Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Supreme Finish - Vintage Spools - A Little Quilt!

Here I am again with another finish!  Stephanie of Loft Creations has created her second, original quilt pattern and it's a cutie! It's called "Vintage Spools"!  I had so much fun testing this pattern as one of Stephanie's Supremes!  Be sure to follow the link over to Stephanie's to see her quilt!
I used French General's Rural Jardin for the entire quilt.  These colors to me are a bit reminiscent of something Japanese - I love it!  The "spools" were made from one entire charm pack, which makes it not only easy, but inexpensive!  How many of you have lots of charm packs just waiting for something to make from them - be honest - I know there are a lot of you out there!
I quilted Vintage Spools on Vinnie using a panto called  Plumage from Willow Leaf Studio.  I first saw it on Wendy's blog and knew I had to add it to my growing collection!
I love this line of fabric from French General - actually, I love all of them!  One thing I noticed and it made a difference in cutting strips is that each fabric from their line has a border that runs just above the selvadge which I found strange - it actually takes away a tad from the amount of usable width and really doesn't look good when included.
I chose to make some of my spools solid...
...and some of them variegated!
Here is another solid.  You can really do whatever you want!  When quilting it on Vinnie I had a problem with the rick-rack folding over in spots when the hopping foot crossed over.  At first I tried glueing the waves down but that became tedious and really didn't work.  After several attempts at figuring out how to hold the rick rack waves down, it dawned on me to just run a basting stitch down either side of it!

Many thanks to Stephanie for allowing me to test another design for her!  And be sure to visit her Etsy shop for Vintage Spools as well as the rest of her patterns!

The other night I tried my hand at pizza from scratch.  It all went perfectly according to plan and looks good, but we were disappointed in the whole wheat crust (too sweet and heavy) and I need to get a tad more seasoning either into the sauce or the pizza itself!  Next time I'll atttempt a thinner crust using regular flour and experiment with seasonings and toppings!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Finish -- Really?

Yes!  Vinnie and I are a team!  We've gotten much more familiar with one another and the pile of finished quilt tops is quickly becoming smaller and smaller!
I mentioned in a previous post that this is Lil's Simpler Tymes pattern by Jeanne Horton of the Country Sampler using her Simpler Tymes fabric.  Once again I am photo-challenged in our house.  The lighting isn't optimal so I always try to include enough shots of my quilts in different lights and settings.  Here we are in the living room.

I tried one on the dining room table - not much better.  When Mr. Squash first saw the finished flimsy he remarked that it looked like a cup of hot chocolate, so I think that's what I'll call it - Hot Chocolate!
I used Quilter's Dream Wool batting for the first time and I'm sold!  The high loft was a little scary at first but it squished right up with the quilting and I had no trouble with tension whatsoever!  I also love how it really shows the quilting as opposed to something much lighter like Warm & Natural!
Here it is on my design wall - this photo gives you a little better feel for the blocks - double square in a square.  I sure wish I had gotten Monique's Square in a Square ruler when I was making this!  Nest one for sure!
Again on the dining room table -- the back is pieced together with leftover fabric from the front.  I can't believe how much you can cut from fat eighths!  I still have lots of fabric left over!  I quilted Hot Chocolate using a fun pantograph called Frisky Feathers by Lorien Quilting!  I'm sure this pattern will be used over and over!

Would you believe I've even finished another quilt?  I can't show it to you just yet, but will very soon!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oh, Deer and a Winner!

Before I announce the winner of Barefoot in the Park, I thought I would tell you a little about our trip to Wallowa Lake.  Mr. Squash and I left Monday morning for the two hour drive to the lake in Northeast Oregon.  We decided to take our time and meander here and there to places we've passed by before but never stopped.  The first leg of the drive took us over Tollgate Pass at appx 5100 ft.  When we got near the summit it was snowing and 30 degrees!  We knew it was going to rain, but didn't expect snow!  Once we began dropping down it began to rain and kept raining nearly the entire time!

