Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Morning Staff Meeting

Good morning everyone and welcome to the weekly staff meeting. if you're new here At Home you'll find that this meeting is where we get together and share what's going on in our lives, meet new blog friends, find out about cool new stuff, and EAT.

Yes, we'll get to the good stuff right away. This morning we're going to be sharing some delectables from Potbelly's. Do you have one near you? It's a sandwich shop that features live musicians during the busy time of the day. I love their sandwiches but I've never tried their cookies or shakes, at least making a lame effort to avoid the dessert stuff.

Well, my friend Amy (the GM of a very successful local restaurant) mentioned Potbelly's Sheila Bar. I confessed that I'd never heard of it, to which she said, "Seriously? Seriously!! It's absoluting addicting." Her restaurant serves a really wonderful carrot cake so she ought to know sugary goodness when she meets it.

This meant of course that I had to pop right over to the nearest location to check it out.


I bought some to share at our meeting this morning but in the interest of not dropping over from heart attacks I'll ask that each person only take a small piece. Why? When you check out the back label the first ingredient listed is "butter". You know what that means. Butter is the primary ingredient, by weight surpassing anything else. YIKES!!


If you take a bite I'll bet the butter thing doesn't deter you from wanting another.

Unlike other cookie bars that have a definite "bite" to them, these bars are very soft, I'd say even underbaked which adds to it's appeal. For me, it's like eating cookie dough. Gosh, there you go..... one of my all time weaknesses. You simply cannot trust me near a bowl of cookie dough.


Try it and let me know what you think.

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Last Friday my sister and I met up at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair. It was a wonderful collection of fiber enthusiasts, weavers, spinners, knitters, crocheters, tatters, shepherds and shepherdesses, artisans, craftspeople and related businesses. It was tactile heaven. Anyone who works with yarn simply cannot resist touching those lucious skeins....especially the cashmeres.

There was inspiration galore and I was taking notes. Have you ever thought about how the creative process works? It starts with an idea, sometimes from inspiration and sometimes out of thin air.

One of my favorites challenges to myself is to make something using only what I have on hand, upcycling or reusing items to make something new. When I make my aprons from men's dress shirts I'm left with pieces of fabric. It simply kills me to throw fabric away and so I develop other items to use up those bits. Only the smallest bits of fabric are discarded. All buttons are cut off before decommissioning any items of clothing. This is a lifelong habit that was taught to me by my grandmother and as a result I have literally thousands of buttons.

One of the most wonderful and inventive people we met at the fiber fair was Kris, a young wife and mother who is a great upcycler. What's an upcycler, you ask? It's someone who takes an item that has fulfilled it's original use and creates something equally useful out of it.

Kris scours garage sales and resale shops for wool sweaters, which she resells to crafters and others who create wonderful things from them. Kris also makes upcycled wool diaper covers, dryer balls and other cool things. My sister bought one of the dryer balls. All the bits and scraps of leftover wool are combined to make the ball, which is covered in a colorful wool shell. No plastic, no fumes, nothing but natural fibers.


If you visit Kris's blog and poke around, you'll find plenty of tutorials in which she shows you exactly how to make some of these wonderful items. She's the Pied Piper of wool sweaters!


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Have you seen the commercial for the Dyson fan? I think he calls it the Dyson Air Multiplier. The Farmer and I are both fascinated by that commercial and would actually like to see one in use. That James Dyson is a very smart inventor and his products are pretty amazing, albeit expensive. The "Air Multiplier" runs $300, so we'll be sticking with our large, noisy box fan.

Imagine my surprise when my sister and I used the bathroom at the Fiber Fair to discover a related Dyson invention, called the Airblade. It's a hand dryer but unlike anything you've ever used.


Follow the link and take a look at how it's configured. You dip your hand down in the space, the air starts moving and you slowly pull your hand up. Voila. Your hands are dry.

I confess that my sister and I stayed in that bathroom playing with the hand dryer until a line started forming behind us.

Have you ever seen one of these?

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Thanks to everyone who participated in the Six Word Memoir. It's an interesting challenge to clearly convey an idea in six words.

Thanks also to Alyssa from Smith magazine, who left a comment on that post, inviting everyone over to Smith to publish a memoir there.


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I've been blogging for quite a few years - five or six I think. On some level I'm aware of the incredible expanse of the blogosphere but in order that my mind doesn't fry out, I mentally shrink the blogosphere down to a manageable level - my little bloggy community. This includes my two blogs, those on my blogroll and the few that I allow myself each week in blog hopping sessions.

