Friday, January 30, 2009

Jolt!

We were awakened this morning by a sturdy jolt to our bed! Mr. Squash and I concurred that it must have been an earthquake. Sure enough, it was all over the news - 4.5 magnitude centered 14 miles NW of Seattle. This happened last summer as well - I never heard it on the news until this morning when they explained we had one just like it last summer! The previous quake, coined the Nisqually Earthquake, several years ago, was much larger and lasted longer, so I feel fortunate that this one was minor and so far there are no reports of damage anywhere. One caller into the TV station said her parrot fell off its perch!

I am woefully without anything quilting these days due to all of our preparations to get the house ready to sell! I did receive this great birthday card from my friend, Mary, yesterday - I love the colors and what a great design - I see a scrap quilt coming from this someday, so I'm going to save it! Thanks so much, Mary!

Mr. Squash and I were going over what to do this weekend. Bless his heart, he said he hoped I would include some quilting! The answer to that is YES!

If you have time, please check out Anne's great post on wool applique over at Cottons 'n Wool! Also, Anita over at Bloomin' Workshop has another terrific tutorial on the Medallion Quilt Along - even if you aren't making it, she has some great techniques to share!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beach Anyone?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of you reading this, well - except maybe Terri, who is already there, would jump up from what they’re doing and follow me there in an instant! Snow, ice, rain, cold - do I hear “We’ve had enough”??

So here is the next best thing - to me, anyway! The sample of the tile backsplash for the Squash House arrived yesterday. I managed to find a supplier online who carries it for half the price of buying it in a showroom! Isn’t the Internet wonderful? It’s called Beachside Raffia and is a frosted beach glass. I think the grout will probably be a neutral, sandy color. And It coordinates really well with the lights I chose.


Here it is up against the butcher block sample! The tile sample below is sitting on top of a gray colored cardboard, so you have to just imagine sandy grout! The colors you see in the first picture are the best representation of the actual color.

Has anyone else who subscribed to ME’s Home Companion received a note indicating that we will receive Martha Stewart Living for the remainder of our subscription? I did hear the sad news that Home Companion would no longer be published, but I wonder how they decided I should receive Martha? I used to subscribe to Martha, but I finally let my subscription run out because she got just too “fancy” for me. I found I loved looking at the pictures, but there was no way any part of our life would look like most of them! And besides, I preferred spending my money on quilting supplies!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Dogwoods Are In Bloom!

You probably think I’ve lost my mind….Dogwoods blooming in January? I had you going for a minute, didn’t I! A few days ago I asked you all about the designer of some Dogwood fabric I saw in the Keepsake Quilting Spring catalog here. Thanks to several of you, I found out the designer of “Dogwood” is Michelle Engel Bencsko of Cicada Studio. I ordered a sampling of the fabric which arrived yesterday. I really like it and plan to order more in another colorway. I think I will make placements and a tablerunner! Next will be picking out a great pattern for the runner. Michelle is really talented - be sure to check out her website and blog!

Before I go today, Mr. Squash wanted me to clear up a misspelling in yesterday’s post. Apparently "Chatskie" is spelled: Tschotskies. He says I need to brush up on my Yiddish!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Clear the Clutter!

Thanks again for all the wonderful birthday wishes!

I don’t have any sewing or quilting progress to share with you today as we pretty much worked on the house all weekend. My fingers were so tired last night that I barely got two needles of thread sewn on my embroidery project! Good progress is being made! Other than a shopping trip for a new shower curtain, towels and a few “real-estate approved” Chatskies, we almost have two new bathrooms! I also bit the bullet and packed up almost all of my quilting books, as well as - and this took real courage - my large thread storage box and my light-tracing box! It was really sad to see the tape seal up those boxes!

I also received a little box from Amazon with some birthday gifts I purchased for myself! The first one is “Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space” by Lois L. Hallock. She is a local gal who is a professional organizer and a whiz at helping you make your room into the quilting studio of your dreams! I plan to use this extensively at the Squash House! It's all about clearing the clutter!