We passed through the small towns of Elgin, Minam, Wallowa, Lostine, Enterprise and Joseph before coming to the end of the road at Wallowa Lake.  All the towns were very small, but we drove down the main streets of each one and managed to stop in a few cute little shops and antique stores.
When we finally got to Joseph we discovered it was a tiny resort town just waking up from a long winter and spring and getting ready for the onslaught of tourist season beginning Memorial Day weekend.  We were specifically looking for the fly shop, which we found - but check out this blurry photo of the shops in the small complex.  Do you see the second business from the top?  YES!  Not only a fly shop but a quilt shop in the same complex!  Wheeeee!!
In the photo above is the fly shop on the left where the little boats are and the quilt shop just across the way.  Oh, was I in heaven!  We managed to drop a few dollars in each place and both came away satisfied!
Then it was on to our cabin in the woods at the lake.  The resort turned out to be old, well-worn but very clean.  This old building was across the way - what it had been wasn't apparent, but it reminded us of something out of a Stephen King novel!!  We had a nice cabin with a fireplace, king bed, kitchen and bath and TV all to ourselves.  Being that it was so wet and foggy we couldn't explore anywhere on foot, so we were glad to be warm and cozy.  I didn't even take pictures of the lake - you really couldn't see anything!
In the late afternoon this small herd of deer appeared in the back.  I took this photo from the living room window.
I went out to the car to get something and decided to look around back and see if they were still there, which they were.  I clucked my tongue and wouldn't you know they came running to me!!  We had a half box of wheat thins that we didn't want to finish, so we decided to see if they wanted them.  My goodness - I had three of them right up to my face all at once!  I would hand out crackers and they had no problem taking them gently from my fingers!  I even poured the crumbs at the bottom of the bag into my hand and they were eagerly licked up by this guy!  Here I was trying to tell him I didn't have anything else!

We had a very nice trip and scoped out some summer fly fishing spots!  When the river comes down from snowmelt - probably late June, we'll go back for sure!

Now on to the winner of Stephanie's PDF for Barefoot in the Park!  I asked Mr. Squash to pick a number, which is 18 - Happy Cottage Quilter!  Congratulations!  Stephanie will get your PDF to you right away!  I really enjoyed reading about where everyone would go for their first picnic this summer! Thanks to all for your great comments!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Barefoot in the Park - A Supreme Reveal with a Giveaway!!

Seems all the whining on my last post about too much rain was heard by Mother Nature!  We've had nothing but sun and warmer temps all week! 
This is an exciting post for me!  As most of you know, I am one of Stephanie of Loft Creations "Supreme Pattern Testers"!  I love my "job" because I can do it any time I want and fabric choices are totally up to me!  What makes this so exciting is that it is Stephanie's first, published quilt pattern!  She is a very talented bag designer, and I'm so happy that she's now designing quilts! I am very proud to have tested this wonderful quilt for Stephanie!
Introducing - Barefoot in the Park!  Not only is there this side.....
but another - two quilts in one!  When I told Mr. Squash what project this was, he said could I make a quilt that was really a Picnic Quilt?  I said absolutely, and that's what I did!  Except for the setting triangles which are made from Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda, the entire quilt is Central Park by Kate Spain!  I was so pleased that Sunkissed coordinated so well with Central Park!
I've had this project done for some time now and attempted to photograph it in several different places and sunlight.  Until this week, there really wasn't good sunlight on any day!  Above is Mr. Squash standing in the alley behind our fence on a stool holding Barefoot - what a trooper he was for this photo attempt!
Here he is holding up the second side of the quilt!  Thankfully no one was in the alley giving him strange looks at the time!
We've actually used the quilt on one rather chilly outdoor picnic already - a lovely trip to Palouse Falls.  Then a few weeks ago we had visitors from Seattle and were going to serve them lunch on the patio.  It just wasn't warm enough, so I put Barefoot on the dining room table and we had an indoor picnic!  I found these adorable luncheon plates and napkins at the grocery store - the design mimics my quilting like they were made for one another!  I quilted it on Vinnie using a panto from Timeless Quilting Designs called Hearts in Bloom.
It was a tough decision about which side of the quilt to serve lunch on!

Stephanie is going to give a lucky winner on this post a PDF copy of Barefoot in the Park!  To enter, tell me where your first picnic of the summer is going to be held!  I'll pick a winner at random on Tuesday, May 24th.  Mr. Squash and I will be out of town Monday and part of Tuesday, so I'll post the winner on Wednesday!

