Friday, July 31, 2009

Turn Down the Heat!

If you've wondered where I was this week, I was desperately trying to beat the heat...to no avail! Some of you may have heard we set record temps this week in the greater Seattle area! Tuesday and Wednesday were the worst. On Wednesday at 11pm it was still over 90 degrees inside the house! Most of us don't have air conditioning, so just imagine 90-103 degrees outside - and inside!! Mr. Squash and I were happy to have a few hours everyday at work in air conditioned offices, but coming home was a nightmare!

For Miss Sophie, it was even worse. I would either "pet" her with an ice cube hourly, or rub her down with a very wet towel to keep her from getting heat-stroke!

Here she is today, having just woken up from a pleasant nap in a sunbeam. We're in the 70's today and it will only warm up to the low 80's over the weekend. Thank goodness! I haven't had the energy to do any sewing this week, but I hope to have a few things to show you after the weekend. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fearless Finish!

Here is my finished Halloween Journey from Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studios! You'll have to pardon the different settings I've used for photographing it - for some reason my house is light challegened the past couple of days. I threw caution to the wind and decided to cross-hatch the quilt with InvisaFil on top (thanks, Wendy and Mary) and an Autumn colored variegated 40 wt. King Tut on the back. I also totally cleaned the lint out of my machine first, put on a new 80/12 universal needle, lowered my top tension, set my stitch length to 3, and put one of those netted sleeves over the InvisaFil to make it feed evenly off the spool. I didn't have a single break and the quilting came out nice and even with my walking foot! You can click on all the photos to enlarge them. I was amazed that the cross hatching didn't at all take away from the embroidery - rather, it enhanced it!Check out the back below! I used more of Pat Sloan's Arabella line and separated them with some left over cuts from my piano border! I'm actually quite proud of the back!

The other day I showed you what I received from Melanie in the Christmas In July swap. Below is what I sent to my partner, Marcie over at Daisy Jayne. Marcie lives in Australia, so it took nearly two weeks for her to receive the package! The apron is from Joanna Figueroa's latest book, Fresh Vintage Sewing, and the table runner was made from Rachel's Diappearing 9-patch pattern. Both were a lot of fun to make!

I also made Marcie a Christmas stocking - again from Fresh Vintage Sewing - in traditional Christmas colors. The top band is of wool felt. And it wouldn't be a true swap gift if I didn't include some of my favorite notions - along with chocolate, which you don't see in this photo!
Let me just say one more time what a wonderful job Stephanie and Linda did of hosting this swap! Thank you both so much!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christmas from Across the Pond!

I want to send a HUGE thank-you to all of you who commented on yesterday's post regarding the quilting of my Halloween stitchery! I'm overwhelmed with gratitude over the many wonderful suggestions! I have decided what to do, and if time permits, I will have a finished, or close to finished, wall hanging to show you early next week!

My Christmas In July package arrived yesterday! My secret swap partner is Melanie of Jelly Bean Angel2 in England! I love reading Melanie's posts - she is a great armchair travel-guide for this Anglophile and a very creative gal!

Here are her packages, all nicely wrapped in Christmas paper!

Below are some of the gifts (they wouldn't all fit in the picture). Look at the Victorian crazy-patch stocking - it will surely hold many wonderful gifts from Santa on Christmas morning!
Here is the fellow that wouldn't fit in the first photo - Father Christmas!! I adore him - his beard is made of strips of white fabric and his jacket is all hand-stitched of felt! So much excellent work went into his making! He will take center stage at Christmas! Melanie even wrote that she hoped some of these gifts would make it to the Squash House for December - I had a tear in my eye when I read that - thank you, Melanie!
Here is a close-up of the inside of the needle-case. There is a piece of felt on the left for needles and the hearts are all pockets for various sewing notions! It also has the most wonderful scent to it - almost like a winterberry!
These are the coasters - arent' they cute? Melanie also suggested they could be hung from the tree! Her embroidery is perfection!
Check this out on my model - Mr. Squash! It's a Santa with a buttonhole at the top and bottom so you can button him to your shirt during the holidays! How clever is that!
And finally, she included a Finnish Tonttu - or fairy, from none other than our friend, Ulla! Ulla didn't know who Melanie's swap partner was and I know she was quite surprised when she found out it was me!
Next post I'll reveal what I sent to my Christmas In July partner! So many thanks go to Linda and Stephanie for hosting this fun swap!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thought, Opinions, Advice - Please?

Before I start, I'd like to remind you to go over and visit Penny at Sew Take a Hike for this if you haven't already! You don't want to miss it!

