Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Love That Good Timey-Wimey Thing!

I was stunned.

This weekend I SO wanted to buy tickets to the Dr Who 50th Anniversary special, but I just couldn’t justify it with the holidays so close.  And then, at work yesterday, they announced a drawing for 7 tickets for the 3D IMAX showing at the Livonia 20.  I WON!

I was stunned! And SO geeked!  I won 7 tickets but donated 3 back to the company for another person to win.

Unfortunately, Steve was unable to go, but I had a great time with his daughter, Brenna, and his niece, Lindsey.  They are die-hard Whovians, too!

We arrived early and were a little nervous because the ticket agent said SOLD OUT!  But they had the tickets waiting for us at the Guest Services.  There were people EVERYWHERE in costume including one dressed as a DALEK!  Everyone was geeked – Tardises, sonic screwdrivers, loooooonnggggg scarves.

Before the show, they had Dr Who trivia on the screen and afterwards they played a “making of” featurette.  And then the main attraction…. Oh my! I’ve been to 3D before, but this was the first time they did it right!  The effects were amazing – the Gallifrey battle scenes, the writing on the chalk board, the 3D Gallifrey paintings.  I sat there thinking that those at home missed a total experience. 

And let’s not forget the story itself.  David Tennant and Matt Smith are still cuties!  The third doctor was perfect.  The scenery and locations were stunning (like the sand in the dessert).  The constant references to other story lines, the laughing at themselves, the wink-and-nods, the cameos, the pain they shared… and to have the story-line arc into a new direction. 

LOVED the ending with the 13 doctors.  I’m so ready to see where this goes in the next 50 years.  It was a most excellent night.  I wish I had one of those timey-wimey things to re-live it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yearly Inventory

Well, it's getting to be that time of the year. Making Christmas gifts are winding down and the resolutions rear it's ugly head.

I've spent the last 2 years making Memorial quilts for others and am working on the last one now. Soon, I'll get back to my own work. And with this bitter winter settling in I should have plenty of time.

These are some of my "in progress" (not "unfinished") work. I'm always working on several projects simultaneously (because you can get a lot done @ 15 minutes a day!).

Each box contains fabric, patterns, my special design notes, special tools and/or copied instructions for special techniques. Each are setup where I can pick any box, any time and work a little more on the project.

I'm thrilled with the progress of my Texas log cabin. That's my I-have-15-minutes-and-need-some-mindless-chain-piecing project. As I work on other projects, I cut any leftover fabric into 1.25" strips. Then, when I have time, I sew them into 12" log cabins. I just checked - I have 20 completed blocks. Just 4 more to go to complete my center.

Happy stitching!

Ah, Fabric!

I found the fabric for the next stage of my butterfly metamorphoses!

Ah, Progress!

It's amazing how long it takes to trim 162 butterflies!

Happy Birthday, Little Sister! Part 2

Because I had so many pictures, I decided to break this post up into two.  So, after lunch...

From there we had to boogie to get to the Guardian Building on time.  Pure Detroit, a shop in the mezzanine, is sponsoring a series of free tours throughout 2013 in celebration of their 15 years in Detroit.  Lorna and I enjoyed the skyscraper tour, guided by urban planner, Michael Boettcher. 

Guardian Building - Mezzanine

Michigan Mural - poor lighting

Michael escorted a half-dozen of us out to Campus Martius, through the First National Building, into the Compuware Building, through Campus Martius, over to the Ford Building, the Penobscot Building, the Buhl Building, and then along Jefferson Avenue.  We finished our tour back in the Guardian, 2 hours later

Michigan Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in front of Compuware

Water Cascade at Compuware - water raining from above

Look up!

Compuware - external

Part of the tour group - Michael and Lorna in the middle

View of the ice rink in front of Detroit's Christmas tree.  According to Michael, this rink is larger than the one at Rockefeller Center.

Detroit's Christmas tree in front of the Guardian
Tree lighting is tomorrow

Close-up of Guardian Building

Guardian Building - Main Door

Ok, so why so many Indian motifs?  Most of these were built after World War I.  Up until then, the US's architecture style was greatly pilfered from the Europeans.  After the war (and all that killing of the Europeans) and after the discovery of King Tut's tomb, Egyptian and Native American motifs became the rage.  There are very few examples of the Egyptian style left in Detroit but many Native American examples.

