Monthly Archives: April 2010

Your Intrepid Photographers

This Monday marked another in our continuing adventures of procuring travel visas for Schnookie’s bosses. The bosses may see it as Schnookie being an uber-admin, but really it’s just an excuse to go into NYC and take cool pictures. In this case, our subject was the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. We’d been there before and had taken some pictures on the flight deck (including the undisputed Favorite Shot of 2009), but this time, rain kept us confined to the lower decks, but that didn’t stop us! Here are some of our favorite shots from our trip.

April 26 2010

Keep The Ship Afloat

Another Call From The Aircraft Carrier

People Of Earth

Star Medal

The Anchor Room

Red Light On Mint Green

Us Taking The Intrepid Very Seriously

Schnookie Posing With A Camera

Fighter Jet

The entire set can be viewed here.

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Rolling Along With 365

April 19, 2010

April 19 2010

The dogwood has fewer and fewer blossoms and leaves every year.

April 20, 2010

April 20 2010

Wandering around the yard, looking for things that are pink.

April 21, 2010

April 21 2010

When you get a Gerbera daisy, you really don’t have a choice but to take a cliched macro shot of it, right? Well, it was Administrative Professionals Day, so Schnookie (who thinks A.P. Day is the dumbest thing ever) was showered with flowers, including this little daisy. We also got our new camera Svinsvu (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) in the mail, along with a new lens (!!!!!!!) but this picture wasn’t taken with either one. And that’s our story.

April 22, 2010

April 22 2010

Across the street on my walk to work, the geese were lurking in the mist. –Schn.

April 23, 2010

April 23 2010

Augustus seemed like the perfect subject for the first go-round with the new camera. Augustus, meet Svinsvu. Svinsvu, meet Augustus!

April 24, 2010

April 24 2010

I took Svinsvu, the new 50D, out on a tour of the yard. — Pookie

April 25, 2010

April 25 2010

I wanted to see how the 50mm performs with the new camera, so I wandered around snapping anything and everything. — Pookie

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Another Week, More 365

April 12, 2010

April 12 2010

I’ve been sick for a week and Schnookie kept saying, “You should make some white rice, that always makes me feel better!” and I kept ignoring her. Finally, on Sunday, I agreed that white rice sounded good. And I swear, it was miracle rice. It completely cured me. No joke. So Monday morning I figured another bowl might be the way to go but Schnookie would be at work, whatever would I do?!

Turns out, I would make rice. My first ever pot of rice! Making rice? Not hard! Who knew?! — Pookie

April 13, 2010

April 13 2010

There were teensy-tiny baby kittens for the taking at work today (probably 1- or 2-weeks old) but cooler heads prevailed and Dr. Shopdog did not find herself the proud older sister of Svindal The Kitten. That will have to wait for some other day. When someone brings kittens that are a little bit older. — Pk.

April 14, 2010

April 14 2010

I went to look in the rearview mirror in the car today and got quite a surprise. — Pk.

April 15, 2010

April 15 2010

I was so jealous that Pookie got pictures today of a motorcycle for Scavenger Hunt 101, but then, when we went out to get dinner at Sumo, Pookie turned to me and said, “I’ll go in and get dinner. Do you want to borrow my camera?” And then I looked across the parking lot and saw this. When we were leaving, Pookie laughed, “What is it with all the motorcycles? It’s like there’s something in the air.” And then we realized that, well, there kinda IS something in the air — it’s called “springtime”. I bet it’ll be easy to find motorcycles pretty much from now until October. –Schn.

April 16, 2010

April 16 2010

I recently coordinated a great deal of world travel for my boss’s boss, and when she returned, she told me that she had gotten me a pashmina scarf in Hong Kong out of gratitude. Pookie joked with me that she was positive the pashmina would turn out to be periwinkle, just because it’s periwinkle week. It became something of a running joke for us then, this mythical periwinkle scarf. Well, today I drove over to my boss’s boss’s office to pick up my prize… and sure enough, it’s periwinkle. I miraculously managed not to laugh until after I’d left her office. –Schn.

April 17, 2010

April 17 2010

We have each chosen a project that we absolutely can’t WAIT to start on (Pookie’s is Wendy Slotboom’s Frolic, Schnookie’s is Meadowsweet), but have vowed we won’t start them until the Devils lose in the playoffs. That way we’ll have something to look forward to instead of just being depressed and cranky. We worked on some cutting infrastructure today, though, so both projects are ready to go at a moment’s notice.