A while back I posted this Halloween stitchery by Meg Hawkey at Crabapple Hill Studios. If you haven't read her blog - Knot-y Girls Stitchery Club - it's a lot of fun! I had finished the stitchery but didn't have a solid plan for how to finish it. The pattern shows it finished as a framed picture. I was going to do that until I saw Pat Sloan's new line of fabric, Arabella! Not only did I know I would use this fabric to finish the wall-hanging, I believe this is one of my favorite lines of any fabric ever! Pretty strong statement, huh! This fabric "speaks" to me! I love fall and fall colors - but there is also something in the design that speaks to me! I don't know what it is - but Pat, if you ever read this, thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming up with the design and colors!

I ordered a fat quarter bundle of the line and contemplated a piano border which would really set off the stitchery colors. I totally winged this border! There are a couple of little imperfections - some of you will notice, some won't, but this quilt will never be in a show - only in my home for total enjoyment at Halloween! The binding will be the same inner border fabric - hard to see, but there is a tiny pale-green dot in it.

So what I would like to ask you is how would you quilt it? I thought about a simple cross-hatch with clear thread all over. My only problem with this is the little leaves, made of wool felt, which are only tacked down for effect. Do you think cross-hatching will ruin this as well as the poem itself? The quilt will be hung, so it's going to need something to keep it from eventually "slumping". Have any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Giveaway Story!

Many of us in blogland have giveaways from time to time. I love having them, as well as winning them - who doesn't! Since I began my blogging journey I've had quite a few giveaways. They are a great way to make new friends, entice more people to come look at your blog and the best part for me is being just plain generous! I love to share with my fellow quilters! Have you ever wondered what happened to the item(s) you gave away? Are they still waiting to be used languishing in a drawer or closet? Are they currently WIP's? Have they been made into personal works of art? Today I'm going to entice you to find out about one!

Back in January I had a birthday giveaway! Penny from Sew Take a Hike was the winner! Below is a little collage of Mr. Squash (he shares winner-picking duties with Sophie) drawing a name from the bowl, the items I gave away, and the winner! Whenever I pack up the gifts and send them to the winner I always include a few extra surprises - most often one of them is chocolate --- I mean you have to have something good to eat while you're opening the package!

I got the most wonderful thank-you from Penny in the form of a winter hat she crocheted herself, some of her homemade hot chocolate mix, and homemade chocolate lollipops! I must say I never expected such a thank-you!! Penny and I have gotten to know one another much better since then. She lives in Colorado near where I lived when I was younger! I spent a lot of time in her town and loved every minute of it! I enjoy Penny's "out and about" posts which reminds me of all the fun times I had living in Colorado! She is also a very creative and gifted quilter, not to mention an incredibly generous person!

Now I would really appreciate it if you went over to Penny's blog for Part Two of the Giveaway Story to see what she did with her winnings! You're going to be so amazed...could there be another Giveaway???

I have several small sewing projects currently in the works. Nothing is really at any stage of showing, so instead check out this photo of part of my cottage garden from yesterday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Come With Me....

Today Mr. Squash and I went fishing to one of our favorite spots. (I guess I say "favorite spot" a lot - but any day fishing anywhere is a favorite spot!) Walk along the trail with us to the South Fork of the Sauk River...

Here it is mid-July, but the mountain Columbine is in full bloom! The white flower is Salmonberry, and I'm not sure what the little delicate blooms are - they resemble tiny bleeding hearts!

Shasta Daisy below - how can you not love these beauties? Below them - piggyback plants, or youth-on-age.
It doesn't get any better than this....look at Mr. Squash below on one of his first casts of the day! That is Goat Peak in the background.
It was really hot today, so we both wore our neck buddies! You pop them in the water for about ten minutes before you put it on - the crystals inside puff up and retain the cool water for several days! Now today was so hot that they needed frequent "dipping" to stay cool, but they really do help keep you cool!
Uh - oh.....Rambo goes fishing again! Signs like this just invite us in. Well, not really - we know the area quite well...there is actually a way around that is much safer! What this sign does for us is keep other people off the river and away from our catch - LOL!
It finally got so hot on this part of the river that we packed up, walked out and drove several miles back down the road to Camp Silverton. Follow my link to Camp Silverton for a great article from 1960 about camping there (admittedly, I was there prior to 1960!). I've mentioned this spot in previous posts - it is nearly "sacred" to me as it holds some of my fondest childhood memories! Below is what greeted us after we walked into the river looking for a place to eat lunch before fishing. We know this mess was made by people we saw there last week as the broken float tube is the same one they were using the day we saw them. How sad.
We spent an hour or so picking up the burned cans and glass and trash, then breaking apart the firepit. They even had the nerve to burn an old picnic table from the school camp - the firepit was littered with nails and screws from it. We did our best to return that part of the area back to normal, but the memory of this lingers....
After cleanup we fished a while longer. Below is another example of Rambo Goes Fishing - Mr. Squash gingerly picking his way to a nice hole. This doesn't look so bad until you see the wider angle shot down below!
I was definitely not a "Rambo-ette" today....rather preferring to snap photos and fish closer to the shore!
We had a showing of the house last week. No offer came from it, but we're encouraged!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Testing!

