Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fun Gadget and Another Give-away!

In a previous post I mentioned how much I love gadgets - not just for sewing and quilting - but any kind of useful gadget! CJ turned me onto this great company a while back - Kuhn Rikon. I purchased one of their pressure cookers, which I just love. When the pressure cooker arrived, it came with a catalog which I promptly flipped through and found The Corn Zipper.

This happy little guy intrigued me ... I thought about ordering one, but put the thought aside at the time - I mean, why buy another tool? It happened that my husband and I were in a kitchen store not long after where I saw that happy face again and decided to take the plunge! He laughed - knowing I go crazy over gadgets - what the heck would this thing do - and would she even use it! Well let me tell you - this tool is worth it’s weight in gold! You hold an ear of corn in your left hand, place the tool so the happy face is facing you at the top of a row and drag it down the ear….voila…you’ve neatly stripped off a row of corn. Finish up around the ear and the corn is ready to be added to whatever recipe you’re using. Beats the heck out of cutting with a knife and worrying that you’re going too deep, and my husband approves!

Here is another fun gadget I purchased recently.

I had high hopes for this one as I love to do Redwork in the evenings while watching TV. Aging eyes need all the help they can get! The gal in the shop promised that they were able to thread 3 strands of DMC floss on the first try! Problem is, I didn’t read the back of the package (nor did the clerk tell me) - it isn’t suited for embroidery needles! Drat.

Perhaps someone out there is a hand-quilter or uses an oval eye needle and can use this….it’s brand new. Leave me a comment on this post and I will pick a winner at random on Saturday.



Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Progress and Ginger Gold

Hope you all had a great weekend. If you’re listening to the news of the stock market today, just close your eyes, tap your heels together and chant - it will get better, it will get better, it will get better. Don’t know about you all, but I feel a little like Dorothy in Kansas after the tornado hit!

On to happier news. I was able to carve out some time over the weekend to make a few blocks for the Christmas Cottage Exchange. I’m trying to make each one different - I bet you can pick out my favorite so far! I’m actually having a lot of fun tapping into my somewhat inexperienced creative side!

I also made my sweetie’s favorite dessert - apple pie. I normally use Golden Delicious apples, but this year there is a recent variety called Ginger Gold. It looks a lot like the Golden Delicious and does it ever like to be used in pie! I don’t know if it’s because they are a little crisper and the fact that there is a slight ginger taste, but it’s my new favorite pie apple!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Not One, but Two Winners!

Thanks to everyone who suggested names for my new bicycle! There were actually two names that I really liked and couldn’t decide between the two, so I decided to give her a first and a middle name - TRIXIE JANE.

Karen will be receiving the Swatches Kit,

and Daphne (not blogging yet) will receive a really great quilt pattern,

Hip to Be Square by Busy Bee Designs.

Karen, please email me with your mailing address so I can get your prize right out to you - Daphne, I’ll bring your prize with us on Sunday!

I also want to thank everyone for the wonderful comments that have been left so far! I have been hesitant to do a blog; I don’t know if it’s a “shy” thing or what, but I’m so glad I did! This is a lot of fun! Special thanks to Pam,who left a comment on my last post - it means a lot to me to have heard from you!

Today I had great intentions of showing you some progress on my Christmas Cottage Block Exchange. When I got home from work yesterday at 4:30, there was a repairman in the house who had come to blow out our dryer vent. He didn’t leave until nearly 8:00!! I guess I shouldn’t complain - he did a very thorough job of cleaning out the vent, and also noticed that the flexible vent tubing that went from the back of the dryer to the vent itself was not up to code, so he replaced that as well. Since we will be selling our house next spring, we were glad that he caught something a home inspector would definitely have made us fix! One less thing we will have to worry about now! If you’ve never had your dryer vent blown free of lint, please think about doing it - your clothes will dry faster, your home will be less “linty”, you’ll save on energy, and you won’t risk a fire starting from clogged vents. We had it done about 4 years ago and the build-up between now and then was horrendous! So, obviously, I did not have time to work on the Christmas Cottage blocks last night - stay tuned for Monday's post, however, when I hope to have some great progress.

