Monday, August 31, 2009

Mad Men Yourself

C'mon, you know you want to . . .

If you're a fan of Mad Men–or maybe even if you're not– go to and create a mid-century version of yourself, complete with accessories and props like the martini that the MadMenMe is holding . . .

You can also put yourself in a scene with other cast members and create wallpaper for your PC.

(You all know how easily amused I am, right?)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

One thing led to another and another . ..

Recently one afternoon on a DART train, a woman sat next to me, pulled out a book and was soon engrossed in My Life in France by Julia Child.

I had recently seen the movie, so I was curious. When I had to bother her to get out for my stop, we chatted briefly about it. She was enthusiastic, so, while I was out shopping, I picked up a copy of the newly printed release featuring scenes from the movie on the cover. I started reading on the trip home. (You can click the image to follow the link to Amazon to buy it for much less than my impulse purchase that day.)

As I had really enjoyed the "Julia" scenes in the movie, I was happy to read much more of her adventures in France throughout her life. I confess to a little bit of something akin to homesickness when she wrote of her house in Provence, trips to Grasse, stories about her friend and chef, Roger Vergé and his two fabulous restaurants in Mougins. I never knew she and I were nearly neighbors when I was lucky enough to be living and working in that corner of the world. There are still two versions of Vergé's Cuisine of the Sun cookbook on my shelf–one in French and one in English.

Meanwhile . . . a friend in California–curiously, a male friend that I would have never suspected of an interest in such things–has been reading Julie Powell's book, Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously. He sent it to me when he finished; it arrived on Thursday. I finished reading it with my cafe latté this morning.

It has been fascinating to see the film, then separately read each perspective presented over the course of only a couple weeks . . . and, as usual, noting the poetic license and subtle ways the movie differs from the books.

I suppose the only thing left for me to do to wrap up this particular literary and film adventure would be to go to the cook book at the heart of both of these books and cook a fabulous French meal for friends. (All this reading about cooking yummy french food has inspired this foodie to get back to some serious time in the kitchen!)

As you might expect, there's a new printing of this one coming soon, and, yes, there's a photo of Meryl Streep as Julia Child on a wrapper around it, too. The original volume is quite pricey, as you'll see if you click the book and follow the link to the 3rd party sellers on Amazon.

I think the cross-merchandising is complete with this new edition, but maybe there will be giant-sized mortar & pestle sets and Julia's favorite copper pans for sale in your favorite kitchen store with "Julie and Julia" tags (and photos of the actresses who portrayed them) soon . . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thanks, Kate

I realize that I have, once again, disappeared out of sight . . . mostly because of work, which is, in the grand scheme of things, probably a good thing. (I mean working again, not disappearing, of course.) Tonight my group went on a field trip and by the time I had a drink with a couple of colleagues and road the DART rail home, it was 10 PM. Yawn . . .

While catching up on blogs, Kate directed my attention to Kellie's lovely quilt, called Lilly Pilly, part of which is pictured here.

I'm popping up to share this amazing piece because, incredibly, it is part of a blog giveaway and–as much as I'd love to win this beauty myself–how could I not share the news with my friends?

Do go check out the rest of her photos of this quilt on her block Don't look now (and all the other eye candy she has there.)

I love the use of the striped fabric for the tree's trunk, limbs and brands. I adore the birds and the quilting is just spectacular!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Film for Foodies

Have you seen Julie & Julia? It's so much fun and Meryl Streep is absolutely wonderful as Julia Child.


If you haven't seen it yet, prepare to leave the theater craving something interesting to eat . . . for me it was a crusty loaf of French bread, some soft Brie cheese and a nice class of Merlot.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I Surrendered

Arriving at Union Station
As much as I love being able to walk to work, I finally surrendered to the summer heat and now only walk about a third of the way, four-to-five blocks, to catch the DART rail, where I ride two stops in air conditioned comfort to Union Station, then walk a couple blocks from there to my office. If I have enough time, I pick up coffee at the Opening Bell along the way.

Many of the people who jump off DART at Union Station in Dallas with me are jumping on the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) on the adjacent tracks and heading to Ft. Worth, but I'm nearly at my destination, with only a couple more blocks to go on foot.

When the TRE to Ft. Worth pulls away, I have a clear view of what's left of Reunion Arena. Someone told me recently the plan to implode the roof hit a snag when they discovered some potentially toxic insulation in the ceiling. Exploding the structure would spread those chemicals around too much, so until they come up with a new plan, it sits waiting, looking like this.

Reunion Arena

Union Station
The rest of my "commute" takes me walking around to the front of Union Station–that's Reunion Tower, "towering" above it–no, I haven't been up there . . . yet, but I hear there's great sushi up there.

Last week I started wondering if every city had a Union Station? I've personally been to Union Station in Chicago and LA and I knew there's one in NYC. I wondered what the origin of the place name was, went looking for an answer and learned that the name was used when a station was shared by two or more rail roads companies or lines. There are a lot of them–Wikipedia has a list, if you're curious.

From there, I pass the Dallas Morning News Building. On the face of the building is an interesting inscription.

