Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Final Block!

Hooray...I finished my final Kathy Schmitz Sweet Stitches Block of the Month!

Here is the January block.  This snowman is really dressed for the cold!  I think he must live in our neck of the woods.  We've had tons of freezing fog, which when it's happening falls just like snow.  It even accumulates!

I placed all the blocks on my design wall.  Did you notice I even fixed my November block after an attack of "senior dyslexia"?  You can see how it used to look HERE.  I knew I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't make it right.

I was going to make 9-patches as corner stones between the blocks, but once I put them up on the design wall it became apparent that it's already busy enough as it is!  I'll sash the blocks with something neutral instead.  When I get some samples together I just might ask for your opinion.  If anyone has an opinion now, feel free to weigh in!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Morning Meusli

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by the people and pets you love!  We sure did here at the Squash House!  We have two traditions.  The first is that Mr. Squash stays up until midnight when Sasha and Gracie May have their once a year talk with him.  They present a list of non-negotiable demands which he promises to uphold!

Our other Christmas tradition is to have baked oatmeal for breakfast.  This year I decided to change up the recipe I got from Cooking Light magazine, Oct 2003 issue.  I've had a bag of Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style Meusli that we've been working on and it occurred to me that I could use it in the recipe with some modifications!  
First place 1 cup of quick cooking oats and 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style Meusli in a medium bowl.
Add 1/3 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed and 1 teaspoon baking powder.  Mix together.
In another bowl mix together 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk, 1/2 cup applesauce (I always keep the little 4 ounce cups of applesauce that come in a 6-pack around), 1 egg lightly beaten, and 2 tablespoons butter, melted.  I mix the first three ingredients together first as the butter is usually pretty warm from the microwave.  Mix in the butter slowly to temper the egg, otherwise you'll wind up with scrambled eggs.
Combine both bowls of ingredients.
Pour into an 8" square baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray and bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.  Since we're at a little over 1,000 feet altitude it took the full 30 minutes to bake.
It's done when the edges are golden brown and it's completely set.  Scoop into bowls and enjoy just as it is or top with fruit and a little milk!
For Christmas dinner we had a wonderful prime rib roast.  In order to bring it to room temperature before cooking, I had to devise a way to keep the curious kitties away from it.  My cake plate worked really well!  There isn't anything they won't go after, especially Sasha!  Usually when I take something out of the oven to cool it has to go directly into the bathroom on a rack with the door shut!
Speaking of the cats - I was having a terrible time crocheting around these two (just use your imagination as to how) until their Auntie Stephanie came up with a wonderful idea!  She suggested making a ball of yarn they can call their own!  What a brilliant idea!  As you can see above, it seemed to entertain them greatly!

Christmas Morning Baked Oatmeal
(adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, Oct 2003)

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style Meusli
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cups golden raisins
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups fat free milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 Tblsp butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Combine the milk, applesauce butter and egg.  Add milk mixture to oat mixture; stir well.  Pour oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and set (check at 20 minutes).  Serve warm.  Makes about 5 servings.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Friends Helping Friends

Recently my friend Stephanie over at Loft Creations and I talked about each of us making a Granny Stripe blanket.  We thought it would be fun to help each other out with pattern choices and crochet questions...friends helping friends!  The best part is no rules or timelines!
Quite a few years ago I bought a whole bunch of yarn to crochet a Babette blanket.  Unfortunately it never came to be.  Two things happened - when I got my yarn in the mail I really didn't like a lot of my color choices - strike one!  Then when I began to crochet I just couldn't get the granny square method for this to come out to my satisfaction - strike two!   Not long after that we retired, the yarn got thrown into a box and we moved across the state - strike three!  I unpacked it and put it in a drawer and forgot about it.

