Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Tease

Short post today....I think I'm going to be swamped until about Wednesday at work. I've been working on another secret are a couple of sneak peeks!

I managed to snatch a charm pack of Authentic which doesn't release until September! I love the celery green and cream that blends so well with black! Mr. Squash calls the Dresdens "little neckties"!
I'll be back for sure on Thursday with Vintage Thingie Thursday!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Flea Market Fancy and a Thank You!

My dear friend Penny over at Sew Take a Hike has started a new blog in order to try to encourage the folks at Free Spirit Fabrics to release another run of Free Market Fancy by Denyse Schmidt! I have only used a print or two from this great line, but for many it's become a staple - not to be without - must have - in their fabric stash! I and many others would like to encourage you to visit Penny's new blog called Free Market Fancy Freaks and help to convince Free Spirit Fabrics to bring back the line! If you have a project (or twenty) that you've made from this line, you can even post it on the blog. Free Spirit has even responded favorably and is giving it some consideration, as well as watching Penny's blog to see just how many are interested in another run of the fabric! So please - if you are a Free Market Fancy Freak - join in on the fun!

Earlier this year I met a wonderful blogger, Nadine, of Willow Creek Quilts, via my friend Anne of Cottons 'n Wool. Nadine is a designer, has a website and blog and is also a fellow fly fisherwoman! She recently moved her website and I found it difficult to get on it to read her blog posts. I had asked Anne if she was having trouble as well and she forwarded my email to Nadine. One thing led to another and I sort of became Nadine's website "tester" - and happily at that!! The bugs were worked out and now all is well. As a thank-you, Nadine sent me one of her patterns and the most lovely card she made - thanks so much, Nadine!!

I was just telling Mr. Squash the other night at dinner that I was sick of our old placements, so you can bet these will be made! If you haven't already visited Nadine, please do so! Also, if you had previously bookmarked her site and have been unable to access it, please change your bookmark to reflect the new web address here.

I'll be diligently working at finishing some patterns testing projects this weekend. When those are completed I'm even contemplating on starting on a very small quilt I've had in mind - something that won't mess up my studio much for potential house showings!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vintage Thingie Thursday - Embroidery

I’m joining in the fun again today for Vintage Thingie Thursdays! Don’t forget to see the other great items over at Colorado Lady!

Today I’m showcasing a pair of vintage embroidered jeans! These belong to my friend Carol (no blog now, but soon, she tells me) of many years, who began embroidering these jeans 37 years ago - so I guess that qualifies them as vintage! Carol is also a quilter. We met in college at the University of Washington - way back when bell-bottomed jeans were in their first hey-day! She began working on them in the summer of 1972. In fact, it was from watching her work on these that got me to take up embroidery!

This first photo is the front of the jeans. You can click on all the photos to enlarge them.

Here is the back view.
Carol says Mickey was the first to appear.
Mickey needed company, so along came Minnie.
Check out the interesting sunrise below!
I love this Leprechaun sliding down the rainbow out of one of the front pockets! And note the embroidery over the fly.
How fun is this logo - Fight Fat!! Looks like something you would have seen on the show Laugh-In!!
I really like the cross-stitched Robin below.
And here are some cute posies!
Carol loves frogs - look at the one below hopping through the flowers! And do you see that sketched-in, partially finished piece at the lower right? Carol said: "The last character I did, which is still in life Daisy Duck in 2004." She's thinking Donald Duck may need to join Daisy at some point.
Here is Shaka Duck which I believe she said was done while she lived in Hawaii...or was it Vail? Carol and I both moved around a lot when we were young - it was hard to keep track of where we were at any given time!
Here is a lovely cow with some kitties sitting on the fence waiting for fresh milk! I love how she carried a feather stitch down the side of the jeans.
Huey Duck below - you should hear Carol's impersonation of a duck - cracks me up every time! Pluto is sneaking around the side.
Of course every embroidered pair of jeans needs a signature!
A very delicate Tinkerbell rounds out the group!
I hope you enjoyed seeing Carol's vintage jeans! They're even still wearable!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Little at a Time!

I'm back from another whirlwind solo trip to the Squash House. Not only has the broken window been repaired, we decided to get an estimate to replace all of the double hung windows. They aren't in bad shape, but we do know in a few years they will either need to be reglazed or perhaps replaced. The glass company said they no longer repair storm windows, which we have, so we made the decision to go ahead and replace them with double paned windows that have attached screens and do away with the storm windows. I had to laugh - when the repairmen showed up I made the comment that I couldn't find any sort of "missile" that would have made the huge hole. One of them said it was Aliens - LOL!

