Author Archives: Pookie

About Pookie

Pookie (aka Eleanor) once let her own mother drive herself to the hospital to get stiches so she, Pookie, could watch the remainder of a Devils-Rangers game. She can be reached at interchangeablepartsblog [at]

Project Hydra Head For Your Earholes Week 6: Dalek

Dalek: Deadverse Massive 1: Dalek Rarities 1999-2006

Project Hydra Head For Your Earholes Week 6: Dalek

After the last two duds, hopes were very low for this week’s Hydra Head For Your Earholes adventure. In fact, we were so gun-shy, we broke the rule that we had to listen to whatever we drew first. That disc promised “brutal” grindcore, so… We moved on to Dalek, a group we’ve actually heard of! Granted, we’ve heard of them because Mike Patton and Trevor Dunn recommend them, which could mean anything, including “brutal grindcore”. Feeling very, very nervous, we cued up the CD. Seeing it was 77 minutes of rarities, the nervousness only grew. Visions of brutal re-mixed nonny-nonny music danced in our earholes.

Imagine our surprise when it turned out to be awesome! Instead of brutal grindcore, we got hip-hop. Hip-hop that went from dreamy to intense to intensely-dreamy. Hip-hop is not, generally, on the ol’ stereo here at Maple Hoo because none of us are really lyrics-driven listeners. This CD, though, is a good reminder that hip-hop instrumentation can be really, really wild, and interesting, and just the kind of genre-blending-and/or-busting music that frequently is on the stereo here. (Of course, the flipside of that thinking is ending up tapping your toes and revealing in awesome music only to realize you’re bopping along to a song about the atrocities of racism in America. But, officer, the music was catchy!)

All in all, it was good to be off the dud schnide. And who knows, maybe that brutal grindcore will be really fun when we get around to listen to it?

Elsewhere in earhole news this week:

We spent Saturday afternoon in need of some bouncy, energetic work music to accompany the giant project of basting a queen-size quilt. With about twenty minutes to go, Pookie was looking for some sunshine-y, goodtime music to make those twenty minutes fly. She turned to the ol’ stand-by Wires Under Tension’s “Replicant” (one of Maple Hoo’s picks for Top Ten Album of 2012, btw).

Schnookie: This song makes me feel like I’m in a movie. It’s the end of the movie, and the camera’s panning back to show me, the newly single, newly happy woman in a big city, joyously greeting whatever comes next.

Pookie: Right, and you’ve just met-cute with Joesph Gorden Levitt on the corner!

Schnookie: Of course! JGL and I have just saved the world from some terrible fate that the rest of the city didn’t even know was going down.

Pookie: It’s “(500) Days Of Jason Bourne”!

Man, who wouldn’t want to see that movie?!

Behold, (500) Days of Jason Bourne:

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Project Hydra Head For Your Earholes Week 5: Kayo Dot

Kayo Dot, “Blue Lambency Downward”

Hydra Head For Your Earholes Week 5, or More Like Kayo Puke, Amirite?

You guys, this was such a bad album. It started out with Pookie being all excited we drew it, because she’d listened to some other Kayo Dot on Spotify and really liked it, and was all, “They’re really good!” Then we put the CD in the player, got the speakers fired up, and… oof. The first track was what seemed like an hour of the world’s most pretentious college acapella group (but the people who didn’t make the college’s actual acapella group, and had to start their own off-brand one) doing experimental theater. Then the second track seemed like the world’s most pretentious college theater students (but the people who didn’t make it into the college’s actual plays, and had to stage their own in their dorm’s common room) doing experimental dance. We didn’t hear the third track because Schnookie was laughing too hard and Pookie zapped over it. The fourth track was more of the same — a little “nonny-nonny,” a little ridiculous-poetry lyrics, a lot of WTF??? music. Who even knows what it was like after that, because we threw in the towel. We staged our photo of it under a heap of cat toys, hoping maybe Fabi could get more use out of it than we will.

