Monthly Archives: July 2010

Wherein We Travel Far Afield For A Weeklong Photo Excursion

After an extremely lazy and self-indulgent recovery period from overseas travel, we think we might just be ready to put a post together about our recent trip to the Netherlands. That’s right — gather the children around and get comfortable in your seats: it’s vacation slideshow time!

We started our trip on the hottest day of the year, and much to our delight, Philadelphia Airport was in full “we are making frequent announcements that we’re being all green and shit, so you can’t complain that the air conditioning isn’t on” mode. But despite the swelteringness, we kicked off our vacation with an impromptu photoshoot, in which we tried to do “surprised” the way Tyra coaches girls to.

July 7 2010

Oooh. Fierce.

Our basis for vacationing in the Netherlands is our sister Kate the Great. KtG has been living in Scheveningen, right on the beach, and after a few years of resisting, we finally had to admit that it’s not often that life gives you the opportunity to vacation in Europe without having to pay for a hotel. As it turns out, KtG is a fantastic hostess, and we probably should have done this years ago! With very little input from us, KtG put together a jam-packed, endlessly fun, super-photogenic itinerary for us, with plenty of sight-seeing, beer-drinking, and World Cup spirit-soaking to go around.

July 8 2010

Did we mention we were there during the World Cup final? The entire country seemed to be bedecked in orange during our visit; despite their flamboyant show of team spirit, though, Dutch soccer fans come up way short in arrogance and swagger. They could totally learn a lot from Philly and New York sports fans.

Our tour included sightseeing, museum-going, and cafe-sitting in The Hague, including visits to the charming Mauritshaus (a fantastic intimate setting for some serious masterpiece paintings) and the shockingly delightful Panorama (where they didn’t let us take pictures. Assholes).

World Cup Bunting

Awnings

Postcard View

Our biggest outing of the vacation was a visit to the Cheese Market at Alkmaar (required viewing for tourists) and the Zuiderzee Museum (a living history museum that made us think it would be like our childhood field trip destination, Old Bethpage Village). It happened that day to be the hottest of our vacation, with temperatures in the 90s, and Pookie discovered the hard way that she is virulently allergic to something that grows near Alkmaar and the Zuiderzee Museum. But despite the sweltering heat, Pookie’s eyes burning with the pain of a thousand spike-filled fires, and our post-airplane dehydration, it was a ton of fun.

July 9 2010

Alkmaar is an utterly charming town, and well worth the visit to see the city. Just don’t necessarily go there just to see the Cheese Market. Now that you’ve seen this picture, you’ve seen the Cheese Market.

Lensbaby Alkmaar

Weighing House

Cheese Girl

Zuiderzee Museum Houses

The Zuiderzee Museum didn’t have quite as much “living history” as we were expecting (although maybe we’d had more than our share in the Cheese Market…), but it was indescribably charming.

Laundry Drying

Masks

An Exotic Creature

Perhaps our most special outing was to Haarlem, where KtG’s friend Emily gave us a walking tour of the hofjes (almshouse gardens) all over town, and we visited the Teylers Museum.

Awesome Shutters

The hofjes were these perfect little gems — courtyard gardens surrounded by the historic tiny almshouses that are still in use today as low-income housing for single women.

Hofje Bike

Laundry in the Hofje

Teylers Library

The Teylers Museum is essentially a museum of museuming. It’s a magnificent, ornate, rambling townhouse filled to the brim with exhibits of ye olde sciencey equipment and whatnot. Basically, a person could take pictures there for days.

Hypnosis Wheel

Lightbulbs

Telyer ABC

Not every day was full to the brim with walking in the sweltering heat, though. We had a deliciously restful World Cup Final Sunday in Delft, where we photographed the shit out of the Oude Kerk and Stadhuis and enjoyed the finest fries any cafe anywhere has ever had to offer.

Craggy

Delft Stadhuis

This trip was when Pookie became a Lensbaby virtuoso, and also where we discovered that it has a tendency to make its subjects look like little toy versions of themselves.

Delft Canal

The single coolest thing we saw during our week abroad was the Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer, or the Flower Auction in Aalsmeer. Every day, apparently something like 90% of the cut flowers in the world are sold at this auction, and they have the facility set up for visitors to be able to watch the entire process. It is utterly, wholly staggering, and one of the most awesome places we’ve ever been.

Flowers Flowers Everywhere

Flower Auction Truck

Hot Auction Action

Pink Roses, Gray Steel

The true capper for a completely extraordinary week was our last day, in Amsterdam. We finally got to meet our dear friend Mags in person, and after a great canal tour (replete with Hup Holland Hup debris from the previous day’s “victory” parade) and lackluster trip to the truncated Rijksmuseum, we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening walking around the beautiful city, sitting in charming cafes, and handcraft shopping (Den Haan & Wagenmakers is a quilt shop well worth the trip to the Netherlands all on its own). Then Mags raced off in the suddenly cold rain to get on the train to her parents’ for dinner, and we found our way to the most delicious, beautiful, perfect Indonesian restaurant of all time.

July 14 2010

Sometimes it’s not the best pictures that have the best memories attached to them.

It was not easy to cull our photo collection down even to this unwieldy amount; if you want to bask in the awesomeness that is our zillions of shots of flowers, charming townhouses, orange bunting, and cheese, the complete set is here. Meanwhile, we’re counting our vacation days and sizing up our travel budget to figure out how soon we can visit KtG there again.

