Friday, November 28, 2008

A Patchworl Angel and A Giveaway!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was very quiet and uneventful. Dinner was wonderful - I think I get better at this every year! We'll be eating turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes a myriad of ways for days to come!

Today's mail came with a most unexpected surprise! Terri sent me this adorable patchwork angel! It's made from a vintage quilt. I love it, Terri! Thank you so much, it was so very thoughtful and I'm just blown away! She will take a special place in my sewing studio and she might even find her way to the top of our tree this year - a girl needs a change of scenery every so often!

Here is something else that came in the mail today. The Fat Quarter Shop is carrying Lynette Anderson's patterns! I really love her designs and can't wait to get started stiching this adorable pillow! I'm going to use stash for the pillow itself.

Earlier today I talked my husband into taking a ride with me to Country Village to visit Keepsake Cottage Fabrics . I was looking for some fabric for another stichery I'm doing (hey - a quilter can't have just ONE project at a time!). I came away with a Bunny Hill pattern for Bitty Bird Pincushion and this flying geese ruler. I've heard this ruler is a great way to make flying geese and I have an upcoming project that has lots of them!

Finally, I have a new giveaway - the 2009 Quilter's Block-A-Day Calendar! I have one on my desk at work and really enjoy seeing a different block each day. It folds out into an easel style and is perpetual, so you can use it from year to year! Leave me a comment and tell me about an angel in your life. I'll pick a lucky winner at random on Monday, December 1st!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mr. Turkey Bubbler and I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Elves are Ramping Up!

So much to do and only 29 days left until Christmas! The elves here are in high gear!

Here is another project that had been languishing in the same drawer as the snowmen, waiting for a bit of finishing detail! It’s Santa’s Midnight Runner by Letitia Hutchings for Mount Redoubt. I just love her designs, but they are a lot of work! In fact, I am constantly drawn to appliquéd designs. I keep telling myself to never do another one as they involve so much detailed work, but I also never learn from my frustrations - I can’t tell you how many appliqué projects I have done and have purchased for my yet-to-do list!

I just love Santa - I had a little of the gold trim from another project left over and though it would be perfect as trim for his sleigh! I used one small bead for his eye, but will add a couple more to make it stand out. I also thought about using a few beads on the tree.

I think the reindeer still need something - maybe beads for eyes or maybe a red nose to indicate Rudolf, what do you think?

I decided to quilt this one using a gold metallic thread. I'd never used a metallic thread - to be honest - I was a little scared of it. Once I got my rhythm going and made sure I was using the correct needle, it was a breeze!

I hope to do a bit more sewing over our 4-day holiday. It will be just my husband and I for Thanksgiving dinner. We always cook a small, fresh turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and something involving Brussels Sprouts! Oh - and not to forget - pumpkin pie made with soy milk!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Little of This and a Little of That

Thanks so much to all of you who wished me well during the “Benign Whirlies”! I’m feeling much better and a lot more stable on my feet!

One good thing about not going to work is that I’ve been able to work on some UFO’s for the holidays! I re-sandwiched my fall table topper with Warm and Natural and have begun quilting it with just an overall stipple and a variegated thread.

This project has been languishing in a drawer waiting for finishing touches. I’ll use it for a table topper. It’s made mostly from homespuns and I used a wool felt for the appliqué. I also used left over fabric for the binding. By the way, I’m using a great new photo editing service I found called Picnik. You can do lots of photo editing for FREE - and we quilters all love free! It's very easy to use, too, unlike Photoshop which I find terribly confusing!

Tomorrow I’ll show you another Christmas runner that I finished as well.

