Sunday, March 31, 2013

Peter Cottontail and a Pitiful Puss!

Just in time for Easter!

Here is my Peter Cottontail Sweet Stitches March block!  I think this is the cutest rabbit, ever!
Speaking of cute - and pitiful!  Miss Sasha chewed open her stitches from being spayed and got a little infection.  She's now confined to this nasty collar until some serious healing happens.  I think Mr. Squash and I feel worse than she does.  But it hasn't stopped her from eating and playing!  That's our girl!

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Colors are Flying!

Thought I would start today by showing you my new quilting assistant!  Isn't she cute?  
She is helping me sew the binding on my flag quilt.   Every day she explores more and more around the house.  Mr. Squash and I couldn't be happier with her.
Speaking of the flag quilt - here she is in all her glory!   It was a gorgeous day to take photographs, too.  
I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.  All the reds and creams are French General fabrics and the blue in the "stars" are Morris Apprentice by Barbara Brackman.   Both lines play so well together.
If you look closely to the left there are some daffodils coming up!
Here is the back.  I quilted swirls and stars - a simple design so as not to detract from the beautiful blocks in the quilt.  
Sasha says "What are you going to make next?"  Stay tuned - I'll have another Sweet Stitches block in a day or two. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sasha, Sugar and Primroses!

Spring is slowly showing her face these days.  After a cloudy start today, we're now under blue skies and warming temps!  This past winter we had our four, sixty year old Dogwoods pruned.  I thought for sure all the trampling and branches falling along with winter would do in the Primroses beneath the trees.  No Way!
Here we are looking down the row of four.  It's a little hard to see the color, but keep reading...
Isn't it wonderful to see so much color so early in the season?  They pretty much never stopped blooming LAST spring!  I think most of them kept on blooming throughout winter, along with quite a few of the winter pansies we planted in the fall!
Here we are looking out from the front porch.  In driving around town, I think we have one of the most colorful yards so far!  Miguel, who mows the lawn along with his wife Erica was here today for the first spring mowing.  He also pruned the apples, pear and grapes along with some other small shrubs.
Look here - there is even a cat growing in the front yard (wink)!  Sugar heard my voice and came around from her sunny perch on the other side to say hello!
Last summer it was all I could do to just get close enough for a light pat on the head.  Now she rolls over, stretches and wiggles her back legs while I give her a good tummy scratching!  Kitty love, I say!
Speaking of kitty love, this little one has melted our hearts already!  She's feeling right at home and talking up a storm!  We call her motor mouth or little miss walkie talkie!  She is hiding under a chair while Mr. Squash washes the outside windows.  There are many sounds she isn't used to yet...dishwasher, TV, dust buster, but she's being a real trooper!

On the quilting front I'm nearly finished binding the flag quilt and almost done with the March Sweet Stitches project. I'll show them to you soon!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Meet Sasha!

Yesterday Mr. Squash and I decided to drop off some food our outdoor cat, Sugar, wouldn't eat to the Humane Society.  We thought we would have a look around while we were there.  It's a wonderful facility and they even recently had a mortgage burning party!  They have had so much support from the's not often any business can burn their mortgage!
Look who came home with us!  She is a one-year old, (mostly or all) Siamese sweetie we are calling Sasha.
Sasha is very tiny and was spayed as soon as she entered the shelter.  We left her there while we drove back home to get our carrier.  On the way we decided her full name would be Sasha Siam O'Stasha!
What a funny name, you say?  We chose Sasha on the spot.  Mr. Squash thought I had said Stasha (with a "T") which he thinks is Polish.  
While filling out the adoption papers we saw that she was brought in on St. Patrick's Day.  See her green ear?  So, we settled on Sasha Siam (for her breed) O'Stasha in honor of St. Patrick's Day!  Who wouldn't want a cat who is almost part Irish (wink) and maybe a little Polish!
She is very sweet and very scared right now.  While I went to the grocery store, she hid from Mr. Squash.  I came home to find him frantically searching the house for her.  We finally found her under one of the large footstools downstairs.  I'm sure in a few days she'll know she's truly home and no longer a lost little stray.

There has been a big hole in our lives since we lost our dear, sweet Sophie.  Sophie will always be with us in our hearts, but I know the days ahead with Sasha will help fill that hole.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Churn Dash Finish!

Just a quick post to show you my finished Churn Dash quit!

I recently feel like I finally mastered feathers on the longarm but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to use them in this little quilt!  So I used one of my favorite pantographs. 
The new blanket trunk is turning out to be a wonderful place to display these small quilts!

The back looks pretty good, too!  I used Dream Wool batting - I just love how it makes the quilting pop!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Camels and Meringues!

Where does the time go when you're retired?! I've had my hands in quite a few projects lately.  Between that and the change to Daylight Savings Time, I need a vacation!

Over the weekend Mr. Squash and I decided to drive to a few small neighboring cities.  Along the way we saw that Izzy the Camel was out enjoying the sunshine with his buddies.  We pulled over the get a photo and he was kind enough to give us this wonderful pose!
Across the road the sun was shining on the winter wheat making a gorgeous pattern.  I just love driving these roads all year long.  The wheat in it's different stages is always amazing sight.
Yesterday I got the bug to make my Coconut Cream Pie.   I usually like to make it for Easter, but this year we're going out, so I thought why wait?  The meringue turned out really good this time.  From the counter to the top it measures six inches!  You can find the recipe for the Pate Brisee here and the recipe for the pie here.  I've never been able to make all the cute little loops at the top like Martha does, but I guarantee the taste is really good!

I finished quilting my little Churn Dash quilt and am applying the binding now.  I also tried putting a nice quilt on top of our new blanket chest - it's a winner - don't you think?

