Monthly Archives: October 2010

An Important Announcement About Gardening

I was getting all ready to start putting together posts about our recent awesome vacation in Dallas, but then something amazing happened that is putting the organization of our (kick-ass) pictures on hold. Look at this:

Inadvertent Harvest

Dozens of frying peppers, ranging from zesty green to sweet red! Buckets of spicy purple peppers! A surprising handful of basil! And underneath that all, quarts of fresh tomatillos! This was what we shook off the plants in our garden today when we started in on the end-of-season plant removal from the beds. This is a garden that we have literally been neglecting for the last six weeks. Literally. We haven’t watered, or trimmed, or weeded, or pruned, or anything. We walked away, and when we came back, this stuff was waiting for us.

Tomatillos

Perhaps even more significantly, we hadn’t even planted tomatillos this year. Or the year before. Or the year before that. They just sprung up out of the dirt, and because we were neglecting the garden, they were perfectly content just to hum along bearing fruit with nary a care in the world. And this leads me to an important announcement: apparently you can do literally nothing and still successfully grow vegetables. Whenever I hear someone remark that gardening is difficult, or that we have some kind of special skills or wizardry to draw the bounteous bounty from our front yard, my response tends to be “pish posh! I have no idea what I’m doing, and it still works!” But here is proof. If you have dirt and you introduce — in any way at all, even in theoretically inert seeds from years-old compost — vegetable plants to that dirt, you can garden. Nature just wants shit to grow, you know?

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Filed under Bonanza!, Garden, Harvested, Lessons Learned, We Grew This

Accept No Imitations! Pineapple Is Coming Back Thanks To ME!!

One of my hard-and-fast rules when I started quilting was that I would never, ever, ever like a log cabin or pineapple quilt. I have long believed that aesthetic would, in any setting, make my eyeballs vomit copiously, and figured I’d live a long and fruitful life as a quilter without ever making a quilt that deploys it. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this picture deep in an extremely random internet search:

Pineapple Quilt Model (Stolen)

I would very much like to credit this photo, but I can’t re-create the search that found it on a random blog (one of those shady sorts of blogs that look like they might be made by aggregator robots, might I add), and that blog hadn’t credited it well either. It claimed it was from the V&A, but had no more info or links. So I’m stealing it and breaking the law by posting it here, but I can’t help it!

It was after 2:00 in the morning. I had spent hours looking at pictures of quilts online, as a result of my Dalarnananana jealousy-induced desire to find a Scandinavian-feeling quilt pattern. And there I was staring at a mind-blowing pineapple quilt. A — dare I say it? — beautiful pineapple quilt. I had to make one. I had to make one JUST LIKE THAT.

After announcing that to the hysterical laughter of my housemates, I promptly turned around, saw French General’s “Maison de Garance” line, and declared that my pineapple quilt that is going to be JUST LIKE the inspiration picture would also be made out of those fabrics. (Perhaps I was having a hard time letting go of my Dalarnanananana jealousy and needed to go with a French General line as well.) I don’t know how my imagination thought that would happen (magic?), but my commitment to the project gelled, and there was no going back.

As soon as pre-cuts of Maison de Garance became available, Pookie supplied me with a layer cake of it (have I mentioned yet that she gave me a “custom fabric bundle” of the month for my birthday, and has been surprising me with unexpected fabrics every month? Well, she did, and this layer cake was one of the entries) with the intent that I would use it to mock up a square of Pineapple City. A cursory search of my various pattern outlets did not yield a pattern for my inspiration quilt, so I had to figure out how to assemble a pineapple square. It nearly broke my brain.

September 19 2010

Pineapple quilts are actually nowhere NEAR as complicated as they seem, and someday I’m going to look back at how hard this was for me to figure out and laugh and laugh.

Now, while I was in the process of assembling my prototype square, I noted to Pookie that you just don’t see many pineapple quilts anywhere. She agreed. I then declared that my quilt was going to be so amazing that it would take the interwebs by storm. I was going to bring pineapple back, baby!

No sooner had I made that declaration, though, than I started seeing pineapples everywhere. Damn you, Collections For A Cause Legacy, even though you’re over a year old! Screw you, random book of Edie McGinnis’s “A Second Helping of Desserts”, with your pineapple quilt made out of French General fabrics! I am bringing pineapple back! Not you! Back off, people! Gah!

I’m sorry, where was I? Oh, right. My prototype.

