Sunday, April 22, 2012

Water, water, everywhere

... well, in the basement anyway.


Got home from a wonderful, relaxing weekend sewing to find that the water heater had been leaking since sometime after I left the house Friday morning.   Shut off the water line that feeds the heater, called the plumber, who assured me that the last 40 gallons of water wouldn't continue to flood the floor and then promised to be here first thing tomorrow.  I am grateful that almost nothing (other than plastic) sits directly on the basement floor. 

Guess I won't be showering, doing laundry, or running the dishwasher.  Will try not to feel guilty watching a movie or reading after I settle back into my sewing room.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

That toddlin' town

I'll show you around.

 My hotel was on the Chicago River, not far from Lake Michigan.  The exhibit hall (where I spent my days) was on the same level as a river walkway, accessible from the hotel.  A pleasant place to sit and relax, though it was bit chilly.


Don't know why Marilyn was here -- on Michigan Avenue right next to the river,  Whoever made this didn't get the face quite right, though.


Lovely plantings in the middle of the Magnificent Mile.  Thousands of tulips in various color arrangements.   I couldn't help but wonder what will replace them when they are through blooming. 


Monday's dinner: risotto with chicken and peas and tiramisu for dessert.   Have I ever said how much I love tiramisu?  (Yes I started dessert before I remembered to take a photo.)




Tuesday dinner at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Tower.  Food was excellent, though I was prepared for less, given the "destination" nature of the restaurant..  No photos of roasted salmon on a bed of lentils and salsify, followed by chocolate pot a creme (rich mousse with whipped cream). 



As for the view... 





Finding an old human-size building in the midst of skyscrapers is always fun.  Downtown Chicago was no different.  A wonderfully Gothic church, complete with an arched ambulatory joining the church to another building.


The Water Tower and Pumping Station were among the few downtown buildings that survived the Great Fire in 1871.  



And, of course, there's the Wrigley Building.





On a previous trip, I took an "architecture" cruise down the Chicago river, with a guide who was studying for her Master's degree in architecture.   I learned a great deal of history of the city, as well as seeing excellent examples of different styles in a city known for its variety.   Worth the time and cost, if you ever have the opportunity.

The view from my hotel room on my last night:



Glad to be home in time to throw a few things in a bag and head off to White Oak this weekend.  Exact opposite type of travel -- driving, casual clothes, no set hours, "off-duty", and, most of all, people I know and love. 






Thursday, April 12, 2012

W.I.B.W.O.*

Since last month, I finished a couple of projects.


This "Bricks and Stepping Stones" (pattern by Bonnie Hunter) was a healing quilt, given to a group that provides support for children who have lost a parent.   Made with scraps of novelties and 4-patches as leader/enders, I quilted it on my new Pfaff Quilt Expressions 4.0 (known affectionately as "QE4").  I'm not much of a machine-quilter, so I did straight lines around the larger blocks.  I wanted something to anchor the red and white 4-patches so I sewed a button in the middle of each one. 


Asian Anvils (a set of swap blocks that had been appropriately aged) is now a high school graduation gift for a close friend of D#2.


Notice the beautiful swirls of quilting (by my local long-armer) to set off the sharp angles of the anvils.


The leftover William Morris tesselated stars went together nicely for D#2's college friend who is the youngest person I know in the Bill M. Admiration Society.   QE4 and I quilted this one too. 


Played with some scrap blocks I've collected for the past couple of years.  This set is 30's repros and I think it will make a nice little baby quilt.


Fell in love with the fresh colors and great patterns in these charm squares.  Pattern is from a "Schnibbles" book I borrowed from Pat.   Still need to finalize the arrangement. 


When Nancy started playing with granny square blocks, I got hooked too.  Have a bright colored stripe for sashing for this set.  Not sure about border yet. 

White Oak retreat begins a week from tomorrow so I expect I can make progress on several of these.  I have a trip to Chicago before then, so perhaps the Windy City will give me something interesting to write about in the meantime.          

*What I've Been Working On

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Progress report: month 21 (March 2012)


At the end of March, slightly less than one full year remains until the end of my Day Zero project.  Though the end isn't really in sight yet, I like to think that this is the view looking back, rather than forward.

Completed:
12. Small things around house
60. New ethnic cuisines: (had Vietnamese pho in DC)

Progress:
7,26,28. Kept up-to-date.
33. Went to gym (most weeks).
48. Watched 15(!) movies: (First month of Netflix)
      Pulp fiction           
      Somewhere           
      Downton Abbey (1st season)
      Restoration            
      50/50                
      Better off dead
      Crazy/stupid/love
      An Ideal husband
      Something the Lord made
      Venus
      An Awfully big adventure
      Say anything
      Gladiator
      The Bride wore black
      Midsummer Night’s Dream
49. Read 5 books: (72/60, 41/30, 29/10) [2 were YA, count as 1]
     The Absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian (Sherman Alexie) [YA]
     The Same stuff as stars (Katherine Paterson) [YA]
     The Brutal telling (Louise Perry)
     Bossypants (Tina Fey)
     Caleb's crossing (Geraldine Brooks)
     Assassination vacation (Sarah Vowell)
54. Went to Philadelphia to see "The Mousetrap"
84. Extra contributions to St. Paul's Memorial Garden, St. Paul's
     (Lenten services), additional amount to PlanUSA
90. Read Bible daily during Lent: started on Ash Wednesday with II Chronicles;
      will finish Job before Easter
99. Updated blog post with progress (21 out of 21)
101. Blog posts (3):
      A.two 'fer
      One small step = one large leap
      Flowering trees and pho
Extra quilts: Asian anvils needs only label and photo; mini-Morris ready to bind; blocks done for Amelia Schnibble quilt, 12 granny square blocks done

Priorities for April:
6/9. Back to basement and books (still stuck...)
61. Paducah!  
96. Learn to load music on my MP3 player