After discussing the blanket with Stephanie I decided rather than buy new yarn, I would just pick out the colors from Babette that I like and begin anew!  Here is my progress so far.  Not nearly where Stephanie is, but I have two cats "issues" which I will explain in a bit.
These are the colors I'm using.  I don't have a plan....I'm just crocheting as I go.  I'll probably change colors randomly.  I really enjoy it when I'm left alone - which is rare!  See the little ball in the right hand corner on the floor?
That ball was brought to me by this little monster cutie, Gracie May.  She dropped it in my lap as I was crocheting and then proceeded to pounce on my work.  It happened over and over again until Mr. Squash came into the room asking about all the ruckus!  I asked him to please turn on the Cat's Meow (yes, we succumbed to the TV advertisement) which (temporarily) distracted her.  I'm not sure how much help Stephanie can be in this department, but she's definitely been a big help so far in finding a great pattern to use!
This past month has been brutally cold around here.  Check out the barometer above on Dec 7th - 2 degrees!  I don't think a day went by where I wasn't wearing at least 3 layers just around the house!
I little while ago I checked and look at the difference - 56 degrees!  I'm almost ready to put on shorts (not) and go join Mr. Squash in the yard!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Santa Finish!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  If I had to pick one thing I am thankful for it would be Mr. Squash!  He is my best friend and the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me!  We're going to enjoy dinner out this year and save the turkey for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I just finished the second to last of my Kathy Schmidt calendar blocks.

For the first time I substituted two of my own fabrics in the block.  I really like how it turned out!  One more to go, then I plan to incorporate them all in a quilt.  Stay tuned as I just might need your help in deciding on a layout for the quilt!

On Sunday we're headed to Portland for a few days of shopping and big city merriment!  If all goes well I will post from there.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Squash House Kitchens...It's Not Just a Bakery!

That's my new saying around the house!  Kinda catchy, don't you think?  When the weather turns colder the kitchen heats up around here.  I try to keep Mr. Squash in baked goods throughout the summer (thanks to great air conditioning), but one thing cooked in the oven a couple of times a week is enough in our summer heat!

I don't know if you've noticed but I've added a new category on my sidebar under my blog feed.  It's called "Foodie Places I Frequent".  One of them is Simply So Good.  Janet is an amazing cook!  I make a lot of her recipes and each time I do, I find something new to make again and again!

Yesterday it was Janet's Chicken Pot Pies.  Oh my - were they ever good!  If you check out her blog you'll  notice that Janet is also a whiz at photography and what I call "food staging", which I'm not.  In fact, I decided to take these photos after we sat down and began to dig in!  Here is my smaller pot pie.  I used a little 4 ounce ramekin, just enough for me!
Here is Mr. Squash's larger pot pie.  Unfortunately there wasn't much on his spoon at the time, but trust me, there are big chunks of chicken, carrot and potatoes in each one!  The recipe made two more larger pot pies like this.  You can pretty much use whatever oven-safe container you like.  These will now become a staple in our household!  Do go over and check out Janet's blog if you can, and tell her I sent you!
I've been sewing quite a bit lately but still nothing I can show you!  How about some cute photos of naptime at the Squash House!  Gracie May is getting so much bigger and just loves her heated bed!
Sasha is Queen of the Couch!  She loves laying in a sunbeam anywhere, but the couch is the best!

I'll be trying another new-to-me recipe tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Good Intentions.....

On Wednesday Mr. Squash and I loaded up the fishing gear, packed a nice lunch, stopped at Starbucks to fill up our thermoses and headed down to Oregon to fish the Wallowa River.  It was still gorgeous and sunny and looked to be the perfect last day for fishing trout this year.

We encountered this gorgeous scenery on the way.  This was taken up near the top of Tollgate Pass in NE Oregon.  See the moon in the sky?

When I zoomed in on the landscape I saw this wonderful clearing amongst the golden larch trees and pines.  We thought it would be really neat to have a cabin in that clearing!

When we reached the fishing spot it was 34 degrees and shady all along the river!  No way were we going to fish and even if we did, we wouldn't have been dressed warmly enough.  So, we thought why not drive up to Wallowa Lake.   As we headed that way we passed the sign for Hwy 3 and decided to take it instead.  We've always wanted to see the area between Enterprise, OR and Clarkson, WA.

