Saturday, August 8, 2009

What happened to/in July

Yikes! It's a week into August. How'd that happen?

Nothing to show for July? Really there was. Here's some of it.

July 4th inspired me to pull out my flag blocks (take pictures and then put them back in their UFO drawer). My friends Joni and Angie and I went to the AQS show in Nashville and saw this quilt hanging in a hallway of the Opryland Hotel.

We decided we could make 15 five-inch blocks every month, send five to each other and keep five and in less than a year we'd have enough different blocks to put together this wall hanging. We even bought blue star fabric at the show to unify the blocks. Well, it's been six years now, and this UFO isn't any closer to getting done. The blocks are simple, but those stripes finish at 1/2 inch, and so it takes some effort to get them nice. And only the best effort will do for your swap partners!

I made this tea wallet for a friend using this tutorial. Her favorite color is grey, and this daisy print said Heather to me. She really seemed to like it. She got us drinking tea at work every afternoon at 3, a tradition we're trying to maintain now that she has left us to marry a Dane and live in Copenhagen.

My friend Fran came to Chicago with her daughter, Maddie, for a day of shopping at Nordstrom's big July sale. I think they spent all their shopping money before lunch! They stopped by, left a pile of bags and went out again. I stayed at the office and worked. Boo.

We had dinner at Frontera before Maddie left for the airport and went back to Orlando. Rick Bayless' Mexican food is so good! One of the best dishes I've ever had was the ox tail at Frontera. This time, he had his winning tongue tacos from Top Chef Masters on the menu so we had to try them. They were good! Really. I doubt I'll be making them at home, but the recipe is on Bravo's site. (Love the recipe from this week's winner, which can be made in under four hours. Ha. Won't be making that for dinner.)

The next day we drove with hubby to Spring Green, Wisconsin, to see Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's house. All three of us had read "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan and were excited to see the house. If you haven't read the book, I recommend it. But don't look up anything about him, his mistress Mamah Cheney or the house before you do. It'll spoil the book.

Good thing I'd ordered house tour tickets ahead of time because our tour was full. Would have been awful to have driven three hours to see the house and then not be able to. But it was worth the six-hour round trip. The tour was really good. Wright was an amazing man. The guide explained how Wright was constantly changing the house, such as adding a study to his bedroom before it was photographed by a magazine, and adding a library so his friend Guggenheim would have a nice place to drink his coffee when he visited.

We couldn't take pictures of the inside, which is too bad. The amazing thing was all the plywood! A new building material at the time, and Wright seemed enamored. Now it seems odd. Also, no kitchen in sight!

Wright's grave is on the left of the big pine tree near the family chapel, although our guide told us his last wife's family dug him up and had his ashes scattered in Arizona. Mamah Cheney is buried under the pine.

On the way home we stopped at Culvers. We had to get some cheese curds for Fran this being her first trip to Wisconsin. They didn't have fresh, but the fried were good. We got some fresh at the farmer's market the next day before I took her to the airport, but they didn't squeak. Very disappointing. She probably thinks I lied about that.

Speaking of food, July was a good month for trying recipes and reading food blogs. This is one of my favorites. I've made her zucchini, pizza dough, pie crust and blueberry crumb bars. And, I found this amazing potato salad recipe. Amazing because I, who hate mayonnaise and pickles (and ketchup), actually like this (after cutting the mayo in half and still having way more dressing than potatoes). For those who know me, my eating mayo is one of the signs of the apocalypse.

Our neighbor gave us a big bowl of currants so I boiled them, strained them and added sugar to make a drink as he instructed. Wasn't sure what else to do with currants besides make jam.

And, in July, I started a new project! On the plus side, this got me motivated enough to get one of the Monkey Wrench tops done so I could use the design wall for the new project. I deleted the Monkey Wrench pix because as I was going through them I saw that I'd turned one unit around and sewed it in backwards. It was, of course, in the middle of the quilt necessitating a rather long session of "reverse sewing."

The finished top and the new project in the next post. Later this month. Promise.

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