Monthly Archives: November 2010

Felty, Beady, Sequiny Nostalgia, In Tree Form

There are few things on this planet that make us happier than our “heirloom” (read: “in battered, tattered condition, because they were perhaps loved too well when we were children”) Bucilla Christmas tree ornaments.

Santa Ornament

Reindeer

Tin Man

Boomer made the three above either before we were born or when we were very young. As we got older and she began imparting her crafty knowledge to us, we used to regularly raid her sewing room to dig out the Bucilla ornament kits she had buried under piles of other UFOs. Many a giggly, preteened summer afternoon was spent dreaming of Christmas, still months away, while snipping out little pieces of felt and affixing sequins to them with tiny glass beads. Truly, nothing spells Christmas for us better than that.

In our adulthood, we have often stared longingly at the scant few Bucilla items at our local Michael’s and felt horribly depressed that they just don’t make those projects like they used to. There’s been a void in our lives where felt and sequins and holiday cheer used to be.

Enter: “Fa La La La Felt”. Making our beloved Hooters H. Puffnstuff gave us the chance to discover that it is very easy to create a felt project… and just add your own sequins. A couple of weeks ago we dove in and made our own Bucilla-esque creations:

Pookie's owl

Pookie’s owl

Schnookie's bird

Schnookie’s cardinal

11/02/2010

Boomer’s cardinal

We shipped those three ornaments off to our friends at the Attic Needlework in Mesa to be included in their annual ornament auction to raise money for cancer research. And, um, we completely neglected to pimp the auction here… it’s over now, so if you were interested in bidding on any of the ornaments there, too late.

Anyway! The cardinals above were sort of self-designed, heavily modified from the “Fa La La La Felt” bird template, and, encouraged by my mad felt free-handing skillz, I decided the next project to tackle would be a Christmas tree. And behold! I am delighted with the end result:

Sequined Tree

Sequined Back

November 18 2010

Sequin Star

It doesn’t quite have that early ’80s Bucilla elan, but it’s getting closer. We’ve got a huge store of felt now, and buckets of sequins. The sky’s the limit, and our Christmas spirit is abundant!

[Posted by Schnookie]

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Filed under 25 Days Of Maple Hoo Christmas, Celebratory!, Pins and Needles, Seasonal, Stitching

Quilting Potpourri

Here’s a little smorgasbord of quiltish things going on Maple Hoo lately:

1. The past few weeks have seen a whole slew posts around the fabric blogosphere showing off the goodies on display at Fall Market. I’ve fallen hard for lot of what I’ve seen (helloooo Alexander Henry holidays, Tammis Keefe Tribute, and David Textiles for the V&A), but I also got a delicious up-close-and-personal preview of one of Moda’s new lines. Behold, Charlevoix by Minick & Simpson!

Charlevoix

Polly and Laurie have totally outdone themselves with this line. It’s just gorgeous. The butter yellow prints are my favorite — they’re pure “Early Summer”, you know? The rest of the has the signature Minick & Simpson red, white, and blue, but there’s also some delightful coral tossed in, as well. It’s going to make a sumptuous summery quilt (the fabric itself is really soft and light and airy). Actually, as far as Maple Hoo goes, it’s going to make a sumptuous summery quilt and and a fabulous string quilt! You see, Laurie said she’d send us a box of scraps, so Schnookie and I immediately started dreaming of making a string quilt. Then the box arrived. We gleefully spread the contents out on the table and said, “What the heck? These aren’t scraps! These are fat eights and fat quarters!!!” We shouldn’t have worried, though, because a box of strings arrived as well. Sweet! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Laurie, for the awesome, awesome, awesome fabric!