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Filed under Away From Home

What’s Up With Pookie’s Quilting

So how goes the quilting?

In my last progress report, I bemoaned the lack of finished projects. Since then, I’ve helped finish one queen size quilt (Boomer did most of the binding, but I did contribute enough to say I helped) and one lap-sized quilt top, neither of which I have pictures of, and one queen-sized quilt top that I do have pictures of:

Bobo City

I’ve documented here in the past that all my bed quilts (all two of them, heh) are too short. I had a duvet and a heavy, queen-sized tweed blanket for the Winter that cancelled out that problem, but as soon as it seemed even remotely Spring-ish outside, I couldn’t deal with having them on my bed anymore. They were for Winter and Winter only! After a few nights of freezing my little toesies off, I said, “Dammit, I need a bed quilt that’s the right length!” (No, not “Dammit, I have to get my duvet out of storage!” — which, by the way, would mean picking the duvet up off the chair I tossed it on when I took it off my bed.) So I grabbed an easy queen-sized quilt pattern I’d seen on Moda Bake Shop (“Easy as Cake”, by Moose on the Porch), and grabbed the half-yard bundle of Alexander Henry’s “Willow Orchard” I’d impulse bought in January and got to work. 23 days later, I had a completed, entirely-hand-pieced quilt top. For someone who’s used to spending months on a quilt, being able to measure the time in days was just plain strange. But it should be big enough to keep my toes warm next time I decide in mid-March that Winter is over for good.

So 2010 won’t go down as a total failure quilt-wise, since I should be able to cross those three projects completely off my list before the end of the year. I won’t, however, be able to say I finished Darla by my birthday like I’d predicted in my last update post. In fact, I’ve barely worked on it at all since then. I started to futz with it two weekends ago but then discovered one set of strips is cut wrong and that successfully put and end to that futzing! I made up for it but putting in some significant work on Dalarnanana, including putting some of the blocks together.

Darlarnanana in Progress

I am over the moon for how this project is looking, but after a few weeks of steadily working on it, the colors were starting to seem too monotonous, so I put it back down again. My third in-progress bed quilt is Henrik Jane. Other than making a nice handful of nine-patches, it hasn’t progressed much, either. I just keep getting distracted by shiny objects, or at least the fabric equivalent of shiny objects. Like, say, “Dolly Dresses” by Holly Holderman.

I spent my Christmas gift certificate for Fat Quarter Shop on a bajillion fat quarters of Dolly Dresses, so I could make the High Cotton pattern from Kim Diehl’s “Simple Comforts” book. Every single project I’ve seen in this fabric line made me love it that much more, so for a few months while I was waiting for it to come out, I couldn’t stop thinking about how wonderful my life would be once I finally had Dolly Dresses to work with. So as soon as I finished the borders on my “Willow Orchard” quilt, I cut into it just enough to get a sense of the blocks I’d be making.

Dolly Dresses

Look! I finally successfully matched a print size to a pattern! It looks like it’s scaled to make sense! Woo-hoo! But… I think I have to tell myself I can’t work on it any more until I finish either Darla, Dalarnanana, or Henrik Jane. It’s been fun to flit from project to project after all those years of being the uber-disciplined “Threads of Fire” who only ever worked on one sampler at a time, but what I’ve been doing the last few months is pretty ridiculous. Some semblance of discipline is in order.

At least when it comes to bed quilts. Lap quilts? All bets are off, baby! I’ve only got to attach all 64 blocks of Racconsweet together.

Raccoonsweet

It’s not really turning out how I thought it would when I chose Kona Banana as the solid color. I was expecting a bit more contrast between it and the prints, but oh well! I still adore the fabric line (“Frolic” by Wendy Slotboom), the pattern is also super fun (“S-C-H-Double O-L” from “Four Patch Frolic”), and will probably be one I revisit in the future (perhaps the near future when American Jane’s next line comes out this Fall) and I think the finished project will be a really fun quilt to bring out when the Spring fever is kicking in. .

Speaking of seasonal fevers, the Fall Fever was ratched up in the last few weeks. July and August were always traditionally the months during which I’d want nothing more than to stitch Prairie Schooler Halloween pieces, like this:

When Witches Go Riding Finished

So what’s a girl to do when she wants that Prairie Schooler Seasonlonging, but wants to be peicing? Why, she starts a Halloween scrap quilt, of course!

Cheeky Dracula City

I had a small stash of Halloween fabrics (including some that we salvaged from Boomer’s ancient basement stash) but I didn’t know what to do with them. Schnookie came up with the brilliant idea of using them to make a Dresden plate, so I snatched up some Spooktacular on mega-sale for the background and some Alexander Henry “The Ghastlies” to fussy cut for the centers. I think the result is hilariously awesome. It’s like Prairie Schooler to the nth degree. How much more Prairie Schooler Seasonlonging can you get? None! None more Prairie Schooler!

So that’s where I stand now. Two quilt tops done, one lap quilt about a month away from finishing, one seasonal quilt in full swing, and a new-found resolve to finish a fancy bed quilt sooner rather than later.

{Posted by Pookie}

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Filed under Pins and Needles, Progress Reports, Quilting