I leave you today with a photo of my new gardening shoes!  They're Mucks and oh, so comfy and cute, if I don't say so myself!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away and a Finish!

Hi Everyone!  Obviously you haven't seen much of me for a while - and I really don't have any excuses other than it's just been one of those non-blogging periods!  I'm sure most of you who have been with me for a while have experienced the same thing.  Our weather here has been cold, wet, dreary and very unseasonal.  We should be 15 degrees warmer than we are, but Mother Nature is saying no deal just yet, and it adds to a lack of creative spirit.  This past weekend we had the entire months normal rainfall - eeek!

Now having said that, it doesn't mean I haven't been creative!  I've done a lot of secret "Supreme" sewing which I still can't show you, but hopefully by the end of this week I'll be able to reveal one of those projects along with a giveaway!  In the meantime I managed to get a few photos between rain storms of my recently finished Designer Mystery Block of the month from Fat Quarter Shop.
These were taken in the backyard - they aren't great, but if you click on the photos you might get a better view of the quilting.  I used an all over pantograph called Antique Lace by Patricia E. Ritter.  This one was taken with me facing South.  I used two loungers to try and prop it up!
In this photo I was facing North - a little better light with brighter sky behind me.  Just when the sun peeks through the clouds and I get set up for a good photo, I lose it as I snap the camera!
Here is the back folded over.  I decided to use the binding fabric that came with the finishing kit.  It doesn't look all that bad with the backing I chose.  All in all I really like this quilt!  It's supposed to be a holiday quilt, but I think it can be displayed year round!
While I was out on the patio I decided to take a photo of the large planters in one corner.  In a month or so they will look totally different - I'll try to remember to show you a comparison!
Mr. Squash has been asking me for an old fashioned Pineapple Upside Down Cake!  I found the recipe on Beverly's Back Porch here.  If you make it, be sure to include the reserved pineapple juice in the cake batter before the flour mixture is added (the directions don't specify where it goes).  I can't believe how perfect the cake turned out in a cast-iron pan and how good it tastes!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mid-Week Garden Report!

I know I said I would post a quilt finish on this post, but I've been waiting for better light for a good photo, so I'll make you wait just a tad longer!  Instead, I'm bringing you a mid-week garden report.  Mr. Squash and I have been very busy filling up the raised beds with soil in preparation for seed planting next week.  Talk about labor-intensive!  We fall into bed every night and sleep soundly!  We also have found that our bodies are protesting this hard work much more than when we were a little younger!  But it gives us a good feeling to know the outcome should be spectacular by mid-summer!
Here is our very first (and probably only) apple tree!  It arrived yesterday from Stark Brothers Nursery.  It's a semi-dwarf Honeycrisp Apple - my all-time favorite apple!  It will grow to a maximum of 5 feet high and 4 feet wide.  Stark Brothers assured me it would pollinate from the neighbor's mature apple tree which is just over the other side of the fence here.  See that mulch I spread around the base per their instructions? It was sold to us at Home Depot as garden soil!  It's nothing but shredded wood and we were quite disappointed!  But at least we can use it as mulch!
These lilac bushes were a total mess when we moved in.  I trimmed them severley last fall and didn't expect to see any blooms for a while - but here they are just beginning to bud out!

Look at this Columbine - click on the photo for the full effect.  It isn't even totally bloomed yet!
I finally got the wine barrel planted with herbs.  There was red wine in this barrel and it is still stained red and crystallized - I wonder if it will impart any flavor to the herbs (wink). I also moved the dragonfly in front of it - trying to find just the right spot for him! 
Speaking of garden art - we got this wonderful fence flower and the craft show recently.  It's just painted, corrugated metal!  Oh - and that mossy roof behind the fence belongs to the neighbor!
I gave up on last year's Rosemary bush - should have brought it in over the winter.  So I got a new one and once it's grown some more I plan to trim it into a tree shape!
On the cooking front I have really been wanting a griddle to make pancakes and English Muffins.  I've made pancakes on the gas grill, but the heat is not consistent, so I figured a griddle was the way to go.  We stopped in the local kitchen shop and found this very cool Cuisinart griddle/panini maker!  It has interchangeable grills - flat and ridged.
Here is how it looks in the flat position.  Depending on how many pancakes you want, you can use one or both sides!  I want to make just about everything in the recipe book that was included!