Recently I landed on something called The Daring Kitchen. It's a food blogger, bakers/cooks, who come together once a month to challenge themselves in the kitchen.


They have a blogroll of bloggers who particpate in these challenges.







That's only the list of BAKERS!!!


I don't DARE click on any of those links. I'll be here till 4 a.m.

These huge lists of blogs make me very nervous for some reason. I feel very small I guess. It's like looking up into the dark night sky, realizing that I'm just an insignificant dot in the vast universe.

The blogosphere is a universe unto itself I suppose.

I still prefer my own little bloggy community.

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Thanks to all my readers who participated in the Postcard Project. I'm getting e-mails that they are arriving. Those of you overseas will be waiting a little longer, but they will arrive!

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Thanks for attending the meeting. I hope you're not in sugar shock from the Sheila Bar and I hope you won't be spending your day clicking around those blogrolls.

I'm not turning the meeting over to you.


Vee said...

Oh that Sheila bar is delicious. Only a once in a blue moon treat, of course.

Wanted to follow the link to the upcycle go.

Link to new hand dryer...go. Glad it works. I wouldn't dare dunk my hands in there until I watched you and your sis do it a few more times. I prefer a paper towel, but perhaps I can shift my thinking.

Have been visiting a lot of new blogs in the past week. Blogdom seems to know no end. That's as it should be I guess.

Leslie T said...

We saw one of those Dyson Air Multiplier fans the other day at a store. My husband was fascinated with it and kept sticking his hand into it (okay, I admit it, I stuck my hand into it too). It's an odd and amazing thing. But sporting the price tag that it does, we will not be purchasing one.
The Sheila Bar looks fantastic. But considering that I'm on a quest to lose five pounds, I'm gonna have to pass this time. Sigh. It looks heavenly. I do love butter. It's such a luscious commodity. :)

chocolatechci said... I love butter, especially when it is combined with chocolate and caramel and oats.

Yarn??? Cashmere? I envy you.

Pamela said...

You always give us fun things to think about! I looked up "Sheila's dream bar" and actually found a recipe! Sounds great! I got lost in the world of resweaters. Great blog! I have to be careful because I can easily get lost in the land of blogs and lose hours at a time.

thanks for the FFT (food for thought)!

In the middle of America and lovin it....... said...

Got my post live so far away. I am from around Belleville, Ill......send me your address and I'll send you one. Am going to Chicago for a close but not close enough....Thanks, It was great getting it......

MelissaD said...

Just a quick - belated - note to let you know I got my postcard. What fun!
that Sheila bar looks delish but my doctor says I need to lose 10 pounds this summer to get my blood sugar down so I'll just have to drool over the photo.

Kat said...

Daring Bakers Rock the World, Baby!!!!

I have a small pile of sweaters I'm hoping to up-cycle someday. I saw a sewing basket many years ago made from a sweater that I fell in love with. Right now, the kitties feel that the pile is well up-cycled as their bed.

Marie said...

I enjoyed my visit with you today. It was my first visit and now I have you bookmarked.
Marie in NC

Farmchick said...

Mmmmmm....butter and all those other things that start with "B"....bacon, beer, burgers, etc...

I would love to see one of those Dyson fans in use. Also would love to use that hand dryer!!

Anonymous said...

Finally someone who put into words something I've felt about the blogosphere for awhile. Staggering is the word. Like you I feel a need to limit my blog world, problem is there is so many new good ones (like yours) that it's really hard to limit myself. I actually think that a new national past time is blog hopping. It relaxes, inspires, and refreshes me. Curious soul that I am. Blessings to you, as one of the bright stars in a universe full of them. The Bible says that God named all the stars in the universe. Ponder that one (tilt!)

lifeinredshoes said...

Mmmmshorry, I mmmm ate the whole thing!
They have one of those Dyson dryers at our Ikea...yes, I have an Ikea:)Aren't they fun?
I agree, the blog world is growing by leaps and bounds. What do think will happen?
Here is a recycle craft for you! No, it's not original to me:( But hey, the first Idea was Eve's and everything else is a knock-off!
I am saving my husbands old shirts, the knit ones that are stained or otherwise deemed castoffs. You cut them into 2 inch strips, going across the body, loop them like rubber bands, and then crochet them into rugs! VIOLA!
I am going to use the white ones to make a bath mat, what do you think?