Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cherries, anyone?

Last weekend, I woke up to a spooky kind of morning. This was the view from my kitchen balcony.
It felt very fall-ish and I wondered if I should be watching for things flying through the air?!

I also had the opportunity to take a class with Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks Designs. I wasn't able to attend her basket class on Saturday, but I really wanted to take her crewel class, Cherries for Cherie, and I was so fortunate the class was on Sunday, when I could attend. Barbara is a crewel master and she certainly doesn't design the old-school crewel that our mothers used to stitch. Take a look at some of these beauties.

These two photos on the left are Barbara's new teaching pieces. The class piece that we were taught is below:
("Cherries for Cherie" above is Barbara's, not mine!) I'd love to show you what I accomplished in class but I was a bit rushed this afternoon and I left my stitching bag at the shop. I will have to post a pic next time for you all. I'll try to actually work on this piece some time soon before I forget all that I've learned. Be on the lookout for Barbara's crewel designs to show up in the shop....I can't resist!

A group of us met at the shop this afternoon to work on Jeannette Douglas' "My Stitching Album". I showed you the Mosaic Muse chapter last time and here is another progress pic. I really like this stitch but it does move pretty slowly. What do you think so far?

Thanks for reading, my friends! Until next time....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Have you tried Mirai?

Have you ever heard of it? I didn't either until this summer. Someone from my Village Office was going door to door of the businesses of Lemont, informing us of the Farmer's Market and inquiring if we'd like to set up a booth. One of the "perks" of this particular Farmer's Market was that a vendor would be there selling Mirai pronounced ME-rye) corn. One of my first trips over to the Farmer's Market, I purchased 6 ears of the bi-color corn. The flavor of this sweet corn was awesome. It was some of the first pick of the crop this season and the ears were not very large. Even so, they were sweet, juicy and a reminder of summer's past.
Just this past Tuesday, I purchased a dozen ears of corn, this time 6 bicolor and 6 sweet yellow. The kernals were huge! No mushy spots, no bare spots....just pure, kernal-y bliss!
I was wondering if you could eat the corn raw as it is so sweet. I happened to check out the website and found that they recommend eating the corn either way; cooked or raw! The corn was first introduced in Japan in 1995 as a super-sweet corn. The Japanese named it Mirai, meaning "taste of the future". Try an ear of Mirai instead of a plum some evening. Yummy! The Farmer's Market will be in the Historic Downtown part of Lemont through October every Tuesday from 8a to 1p. Get there early for the best picks!

On a stitchy note, I did several bands of My Stitching Album's Mosaic Muse over the Labor Day weekend. A couple members of my Jeannette Douglas monthly stitch group complained how difficult this chapter was to stitch. I can see how they would think it was tedious, but for me, it was fun! I love the mosiac stitch and I just love how it forms little bumps on the linen. Here's my progress so far. I am going to push myself to do a little bit every night.

Tomorrow at the shop I'm hosting an open house for the Waterfall Glen Chapter EGA. Some members will be there to promote EGA and all types of embroidery. They will have stitched pieces for show and can talk to interested parties about what EGA is and how it benefits them personally. I, myself, have been a member over 10 years. I don't think I would have expanded my stitching horizons had it not been for EGA. I hope to update you all with some pics from the big event in the next couple of days!

Have a good evening! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where's the meat?

Another whirlwind weekend with the twins has come and gone. My DH and I headed out to PA early Friday morning. We left at makes for a long drive when you're so tired that you should be going to bed. Rather, we head out for a 10 hour drive! I slept a good portion of the way; heck, who was I kidding....I slept the whole way until DH could drive no more. We pulled into a rest area and slept for 4 more hours. I woke up rested and refreshed and drove the remainder of the trip while DH continued to sleep on and off. Of course, by this time I was starving so I began to look for a nice place to eat breakfast. When you've traveled that far northeast and you're not on the tollroad any longer, the pickins get pretty slim. I spotted a Cracker Barrel and headed on over. Now, I used to dislike Cracker Barrel as I feel their food and service became very sub-standard but they redeemed themselves due to our last "emergency" visit (no other choices). The breakfast I had last time was so outstanding, I can still smell the bacon! Needless to say, Friday morning I hoped to duplicate my wonderful breakfast, so I ordered the same meal. It arrived in fairly short order but you probably could have watched my face drop. The scrambled eggs looked fake and rubbery, the bacon looked as if it had been sitting 4 or more hours and the toast was burnt along the crust. Surprisingly, the waitress wandered over to our table to ask how everything was. Why do they do that? If I had served the meal, I would hightail it out of the area and not show up until the plates looked cleared! I was pretty speechless and DH had to tell the waitress that I was disappointed in the meal. I finally found my voice and said the meal looked awful. She offered to bring me a new meal but no, I have heard horror stories about that. I suffered in silence. She did bring me new bacon which looked slightly less old; maybe had only been sitting 3 hours. I still have to go visit and let them know what I thought of their restaurant.

Meals with the twins are usually on the go and I'm lucky to get a decent meal all weekend. There was a rainbow in this stormy, overcast, bad meal weekend as we stopped at a place in Erie called Backyard Burgers. Great "fast" food. If you have to eat junk, this is a good place to eat. Burgers were yummy, the waffle fries great. Even my Cajun Chicken salad was good. It would have rated "awesome" if it contained leafy greens other than iceburg lettuce.

Monday morning we packed up to head back home. We had a quick lunch of hot dogs and mac & cheese. We dropped off the twins and then started our long drive home. I was just biding my time until the toll road where I could get a Starbuck's and perhaps a semi-decent dinner. Again, slim pickins, but we lucked out at one Plaza which contained a Starbuck's and a Panera. I was too happy! I don't much care for the bread (s) at Panera but do like their salads. Well, they were promoting their new soup/salad combo, a bowl of Tomato soup and the Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich.
Yum, yum. Against my better judgement, I ordered the combo. I normally pass on all the sandwiches because I just can't handle all the bread but this one looked too good to refuse. Take a look at the advertisement....your mouth is watering, huh?

Now at the table, I thoroughly enjoyed the tomato soup. A big thumbs up for that one. However, I opened up the sandwich and to my dismay, I saw about a tablespoon of chicken salad atop two tomatoes, atop a monstrous piece of lettuce, sandwiched between two thick slices of bread. I don't know about you, but to pay $7.69 for a lousy 4 chunks of chicken breast, chopped celery and about a half a grape makes me a little upset. Sorry for the lousy pic; I had to use my phone!

Shame on me for not taking the sandwich back to the counter. It was crowded and this particular Panera was having some "grumblings" behind the counter with the staff. Maybe the cook was having a bad day or he was in a rush. Either way, it was a terrible waste of money for two slices of bread, two slices of tomato and a huge lettuce leaf. Next time I'll know better and won't even bother trying to do the "fast food" thing. Are there any good, somewhat healthy food places out there? Maybe I'm just missing them...every restaurant seems bent on serving huge bread sandwiches with a little bit of meat. Bread is not my idea of a meal. Maybe I'll just save a few $$ and pack my own lunch!

Thanks for reading!