Thursday, April 29, 2010

BBB's and a Few Updates!

BBB's - Best Blogging Buddies! As many of you know, some of the best of friends are made in blogland! Recently, I received some wonderful surprises from just two of those! First is this incredible vintage wool from Stephanie at Loft Creations! She generously fed my wool habit with some of the most gorgeous pieces! On the left is a rich orange, a heathered charcoal and a subtle tan and orange plaid. On the right are gorgeous blues which are a much needed addition to my colors! Thank you're a great friend!

Another great friend is Mary over at Quilt Hollow! I opened my mail to find this adorable bag and matching pin cushion! Mary - you really made my day! The bag is SO "me" and I can't wait to load it up and carry it proudly! Mr. Squash, who generally doesn't say much about bags, was immediately impressed with Mary's creation! He even remarked that it was the perfect size for me! Thank you so very much, my friend!
On the Squash House front, I would really like to say that we're finally done with all of our projects....but that would be premature! We are getting close, though. Recently the old fence in back came down to make way for a new and much improved version! Here is what it looked like as the new posts were being set on the south side of the house facing the alley.
Here are Ted and Justin - friends, neighbors and contractors as they were tearing down the fence on the west side of the house. This father/son team work hard!
Here is what we like to call the entrance to the Ponderosa so far. Above the top of the fence will be an Asian-inspired lattice of Ted's design which will run the length of the fence. The two large posts on either side of the opening are the beginning of a large trellis and the opening will become an 8-foot wide double gate to the alley. I've already purchased a white and a red eating grape to grow up either side of the trellis. Ted and Justin's dog, Pepper, likes to come over while they're working and play stick. Here she is in a rare, quiet moment!
Oh, and I have a confession...I've been building again! Here are my three raised vegetable beds! The one on the right isn't quite done - I'll finish it later today. They are simple to construct - just screw 2 x 6's into plastic corners, sink with plastic posts, level, and fill! Those bags are a mixture of dirt and compost to fill the beds and my seeds should arrive just in time to plant by Mother's Day! By next year I should have my own compost to amend the soil. We can't wait to eat our fresh veggies! Finally, these three pots were left by the previous owners. I planted them with Wave Petunias, Zinnias, upright Fuschia, bell flower, African Daisies, Creeping Jennies, Bacopa and a few other interesting plants. They don't look like much now, but in a few weeks they'll be ablaze with blooms! Our garage holds a treasure trove of more pots to be filled in the coming months!
I'm doing a bit of sewing - still some secret projects, but will have reveals for you soon!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Small and Efficient Studio Revealed!

I finally have most of the components of my studio completed! A little tweaking here and there still needs to be done, but for the most part, I'm quite happy! I had a choice of several different rooms in the Squash House, some were much larger, one was smaller. I'm glad I chose this room as it seems to suit my needs perfectly!

All of the descriptions will be above each photo. First is the view outside the north-facing window! We have four white Dogwoods in the front of our house - each is at least 50 years old! I took this photo right after a good rain and the sun wasn't out yet.

Here are my shades. I went with roller shades and a matching valance for simplicity. The choices were endless so I finally just pointed to something pretty! They roll from a pully on the side rather than handling the shade itself.
Check out the rug I found at Home Depot. It has a similar design to the shades and although you can't tell from the photos, it is nearly the same color as the shades. Mr. Squash was amazed (as was I) that I went with such a light color, but so far it's been easy to keep clean!
Starting from the left side when entering the 56-drawer chest and the new Perfect Caddy all stocked and ready to go! I am in a quandry as to how to display quilts! I'd like to rotate them, but will need something less permanent than what I have now - perhaps a curtain rod with "pinchers" that goes all the way across the wall - that way I can display any size quilt. (I'll be posting a giveaway soon in exchange for asking your suggestions on this topic.)
Here is a slightly wider angle shot. The quilt on the left is mostly behind the door when it's open.

