Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mamas of the Craft

Saturday, December 1, 2007
Holiday Boutique
St. Stephen's Church
1575 Charlton St.
West Saint Paul, MN 55118

My friday crafty group is making the leap this weekend. We have a table at this craft fair.

We have been talking about it for two months and the time is finally upon us.

We got together last night to do some final pricing and packaging.

It is very exciting.

We did the final quality control last night, and everything looks saleable.

This is my first craft fair.

I have a number of friends who do them all the time, but I never had anything that I made that I felt I could mass produce or was worth the time and effort to sell before.

In a group, however, we are able to make lots of things in a relatively short time.

We made these pendants in two meetings, and we got 46 or something like that.

And the felted soap here we made in one night.

I just cannot express how lucky I feel that I found this group of women.
I say it every time we meet, they are all so talented and full of ideas.
It is truly a joy to come to every meeting.

Hope your Thursday is full of fun.

Monday, November 26, 2007

lots of stuff

I have been meaning to post all weekend, but got busy.
So here are the things with which I was so busy.

The sad thing is that I have to take a hiatus from the Treadle Yard Goods.
Treadle, for those who don't know, is the best fabric store in the Twin Cities.
There are those who would argue that Crafty Planet is also quite good, but I have a special soft spot for Treadle.
I have been going there since I was a fetus.
My mom has been a customer since they opened, 3 months before I was born.
I have worked there for almost 5 years, and I hope to keep working there after I take a break.
My husband is getting busier with work, and he stands to make substantially more money if I can be home with the kids more.
He asked me to cut back almost a year ago, and I have been slowly weaning myself from my jobs.
The problem is that I love my jobs.
I get to go to beautiful places and surround myself with people who love where they are and what they are doing.
That is a lucky situation.
I am looking forward about a year and seeing myself able to ramp it back up, but for now, I have to cut way back.

So, in honor of my last day for a while, I bought a bunch of fabric and stuff, some of which I really needed and some of which I didn't.

We got in some fantastic fabric that is printed in panels with pages to sew a book.

I bought the Woodsy Wonders, and Animals of the World.

We also got a panel that you cut out and sew into a globe, the edges of the panel are little animals to sew and stuff. These last match the Animals of the World book.

Hello Birthday and Christmas Presents!

And they were each less than a yard of fabric so they are about $6.00 a project.

Treadle does do mail order by the way.

Another thing keeping me busy this weekend is the custom knitting. I think that I have reached critical mass for projects that I can finish before Christmas.

Often folks will present me with an heirloom stocking to copy for a new family member, and I have just finished one of those.

This one was for a repeat customer so I had already done the pattern before, that is always a little less work. Mine is the one on the right.
I wish that I could make an exact duplicate but I can't always find the right colors, that is my only qualm about custom knitting.

An aside;
While I was here on the computer, I heard "I don't like it! I don't like it!"
The younger Hug-a-Bug was standing in the kitchen holding the cajun seasoning, having just taken a sip. Guess I should clean up after dinner...

The lovely end to the weekend was that I got to the Smith bridge just at sunset. Luckily I had my trusty camera at the ready.

I have been having terrible luck lately with the Fifth Lamp photos.
The other day there was a flock of birds flying over the river but they were gone by the time I realized that I had the batteries in upside down.
Another time, I saw a boat going west and I raced to the fifth lamp, but the boat had disappeared around the bend by the time I got there.
I was very glad when I could get this one.

Have a great week everybody!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Gone away is the bluebird.

I have just finished my entry for an online holiday ornament swap. I have 10 of these little birdies. They were made by cutting two bird shapes from a felted thrifted sweater and hand sewing them together with wool. the loop and legs are one long braid of wool sandwiched between.
Also, a pic of a drizzly November early evening.
I had all sorts of stuff that I was gonna post about, but I can't remember any of it.
I have had a couple of fitful sleeps the last two nights, and I am not working at full brain capacity.
talk to you all soon,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


If, for any reason, you happen to be in Bloomington, MN, I highly recommend Denny's 5th Avenue Bakery.

