Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday in Roatan

Here we are in Roatan, Honduras.  Our daily flyer predicted showers, one of which we just avoided after walking around the duty free shops on the island! Fortunately it was short and now the sun is back!

Got this photo of the ship's wake last night.  Imagine water skiing behind that!

Here is a view coming into port.  There is an island on the right that I believe was in a segment of House Hunters International!  I wonder how they like living her so far!  Our neighbors on either side of our balcony are so nice!  Actually, we've met some very nice fellow cruisers so far!

Here is our local welcome party.

What great dancers!  I thought the fellow in red at the top was the best!
Getting off the ship you are embraced by the local parrots!  I had to laugh as so many people wanted nothing to do with these colorful birds!
Looking back at our ship from land.

I think this evening we take off for Belize.  So far we're having a most delightful time enjoying the warm weather!  I was really hoping to find a quilt shop or two in Belize! Who knows....anything is possible!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cruising At Last!

After a rather harrowing journey from the Squash House to our flight in Seattle on Saturday, Mr. Squash and I are finally onboard the Norweigan Star bound for Roatan! The night before leaving we had a very fierce wind and rainstorm which knocked out power to the Squash House! We were able to briefly shower that morning but there was still no electricity by the time we left.  After viewing the pass cams from Mr. Squash's iPad, we decided the only right thing to do was to go the long way to Seattle via Portland - about 9 hours as opposed to 5.  Off we went, but the excitement still wasn't over! We battled strong winds and even stronger gusts along with intermittent, heavy downpours all the way to Portland! 

Needless to say, when we arrived at the airport some 6 hours before our flight, we were happy to just camp out there!  The rest of the journey was fine, but tiring.  

We arrived in Tampa to cloudy skies and cool temps.  Once we got onboard around 3pm on Sunday, we immediately went in search of the buffet as we hadn't eaten for quite some time! 

 Here we are walking around the ship to get familiar with where everything is!
Check out this "pirate" ship!  It was docked near the cruise ships. 

This is a view of what are probably luxury condos on the way out of town and what I assume is downtown Tampa.

Just after sunset we passed under this bridge!  Mr. Squash was at the top of the ship getting the maximum view while I was still in the room.  I took this photo just as the ship sailed under the bridge!

Today we're at sea - shortly we'll pass the southwestern tip of Cuba on the way to tomorrow's first stop at Roatan.  Blue skies and warm temps today have totally made up for our travel woes!  I won't be able to answer comments as the charges for internet are more than a bit expensive, but as one previous commenter suggested, I might be able to find some free connections as we arrive in various ports.  I'll be sure to continue posting as often as I can!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Margarita-Ville Here We Come!

Tomorrow morning Mr. Squash and I are headed off to Seattle to catch a red-eye flight to Tampa, Florida where we will sail to the Western Caribbean on Norweigan Cruise lines.  The ship we're on is the Norweigan Star in case you want to follow along.  Just go here and you can figure out how to follow along on our journey.  Our sailing begins Sunday the 26th of Feb. The ship has Wi-Fi so I'll have my little Netbook with me and plan to post along the way!  This is our annual winter getaway to a warm place trip! 
 I was rummaging through a drawer the other day looking for our TSA approved luggage locks when I came across this photo!  It was taken about 17-18 years ago on our very first cruise together!  Aren't we just so young and cute?  Sorry for the photo quality, but I had to scan it into the computer.  This is probably still our favorite cruise.  We sailed the inside passage from Vancouver, Canada to Alaska.  We have so many great memories from this trip.  We floated the Chilcot River through the Bald Eagle Preserve, flew in a small plane over glaciers, watched iceburgs calve, and visited historic towns along the way.  I remember this trip as if it was yesterday!  One of these years we plan to do it again! 
I finished my ripping and re-sewing the other day.  Here is my Wringer Washer quilt top all finished!  When we return from the cruise I'll be loading it onto Vinnie and working some quilting magic!