Below is another little bit of kitchen progress. The glass doors have been installed as well as the hardware! I chose a hammered clear glass that turned out even better looking than I had imagined! Note that the holes from the old door hardware still need to be filled and the base of the cupboards needs to be painted to match the doors. But all in all - it's looking better and better!

Check out the drawer pulls below - I really like how they look! That little lamp is one of the three I installed on timers around the house to make it look lived-in as the days grow shorter. If you click on the picture you can see our odd assortment of furniture - a rocker we brought from our house, a camp chair and what you don't see is the folding card table next to the camp chair!
Our contractor gave me some new fencing ideas to go over with Mr. Squash. He wants to do the work before winter sets in. Other than that and some minor electrical work all we have left is to sell our current house and "get out of dodge" as Mr. Squash likes to say! We lowered the price again this weekend in hopes to attract buyers.

I visited with my friend, Carol (no blog) - who also quilts - while at the Squash House. Please come back on Thursday - especially if you like to embroider - and I know who a lot of you are - Carrie, Wendy, Kaaren, just to name a very few....Carol and I will have a real treat for you on Vintage Thingie Thursday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hooligans in Paradise

Well, we've had the first bit of trouble in our soon to be paradise at the Squash House! I received an email and a call from our contractor - who happens to live across the street - that his wife woke him at 3:00 a.m. to the sounds of a woman screaming and breaking glass! Ted ran outside to find nothing. He walked up and down the street and all he found was a car window of another neighbors that had been broken. Some time ago, in an effort to make it look like someone lives at the Squash House, we told Ted to feel free to park his contractor's trailer in the driveway and use the garage as much as he likes. Ted said he had been over there for several days in and out of the garage, but it wasn't until yesterday when our cabinet fellow was over that mentioned the broken window to Ted who really hadn't noticed it!
I can see why he might have missed it - this bedroom window is on the other side from the garage and our large Dogwoods could have easily masked it from view - which is probably a good thing!

So now I'll have to make another solo trip over tomorrow for a few days to take care of getting the window fixed. Just for good measure I will also install some timers on lamps throughout the house.

Mr. Squash had a procedure done on his ruptured disk yesterday and is feeling much better! He has to take it easy for the next week, but if all goes well, he should be feeling close to normal soon! He wanted me to thank all of you who have sent such kind well wishes his way!

I'm sorry to say I won't be posting to Vintage Thingies Thursday this week as I just won't have time to keep up with emails and blogs. But be sure to visit Suzanne tomorrow for a list of fun vintage posts! I'll be back next week for sure! The cabinet maker told me all the doors and hardware are now installed and look fantastic - can't wait to show you those pictures!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Day on the Farm

Friday I had the chance to visit my childhood friend, Linda, up near the Canadian border in a little town called Nooksack. She and her husband raise alpacas on a former dairy farm that has been in Alan's family for generations. They shear the alpacas every year and Linda spins the fiber from them into yarn as well as makes fiber art. You can visit Linda on her blog Fiber Fabrications.

Linda and I met when we were 12 or 13. The story goes that Linda's father and my mother were arranged to be married in the Lithuanian community just prior to 1940. They liked each other but weren't in love, so they decided to forego the arrangement and marry others. We like to joke that we could have been sisters! Once we were old enough we would visit each other by riding the bus from our respective suburban communities to downtown Seattle. We would spend our babysitting money, eat lunch at the Woolworth's counter and then ride the bus back home.

First I got a tour of their vegetable garden. I was struck by the Zinnias up front - Mr. Squash's favorite annual - they were nearly 3 feet tall and full of color!

Check out the beans! I made the remark to Linda and Alan that they had enough vegetables to sell them in their farm store! They've done quite a bit of canning and freezing already this summer and have a lot to go!
Next came a visit with some of the alpacas. They keep the males and females separated. The males were out back, and since the ground was wet and muddy from the recent rains, we stayed up front with some of the females and their new babies. I don't remember this lovely gals name, but she sure is pretty!
Linda comes up with the cutest names for the new babies. This one is appropriately called Pippi Longstockings and her mother is Betsy Ross. Apparently, Pippi's coloring is quite unusual in the alpaca world.
Here is another mama and her baby. All the babies were born within a few weeks of each other. It's a lot of work - 7 days a week! I'm always impressed at how hard Linda and Alan work - and we're not getting any younger!
This curious lady was standing next to the barn. I think she's saying: "Hullo, would you happen to have a marshmallow?" They are particular creatures who don't often allow you to get very close (at least not to me), so I was happy to get so close to this one.
Alan's sister, JoAnne, was visiting from Montana. I hadn't seen her for over 20 years! Before we three headed off for a fun day of quilt and antique shops in Lynden, Linda wanted to show us what she is entering in the country fair next week. Click on the photo for a better view. She dyed the yarn herself, then needle felted this depiction of an alpaca, one of their ancient apple trees, the field in the distance and her wonderful flower gardens. I definitely think it's a winner!