The Dallas Morning News Building

If you can't see it clearly in the photo, it says:


What a great mission statement for a newspaper . . . I'm not sure I believe most modern new sources–television networks, web sites and yes, newspapers, approach the business of publishing or broadcasting the news exactly like this . . .

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quilt Plano 2009

Yesterday I drove to Plano for Quilt Plano 2009. The odd thing was, I knew exactly where I was going because I had attended several Job Fairs at the same location . . . the place had a completely different energy when it was filled with quilters and vendors: so much lighter and happier.

This miniature, Caught in a Crazy Spider Web, by Ann Maxwell of Carrollton, Texas, was one of my favorites from the show.

Caught in a Crazy Spider Web

The piece is tiny. This photo, which includes the blue ribbon it received for first place and the label give you some idea of scale. I also took a detail photo of just the "quilt" itself.

Detail from My First Texas QuiltHere's a detail photo from "My First Texas Quilt," by Sheri Smith of Plano, Texas. It got me thinking that I'd really better get started on my first Begun in Texas quilt, huh? Sheri moved to Texas in 2007 and started her quilt "immediately." Nearly 8 months later, I'm definitely falling behind here . . .

You can see all of the quilt in this photo. I love the barbed wire outline of Texas in every block.

I am a believer in the magic that happens in group quilts and there were a lot of group quilts to love in this show. I liked this one a lot, titled, Happiness is . . . A Primitive Garden, which won second place in the Group Quilts category.

Happiness is . . . A Primative Garden

It was made by a quilt shop staff and customers and had lots of wonder appliqué, including some three dimensional elements and scrappy pieced sashing.

These photos and the rest that I took at the show yesterday of these quilts and others that caught my eye appear in the slide show below.

At Last, Some Quilt Content

If you have been paying attention, you know that since moving to Texas, the quilt content in my life has been extremely limited. I've barely managed to make blocks, write directions and keep things organized for the monthly Block Lotto and, recently, I've joined the Quilters Guild of Dallas. It's funny how time-consuming looking for a job and networking has turned out to be, especially when you're in a new town with no professional network at all. (Yes, more than once since moving here, I have asked myself, WHAT were you thinking?) But enough about the advisability of my crazy risk taking last winter . . .

I did say I'd be writing about the QUILT content in my life lately. At the latest Guild meeting, I fell victim to the charms of a couple of raffle quilts. First this one, made by visiting guild, quietly hanging at the side of the room during our meeting was singing a siren song and calling my name.

Raffle Quilt

It looks unassuming enough. I can't say what it was, exactly. Was it the colors or the block combination? The appliqué in the border definitely drew me in. And, of course, the quilting is WONDERFUL. All I know is that by the time Spike Gillespie finished her entertaining presentation, "Quilty as Charged" (subtitled "Dallas made me do it." ) I knew I wanted raffle tickets and was wondering how much cash I had in my wallet . . .

The other raffle quilt of the evening was our own guild quilt for the upcoming year, unveiled for the first time. I didn't get a great photo–I'm sure there will be other opportunities soon–but I'm sure you can get an idea of the big beautiful quilt it is.

First peek at Next Year's Raffle Quilt

I can't wait to get an up close and personal look at this one myself.

Even if all I manage in a month is hanging out with quilters for a couple hours, it's definitely better than no quilt content in my life at all.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Let's Get Together and Feel Alright

After you've enjoyed the music, click over to Playing for Change to read the story about it's making and the effect it has had.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Summer Reading

What are YOU reading this Summer? I've just finished a couple books and am ready for some interesting recommendations.

My recent reading has maybe been a little unusual for me–focused through the lens of my job hunt . . . but I've found these two books fascinating nonetheless and would highly recommend them, whether you are job hunting (or even working) or not.

A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, by Daniel Pink

Whether you are part of the working world or not, all right-brainers should read this book, if only to be able to articulate to the left-brainers of the world the importance of our special way of seeing and doing.

Daniel Pink's book is written in the context of the modern western world of abundance where many of the things we do can be done cheaper by someone overseas or done faster by a computer.

I was a little taken aback to see a reference to the phrase "high-touch" . . . something I have been saying forever to explain how the fiber art I practice balance the high tech work I do in my personal life, but something I have never seen used anywhere else. It made me smile . . . like a lot of things I read and wholeheartedly believed or agreed with in the book.

StrengthsFinder 2.0, by Tom Rath
This one comes with an online test in which you discover your top 5 strengths, so you know I was going to love it . . . and I did. This book is the updated version of a very popular title, Now, Discover Your Strengths, which spent a lot on the New York Times Bestsellers list and made the rounds through large corporations and small companies a few years ago. I found it an interesting, quick read and I couldn't disagree with my results. A friend hooked me up with an excellent coach who interpreted my results and explained how they worked together and what that meant, how common (or not) they were, individually and in combination. It was fascinating . . . I know, I already said that, but I thought it was worth repeating. The information definitely correlated with the jobs I loved and the ones I didn't love so much . . . there were definitely some "a ha" moments during the discussion with the coach.

So . . . after these two introspective volumes, I'm ready for some just plain fun. A light-hearted mystery maybe? A travel book . . . since I won't have any vacation time for a while? What are you reading? What would you recommend?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...