western Redbud this year.  
Even though summer has been here less than a month, we are in an unusual heat wave.  Check out the outside humidity on the upper right!  For a while it was even down to 6%.  Today and for up to a week we are supposed to be in triple digits.

Thanks for taking another stroll around the garden with me!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Paul Bunyon's Long Johns - Quilted Finish!

Can you believe it?  Another one off the longarm!  Gracie May was much more cooperative on this one - I made sure she was in morning sleep mode first.

You may remember that I Supreme tested this pattern for Stephanie over at Rummage (formerly Loft Creations) last year.  The original pattern does not have a border.  I added a small border to make just a little more room for Mr. Squash to use as a lap blanket in the winter.
The pattern is called Long Johns which you can get HERE.  I am calling it Paul Bunyon's Long Johns because I used a fabric called Twiggy by Sanae for Moda.  It's a line several years old that I happened to have in my stash.
I had some of the Twiggy burgundy fabric left over and another fabric from stash to make up enough for the backing.
I decided Paul Bunyon would have wanted leaves - and big ones - so I quilted it with a large leafy panto.
We're having August weather already.  Makes me wonder what August will be like!  This is the fourth year on my table grapes and I can't believe how many there are!  They're huge already so I think it's going to be a good and juicy crop!
My Honey Crisp is coming along.  Our lawn fellow said I should only have 2-3 apples per branch, but come on - these are Honey Crisps - I can't bear to sacrifice any of them!  So I used a spare tomato cage to support this one branch.
Had to show you Mr. Squash's marigolds in front of the tomatoes.  Aren't they goreous?
Finally, I wanted to share a little tidbit I discovered by accident.  We're having a bumper blueberry crop - Mr. Squash picks every other day right now.  I get maybe 2-3 quarts each time he picks, so I'm freezing them as fast as he can pick them (of course we save some for eating fresh).  Up until this year I would spread them on a bare sheet pan and freeze before placing them in ziplock bags.  They always would get hairy no matter what.  So I tried lining the pan with parchment - and no more hairy frost!  I now do this with all fresh fruit I freeze and it works perfectly every time!  I'm sure this varies from climate to climate but for us it works great.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Second Quilted Finish!

I might call this one the "Nightmare Quilted Finish"!  I should have had it on and off the frame in a couple of hours, but Gracie May just had to be "part" of every process!  I even wound up quilting over a good part that I'd already done after I chased her off the table.  I was so rattled I didn't watch what I was doing.  The ripping on that took me about an hour!  At least it's done and I love it!
This topper is a little pattern from The Moda Candy Book.  Here it is in Mr. Squash's Fairy Garden.  He's had great success with his garden this year.   I wouldn't be surprised if he expands it even more next year.
All the fabric is French General - I am smitten with all their lines!
It's going to live on the back of Mr. Squash's Morris Recliner.
The quilting is a feather pantograph called Deja Vue from Patrica E. Ritter and Valerie Smith.

Two flimsies down and four or five to go!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Quilted Finish and some Threadplay

 I decided it was time to start quilting the half a dozen or so tops I've finished.  I thought I would start small given the fact that I have done only a little hand sewing since my back surgery.
 You might remember me showing you this little topper last year.  I put it on the longarm not long after Gracie May joined our family.  Well, Gracie decided it was the perfect spot to sleep and wound up popping it off the longarm after I had begun stitching it!  I decided to put it away and have only quilted one other top since.  This is a pattern called Red White and Blue by My Red Door Designs.  I loved the fabric on the pattern cover so much and was very lucky to find some still available!  There are tiny little stars in each colorway.

I first hung the quilt between our junipers next to the patio and realized it was dwarfed by the trees and the woodpile!  We'll save this location for larger quilts from now on.  I quilted it with a simple stars and loops pantograph.  The back is leftover dark blue and red scraps and the binding is scrappy.  Just in time to add to my 4th of July quilts!
I mentioned thread play - not the kind you might think of, though!  This one is courtesy of Gracie May!  Gee - maybe I can put her to work quilting for me with all the energy she has - NOT!  I have to keep the longarm wrapped and pinned tightly or she will chew on cords and play with all the bells and whistles when it isn't in use.  Imagine my surprise when I took the cover off the other day and found this!  She had to have squirmed her way in and spent some time doing this.  I now know to take all thread off the machine when it's not in use.  