This book even has a section on ergonomics for ironing, rotary cutting and other commonly repetitive tasks we quilters perform. She also has detailed instructions on how to measure your furniture, then plan your space! I can’t wait to get started!
The other book I got is Phebe’s Favorites by those ultra-creative gals at The Buggy Barn! There are several scrappy quilts in this book, but the one that really catches my eye is String of Stars!
I leave you today with a sad pile of Winter Wonderland fabrics and completed blocks! I look at them every day as they sit whimpering for attention in the studio! Don't you feel sorry for them? I can’t bear to pack them away just yet - you never know when I can steal an hour or two to nurture them along!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Birthday Celebration Winner!

Thanks to all of you who have left such nice comments wishing me a Happy Birthday! One of the best presents I could get is the camaraderie of my blogging friends! So without further adieu, Mr. Squash reaches into the dish for the winner….

...and it’s Penny from Sew Take a Hike! Congratulations, Penny! I’ve emailed you, but if you see this first, please send me your snail mail address so I can get your goodies to you right away!
Yesterday and today we have a very nice handyman at our house helping with some of the minor fix-it chores in getting the house ready to sell. He wore me out so badly that I almost didn't let him back in the house today! I never thought I could make so many trips up and down three flights of stairs! Mr. Squash took me to dinner last night at PF Changs and I nearly fell asleep in the Mu-Shu Chicken! And thanks, Anne, we had the lettuce wraps and they were terrific!

My studio has become the catch-all for everything that has to be out of the way for the handyman to do his work. Any chance of doing some sewing today is out of the question. So I’ll show you what I got for my birthday! Mr. Squash’s sister and her husband gave me a very generous gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop – wooo-hoooo! Thanks Barbara and Bern!! And here is what Mr. Squash gave me – the Hinterberg Perfect Caddy!

I decided to wait to assemble it until we get moved to the Squash House. It would have to go up and then back down three flights of stairs and just packaged in its three boxes it must weight a total of 120 pounds! I love that it’s on wheels and I can move it around the studio anywhere I want!

Friday, January 23, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

Don’t forget - comments on any of my posts this week through midnight Saturday will be entered in my Birthday Anniversary Giveaway! A couple of you that have commented have left me no way to get it touch if you win, so please make sure I have an email address if you don’t have a blog! Stephanie had a terrific post about this yesterday - thanks, Stephanie!

Also, thanks to all of you who knew who designed the fabric I posted about yesterday! The designer is Michelle Engel Bencsko and you can visit her blog Cicada Daydream here! I've already ordered some fabric and it's on its way!

A while back I posted about how I began my quilting journey. As I continue cleaning out my 56-Drawer chest, I find more little reminders of that beginning! Here is what is in drawer #1 (and 2 and 3). This is a photo of a color photocopy so it will be somewhat fuzzy and the background is not at all blue, rather a soft purple. It's called Vintage Dreams and was designed by Jean Wells.

This is some of the fabric from the first month which gives you a better idea of the colors.
The second Sew Expo I went to I saw this quilt made up in the Stichin’ Post booth from Sisters, Oregon. I was still a beginning quilter at that point, but something just drew me to this quilt and I had to get the pattern! Well, it turned out to be a block of the month program - something I had not yet heard of. Happily, I signed up anyway. When the first month arrived, I realized I may have bitten off more than I could chew! The instructions were way more complicated than I could have imagined and there were all of these tiny pieces of material. So I stuffed the first month in drawer #1 and eventually filled up three drawers with the entire 12 months and it has been there ever since!

Now many years later I look at the instructions and fabrics and understand them completely! It will be fun to make and although the colors in my bedroom have changed dramatically since then, I’m sure I can find a place for it at the Squash House!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ah, Spring!

OK - so there are two months to go until Spring, but a quilter can dream, can’t she? Mr. Squash heard predictions of snow for the weekend on the radio this morning. I told him that “word”, which I shall not mention, is forbidden. He agreed that was fair - LOL!

