Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pepper

We arrived at the Squash House on Sunday afternoon to find we now have a new sidewalk in addition to the driveway (oh, excuse me, I mean Mr. Squash's beach)! We saw Ted, our contractor, briefly and he explained they would be working on the approach and street section Monday readying the forms, then pouring again on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ted and his son Justin were out early yesterday morning along with their Australian Shepherd, Pepper. We've fallen in love with her! She comes over every day with her frisbee - ready for a few tosses and of course some loving! She's so sweet and gentle. We think this is the dog for us when we move over here permanently. Ted says she likes to fish with him and is a wonderful companion!

Below is what the guys were doing yesterday. Look at Pepper following Ted with her frisbee!
Here are Justin and Ted this morning as the concrete truck begins to churn out the street portion. Pepper is ever at the ready! You can't see it, but her frisbee is in front of her! By the way, Justin (on the left) is Ted's son. They work together - something you don't see much of these days!
Yesterday I worked like the dickens in my garden! I think I should re-name my blog Squash House Gardening! Our yard is nearly 1/3 acre and its all landscaped! This has been my dream - and I can't wait to move here so I can plant perennials, annuals, veggies and just plain putter around in the gorgeous weather! I was so tired last night that I could barely move, but it was a good tired and I'm ready for more today! Tomorrow we plan a day of fly fishing - and a well deserved rest!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Potholder Fun!

Some time ago I participated in a potholder swap hosted by Adrian at Hello Yarn and Maritza at Knotty Bits. What fun this was! We had to make five crocheted potholders in either cotton or wool, and we would receive five different potholders in return from the other swappers. Mine arrived in the mail the other day. Aren't they great?!

As you can see, I've made some changes to my blog's background. I still have to figure out a better text color, but all in all, this is the direction I wanted to go - something really earthy and Fall-like --- my favorite time of year. The great folks over at The Cutest Blog on The Block helped me again. Alicia Alee Design did the backgound - she is quite talented!

Mr. Squash and I are leaving tomorrow for the Squash House! We're spending the entire week there through the 4th! I'll have my netbook along and hope to be able to keep up as well as post. We're going to do some fly fishing, working in the yard, and a lot of just plain kicking back in the sun☼! (Thanks, Anne, for the great link to symbols!) The park down the street from us does an incredible July 4th celebration which we're really excited to see!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mr. Squash's New Beach!

One of the reasons we went to the Squash House last week was to check on the progress of the new driveway. Below is a photo as it looked right after we bought the house. So many changes since then - even the two large blue spruces behind the house are gone from the windstorm! Also, in case I haven't mentioned it before, the house looks very small from this view, but as they say, a picture does not tell the whole story! It's actually much larger and has a full lower floor! Anyway, I digress. At some point, the driveway, approach, and sidewalk on either side suffered quite a lot of damage. The previous owners had removed the old driveway and placed ugly black rock down as a surface. We knew it would have to be one of our improvement projects.

Here is the progress as of last Sunday! Our contractor has been working really hard in between thunderstorms! There is enough room to park three vehicles when we have company over!
The concrete is a full 6 inches thick to withstand the cold winter temps! Mr. Squash has decided this is his new "beach". He's going to put a chair with a little umbrella and a pitcher of iced tea out there and listen to the waves - LOL!!

This week the sidewalk and approach will be poured and we hope by the time we return next Sunday that it will be completed!

Whenever we spend time at the Squash House, we try to go somewhere new in an attempt to familiarize ourselves with the area. Saturday we heard about a nice place to fly fish not far from there. We jumped in the car to scope it out, but while trying to decide what was growing in a field next to the road, we missed the turn! We had never been on this particular road, so we decided to see where it would take us. We drove a long way on a very pretty two lane road in the country, and before we knew it - we were in Oregon on a very small two lane dirt road in the backwoods - da-da-ding-ding-ding (think duelling banjos)!

We turned around back toward town and saw a sign for a park. Deciding to check it out, this is what we found. This is a portion of river that actually runs into town and back out again. There is a bike trail/walking path on either side and a footbridge across the far end! We can't wait to take our bikes over and try it out!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tiles and Smiles

Look what I got in the mail today! A while ago I gave away some flannel scraps and fat quarters I knew I would never use. Donnelly was the recipient of those scraps, and this is what she made to thank me! It was wrapped up in this delicate, pretty tissue with the nicest card!