April 18, 2010

April 18 2010

Why do people fight against dandelions? They’re so cheerful and bright and friendly! A wide lawn carpeted with sunshiney yellow dandelions is such a delightful sight. These three, though, are not carpeting our yard. They’re just growing near the front steps, outside our laundry room window.

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It’s A Garden Explosion!

It’s just the middle of April, and it’s actually really cold here (we sure crashed back down to earth after those 90-degree days at the start of the month), but somehow, our garden is already in almost full bounteous bounty mode. In as much as it can be with only three and a half beds planted with stuff. So on a lazy, lazy Sunday, we took our laziest camera outside to see what kind of documentation we could get of the lush cornucopia of deliciousness.

Imbolc Lettuce In Mid-April

I’m ready for my salad dressing, Mr. DeMille!

First up, the Imbolc lettuce. It’s looking reasonably good (some of the types already seem to be bolting, actually, without ever having bothered growing into lettuce first), but you know what? We don’t think starting it on February 2 gave it any kind of head start. In fact, we suspect it would be doing better if we’d just planted it directly in the soil as soon as we could work it. This whole Imbolc thing is a big sham. At any rate, the lettuce pictured here could, technically, be eaten now. It wouldn’t be much of a meal, but those are definitely lettuce leaves, and you could even use a fork to eat them. In other words, it’s a bounteous bounty!

Pea Shoot

In the next bed over, the peas are… not edible yet. Last year we read an article in the New York Times at some point in March that was all shriekingly “OHMyouneedotplantyourpeasRIGHTNOWorthey’llnevergrow“, and like the dupes that we am (see: Imbolc), we fell for it. We raced out to get pea seeds at the grocery store, plunked them in the ground, set up trellises, then waited for an eternity for them to grow, then had to tear them out before they accomplished anything because we needed the bed they were in. This year we vowed not to be so foolish. No, this time around we’d set aside some space for our peas. But we still planted them freakishly early, and they’re still not growing at a pace that suggests they need to be put into the ground in mid-March. All of that said, there is a tendril on the pea pictured here. (The other peas are, well, not as big as this one.)

Baby Pea

You will never hear us complain about having peas in the garden, though, because they are so delightfully photogenic.

Row Of Radishes

I’m ready for my butter and ciabatta, Mr. DeMille!

We’ve got rows of radishes flanking the peas, and they are growing like gangbusters. They’re supposed to be 20 days from planting to harvest, and while there’s no way they’ll be that quick for us, they won’t be far off the mark.

Extreme Radish

We did a terrible job last summer of photographing our garden (for a variety of reasons we’d be happy to whine about at length, but we’ll spare you), so there has been much discussion in the last few weeks here at Maple Hoo of how we need to commit to being better about it this summer. But today was, as mentioned, a lazy day. We’d done all manner of non-fun chores earlier in the morning, and were waiting at low ebb for the hockey to start, and really didn’t want to go out front and have to think about taking pictures. But our garden is being so easy-going lately that it managed to look good when shot with the 18-55mm kit lens without even looking. See? Bounteous bounty!

Enormous Garlic

Continuing the tour around the beds, the garlic is just ridonk. It’s huge. And, we’ve decided, literally edible now. We can commence enjoying green garlic whenever we want to. And not pictured is the riot of herbs growing in the pots around the perimeter. There was mint picked today for mojitos, and the volunteer catnip already needs to be harvested, the new sage is bushy and sweet, and there’s oregano bustin’ out hugely in a pot that we’ve been neglecting for years. If this is how well things are going when we’re not even trying, we can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when we start tending to the plants.

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7 More Of 365

April 5, 2010

April 5 2010

I snagged a few twigs from the Rio Oso Gem peach tree after the trees were trimmed this weekend and tossed them into a bud vase. They opened up gloriously today!

So I took them outside and made the mistake of photographing them with a bunch of different white balance settings and now I don’t know which I like best. D’oh! (The custom setting never looks right in the camera, but I think it’s the one that almost always looks best on the computer. Sigh.) — Pookie

April 6, 2010

April 6 2010

While searching for my lost iPod at work, I found this itsy-bitsy baby turtle (about half the size of my nano) instead. Try as hard as I might, I couldn’t get it to play any Vasen. –Schn.