I'll do my best to respond to emails while on our cruise.  We're always at the mercy of how well the Wi-Fi is working at any given time, but we'll try to post updates as much as possible!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sewing and Ripping

I've been diligently working on a new quilt top.  Even Mr. Squash claims my head has been buried in my trusty Bernina lately.  The quilt is Stephanie's Wringer Washer.  I'd been dying to make it with my new fat eighth bundle of Blueberry Crumb Cake by Blackbird Designs.

First, let me say that this fabric is my new all-time favorite line!  I just love the soft colors and lovely prints!  The other day I finally got the quilt top finished, but as I sewed on the last border I realized I had made a huge oversight of my own.  I won't go into details, it's too embarrasing, but suffice it to say I had to do some major ripping!
Here is the quilt in it's ripped state.  I will be making some more adjustments after which I can finally sew the whole thing back together!   I used Moda's Primitive Muslins as the solids surrounding the small blocks - you can see that they blend perfectly!  This will be so cute once it's quilted and bound! 
Ever since we moved into the Squash House I've had lighting issues in my studio.  The room has windows north and east which don't provide for the best natural light.  At some point we're going to have a Solatube installed in the room but until then I have continued to struggle with good light --- that is until I saw these at Home Depot the other day!  There is an overhead in the room with two 60 Watt bulbs.  I replaced them with these and voila - let there be light!  I'm just tickled that I can finally get a good look at what I'm doing, not to mention reduce the strain on my eyes!  If you have the same problem - do give these a try!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kaliedoscope Smart Plate Ruler Tutorial

Where oh where have I been?  Sometimes I feel like I'm lost in place after a trip away from the Squash House!  I've had a difficult time getting back into the swing of frequent blogging.  One thing I've been trying to do is get more sewing done in my studio, which also relates to less computer time.  I thought I'd better post this tutorial for those of you who've been watching for it!

A while back I posted about the Kaleidoscope Smart Plate Ruler from Sharon Sebrow.  This great ruler makes kaleidoscope blocks quick and easy.  I'll be showing you the basics - Sharon has much more in her patterns and book!
The first step is to make your pinwheel block.  I won't show how to do that as most of you know the quick and easy way.  You just make four, half-square triangles, arrange them to form a pinwheel, then sew them together just like a four-patch.  Now comes the fun with the ruler!  Place the ruler as shown above. 
 Next step is to slice off the long, straight edge with your rotary cutter.  There is one little thing to keep in mind and I learned it the hard way with the first block. If you want (as in my case) all the lighter fabrics to be the four-sided triangle, be sure to position the first cut so that the first four sided triangle will be on a lighter fabric!
 The trick is to keep rotating the ruler until your kaleidoscope ruler is completely cut!  Here, I've rotated and cut once again...
 and again...
 and again...
 and one last time! 
Voila!  Here is your quick and easy Kaleidoscope block!   How easy is that!!  Be sure to visit Sharon here and find out more about this terrific ruler!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Portland Goodies!

We're back from Portland after having a wonderful three day mini-vacation!  We saw a lot in and around Portland, did a fair amount of shopping, had dinner with friends, and as always, enjoyed the ride along the way!
Here is just a little of what I got at both Fabric Depot and Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe!  (Some are gifts that I can't show you)  I've seen Carrie Nelson's Full House made up as a pillow or table topper on several other blogs, and I'd really like to make one myself.  I also never pass up an opportunity to grab some Jo Morton hard-to-find cheddars!  I'd also not seen this magazine before and thought I might find some great ideas for my studio within the pages! 
Here are some more Jo Morton cheddars, a very tiny embroidery hoop of the kind I like, another bobbin holder, some pre-made quilt sleeves (I bought a lot of these as I detest making my own), some replacement blades for my favorite Gingher Rotary Cutter and my most exciting purchase - Marti Michell's templates sets A, B and C to get me started on the Farmer's Wife quilt!  Some time ago I bought the book for it, but didn't realize you had to cut your own templates.  Well, Marti has written special instructions using her template sets.  These will get me stared for now, and they were 25% off!
Mr. Squash got me this kit of Kathy Schmidt's Full Circle to make the quilt you see here!  Isn't he the best?!  I swooned over the finished quilt at Hollyhill and thought it would be perfect for the Squash House decor!