Just look at the Perfect Caddy! I ordered an insert for small items for the top drawer yesterday. Other than that, it's completely filled with lots of necessities!
Here is my Koala table set up for cutting and sewing. That is the window that looks out on the Dogwood trees. I used both my Sony digital and Mr. Squash's big Canon to take photos. I am surprised at just how hard it is to photograph a room!
Continuing on around the room you now see my desk and the north window. Karen over at Short Story Long took the photo of a ladybug that's on my computer desktop and graciously allowed me to copy and use it! Thanks, Karen, I love it!
Now you can see my design wall. I don't have it affixed to the wall and not sure I will just yet. But it's very functional. It's a piece of insulation board from Home Depot. I attached another piece of Warm and Natural batting to it using double sided carpet tape. The two wicker baskets to the right of my desk hold fabric and other sewing stuff.
This is my green primitive cupboard that I use to store all of my quilting books and other notebooks. The door next to it is the tiny closet and then the door leading out into the hallway.

Check out the inside of the cupboard - stocked full! Do you think I'll ever use all of those quilting books?
This is the inside of the closet. It's filled to the brim with another Bernina for backup when one is in the shop, my embroidery unit, another chest filled with sewing and office supplies, thread and several boxes of blocks I've started for different quilts! It's also where I store my ironing board, and the clothes that need to be ironed. When I'm sewing I set up the ironing board in front of the 56-drawer chest.
Looking in from the hallway. You can see that all I need to do is pivot my chair from my desk to the sewing table. A while back, two of us were in the room cutting a quilt and we seemed to have plenty of room even with the ironing board set up!
So there you have it. Nothing special, really, just a comfortable room in which to have a lot of fun!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Heart "The Perfect Caddy"!

Sunday was another day of construction at the Squash House! Christmas before last, Mr. Squash gave me the Hinterberg Perfect Caddy. I decided to wait to put it together until our move here to the Squash House. We were further delayed waiting for warmer weather so we could first put a coat of Minwax on it in the garage where the fumes wouldn't make us loopy! Saturday Mr. Squash spent the day doing just that!

We let the Minwax dry overnight and yesterday I went to work with my trusty drill! Here is just some of it as I was organizing the pieces.

The first drawer went together really well! Hinterberg's directions are impeccable! The wood for the most part is solid oak, all the holes are pre-drilled and they even included a drill bit for the allen wrench! I was just tickled to see that I didn't need to use one of those tiny allen wrenches that destroy my fingers! From there on out everything went together really well!
Here is the base all on to the top section and the side bins. I did have a bit of a mishap...I first assembled the base piece on the top - only because I didn't pay close enough attention to the instructions! Thank goodness I figured it out after screwing in only one of the wheels!
And here is the finished Perfect Caddy!! It still needs to off-gas from the Minwax a bit more, so we have it in the dining room for another day or two before it goes to my studio.
This is one of the side views of the bins - two small on top and one extra large bin on the bottom. The other side has two medium bins. It also has locking casters on the bottom so you can either slide it around to meet your needs or park it in place!

Now I have all the components to finish my workspace. I'll be filling up the Perfect Caddy on Wedesday, then next post I'll reveal my Squash House studio!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wool Quilts from the Past

A new exhibit opened Saturday at our museum in town. When I heard it was called "A Tradition in Wool", I got pretty excited thinking there might be some antique wool quilts included! Mr. Squash and I decided it would be a nice Sunday activity and off we went!

Sure enough, there was plenty to see. Sheep and the wool they produced were a major part of our area of SE Washington State during the 19th century. I wasn't allowed to use my flash, so you might want to click on the photos for a better look.

The Crazy Quilt below was made by Mary Jane McCaw Erwin for her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary in 1893. William and Sarah Ann McCaw, married April 17, 1844. There must be a testament to good living here as it was unusual for people to live long enough in the 19th century to make it to a 50th wedding anniversary!
Below is a close-up of some of the detail work!
This next quilt has been called, Beggars Blocks, Roman Squares, Colt’s Corral or Modern Blocks. The materials used are mostly wool suit fabrics. Alice Robertson and Carrie Mosier made this in 1907. I think this was my favorite in the exhibit!