April 7, 2010

April 7 2010

I wasn’t totally on board with what this pattern was doing to the medium-sized prints in the Darla line, but now I love it. I love how it’s a little impressionistic, and the colors are still totally perfect. I can’t wait to get this one finished and quilted! — Pk.

April 8, 2010

April 8 2010

There are gazillions of red winged blackbirds along my walk to work, but they almost never stay still long enough for me to get pictures of them. Today, this one screwed up, and I got a shot at him. –Schn.

April 9, 2010

April 9 2010

Trying not to give our marbles to the Rangers/Flyers games.

April 10, 2010

April 10 2010

The sunshine was so beautiful today, and the sky was so blue, and the Rio Oso Gem peach tree was a riot of glorious pink blossoms.

April 11, 2010

April 11 2010


We were all craving ice cream cookie sandwiches from Jann’s earlier in the week, when it was so freakin’ hot out. And then we discovered the shocking, horrifying news that Jann’s is GONE. So we had to make our own ice cream cookie sandwiches. They weren’t done in time for the hot weather, but they were still delicious.

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All The Latest In Quilting By Schnookie

Now that we’ve had an update from Pookie about her quilting, it only seems fair to share with the world the wonderful projects I have going. In the last two months I’ve finished a couple of projects, Blodd Money City (which is now quilted, bound, and washed, and will have a post of its own one of these days) and Chinese Takeout (which is getting quilted now), and participated in the completion of KtG’s birthday quilt. Finishing quilts is great, but it always leads to a feeling of being a bit adrift. You get all deeply into the stretch run of a huge project, and then suddenly you’re back to itty-bitty bits and pieces and figuring out the pace of a new project. So what I’m trying to say is that I’m dabbling right now.

Bananatanagram City

The project that looks most impressive, but which I’m working on the least, is Bananatanagram City. This is my big Happy Campers project, which I will be working on for the rest of my life. The pattern is from American Jane’s Quilts For All Seasons: And Some For No Reason, and while it would work quite well as a scrappy stash-buster, I love American Jane’s Happy Campers too much not to be all matchy-matchy about it.

B'gram City Close-Up

The pattern, as American Jane ones often do, calls for strip piecing by machine. Puh-lease! It’s so much funner just to cut a bajillion little parallelograms and hand-piece them one by one. Also, slower. Like I said, this is going to take me the rest of my life.

Moving along a bit faster, but just as Happy Camper-y, is my 16-patch.

Happy Campers

Way back at whichever market it was that Happy Campers debuted at, I saw a picture on some blog somewhere of the American Jane booth, and there was this adorable 16-patch hanging in it. I snipped that picture so I could just stare at it for the weeks and weeks and weeks before the fabric was released. I heart it so much. I feel like the 16-patch just fits the sassy retro summertime vibe of the fabric so well, and because I happened to have ordered so much of the fabric (and love making 16-patches — it’s weird, actually. 9-patches annoy the hell out of me [but are super-cute], but 16-patches are a total blast), I’m making this quilt semi-reversible. There will be Happy Camper 16-patches all over the front and the back, and it’s going to make me squee every time I look at it.

I had built up a little head of steam on the 16-patch project when I first finished off Blodd Money City’s binding, but then something else came along that stole my heart.

Beaks Street.

The pattern for this is a free download from McCalls Quilting, one of the Vintage View patterns — Philadelphia Pavement. Of all the possible “putting bunches of little squares together” patterns, I adore trip around the world quilts the best (I doubt I’ll ever love a quilt project as much as I did Squaresville). So when I saw this one, I had to have it.

Beaks Street Overhead April 10

I decided I didn’t want to pick colors that would look all faded and antique-y, but I still wanted to do a solids-only quilt project. Thanks to Pookie’s prudent purchase of a Kona Cotton Solids color card, I was able to pick just the tones that I thought would make this vibrant, like a vintage quilt would have looked on the day it was made. Then half my colors were backordered. Gah! I couldn’t wait! I picked tones that weren’t quite what I wanted, figuring a bird in hand was worth more blah blah blah. And then those colors were backordered. Thank heavens we went to Columbus while I was waiting on my second-choice gray fabric, because we found the original choice at Sew To Speak. Woo hoo! Thanks to Pookie’s recent vacation, she was able to get everything cut, and now I’m plugging along, happy as a clam.

