Monday, April 30, 2012

Holy Grape!

Mr. Squash and I have spent several days in the garden doing some more spring planting.  I decided to take a closer look at our grapes and see how they were doing.  This is their third summer and I was really hoping to finally get some grapes.
Click on the photo above and you'll see the little grape clusters just beginning to form at the top of the lowest set of leaves!  I am just totally thrilled, to say the least!  This is a white table grape.  On the other side the red table grapes are a bit behind but coming on strong.  In another few days I expect to see little clusters forming there, too.
Saturday we went to a small nursery in town for the first time.  It was a darling spot that also had an Italian deli and a wonderful little gift shop.  Right out front we saw this espaliered pear tree and had to have it!  The owner delivered it for us later in the day.  Each row has a different kind of pear - Bartlett, Red Bartlett and Bosc - and there are already pears on it!  The nursery owner walked around our yard and gave his stamp of approval which made us feel terrific!
Yesterday we planted some more veggies.  Here are Mr. Squash's tomatoes - under cloches for protection from the cool evenings for now.  In the foreground is our newest little dwarf Ginger Gold apple tree.  It went from a bare-root tree with nubs for branches to this in under a month!
Doesn't the Saxifrage looks so pretty right now?
The large perennial bed is coming along, too.  I can't believe how fast things are growing.
Here is what I did most of yesterday morning.  I am crouched down planting teeny, tiny carrot seeds.  Oh, my aching back!
But the beauty of an aching back is seeing Mr. Squash come along behind me and sweep the edges of the beds and make everything nice and neat!  Gotta love him even more for this! Check out the incredible lilac next door! The smell at that end of the yard is out of this world!
I'll leave you today with a photo of one of our four, 60 year old white Dogwood trees.  Isn't it just gorgeous?  The Spirea hedge in front will soon be awash in little white blooms, too.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Drumroll, Please...

Thanks to everyone for their nice comments on my 400th post and all those wonderful guesses!  Only one person came close to the correct number of beans - Lynn of Sew 'N Wild Oaks!  There were 1,100 beans in the jar and Lynn guessed 1,023, plus one rock that was there, but just wouldn't fit in the jar so I left it out!  Congratulations, Lynn!  The Bunny Run kit will be sent to you shortly!  Lynn designs the most incredible quilts!  If you haven't visited her, be sure to do so! 
I've been a bit scattered  multi-tasking these days.  The weather is beginning to warm up - yesterday it was in the mid-80's so we're gearing up for vegetable planting.  On the sewing front I got Block 6 of my Rosewood Farm BOM done.  I've kept up with each month of this BOM and it feels good!
Yesterday and the day before Mr. Squash got out his trusty tiller and tilled up the vegetable gardens.  Here he is in the raised beds in his cute, tilling outfit!  Check out those great legs, uh, I mean wonderful dirt!  We added a few bags of compost and let the planting begin!
Here he is in the vegetable area on the other side of the yard!  In between our two dwarf apple trees we'll be planting the tomatoes this year.  I just love this Western Redbud tree in the spring.  That is the bark that blooms!  Cool, huh!

I'm still working on my stars blocks, so not much else to show on the sewing front just yet.  I may put a small finished quilt on Vinnie soon, too.  I'll be sure to post my progress!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

400th Post Giveaway!

When I started this blog I had no idea where it would take me or how long I would continue to blog.  While my posts aren't as prolific as in the beginning, I've managed to get to 400 and have no intention of stopping any time soon!  It's been a wonderful journey where I've made new and close friends and learned new quilting techniques as well as improved on many of the old!  Most of this is in no small part due to all of you who read my blog and have blogs of your own!
In celebration of this little milestone and a huge thank you to all that have stuck with me thus far, I thought why not have a guessing game for my giveaway?  Yup - guess the number of beans in the jar!  The person who comes the closest to the correct number will win a quilt kit!  Yes!  To help you out somewhat I'll tell you that the total height of the jar is 7.25 inches and it is filled to the very top with red kidney beans.
At it's widest circumference the jar measures 10.5 inches.
Here is the kit I'm giving away.  It is for the Bunny Run Kit from Bunny Hill Designs.  The pattern is in this copy of the Australian Homespun magazine which is also included.
The kit has everything you need including the backing - how great is that?  The finished quilt measures 36 x 40 inches.  You can start now and have it finished for Easter next year!

There are only a few rules for this giveaway:

1)  You must have a Google account to leave your guess on the bean count.  This will not be open to Anonymous commenters.  If you don't have a Google account you can go here and sign up for free.

2)  Please do not blog about this or post any photos from this on your blog.

3)  One comment/guess per person, please.

I'll leave this open through Monday, April 23rd.  The winner will be announced on Tuesday, April 24th.

Good Luck!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Applique Amazement in Oregon!

In case you're wondering where I've been, Mr. Squash and I decided to make a run to the Oregon coast for a few days!  I love being able to decide to go somewhere on the spur of the moment.  We spent the first night in Hood River, Oregon at a 100 year old hotel in the heart of downtown.  Other than a quirky floor plan and being close to the train tracks (difficult to avoid at any hotel there), we had a gorgeous view of the Columbia River and a lovely stay. 

From there we headed to McMinnville, where Vinnie was born!  For those of you who haven't met Vinnie -- he is my Gammill longarm.  I had a few questions about Vinnie for Jack Boersma, but Jack wasn't in the shop.  Fortunately I spoke to their resident longarm expert (I'm so sorry I don't know your name) who was most helpful.

