Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Snow Day!

We went to bed last night as the snow was falling and woke up to about 2-3 inches! I think I'd better get out and fill up the bird feeders! Here is a view to the southwest from our back door.

And here is a view to the East. Mr. Squash is out shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. Earlier we saw a group of neighbor women head out with snow shovels in hand to help some of the other neighbors! I know they walk together, so I'm sure this is a great alternative for walking today as well as doing a good deed!
And what else is one to do when you're retired and it's snows? Well, if it isn't quilting, then it must be baking Finnish Gingerbread! Here is a nice plate of Ulla's recipe made with the cookie cutter she gave us!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

More Holiday Cheer & A Peek!

I hope everyone had as nice a Christmas as Mr. Squash and I did! Between packing to move, unpacking here, painting, arranging and working on getting things the way we wanted, we decided we were too pooped to get a tree, but we had each other and Miss Sophie and that was all we needed! Dinner was a small prime rib, Alice Water's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and baked potatoes. We watched Juie and Julia after dinner and had a wonderful day!

The other day a package arrived from Ulla. This is how it looked on the doorstep! Mr. Squash said it must have fallen off the sleigh several times!

Fortunately, everything was there --- the only thing that went awry was Ulla's beautiful wrapping job. We repositioned one of the ribbons for the photo and quickly unwrapped the goodies! If you enlarge the photo you can see the wonderful Finnish card - we really love it!

Inside were so many thoughtful gifts - our enormous thanks to Ulla and Mr. K!!! Below you will see a package of Linden Tea...Mr. Squash had mentioned through one of my emails to Ulla that he thought a tree in a photo of hers was a Linden tree and that he had tasted Linden tea many years ago! We haven't seen it here, so Ulla sent him some! It's absolutely delicious! The long package next to the tea is a chocolate/gingerbread bar - wow - yum is all we can say! She also included her recipe for Finnish Gingerbread and a cookie cutter for it - I've already made up the dough - just waiting for it to chill for tomorrow's baking! Ulla also made a gorgeous thimble holder (with thimble included), scissor holder and scissors included, pin cushion and a fantastic needle older complete with various needle sizes!!!

And another package came from Nanette - a "random act of Christmas Cheer"! What a lovely thought, Nanette - thank you so much! There are numerous squares of some of her fantastic fabric finds - if you've been reading Nanette's blog, you know that she is has so many wonderful fabrics in her stash!! I already have an idea of what I will do with these!!

I finished painting my studio on Thursday - a light tan color which doesn't at all show in this photo. It took 2 coats and about 5 days in all, but it feels so much better in here with the blue walls covered! I managed to hang my favorite quilt, so I thought I would give you a sneek peak! I've had that oak quilt hangar for years but never been able to put it to use! After a "measuring mishap" I was happy to finally get it on the wall! On top of the 56 Drawer chest is Mary's little quilt she sent a while back, and Kaaren's painted lamp that I won from her earlier this year. Slowly but surely, the studio is taking shape!

We have SO much left to do, but are enjoying every minute! Tomorrow I'm going to finish painting the window trim in the kitchen and apply a test coat of paint to the walls. Figuring out the wall color for the kitchen has been a real dilemma, but I think I'm getting close! I'm also trying to get back to reading everyone's posts on a regular basis - I read them all Christmas Day and realized how much I missed keeping up!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Squash House Merry Christmas!

A Very, Merry Squash House Christmas to All!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Color My World

I know I've been absent of late! The days go by so fast. This past several days we've been taking care of a lot of small projects - and some large ones, too! Today I welcomed over a window coverings professional. We hit it off right away, having many things in common. She helped me pick out woven wood shades for the master bedroom, a similar style for the guest room - only they are synthetic, and my studio is going to be a big surprise! I'll meet with her again tomorrow to find out how much this will all cost - and see if any "adjustments" need to be made!

The room that bugs me the most and I think needs attention first is my studio! It used to be room to two darling little boys. It's painted a light blue with planetary, dark blue shades! My brain freezes every time I walk in here - the colors are just not me - I can't even think in here! So I picked up some paint samples and chips today.

Obviously these won't come over the internet looking anything like what they really are! I painted a 2 x 2 foot area of Cocoa Butter on one wall a while ago, and will do a second coat in a bit. It's pretty, but may have too much peach in it...stay tuned!

I also received a package from another special friend, Carrie! She sent the nicest card, a box of wonderful Moravian sugar cookies, which were quickly consumed in a couple of days, a handmade towel for the kitchen (even the trim is hand stitched by Carrie), a handmade ornament, and a charm pack of one of my favorite lines, Nature's Chorus! The charm pack was wrapped with a really neat tag and a vintage spool of thread. I told Carrie I was even going to use the tag as an ornament! Thanks again, Carrie!

We have so much left to do, but are settling in well! We love the town, the people, the weather, and of course our Squash House!

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's the Little Things....

Hall coat closet before.

Hall coat closer after. I found these brass light pulls at Home Depot yesterday - we have three lighted closets in the house. They're so much nicer than the string that you see in the first photo! Now I just need to neaten up the hangers - switch those plastic ones for more wood hangers that I know are still in a box somewhere!
Yesterday and the day before I worked some more trying to set up my studio. For now it just isn't working for me. I have an idea of what might, then I also remembered I bought this book a while back. Lois lives near our former house. I sure wish I could simply invite her to spend the weekend over here and help me in person! She offers consultation over the phone/internet and I may just take her up on it!
We are thoroughly enjoying our first nearly 2 weeks of retirement! One thing I've noticed is that we aren't spending nearly as much on groceries as we did while working! It seems we eat everything we buy so far, including leftovers! Today is another run to the landfill with a few more things from when the house was updated along with another run to the recycle station with more cardboard boxes and paper!

