Monthly Archives: June 2012

Oldie, Moldy (but Goodie) Web Sites

I ran across an old bookmark earlier today that reminded me of an old ftp (I think?) database called “As the Crow Flies.”  It provided the linear distance between two points.  Well, I couldn’t find “As the Crow Flies,” but instead found a substitute:  How Far Is it Between.

It reminded me of all the small, comparatively low-tech sites were strewn about the Internet (the Web wasn’t very big way back when I started using the ‘Net).

Here are some sites that I culled from an old bookmark list (probably from the late-Nineties or early 2000’s).  Some of the sites are still low-tech, old-style Web 1.0.  Others have morphed to keep with the time.

All are interesting.  But, as they (still) say on the ‘Net:  YMMV.

Enjoy the links!  Add some in the comments.

Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned

And now, for the latest update of Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned.

The new ones are at the top.  Enjoy!

Want to know why I’m doing this? Click this link.

Trail Magic? Hidden Gem? Probably Both.

Herringbone table runner created by my mother.

Ever heard of “trail magic?” In hiking, it’s something akin to a serendipitous blessing received (sometimes anonymously) when one expects it least and needs it most.

A “hidden gem” is something wonderful that is hidden (or unknown) prior to unexpected discovery,

The Historic Smithville Park in South Jersey is one of those hidden gems.  And the quilt exhibit we saw there last weekend was the icing on the cake (er, gem; but you get the idea).

My husband and I were out taking a ride with my Mother In-Law, just (sorta) looking for Historic Smithville Park.  If we couldn’t find it, no harm, no foul; we were just out enjoying the great weather.

The park is listed on the Burlington County, NJ, Parks web page. They provided directions to the park, but we opted to use our GPS to find it.  I could not for the life of me get my navigation system to find the location, so I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever find it.

Well, we did find it. And what a hidden gem.

It’s a lovely little park (well, not too little: it’s 312 acres along Rancocas  Creek includes a “floating trail” over the 22-acre Smithville Lake.  The park also includes restored workers’ homes from the 19th Century Smithville Industrial Village and well as the mansion belonging to village founder H.B. Smith.

And here’s the trail magic:  It so happened that there was an ongoing exhibit (it was to end the following weekend!) at one of the restored workers’ homes.  This newly renovated “Workers House Gallery” was being inaugurated with a quilt exhibit.  “[The exhibit] contains quilts made, used, and still owned by 6 succeeding generations of the same Burlington County family. The quilts are similar to what might have been found in homes throughout the village of Smithville.” [Source: exhibit brochure/Board of Chosen Freeholders, Burlington County, NJ.]  (Here is a news report about the exhibit.)

One of the ladies who made 6 of the quilts on exhibit showed us around.  (Thank you, Dorothy, for allowing me to take pictures and for the wonderful tour of your family’s collection.)

I was so excited to see these quilts.  My mother made patchwork scrap quilts to give as gifts, to donate to charities such as Care Wear and their clients; and to use at home. I was tickled to see one of the many patterns my mother used (narrow strips sewn together) in one of the quilts.  My mom used this technique in lap robes for Senior Citizens as well as in table runners and other small items.  I’m looking at a table runner right now that used that technique.

Check out the photos of the quilts on exhibit.  (Please don’t miss Jack’s quilt that he designed at age 6!)

The quilts speak of history and the lives of the women who made them. Most of them are not the examples of outstanding artistry one find in a typical quilt show. They are not dazzling showpieces; they are workhorses made – and used – by one local family.  Although some of them were intended as precious heirlooms, others are quilts made by a child learning to sew under protest, hardworking bedclothes made from craps during an era when waste was unthinkable, gifts to welcome new babies, art projects made by a little boy with his loving grandmother, and quilts made as a created outlet by women with busy lives and demanding careers.  — Source: exhibit brochure.

The Quilts:

(l) Pattern: Flying geese. 1880.
(r) Pattern: Pineapple (a log cabin variation)

Larger view of Pineapple pattern quilt.

Pattern: Sampler. 1980.

(l) Pattern: Square blocks. 2011.
(c) The center panels of this quilt are from a cloth story book. 2005.
(r) Pattern: Peony. 1997.

Quilt by 6-year-old Jack. Jack laid out the rows, which were then stitched by his grandmother Dorothy.
Pattern: Random rows. 2012.

(l) Pattern: Seven stars. 1930.
(c) Pattern: Pinwheels. 1930.
(r) Pattern: Crazy quilt. 1880.

(top) Pattern: Flying Gees, log cabin corner squares. 1990.
(bottom) Pattern: Rose of Sharon with scalloped border. 1930.

A Closer Look at Nature: To Identify a Leaf

Have You Seen This Leaf?

Can you identify this leaf?

While visiting relatives in Western Michigan a couple weeks ago, we spent some time outside after dinner trying to identify the leaf (pictured above) that my husband brought over from a neighboring yard.  There are Quaking Aspens nearby, but those are much smaller. And this leaf didn’t “quake.” We weren’t sure what type of tree the leaf fell from.

So, after I got home I started to investigate.  I started with the Ohio Public Libary Information Network (OPLIN) guide to identifying a tree via the leaf. Down the rabbit hole of leaf identification I descended.  Then I checked the About.com pages about leaves. Then, finally — duh? — I checked a website that identified Michigan trees.

When consulting all the sites, I was amazed at the complexity of tree leaves: narrow/broad, lobed/unlobed, compound/single, and so forth.  This particular leaf with its set of characteristics was just one of the gazillions of variations that Nature  presents in its plant and animal life.  When you really look at something like a leaf, it becomes something other than Just A Leaf

Well, I finally did identify the leaf.  But not after realizing just how many variation of the thing that we call “leaf” there are in the world.

Try an experiment:  Just pick up a leaf on the ground (the greener the better) under a tree you can’t identify.  Go back and try the links above (or others for your particular part of the nation or world) and see what I mean about variation.  You can even try it with the image above.  (I’ve provided the ID information below. So don’t scroll down too far if you don’t what to know the answer.)

THE ANSWER IS BELOW. (Caution: “Spoiler Alert”!)

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Turns out the tree from which this leaf fell is an Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides).  Members of the genus Populus genus are the poplars, aspens, and cottonwoods. I’m assuming the species identifier “deltoides” refers to the Cottonwood leaf’s triangular shape.  Read more about the Eastern Cottonwood from the US Forest Service.

Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned

And now, for the latest update of Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned.

The new ones are at the top.  Enjoy!

Want to know why I’m doing this? Click this link.

Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned

And now, for the latest update of Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned.

The new ones are at the top.  Enjoy!

Want to know why I’m doing this? Click this link.

Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned

And now, for the latest update of Pinworthy Stuff I Pinned.

The new ones are at the top.  Enjoy!

Want to know why I’m doing this? Click this link.