After a bit we heard some commotion at the cutting table.  A woman and her husband had brought in some of her applique quilts and we were all just stunned by her work!
Carol Hayes of Mulino, Orgeon, graciously allowed me to take photos of her works of art.  Here she is with her husband with her quilt Little Brown Bird from the book by Margaret Doucherty.  My apologies to Carol's husband who didn't want to be in the photo - but you two were so cute together!  Carol's husband was quite proud of her work, and rightly so!

Click on the photos for a closer look!  Carol did almost all of this using the needle turn applique method.  She said when it got to the really, really tiny pieces she did use a bit of freezer paper here and there because the pieces were too small to turn.  I believe this is entirely hand quilted, too!  It took Carol 8 years to finish this quilt!

Check out the mitered corners in this closeup!

I wish you could have seen this in person like we did!  I asked Carol if the background fabric was tea-dyed.  She said no and had a funny story about it.  Apparently they drove quite a way to get the fabric, and when she came out of the store with it her husband remarked, "We drove all this way to buy dirty fabric?"

Totally amazing!

Here is another quilt Carol had finished.  I believe she said most of this was hand pieced as well.  Look at all those hexies!  I don't know the name of this pattern but it looks like a Grandmother's Flower Garden.

Another view.  Carol's husband turned to Mr. Squash and asked how he got roped into going to the quilt shop with me!  He replied that he taught me how to fly fish and I fly fish with him, so one hand washes the other!

Here's some detail on this quilt.  Carol's attention to detail is amazing.  You really can't even see her stitches. Thanks so much, Carol, for allowing me to show off your incredible work!

I was also pleased to hear that one of the shop gals was a regular reader of my blog!  It's always so much fun to stop at Boersma's - we may have to stop on our way home, too!

We're in Lincoln City now and plan to drive home on Saturday.  I believe my next post will be #400!  I might just have to celebrate with a giveaway soon!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Things are Popping up All Over!

Mr. Squash and I have been doing a little work in the garden (well, if you ask Mr. Squash he might say he is working like a rented mule - lol), that is between surprise snow and hailstorms!  That's right - on Tuesday morning we awoke to snow coming down and sticking!  I guess Mother Nature isn't quite done with the cold weather.  As I write this I hear thunder in the distance!
I did a little walk around the garden with my camera  yesterday afternoon.  Look at the rhubarb!  That pink thing is a seed pod and as I lifted the leaves I found four more!  I take them off so the stalks can have all the energy from the plant!  Soon we'll be eating rhubarb crisp!
The delicate blue flowers of Brunnera took me by surprise!  I must have walked past this plant a dozen times and just now noticed the blooms!
This Bleeding Heart is about to burst out in song!  It was a tiny plant last year and is now about 18" tall and is just beginning to bud out!
 There are 5 mounds of Saxifrage just getting ready to pop into pretty, pink flowers!
 Check out the Heuchera.  The former owners left us these two beauties!  Behind them to the right is Ms. Peony, just coming out of the ground and to the left is a little Foxglove I planted last year. 
The daffodils on the west side of the garage are sort of on their downswing.  They weren't very prolific this year, but still lovely to see!
This makes me extremely happy - my semi-dwaf, Honeycrisp apple survived the winter and as you can see here, is just beginning to set new leaves and branches!  Our Spanish gardener who used to work in the apple orchards gave me a lesson on how to prune it the other day.  It is joined this year by a  semi-dwarf Ginger Gold apple on the other side of this area.  I hope they have a long and happy life together!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Real Stars!

After my successful practice 8-point star blocks I decided it was time to get the real quilt started!
 Here are my first two "real" stars.  The fabric is Collection for a Cause: Hope by Howard Marcus.  I've decided not to make the quilt as originally planned but see if I can somehow use these blocks along with the "free" blocks from making the star block and set them all together.  Stay tuned as this will surely be a work in progress for a while to come!

I wanted to show you another quilt from the show we attended this past Friday.  I've never seen nor heard of this "chenille" technique!  The fabric appeared to be some sort of gauzy polyester - very interesting.  I have no idea how it's done, but it reminded me a little of rug hooking!  What do you think?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Quilt Show

My friend and fellow quilter, Carol, and I went to the big city for a quilt show on Friday.  As usual, we ran into some other quilting friends Donna and Marge (thought you gals would like to see your names here) and checked out the offerings for this year.   This will be mostly show and tell with just a few words here and there - enjoy!

 I think this was my favorite in terms of quilting this year!  I wonder if I'll ever be able to do this on Vinnie!

 I just love this Kim Diehl quilt pattern!  One day I'm going to make it, too!

 Who doesn't love the craftsmanship that goes into a whole cloth quilt!  Click on the photo for the extraordinary detail!
 I liked this quilt for - can you guess???  Of course, the fishing theme!  It could have used some more quilting, but we surmised that perhaps the quilter wasn't quite done!
 Each of the fish and the basket, rod and net were all hand embroidered!
 Another quilt on my bucket list.
 Bright colors!
 I've got the pattern and lots of scraps for this one - just have to get my rear in gear!
 I liked not only the block here, but also the great and unusual use of color!
 Just gorgeous applique - and look -- it's the 8-pointed star I just showed you how to make the easy way!
 Wonderful scrap quilt!
This antique quilt still had very vibrant color to it!  The sign said they didn't know what the block was called.  Any ideas?
This was the maker's own design and very clever use of scraps and re-purposed clothing!

I hope you enjoyed the show!