But all was not lost, music-wise, last week. Because lo! Our earholes were tickled mightily by the long-awaited release of Tomahawk’s Oddfellows. We had despaired when the first single was released several months ago, because “Stone Letter” is not the most compelling song we’ve ever heard Mike Patton sing on. (That’s a polite way of putting it. “Stone Letter” sounds, out of context of the album, like lousy ’90s rock. In the context of the album it’s a lot more ignorable, and in fact even comes off as catchy and fun.) Far more indicative tracks are “Waratorium”:

and “Baby Let’s Play”:

Oh, sweet, sweet Tomahawk. Thank you so much for rescuing us from the evil clutches of Kayo Dot.

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Project Hyrda Head For Your Earholes Week 4: Hayaino Daisuki

Project Hydra Head For Your Earholes Week 4

Schnookie’s review: That 14-minute CD was 12 minutes too long.

Pookie’s review: It sounds like if Zu met Dethklok and then played the same song over and over.

In short, this was our first outright dud of the project. But the packaging was pretty funny, so there’s that.

Also tickling the ol’ earholes this week, new Dan The Automator!

This is terrific music to perk up the drab month of January. We hope this isn’t replacing the rumored-for-years sequel to Lovage, but it’s still a delightful addition to Maple Hoo’s music collection.

Also blowing our minds this week was Om’s Advaitic Songs. Yeah, we’re a few months behind on this, but we discovered it at the record store over the weekend — thanks, Elizabeth, for having your wedding reception right next to the Princeton Record Exchange! If you’re looking to have a song climb into your head and then look out your eyes, look no farther than this:


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Project Hydra Head For Your Earholes: Week 1

To kick off another year of awesome music, we picked up a grab bag of 30 CDs from Hydra Head Records.  We’re going to snag one at random each weekend, give it a spin, and then keep track of it here, along with notes about whatever else is tickling our musical fancy that week.  It’s a sort of Project365 for Your Earholes!

Week 1: “Conquerer” by Jesu

Jesu - Conquerer

I sort of cheated with this week, because I didn’t pull this at random.  Before committing to buying the grab bag, I checked out a few HHR bands, and Jesu sounded amazing.  I was very eagerly anticipating this one, and had high expectations for some mind-blowing complex post-metal weirdness.  OK, first lesson of Project Hydra Head for Your Earholes: don’t have any expectations.  This album was much more straight-forward and listenable than I imagined; it wasn’t the least bit weird or challenging.  That wasn’t really disappointing per se, but the vocals definitely threw me for a loop.  They were like something out of some “indie” band — inoffensive and airy.  I can see the track “Conqueror” being a staple on Spring playlists for years to come, but my initial reaction is that I’d like this a lot more with different vocals.

— Pookie

Also tingling the ol’ earholes this week:

Creature with the Atom Brain – it’s like what Queens of the Stone Age should sound like

Big Business – after wallowing in a lot of Mark Lanegan in December, it was hard rock week at Maple Hoo!  Hands up, indeed.

John Zorn’s “The Concealed” – it’s like a slightly more serious Dreamers


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Is That An Actual Photo Excursion I See There?!

That’s right, we actually, finally got up off our duffs for a good old fashioned photo excursion! We’ve lived just around the corner from Grounds For Sculpture for years but have never bothered to go over despite everyone and their mother telling us that it’s delightful. Meanwhile, we hadn’t seen our buddy elizabetht in forever which is totally unacceptable. So last weekend we bundled up the cameras and headed out for some modern sculpture photography and catching up over fried pickles and beers. In the end, I think we were all more interested in the fried pickles, but we did get some shots we liked.


Dirt Carpet

Giant Vase Of Flowers

Red Filter Bokeh Sparkle

Plant Piano

I Blinded Myself For This?

More Than One Peacock

Tiny Chairs

January 28 2012


Filed under Pictures Worth A Thousand Words

An Open Letter To Crafters On The Internet Who Have Recently Discovered Cross-Stitching Is Fun

Dear Crafters On The Internet Who Have Recently Discovered Cross-Stitching Is Fun,

As a long-time cross-stitch enthusiast, I am beyond thrilled that cross stitch is finally getting its due alongside other “rediscovered” cool crafts like knitting, crochet, and quilting. For too long, it’s been ignored as a dorky craft suitable only for grandmother’s bathrooms. It deserves better than that!