I hope you didn't think there wasn't any sewing or quilting going on in the Squash House Quilts studio of late.....there actually is, but up until now it was a secret! You may recall I was asked by Stephanie to test her very first published pattern. What fun that was, and an honor as well! I was then asked by Linda to test her first venture into pattern design and writing! Gosh I feel so special again! My thanks to Linda for giving me this opportunity - it was great fun!

I took Linda's completed bag with us on our fishing outing Sunday to see if I could get some fun photos. I thought the fabric I used, Geometrix by StudioE Fabrics for the print and Aiden Linen for the solid was really asking to be photographed in an outdoor setting!

Here is the front:

And the back. These were taken on the end of an enormous stump that had been in the river for several years and nicely whitewashed.
I carefully carried it in a plastic bag over one arm, even casting for fish at the same time - pretty brave even for me....until I realized I would never be able to release any fish I caught unless I put the plastic bag down in the river - no way! So I had some fun taking pictures of it in different settings then left in snuggled away in a safe place to be picked up on the way back downstream.


I snapped a lot of photos - when you're on the river in bright sunlight you can only point and shoot and hope for the best until you're finally able to download the photos to your computer and see if you got any that worked! I had a lot of duds!

This afternoon I had the second of two root canals in the past 6 weeks. What's up with that? For someone who has had excellent dental care since her 20's it is a mystery to me! Anyway, this one was the worst of the two and I may be in and out of blogland for a day or two....I'll catch up with you all soon!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mr. K's Dry Fly

Back in May, Ulla and her husband, Mr. K. sent us an exchange of goodies from Finland. You can refresh your memory here. In the package were several dry flies for fly fishing that Mr. K. tied himself. One of the flies he included was the Finnish National Fly, the Nalle Puh. Well, yesterday was our first official fly fishing day of this season. Despite a re-occuring back injury, Mr. Squash did not want to let a beautiful day for fishing pass us by, so he did his best to ignore the pain and enjoy himself. Let me say, that I'm pretty sure all signs of pain went away, if not briefly, by his "catch of the day" below - which was hooked using Mr. K's dry fly!! You can see the fly still attached to Mr. Trout's mouth. And a nice trout he was - about 12" and a pound or so! Being that we were fishing in pretty shallow water, this was an even better bonus! We only use barbless hooks which allow us to release the trout unharmed to grow even bigger!

Here is Mr. Squash in front of a nice run. You can see from his wet shorts that we had to wade through some deeper water in order to get to this part of the river.
And here I am - trying my best to land a trout using another of Mr. K's flies - this time a nymph, which floats under the water as opposed to on top as does a dry fly. Unfortunately, every time I hooked up, I was unable to get a photo of the fish because they would release themselves! Now Mr. Squash would call that an "alleged trout"!!

As we were walking back to the car from the woods, we came across a very large tree that had been felled by a beaver! We held a rod and reel to the upper part of the tree to show you how big it was! The area is known for many beaver ponds. I think this winter and spring were kind to the beavers - they've grown so huge that they can now tackle huge trees!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Matter of Perspective

On my way home from work yesterday I stopped at the local farm stand for fresh lettuce. They had it right inside the door and the gal said it had just been picked. I grabbed one of those plastic store bags (you know, the ones we aren't supposed to use) and thought I would stuff three different kinds in one bag so as not to waste plastic and make my summer salad mix. I thought there were several bunches of romaine sitting on top of the pile, but when I went to take one, it was just one bunch! It was so huge that I could barely cram it into the plastic bag! I said to the checker it must be on steroids - LOL! The next bunch I grabbed was a red leaf and it was just as big, but not quite as heavy as the romaine! Two were enough for me - the third variety could wait until next time!