And see what's inside - a lovely, handmade, tatted doily! There aren't many people who practice the art of tatting anymore - Donnelly's work is outstanding! And she said: "I used a vintage Coats and Clark size 30 that I picked up at one of our local thrift stores. I love the feel and colors of vintage threads. The spool still had the original $0.19 sticker on it!" So stop on over to Donnelly's blog for a visit!
Here is what greeted us when we arrived at the Squash House on Thursday - the frosted beach glass tile in the kitchen is installed! I am so happy I can barely contain myself! It is exactly as I envisioned and the installers work is incredible! Already the kitchen feels warm and cozy! There is only one more thing do to in there - new cabinet and drawer faces. We're having them custom built by a local contractor. See those two upper doors on the right side? They will have clear, hammered glass inserts and open from the center out. They will also have hidden European hinges and can be opened without hardware - although I will add it at some point just for decoration.
Here is a closer view of the tile against the stove.
Below is the new sink and faucet. I can pull the nozzle out and fill a pan with water as it sits on the stove! The sink is extra deep at 11 inches (maybe too deep - we shall see). That little fixture to the right of the faucet is a built-in soap dispenser.
And here is the crowning glory - my Maple Bar finished and installed! We had them use the same stain as on the butcher block counters, but because they are two different grades of maple, the stain is slightly darker on the burled maple. That's what I wanted, though - something unique and different! Oh - you can also see that I haven't replaced the switch covers yet. I think I'll use enameled porcelain covers, so I need to look around for different options.
Here is another view - looking the opposite direction.
This is a close-up of the maple burl stained and finished.
More fun things to show you tomorrow - stay tuned!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Very Pleasant Surprise!

I'm still here in case any of you have wondered where I disappeared to last week! Between spending endless time sending countless emails back and forth with a new blog designer and work suddenly turning busy, I had no time for anything else! Plus we planned to leave for the Squash House on Thursday and I needed to prepare for that. Many thanks also to those of you who emailed because you were concerned why my blog wasn't "working"!! As you all probably know by now, I registered my own domain. I'm still posting through Blogspot, I just have my own web address now!

We left for the Squash House around 2:00 Thursday afternoon for a long weekend. We wanted to check on the the tile installation in the kitchen, get a new thermostat installed, check on Ted's progress on the new driveway, and get some estimates on the final kitchen project - new cupboard and drawer fronts.

Coming into town we turned down a street fairly close to the Squash House, I saw the words "Stash" in a window as I drove by! That could mean only one thing!!! A new quilt shop!!

It was late and we were tired from the long drive, so I sort of thought maybe my mind was playing tricks on me! I decided to go back the next day, and sure enough - it was a new quilt shop! Below is the other side of the front. The outside of the building is not quite done, but there is no mistaking the shop!
I had a really nice chat with Kathy, one of the store owners. I told her how elated I was that we now have two quilt shops in town - as did everyone else who came in the store while I was there! Kathy even wrote down the address of their blog for me! I asked if I could take a few photos for my blog and she happily agreed!
They have a wonderful array of different fabrics and designers - so much of what I saw was totally in my taste range! There was even fabric by designers I did not yet know - and I can't wait to explore some more!
Now I love Masterpiece thread for piecing, but I also like Presencia - and they carry the full line in the store! I also told Kathy about Lecien's new Cosmo embroidery floss line - she'll be looking into that soon as well!
So many nice displays!
And check out the basics and solids!
Everywhere I turned there was something I wanted to make!
I have lots more for you this week - more peeks at the happenings around the Squash House among other things! I'm also still working on changes to my blog design - just not sure at this point how much or what. I'll be doing my best to catch up this week on everything you all have been doing as well!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Changes!

A couple of days ago I mentioned that I was going to have my blog redesigned. It's happening and I'm very excited about it! Along with the process there are always some hitches that will eventually be ironed out and fixed. You might notice that all of my friends over on the right under "Kindred Spirits" are gone. I'm not sure if this is due to the fact that I now have my own registered domain name or an issue with Blogger. I assure you that I haven't forsaken anyone and that you will all be back on the sidebar as soon as possible!

Please be patient while the design process evolves - I'll be up and running with a whole new look soon! Thanks for sticking with me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Discovery!

