Yesterday, my friend Corinne and I went to the Capital of Texas QuiltFest! It was so incredible! I learned so much about quilting and gained a deeper appreciation of the techniques. Most of the quilts were in a more traditional style and didn't really appeal to my taste as far as patterns or colors go. But, the piecing of fabrics and stitching skills were jaw-dropping! So, as you look through all these pictures, try to imagine a little old lady actually sewing all these tiny fabric shapes together (sometimes by hand!), and pay attention to the beautiful stitching and how it enhances the pattern.
I love the red thread and how it contrasts with the blue and roses fabric. Plus, you gotta love the lone star of Texas!
If I remember correctly, the wreath is an applique done by hand! I also love all the rippling contours of the stitching.
I learned that as far as traditional quilts go, I'm partial to the red and white styles. It feels very Norwegian to me.
This quilt features all 50 state birds and they are all hand embroidered!
Ugh, it's so simple and classic I looove it!
I love how pure white fabric makes the quilting stitches really pop. In this quilt, I like how the more busy wavy quilting flattens out the negative space while simpler stitches allow the squares and butterflies to be puffier. This quilt seemed the snuggliest to me in the entire QuiltFest. 
I'm pretty sure this is called a scrap quilt because it is made from bajillions of fabric scraps. So many tiny pieces all cut and pieced perfectly! If you look closely you can see that even the white space is actually tons of different paler fabrics!
The colors of this quilt evoke the French countryside just perfectly. It's so La Madeleine. 
This is a wedding ring quilt with fabric from the 1930's. Or at least the patterns are, they may be modern reprintings of 1930's patterns. It's so lovely. 
I love the kaleidoscopic effect of the diagonal stitching on the corners of the quilt. So smart. 
I love the subdued hues of this quilt. It helps tone down the busyness of these fabrics.

There were a few avant garde quilts:
Can you even imagine figuring out how to piece these fabrics together. It's so perfect.
How do you even do this? It's amazing.
This is Harry Potter's bookshelf. Pretty cute idea, huh? You can see it won lots of rewards.

The shopping was also amazing. Jelly Rolls and Layer Cakes abounded! Isn't that cute quilting terminology?
Lots of Christmas Inspiration.
And of course, tons of Texas pride. I had no idea that there was such a community of quilters in Texas! 
We also got to see magical quilting machines. The one below is called a "long arm machine" and as you can see it can do some amazing stitch work automatically.
I'm so glad Corinne and I went. I left feeling really inspired and ready to finish my patchwork shower curtain I've been working on for months. I can't wait to show it to you guys!
 
 
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Just wanted to share some pictures from the Farmer's Market this weekend. This week I'll share two farmer's market inspired recipes, so stay tuned!
 
 
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This was the view from our bedroom window last night. I couldn't sleep, so I sat by the window staring at the moon with binoculars. I could clearly see the Copernicus crater. It was pretty fabulous. 
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But, I didn't know it was called the Copernicus crater until I found this map of the moon's surface. Tonight, print out this map, go outside and look at the moon with binoculars. It'll be great!

By the way! Check out the recipe box link on the left! It has pictures and links to all of the recipes I've posted on this blog! Can you believe requies has been around for more than  a year?
 
 
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Jared and I had a wonderful little celebration last night! We walked to a nearby lake and sat on a blanket to watch distant fireworks. We had a great view and we were the only people there! The fireworks were accompanied by a bright, low crescent moon and lightning bugs. Delightful!
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We traveled to Seaside, Florida last weekend with Jared's family. It was so relaxing, I didn't take a single picture! Can you believe it?!  A blogger who doesn't take pictures on her vacation?! One of the reasons we love Seaside so much is because it is where Jared and I went on our honeymoon. Our 4th anniversary was only a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I would show you some of the pictures of our honeymoon in honor of both our anniversary, and our recent vacation.
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The beaches had both white and black sand. It was beautiful.
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Don't we look so young?
I wish I could write a moving, passionate paragraph about how much I love Jared and how wonderful our first 4 years of marriage have been. I'm not a good enough writer, but you get the idea!
 
 
When I was in Houston for Delaney's birthday, I went through some stuff that my mom had from my grandparent's house. Guys, I hit the vintage mother lode! I could probably start a whole blog just about going through all those boxes. And maybe I'd do that if we lived in Houston. Instead, I'm going to show you guys the cream of the crop in the next few posts. So stay tuned!

Today, I'm going to start with my favorite photos.
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This is my Pappaw. Handsome huh? He died last summer at 93 years old. I could go on and on about it, but I won't. If you're interested, just ask!
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This is my Mammaw with Tim, my uncle. Mom says this photo was taken while they were living on the military base in Japan. Pappaw was a pilot in the Air Force. I love this photo. So many old photos are thoughtfully posed, and those can be nice, but a beautiful candid photo like this one is unique. Her hand is so gently reaching out to her baby, it reminds me of Adam in the Sistine Chapel.
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How...cool...is...this...photo?! Mammaw and Pappaw really loved their time in Japan, and would often share stories of their time there. I love how intently they are watching the man. I wonder if he's explaining what they are eating or teaching them how to use chop sticks. I also love that their eating bento boxes, so cool. I'm a pretty big Japanophile, so this picture gets me really excited! 

