Friday, October 31, 2008

Supernatural!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Check out this leaf from my back deck this morning --- it seems to have some sort of ghostly suspension.....

video

.....or could this guy be responsible!

For some more Halloween fun go here: http://www.coasttocoastam.com/timages/page/pumpkin_sim.html

Cheers,

Candace

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Recipe for a Hot Dog Party!

Every year my husband’s office throws a hot dog party in honor of Halloween - and just about any other occasion they can come up with. They put out several long tables on the main floor and stuff them with homemade goodies for all! He works in public health alongside restaurant inspectors and various sanitarians - so they know a bit about food - and love to eat it, too!

Once they had just hired a young woman who arrived in the office with 2 strawberry cream pies two days before her first day. They determined her probationary period was over! Another woman in the office makes cakes….not just for the Halloween party, but one for nearly every occasion imaginable! All the men secretly wish she was their wife! One of the guys, when asked what he would like for his birthday, always answers with “A pound of bacon”! Another fellow believes that pork fat is the secret ingredient to good food. They all agree that they eat as though they were raised by wolves!

At one particular party there were several waffle makers going at once. They blew a circuit and destroyed a computer monitor! I always know when the party is a good one - about 10:00 in the morning I’ll get a call from my husband telling me he won’t need anything for dinner…..for several days!!!

Some years my husband just contributes cash to the food booty, others I make something. This time, in addition to the cash contribution I decided to make a party favorite - Fiesta Nacho Dip. The recipe couldn’t be easier and the result? Well, here is what the crockpot will look like about 10 minutes after it’s placed on the table.


Here is what it looks like prior to melting down.

And here is the recipe:

2lbs Mexican Style Velveeta, cut in chunks
2 cans Nalley’s Chili Without Beans
1 bunch green onions, chopped

Place ingredients in crockpot. Start on high, then reduce to low once cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Serve with your choice of tortilla chips.

This is a great recipe if you need something quick and easy to take to your next office party!

Cheers,

Candace

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anticipation...

Are you as anxious as I am to read all the news from Houston? Fall Market is over and the show begins tomorrow. Sharon over at Red Geranium Cottage has already begun what are sure to be great market stories - can’t wait for more, Sharon! I am on pins and needles (hmmmm….was that an intended pun?) to see what are sure to be fabulous new designs for the coming year! What I would give to be a fly at quilt market! Maybe someday I’ll get a part-time job in a quilt shop and be the person picked to attend market with the shop owner - how cool would that be??? For now I anxiously anticipate all of the great blogs to come about the show and many thanks to Kimberly over at the Jolly Jabber for giving us a play-by-play while she was at market!

I need a new stitchery to work on in the evening since I have finished all of my Winter Wonderland stitchery’s. I searched through the drawers last evening and decided this Kathy Schmitz design would be the next one. Sorry for the not-so-hot photo - I took it at work where the fluorescent lights wreak havoc when you're taking a picture!

I’ll be tracing the pattern onto this Moda Crackle. My husband is part Polish and Easter is almost a bigger holiday than Christmas in his family! I thought the bunnies in this give it a decidedly Easter theme and I ought to have it finished and framed just around that time! The pattern calls for one strand of embroidery floss, but I plan to use my new favorite thread for Redwork - Aurifil 12/2. The only place I have ever found it is Red Rock Threads or at quilt shows. I look for it in almost every quilt shop I visit, but I haven’t seen it yet! It threads a needle well, doesn’t twist and sews like a dream!

Cheers,
Candace

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Tale of Two Bats….and a Cat

With Halloween coming up, I thought I would tell a little Halloween story. My constant shadow is Miss Sophie, our almost 13 year old, part manx,“pound kitty”. Quilters love their pets and I think Miss Sophie is in need of a little recognition - after all - she has helped me with many a project! I can almost always find her under the sewing table or out on the little deck off my studio when the sun is shining.

When I went to the Humane Society, I was looking for an older cat that needed a loving home, and went home with a 3 month old kitten. Sophie and I instantly bonded - I had named her even before her adoption was approved. They placed her in a cage up front filled with torn newspaper, and while I was filling out the adoption papers, she was flying around the cage having a ball with the newspaper. Several other people came in during this time and they all wanted to adopt this little short-tailed cutie!

I stopped on my way home and bought a baby blanket at a children’s store for her to snuggle in on the long ride home, and called my husband at the office (who was actually my boyfriend at the time) to tell him I had found a cat. He didn’t sound all that happy - we had talked about this, but I guess he didn’t think I would do it so soon after our conversation. Sophie and I settled into the house and waited for Bob to get home. He came through the garage a bit later carrying a large grocery bag with cat toys spilling out the top!

