Monday, June 29, 2009

My kind of town...

We had a great time in Chicago! Mike went for the RTOG meeting and I went for the fun! When we lived in Milwaukee, we would go down to Chicago several times a year for various occasions. Both of our mothers were born and raised there, so we have an historical basis for our affinity to "the Windy City." One of Mike's favorite places to go is The Berghoff. It's not that the food is so great, it's the history. They claim to be Chicago's oldest restaurant and Mike recalls his grandmother telling him that she remembered being taken there in a horse and buggy.

They have updated their menu a bit. Here is Mike enjoying his "beer flight."

My favorite place to visit is Marshall Field's. Of course, it is now a Macy's, but fortunately they had the good sense NOT to remove these signs.

And the iconic clock remains as well.

These towers were built in the 60s. I remember an issue of the Chicago Seed depicting them as ears of corn.
On Thursday night we went to a taping of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. It was fun to see what we listen to every Saturday. We have been to A Prairie Home Companion several times, but this is different because it is taped, not live. Here you can see what Carl Kasell, Peter Sagal, Roxanne Roberts and Tom Bodett look like (sort of).

On Sunday we went to the Art Institute. It is one of my favorite art museums, with an incredible collection, yet small enough to be manageable. This is one of the pair of lions that guard the entrance.

This Georgia O'Keefe is their largest painting.

But I like this one so much better...

We had seen this in an exhibition of Van Gogh & Gauguin several years ago. I didn't realize that it is a part of their permanent collection.

The same is true of this Mary Cassatt.

A Frank Lloyd Wright window...

It is amazing to turn a corner and find these famous paintings right in front of you.

This Renoir is one of my favorites.

Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

Magritte's Time Tranfixed.
I love this one by Toulouse-Lautrec.

Especially this detail...

A smaller bronze of the Picasso sculpture in Daley Center Plaza.

Mike studying this large Picasso painting.

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper has certainly been parodied often.

Though not as often as Grant Wood's American Gothic.

Including this much larger than life installation on Michigan Avenue.

Mike obliged me by posing for this outside of the Lego Store in The Shops at North Bridge.

I can't wait to go back for the ASTRO meeting this fall!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Charlie Trotter's

We had dinner at Charlie Trotter's last night. No pictures, because I didn't want to embarrass Mike, who was buying me the most expensive dinner of my life, but I did manage to copy the menu from Urbanspoon. After dinner we had a tour of the kitchen and the demo kitchen where they tape his TV show. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

Grand Menu

Effingham Oyster with Wasabi & Nori

Steamed Freshwater Japanese Eel with Cilantro, Roasted Banana & Soy

Scottish Salmon Confit with Rose & Black Tea

Roasted Duck Breast with Kumquats, Wild Licorice, Szechuan Peppercorns & Duck Gizzards

Salt-Crusted Veal Loin with Oregon Morel Mushrooms, Fermented Black Garlic & Thyme

Red Shiso Sorbet with Mango & Grains of Paradise

Poached Quince with Sesame Ice Cream & Rosemary Shortbread

Oloroso Sherry-Raisin Ice Cream with Chocolate Cotton Cake, Dried Plums & Ennis Hazelnuts

~An 18% Service Charge is Added to Each Check

Monday, June 22, 2009

My progress so far...

Not bad, hey? There are three borders to be added yet: 1" pale aqua, 2" ivory floral and 5" large yellow and pink floral, and then it will be ready to be sent off the quilter! I am so happy I decided to finish this up. I had a fair amount of time and money invested already, just can't believe it took me this long to just do it. It really didn't take much time once I got started and it really is quite lovely. Mike has asked what I am going to do with it. I said, "I don't know, maybe I'll just put it on the dining room table for the cats to lie on."

Another sweltering day here in Houston...99º today and they are saying triple digits by Wednesday. We are escaping to Chicago for the RTOG meeting, where it will only be 90º, but we will be seeing some old long time friends and enjoying one of our favorite cities. More later...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My new (old) project

I saw the orthopedic surgeon yesterday and despite some range of motion issues, he gave me permission to go back to work. With only two weeks left of my "leave of absence" I had contemplated starting another quilt, but I have had this gnawing at the back of mind. I did a block of the month at It's a Stitch several years ago in Moda's Paris Flea Market. I then took a class on how to quilt as you piece. It is a very laborious process which I realized I would never actually complete. So these blocks as well as all the fabric to complete the quilt have been sitting in my guest room closet. Last weekend I pulled them out, ripped out what I had done in the "quilt as you go" class and set about piecing this quilt top in the normal fashion. These are eleven of the twelve blocks.

