Monthly Archives: February 2010

7 More Days of 365

Last February was when the real doldrums of 365 started to take their toll. We weren’t really happy with any picture we took at this time last year, and figured this year wouldn’t be as bad. Funny story… Turns out February is just a really tough time of year for wanting to take pictures every day.

February 15

February 15 2010


We stopped at the Pennsylvania welcome center on our drive home from Buffalo, and were charmed by the design there, including the glass-block wall inside the wall of picture windows along the bathroom. Who knew there were such nice bathrooms along the drive home from Buffalo?

February 16

February 16 2010

There are signs of life! Maple Hoo Garden ’10 is well on its way! Our first onion sprout has sprouted!

February 17

February 17 2010

I had to walk between buildings at work today, and totally cracked up when I walked past the forsythia thicket where the stray cats all hang out and saw the way they’re getting around all this snow. The branches of the rambling shrubbery have made a pretty nice igloo roof for them, and it looks awfully snug and dry under there, and the best part is this little sun deck they’ve got. This calico was all buddhaed in the sun when I first walked past, suspended by the twiggy branches over the pristine snow below. She got a bit antsy when I came back with my camera, but ultimately the appeal of being suspended, dry, above the ground was greater than the fear of the person with the camera, so she warily stayed put. I figured this would be a great cautionary tale for our cats. Next time they complain about living here, we can just show them this picture and remind them how easy they’ve got it.

–Schn.

February 18

February 18, 2010

A small ad in a quilting magazine caught Schnookie’s eye a few months ago. It featured an awesome quilt covered in little circles. She Googled the ad and discovered it was for a block of the month called “Pies and Tarts”. Needless to say, we signed up that instant. The store said the bom would ship in February. Between signing up and Feb 1st, we all got increasingly revved up for the project, wondering why the heck it hadn’t come yet when it was already Febraury 2nd! Finally it arrived on the 18th and since we were SO psyched for it, we started it right away. It’s done with English paper piecing (a new technique for us) and so far it’s fabulous!

— Pookie

February 19

February 19 2010

I left work kind of late today, and would have been really cranky about it, except when I was walking out, the sun was setting gorgeously on the snow. Where the sunbeams hit the snow, it was the color of pink lemonade, and everything else was falling into dusky shadow. And about five minutes later, it was gone.

–Schn.

February 20

February 20, 2010

Thanks to our cross-stitch, needlepoint, and quilting habits, we have threads in literally every color of the rainbow. So we kind of think going with thread is a bit of a cop-out for sixty-four colors. However, there are extenuating circumstances this week.

You see, we let our sister select a quilt for us to make for her, and true to KtG, she picked something full of purples. She is very much a purple person. We are not. Heh. It’s been a fun project, though, to get to work with fabrics and patterns that are so outside our norm. And, last weekend in Buffalo, the final borders were attached, with purple thread, of course. So on our drive home on Monday, we excitedly checked our iPhones to see what this week’s color was… and it was the exact match of our thread! What are the chances?

Today we staged a photo shoot of it. This might just be the last time we use purple thread in a quilt.

February 21

February 21 2010


The clematis in the back yard looks spidery and spooky, all dried for the winter.

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Garden Update: The Early Edition

Hey, remember how we got all excited to start our 2010 planting a few weeks ago? Remember our imbolc lettuce? Well, the last few weeks have not been kind to the garden.

Garden Under Snow

Lettuce? Are you under there? Can you hear us?

Yesterday we finally dug a path through all the melting mountains of snow into the garden to see what was going on inside the still-buried cold frame. And while it’s certainly been warm the last week, that has meant little to the lettuce.

Imbolc Lettuce Growing

No matter how much you squint, you still won’t see lettuce in there.

But while the lettuce is decidedly not cool, the pattern of melting snow in the shadows of the fence is at least kinda neat.

Not Melting Evenly

It’s hardly a vegetable growing, but it’s still sort of fun to look at.

So winter’s proving to be a bit of an obstacle in our “let’s start the garden outdoors in February!” plans. We can admit defeat on this one. The whole imbolc concept is apparently a huge scam. But it’s not too soon to start the garden indoors. Check out our onions!