I’ve been meaning to show you this cute little trailer. It’s been parked on the street near where I walk for a couple of weeks now.
I could just see my husband and I pulling it around the country after we retire! Yes, I can actually drive,turn and back a trailer! I think it’s a right brain, left brain thing….I got it right the very first time I ever tried! Anyway, I love the sleek, modern lines of this little guy - I can just imagine all the goodies and gadgets it has when you set it up! For now, however, I'll just have to dream about it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Benign Whirlies

The past couple of days I have been down and out, well, sort of. I began having dizzy spells a couple of weeks ago, but not frequent and nothing seemingly worrisome. The first one happened when we were stacking wood at the Squash House. Wednesday night was another story. I had a bad one before bed, then after I went to bed I would get them just rolling over or even just opening my eyes. At one point I laid awake wondering first if I should wake my husband and tell him, second if I should have him call 911, third if an ambulance came would he tell them not to turn on the sirens and wake the neighbors, and finally, if he did call - was I wearing a decent pair of underwear! I can't believe I gave it so much thought, but I think it's how we were raised - don't trouble someone unless you really, really must!! To make a long story short, I didn't have him call 911, but went to the doctor the next day to find out that I have a temporary Vertigo to which he gave a convoluted name (my husband thinks he made it up) that begins with "Benign"! We prefer just to call it the Benign Whirlies! It will go away in a few weeks and isn't something to be terribly worried about other than falling when I get a dizzy spell!

The great thing is that I've stayed home from work and have been playing in the studio! I am doing one more Christmas Cottage Exchange block with Mel, which I finished. Then while I was at it, I thought I would use some of my Christmas fabric and attempt one of the little baskets from Pink Penguin that everyone has been making! It was quick, easy and I love it! I used a nice linen as was suggested for the bottom and handles, but next time I think I will use something a tad more coordinating.

I also worked on some more blocks for the Winter Wonderland quilt. I don't know why, but they are slow going...probably because I am such a perfectionist! I think I may have been dizzy while doing the one on the right - It seems a little wonky to me, even though it measures up just fine.
Also, please read the update at the bottom of my last post - I made an error in what was included in Lenna's giveaway and want to make sure you check it out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On my noon walk yesterday two bald eagles flew directly over my head only about 15-20 feet up! They were being chased by crows. I couldn’t get my camera out of my pocket in time to get their picture. However, on the return leg of my walk I heard what definitely was an eagle cry, pulled my camera out, looked up, snapped a picture, and believe it or not, this is what I got! Talk about patriotic!

Lenna over at the Stitching Cow is having a terrific giveaway to showcase her new pattern release and online BOM class!

If you mention her giveaway on your blog, you will be entered in a drawing for the entire class and materials! The quilt, seen below, combines several techniques and is certain to be an heirloom! You can go here for more details about the quilt and the program.
****UPDATE: Apparently I misunderstood what was included in Lenna's giveaway - I'm SO sorry, Lenna! What is included is the entire online class for this project including e-patterns and instructional videos but does not include materials. Thanks for setting me straight on that, Lenna!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's the Little Things....

I had two great things come in the mail yesterday. I won a drawing for some Cyndy Walker patterns over on Pam’s blog! Thank you Pam and it’s great to know I have not just a lucky rabbit’s foot, but a lucky rabbit in Binny who picked my name in the drawing! Earlier this year I purchased some Surf and Sand by Michele D'Amore for Marcus Brothers which will work really well on the Sea Breeze pattern! And now I have an opportunity to shop for fabrics for the other two!
The other package was from Ruthie who sent me another of her Christmas Cottage blocks. Ruthie’s initial block was a little off-size, so she made us all a new block! Well I really liked Ruthie’s first block and have plans for it (shhhh, a surprise)! Her new block is absolutely adorable! Thanks, Ruthie, it’s the little things in life that make it so sweet!
Today I am wrestling with what type of flooring to put in the Squash House kitchen and family room. We got a quote on Marmoleum and Cork yesterday, but the cost really threw me for a loop. A few years back we had our condo floors completely changed out - twice the square footage from the area we’re re-doing at the Squash House, yet the price was considerably less. I’m sure part of it is due to inflation, and part due to the materials I chose, but I definitely think we can do better! Have any of you re-done floors lately? Did you find a flooring you absolutely loved - cork, marmoleum, corkoleum, linoleum, bamboo, etc? I would love to hear your comments!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pick Up Thread

You’ve all heard of the game Pick Up Sticks, and probably played it as well. I’ve invented a new game called Pick up Threads! Here’s a good example of what happens when you’re not paying attention! I picked up my neatly organized and categorized thread box yesterday and didn’t realize it wasn’t latched!! I shrieked as the thread went all over and could hear my husband at the other end of the hall shouting, “Get a picture, blog about it!” So I’m doing this for him.