It lies at the corner of 5th Avenue and American Blvd (formerly known as 79th st.)

The aroma is heavenly when you enter, no smack in the face smell of shortening as with some bakery establishments.

Everything there is very tasty, but the food which must be the cobblestones in heaven is the Wedge.

A prosaic name for such a sublime taste treat.

A triangular pastry filled with bavarian creme and topped with a chocolate coating.

Each bite more delicious than the last. Perhaps the most perfect collection of flour sugar and dairy ever assembled.

I used to work in Bloomington, and would occaisionally have one for a special treat.

It has been 5 years now, and every once in a while I would think of the wedge. I remembered the lovely texture of the cream, the flakiness of the pastry, the feeling of joy and solemnity it brings to your very soul.

I decided to get one, as I had a trip to IKEA scheduled anyway. I thought to myself, it can't possibly be that good. I am idealizing this treat.

It is that good.

Please, if you yourself are off to IKEA or the grand Mall, visit Denny's.

But you must call ahead for the wedge, as they are often gone by 9:00 AM.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why I love our park

This is the view from our park which is 1 block away and an easy walk for 22 month-old legs.

Also an easy ride on a trike for a 47 month-old.

I was feeling a little down today and this trip to the park was just what I needed.

The Elder Hug-a-bug is 4 years old in one month from today. The looming b-day is a source of some anxiety. With all of the toy recalls, I am hard-pressed to allow the mother-in-law to do her usual shower of gifts. I don't want to seem ungrateful, but I also don't want to risk lead-laden toys, or worse.

I think that I will trundle off to my rehearsal now.

see you all later.


Saturday, November 10, 2007


This will be the last post today, I promise.

I have only just now, in the last 15 minutes, after 31 years of procrastinating, realized that there is value in procrastination.

I have been very busy not sewing on my aprons for the craft boutique in December because I don't want to get out the iron and make my bias binding.

As a result the thing I have been busy on is my long-neglected Color-Wheel Quilt.

I am officially over half done! with the quilting.

There are 26 lines of quilting and I have just finished my 15th!!!

Woo Hoo. Sorry for the exuberance, it must be late...

Now comes the tricky part. When I am finished with the quilting, I have to make bias binding for the quilt. Which will I choose? Tune in to find out!


I have mentioned before that we imbibe at Craft Club.
Last night we had very yummy hot chocolate with flavored liqueurs. I had raspberry.
Our project last night was appliqued t-shirts.
I was having a terrible time with one and, to be totally honest, there was a great deal of language that I would hesitate to use in front of the hug-a-bugs.
I decided to quit when my bobbin thread ran out, and I had to go home anyway.
After a good night's sleep, I did three in a half hour.
This tells me that I was guilty of DIYUI (Do It Yourself Under the Influence)
Please help prevent the spread of DIYUI.
Some signs are uneven seams, having angry words with machinery, general belligerence toward knit fabric.
Please, for the sake of the crafts, have your drink after you're finished.
Have a restful rest of Saturday,

cool misty lovliness

Just a check-in from the fifth lamp down...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My current distraction

The Yarn Store where I work and spend much happy time just got in a fantastic new yarn.

Road to China Silken Jewels from The Fibre Company.
65% Baby Alpaca 15% Silk 10% Camel 10% Cashmere

I am using color Ruby.
Due to the particular classes I teach at said Yarn Store, I have a number of right-hand mittens.
I do not at this point have any mates for most of them.
As the winter is closing in, I realized that I should have something to keep my little hands warm.
Since I like to take outdoor pictures, I decided that fingerless mitts were the way to go. I started making short-fingered gloves, but there was too much fabric between my fingers to be comfortable.
My only twinge about them is that there is only 80 yards per skein and this is how far one got me.
I will literally need the other skein for 10 rounds.