Sophie's boundless amount of energy has not changed over the years! It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve been able to do any sort of hand sewing in the evenings without having her terrorize us into playing with her! When she was younger, she would fetch a yarn and Mylar ball over and over and over….we called her our "puppy-kitten". One year around Halloween I brought home a Starbuck’s finger puppet. We named him Mr. Bat. Well, Mr. Bat has been Sophie’s main sidekick for many years now. Here’s how he looks today.

It never fails that we go to bed and just begin drifting off, when Sophie comes pitter-patter down the hallway with Mr. Bat in her mouth, drops him on the floor and lets out a huge MEOW! And, yes, we (mostly me) have gotten back out of bed many times, thrown Mr. Bat around for a while, only to finally wear her out enough to go back to sleep! Or I will be sewing and she is in need of attention, so she will carry Mr. Bat into the studio, plop him down under my chair and let out another bleating MEOW!

One year, I decided to try to find a new Bat, since Mr. Bat was looking so awful. I found one on eBay and named her Mrs. Bat. She isn’t nearly as dear to Sophie as Mr. Bat, but as you can see, does get a little play!
They make a cute couple, don't you think?

Mr. Bat, Mrs. Bat and Mr. Chippy who decided to come along for the ride shown here in the studio with Sophie waiting for me to start a little “action”.

I know if I push these darned bats under the cabinet, I'm sure to get a little attention when I can't get them back out by myself!

A hard day's play calls for a nice lap-rest!

Cheers,

Candace

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Best of Plans...

As I mentioned on Saturday, my plan for the weekend was to begin making the blocks for my Winter Wonderland quilt. In order to make that happen, we needed to run an errand and do a little shopping before I sat down in the studio. With the shopping out of the way, my husband and I headed over to a small town near us that is chock full of antique stores. We wanted to drop off a couple of his vintage watches for restoration. While we were there, we thought we might as well visit our favorite antique furniture shop. It's just a small shop, but the owner always carries quality furniture, plus he has helped in the restoration/repair of several of our own pieces over the years. His little terrier, Charlie, is always there to greet us and likes to have his ball thrown so he can tear up and down the aisles in pursuit!

While I was busy with Charlie, my husband was looking over a gorgeous 1920's Mission, quarter-sawn oak library table. He asked me where we would put it in our house. Our house isn't that large and is already stuffed with furniture, so I didn't think it would be a good idea to try to cram in another piece. Ahhh....but I could really use a new desk and was planning to purchase one anyway once we move to our house in Eastern Washington. So look what came home with us!

There is a shelf under the table that has built-in bookends which slide the entire length of the shelf!
Now I must say, it wasn't easy getting the old desk out and the new one in! We have four flights of stairs that go from the garage to the front landing, from there to the main living area, from there to another landing and from there to the top floor! I had to completely unscrew the old desk and we moved it piece by piece down the winding stairs to the alley . At one point we had to take a couple of the heavy pieces out in a wheelbarrow! Then in order to get the new desk in, we had to carry it out through the garage, and clear around the corner to the front porch as it wouldn't make it through the garage entrance to the first landing! Whew! This was quite a feat for two people who are in shape, but no longer in their "prime"!! And in the spirit of recycling - I had barely gotten the FREE sign taped to the old desk when someone from a house behind us snatched it up!

So with Saturday (and my body) shot, that left Sunday for quilting. I really did a number on myself with the thousand trips up and down the stairs, so all I managed to get done were two blocks. The first is 9" and the second is 12". These should go pretty fast, so I hope to have quite a few more done in the next week.


As I was cutting these out, I noticed my cutting mat wasn't quite smooth under the fabric. When I investigated I found "lumps" under the area I make most of my cuts. I've never had this happen - have any of you? This could account for the fact that I seem to be a tad off in some of my cuts. I quickly turned it around and found a smoother surface, but it looks like a new mat is in order.

By the way, Squash House Quilts will be getting a facelift soon! I'm currently working on a new background, so don't be surprised if you see a whole new look!
Cheers,
Candace

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Red, White and Cream Weekend

First off we have a winner for the Pumpkin Promenade Pattern! Here is my faithful, random name picker...there really are names in the bottom of this Shawnee jardiniere....you just can't see them.