Onion Seedlings

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we can’t wait to eat that monkey.

We planted them last Thursday, before heading up to Buffalo, and saw the first signs of life on Monday. Now, a bit over a week later, they’re all green and perky and thinking good thoughts about growing into strong, hearty onions. And before much longer, they’ll be joined by pepper seedlings. We’re gearing up here at Maple Hoo!

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Filed under 2. February, Garden

Crystal Delicious

This past weekend we took the scenic drive up to Buffalo to see our friend Katebits and her new house. The plan was to hang out, watch the Olympics, eat a lot of junk food, then do all those things while also hanging out with Heather, then do all those things some more while also hanging out with Amy and mcguffers. In other words, it was going to be a big, bloggerly get-together at Katebits’s fabulous manse.

Before we hit the road, Katebits emailed us to inform us that the menu of junk food for the weekend was expansive, and that she had also stocked up on alcohol. When we arrived, we discovered more delicious vittles than the mind can comprehend, a fridge filled with Diet Coke, a healthy number of bottles of wine, and a brand-new bottle of orange vodka. So, over the first of what would be many meals of wine and junk food, we had a long, wide-ranging discussion of the fortunes of the Sabres and the Devils, and a brief discussion of how there was nothing in the house other than Crystal Light to mix with the vodka.

We ended up drawing two conclusions: the first is that Crystal Light is probably a perfectly cromulent mixer, and the second is that the Sabres’ robot scout, Short Circuit, is probably not the most qualified NHL scout, but is endlessly hilarious. In honor of the robot of the hour, we invented a brilliant new cocktail.

Short Circuit

The Short Circuit: Bleep bloop!

Fill a glass with ice. Mix orange vodka, pink lemonade Crystal Light, and fizzy water to taste. Stir. Quaff deeply and often, in the very best company. Life is exceptionally grand.

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Another Week Of 365

February 8, 2010

February 8 2010

This week’s Sixty-Four Colors color is another tricky one where the actual crayon and the color it colors are pretty different. We found the color of the swatch on our fridge inside a souvenir from our favorite photo excursion destination.

February 9, 2010

February 9 2010

Standing out on the front steps, taking pictures with the speedlight of the snow starting.

February 10, 2010

February 10 2010

The deck furniture, mid-blizzard.

February 11, 2010

February 11 2010

The view down the street after the plows came through.

February 12, 2010

February 12 2010

One of our favorite details at Katebits’s wonderful house — her cute pink-flowered cactus and star lights in the dining room window.

February 13, 2010

February 13 2010

We were trying to “accidentally” run into Sabres players when we went out for lunch today, but the closest we got was our “Delicious Ryan Beverages”.

February 14, 2010

February 14 2010

We had a MARVELOUS lazy day of sitting around, eating junk food, and watching the Olympics with friends. At the very last minute we realized that we hadn’t taken any pictures yet, so we asked Kate if we could take a picture of her viola.

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SNOW DAY!

Marshmallow Deck

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Filed under Pictures Worth A Thousand Words, Seasonal

These Are The Weeks Of Our Lives

February 1, 2010

February 1 2010

It’s nice having cats, because it means there is always a subject for a picture-a-day, no matter how uninspired or tired you are. Here, Rollie makes things easy by posing behind the sun lamp while I was up and about with the 100mm hoping a picture would find me. –Schn.

February 2, 2010

February 2 2010

Happy Groundhog Day! The only positive to take from tonight’s miserably awful excuse for a hockey game is that we learned that Alberta has it’s own Punxsutawney Phil — Balzac Billy

February 3, 2010

February 3 2010

There was an accident blocking the road on my way to the doctor’s office, which gave me a chance to roll down the window and snap some shots with Ricoh Suave of the snowy woods. — Pk.

February 4, 2010

February 4 2010

I got these stickers in the mail today from a certain sister who loves to shower me with squirrel stuff! Apparently, squirrels are the symbol of Cortina. Who knew? — Pk.