I also spent some time sewing on the borders to my fall table topper. A while back at this year’s Sew Expo I was talking with Shar Jorgenson about which batting she used for one of her table runners. It quilted beautifully, yet was very light. She told me it was Mountain Mist Quilt Lite Batting So I bought some and tucked it away. I decided to try it on the table topper. When I took it out of the package it was pretty wrinkled so I popped it in the dryer on delicate for about 5 minutes. The wrinkles came right out, but it expanded from 1/8” thick to what you see below!
I went ahead and pinned together the quilt sandwich thinking that it would relax, but no - it held it’s puffiness! So I’ve now unpinned it and will go back to my favorite Warm and Natural!

Another thing we did this weekend was drive down to Seattle’s Georgetown area and visit a marble/granite/stone showroom. We are doing one of the counters at the Squash House in marble so I can have a good surface for pastry. I had originally thought about Carrera marble - you see that in a lot of high-end kitchens. Well, we are not high-end folks in spirit or pocketbook! What we found interesting is that the end user does not purchase the stone, rather picks it out, the fabricator picks it up and it’s all billed through the contractor! A salesperson had us don orange vests, then took us out into the warehouse to look at Carrera. What I saw didn’t appeal to me, but right next to it was this piece.
Sorry for the flash, but this was the best photo I could get to show the true color. My husband and I immediately fell in love with this piece. The light, creamy color will compliment the butcher block we’re installing on the other counters quite nicely and doesn’t command the price of Carrera! Now it's on to picking out a kitchen sink and faucet!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It’s Almost Over….

Even though it has been a short, 3-day week for me, I’m glad it’s almost over! I have a pile of laundry, some must-do ironing or I will be wearing the same thing to work every day next week, and a hankering to do some more sewing! First things first, though. Tomorrow we are heading into Seattle to check out marble. We are putting butcher block counters in the kitchen at the Squash House, and on one of them I would like a marble inset for pastry making! I emailed the company, Grothouse Lumber, who manufacture the butcher block and they quickly responded saying this is something quite commonly done. They use a flexible silicone for the grout between butcher block and marble. I’m hoping we can pick up a nice “left-over” piece at a good price and have it milled into place.

My Nov/Dec issue of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting came yesterday. Marianne and Liz are my quilting guru’s! I began watching their show on PBS many years ago and have been a loyal follower ever since. Most of what I initially learned about quilting came from these two very talented women.

There are two quilts in this issue that I would love to make. This Thimbleberries quilt - Christmas Sparkle - looks like fun! I would use lighter colors, but I do love the design.

And this one by Gudrun Erla also caught my eye. I’ve always loved stars, but lately pinwheels have been getting my attention - here’s a great chance to combine both!

And one of my favorite parts of every issue of Love of Quilting - another great notion to add to my collection. I could have really used this on the Christmas Cottage Exchange!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christmas Cottage Blocks Finale!

Before I forget, please pop over to Hanne’s Blog where she is having a Christmas bag pattern giveaway! It’s a darling bag and looks very easy to make. Hanne is in Norway, but will send to wherever in the world you live. You still have time to leave a comment - her drawing is Monday!

The Christmas Cottage Block Exchange has ended and I have received my blocks. It was great fun - I got to play with some new fabrics and old scraps, test my creativity and meet a lot of very nice people. The best part for me was making some great new friends. I would do another exchange in a heartbeat! Now comes the fun part - getting to decide what to do with the blocks! First I want to thank all of those whose blocks I received: Sherri, Ruthie, Lyda, Kathi, Carrie, Nanette, Shauna, Deborah, Amanda, Pam and Mary! Your blocks are all delightful and fantastic!

Included in the package with the blocks was this card along with some neat Christmas buttons and a sewing machine charm! Thanks Nanette and Terri!

This is just one example of the great ideas - I just love the fabrics and the little appliquéd snowman is just fantastic!

Check out the detail!
Here are a few of the others. I’ll save the rest for after I've finished putting them together!