And the winner is Terri over at Purple and Paisley! Not only is Terri collecting lots of packages from the mailman for the Christmas Cottage Exchange, she'll be getting this one shortly! Thanks to all of you who helped me out with suggestions! There were quite a few quilt designs I had never heard of which could work out well for those Honeycomb Harvest Fat Quarters!
Here is a sampling of some of the red and whites (along with some creams that aren't in the photo) that I will be working with this weekend for my Winter Wonderland quilt. I "raided" my local quilt shop yesterday for some more fabrics to add to what I already had. I'll post blocks as I go. The names of the blocks I will be making are Star of Hope, Cut the Corners, Double X, Maple Star, Martha Washington Star and Pinwheel.
Tomorrow we are supposed to have another beautiful fall day. My husband and I may try to go fly fishing again since this is the last weekend of the season....there is a chance that it could be a stellar day! I hope you all have one as well!

Cheers,
Candace

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pattern Giveaway Reminder!

Today is kind of a "miscellaneous" day - nothing major going on, just a lot of little things. I ordered this pattern a while back from Jona over at Fabritopia. I have a lot of miscellaneous (there's that word again) fabric that would work for this - and it's reversible! When the pattern arrived, there was a yard of this gorgeous fabric in the envelope! I didn't think I had ordered any fabric. I checked my order and the invoice and there was no mention of fabric! So off went an email to Jona with a kind note back to me that she included it because she thought she didn't get the order out fast enough! Gosh - it only seemed like I had just ordered it, too! I am continually amazed at the thoughtful gestures that are made in the quilt community! Thank you so much, Jona! If you haven't visited her blog yet, please run right over!


Don't forget to leave me a comment thru tomorrow to be included in the random drawing for the Pumpkin Promenade pattern! I had my flu shot today - have you had yours?

Cheers,

Candace

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Very Grand Avenue

Every workday for the past 7+ years, I have walked 2-3 miles during my lunch hour - that is unless it’s really pouring down rain - a rare occasion. I walk a street that isn’t far from my home and office and is just above our city’s waterfront. Sometimes my husband joins me when he doesn’t go to the gym. This area is filled with wonderful older homes, many large and historic, including the homes of some very important people. I like to walk here for lots of reasons - there are no traffic lights, little traffic, eagles and hawks fly right over your head, the Olympic Mountains are sometimes in clear view above Puget Sound and there is always something interesting to see. I’ve been doing this for so long that I know dogs as well as homeowner’s names, and am treated like I live in the neighborhood!

Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny, slightly nippy day. I took my camera along and this is what I recorded. This is the park at the beginning of my walk. It was recently remodeled - what a fantastic job they did! Where you see the two pillars on the left side, there is a mosaic that was completely hand laid by several local artists. It’s actually sort of a human sundial - you can stand in the center and the sun will cast your shadow on the time.

This is the view from the park - the Olympic Mountains are just under that bank of clouds in the distance.

Below are pictures from the mosaic sundial. This is the center - the earth surrounded by sailing rope. Since we are a seafairing community, the entire mosaic is entirely dedicated to this.
Here is the North Wind.
A local Lighthouse below.
A ferry - a means of travel we cannot live without in the Pacific Northwest.
A tall sailing ship.
Cargo ships frequently pass by.
Captain George Vancouver made a historic landing in his ship at the present day site of the park in 1792.
A tug boat.
One of the creatures of the depths!
Eagles, osprey and hawks are so common now that you will most likely see one fly overhead on any given day. One day I watched transfixed as several eagles flew over me!
Cheers,

Candace

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Suggestions...A Finished Work...and a Drawing!

Here is the last item I purchased on my shopping “spree” this past Friday. I’ve had my eye on this line - Moda's Honeycomb Harvest by Kathy Schmidt - for some time, and it was 25% off! I’d really like some suggestions as to what to make from it and there will even be another giveaway - want to play? There are 26 fat quarters in this bundle.


I did order this Kathy Schmidt pattern. I'm not sure it was meant for this line, but it sure looks like it was! I'm not that crazy about it, but I may warm up to it once I see the pattern in person - sometimes the colors don't come through well in cyberspace. What I would really like are some suggestions from you, dear readers! And for your thoughts and suggestions, there is a reward - read on...!

I finished my pumpkin table runner - cute, huh!
Send your ideas my way for the Honeycomb Harvest fabric, and I will pick a winner at random for the Pumpkin Promenade pattern! Any and all comments left on this and subsequent posts through Friday will be placed in the drawing. So put on your creative thinking caps - I can't wait to hear your comments! I'll announce a winner on Saturday.