However, when most people on the internet embraced knitting, crochet, and quilting, there’s been a lot of love for using high quality or designer materials. So why, for the love of all that’s crafty, is everyone using Aida or evenweave cloth?! People, there’s a whole world out there of beautiful fabrics that are a joy to work with, that feel good in your hand while you work, that add depth to your work, that compliment the colors of your floss*.

It’s called linen, and if you’re not at least trying it out, you’re doing your project and the process of cross stitching a huge disservice. If you have the budget, would you knit/crochet/quilt with polyester? No, because it wouldn’t feel as nice in your hands while working, and the final product doesn’t look as good, right? Guess what? The difference between Aida and linen is the same thing. So this year, do yourself and your stitching a favor — switch out that Aida for some linen. You will not regret it, I guarantee it.

Hugs and kisses,

P.S. If you’re worried that it’ll be much more difficult, don’t worry and just go for it! Start with a big count linen. Sure, you may need to really focus in the beginning about counting up and over two linen threads for every stitch, but once you get going, you’ll start to see the linen in terms of the grid made by your existing stitches, and not in terms of each individual linen thread. Trust me!

*If you’ve really got the budget, I also highly recommend trying out silk thread instead of floss. It’ll blow your mind. It’s like sewing or quilting with voile instead of Kona cotton.


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Helloooo Henrik Jane!

Almost exactly two years ago, I fell hard for Heather Bailey’s fabric line, “Nicey Jane”. Just as I was wondering what to do with it, I received a generous gift that included the Minick & Simpson pattern “Chippewa Nine-Patch”. At first glance I just knew the two were meant for one another. So I ordered a giant pile of fabric and started to cut a zillion 1 3/4″ squares. Months and months passed without much progress. Finally I had to admit that hand-piecing the whole quilt was not happening. (The pattern does helpfully suggest strip piecing, but two years ago I was still thinking strip piecing wasn’t for me. I was an idiot.) I dragooned Boomer and Schnookie into piecing the rows of the 81-patches that alternate with the snowballs. Turns out the sewing machine sews a lot faster than I do. I suspect this is because it doesn’t stop every hour to look at the “Coming Soon” section of while dreaming of the next quilt it’s going to start.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, thanks to their help, I was able to finish Henrik Jane this summer! Woo-hoo! After a short spell with Mary, The Long-Arm Quilter, Henrik Jane was back at home, ready to be bound and washed. I put the final stitches in last weekend.

Henrik Jane Take 2

I am simply over-the-moon for how this turned out. It seems lots of little pieces combined with low-contrast fabrics is the signature look that’s going to make my quilts famous. Heh. I was concerned at first that the nine-patches weren’t showing off the fabrics well enough, but once I got going on it, I really loved how it ended up looking like confetti. Or an impressionist painting. Or an impressionistic painting of confetti.

Henrik Jane Quilting

There was a long time there where I thought this project would never be finished. I’m so glad I powered through, though. Now, if Henrik Zetterberg ever shows up at Maple Hoo, we can greet him with a quilt he can call his very own.

Henrik Jane


Filed under Pins and Needles, Pommerdoodling, Quilting

Cheeky Dracula Cha Cha Cha!

Back when I was a cross stitcher, I earned the nickname “Threads of Fire” for finishing projects quickly. I hadn’t had such luck as a quilter until this summer. Last weekend I finished my fifth quilt top in the last few months! Behold, Cheeky Dracula!

August 7 2011

I seem to have lost my ability to take an in-focus picture of a quilt, but what you’re looking at is a scrappy dresden plate made of all kinds of Halloween prints, and with fussy cut centers from Alexander Henry’s “Ghastlies”. Yeah, it’s a little manic, but if you can’t go nuts on a scrappy Halloween quilt, when can you?!