Yesterday my Keepsake Quilting Spring catalog arrived. As much as I would rather be browsing through fabric at local quilt shops, this is the next best thing! Does anyone happen to know whose line of fabric this is from page 17 of the catalog?

I really love it - we have several mature Dogwood trees at the Squash House and I’m thinking this fabric line would make a terrific quilt to commemorate them! I’d like to research the entire line, but I need to know who the designer is! Please leave me a comment if you know - and you’ll also be entered in my Birthday Anniversay Giveaway!

Not much else is going on at Squash House Quilts right now. I have an embroidery WIP but I’d like to wait until it is further along for you to have a peek. I try to sew a minimum of three “needle-fulls” every night so I can feel good about accomplishing something! I’ve had to put a temporary hold on Winter Wonderland because of our work around the house getting it ready to sell. And as I continue to clean out my 56-Drawer Chest, I find more projects I’d really like to be doing, but I keep telling myself there will be plenty of time soon for those!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Information Overload!

I attended a Microsoft Office 2007 training class at our State office all day yesterday. I really didn’t want to go and miss out on seeing the Inauguration live on the televisions in my office, but it was required so I had no choice. Much to my surprise and delight, the start of the training was delayed so the entire building could watch the Inauguration in the large conference room! We had two large screens so everyone could have a good view of the proceedings, there was a life-size “standee” of President Obama up front, the tables were set with plastic champagne flutes filled with sparkling cider, trail mix (one of Obama’s favorite foods) and all sorts of patriotic decorations! It was almost like being there in person. Way to go!

I had no idea what to expect in Office 2007! Because the training was delayed an hour and a half, the instructor really had to breeze through the information at warp speed! Despite the "information overload", I was really impressed with its capabilities! What I’m really excited about is that it has a “Publish to Blog” feature that I have yet to explore! As soon as I get a chance to explore that feature, I’ll let you know what I think!

A while back I was given the Proximidade award by Jean . (Proximidade is Portuguese for neighborhood.)

Here is what the award means:

This blog invests and believes in Proximity - the nearness in space, time and relationships.
These blogs are exceedingly charming.
These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends .
They are not interested in prizes for self-aggrandizement.
Our hope is that when the ribbon of these prizes are cut ,even more friendships are propagated.

Thank you Jean, and rather than pass this award on to eight other deserving bloggers as asked, I pass it on to all of you who read this because I know you all deserve it as well!

Don’t forget to leave a comment on any post this week up to midnight the 24th to be eligible for my Birthday Anniversary Giveaway!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Birthday Celebration Giveaway!

I've been working almost non-stop for the past three days - packing away and sorting more stuff, spackling, taping, changing cabinet hardware and even threw in a little gardening. We have a handyman coming next weekend to begin painting and making small improvements and repairs around the house. I really feel like progress is being made! The only downside is that I'm a bit behind in reading my blogs and posting, but hope to catch up in a couple of days. I have an out of town training all day tomorrow, but will be back to a somewhat normal schedule on Wednesday!

Next Sunday is another anniversary of my 30th birthday. What better way to celebrate than to offer a giveaway for you! Just leave a comment on this post or any other post this week through midnight January 24th, and be eligible for a jelly roll from Moda's Collection for a Cause Heritage, a jelly roll pattern with the very strange name of Strip Search, by G.E. Designs of Iceland (must be Icelandic humor!) and a fun new tool, The Little Gripper for all of those small templates you work with!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Meatloaf Anyone?

We've been stuck in the dense fog here in town all week long! If you drive 5 miles down the road as we did today, the sun is out and the sky is blue! So after running errands today, our last stop of the day was the grocery store and what sounded good for dinner? Meatloaf! My mother first made this recipe around 1965! I've been making it ever since and it never fails to please!

1 Lb. Lean Hamburger
½ cup or more finely chopped onion
½ pkg. saltines, finely crushed
¼ cup diced green or red pepper
1, 4-oz can tomato sauce
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients. Form into loaf. Bake at 350° about 1 hour.