Have a wonderful Fall weekend!



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Confession for a Day

Actually, I would really like to be Queen for a Day (Elizabeth, that is. Imagine roaming the halls of Buckingham Palace for an entire day!), but I would settle for being a Celebrity Stunt Quilter!

Many of you know who I’m referring to, and Pam if you by any chance read this, I am so envious of what you get to do! Actually, Pam is now a celebrity in her own right! One wonders how one comes by such a position (that’s my “queenly” talk). Perhaps it’s the good fortune to know a celebrity quilter, or maybe you just put yourself out there? Unfortunately, our new home will be far from any celebrity quilters, so my chances of reaching fame by living near one are slim to none. However, if any of you celebrity quilters out there are looking for a stunt quilter, let me tell you I am very precise in my work - my rotary cutter is always sharp, got to have that scant ¼” seam, I match all of my corners and points and work really hard to square up my quilts before I bind them. And the best part is - I’ll work for fabric and notions!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Apron Madness and a Reminder….

First I wanted to remind you to suggest a name for my new bicycle to win the Swatches pattern and Chocolat fabric squares! You can either post a comment here or on my original post below. Deadline for entries is Friday Sept 26th!

If you are a child of the 50’s, or were in high school or college in the 60’s, you probably wore an apron at one time or another. Well, women’s lib certainly changed that! The ‘liberated’ woman (from what she now wonders) I became in the late 60’s wouldn’t have been caught dead in an apron (and no – I didn’t burn either my bra or my apron)! Those times are indelibly etched on our lives, and thankfully we have moved on - aprons are no longer a symbol of a less-than-liberated life! I love them! Can’t buy enough patterns or fabric for them! This is one of my latest.

I was going to make it for myself, but decided to give it as a gift. The pattern is by Lila Tueller. Her Woodland Bloom fabric wasn’t out when I was ready to sew it, so I made it from April Cornell’s Portugal line. If you purchase her pattern be sure to check out her website for a couple of corrections to the pattern. I also have her "Funked Out Peasant Blouse" pattern - just waiting on the Woodland Bloom fabric for it to arrive from Hancock’s! This woman is so talented - and nice!

This is another one – reversible - which I made from a kit I purchased at Sew Expo. The designer actually provided pre-cut, tiny little strips so you could make your own little patchwork pieces. I wish I could remember her company name – I believe it was something like Hummer Dog Patterns.Here is another pattern/kit and a book of aprons. These make great Christmas gifts!

Now that I've made myself dizzy with all the projects I need to do, I best go to bed!



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Block Swap Rookie!

Have you noticed the Christmas Cottage Block Exchange logo over on the left? I've joined in on this over at Freda's Hive. I've been watching swaps for some time now and thought how fun it would be to participate in one! I work full-time, so finding enough time to isn't easy, but I've seen so many of you with children, jobs, and other ventures able to do it so I said why not? I don't have children, don't have a commute and have lots of stash - so what am I complaining about! Here is some of my stash that I pulled this evening.

I may need a trip to the fabric store for some more fat quarters, but not many. Stay tuned as I try to post as I go. I want to thank those of you who have left me so many wonderful comments so far! I am shocked at how many of you are reading already!

I’ll leave you this evening with a picture of my quilting “helper”, Miss Sophie. She is looking a little miffed at being disturbed from a nap!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Rockin’ Happy....and My Current WIP