While we were at the Squash House this past weekend, I managed to find a few minutes to pop into the local quilt store. I picked up some really cute red and white Makower fat quarters, which I believe are a new line and a few Sandy Gervais Merry & Bright fat quarters. When I got home I was certain I carried the bag into my studio, but I can’t find it anywhere! I have a sneaky feeling they are now part of the dumpster out back. Sniff. That will teach me to be so hasty in putting things away!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Tree Story

I was just getting ready to post and found out from Pam that I’m a winner in her latest give-away! I do believe this is the first thing I have won in a very long time! Thanks to Miss Binnie the rabbit for chewing, oh, I mean picking my name, and thanks so much to Pam!!

The purpose of our trip to the Squash House was to stack wood from the two 60 year old Spruce Trees that came down in last January’s freak windstorm. The tree services in town have been mired all year in hundreds of other downed trees and had finally gotten around to doing ours! When we arrived on Saturday, the branches had been removed, but the trunks were still in place - no wood to stack! Needless to say we were a bit put off - 300 miles is a long way to drive! So we spent Saturday afternoon talking to our builder - who just happens to live across the street (how fortunate is that!) - about the minor changes we want to make to the house. Some of those changes are new counters (butcher block/marble), new floor in the kitchen and lower level, new door and various other minor details. We really liked Ted and felt good about at least getting the conversation started and some plans developed!

Sunday we decided to start raking leaves….they were everywhere! Our town is known for it’s wonderful old trees - and the amount of them! We have four very old, large Dogwoods in front, not to mention all of the neighbors trees, which blow everywhere! In the back the neighbors across the alley have an enormous Mimosa - those leaves blow directly into our yard! We thought this was something the gardener did, but the yard was so covered in leaves that we figured he wasn’t doing them. Bob began out front and I started in back. Our lot is a third of an acre - that’s a lot of leaves! About half way through, who should arrive but the gardener’s crew with a blower and riding mower! What a relief to see them!

We then bandaged up our blisters, decided to go for a ride and found ourselves at Sears Appliance store! We looked at and decided on the new appliances for the kitchen and made a good contact with a salesperson.

Monday we had a 10:30 meeting at the house with a flooring person who showed us samples of Marmoleum for the kitchen and Cork for the lower floor. She was getting ready to leave around 11:30, when who should arrive, but the tree service! We knew we had our work cut out for us!

Here is what that area looked like after they removed the stumps.

This is only a portion of the nearly two cords of wood that we, oh, I mean Bob mostly stacked.

And this is my tired hubby! He nearly fell asleep over Thai food that evening.

They even brought the new trees and planted them, but by then it was dark and I couldn’t get a good photo. One of the workers asked for a hose so he could water in the new trees. Well, as luck had it, we decided to bring with us a really neat hose in an automatic reel box that Bob’s sister and her husband had given us last Christmas! I had thrown it in the car just before we left thinking it was one less thing we would have to move over there. Barbara and Bern, I hope you’re reading this - you have no idea how much we love that reel box! Yesterday morning it was pouring down rain so I still wasn’t able to get a picture of the new trees - maybe next trip.

Tomorrow I'll post pictures of the Christmas Cottage Exchange Blocks - I still haven't opened the package - can't wait!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back Home Again!

We made it back home from our trip to the Squash House a couple of hours ago! It's a long drive - 300 miles one way - and with pouring down rain most of the way, a dreary one! Unfortunately while we were there, the previously "free" wireless internet connection in our neighborhood was no longer. Spending four complete days without internet is rough! So I'm just posting a quick note this evening to let you know that I'll be catching up on my blog reading and posting some more tomorrow! We had a lot to do over the four days, so I have a bit to tell!

The best news of all is that while I was away, the Christmas Cottage Exchange blocks arrived! I am so excited to see them! I'm going to wait until tomorrow to open the package, though. I want to be bright eyed and ready to give them lots of attention - and show them off!! So check back tomorrow for more news and pictures!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Road Trip!

Saturday morning my husband and I are leaving for the Squash House in Eastern Washington! We’re going to spend four days there taking care of some needed maintenance, repairs, and also getting estimates on some updates we will be doing before we move over there.

One of the biggest projects of the weekend will be stacking wood. There was a huge windstorm - over 100 MPH gusts - last January which did major damage all over town. We lost two Blue Spruce trees, one which came down on the roof while our renters were living there! The tree service has finally gotten them down and they should be split and ready to stack by the time we arrive. In the picture below, it is the 2 pointed trees directly above the roof of the house.