UPDATE: I just found out about another great Halloween give-away over at Pumpkin Patch Primitives....check it out! Thanks for sending this our way, Wendy!

Cheers,

Candace

Monday, October 20, 2008

Loot!

I thought I would show you some of the goodies I came home with after my day at the fair on Friday. All in all, it was a stellar day! I've been collecting art pieces for my quilt studio for quite a few years. This painting below really caught my eye from the moment I walked into the artist's booth! My husband and I love birds - we feed quite a menagerie of wild birds in our backyard. Last year, Junco's began to show up along with a few others I've added to my "life list". This picture not only has a Junco, and possibly a Chicadee, but the colors are my favorite - soft greens and yellows. It's a large piece, about 18 x 26 or so.
On the way home, I stopped at three quilt shops. All were having sales, so of course, I had to add to my ever growing project list (don't ALL quilters do this? - LOL)! I've been wanting to make a Christmas tree skirt - this one will help me use up more of my stash from the Christmas Cottage Exchange. And another Meg Hawkey pattern - I have lots of red and white stash!
Here are some more fat quarters which will be used in my pumpkin quilt.
These were 25% off! I saw the purse made up using a dark red silk dupioni and black and white yo-yo's. Hey - I have a ton of black and white stash! The drawstring is made out of braided ribbon! This will make a great gift.
When I got home, two packages were waiting for me! Anne over at Cottons 'n Wool posted some pictures of kits a while back from Jo Morton's Little Women's Club. One struck my eye and I had to have it! It's called Jo's Baby Roses. I don't remember where I saw this one - but I know it was on someone's blog. I also had to have it. Check out the luscious wools they sent! I also ordered the complete thread set for this. I can't wait to get started on this!


Check back tomorrow - I'll have something else I bought on sale - and another giveaway!

Cheers,

Candace

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Day at the Fair

Yesterday was a busy day. I visited my friend Linda in her booth at the Lynden Craft and Antique Fair. Lynden is 12 miles from the Canadian border and a wonderful small town filled with a Dutch theme as it was originally settled by Dutch dairy farmers. Linda raises alpacas and spins and dyes yarn from her animals. She is spinning while answering a myriad of questions in this picture. In fact, it seemed like an endless parade of folks wanting to know about her spinning! One elderly woman came by and told a story of how her brother spun yarn from sheep while hiding from the Nazi's in Germany. Another elderly woman told us about a very old spinning wheel she had and agreed to email Linda a picture of it. Mostly, folks just wanted to know about raising alpacas.
I got the bug and asked Linda if I could try my hand at spinning. I'm laughing in this picture because I was so bad that I was getting heckled from an antique dealer across the aisle!

My camera decided to go on the fritz, so I wasn't able to get many pictures, plus as the day went on, there were too many folks in the way! There seemed to be no shortage of people or cash this day - some parts of the economy are definitely flourishing!


On the way home I stopped at three quilt shops. All three shops were having a sale and did I ever take advantage! Once I get my camera fixed (I think it's human-error), I'll post more pictures of my goody take!

Cheers,
Candace

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tickled Pink!

My friend Karen over at Short Story Long sent me a thank-you for being the winner of my first give-away. I have to tell you I was blown away! This is a picture of just a few of them - she made these herself - what a talented woman you are, Karen! Not only do I love anything to do with fly-fishing (I even have a half bath in my house dedicated to nothing but), I was completely out of note-cards, so these could not have come at a more appropriate time! Thank you, Karen, you are so sweet and thoughtful! If you pop over to Karen’s blog, please wish her well - she is going to have a tough few days ahead.

Tomorrow I’m taking the day off work to attend the 19th annual Fall Craft & Antique Show in Lynden, Washington. Lynden is a small dairy farming community near the Canadian border. My friend Linda over at Fiber Fabrications will have an exhibit in the show of her fiber art and spinning. Linda raises Alpacas at Lost River Alpacas in Nooksack. I’ll get to sit with her, have a great catch-up chat, shop and hopefully come home with lots of goodies and some great pictures to show you over the weekend.

By the way, for you Meg Hawkey fans, she has a new look on her website at Crabapple Hill Studio and also a new blog, Knot-y Girls Stitchery Club. Pop on over for a visit! Turns out the quilt blogging community can be a very small world - one of Meg's associates is in the same quilting group with someone my husband and I know and like very much!

Cheers,
Candace