This in-progress shot shows the plates better than the finished product:

September 13, 2010

The fabrics are mostly Alexander Henry, but there’s some Sheri Berry in there, and some Sanae Spooktacular, and some stuff leftover from Boomer’s Halloween quilt, and some random stuff salvaged from the great Basement Stash project. Oh, and the little candy corns are from my first seasonal-fat-quarter-impulse-buy-while-waiting-for-fabric-to-be-cut purchase! I probably — nay, definitely — should have switched to a different, less busy background, but I got that stuff on sale for half off, so that’s what I stuck with.

My favorite part, needless to say, is the pie centers, which you can see better in this in-progress shot:

Cheeky Dracula Centers

Look, there’s Cheeky Dracula himself! If you listen closely to this quilt, you can hear his theme song.

Cheeky Dracula will be heading off to the long-arm quilter soon. I hope he’ll be back in time for Halloween!

So what does a girl do when she finishing one quilt top? She starts a new project, of course! Two weekends ago we held Maple Hoo’s first (of, I hope, many) Irresponsibility Weekend. The idea was we all dropped whatever projects we were working on and picked up something brand new, and low priority. Schnookie made an awesome peacock. Boomer spent the weekend digging up a zillion new projects (but I don’t think she started anything; she’s a master, that one!). I dug out a stack of 1/2 yard cuts I bought with my birthday discount at my LQS two years ago. I had intended to use them to make American Jane’s Fiesta quilt, but never got around to picking the solid colors for it. Instead, I decided to be inspired by copy this quilt I’d seen on Flickr. Nothing says irresponsibility like using 1/2 yard cuts to get, at most, 6 2.5″ squares for a scrap quilt! Heh.

Here’s what I have so far:

Block 1 of Irresponsibility City

I’m planning on making it 6 diamonds by 6 diamonds, so while there’s still a long way to go, I feel like this is pretty quick work for just one weekend. It takes more time to decide which fabrics to use than it does to piece the block! Sadly, we don’t have a ton of scraps yet, so I can’t make it all from the scrap bin. Instead, I’m raiding the stash of fabrics that aren’t put aside for specific projects. It’s been fun to poke around in the fabrics we’ve collected over the last two years. I was especially excited to use the vintage hot pink fabric I got in Brimfield:

Brimfield Vintage Fabric

I love that I’ll be able to look at this quilt for years to come and remember the Brimfield trip, while also looking at the whale fabric Schnookie gave me for Christmas to commemorate our various trips to the American Museum of Natural History!

One of my favorite things about this project so far is that it’s giving me a great opportunity to play with fussy cutting.

Fussy Cut Fish

Fussy Cut Camel

Fussy Cut Bird

Any quilt that has that goldfish and that camel five inches apart has got to be a good thing, right?


Filed under Quilting

Picking Eating With Pookie: Special Earth-Shattering Edition!!!

Three years ago I embarked on the “Picking Eating With Pookie” project, where I’d try veggies from the garden and the farm and then report back on my experiences. I made some progress (I’m quite fond of string beans roasted with potatoes, I love wilted greens like chard in with my pasta, and I periodically find myself contemplating how tasty garden carrots can be) but there are still some major hurdles. One of the highest hurdles is beets. Cooked spinach is still tops on my list of things I hate, but that’s not usually a problem, since it’s not often on the menu at Maple Hoo. Beets are. Boomer and Schnookie just loooooove their beets. And they can’t. Stop. Talking. About. Them. From the first beet of the season until the last, it’s just all “ooh, beets are the best”, “beets are nature’s candy”, “I want to marry these beets”. Blah blah barf.

This weekend was no different. Schnookie declared on Friday that she was going to make quinoa with shredded beets to go along with Sunday’s dinner. While she and Boomer waxed on about how great the beets would be, all I could think was, “What the fuck?! You can’t waste quinoa by filling it with beets!! That’s sacrilege!” Schnookie was all, “Oh, no worries, you can pick the beets out.” I wasn’t buying it, but I didn’t say anything.