February 5, 2010

February 5 2010

We’re all hunkered down at Maple Hoo, ready to get snowed in for the weekend. We’ve got Diet Coke, tons of stitching, and Valentine M&Ms. What more could we need?

February 6, 2010

February 6 2010

We had this exchange as Schnookie tried to document Pookie doing gardening work today:

Pookie, while bent over to the cold frame to sweep off the snow: “Are you getting pictures of it?”

Schnookie, huddled under the eave of the front door, sheltering the camera from the snow: “I can’t really get a view that shows what you’re doing.”

Pookie, rising and beaming: “I’m gardening!”

February 7, 2010

February 7 2010

Behold! Our masterpiece is complete! Our very own Chuck the Duck!!

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IPB’s Web-Footed Friend

For those of you Gentle Readers who aren’t NJ Devils fans, this post requires a tiny bit of explanation. The channel that airs Devils games, MSG+, has developed, over the last few years, an informal mascot named “Chuck The Duck”. Chuck has absolutely nothing to do with the games, but the production crew seems to love staging flavoring shots of Chuck on the road, such as boating in Florida, eating poutine in Montreal, or posing as Santa Claus. It’s a little convoluted, but at this point, he’s a beloved part of the tv broadcasts for all Devils fans.

Way back on December 18 the brilliant and talented Gentle Reader Jarhead_SGT blew our minds with this homemade Chuck the Duck. After we recovered from the staggering sense of awe, we wondered, “How did we not think of that?” Really, how could we not have our own Chuck the Duck? Especially when we already knew exactly how to make a felt duck. All we would need is the felt duck, a hockey sweater for it, a hockey helmet, and a cigar. It would be a piece of cake!

January 17 2010

We started with a prototype, just to hammer out the logistics. Using craft-store felt, we constructed a shockingly cute little duck, then draped him for his Reebok slim-fit-style sweater. There was no small sense of thrilling accomplishment when we realized it was going to work.

Yellow Portrait

Our prototype was so cute, we hated just to think of it as a mere step in the construction process. But when we talked about it, we couldn’t call it “Chuck” because “Chuck” was going to be the real duck. Chuck proper was going to made out of fancier materials, and dressed, and his beak was going to be stuffed the way the pattern called for (a step we forgot to do on the prototype). We named the model MiniChuck. And MiniChuck has been a boon companion lo these weeks while awaiting the arrival in the mail of the fancy wool felt we ordered online.

Duck Parts

Yesterday, though, the pieces were all in place. The duck-making factory swung into action. And after hours of trimming and sewing and stuffing and fluffing, our masterpiece was complete.

Maximum Chuck

Behold, Gentle Reader: MAXIMUM CHUCK!

Maximum Chuck

None! None more Chuck!

Maximum Chuck

Chuck likes to bask in the glory of our free giveaway Stanley Cup banners.

Maximum Chuck

Chuck wears the very cutting edge of concussion-proof ping pong ball helmets.

Tiny Devils Logo

Chuck is a brawny manly-man, whose chest measures a whopping entire inch across.

Maximum Chuck

Because we’re very proud of cutting out such a small felt Devils logo, here’s another picture of it!

Maximum Chuck

Chuck smokes only the finest hand-rolled construction-paper cigars.

Maximum Chuck

A Canada goose can break a human’s shinbone with the force of its wings. For Chuck, that kind of damage is child’s play.

Chuck the Duck

Chuck can fight with the best of them, but he’s also got soft hands. He’s everything a hockey fan could ask for.

This Chuck might not have the glamorous lifestyle of the real Chuck, with his speedboats and his exotic travels and his poutine, but he has one decided advantage over his namesake: no Stan.

Maximum Chuck

Fischler-free since February 2010.

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Filed under Pins and Needles, Pommerdoodling

The Planting Has Started! I Repeat: The Planting Has Started!

You learn something new every day. Today, I learned (thanks to reading Garden Notes for Seedy Folks, the blog of the Hudson Valley Seed Library) that Groundhog Day is the mid-point between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox and that the ancient Celts called it “Imbolc”. Who knew? More importantly, the post about Imbolc included the following:

“…according to Eliot Coleman, Imbolc marks the approximate date when the days are long enough to permit plant growth in sun-heated protected spaces.”