We recently returned from our annual fly fishing vacation. Every couple of years we have been going to Shepp Ranch located on the Salmon River in Idaho. The only way in is via jet boat, bush plane or pack horse. We always choose jet boat (I’ll save our bush plane experiences - and there are some doozies - for other posts). The first day begins with a 26 mile drive down a one-lane, dirt road outside of Riggins, Idaho. The road ends at the jet boat pick-up site of Vinegar Bar and it’s another 15 mile boat ride up river to the ranch. While waiting for Mike to pick us up this year, we sunned ourselves on rocks at the boat ramp. I spied this rock and just had to take a picture! Now that’s a happy rock!
We love the Shepp Ranch. It’s a little like being on a cruise ship - meals are served at regular intervals family style, there are activities (guided or unguided) - fly fishing, hiking, hunting, swimming, hot tubbing, riding, etc., you stay in your own private cabin complete with a wood burning stove for those cold mornings and evenings, electricity from a generator, you get a chance to meet and interact with other ranch guests, and oh, did I mention food??? The food is fabulous and plentiful. Mike and Lynn Demerse have managed and run the ranch for 33 years now - they feel like family! Mike always takes us out fly fishing at various spots up and down the Salmon River several times, or we can just walk up Crooked Creek from our cabin and fish to our hearts content. I caught and released this nice rainbow on the creek the last morning of our stay. We’re thinking about going back next year for either the spring or fall Steelhead season - something we have never done.

Here is my current work in progress - Winter Wonderland by Meg Hawkey of
Crabapple Hill Studio. Please forgive the basting stitches I haven't pulled yet!

I’m on the final stitchery, the holly border, then I will begin making the outside blocks.
I just love Meg’s patterns! I also have the patterns and fabric ready to go for
Zelda’s Fancy Hat, Halloween Journey, and Over the River and Through the Woods. Several quilt shops in my area have had her for full-day classes, but I can never seem to get in one before it fills up! One of these days I'll make that class for sure!

Don’t forget to leave me a comment and help me name my new bike! You can either comment on this or the original post below. Contest ends Friday September 26th

Happy Fall!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Welcome and a Contest!

Hello and welcome to Squash House Quilts! This is my first attempt at a blog - I’ve been inspired by so many of you ever since I read my first blog - PamKittyMorning - this past winter. I’ve sewn all my life and began quilting in the mid 90’s. I’m primarily self-taught through PBS sewing shows, magazines and books and since I found quilt bloggers, I can’t believe the wealth of information and talent out there that have increased my skills and knowledge! I’m still working full-time, but my husband and I plan to retire this coming spring to a house we purchased in Eastern Washington two years ago. With this blog I hope to chronicle the adventures of our move, my quilting and other aspects of my life with my wonderful husband.

Which brings me to the title of my blog - Squash Houses Quilts. We call our newly purchased home The Squash House from the book Winter’s Tale by
Mark Helprin. In this incredibly good fantasy, he describes a wonderful place in upstate New York and a house aptly named. Since Fall is my husband and my favorite time of year, and I love “anything pumpkin”, we thought it a fitting name for our first house purchased together as husband and wife. We didn’t search very hard for this house – I like to think it found us! We knew we wanted it the minute we stepped in the front door.

The quilt shown at the top of my page is one of my first and probably most favorite quilts. It's a combination of machine and hand applique and has a tiny bit of beading. I can't tell you how many more pumpkin quilt projects I have lined up!

To start off, I thought it would be fun to have a contest to name my latest purchase - an Electra 7 cruiser bike. Isn’t she cute? Reminds me of the bike I had as a child, only this one has seven gears and a much softer seat! Don’t you think she deserves a retro name for her retro look? So please leave me a comment with a name you think might suit her. The winning name will receive this Swatches “Texas Truffle pattern which includes a sample of every print from Moda’s 3 Sisters Chocolat line in 2 1/2 “ squares. In order to give you plenty of time to leave comments, I’ll announce the winner on Friday, Sept. 26th.

So - a little but more about me….I love gadgets! I’ll buy any quilting/sewing tool that has a terrific purpose. Since we’ve known approximately when we planned to retire for several years now, I’ve been making a point to buy all the tools/machines I think I will need prior to then so I won’t have to spend so much when our income “reduces”. Of course I don’t expect that to last too long and will most likely find myself working part-time in a quilt store to support my fabric and gadget habit at some point. In future posts I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite tools.

Don't forget to suggest a name for my bike in the comments section!