Well, I didn’t say anything until Sunday night when Schnookie was prepping dinner. She had the unmitigated gall to point out how beautiful the shredded beets were. Well, I never! I may have overreacted out of despair that delicious Rancho Gordo quinoa was going to waste, but I think I said something like, “I hope those beets rot in hell!” That led to a little veggie-hate-filled tiff that I wasn’t proud of, but that I certainly wasn’t going to back down from. I mean, for heaven’s sake, these were beets we were talking about! The lead up to dinner was terrible. Everyone was cranky, the weather was muggy, the view from the grill is depressing. It was a bad scene.

So I was not in the greatest of moods when I found myself standing next to the kitchen counter when the serving bowl of beet-red quinoa, spiced with sumac and cumin, was placed before me. I peered at it. A-ha! Just as I suspected! Shredded beets were not something that would easily be picked out of a quinoa dish! Schnookie’s a liar! A dirty, beet-loving liar! But… The closer I looked at how indistinguishable the beet shreds were from the quinoa, the more I noticed that it was a giant bowl of delicious, delicious quinoa. I love quinoa. It manages to be mushy like mashed potatoes, but also a little crunchy like popcorn, and never too nutty. Mmmm, quinoa. Quinoaaaaaa…

I couldn’t resist! I had to take a little nibble! I carefully chose a tiny bit that definitely didn’t have a beet on it. And it was phenomenal. So… I took another bite. And it was also phenomenal. It tasted like some heavenly combination of southwestern and Indian cooking. Without thinking, I went back in for more. And without realizing it, I took a bite that had beets in it. I had to admit, I couldn’t tell what was beet and what was quinoa. I couldn’t tell what was gross and what delicious. Could it be… the beet wasn’t gross?!

Next thing I knew, I was loading my plate up with beetstuffs.

If you thought the planet seemed to shift around 7:45 pm today, now you know why. Picking-Eating Pookie willingly ate beets.

Color Pookie Shocked

Posted by Pookie


Filed under Picky Eating With Pookie

A Quilting Day In The Life, By Pookie

Last night I finished my fourth quilt top in the last few months! Woo-hoo!

Bliss Top Finished

I saw this pattern (“Hook and Eye” by Teacher’s Pet) done up in these fabrics (“Bliss” by Bonnie and Camille) at Quilt Asylum in McKinney, TX last year and decided I wanted a quilt exactly like it. I thought it would be a lovely Christmas quilt, but it could also be a plain old Winter quilt for January and February. I finished all the blocks just after last Christmas, but then dragged my feet on laying them out. Then I lay them out months ago and sort of forgot about them. Then I picked them up again recently, but lost track of how they were laid out. In the end, I had a lot of instances of the same fabrics showing up right next to each other. Um… that’s charm, right? ::shifty eyes::

Anyway, I’m quite pleased with how it looks, especially against a backdrop of July corn. Of course, now that it’s done, I’ve been thrown into a tizzy of having a billion projects I want to work on and a full Saturday with nothing else to do but quilt and watch DVDs. I’m so all over the place with what I want to be working on, so I figured I’d keep a running diary of what I manage to get accomplished today.

11:00 am: The first thing to do on a day like today is admire one’s work on a newish project. In this case, I laid out the first five blocks for FiestaFudd.

FiestaFudd In Progress

Just after finishing “Bliss” last night I realized I wanted to be working on something new. Something bright, sassy, and fun, but preferably with nice big pieces. Of course, starting a new project in quilting is tough because you have to cut the pieces and get them marked. So really, FiestaFudd could not have been more perfect! It’s bright (um, probably to a fault), sassy and fun, and it’s got big pieces that I had already cut and marked. But it’s not new! Waaaah! Just kidding.

11:15 am: Consider whether the panel from the giant stack of Helen Dardik fabric I got last week will work in this awesome quilt from the book “Gone To Texas”. The answer may surprise you.

Quilt Planning

The answer? No. No, it won’t work. Shuckydarns. But, there’s still hope that the fabric line will work for this pattern, just without showcasing the adorable panel. At least this means I don’t have to get online and order yards more of the panel today.

11:30 am: Press pieces stitched the night before.