Finally, since wool batting has become my batting of choice on the longarm, I couldn't resist 25% off of several packages to have on hand!

We also made stops at Powell's Books, Sur La Table (I was swooning on the sidewalk near Powell's when I saw it next door),  Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.  The bookshelf, kitchen and larder are all well stocked now until the next time we visit the big city!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fun in the City of Roses

Mr. Squash and I are in the City of Roses, Portland, Oregon.  We drove over yesterday morning and plan to spend a few days.  On the way into town we stopped at Fabric Depot.  I've ordered from them over the internet, but have told by friends who have actually been there that it's a must see!
 I planned to take a lot of pictures inside, but once we walked in the door I knew that would be a difficult task - there is SO much to see!  This is the view as you walk in the door.  You just can't imagine how big this place is until you've been inside.  And yesterday everything in the store was 25% off!  Be still my heart.  We headed straight to the notions side of the store where I began filling up our cart.  One of the very helpful floor gals asked if we needed any help so Mr. Squash asked her where was the batting section as he knew I wanted to stock up on wool batting.  She pointed to the other side of the store (about a football field away) and said it was way off yonder!
 Along the way I saw this section of buttons - just look at the selection!!  To the right were dozens of button rounders!  Since I wasn't sure what I would be making next I had to hold myself back as there were other things I really wanted and our cart was rapidly filling up!
Bolts of fabric were everywhere - designer fabrics, home dec, upholstery, clothing, quilting, and much more  - my, oh, my!  Here was a brightly colored designer - and it was all 25% off!  I spied a section of Jo Morton which contained some hard to find cheddars -- into the cart they went!  Mr. Squash, bless his heart, stood in line for the cutting table while I tried to see more!  I could have spent hours in there but goodness knows we had many other things to do.  I will definitely go back next time we're in town!

I had to show you this wonderful bronze doggie and watering dish outside out hotel!  isn't he cute?  Today we're headed to the Sellwood Antique district and if time permits, a trip to Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe.  Hopefully I can get a lot more pictures for you!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

When Quilting Hands You Lemons....

Late last week I got another new ruler and a fat pack of fabric that I had been drooling over for a while.  The ruler I like very much, but the fabric was a big disappointment to me.  While it looked wonderful on the website where I bought it, when it arrived here at the Squash House it didn't look at all like I thought it would in person.  Has this ever happened to you?  Now I'm sure in many people's eyes, Hickory House by Faye Burgos for Marcus Brothers is absolutely gorgeous and they are going to make some stunning quilts from it.  It's all in the eye of the beholder!  For me, it just didn't do it.  So, I thought why not try using it with the new ruler -maybe once it's sewn into blocks I'll fall in love with it once again. 
 Here are the red and cream fat quarters sewn into Kaleidoscope blocks using my new ruler - the Kaleidoscope Smart Plate by Sharon Sebrow.  (In another post I'll have a tutorial for using this ruler.)  Unfortunately, this still doesn't make me love the fabric.  So, I'll put these in a bag for now and figure out what I might use them for another time - maybe potholders!

So today I decided to make Lemonade!  You know the old saying "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade"!  It got out my fat 1/8th pack of Blackbird Designs Blueberry Crumb Cake and began making blocks for Stephanie's new Wringer Washer pattern!  I just know this is going to be a gorgeous quilt!

Mr. Squash and I were all ready to leave for a few days in Portland today when he came down with a bad cold.  We had planned to do some antiquing, have dinner with friends who live there and perhaps drag Mr. Squash to visit a few quilts shops!  So we rescheduled for next week, which gives me a few more days to work on Wringer Washer.