Beaks Street Aslant

Six strips down, 94 to go!

Our other big project right now, and the centerpiece of the Quilt Factory efforts here in the not-quite-early-summer-yet, is Pies & Tarts (& Beaks & Farts).

Pies and Tarts BOM

I spotted an ad for Quilting By The Bay‘s block-of-the-month for this project ages ago, and fell into a deep swoon. Pookie quickly followed suit, as did Boomer. We figured we could share in the effort, and then, when the quilt is finished, share in the final results. We’re not sure yet how that’ll work out, but the splitting up the work is going great.

Pies and Tarts In Progress

This is our first stab at paper piecing, and dude, it is so much fun. We’ve made the pies for the first month’s shipment, and will wait on the smaller tarts (which go between the pies, on the corners of the squares) when we have more fabrics to mix up. Now, as for the fabrics…

The Ugly Cat Fabric

Meow!

The palette of this quilt is what really attracted us (along with, of course, the pies and the tarts), so we were psyched to let Quilting By The Bay pick the fabrics for us. What we didn’t expect was that there would be goofy tone-on-tone navy blue cats included. Some of the fabrics are hilariously not even remotely what we would choose for ourselves, but that’s part of what’s so great about this project. It’s scrappy and beautiful and sneaky spicy, and have I mentioned yet how fun it is?

So that’s the state of my quilt pile. I’ve got a couple of other projects whose tires I’ve been kicking, but this is the nutmeats of it all. I think I’m in a pretty good place for launching into a long, Walker, Texas Ranger-filled summer of quilting.

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Quilting Update: Pookie Edition

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted about my quilting progress and now seems like a good time. You see, I’m having a bit of a crisis. I haven’t finished a quilt top for any of my projects since before Christmas! That’s, like, ages ago! I need to be reminded that I haven’t been frittering all my time away doing nothing. Instead, I’ve been frittering my time away by dabbling on a zillion projects at once!

OK, actually, I did focus very much on one in the months after Christmas — the birthday quilt for my oldest sister, KtG, but I can’t show pictures of that until she’s received it. No spoilers for KtG! That was a queen-size quilt with lots of steps, including appliqueing tons of hexagons onto pieced blocks, which Boomer, Schnookie and I worked on together. It was the first in what we hope will be many “Quilt Factory” quilts, i.e. quilts we all want to work on so we might as well work on together. When the hockey’s over and the only thing on television is our DVDs of “Walker, Texas Ranger” (oh yeah!) we’ll have plenty of time to huddle around the dining room table cutting out bits and pieces for American Jane’s “Calendar Kids”. But since the hockey’s still going on, I have to work on my own, non-Quilt-Factory projects. Of which I have many. For some reason, though, it’s been hard to find a rhythm of what I want to be working on since finishing KtG’s quilt. And thus the anxiety over not finishing anything.

There is, however, good news! In my last quilt progress update, I mentioned that I’d cut the time it was going to take me to finish Darla in half — instead of 15 years, it was going to take 7. Well, let’s cut that estimate in thirds.

Darla In Progress April 2010

Fabrics: Darla by Tanya Whelan; Pattern: “Irish Criss Cross” from American Jane.

I have completed 10 out of 16 blocks! I have all the strips for the rest of it cut and ready to go. I’ve started in on three of the final six. The end is in sight! I am pleased as punch with how it’s looking and cannot wait for it to be finished. I have no grasp on how long it takes for me to finish a set of blocks (doing them 3 at a time seems easiest, since they have to be pressed frequently) but I’m thinking I can maybe have it all constructed by my birthday at the end of the summer.

Darla In Progress April 2010

Because it needs to be pressed so much — each round requires attaching 1.5″ squares to the strips, pressing them, then attaching the strips to the blocks, and then pressing those — I find that this project lends itself to puttering with other stuff on those nights when I don’t feel like going all the way downstairs to the ironing station (hey, that’s a lot of steps… look at that hobo!). It can also be a little boring to pick up my stitching and realize that once again I have to sew 36 1.5″ squares to strips, so while I could just focus exclusively on this project, that’s just not going to happen.