We have several inches of new snow on the ground and another storm with several more inches predicted for tonight --- yipppeee!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Squash House Progress Update

What a week it's been! I can't even remember what I told you in my last post - so much has been going on! We're still unpacking and organizing. So far we've even managed to repack 7 boxes for a Spring garage sale! Mr. Squash and I have no idea why we didn't get rid of some of this stuff at our first garage sale. We're also learning that less is more! While the Squash House is much larger than our other house, it has a bit less storage space as it was built in the day when storage wasn't a premium!

We've had a lot of service people in and out - the last one came today to clean the chimneys. The good news is that they were both in perfect order and he didn't charge us a thing! The hardest "service" issue has been internet. We've spents hours and hours trying to make 2 different wireless routers work to no avail. I finally got my computer connected on the second try, but it was my little netbook that revealed the problem - my studio has too much interference between where the router is located (Mr. Squash's downstairs office). So, off to the local cable company today to acquire a second modem. All in all, it worked out and I'm now "hard-wired", but it sure ate up a lot of time!

I've had two unexpected surprises in the mail this week. First came a package from Stephanie!

In Stephanie's package was this great winter quilt card, one of her wonderful knitted dishcloths, a darling pincushion that Miss Sophie approves of, and a fantastic antique bobbin!
The second package came from Mary. I love the wrapping paper and ribbon! Inside the card was a hot cinnamon spice tea bag that was quickly made and consumed!
Inside the wrapping paper was a really cool fish sign which I will put in our fishing bathroom, and a wonderful runner with needle and thread quilting! If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you can see Mary's quilting better.
Stephanie and Mary are very special friends and I thank them both from the bottom of my heart for such great and thoughtful "Welcome to the Squash House" gifts!!

We have had bitter cold, single digit temps here all week. We wanted real seasons and we're gettig them! Some of the forecasts are even predicting several inches of snow tonight or tomorrow! We've stocked up on tea, cocoa, latte fixin's and soup fixin's, plus made a trip to the local bakery today....let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Where I'd Like to Be...

Actually, I am where I'd like to be - The Squash House, but at the moment, I'd like to be sitting in one of these luscious leather chairs! They were delivered yesterday - loads of creamy Italian leather! We splurged on them as a retirement treat! Mr. Squash and I sat in almost every chair/ottman combination until we found these. I particularly like them because the arm is low enough for me to embroider, hand quilt, or sew on bindings!!

The lower level will be our family room where we intend to spend a lot of quality winter time in front of our new flat panel TV! Tomorrow we're going to pick up a fun rug to put under the chairs.'s the hard part...finding time to actually sit in them and watch TV! We are both exhausted from nonstop unpacking! I tweaked my back when the movers were here. Everything I do now takes extra effort and lots of extra time to accomplish. I certainly had a lot of sympathy for Mr. Squash when his back was out this summer/fall, now I have even more!

In two days, however, we are quite far along in the unpacking process! All that is left is the living room, my studio and the garage. It doesn't seem like much, but between my studio and the garage I think we have several days worth ahead. On Wednesday while waiting for Mr. Squash to arrive, I spied a box marked "Father Christmas" among other things. I thought, why not get him out to signal in a little Christmas spirit! He was one of the Christmas In July exchange gifts from Melanie.
I realize he looks a little lonesome...hopefully he'll have some company by next week! I sure have appreciated all of you kind words on retirement and finally "coming home"! I try to sit down an hour or so before bedtime and go through email. Monday the cable installer comes - it will be nice to have regular internet service instead of "borrowing" off whichever neighbor has the unsecured wireless connection!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sophie's Big Adventure

Just a quick post to let you know that Sophie and I arrived safely at the Squash House yesterday! Buying the "castle" was genius! For the most part she sat in her bed in the castle and watched the treetops race by. Going over Snoqualmie Pass she cried a bit, but I think it was because of the altitude difference - her ears may have been popping! Other than that, I didn't hear a peep out of her!

She would not come out of the castle or even allow me to pick her up out of her bed after we arrived. So I carried her in her bed to the guest room, set up water, food and litter and left her alone. I was exhausted and went to bed around 7:30 - which of course was the time she decided to be adventurous! After a couple of hours of jumping up and down on the bed and venturing in and out of the room for brief periods, she finally settled down under the covers next to me! Here she is below this morning - still under the top comforter! I pulled it back to offer her a couple of treats and get a photo, but she was quickly back under!

When I first walked into the house I was greeted by this enormous Poinsettia and a three-tiered package of cookie treats! It was from our neighbors across the street - Andrea, Ted and Justin - as a welcome to the Squash House gift! How nice of them!
Mr. Squash is on his way over and should arrive around mid-afternoon. He will be a sight for sore eyes! The movers arrive tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m., which means a very busy day ahead. Today I'm unpacking boxes that we brought over prior to listing the house (you can see part of the mess behind the poinsettia) and our friend Carol is bringing pot roast for dinner! Life is good!