2. Speaking of Laurie Simpson, she posted a lot this summer encouraging her readers to give hand quilting a try. We mentioned it to one of the women at our local quilt shop, the fabulous Pennington Quilt Works, who said, “Are you free on a Saturday? I can hold a hand quilting class here for you!” Yippee! The class was great fun, even if hand quilting is frustratingly not something I was perfect at right away. Just when I would get the hang of it, I’d get the yips. My impulse was to say, “I need to practice this a lot before I can tackle a project” but the teacher’s advice was to start immediately with a real project. Her point was that if you’re only working on a lame-o practice piece, you’ll never really want to work on it. She said to pick an easy quilt and use a low-contrast thread so you’re less-than-perfect stitches won’t show that badly. Genius! I knew exactly which quilt I wanted to start with.

Beginner's Hand Quilting

Raccoonsweet is a quilt that I think is cute, but it didn’t turn out at all like I was expecting, so if I screw it up with bad hand quilting, it’s not a big deal. Plus, it’s just squares, so I can easily mark this puppy with a hera marker, doing straight lines from one corner of each square to the other. It’ll make a cute lattice-like effect on the cherry blossom print on the backing! As for the quilting itself, I’ve decided that I’m going to focus on the stitches that look good and ignore all the ones that look bad. It’s a little shocking to me how calm I’m being about there being such a steep learning curve for this quilting thing. I’ve been doing some kind of handiwork for so long, I just sort of assume I’m pretty adept at most of it. The quilting stitch, however, is proving to consist of very foreign movements. I can’t even get the hang of wearing a thimble, let alone using one. Every few stitches I lose my rhythm and then flail my be-thimbled finger around like it belongs to someone else’s hand. I’m hoping the more I do this, the less that will be a problem.

3. It’s T-minus 2 weeks to Thanksgiving weekend. You know what that means! CHRISTMAS PROJECTS!!! Schnookie and I have been picking up random Christmas prints for about a year or so, and I finally decided to break into them. I chose Fig Tree’s “Fresh Laundry” pattern, but instead of doing something coordinated and beautiful like all Fig Tree quilts, I went for something more… me. Think Cheeky Dracula City but with more santas and fewer bats.

Block 1 of Cheeky Santa City

I want to use all of the awesome Christmas fabrics we have, so I’ll have a fun scrappy Christmas explosion to enjoy every holiday season. Every block will have a white snowflake and a center square that will be dark red or dark green. Everything else will be as scrappy as I want it to be. I’m pretty pleased with the fussy cutting I did with this block:

November 7 2010

It’s beginning to look a lot like adorable, retro Christmas!

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Filed under Pins and Needles, Quilting

A Very Dallas Vacation Recap: Day 4

So, back to our Dallas vacation recaps! After our visit to the State Fair, we let our cameras cool off with a couple of lower-key photography days. We headed out to McKinney to do some hard-core quilt shopping one day (Patty is the world’s most patient hostess. We spent FOREVER in the AWESOME quilt shops there), then spent the next day sampling biscuits and gravy at Bubba’s, doing some furniture shopping, visiting the Mustang fountain in Irving, then partaking of the stunning cocktails and desserts at La Duni restaurant back in Dallas. Of course, “cooling off” doesn’t mean our cameras were getting the days off entirely

October 18 2010

If you are ever in McKinney, go to Spoons cafe and get the chocolate cake. Seriously. It looks like a regular old cake, sure, but seriously — this is the best. cake. ever.

Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and gravy, by Pookie

B/W Mustangs

Black-and-white lensbaby Mustangs, by Pookie

Mustangs

Curious Mustang, by Pookie

Galloping

Galloping, by Schnookie

October 19 2010

Schnookie, by Pookie

Hooves

Hooves, by Schnookie

Iron Hooves

Iron hooves, by Pookie

Horse Face

This is your leader’s nose, by Schnookie

La Duni Chupito

La Duni Chupito, by Schnookie

Extravagant Drink

La Duni Shaken Mariana, by Pookie

Lemon 43

La Duni Lemon 43, by Schnookie

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Filed under Away From Home, Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