And here is the basic layout of the quilt top.

This is the piecing detail.

And this is how far I have gotten...halfway there! I hope to finish it before I go back to work June 30th.

When I was outside taking that picture I rescued these poor things from the scorching 95º we have had for the last several days. Summer has definitely arrived on the Gulf Coast!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Finally...and after

So first, the sink. Much more attractive than the old one, don't you think? And with an appropriately sized faucet as well.

I wanted granite that was as close to solid black as possible. Not that you can see much of it with all the stuff I have on it. I do love my Omnigrid Fold-Away Cutting Station. I initially bought it to take with to my stitching group, but I use it all the time! I only have to take out the big cutting mat and ironing board when I am working on something big (which I actually am...more on that on Thursday).

And here is where I sit to sew. It looks out on to the screen porch. The little enamel topped table is one on my very favorite pieces. I bought it out of the basement of an estate sale in Milwaukee for $20 and repainted the wooden base in a glossy white.

So, this is totally unrelated, but I am such a sucker for cute that I have to share this with you...Kleenex in a watermelon box. Never mind that I have 12 boxes of Kleenex from Costco in my linen closet. I saw these at Target at did not even think twice. I don't even know how much they cost (although I am figuring out how to open the box from the bottom to refill it). I have always liked watermelon motifs. Back in the 80s I had lots of them in my "country" decorating style...them and geese wearing blue kerchiefs around their necks, but hey, who didn't?

Thursday, June 11, 2009 Non!

Okay, so I DID actually take some "after" shots of my room to share with you, uploaded them to iPhoto and then promptly deleted them in a cleaning fit. But since I did promise a Thursday post you will have to settle for these...

My mystery BOM Kaffe Fassett fabrics...

And the finished block...

And my find of the day, a Mary Engelbreit resin flower pot and saucer from the Sunshine Shop for $3.75...totally Thrift Thursday!

Monday, June 8, 2009

And the winner is....

Robin! Robin, please email me with your address so I can mail your prize to you. Thanks to all 124 of you who left a comment! (Just in case you're interested, I used the random number generator to choose the winner.) I hope at least some of you will come back and visit me on occasion. I promise to post more about every Monday and Thursday? Hopefully I can come up with something mildly interesting at least twice a week. And be sure to check out the Sewn web page!
So, in today's at least mildly interesting category are the two newest additions to my Scottie collection. You did know that I have a Scottie collection, didn't you? What self respecting Mary Engelbreit fan doesn't? Some of you have commented on my blog header. That is a little piece I made from a Keepsake Quilting pattern several years ago. Anyway, my two most recent acquisitions both found their way to Houston in my suitcase after my recent trip to Minneapolis. My sweet daughter, Kate, gave me this cutting board as a Mother's Day present. She bought it at Anthropologie. I doubt that it will ever see the blade of a knife.

And this little cutie was purchased by me for $5 at a flea market in the parking lot of the 331 during the Northeast Art-a-Whirl. He now sits next to my computer holding important things like my nursing license renewal form.

Coming up on Thursday...those long awaited "after" pictures of my sewing/crafting/laundry room! We had a small dinner party last night, so I was motivated to clean up my mess. I will quickly take some pictures while it is still presentable and share them with you then.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nine hole buttons

These are so doggone cute! I especially like the idea that you can sew them on using letters...another thing I could be doing if I didn't spend so much time online.

Before, not after...

I was going through my iPhoto files, uploading to Flickr and cleaning them out, when I came across these shots of my laundry/craft/sewing room. I took them last September, just before we had the new countertops put in. It was my intent to take some "after" shots and show what a difference they made. But then we had this little thing called Hurricane Ike and somehow I forgot about it. I am sharing the "before" pictures with you now, hoping that this will motivate me to clean it up enough to take those "after" shots.

We bought the house from someone who remodeled and "flipped" it. They really took a lot of (cheap) shortcuts. The backsplash on the sink is nothing more than the laminate surface run up the wall. (If you click on the photo for a close-up you will see what I mean). And about that faucet...

My workspace had the same laminate issue. At first I thought it was a bit excessive to put granite in a laundry room, but looking at new construction around here, that is what is being done, and we are trying to make improvements that will make the house more marketable when we do decide to sell it. When that happens I will be changing out my ME cherry door/drawer pulls!