I had been working pretty steadily on my Dalarnanana quilt, using Rouenneries, and ended up getting about a tenth of the blocks done.

Dalarnananana In Progress

Fabric: Rouenneries by French General; Pattern: Dalarna from Quiltmania

I realized when I uploaded this picture that I laid these out all wrong, but there were yellow jackets everywhere and there was a steady breeze that kept threatening to carry all my hard work off into the wild blue yonder, so this will have to do. You get the idea. Anyway, I’m loving how this is looking, but something about this fabric feels very winter-y to me, so it’s not really grabbing me right now.

Not like Red Letter Day is!

Red Letter Day In Progress 2

Fabric: Red Letter Day; Pattern: From Kaffe Fassett’s Kaleidoscope of Quilts

I was so dissatisfied with this when I started it, I was pretty sure it was going to end up one of those projects. You know, those projects that you put away and then hope no one else remembers you ever started them because you don’t ever, ever want to see them again? My fears were all for naught. I have no idea what my problem with it was, because it’s been super-fun to futz with it now.

Red Letter Day In Progress

I’m still not 100% on board with how the fabrics are scaled for the pattern I picked, and I did sort of freak out over the fact that I looked at the pattern again and realized the finish size is something like 54″ x 41″, but overall, I think it’s going to be a darling summer foot-warmer quilt for sitting in front of the tv watching, say, “Walker, Texas Ranger”.

But that’s not all, there’s more! I’m just finishing up on a long vacation from work, which I had earmarked for doing lots and lots of cutting so that, among other reasons, I could work more on Taffy City.

Taffy City In Progress

Fabric: Everything But The Kitchen Sink IV; Pattern: Salt Water Taffy from RJR Fabrics (pdf).

No, it hasn’t grown much since the last update, but it’s on a roll. I’m a fifth of the way done and if I just buckled down and worked on it, I’d probably have it finished in a month. But that would mean I couldn’t dabble with Henrik Jane!

March 29 2010

Fabric: Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey; Pattern: Chippewa Nine-Patch by Minick & Simpson

I feel deeply in love with this pattern when I first saw it, and deeply in love with the fabric line when I first saw. It was a match made in heaven! I just knew that the big floral prints in Nicey Jane would look fabulous in the big snowball blocks in Chippewa Nine-Patch, but I couldn’t pick just one, so I decided to change it up and use a few of the colorways with big roses and a few of the colorways of the bouquets, and then picked a few colorways of two of the medium-sized geometric prints for the snowball corners. Then I started cutting up the rest for the nine-patches.

Henrik Jane Test Shot

So, it seems picking small patterns for big fabrics is a bit of a consistent problem for me. Heh. I considered replacing a few of the nine patches with squares the size the of the nine patches, but once I laid it out and got some expert opinions, I’ve decided it looks pretty cool the way it is. I’m calling it “Henrik Jane” because Chippewa Nine-Patch is pretty, Nicey Jane is pretty, and Henrik Zetterberg is pretty. Since one of the designers at Minick & Simpson is a Wings fan, it seems appropriate. I’m sure Hank appreciates it, too.

While the pattern helpfully provides strip-piecing instructions, I’m hand-piecing all of it. That should be a giant pain in the butt, but if you do one or two nine-patches a week as a little amusee bouche when you’re bored of attaching 36 1.5″ squares for a single round of Darla, it’s quite fun! Sure, it might take me a few years, but it’s fun!

And last but not least, there’s a special project that’s in the works, too. One of our best hockey buddies, the one and only Heather B., is going back to school to be a teacher, so we’re making her a quilt to celebrate her future classroom.

A Quilt For Heather In Progress

Fabric: American Vintage; Pattern: Octopus Garden by Abbey Lane Quilts

If you look closely, you’ll see some seams that Heather stitched herself, and some that were done by the lovely and talented Amy! I was hoping we might hook them on quilting, but we might have to make a few more trips to Buffalo with stitching in hand to accomplish that. (Note to self: Plan another trip to Buffalo…)

Heather Hard At Work

Look, here’s Heather! See how dutiful her future students are?

So that’s the state of my stitching since Thanksgiving weekend. What are the chances any of these quilt tops are done by this coming Thanksgiving?

{Posted by Pookie}

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