Saturday, 26 June 2010

A Gardeners Question, My Favourite Toy & Day Four Of The Chicago Chronicles…!

Well…to all my UK Blog friends…hasn’t this week been wonderful. It actually feels like a real Summer! The kind you remember from childhood. My boys were out playing in the garden till past 10pm last night & it was still light enough to see, not to mention warm.

26June2010 043 On the subject of the garden, we reaped our first crop of strawberries on Thursday & had them for dessert that night! They may have been all shapes & sizes, but they had a wonderful flavour, enhanced beautifully by a sprinkle of black pepper…well mine were anyway, the boys are yet to be convinced!! Sadly my raspberry canes have had it & my single remaining blueberry bush looks as if it might yield about a handful of berries, so thank goodness for the strawberries, I say!!

26June2010 040 Oh & Anna…my Chinese Lantern Plants now have little buds…these I hope will become lanterns!! I used to love to play with the lanterns in my Mums garden when I was small, so it will be so nice to actually have some to show the boys…


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Now, here is a question….to explain, I have quite a lot of Aquilegia plants at the back of my borders. These were initially planted as seeds & were all from the same plants in my sisters garden. Every summer for the last five years they have grown & self seeded, always purple…

26June2010 041 On returning from Chicago, I spotted a flash of yellow near the bird bath & went to investigate. There, in amongst all the purple Aquilegia were two yellow & orange flower heads bobbing away!

So, to the question…can anyone tell me why my established Aquilegia plants should now be sporting a flower of different shape & colour?  The stalk bears the same leaves & goes down into the same clump as the usual purple type…I am at a loss!!! 

Next up…the current challenge over at ‘These are a few of my favourite things’ is My Favourite Toy. Well, this was another no-brainer, as by far the toy I could not be without is my camera!

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26June2010 054I have not scrapped a thing since we returned from Chicago…& only completed the one LO, for My Favourite Shoes, while we were there. So having finally stashed all my purchases into the relevant storage containers, I printed off my photo & pulled out all the bits & bobs I thought might work. Funnily enough, most of what I’ve used was in my long-term stash & I only actually used one item newly bought in Chicago!!!   In theory, I should not need to shop for scrap supplies for at least twelve months!! But then Shimelles up & coming class may well make a sizeable dent in it all!!

14June2010 097 OK…so let me tell you about our fourth day in Chicago! We were having a ‘local’ day! Hilary & I were in the outdoor section of the pool by 6.30am, doing laps in the sunshine & we were seated in Panera munching on that days chosen pastry…a cinnamon roll topped off with honey glazed pecans…by 9am!! Ooooh I’m drooling at the memory!


This guy now knew the regular part of our order by heart & had our trays lined up waiting for our final choices by the time we got to the head of the queue!!

We told him that we’d be back there for lunch as well today & he seemed genuinely disappointed that his shift would have finished before we got there!

Panera really is a fabulous place to eat & I hope that the franchise comes to the UK soon.

After our morning repast was done, we set off for a tour of relatively local craft outlets…firstly Michaels, clutching another previously printed discount voucher!! There was a whole aisle of Martha Stewart products!! I selected a butterfly punch & some journaling pens to start with!! Then down aisle after aisle of scrappy goodies & a whole cupcake section too!  The lady on the checkout told us each in turn how much she enjoyed British TV shows like Dr Who & Upstairs & Downstairs!!! 

From there we popped into ‘Dicks Sporting Goods’…I wanted to try on some Crocbands…& it was now that we learned that the ‘Chicago Blackhawks’' Ice Hockey team had won the Stanley Cup the night before & that there was to be a ‘ticker tape’ parade along Michigan Avenue on Friday morning.  People of all ages, gender & size were buying T-shirts in the team colours sporting the winners announcement!! We were amazed that all the T-shirts & marketing materials were in-store so quickly after the victory!

IMG_2844From here we dropped in to Target…another HUGE store where I picked up some beef jerky & Hershey bars to bring home & just wished that we had an unlimited baggage allowance after seeing all the frames & other lovely home decor items!

IMG_2848Then it was back to Panera for lunch! Karen had told us about the ‘Soup In A Roll’ option on the menu, which is a sourdough roll scooped out & filled with soup! It looked lovely, but I opted for the Chicken Noodle soup in a bowl & had my bread on the side!!  It was followed with an amazingly soft & chewy oatmeal cookie!!

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After lunch we each went our separate way into the Old Orchard Mall, arranging to meet up FOUR HOURS later at Maggiano’s, where we had a table booked for dinner.

We bumped into each other now & again, but the time flew by & I managed to buy some jewellery in Macey’s sale & a fabulous scrapbooking book from Somerset Memories..a name new to me..from Barnes & Noble.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal…14June2010 092 14June2010 08914June2010 090
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After our meals each day, we used a very handy pocket chart that Karen had brought along to calculate how much ‘tip’ we needed to leave. Nothing as straight forward as the standard 10% in the UK…it varies from 15 – 20% in the US & we were still finding the US coinage confusing!

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14June2010 094Every day we had a dollar or two that did the rounds between us! It caused the waiter in Maggiano’s much amusement as money went back & forth across the table, with Hilary as banker, but we did get there in the end!!

So another day over, & with storms forecast overnight, we retired to our beds for a good nights sleep…tomorrow was to be a very long day!!! But more of that next time, as Day 5 needs a post all to itself!!

Thanks for dropping by & have a great weekend! :)  


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

LOVING the photos Sandi!!! Looks like your trip was FUN!!! And hehehehehehe...I enjoyed reading your comment on FAVE THINGS!!! I hope you got the mud off your hands!! LOL!! I loveeeeeeeeeeee loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee your LO for fave things!! I loveeeeeeeeeeeee that photo and loveeeeeeeeeee the layers and flowers!!! Thanks sooooooooooooooooooo much for playing along with us my dearest! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Jocelyn said...

Love all the pics...oh those strawberries made my mouth water.....YUMMMMM!!!

Love the Lo that you did for the challenge...perfect layering and those flowers....swoon...I LOVE!!!

You all had such a great time and so glad that you got some goodies......

Wishing you a great week sweet friend!!! I JUST ADORE YOU!!!!

Jana said...

Thamks god you made it in time because this page is surley one of my favorites and you design it perfectly - the colors, the different elements and the photo are great! I hope you enjoyed gardening like I do and have a great time!!!!

Thanks so much for playing with us and sharing such a treasure on our blog!

humel said...

Mmm, home-grown strawberries look yummy :-) And the soup in a roll that you didn't have reminded me of the soup in a LOAF I had in Romania!! The layout is gorgeous, by the way xx

Sian said...

Target as well? You really covered the lot, didn't you? lucky thing! I love the layout too.

Patti said...

You were basically in my "backyard" being in Chicago - I only live about 2 1/2 hours from there. It cracks me up that you find Target & Michael's so amazing. Guess us Americans just take those little things for granted - thanks for opening my eyes to that!

deana said...

That is such a beautiful page, Sandi! And I totally agree on the toy.... it's a FAV! Thanks for joining us! :-)

karen said...

It was me with the "tip" gadget.You should realise it would have been me,the tight wad that I am!!!

Scrappi Sandi said...

Oooops! Sorry Karen!....duly amended!!

Jeanet said...

Wow Sandi, i just LOVE your layout!Beautiful design and embellies!I love that measure tape with all the staples!Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you so much for joining us at Fave Things!
Looks like you had a wonderful time...beautiful photo's and those strawberries are yummy!
Enjoy the summer weather!