I'll probably start a hat with the remainder and have the happiest forehead in the land.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tuesday Cookies

I finished teaching a class on mittens at the yarn store yesterday and so I took the opportunity to use my mitten-shaped cookie cutter.

I try not to inundate the www with stories of my cute kids, but here is what the smaller hug-a-bug was doing yesterday.

"Robot! Robot!"

Monday, November 5, 2007

Fiber projects

I am teaching a class at the yarn store about teaching kids fun stuff with fiber arts.

We will dye yarn with kool-aid and make fun needle-toppers with Sculpey, we will also use felted sweaters to make book covers.

While I was felting some sweaters I realized that a women's medium vest felted to exactly the size that my nearly-4 year old could wear.

So I cut out the zipper and sewed on a button. It should keep her pretty warm, if she deigns to wear it...

I also made some dinner buns and they looked so pretty rising on the pan that I just had to include them here. They are wheat buns so they also have plenty of fiber.

I have also made a small amount of progress on the semi-neglected sweater. The sleeve is more complicated than I want for watching tv or sitting in a class or ECFE, so I moved on to a front.

Talk to you all out there soon,

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's coming on Christmas

Shopping at Target on Halloween I saw a strange sight.
November was still a day away and they were replacing the hanging Halloween decorations with Christmas.
Normally I am irritated by this holiday jumping.
Last Christmas Eve they were putting out the Valentine's Day clothing and it seems that the holiday-related stuff and more stuff comes out earlier and earlier each year.
That said, we have a tradition at our house that I must confess.
We have most of our music on our computer.
From February through October we have the music separated into Not Christmas and Christmas.
Beginning November we start listening to the whole catalog on Super-Shuffle and we get the occaisional Christmas song.
When December hits we only listen to the Christmas list.
I also buy 2-3 new Christmas cds every year.

My name is Jess, I am a Christmas Music-a-holic.

By January we are getting tired of the carols and we go to Super-Shuffle with everything and then go back to Not Christmas in February.
I am glad I got that off my chest.

Does anyone have a favorite christmas album?
I have a few:
Ray Charles - The Spirit of Christmas
Harry Connick, Jr. - When my Heart Finds Christmas
Frank Sinatra - A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra
Ella Fitzgerald - Ella Wishes you a Swinging Christmas
Squirrel Nut Zippers - Christmas Caravan
George Winston - December
The Hollywood Trombones (A band made up entirely of trombones, most of the players are studio musicians in Hollywood) - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
A Motown Christmas (Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder)
Der Bingle Bing Crosby (Of Course) - The Voice of Christmas
Anonymous 4 - On Yoolis Night

Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 2, 2007

works in progress

Hi everyone.

So, my computer was down for a week or so, and I was unable to post pics.

I did get some work done in that time, and here is a recap:
I made cookies, they turned out well. Peanut butter with cocoa in the dough and chocolate chips. This was about a week before halloween, so we hadn't yet had our fill of shirockuate.
I work most nights, but, miraculously, was able on one night to work on the aprons that are my solo contribution to the craft club's craft fair. Didn't get any completed, but I did make some progress.
I have entered the custom-knitting season. I make christmas stockings and whatnots for folks.
Here is the latest, the third so far this year. It hasn't been blocked yet, I just finished hiding the ends. It also needs the name and date at the top.
I am thinking about working stockings from the bottom up from now on. I have been, though I flatter myself that I don't need them, a slave to the basic patterns for christmas stockings.
It has always bothered me that the stitches are upside down when you knit from the top, but I thought "What do you do? That's the way the pattern is written. Do I really want to do more work?"
Well phooey.
I am a college educated woman.
I can think critically.
I will make this change.
This photo shows another WIP in that the stocking is sitting on my color-wheel quilt which I have neglected. Maybe I can guilt myself into working on it...
Thanks for listening,