If you, like me, have an irrational love for things Japanese, you will love the next post. I can't wait to share it!
 
 
and 8 days. Sorry it took me so long to share these cute photos!
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The birthday girl makes her grand entrance!
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She enjoyed her time outside, but refused to walk on the grass!
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Bubbles are her favorite thing right now.
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Once all the guests left, she was free to run wild, fueled by two cupcakes!
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The next day, we went to the Houston Children's Museum. It is....the.....coolest! (Delaney loves cameras.)
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The museum had a room just for babies and toddlers.
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Delaney enjoyed having everything at her level and being able to roam free.
Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!
 

Alinea

04/04/2011

1 Comment

 
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I was fortunate enough to go to the best restaurant in North America yesterday! I attempt to write about food on this blog, but I really can't describe our experience at Alinea. All I know is that I was giddy the entire time and I'm pretty sure I giggled with delight each time they brought out the next serving in the 22 course menu. Progressing leisurely through the courses, we enjoyed 4 hours at the restaurant.  Watching food competitions on TV I never really understood why presentation or aroma was such a huge deal to the judges, but knowing that the chefs at Alinea meticulously placed each element (with tweezers if necessary) on our plates and smelling the aromatics (some as exotic as warmed eucalyptus leaves) which accompanied each serving made our experience at the restaurant unforgettable. 

I'll show you pictures now, but I have to say I'm not exactly sure what we ate last night. Even though our servers gave us a menu to take home as a souvenir, some of the ingredients still elude me.
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Each course had its own silverware, and they were placed on these linen pillows.
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Steelhead Roe in a soup flavored with rutabaga and grapefruit. The creamy pillows are dijon mustard.
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Razor clam with carrot, soy and daikon.
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This one blew me away. In the little bowl is an asparagus soup with foam. On the fork is foie gras encased in aspic and topped with watercress, vanilla and mint.
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This plate was fascinating because I never realized how much I rely on color to tell me what my food will taste like. So, when I ate this I had no idea what flavors to expect. It is halibut with all sorts of stuff, including pepper, coffee and lemon.
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This dish was served on an orb with three levels. The first level has a rabbit parfait with pumpkin seeds, sage and I'm pretty sure that orange stick was freeze dried pumpkin.
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The second layer held a rabbit rillette nestled in apricot and pumpkin gelee.
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The third level was rabbit consomme seasoned with sage and cinnamon and heated by a hot rock.
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This mushroom dish was plated so that it looked like they were just growing out of the plate. It featured morel mushrooms, wild leeks, sumac and pine (nuts or bark, I don't know).
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This is a pasta wrap with short ribs and the diner's choice of toppings which included sun dried tomato dressing, turnips, tobacco gelee, blackberry, olives pickled in red wine, and fermented garlic, among other things.
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This recipe is from a french cookbook published in 1906. It's called canard a la cussy, and it is duck, topped with fried duck skin and atop a puff pastry filled with more duck! It was incredible. Oh, and it was also served with the antique plate you see, as well as antique silver ware and an etched crystal wine goblet.
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I think this was my favorite course of the whole evening. A single ravioli like pasta filled with black truffle oil, truffle, romaine and parmesan. The chef calls it 'black truffle explosion.'
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This course is called 'snow.' It is yuzu juice frozen on a metal bowl with dry ice. You use a spoon to scrape it off. This was the start of our dessert courses.
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This is a sweet potato emulsion served on cedar with pecans, brown sugar, apples, bourbon filled drops and cayenne pepper cotton candy!
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This is a glass straw filled with water, lemongrass, finger lime and cucumber and sealed with a dragon fruit gelatin. To eat it you suck the gelatin out of the straw and all the liquid follows. This was simply perfect, so refreshing and you could taste every ingredient.
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This was the final dessert course. The servers spread a mat on top of the table and then two chefs brought out the ingredients: creme brulee custard, hot chocolate, freeze dried blueberry, blueberries pickled in red wine, freeze dried peanut butter, sugar, and free dried chocolate mousse.
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When they plopped the freeze dried chocolate mousse on the table, the cool fog rushed over the ingredients and it smelled incredible!
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When they remove the glass tubes, the custard has set in place, and they burn the sugar on top to make creme brulee!
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The finished product. Pretty amazing huh?! It was so neat to watch the chefs make the beautiful designs so effortlessly. I asked how they made squares out of the hot chocolate, but the server said 'Wouldn't you like to know?'
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Then we demolished it!
Thanks for reading this really long post and looking at all the pictures, I didn't even include photos of all the courses! Share in the comments, what's your favorite restaurant?
 
 
I love Carl Sagan and I love apple pies. But I mentioned Carl Sagan first so please watch this video.
 
 
I have a little niece named Delaney who is 3 months old. Enough talking, let's get to the pictures! Behold the extreme cuteness!