This is a wool coverlet that from a distance almost looked like Sashiko work, but it was woven.
Mr. Squash really liked the wool suit hanging over my favorite quilt! The detail work is marvelous, and for it's age - 1885 - has survived quite well!
Finally, this crazy quilt below isn't very pretty, but the maker carded the wool herself before sewing it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Has This Happened to You?

What you see below is not a function of my camera, or my ability to take an even shot, or even an optical is 2 nasty warps on my small Olfa cutting board. My nearly new, larger Olfa mat has the same problem.

I've always used Olfa cutting mats and never had this happen! Last summer I replaced both the large and small mats which were totally worn out, but not warped in the very least. The larger mat warped first, then the small. I interchange them frequently depending on the project. When one of the other are not being used, they are stored flat and never exposed to heat either stored or while being used. Has this happened to you? I wonder since I bought these around the same time if there could have been a bad batch?

So off I went to Joann's today to get a new 24 x 36 mat. I saw these brightly colored Fiskars mats and thought maybe Chicky-Bee would like a new pal since their colors are so similar! Plus I got to use a 50% off coupon! It will be interesting to see if there is any difference in performace - stay tuned!
Other than some gifts, I've done really well this year sticking to trying to use my stash! But for some reason I'm switching my fabric addition for a pattern addiction! Here are a few of my new patterns - all of which will be made using fabric I have in my stash! The two below are from The Cottage at Cardiff Farms. I bought them online here. The pattern on the right is jelly roll friendly and both will be really fun to make!
Mr. Squash bought this Crabapple Hill pattern for me on a recent road trip. As soon as I finish my current project, I will need another stitchery to work on in the evening while watching TV. We both love birds, so Flight of Fancy will make a nice, summer bed quilt - and most of you know how much I enjoy stitching Crabapple Hill patterns!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More Construction and a Sneak Peek!

What do the tools below have in common?

The answer is a quilter who also fancies herself a builder! Yes, Squash House Construction Company has been at it again! We have a rather large closet off the dining room that at one time had just one dowel from which to hang coats. Apparently the previous owners had to take the dowel with them, so for us it was one large empty closet. We were going to bring professionals in to set up shelves and hanging rods until I saw what appeared to be a fairly easy kit at Home Depot which would work perfectly! It took me about 3 1/2 hours yesterday and a few choice spoken words, but here is the finish below! Once we make room in the garage for Sophie's carrier, we can hang things from the bottom rod. What you can't see is on the right side I also installed some nice hooks for brooms and the vacuum cleaner fits neatly to the left of the shelves. Now I'm tempted to tackle the master bedroom closets! Oh...and I really did use one of my quilting rulers in the construction!
I've also been working in the studio off and on. Here is a sneak peek at my current project. I should have a reveal in a couple of weeks or so.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Meet Chicky-Bee!!

As promised on my last post, I have a new purchase to show you! Many of you know that I have been using and loving my Oliso iron for about 3 years now. A couple of years ago when at Sew Expo, I stopped at the Oliso booth to tell them how much I loved their iron! I also mentioned that it would be nice to have one that stayed on longer and had a sharper point. Well, out from under the counter came their new prototype! They said it was still in development, but to look for it about a year later!

And here she is (a little later than I had planned, but that's OK)! Meet "Chicky-Bee" as I call her (short for Chiquita Banana, given her color!) I am in LOVE with this new iron! It stays on for 30 minutes, doesn't drip at all (nor did the previous Oliso), is much lighter, has a longer cord and a sharper point!

This and the other versions have what is called "I-Touch Technology" - no need to set it on its end! All you do is touch the handle in the down position, and the little feet on the bottom lift up so you can iron. When you release the handle, the little feet come back out, the iron stays in the down position and will not scorch the fabric or ironing board cover! The controls are easy to see, and the iron fills from the side! And check out the soleplate - lots of steam holes and a sharper point for ironing those small spaces!
I made a rather crude video of Chicky-Bee in's enough to understand how it works!

You can bet I will be spending a lot of time with Chicky-Bee in the near future!