Pineappleback City Mock Up

Is it just me, or is it feeling pretty pineapple in here?

Shockingly, the Maison de Garance palette did not lend itself to a square that looked at all like my inspiration. But you know what? I really, really love the red/brown darks from that line. I decided to pick up even more reds as well as some of the pinker tones from the Rural Jardin line, but didn’t cut into them for this mock-up. I also decided that the overall feel I got from the inspiration picture was a quilt that had sort of lights and darks neutrals making the pineapple, with pink squares on the corners, and the odd splash of bright red and bright blue. I figured my quilt’s lights would be the tans and creams from Maison de Garance, and the darks would be the reds and browns. In place of the pink color, I opted for a robin’s egg blue from Rural Jardin. And for the accent color (in place of the bright red/blue), I really wanted a vivid, jewel green. Sadly, the green I’m imagining (I thought it was poison green, but I’m finding disputing notions around the interwebs for what that shade should be) doesn’t seem to exist except in the wood paneling in Dr. Quinn’s clinic in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. The next best thing I could find was a green micro-dot in Holly Holderman’s Fun Flowers line.

Ultimately, despite it not being even remotely like my inspiration quilt, I am completely in love with my prototype square. It has some construction issues that I should be able to correct when I make the quilt for reals, but all in all, I’m stunned that it worked. And thrilled. It might be a traditional quilt pattern that people have been making without difficulty for hundreds of years, but dude, I just designed my own quilt! I’m a supergenius! Or, um, something.

Anyway, Pookie’s brilliant suggestion recently was to take a picture of a unit of a quilt that will be repeated, then use our extremely rudimentary photoshop skills to create an artist’s rendering of the projected finished quilt. So here it is:

Pineappleback City Projected Vision

Oh yeah. I am totally bringing pineapple back.

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Filed under Announcements, Pins and Needles, Quilting

Give A Hoot, Make Something With Felt

Not too long ago Pookie was the lucky winner in a Fa La La La Felt giveaway, and we promptly fell in love with every project in the book. Our minds were suddenly filled with visions of Maple Hoo being overrun with adorable felt creations, and in our enthusiasm we ended up buying several miles of various and sundry felt, to build up our stash for impromptu Christmas felt projects. And then the felt sat in a pile in our dining room, patiently waiting for reality to catch up with our grandiose plans. Last night, with Sunday Night Football presenting a not-entirely-interesting backdrop for our handwork time, the time finally came.

We were going to make a little felt owl, and we were going to do it rightnow.

HH Puffinstuff 2

Our first hurdle in our careers as felt ornament makers was the instruction to print the templates in the back of the book, but enlarged 200%. Our little desktop printer/copier is not burly enough to undertake big-assed tasks like “enlarging” (or even “copying in a timely manner”, but that’s beside the point). After a moment’s flagging, we boldly decided we could just wing it. We had the templates in front of us, and could guesstimate what they’d look like times 200%. We were… mostly right. I mean, the end product looks like an owl, so we’re pretty happy with that.

HHP Haunting Gaze

When we went to the Philadelphia Quilt Expo a few weeks ago we stopped in at a booth selling vintage linens and notions; with a mind for all our potential felt projects, we stocked up on button eyes. And there in the bucket of large yellow buttons were these amazing owl eyes. How could we not make an owl with button eyes like these? How??? We couldn’t, that’s how. So, with our creepily anatomically correct button eyes as our guide, we scaled the rest of our owl to fit them.

HH Puffinstuff Drama

We learned a lot in the two hours it took to whip this little guy up, not least that we are rank amateurs at the necessary embroidery skills to make adorable felt creatures. But we also learned that the learning curve is not a steep one. Again, it took only two hours, start to finish, to freehand the template shapes, embroider the chest feathers, applique on the belly, eyes, eye surrounds and beak, attach the eyeballs, applique on the eyelids, then blanket stitch his front to his back and stuff him. And look how adorable he is!

HH Puffinstuff

Hanging from our mantle, along with our Swedish horsie bunting, the newly minted Hooters H. Puffinstuff looks kinda lonely, doesn’t he? He probably needs friends. An army of friends. Friends whose templates are the right sizes, or ones with different button eyes, or ones in different colors, or ones with — gasp! — old-school Bucilla-style sequining. Yessir, H.H. Puffinstuff is just the tip of the iceberg. Now that we’ve had a taste of felt, there’s no going back.

[Posted by Schnookie.]

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Filed under Pins and Needles, Winging It