I had already mixed up the meatloaf before I decided to blog it, so there is no meat in this photo, and a whole package of Saltines - make sure to only use half a package!

Here is how it looks formed and ready to bake!
Here is the finished meatloaf! Feel free to add your own variations! I like to use fire-roasted tomato sauce, or Italian breadcrumbs instead of Saltines - the possiblities are endless!
And here is a perfect meal! For all of you who are following along with Sharon over at Red Geranium Cottage on the Diet Challenge 2009, this is an excellent, filling, low-fat meal - meatloaf, steamed veggies with lemon and baked red potatoes!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Perfect Pinker

One of my favorite things to do is accompany Mr. Squash when he goes out of town to conferences. What quilter doesn’t want the chance to visit another quilt shop?! We were in Eastern Washington about 9 years ago for a couple of days. I had already been to the quilt shops in the town which took up the first day, so this rather large antique mall next to the last quilt shop I had visited the day before looked pretty interesting! One space in the mall had a lot of vintage sewing items. Tucked away in a corner was the Florian Perfect Pinker! (In case you’re wondering, this was in drawer #54 of my quilting chest).

I knew it had something to do with pinking fabric, and really couldn’t figure out how it worked, but for $8.95 I thought what the heck! I took it home and still couldn’t get it to work, so I wrote to the company whose name was on the back of the instructions below:
About two weeks later I received a letter back from Marilyn Florian of Florian Products in Connecticut who had this to say:

“ Your “Perfect Pinker” is about 50 years old. We are the original manufacturers and will be happy to repair it. It sounds as if the pin assembly gear is worn out. We now produce the Florian Rotary Pinker with a new type of clutch assembly. This new clutch/gear assembly will replace your old one. As long as there isn’t anything else wrong with the Pinker, the charge for repairing it is $13.50, which includes return shipping. I, too, sew a great deal and would be lost without my Florian Rotary Pinker. I know you will have many years of pinking enjoyment and comfort with your Pinker.”

I really haven’t used it much yet, but I can see a lot of things it will be useful for - especially crafty things once we are retired and I have more time. What’s really neat about it is that it “grabs” the fabric once you start cutting and doesn’t let it go until you reach the end of your piece, so your pinking always has a continual edge rather than when you’re using shears and you have to be careful with your stops and starts. It takes a little getting used to (you can see in the first photo that I was a little off course toward the end of the cut), but really a fun tool!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

And the Winner Is....

Many of you have been following the Whirl Into Winter Giveaway I participated in - see the button on my sidebar! Tina in Montana (no blog) wins the Schnibbles pattern, three charm packs and bobbin keeper! You can see the original post here. Mr. Squash is drawing the winning name below.

Check out that hairy ear at the bottom of the photo!

We had the hardest time getting a photo of the winners name - Miss Sophie thought it was food! I just had to include the photo below of her lightening-fast tongue trying to get a taste!

I want to say how much fun this was!! Both Mr. Squash and I enjoyed reading all the great comments. The original question was: "If you could be anywhere in winter, where would that be?" For the most part, you wanted to be somewhere with snow, near a blazing fireplace, with a mug of hot chocolate, your quilting and your family! A few wanted to be someplace warm (after the snow we’ve had so far this winter, I’m with you!) and lots of you wanted to just be home! I’ve also spent many an hour reading nearly all of your blogs (I’ll catch up soon with the few I haven't read yet) and made some great new friends! Thanks again to everyone for participating!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It's Finally Here!

I’ve been waiting for a stain sample of butcher block for the new kitchen counters at the Squash House for quite some time! The builder thought he had ordered them back in October, but they never arrived. So I called before Christmas and placed another order. And because of the weather, the holidays and whatever else, they were delayed - until now! Can you see me skipping about? Here is what they sent:

We are using a company called Grothouse Lumber in Pennsylvania. I first saw their work on an episode of This Old House and later in This Old House magazine. I’ve always had an affinity for wood - my Lithuanian grandfather among other things was a woodworker. (You could even call me a tree-hugger in the literal sense - LOL) I think beautiful wood runs through my veins! I asked for samples of their honey colored stains. See the heart? That is the color I’ve picked.