I have a confession. I'm obsessed with a perfect scant, 1/4" seam! Maybe some of you are as well. If you get your seam right, then the rest of the quilt making process is so much easier! I've sewn on many different machines over the years - Singer, Elna, Husqvarna Viking and Bernina to name a few. I now sew exclusively on Bernina - I love the way the machines are made, the way they sew, and customer service at my Bernina dealer is outstanding! My main machine is a Bernina 630E. When it's in the shop I use my trusty backup Bernina 153QE (Alex Anderson edition, no less), and I also own (but may sell at some point) a Bernina 185E.

Several years ago I purchased the two 1/4" feet you see below. The foot on the left has a little rail on one side. The trick is to let the edge of your fabric ride up against the rail for the perfect 1/4" seam - NOT. I haven't had any luck with this foot at all. After shelving it permanently, I went back to the #37 1/4" foot that came with my machines (yes, I have 3 of these feet!). I still wasn't getting any joy. I don't know about you, but for me I prefer watching the fabric, not the foot as it feeds through the needle. I do like the little registration marks on the foot for turning however.

This brings me to my recent discovery! Look at the picture below. See where I've placed a blue arrow next to the little mark on the stitch plate? Doggone if this isn't a 1/4" mark! It has been staring me in the face - laughing at me that I didn't notice - just waiting for me to realize how important it is!
So I began guiding the edge of my fabric just to the inside of that little mark (see below) - and do you know what? My seams are consistenly a scant 1/4"!! (Sorry for the blurry photo, I guess I was a little too close.) Why a scant 1/4" some of you might ask? Well, once the seam is pressed to one side, you will lose a little in the fold, so if you sew a scant 1/4", your block will be accurate every time.


Every class I took on the use of my Bernina's failed to point out this little mark. So if you own a Bernina and are having trouble with your 1/4" seams, give this a try! Let me know if you do and if you're successful! I'm also interested in hearing how those of you without a little mark like this on your machines achieve your perfect scant 1/4" seam!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Farmer's Market and a Winner!

Before I get to the winner of the patterns, I wanted to show you some of our Sunday Farmer's Market. It takes place on the waterfront every Sunday through the end of September. I love going there - especially this year since I don't have vegetable garden! This is a view of the stalls from across the public boat slips. There is also a trainyard behind the market. The houses up on the hill are on the street I walk everday. Right next door is Naval Station Everett, home of USS Abraham Lincoln. The photos aren't bright today because we have a heavy marine layer that isn't expected to burn off until 5:00!

How I love fresh picked lettuce! I buy several different varieties, wash it, then make my own salad mix which lasts far longer than the stuff in bags from the grocery store! It's a bit of work but well worth it!
There are several Asian flowers growers in our area. Here are just some of the buckets filled with flowers from which they make gorgeous bouquets.
This is my favorite vegetable stand. They are from the Wenatchee Valley in Eastern Washington - formerly orchard workers who now have their own vegetable farm. This is the son of the owner - they are so nice and have the best produce!
On one side of the market are craft vendors. This gal had some cute wall hangings for sewers! The picture is dark because she is inside a tent and with the gray skies this was the best I could do.
Now to the winner.....I used a random number generator and the winner is SewCalGal!! I've emailed you, but in case you see this first, please send me your mailing address.

Don't be surprised if you see a new look at Squash House Quilts in the near future! I've been wanting something different and am about ready to take the plunge!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Final Pattern Giveaway

I decided to combine the last two pattern giveaways. A small rant here - unfortunately, many of you left comments on the last two posts as "noreply-comment". This gives me no way to contact the winners or at very best I consume an incredible amount of time trying to track them down. So I'm going to go back to a more traditional giveaway for the last 6 patterns.

The 6 patterns below will all be given to one lucky winner! All you need to do is answer this question: "What is your favorite type of quilt to make?" I'll pick the winner on Sunday, June 14th.

Sorry for the poor picture quality - photographing patterns in plastic sleeves isn't easy! They are from left to right and top to bottom:

Flying South by Judy Niemeyer all paper pieces included - 51" x 71"

Quilted Jacket by Homestead Specialties

Flannel Flinders, Too by Pine Tree Lodge Designs sizes are given for 36 x 51, 51 x 66, and 66 x 81

Modern Poet jacket/blouse - sizes XS-5XL

Seaside Lighthouse 12.5 x 23.5 by Kim Halvorson - foundations included

Snowman Quilt by Pat Welsh from the Stitchin' Post 40 x 52.