They have a small farm store where they sell alpaca products along with Linda's hand-dyed and hand-spun alpaca yarn. I was struck by another needle felted project above the door to Linda's studio! How fun is this!
I'm doing some more pattern testing this week. I can't show you finished products just yet, but will have a sneak peek or two in a few days! In case anyone is wondering, real estate is still slow, slow, slow in our neck of the woods. I've noticed more and more homes going up for sale on my daily walks - but I don't see any of them selling, either. So we're trying to stay positive and just go with the flow!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vintage Thingie Thursday - Mirrors

Last week was my first entry in Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingie Thursday. I had so much fun that I'll continue on until I run out of vintage thingies! Today I'm going to show you two of my favorite vintage mirrors. Why just two you ask? Well, the rest are packed up for the house sale, as is a lot of stuff! I'd even venture to say I don't miss some of it, but then once we move to the Squash House, I'm sure unpacking everything will be like Christmas all over again!

This first mirror is English. I believe it's from the 30's or 40's. The metal "ribbon" at the top has a definite Art Deco feel to it. The whole thing is quite heavy. We believe the wood is mahogany or possibly oak, but definitely a quality piece of wood as is the beveled mirror. I got this at an antique store in a little town called La Conner, Washington where they actually have a quilt museum!

The second mirror is my favorite! It, too, is from the Art Deco era. The wood is quarter-sawn oak and like the first mirror, very heavy. I believe this came from an antique store in Snohomish, Washington on a trip there with our friend, Robert. I know for sure we fought over this piece. I think the only reason I won was because he would have had to find a way to take it on the plane home with him - and he already had enough purchases that day to worry about!

Below is a close-up detail of the side decoration - what appears to be a torch. The metal is very sturdy - possibly chrome.
It's been a busy week for me - we are bargaining 7 contracts at work right now and I'm also picking up most of the chores around the house while Mr. Squash's back heals. So if you haven't "seen" me around much in blogland, don't fret - I'll be catching up later in the week.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sweet Little Discoveries

Last week while at the Squash House one of the things on my list was to re-visit some furniture we had seen for our family room, and get it delivered if possible. I called my friend Carol, who is also a quilter, to see if she wanted to go with me for a second opinion. Of course she said yes because she knew after we were done - a trip to the new quilt shop in town was in order! All but one of the chairs was gone at the furniture store and nothing else was looking good to me, so off we went to Stash. No sooner did I walk in the door and made a beeline to this pattern!

And I didn't notice until a while later that there was a fly rod and fishing creel on either side of the quilt! I adore this pattern, and the sweet discovery is that the designer lives in the next town over from us! (Seems like every trip over there we find another little something that peeks our interests!) I'm hoping she teaches classes, as well! The Tucannon River is in our area and from what we've heard has a few nice places in which to set our fly rods - whoppee! Back to the pattern - the directions are really simple - only two pages - and very well written! It will be a lot of fun to begin collecting homespuns for this!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Squash House Progress Update

I've been at the Squash House since Thursday afternoon without Mr. Squash. He has a bad back which is acting up so riding in the car isn't possible for him at the moment. Do I ever miss him! But I've tried to keep my mind off being without him by filling nearly every waking moment with chores around here! I get so busy I forget about the time and before I know it - time for dinner and late at that!

Thursday, Friday and today I've been mostly working non-stop in the yard. We had a portion of a neighbor's tree come down in our yard while we were gone - so along with having to clean up that monstrous mess and then pull all the little trees that sprouted from it's seeds all over the yard and trim all the roses - whew!

I wanted to show you the progress on the new cupboard doors and drawer fronts. Below is a picture with the old doors. We think they were original to the house - some of the doors had warped and there was awful gold hardware on them.

Here are the new doors! Bear in mind that we have yet to paint the actual cabinets as well as fill in the holes from the old hardware. They will be painted the same color as the doors - Spiced Vinegar from Pittsburgh paint. The color compliments the beach glass tiles really well!
The upper doors have an arched inset, while the lower doors have a square inset.