Wha-huh?! Seriously? Dude.

I mentioned this to Schnookie around 1:30 or so during our pizza lunch, and by 2:15, this is what the scene on the deck looked like:

Starting Lettuce

That’s right, we’re starting seeds! Lettuce seeds. We weren’t really planning on planting any this year (we’ve only grown it once but it was so hard to keep up with and we get so much from the farm that we never bothered trying it again) but then we got a free pack of mixed lettuces when Schnookie ordered bean innoculant. Lettuce likes to be started early, right? The ancient Celts want us to start something now, right? So why not the lettuce?

Starting Lettuce 4

We’ve thrown off the tyranny of those annoying seed trays, and instead start all our seeds in leftover plastic trays that our fresh ravioli comes in. I love the feel of starting mix — it’s all fluffy and soft — so it was quite a treat to scoop trowel-fuls of the stuff into the trays.

Starting Lettuce 2

We’ll put these puppies in the cold frame and see what happens.

Probably nothing will happen, but that’s okay! I know these things take time, and we’ll have onion seedlings going soon enough. But now that the days are getting longer, I really want to have a reason to go into the garden to check on something. Anything! Even if it’s just to see if the ravioli container full of dirt is still there.

Starting Lettuce 3

And if nothing else, I had an excuse to go outside for a few minutes today. It was surprisingly warm for a cold day (or maybe the excitement of stating seeds made it seem warmer than it was) and the robins were flitting all around. We may be weeks away from having miniature seedlings to monitor, and months away from anything substantial growing, but today made gardening season seem like it’s not never coming back. Sometimes, in the darkest days of December and January, it can be easy to forget that there will be green again.

So keep your fingers crossed that our Imbolc lettuce grows big and strong! Remember, little lettuces, the ancient Celts are counting on you.

[Posted by Pookie]

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One More Week In The Life

January 25, 2010

January 25 2010

Day 1 of The Great Googly Eyes Challenge saw me pilfering books from the "leave a crappy paperback, take a crappy paperback" rack at the library. Our rakish hero can’t seem to resist our radiant dove’s dewy eyes, can he? — Pookie

January 26, 2010

January 26 2010

To celebrate a big partnership my department got off the ground with a company in China, my boss handed out “Go Global” awards to the team. The awards were, hilariously, these cheesy little faux-gemstone globe paperweights with stickers attached to indicate our site in New Jersey, and the other company’s site in China. I affixed the stickers on all of them. And later, when no one was looking, I affixed googly eyes on my award. –Schn.

January 27, 2010

January 27 2010

I’m trying to get back into the groove of taking macro shots of plants. –Schn.

January 28, 2010

January 28 2010

We got our box of 64 crayons on Monday. We knew we were in for a tough week when none of us could correctly identify sepia without looking at every single other brown crayon first. It turns out the color of the crayon itself is quite dark, but if you color a swatch, it’s much lighter. After looking all over, we finally discovered a teapot that is the exact color of the crayon, and an elastic-limbed squirrel that’s the exact color of the swatch. Perfect!

January 29, 2010

January 29 2010, or: Googly Vanitas

As you are now, so once was I

As I am now so you shall be

Googly googly googly eye

Prepare for death and follow me.

— Pookie

January 30, 2010

January 30 2010

After a very busy weekend last week, it was too cold to go out today, and had too much of a threat of bad weather. So we had a nice day at home, full of all kinds of quilt housekeeping jobs. We laid out fabrics, planned a new pattern (that we’re making up ourselves!), cut and pressed applique pieces, and, here, marked little tiny patches. All of those things are for different quilts. We’re going to quilt the whole world!

January 31, 2010

January 31 2010

We realized today that we have failed to celebrate the fact that we no longer have to make annual visits to a certain place we didn’t like going to. So today became the day we observed not having to ride on an airplane, and not having to stay at a dingy hotel, and not having to not get the chance to order that pizza and get that bottle of wine that we always told ourselves would make the stay so much better.

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