Look below....I tried to get some perspective on their size for you by placing an enormous cantaloupe between them, but I'm not sure you can tell just how large they are! (Sorry for the shadow, it was late afternoon)


Here is a slightly different view....the bananas are also oversized! I got on the scale with the Romaine - it weighed 4 pounds (I won't tell you what I weighed)!
Below are three of the six one-gallon bags of lettuce (stuffed full) that I got out of the two heads, which cost a total of $2.50! For six, 5 oz bags of lettuce at the grocery store I would have paid about $22.00!! And mine will last much longer than the store lettuce!
I almost forgot to show you a photo of the completed new "beach" at the Squash House! The garbage can won't be there permanently - it normally goes behind the fence. I had to stand in the shade of the dogwoods as it was nearly 100 degress when I took the photo!
Click on the photo below for a larger picture of the flag we found in the laundry room stuffed behind the furnace! What a bonus!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back in the Swing of Things

We returned from our week at the Squash House on Sunday. What a busy week - we worked a lot in the garden, around the house and rather than fly fish in 90-100 degree heat, we scouted out a lot of new places to fish when it cools off. I made a promise to myself not to post until I got caught up reading my bloglines and I finally am! I'm amazed at all the wonderful summer projects I'm seeing in blogworld!

Friday we learned of a quilt show that was taking place through the weekend in Milton-Freewater, OR. I decided to take a quick drive down there on Saturday and have a look. The first place on the list was what I thought to be a quilt shop, but no, it was a little hole-in-the-wall alterations business. I walked in the door, didn't see anyone around, but heard a machine running toward the back. When I got to the source of the sound, I found a very elderly woman sewing away and managed to startle the dickens out of her! Once she calmed down (whew!) we had a lovely, very long chat. I asked her where the quilts were and she explained each of 6 shops had a quilt. It was so dark in her shop that I couldn't see the quilt hanging right next to where we were standing way at the back of the shop! This quilt below was made entirely from scraps and really well done!

She then told me to go next door for another quilt in a local artist's gallery. The very nice proprieter came out to greet me from her apartment in the rear and another very long chat ensued! I was beginning to think I was the only one to visit these stores. And by the time I left, I didn't dare visit the rest for fear I would be keeping the poor shop owners company all day! This quilt below is a mystery quilt. I liked them both a lot!
The 4th of July festivities went on all day Sunday at the park a block and a half from the Squash House. We walked down early in the day - it was going to be another near 100 degree day! The first thing we came across was the local quilt guild's raffle quilt - yes, we bought tickets!
Here is a photo of the community band that played on and off all day long!
This is the bandstand which celebrates it's 100th birthday on the 9th!
What a treat this was below....the community theater gave us a preview of their upcoming production of Grease! It was really crowded - I took a lot of photos, but this was the only one that wasn't squeezed between lots of people!
Finally, yesterday's mail brought Denise Sheehan's new book "A Graceful Garden" that I won recently on her blog! This is a beautiful book - wonderfully photographed and filled with gorgeous projects! I'll be spending a lot of time wrapped around these pages! Thanks, Denise!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Wishing you a very happy Fourth of July from W2 !!




Thursday, July 2, 2009

Immortality!

In my last post I mentioned that Mr. Squash was calling at me from the doorway - "It's time to mark the Squash House". He was outside talking with Ted who said the concrete had set up enough to write in it! In case you thought it had anything to do with cats like Anne did, well, not quite - LOL!

Here it is - the Squash House is now immortalized in concrete! Let me say that it isn't easy at all to "write" in concrete! I was using a stubby little pencil and trying not to mash in anything around it! So it has "character" and we rather like it!! Saturday, the throngs of folks walking past on their way to the festivities at the park will surely wonder what this means!!

Last evening while eating our grilled Walla Walla sweet onion sausages on the patio, we had a visitor over the neighbor's garage! There are always so many wonderful surprises here!
Today after more work in the garden, we decided to check out another fishing hole. The weather has been in the 90's - so any work outside has to be done early, then it's too hot to go fishing, so we've decided to "recon" all the rivers in the air-conditioned car instead!

Mr. Squash has always said: "The best fishing in Washington is in Oregon".!! He's right - anywhere we've gone just outside the Washington border has always been better! We drove to a park at the headwaters of the Walla Walla river in Oregon. How exciting this was for us - it's the closest thing we've seen so far in this area to the kind of river we like to fish! We decided to brave the heat and walk a ways up the trail. There was a heady fragrance all around us. We went up to this plant and sure enough - smelled just like Freesia! It was everywhere - small and large bushes!

Here are some photos of the river. In the one below I was standing right in front of a wonderful pool where there surely must be a few large trout hiding in wait!
Here was the remains of a bridge that must have spanned this part of the trail at one time.
I don't have a good enough connection here to edit photos, but if I could you would be able to see how clear and wadeable the water is here!
We went back to Oregon this evening for dinner and saw a flyer for a quilt show that's in town right now! I may head back there again tomorrow for a peek and show & tell!