The good news is the tree that came down on the roof only poked some holes in the roof and did minor damage to the gutter and an inside wall - easily repairable. The bad news is that both trees had to come out. We were told that the trees were brought out of the Blue Mountains in Oregon as seedlings by the original owners children and planted shortly after the house was built in 1950. We are replacing them with two Autumn Blaze maple trees as they are fast growing and provide spectacular fall color and also privacy.

I don't know about you, but we love our road trips! We always start off with huge lattes from Starbuck's and a good book on tape. We have our favorite rest stops and there is always some great scenery on the trip over! We stop for another latte about half way over (150 mile mark!), which always leads to at least one more rest stop before our final destination! On the way back at this time of year we like to stop at an apple orchard in Yakima and buy lots of freshly picked apples - and there is always a quilt shop or two along the way! I'd love to hear about your favorite road trips!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Three Down, Nine to Go...

The picture of the conference room I posted yesterday has completely changed today! I came to work early to get a few things done and the first one was to clean up the room! Wow - did they ever have a party in there last night!

After my dentist appointment yesterday, I was is no shape to go back to work, so I thought I would get out my Mystery BOM and do a little work! Here is Block #3 - only 9 more to go! I still have no idea how the finished quilt will look - I purchased a finishing kit, but haven't really looked at it as I want it to be a complete surprise.

And speaking of mysteries - Terri over at Purple and Paisley has notified those of us in the Christmas Cottage Exchange that our blocks will soon be mailed to us! I can't wait. My husband asked me last evening what I was going to make out of them - I haven't decided for sure, but I may split them up into a wall hanging and a table topper. I'll just have to see what I get before I make a final decision! If you have a few extra minutes, please visit Terri and take a look at all the wonderful pictures of the blocks that she has posted!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A New Look!

Don’t worry – you’re in the right place! I’m even having a hard time believing this is Squash House Quilts! What do you think of my new look? I had The Cutest Blog on the Block do a custom design for me – how fun is this!

So we all know today is Election Day. I’ll be so glad when it’s over! I get a double dose of politics as I work for people who depend on the outcome of political races…the livelihood and well-being of the people we represent is determined by the legislature in our state. Last year we began holding Election Night parties in our office. This year, our director who organizes the party did a really cute job of decorating our large conference room! I thought I would show you a picture.

My husband’s office is also having another party - I told you they use any excuse - did you believe me - LOL? Tomorrow is the monthly birthday party. Everyone who has a birthday in the month of November is recognized on one day. They rotate who is to bring something for each monthly party. My husband gets a goody notice a couple of times a year. Sometimes, depending on how busy the two of us are, he just get’s $20 worth of maple bars, which everyone loves. This time I thought I would make this bar cookie recipe that Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studio posted on her blog yesterday. Are they ever yummy! Thanks, Meg!

I’m off to the periodontist this morning – wish me well!

Monday, November 3, 2008


I hope everyont had a fun and safe Halloween! Ours started and ended a bit late this year - probably because it was a Friday night. We had a good turn-out despite the fact that our downtown core businesses (we live very close) began handing out candy at 3:00. My husband and I take turns going to the door as it involves going up and down quite a few stairs. On one of his turns, he opened the door and the most adorable bumble bee stumbled in! I wish we could have taken a picture! She was about 20 months, dressed in wings and a tu-tu and had the biggest smile on her face! She didn't want to leave so I blew her a kiss good-bye and she actually returned it!

I know I said I was going to spend the weekend working on Winter Wonderland blocks, but I got a tad distracted! I thought it wouldn't take me long to put together this darling table-topper. Actually, putting it together was a breeze - but blanket stitching the appliques - now that's another story! Two projects, both with extensive blanket stitch - all I can say is it will be a loooong time before I attempt another similar project! I still need to put on the borders, then I will probably do an overall stipple on it just to get it done. It is pretty cute, don't you think?

I tried out a new (to me) foot on my Bernina 630 for the blanket stitching - the #23 Applique Foot. I think this foot was meant more for satin stitching, but it worked pretty well on the blanket stitch. Do any of you that have Bernina's have a favorite foot for machine applique?