A Very Dallas Vacation Recap: Day 2

Our second day of Dallas vacation was all about the nutmeats of our trip there — the State Fair of Texas. When we visited two years ago Patty was all, “Oh, and while you’re here we can go to the state fair!” and we were all, “Whatevs. We’re not fair people,” and then we got there and we were all, “WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL US ABOUT THIS SOONER???” The State Fair of Texas is the awesomest place on earth, and is a photo hobbyist’s greatest dream come true. Last time around we had but one camera and had only been using it for about six weeks. This time? We came armed with two cameras (upgraded ones!), many lenses, and at least a vague notion of how to use them. (Emphasis there on “vague”. Seriously, we don’t have a clue.) And we timed our trip to get a sunset ride on the Texas Star (except Schnookie’s tendency to worry about missing shit and getting places way early meant we… didn’t see the sunset on the Texas Star), and an evening spent taking pictures of bright lights on the midway. Oh, and somewhere in there, we ate fried food. Oh, and before we went to the fair? We went to Stars practice. Yeah, we know how to live. Here’s a sampling of our pictures.

At Stars Practice

Practice through the fisheye, by Schnookie

Deep Fried Beer With Big Tex

Deep fried beer, with Big Tex bokeh. It’s a preztel-dough ravioli, essentially, filled with warm beer. It was worth being able to say we tried it, but probably not worth ever eating again.

Fried Goods

Deep fried latte and deep fried frozen margarita. Both are truly excellent foodstuffs. Seriously. Try them as soon as you can.

Aswirl

The swing ride thing lit up, by Schnookie

Bokeh Spinner

The swing ride thing, bokeh-style, by Pookie

The Swing Ride

The swing ride thing, in the gloaming, by Schnookie

October 17 2010

Ride lights and the Texas Star, by Schnookie

You re A Star

You’re a star, by Pookie

Love Bugs

Love Bugs, by Schnookie

Lensbaby Spinner

The swing ride thing, with Lensbaby bokeh, by Pookie

Pookie On The Texas Star

Pookie, by Schnookie

Texas Star Is Made Of Bokeh

The Texas Star is made of bokeh, by Pookie

Rotating

The swing ride thing lights in motion again, by Schnookie

Love On The Texas Star

Love on the Texas Star, by Pookie

FIsheye Big Tex

Fisheye Big Tex, by Pookie

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Filed under On The Road

A Very Dallas Vacation Recap: Day 1

You may have heard that we recently spent a marvelous week (In Dallas) with our great friend Patty. Since returning home we’ve slowly been building up to being able to share the stories and pictures from this wonderful vacation; we don’t like to rush into things, though. We’ve been busy! We can’t be helped that travelogues don’t write themselves! But excuses aside, it’s time for you to gird yourself for our blog-style vacation slide show. It’s like being trapped at our house for a cocktail party, but in text.

Our first big adventure in Dallas was to meet up with Myra, Dave, Grace, and Caitlin for a scrumptious dinner at our favorite restaurant Matito’s, and then to watch from kick-ass seats while the Stars played the Blues. Before you scoff at that less-than-sexy matchup, it should be noted that this was a couple of weeks ago — Patty was still gloating that her team was unbeaten. ::Eyeroll:: Whatever, Patty. Good for you. (Not that we’re bitter about the stupid Devils.) The game was a pretty exciting affair, not that you could tell from our photos, and then we capped off the evening with a visit to Patty’s friend Jim’s skyrise apartment to see his boffo views of the Dallas cityscape. All in all, it was a day extremely well spent.

Matitos

Stars over Matito’s, by Pookie

October 16 2010

Smoke-spewing star, by Pookie

Speed Lines

A study in motion and long shutter speed, poorly, by Schnookie

Disco Ball

Disco ball with rink reflected, by Schnookie

Stars Opening Video

Escher jumbotron, by Pookie

Disco Bokeh

Disco ball bokeh, by Schnookie

We're Number One

Number one, number one, number one, by Pookie

Disco Stars

Dude, was Schnookie even watching the game, or was it just the disco ball?, by Schnookie

Fisheye Dallas Skyline

Dallas through the fisheye, by Pookie

Bokeh Dallas Skyline

Dallas bokeh, by Pookie

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Filed under On The Road, Pictures Worth A Thousand Words