You can probably tell from what I've given away that I'm not a paper piecer. At one point I thought I would, but decided it just wasn't for me. I also thought at one time I would get back to making a lot of my own clothes. Well, I decided that wasn't for me either - I much prefer spending my sewing time quilting!

Good luck in the drawing!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First-come First-serve Giveaway #2

On yesterday's free pattern giveaway I found that I really didn't make myself clear on the "rules". I wanted to give each group away to the first person who commented on which group they wanted. Most who commented are waiting to hear the "winner" of the giveaway. I've emailed those whose comment sounded as though they were interested - in order of the comments left first - and I'm still waiting to hear back before I can move down the line to see who wants them!

**So - please read carefully for today's patterns. If you are interested in either Group 3 or Group 4, please comment telling me which group you want. This will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you don't have a blog, you MUST leave an email address for contact or I will move on to the next commenter.**

***Edit....I must be able to contact you either via an email address attached to your blog or an email address in your comment. If your blog does not contain contact information, I will move on to the next commenter. Sorry to be so rigid about this, but being able to easily contact the winners is important. Thanks for your understanding.***

Whew - now that the "business" is out of the way, here is pattern Group One. A jumper dress by Favorite Things includes sizes 4 through 22; a Kim Halovorson "Welcome Spring" wall hanging pattern (paper pieced) 12" x 15", and a Halloween sweatshirt "makeover" pattern from Bloomin' Minds. (TAKEN)

Pattern Group Two includes Linderella's Happy Hauntings wall hanging 24" x 36", felt wine bags pattern from Little Brown House, and a prairie point vest pattern from Linda Crone which includes sizes XS through 3XL. (TAKEN)

Remember, if you're interested in only one or two of the patterns in each group, think of friends or family that might like the others as all three will be included!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the third of four pattern giveaways!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Pattern Giveaways!

**Edit** This is for Barb - I cannot reply to you because you are commenting as "No-Reply comment" You last email is the same. In order to get the patterns, I need to hear from you with an email so that I can reply to you.

Today, tomorrow and Thursday, I will be giving away some patterns from the cleaning out of my 56-Drawer chest. While these are all great patterns, for one reason or another I've decided I'll never get around to making them.

Here's how this works. I'll be giving them away in groups of 3. Just leave a comment for me if you would like either group. Remember, these are free, so if you think you would only like one or two of them, perhaps you know someone else who would like one! Please don't ask me to split them up - the mailing cost would be just too much to mail each separately.

The first group below includes a Jeri Kelly trio for Easter - wall hanging, table topper and pillow; a sweatshirt "make-over" pattern by Kay Whitt of Serendipity Designs, and a paper pieced wall hanging 22" x 18" by Kim Halvorson (foundation patterns included).

The second group includes a Redwork wall hanging by Carole Floyd; another paper pieced wall hanging by Kim Halvorson appx 20" x 28", and Frosty the Snowman stitchery which can be used on a sweatshirt, pillow, fabric, shirt, etc. (TAKEN)

So leave me a comment if you would like either group! Happy "shopping"!

Monday, June 8, 2009

C. Scissorhands

Yesterday I played with sharp tools all day! Not long ago I noticed our box hedge in back was all of a sudden out of hand! Bits of it were leaning over from too much weight, and some spots were higher than others. How did this happen? I walk past it every day but didn't notice - nor did the realtor! So Mr. Squash and I armed ourselves with the electric trimmer, a rake and a blower and went to work! I was the official trimmer, and I must say it turned out quite nicely! It isn't as even as I'd like, but it does have character. Mr. Squash raked the leaves and blew them off the driveway - what was left he blew into the grass so the gardener could crunch it up with the mower today.
Then I went inside and began to play with some 60 degree diamonds. Using another sharp tool - my rotary cutter - they first looked like this.
Then progressed to this:
Here is where I stopped when it was time for dinner. I wonder what this will turn into? Only my Christmas in July swap partner will know first!
Saturday I started pulling all my patterns out of the 56 drawer chest. We're going to move it over to the Squash House later this month. I found 18 patterns varying from miscellaneous clothing, to small gift items, to quilts large and small that I will never make. I've decided to give them away throughout the week. So stay tuned for the first batch tomorrow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sun Surfer

We are having a mini heat-wave here in the Pacific Northwest! Today will be the hottest at 90 degrees, then it finally cools off over the weekend. Let me tell you, with no air conditioning, it's really the pits! But there is someone who is really enjoying it! We think the warmth makes her old bones feel good! So short post here; I just had to show you Miss Sophie the Sun Surfing Cat!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm a Supreme!