Friday, March 8, 2013

And the Winners are....

Thanks to everyone who commented about my new blog look!  I'm so glad everyone likes it!  For those of you who were wondering where the fishing rod is, you can go to the About Me tab and you'll find at least one fish!

I gave Mr. Squash a number range and he picked two winners.  Cindy of Sew Cindy and Sue of Cozy Little Quilts are the winners.  Congratulations ladies!

I thought I would make us some goodies for the weekend.  While working out on the treadmill the other day I was watching the Food Network.  I saw the Neely's make these Banana Cupcakes and had to give them a try.  Instead of a molasses cream cheese frosting I just made a regular cream cheese frosting - Mr. Squash's favorite.  I'm warning you, if you made them you'd better at least double the recipe because they will go fast!

Back in March of last year I showed you my new fat quarter cupboard here.  I can't believe it's been a year since I got it.  Would you believe it's now full to overflowing?  Sad, but true.  We liked the work on it so much we purchased another item from them which was delivered the other day.  Say hello to my new coffee table.  It doubles as a blanket chest which we needed badly.  It's made of pine with an oak stain which will darken with age.  We'll be getting a few more pieces from these folks in the near future.

Happy Weekend to everyone!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Look and a Giveaway!

Ta Da!  What do you think of my new look?  I thought it was about time my blog got a "new wardrobe".  The design is by the very talented Karen Valentine of Valentine Design!  Karen was easy to work with, reasonable, and just sort of "got me"!  Do check out Karen's website when you have some time and also her beautiful blog here.

I still have a bit of housekeeping to do, but the design is here to stay!  To celebrate my makeover, let's have a giveaway!  Just leave a comment telling me what you think of the new look for a chance to win one of two packages.  
The first package consists of a charm pack of Simply Color by V and Co. along with two pattern from my favorite designer - Loft Creations!  Many of you know that I am one of Stephanie's Supreme Pattern Testers.  Her patterns are fun, and easy to make!

The second goodie package is a charm pack of Tula Pink's Salt Water and two more patterns by Loft Creations.  

Mr. Squash and I will choose two lucky winners on Friday, March 8th.  This giveaway is open to both US and international commenters!  So go ahead, be honest, tell me what you think of the new design!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Sewing, Shopping, Cooking!

Thank goodness the strange widgets have gone away for now!  Soon you'll be seeing a whole new look here at the Squash House.  I can't wait!

In the meantime I've been busy.

Here is my completed March Winds BOM from Kathy Schmitz.  I'll be sewing all the blocks into one quilt rather than making little quilts from each month.  The birds are little applique pieces that come in the kit.  At first glance I thought the colors weren't going to be to my liking, but now that it's done, I like it a lot!
When we were in Napa we shopped in several places we had not been on prior trips.  One of the most fun stops was Rancho Gordo in Napa.  They grow heirloom beans which we were told don't have to be soaked as long as ones you buy in the supermarket.  Here is my loot from the store.  I adapted their recipe for chocolate chip cookies from their blog and will show you those next using some of these ingredients.  Also, I made chili using the Pinquitos - it was wonderful!
The day we arrived in Napa, Robert took us to the Oxbow market place for lunch.  It reminded me of a smaller version of the Granville Island market in Vancouver,  B.C. We had some wonderful, healthy tacos from one of the vendors here.  Had we not been so full from lunch, we would have stopped at this vendor's eclair booth for dessert!
There are many stores in Napa that sell olive oil and various related products from olives grown around the valley.  This is one of them.
Check out this tea seller!  
Here is a look down one end of the market.  I'd like to spend more time here on our next visit.
I've had the bug to try bread from sourdough starter for some time now.  I think it comes from reading King Arthur Flour's blog!  I ordered some sourdough starter, took a couple of days feeding it, and tried making their rustic sourdough bread yesterday.  While it doesn't quite look like the picture in their blog post, it tastes pretty darned good!
I was quite pleased how even the texture was, too!  Mr. Squash and I indulged ourselves with a pot of butter and a couple of knives as soon as it was cool enough to slice!

Stay tuned for my new look - there might even be a giveaway involved.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Quick Piecing Fix!

I had to interrupt my plan of blogging some cool shopping while we were in Napa - that will be next.  While we were gone I began to go through piecing withdrawal!  Two weeks is a long time to be away from my Bernina sidekick.  When we left I had a small quilt ready to go on my work table and as soon as we returned I needed a fix!  What better to do than piece it together!

Here is the quilt top all finished!  It's from Jo Morton's Banner Day book and is called Simply Sweet Churn Dash.  I made it with some of the fabrics Jo used in hers along with some that she didn't.  The quilt top measures 23 1/2" square and contains my very favorite block - the Churn Dash.  
Mr. Squash thought the blocks looked like Celtic rings when I first showed it to him.  I had to turn it on point so he could see the Churn Dash.  This was a fun, quick and easy project and I am no longer going through piecing withdrawal!
Most of you know I have another obsession - gadgets!  Here is my newest.  It's a spoon holder that I found at the Culinary Institute of America's kitchen shop!  I had my doubts about whether or not it would work, but it does!  The spoon is hovering over the beginnings of my homemade chili.  It's a rainy, soggy day and what could be better than chili and homemade skillet cornbread!

All of a sudden I'm getting some sort of Photobucket thingy overlaying the beginning of my blog.  I don't even have a Photobucket account.  I didn't put it there and can't seem to get rid of it.  ***Edit - I found out the problem is with my blog designers who won't return my emails.  So stay tuned for BIG changes as I'll have a whole new blog design real soon!