And check the back of the sample - they even “branded” in their signature - too classy!
Now I'm going off to figure out what kind of edge treatment I want!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Behind Drawer #34 & 44

Last night I began sifting through the contents of my 56-Drawer chest. I figure if I open a few every evening that it shouldn’t take me long to re-organize and pack away things I know I won’t be using until we move. Rather than start with the first drawer - upper left - I decided to make this fun and pick them at random (well, sort of). The first one I opened, let’s call it #44 if you count down and up, is the one on the right. This drawer is filled with shirtings I’ve collected and I knew there was another drawer just like it, so I had to open and close quite a few until I found it!
I pulled out all of the shirtings, removed the duplicates (egad there were a lot), and this is what I have!

Why, you ask, has she collected to many shirtings? Well, I saw on a long-ago episode of Fons and Porter, this quilt, Back in Time stars, which immediately pulled at my heartstrings. I’ve always been fond of stars and this one with its scrappy/homespun style would someday have to have a home in our master bedroom. The lighter colors in the stars call for shirtings. Of course I probably won’t use all of these prints, but a girl can never have enough stash and what’s left over will have another home in a few of the Civil War era quilts I’ve been planning. I’ve also collected most of the other materials - just haven’t found the right background red yet.This is a page from the Fons and Porter magazine which contains the pattern. I just love the explanation of the Maverick blocks!
I’d like to remind you one more time about my Whirl Into Winter giveaway. Deadline for entries is Jan 14th. The lucky winner will be announced on Jan 15th! You must leave your comment about where you would like to be in winter on this post. Also - very important - you MUST provide an email address where I can reach you if you are the winner! Some of you have not provided emails! If you are picked and there is no email, we will have to pick another name. Good Luck!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pretty Pinwheels

Whew - what a weekend! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we are getting our house ready to sell, which if you are a fan of or have ever watched any the real-estate shows on HGTV, means a lot of work! I’ve been asking myself all weekend: Why did I buy this? What was I thinking? Why did I keep pay stubs from 1972? And this is just the beginning! Actually, we made a lot of headway in just two days! Other than my studio, we have pretty much trashed, donated, sold or given away most of what we don’t want to take to the Squash House. We decided once we get over there, we’ll probably have another big garage sale like we did last summer and that should pretty much put us on track for a much more minimalistic lifestyle!

Yesterday afternoon I finally had to take a break! And the best way to do that? - why not make some more Winter Wonderland blocks! I didn’t have much time, so I skipped ahead to block #5, Pinwheels. They were all made from the same fabrics, so I cut them in no time and power sewed!

And speaking of pinwheels - have you seen this design from Crabapple Hill Studio? I have no idea what draws me to Meg’s patterns, but I do love them!

Also, have you seen this new fabric line by Sandy Gervais over at everyone’s favorite fabric store The Fat Quarter Shop? It makes me happy just to look at it! I think fabric for an apron and a table runner will find it’s way to me in the near future!

Don’t forget to go over to this post and leave a comment about where you would like to be in winter for the Whirl Into Winter giveaway!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Collecting...

Today is being spent packing away some "clutter" (in real-estate speak) to get the house ready for listing. I thought I would take a break and blog about my favorite collection, English Copper Lustre, which takes some time to bubble wrap and carefully pack away. I began collecting this in the 1970's. It had always been pretty pricey (until eBay came along and knocked the heck out of its value), so when I was younger I could only afford a piece or two a year - if that. Here is a big group that came out of an oak bookcase in our dining room.

Copper Lustre was an "invention" of the middle class in Europe. It was a sign of class at the beginning of the 19th century to have gold plated dinnerware. Obviously the middle class couldn't afford it, so someone came up with a glazing method to simulate gold plating. The dinner plates, saucers and cups were easily damaged and did not survive, but the creamers and pitchers were heavier stock, so that is what is mostly left.