I had some loose FiestaFudd pieces, and the top to Bliss, and the background square for Cheeky Dracula to be pressed. Pressing is a great way to kick off a stitching day. It’s kind of like organizing a desk or weeding a garden bed.

12:00 pm: Seethe with jealousy over Schnookie’s new project, “Basement City”. It’s going to be an incredible quilt made up entirely of 1 1/4″ squares (3/4″ visible), all made with repro fabrics from Boomer’s stash. She ordered some lime green solid for the background, and then started picking fabrics for the prints.

Basement City Materials

Basement City Begins

At some point today, I have to start cutting these fat quarters up into thousands of teensy tiny squares.

12:30 pm: Decide the thousands of teensy tiny squares can wait. Sit down on the couch and waste time on the internet and on buying stuff on iTunes (I’m pretty sure lots of people buy Dolly Parton and Fantomas at the same time. I hope I screwed up Apple’s demographics on that spending spree.)

1:00 pm: Put in the first stitch of the day. Yeah! I’m stitching up a storm today!

2:15 pm: Two television episodes later, I have 1/3 of a Cheeky Dracula dresden plate attached to the background. Threads of Fire, that’s me! At this rate, I’ll have this quilt done in… um… ::does some math::… 100 years!

2:16 pm: Commence cutting the first of 14,000+ 1 1/4″ squares for Schnookie’s “Basement City”.

Schnookie and Her Squares

Dear Accuquilt,
Please create a 1 1/4″ square die.
Hugs and kisses, Pookie

3:00 pm Cutting several hundred 1 1/4″ squares actually went pretty quickly, thanks to Schnookie helping out with the trimming. If you ignore the 8 1/2 yards of background we have to cut, the whole thing doesn’t seem that bad. Since I still had some cutting get up and go, I launched into a proof-of-concept block for the Farmyard fabric we ordered a few weeks ago. SeptemberFever has been creeping into the air here at Maple Hoo (probably thanks to the 5 hours of rain yesterday) and there’s nothing more September-y than this line.

Cutting Scraps

4:00 pm: Time for more TV! What are the chances I can finish the dresden plate block before dinner?

4:43 pm: I was fairly confident that my zeal for all my quilt projects would overcome my recent obsession with “Red Dead Redemption”, a.k.a. Grand Theft Horsie. It’s now six hours since I got out of bed today and I’m starting to get twitchy. Must. Not. Turn. On. xBox… Must… Quilt… Arrrrgh!

5:30 pm: Dinner is still hours away, but the dresden plate block is done! I’m doing excellent stitching!

Another Plate Attached

6:30 pm: Test proof-of-concept block of “Farmyard”.

Farmyard Proof of Concept

Looking good! I was very worried that once again I’d have chosen poorly vis a vis the scale of the prints and the pattern, but I’m satisfied that even with the biggest print in the line, the pattern pieces are just the right size. We’re thinking a deep chocolate brown background will be the way to go. Of course, no more progress can be made on that quilt until getting the background fabric, so onto the next project!

7:00 pm: Finish cutting the centers for the Cheeky Dracula plates.

Cutting Cheeky Dracula

Boomer picked up a circular cutter and it seems to be working quite well. Also working quite well? The towel draped on the dining room chair. It’s meant to keep Rollie from scratching the chair’s upholstery, but it doubles as a very effective miniature design wall:

Cheeky Dracula Centers

7:30 pm: Dinner’s almost ready, so it’s time to hunker down for the evening. After all that work I put in today on Schnookie’s new quilt, Cheeky Dracula, and Farmyard, it’s now time to focus on either more FiestaFudd, or more V&A clamshells. Or both! Either way, I’m feeling very, very accomplished already today. (Which means, I could turn on that xBox afterall and not feel like I’ve wasted my day… If only Grand Theft Horsie had an expansion pack where John Marston goes to a county fair to learn how to quilt from all the local rancher’s wives!)


8:30 pm: Finish dinner, tipsy from a very full glass of delicious red wine. Yessiree, today was a Saturday well-lived.


Filed under Pins and Needles, Progress Reports, Quilting