Well, sort of! Stephanie of Loft Creations asked me, Sherri, Rumi and Nonni (no-blog) to test the pattern for her West Linn Bag! Many of you who read her blog know that she is one clever gal - coming up with all sorts of wonderful bags and quilts! I know I and others have encouraged for some time to publish her patterns. I’m so happy she’s taken the plunge! She’s calling us her "Supreme Sewers" or just the Supreme’s! Hmmm....which Supreme should I be?

I had so much fun doing this and even got to talk with Stephanie over the phone! She is as nice as her blog reads! Pattern writing is not an easy task. It’s good to have others interpret what you write to make sure that all of your directions jive with what’s in your head!

Here is my result. I used Linen from Pink Chalk Studio and a Nature’s Chorus charm pack by April Cornell for Moda. This is the front:


Here is the back. As time was of the essence, I quilted it the same way Stephanie quilted hers, but I can see all sorts of possibilities for finishing the bag!
Don’t you love the button? It perfectly matches one of the flowers in the prints.
And to make it all worthwhile - my new Netbook fits perfectly in the bag! Oh, joy!
Now, changing gears, I’ve seen Pay It Forward on a lot of blogs lately. My friend Karen of Short Story Long decided to join in, and I was one of her first three commenters. So now I’m going to Pay it Forward. Here are the Rules:

1. Be one of the first 3 bloggers to leave a comment on this post, which then entitles you to any handmade item from me!

2. Winners must post this challenge on their blog, meaning that they will Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift -anything!- for the first 3 bloggers who leave a comment on YOUR post about this giveaway!

3. The gift that you send to your 3 friends can be from any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. This means you should be willing to maintain your blog at least until you receive your gift and have shipped your gifts. And remember: It’s the Spirit and the Thought that Counts!

4. When you receive your gift, please feel free to blog about it, sharing appropriate Linky Love! If you are not one of the Top 3 Commenters on this post, you can still play along. Go ahead and start your own Pay It Forward chain, and encourage your blogging friends to do the same.
REMEMBER... Pay It Forward!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Picnic on the River

On Sunday, Mr. Squash and I made a picnic lunch and headed for the river. We needed to get outside and away and also wanted to check out our summer fishing holes! The day started off sunny and warm, but by the time we got to the river it was hazy, yet still warm. We stopped at several areas, but most were full of folks wanting to do the same thing! So we drove down to see if one of the reservation campgrounds was empty, and sure enough, it was! We often use these for fishing when they aren't reserved. The rangers have never given us a problem, and we're always ready to leave if someone comes in.

From the looks of the photo below, we won't be fishing any time soon. What you see is a very deep, very wide and fast running river! As the summer progresses, the river becomes calf deep in spots - with several deep holes where the fish live - and only about 6-10 feet wide! We can easily wade back and forth across the river and not worry about being swept away!

Here is where we parked ourselves for the afternoon! Mr. Squash took the high perch - better to see and point out all the birds for me to watch!
When I wasn't bird watching or taking photos, I was reading these!
Below is the Piggyback plant - new plants grow on top of the older leaves. When I was in college, we used them as houseplants! They are also known as "Youth On Age" - also the name of the first area we stopped at that was quite crowded.
Here are Salmonberries. Once the berries ripen, they won't be around for long - deer and bear love them!
We love the wild strawberries below. If you're lucky enough to pick some before the animals do, they have a wonderful, sweet/tart flavor!
Here is the Fiddle Head Fern....a delicacy to many. Northwest chefs love to saute them (just the tops) - you pay a pretty price to eat them in a restaurant, yet you can pick them and cook them yourself for free! We saw some folks stop across the road while we were there and pick quite a lot!
In a couple of days I should be able to reveal a secret project! Stay tuned!