Below is the only intact, undamaged suger bowl I've ever seen! It's probably my favorite piece and dates from appx. 1860's. I found the creamer, which is a close match many years later.
This group is more from the beginning of the 20th century as it has an Art Nouveau flair. Copper Lustre was only made through the 1920's or so, then taken up again in the 50's by the Welsh for a short time. I'm not at all fond of that era of lustre.
This is the oldest piece in my collection - probably around 1812. It was glazed, then hand-painted. The hand painting was most likely done by the purchaser of the pitcher as it isn't glazed and you can see some wearing of the paint.
These pieces have what is called a salt-glaze for decoration.
And these are some of my larger pieces along with a child's cup which I found in Gettysburg at an outdoor antique show. The large pitcher on the right is mid-19th century - the other two are a bit later. The pitcher with the blue band was a gift from a long-time friend I met in college, Robert. We would (and still do when he visits us from California) spend hours in antique malls having the best time. He or I would shriek when we found something we were seeking - and it would send shivers down the spines of the mall owners who would come running to see if something had been broken - those were fun times !!
There is still time to enter my Whirl Into Winter giveaway! Just go over to this post and leave a comment about where you would like to be in winter! The winner will be chosen on January 15th!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Pause in the Action!

I’ve mentioned to some of you in emails that I’m having to put off any new projects for the time being so we can spend some time getting our house ready to list. I’ve gotten some wonderful offers for swaps and exchanges and it’s breaking my heart to turn them down, but hopefully in another few weeks, my time will be freed up for new projects! I'm worried our realtor will ask me to put away everything in the studio so it will look nice and neat! Anne over at Cottons 'n Wool had a great idea for me - she suggested I prep a bunch of hand work to do during all of this - great idea Anne - thanks! I'll continue to blog throughout this - you might just see a little less quilting for a while - but you may see some great giveaways as I plow through the cupboards and drawers, so stay tuned!

Also, many of you have already seen Anne Sutton’s free BOM over at Bunny Tales! In case you haven’t seen this - hop on over and take a look! It’s absolutely adorable and so generous of Anne! One of those hand work projects I may do is this in wool along with Anne Bryson! I'll be looking through my wool stash this evening!

And don’t forget to visit Terri over at Purple and Paisley - she is still celebrating her birthday and blogiversary with giveaways all week! And you’ll just love her photo remembrances!

We are waking up to a very soggy state this morning! My heart goes out to all who are experiencing evacuations and flooding this morning! Mother Nature really has it out for us this winter.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Project?

Don't forget to head over to Purple and Paisley and wish my friend Terri a Happy Birthday today! She's having a giveaway every day this week to celebrate her Birthday (today) and one-year Blogiversary!

I would love to say I'm embarking on another project - NOT! At least not right now. I ordered this yarn and crochet hook a couple of weeks before Christmas to make this adorable neck scarf http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=19311178. I was going to crochet it up quickly during my winter vacation.

Unfortunately, due to the terrible weather around the country, I did not receive the package until yesterday! I just loved the colorways shown in the Etsy listing for the pattern, so I ordered the same yarn - and it's so soft!. But, the project will be placed in my "to-do" drawer for now as the next few weekends will be spent getting our house ready to put on the market!

You still have lots of time to enter my Whirl Into Winter giveaway! Just leave a comment on this post about where you would like to be in winter and you will be eligible for some terrific gifts! There are over 50 of us participating, so you can enter for lots of great giveaways on the Whirl Into Winter Blog!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snail Mail Surprise!

First I want to tell you about a terrific giveaway Terri is having over at Purple and Paisley! It's her birthday tomorrow and also the one year anniversary of her blog! She's having a giveaway every day this week, so please go over and wish Terry a Happy Birthday/Blog Anniversary and join in the fun!

A while back, Melissa, over at My Own Place, asked if a few of us in Nanette’s original Cottage Block Exchange would like to exchange one more block with her. I jumped right in and said Yes! The blocks were so much fun and I was more than willing to make another! Yesterday, Mel’s package arrived. I have to tell you how utterly blown away I was by the package and contents! Thank you Mel, you are terrific! Here is what she sent:

This is what first came out of the envelope. The little bird is adorable and will be the first ornament on my “studio tree” in the Squash House! Terri sent me an angel a while back, which will go on top of the tree.