Penobscot Building across the street

Inside the Penobscot

The Buhl Building

Relief on the Buhl Building

Michael told a really funny story here.  This statue is across the street from the 'Spirit of Detroit'.  After she was installed on Jefferson Avenue, some pranksters snuck out one night and painted green footsteps leading from Spirit to her!

 Giacomo Manz├╣'s Passo di Danza bronze sculpture

Back to the Guardian

Lorna checking her messages

Happy Birthday girl!

2 of only 6 remaining Tiffany clocks in the world

Tiffany Clock in the Guardian

Last pose before we leave

The 2nd Tiffany clock - seen from lobby

It was the most fascinating tour about Detroit history, architecture and current direction  AND IT WAS FREE!  I'm just bummed that we found out about this at the END OF THE YEAR and missed so many!  But we will try to go back before it's over. They also offer the Guardian Building tour and the Fischer Theater.

Just as we finished our hot chocolates at Rowland's in the Guardian Building, the rain started as we walked back to our car.  From there, we headed home for Lorna's birthday celebrations that night.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Happy Birthday, Little Sister!

Thursday was my sister's birthday, and, as tradition would have it, we spent the day together.... exploring!  

This year I was stumped - I knew where I wanted to take her for lunch, but her original request (Henry Ford's Fair Lane) was under renovation.  After pinging my friends, we ended up with a very awesome day!

Birthday Girl!

Our day started with a tour of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford house on Lakeshore Road.  Stunning! The house was designed by Albert Kahn and resembled a Cotswald Cottage (an ENORMOUS cottage!) Built in 1929, the house is a series of British libraries, French salons, Chinese art with Ming vases.  We saw 2,000 year old china roosters, art donated to the DIA, personal pictures scattered throughout the room, and contemporary rooms quietly incorporating features from some of their cars.

Main Entrance

I was personally fascinated by the mixture of Asian art with French pieces and British paneling. From such diverse cultures and periods and, yet, it all blended so flawlessly.  As we took the tour early, we had the tour guide all to ourselves.  It was fabulous timing as they just started decorating for the holidays. 

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

We were unable to take pictures inside the house, but we were given free range on the property.  We started at the Power House, walked along Lake Erie, over to the terraces, down to the pool and poolhouse.   

Lake Erie

Heading from the lake to the patio

External view of the French Salon used to receive guests

Close-up of the ivy

Back of the French salon leading to patio for dancing

West Wing of house

Turning away from the house we walked through the rose garden, the formal gardens, and around to Josephine's playhouse.  Josephine's playhouse was a 7th birthday gift from her grandmother, Clara Ford.  It cost Clara $15,000 to build, which was twice as much as it cost to build an average house at the time.

Josephine's Play House

Interesting story told by the tour guides.  The Fords knew the Lindberghs (who came from Detroit).  After the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped, security was tightened at the mansion.  The children's rooms were all interconnected to each other but the doors to the hall could all be locked by the governess.  For security reasons, Josephine could not sleep in her little playhouse.

We walked the grounds as crews were hanging millions of twinkling lights.  They offer candlelight tours and holiday grounds tours.  They also have a restaurant in the Visitor Center - it smelled SO good (they have French Dip!), but we had plans downtown.

Our next stop was an eatery on Woodward Avenue called Good Girls go to Paris Crepes.  We LOVE trying new Detroit restaurants, and so many of my friends recommended this place.  

Oh! So many choices!

It was packed - there were so many students today.  The place is the brainchild of a single lady - quite the character - who mans the griddle.  Lorna had the "Rose" and I had the "Jeanette".  We rounded off our meal with a crepe dessert called the "Katie".  I'm not kidding - I'm still craving that tart apple crepe with the salted-caramel topping.  

The Katie

To be continued.....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas in the Woods

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! The latest issue of Quiltmaker (Sept/Oct).  It’s their hand embroidery issue.  Beautiful pictures, great tips.  I just don’t understand why the cover isn’t.. well… covered in embroidery!

If I didn’t have a subscription, I would’ve ran out to buy it especially because it has a Gail Pan design in it!  I’m ADDICTED to this Aussie designer!

Too much to do – won’t get it done by Christmas (either this one or the adorable Halloween stitchery or the sweet Home stitchery), but they should make nice projects to stitch during the cold January in Michigan! 

Tip: I’m lucky – I have access to a scanner.  Because I have so many books and magazines, I always scan my “must-do” embroidery projects for easy locating later.

If you’d like to see more tips on embroidery, I’m quite proud of my Embroidery 101 post.  Happy stitching!