Are you wondering what I quilted with pink thread?  It isn't ready for prime time yet, but let's just say it's a beauty and I'll be able to show you early next year.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sophie's Garden

I've been AWOL again!  We had a house guest from California and were very busy getting everything tip top for his visit.  This was the first houseguest for Gracie May and Sasha.  Gracie May was very social, but Sasha chose to spend her time in the garage.  We've decided she's just a solitary gal.  Anyway, we all had a great time and are finally getting back to normal around here.

Most of you may remember that our Sophie passed away Christmas before last.  She's resting out in the East side yard.  I decided it was time to plant a garden for her.  Of course we call it Sophie's Garden.

 Alll of this was planted recently.  I have three Clematis on the chain link.  I'm hoping by next year you won't be able to see much of the fence at all.  I have no idea why the previous owners installed this short bit.  The next door neighbor has it all along her property line.  Except for this, all of our fence is wood.  So, what better way to cover it up!  So far there are a few perennials and I happened to find some verbena and snapdragon at Home Depot the other day.  The rose is a John F. Kennedy tea rose.  Next year I'll fill in more of the space with perennials.  In a year or two the drip line won't even show.

Looking the other way is our new arborvitae hedge.  We removed a very old Spirea hedge, which while it was gorgeous in bloom, was a pain to trim every year and had begun to die in spots.  We plan to keep this hedge at about the height of our neighbors trash cans.  Next year we'll plant Alyssum under the hedge.

I am not back to sewing as yet, although I wish I was.  However, I got bit by a great sale the other day.  Check out this gingham!  I loved it as a child and still do.  Not sure what I'll do with these just yet, but am working on some ideas.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Good for a Laugh!

No sewing to show yet, but I did get a good laugh yesterday that I thought I'd share!

The phone rang while I was folding laundry.  When I came back I noticed something extra needed to be folded (or unfolded)!
Miss Sasha likes to sit on top of the dryer when I fold clothes, but since the dryer was still warm, and I had walked away, she decided to try sitting inside!  What a hoot!
Last year we had a new, double pane window put over our kitchen eating area.  Mr. Squash had the bright idea to dress up the garden with the old storm window!  We took out an ailing Butterfly Bush, replaced it with a gorgeous Wigela then anchored the window to the fence in front of the Wigela.  I thought it might be nice to either plant a Clematis in front of it or hang a couple of cute bird houses from the frame.  

Stay tuned as there is soon to be a little more "window dressing" for this spot!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jane, Dear

We all know what a John Deere is - probably the most recognizable name in tractors.  Well, the Squash House now has it's own tractor!

Meet Jane, Dear!  Isn't she just adorable?  
She has a bucket for picking flowers, veggies or apples and pears or for garden trimmings.  The seat swivels to any position as well as going higher or lower, and the tray below the seat holds all your garden tools.  When you're sitting on her you can scoot forward or backward effortlessly.  The handle pulls up so you can roll it around without bending over, too.  Both Mr. Squash and I will get a lot of use out of Jane, Dear! **Please note that this is not a John Deere product.  We got it out of Gardener's Supply Catalog.**
The other day we took a drive to one of the local farm merchants.  I think Gracie May was trying to sneak into the cooler for an adventure!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

One More Garden Post

I hope you'll indulge me while I bring you one more garden post until things are farther along early next month.
This is Bernardii II or "Bern" after my BIL as we like to call him.  I've never seen such large blossoms, let alone white and before long he will be totally covered with them.  He's very long blooming - last year he showed his colors well past the first frost!
Yesterday I did a little planting, which I'm allowed as long as I bend down and get up properly.  See the little plants with white flowers between Bern and the climbing rose?  They're called "Steppables" meaning you can walk over them and not do any damage.  Mr. Squash and I have become quite enamored with all sorts of these varieties!  I'm hoping there will be a white carpet there before long!
Turns out my Kiwi is self-pollinating.  See the little "beads"?  There are lots and lots of these baby Kiwi's growing bigger by the day!
This is the only rose from the original owner of the house that didn't freeze and die two years ago.  Before long it will be a mass of yellow and go all summer and fall.  The Allysum self sows and will completely cover the ground before long.
This is Barbara the Clematis on her new trellis.  She is named after my SIL.  Can't wait for the mass of deep red blooms to take off!.
The Allium is doing well once again.  
Peonies are just beginning to bloom out.  I'll need a bigger cage for them next year.
Mr. Squash has babied this rhody.  It was a sickly creature when we moved here 5 years ago.  She's nice and healthy now!

I continue to improve in small increments each day.  My goal is to be able to rotary cut soon so I can get back to sewing!