I must say we were not disappointed!  The drive took us up past 5,000 feet at one point!  The larch trees were in full, golden splendor as were all the other deciduous trees and foliage!  This spot turned out to be Joseph Canyon. looking back toward Idaho.  The Nez Perce called this home for a very long time.
If you click on the photo you can read a little bit about this spot.  Sadly US Government troops eventually ran the Nez Perce out of this area to reservations.
As we headed north toward the SE corner of Washington state, the views became more and more expansive!  Down in the crook of the hills where you see all the green trees is the Grand Ronde River.  One day we plan a guided fishing trip on the Grande Ronde for Steelhead.
Here is a closeup of some of the changing foliage - just breathtaking!  We realized we're getting really good at packing up the fishing gear and driving it around - lol!  All in all our round trip was just under 300 miles for the day!  Not what we expected at all, but it was well worth the trip!
A few days ago I showed you the great colors in the Squash House yard.  Tomorrow we're expecting much colder weather and high winds.  The leaves are beginning to fall quickly and will soon be a memory.
Look how much more brilliant our maples have gotten in just a few days.  The squirrels are running around like crazy gathering and burying their winter stores.  Sasha so wants to go out and chase them around, but these days she just gets to watch a lot of birdie and squirrel TV!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blame it on the Full Moon...

I've been away from blogland for a while because we've been having a spectacular Fall.  Every day is sunny, clear and nearly 70 degrees.  They say it will stay this way for a while, too!  I've been doing quite a bit of sewing, too, but most of it is Supreme sewing which I can't show you just yet.  
I did finish a little sewing of my own.  Do you see the error of my ways? I somehow managed to twist the blocks the wrong way in the top and bottom rows.  I can't believe I did this, but I might just leave it and call it my "Maverick" block.   Or, knowing me, I'll rip it out and resew those rows before putting the quilt top together.   I'm blaming it on the recent full moon!
Check out the blue sky looking to the east from our backyard!  Our neighbor's maple always turns first, and ours are last to go.  We've done a bit of garden cleanup but there will be more to come once we get some freezing at night.  I have no idea why we haven't had a hard freeze yet with the clear days, but I'm not complaining!  Even the rhubarb is still producing!
Another reason I've been out of blogland is that we've been doing a few Squash House improvements.  The other day I painted the planter box out front.  I chose a blue almost identical to the blue in our barn quilt.  We had the house painted this summer so everything looks crisp and clean!  
Here is a view looking out toward the street at our Dogwood trees.  This year they are as red as we've ever seen them!  We have a gang of Flicker's that arrive every year to feast on the berries they produce.

As you read this Mr. Squash and I are fishing on the Wallowa River in Oregon.  We decided to go over for just the day since the weather is so nice.  Trout season ends on October 31st.  Hopefully I'll have some great fishing pics on my next post!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Best Friends...Finally!

Harmony at the Squash House.  All is well in the world!

Friday, September 27, 2013


We've had a lean fishing year....which translates to no fishing at all so far.  Finally, Mr. Squash and I were able to go out on the Yakima River with a guide.  We just returned home yesterday and had a wonderful time!

At first the weather report said we would be rained on all day!  We prepared for the worst, but thankfully, it didn't affect just the area where we fished!  Most of the day was like this - partly cloudy and pretty crisp.
When it came time for lunch, our guide Mike anchored the boat on a nice stretch of the river and set up a table and chairs for lunch!  Now this is what we call living!  We had fried chicken, apples, a cucumber/squash salad that isn't in this photo, chips, cookies and cold water.  Everything was delicious!