Inside the package was the cottage block and some Dove chocolates and Werther’s candy! Every quilter loves chocolate and Mr. Squash?....well he’s a big fan of Werther’s! Check out the cottage block – perfectly made and so adorable! I love how Mel did the roof and chimney!
Next is a really neat door hanger with my first initial on it and a stitched note which she says to “hang it somewhere where you will be reminded to take time out of each day for yourself”. I certainly will live by that and it will hang on the door to my studio!
But wait….there’s more! She included 8 charm squares and her own pattern to make a holiday table topper! I told Mel those are just the fabrics I would buy for myself and I was beginning to sense some “Quilter’s ESP”!!
And finally, out of the package came a Sanitary Bag – huh?
But there was something inside – this fabulous, funky fat quarter! Oh, what a hoot! I’ll have to come up with something really cute for this – I’m thinking maybe a little pillow with black lace trim!
Mel said she wouldn’t mind me blogging her gifts long as somewhere I say “Mel thinks I’m inspiring, a fun blogger and is grateful to have met me this year through our blogs!” Well, Mel, I say “back at you” – it goes both ways! Thanks again for such a fantastic exchange!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking Block!

The holiday’s are over and I’m back to work after nearly two weeks off. And what did we wake up to this morning - more snow! It started falling late yesterday afternoon and accumulated several inches, but by this morning it’s beginning to melt and warmer weather is expected. I desperately wanted to spend some time at the Squash House over break, but the weather and the roads just didn’t cooperate. Hopefully we can get over there later this month for a few days and get the kitchen appliances purchased and the old ones donated to Habitat for Humanity!

So the age old question about quilt fabric is whether to pre-wash or not. My opinion falls in the “not” category. If I wanted to enter any of my quilts in competition, I would definitely pre-wash my fabrics - no question about it, but working full-time and wanting instant gratification just doesn’t afford me the time for that. I also know that it’s better to use a dry iron when pressing seams on quilt blocks. Sometimes I do and most of the time I don’t! One of my childhood jobs was ironing for the neighbors. They liked their clothes very crisp and wrinkle-free and if upon inspection something wasn’t just right, I had to re-iron it! So steam was my friend in those days and remains my friend. Ironing without steam for me is like walking out in a blizzard without a coat! And mind you, I don’t “iron” my block, rather I lightly “press” them as I learned long ago from a Fons and Porter episode.

I’ve had pretty good luck so far with the blocks in my Winter Wonderland quilt. But this block was a bugger and I think I know why.

It may look okay now (well, there are a couple of points that aren’t very crisp), but I really had to work to get it just right. It seems that the darker red fabric must have been a looser weave than all of the other red fabrics I’ve used in this quilt so far. My cutting was accurate, but after making the flying geese and then pressing them, the red fabric shrunk a good 1/8th inch! It took me a while to figure out that it was the steam from the iron that was the culprit! I didn’t want to re-cut the block, so I adjusted my seams to make it all fit. Lesson for me for the day: compare the weave of your fabrics before using steam in your iron!

By the way, don't forget to leave a comment in the Whirl Into Winter giveaway on this post! You need not have a blog to enter, but I must have a way to contact you if you win.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What Difference A Border Makes!

**Update - someone commented anonymously and asked if I was going to do the embroidered borders on each block now that they are sewn together. If you mean doing the fly stitch - yes, and I think that part will go really fast compared to all of the other stitcheries!
Two posts in one day - a first for me! I sewed the borders on the snow people and just had to show you what a difference it makes in how they look! Mr. Squash held it up for me so I could get a better photo. He's been hard at work today raking leaves and cleaning up the yard from our snowstorms!

Here is a close-up of the border - a tiny red and white polka dot.
Also, don't forget to leave a comment on this post for the Whirl Into Winter giveaway!