Our cabinet maker did such a nice job! He isn't quite finished - the glass for two of the upper cabinets is on backorder and the hardware needs to be installed (see last two pictures). I should be able to show you those next trip.
This is the knob - a simple brushed nickel knob that matches the fixtures. It's a good thing I'm not a professional hand model - LOL!
Here is the Barrel pull for the drawers.
I'm going back home tomorrow morning. I'll be sad to leave, but so very happy to see Mr. Squash again! I've only had time to keep up with my email this trip, so when I get home I'll catch up with all the goings-on in blogland!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vintage Thingie Thursday - Shawnee!

Since I haven't had much to show you this summer in the way of quilting at the Squash House, I thought I would participate in Colorado Lady's Vintage Thingie Thursdays! I have a lot of vintage things, so here goes....

Today I'll show you a little bit of my large collection of Shawnee Pottery. I got the bug from a long time friend who has the most amazing house in Napa filled with incredible Art Deco collectibles. I think I can blame Robert for most of my "collecting addiction"! We've had a lot of fun over the years haunting antique malls! When he comes to visit us from California, Mr. Squash refuses to go along with us to the antique malls ---- we tend to get a little silly and crazy - he prefers to see the "show" when we arrive home!

Robert gave us this pair of vases below after staying at our house one year...right now they're on the mantel, but I also use them on the dinner table. Shawnee was started in 1937 in Zanesville, Ohio and remained in production until 1961. They produced all sorts of fun figurines, lamps and even a couple of lines of dinnerware - anyone remember Corn King?

I mostly collect green and yellow pieces as they go best with my decor. Below on my kitchen windowsill is one of their planters and an African Violet that has been in it since 1996! Next to it is one of the earliest Shawnee pieces, a sugar bowl, in which I keep little packets of Splenda. I was fortunate to find this one completely intact and pristine!
I love this vase - it looks great with freshly picked flowers!
This is a rare cat creamer. I saw him tucked in a back corner of an antique shop in Southern New Jersey several years in a row while visiting Mr. Squash's dad. It was always in the same dark spot! I really wanted it, but the price was too high and I never seemed to be able to talk them down. A few years back we visited the shop again - obviously the price was still too high for anyone as it was still there. This time I managed to talk them into a more reasonable price and it came home with me!

I also collected a few pieces for my office. Below are more very early pieces that sit on a shelf behind my desk. I brought them down for a photo. I love these colors and may just keep my eye our for more for the Squash House! The light in my office was not good for photos of these, so click on the pictures for a better view.

This is the Gondola planter - isn't it fun? I don't have anything planted in it because again, the light isn't great, but I think once we move to the Squash House I'll put a little ivy in it.

One time when Robert was visiting us, we walked into a small antique store a block from my office. We weren't at all impressed with what they had, but on the way out the door I spied these two on a bottom shelf - score! I use the one on the left for rubber bands and the other one for paper clips! Sometimes we have to fight over a certain Shawnee piece - we've given more antique mall proprieters a raised eye - LOL!

Shawnee has the neatest logo below! Not all pieces are marked with this, however. Many have USA and a number or nothing at all. It takes time and research to get to know what is really a piece of Shawnee as there are a lot of imitations.

I will probably make a solo trip to the Squash House tomorrow for a few days. Need to check on the cupboard door progress and talk to an electrician or two about some upgrades. Hopefully I can post from there!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pink, Anyone?

Finally we've had a cool-down here in the PNW! Our local meteorologist explained that last Wednesday our temps were higher here than in Phoenix or Tucson! Now that's hot!

About all I managed to work on during the week was Bunny Hill's "A Tisket A Tasket" free block of the month. I'm daring-to-be-different by doing them in "Pinkwork". I used a pale pink fabric and stitched with brown thread. Here are the first two completed blocks. I'm using the new Cosmo embroidery thread that comes two threads together, wound on a spool. The jury is still out on whether I like this thread better than DMC. I will say it's wonderful to not have to separate strands!

I found a great bag of mixed brown buttons at Pacific Fabrics for only $3.99! There is enough variety of buttons to finish all twelve blocks! The rest are prepped and ready to stitch, so it shouldn't take long to get them done. I'm thinking of finishing the quilt in either pale pastels, or browns and creams.

We had a showing of our house yesterday! It's funny because I had begun to let my guard down on keeping the house absolutely pristine at all times. It becomes a real drag making sure that everything is perfect day after day - especially since we've been doing it every day since February! Well wouldn't you know the minute I do that, we get a showing! We're hoping for feedback any moment now!