Then it came time to get back in the boat and do some more fishing!  If you look closely, you'll see a nice cutthroat trout in the net!  Mr. Squash landed it beautifully and the guide netted it so he could release it back into the river.  The Yakima is a world class river, all catch and release.  We asked Mike how far away from home people came to fish the river.  He said he's had guests as far away as Japan and Austria!
One nice thing about going out with a guide - they net the fish, unhook it and put it back in the river!  Here's another nice fish Mr. Squash caught!
In addition to fish, we saw quite a bit of wildlife.  If you click on the photo above there is a small herd of bighorn sheep - all female here.
This large heron flew back and forth around us and he finally landed for a nice photo shoot.  In case you can't see him - he's on the right side of the photo.
This interesting wildlife is us taken on the Umptanum bridge.  I am layered up under my fishing waders which is why I look like a little doughboy!  We told the guide we really wanted a good photo to use on our Christmas card this year.  Hmmmm....maybe not this one (wink).

Monday, September 23, 2013

Two More Finishes and a Butterfly

It's been another busy week in the sewing room.  I now have another finish waiting to be quilted - or shall I saw waiting for Gracie May to mature enough that she won't jump all over the quilt while it's on the longarm!

This is a quilt by Jaybird called Fast Forward.  The brightly colored strips are actually a glazed chintz from the Netherlands!  I've had them for quite some time just waiting for the right quilt to show them off!  I was a bit scared of using such a deep purple to show them off, but I think it worked really well!
The chintz came in a jelly roll of sorts.  When I first opened the roll I was surprised to see they were 60 inches long!  I was even more surprised to find three different prints on each strip - bonus! They were separated by a small, neutral stripe.  I've never seen anything like it!  I must say I really enjoyed working with this fabric!  It holds it's shape and cuts so beautifully.  No fraying, either.
I also finished my October BOM from Kathy Schmitz.  Isn't it adorable?  The "Boo" flag is an iron-on applique.
Check out this gorgeous butterfly.  Can you guess what it is?
It's the new doorknocker on the Squash House!  Not only did we not have a doorbell, we didn't have a door knocker!  It was hard to hear if anyone was at the door if you were downstairs.  I saw this and crossed my fingers it would work - and it does!

We're doing some minor updates here and there around the Squash House - just in time to celebrate Autumn's arrival - my favorite time of the year.  As I finish them, I'll give you a peek.  The biggest update will be new living room furniture that will arrive sometime around Christmas.  It's always nice to add a new touch here and there, isn't it!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When a UFO Finish isn't really a UFO...

Most of you who have been with me for a while know that I like to finish what I start.  There have been a couple of quilts I've started and put back with no intentions of finishing for one reason or another, but for the most part I like to finish everything I start before heading to a new project.

Mr. Squash bought this pattern for me soon after we retired nearly 4 years ago.  I cut out the fabrics for the setting blocks and put them in a container while I began the stitching the embroidered blocks.  Not really a UFO, right?  Well, almost four years later I've finally finished!  It's from Crabapple Hill and called Flight of Fancy.  I changed up all the fabrics, as well as the embroidery colors from the original pattern found HERE. It measures 76 x 76.
I worked on the blocks in the evenings here and there.
The birds are stitched on an antiqued muslin - a total of 4 different colors of muslin.  The thread I used is the 2 strand Cosmos embroidery floss that come on a roll.  I always back my stitcheries with another piece of lightweight muslin.  It makes them more stable and hides any knots or thread jumps.
The bulk of the prints are an older print called Definitions by Faye Burgos.  I supplemented the rest from my stash.  The blues you see are really gray - my camera chose that - not me!
I'll back it in the geometric print you see and the binding will be the large polka dots.  This was a very satisfying finish as I do love embroidery!

Here is the reason I have 4 quilts waiting to go on my longarm!  She already ruined one project I had loaded to quilt.  I had to remove it from the frame, pick out the stitches and put it away until she's a bit older.  Gracie May thinks she is hiding under this little pad.  It usually sits at the door to the backyard off the dining room.  Gracie loves to watch what goes on out the glass door, and I thought she would like a little soft pad over the hardwood.  However, she loves to scoot around the room under it!  
Here is what Sasha lives for in the mornings!  She is a total fanatic over the foam on my morning latte!  Once I set it on the counter and walked away for just a moment.  When I returned she had licked all the foam off the top!  We try to satisfy them both with just  little finger full of "fluffies" each day.

Soon I'll have another finish to show you!