Tuesday, December 30, 2008

99 things

I was just reading Funny Magic and she has a great time-waster posted today.
Play along!
Copy the list into your own blog and bold the stuff you've done.
Leave me a comment if you do it too.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars does it count in a tent?
3. Played in a band drums in 4th grade, french horn in 12th grade and college
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo I was a voice major in college, my most memorable solo was singing with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra for the Concerto/Aria concert. The percussionist got to play the castanets.
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris -(does the airport count? I didn't think so)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch -I taught myself to make a spoon from wood. Also (see #57) to weave palm fronds.
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (this one won't unbold)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (self?)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie - in 5th grade we made a film about the circulation system and I was the plaque that got removed from an artery.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business - when I was 12 I went to Puerto Rico and I found a fallen palm branch. I made and sold fans to my choir-mates for $5.00 each.
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - just eat 'em
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check - it happens, right?
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy - how about every one?
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone arm 9 years old
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book if a knitting pattern counts.
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year's Eve
86. Visited the White House - Just the outside. No tour or anything like that.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I have been having a terrific day.
The Hubster and myself woke up with the sun, about 7 or so, and the kids came in about a half-hour later.
We went down and enjoyed our orgy of opening presents, Santa was particularly super to me, and after breakfast we spent some time with my family.
Not only did Santa come and bring presents, but he invited a certain President-Elect over for a visit as well!He's there in front of the big green one at the back.
I haven't been able to post pictures of the gifts I made for my mom and my sister, but they have them now so here goes.
My sister asked for grey cabled legwarmers, so I got to work.The yarn is Prime Alpaca and the pattern is one I made up using a chart from Viking Patterns for Knitting by Elsebeth Lavold.

For my Mom I got to build her a tool box.

I don't know if I have mentioned it before, but I am in the best most kick-butt crafty mom group ever. (My sister agrees, this was her card to me.)Every week we choose a craft and about a month ago, our craft was woodworking.
One of my friends is married to a fantastically talented carpenter who was very generous with his talent and time and designed and helped us all to build tool boxes.
Michael cut the dovetail joints and routed out a groove for the base and we all got to use his tools to saw and sand to do most of the rest of it.
It was the best time I have ever had at craft night.

The wood is cherry and the finish is mineral oil and beeswax.
I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

We spent some quality time with my in-laws this evening and had a lot of fun.
The greatest Christmas miracle of all was that we got to see all of the siblings on one day.
My sister and the Hub's sister both live out east, and my brother and I don't see each other too often, so this was a good day for us.

I leave you with some comforting images of the season.
Christmas isn't Christmas without sitting before the Yule Log...

I hope that your day was as full of fun and family as mine,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Admitting Defeat

We have not had much success with the bunk bed situation over here.

There has been much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, well maybe not that bad but there has actually been un-anticipated bed-wetting and screaming fights every night.

Well, I did some shuffling today, pics tomorrow, and I have high hopes that there will be more sleeping and less not sleeping around here.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Over my head

Alright, I have still only made one scoop for the bath salts.
My dremel tool died and I don't have the skills to make any more completely by hand.
That's ok. I can make them over the next year for next christmas.
Or, I can just keep the one I made for me.
I may have to admit to overcommiting myself.
Maybe Santa will bring me a new dremel tool...


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O.K., Come on Jess

So here it is a week or so before Christmas and I have decided to pick up a new interest.
I couldn't find any small scoops for the bath salts, so I thought, I should make some!
I don't know if I have mentioned this, but I love my tiny bandsaw.
We got it as a hand-me-down from my husband's dear Great Uncle Wilfred, and I use it all the time.
It was an invaluable tool for the finishing stuff on the Bunk Beds.
So I cut up some left-over 2x4s and I cut them down and did some rough shaping with the band saw.
Then I used my wood carving tools to dig out the bowl of the scoop.
I didn't do too well, as I poked a hole in two fingers, if you count a thumb as a finger.
Anyway, I recovered from my injury and I realized that we have a dremel tool and I used it to finish off the shaping and here is my first scoop!

But, honestly, did I need to take up woodworking a week before Christmas? No.
Did I need to put my fingers in jeopardy when I have Christmas knitting to finish? No.
I can't help myself.
My name is Jess, I am a crafting addict.
I wish you focus in this gift-making season.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Teacher Gifts

The Hug-a-Bugs and I spent the last hour or so putting together the gifts for 6 of their 7 combined teachers.
A couple of weeks ago at Mamas of the Craft we made bath salts.
They were really easy.
I mean if you can stir your coffee you can make bath salts.
I think we used this recipe.
I made enough to fill 4 jars (I got them at Michaels, only a couple of bucks each!), which takes care of both of the Younger Hug-a-Bug's teachers and two of the Elder Hug-a-Bug's.
That leaves the main teacher in the Elder's class and two more assistant teachers who are both men.
I don't want to gender stereotype, but I know that my husband doesn't care for baths, so I made hot cocoa mix and got some inexpensive mugs and jars from IKEA.
To make the cocoa mix just combine 1 part cocoa powder to 3 parts sugar and add a dash of cinnamon.
For these spice jars it took 3 tablespoons cocoa powder to 9 tablespoons sugar and two good shakes of the cinnamon jar.
I figured that everyone needs a little warmth in their tummies during the weather, man or woman.
That leaves the main teacher in the Elder's class.
A few weeks ago we got some Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric and the Elder Hug-a-Bug wants to make her teacher a sack (her words).
I think we can get this done by the end of the week, and maybe I'll pop a cocoa mix in there for good measure.
I am filled with holiday spirit, which is more than I could say this morning or yesterday morning when all I could do was curse the north wind and the frozen car doors it brings.
I hope the weather is not getting any of you down,
p.s. Hey, this is my 200th post!
Thanks for reading along with me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My Elder Hug-a-Bug is five!
Her birthday was last week, but the party was yesterday.
We didn't get too many good party pics, so here is the Elder Hug-a-Bug through the years.

How I love this headstrong, funny, beautiful little lady.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Do it! Hit it! Give me my Christmas Present!

We are in the midst of constant preparation over here.
One of our number is turning 5 tomorrow and so we baked some cookies to bring as a treat for her class.
I also have a couple of work knitting projects to finish up before I start on the serious family gift making.
Thanks for all of the Christmas Music suggestions!
I have downloaded them all and am enjoying them.
I have a serious addiction to Christmas Music.
I have about 80 albums either in the case or downloaded.
My favorite for this season might be James Brown's Funky Christmas.
Do it! Hit it! Y'all do your Christmas thang!

Monday, December 8, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We have our tree up!
There has been non-stop Christmas music 'round here for about 3 weeks!
We had a fun time this morning with Father Christmas.
The kids did really well, and we got some great Christmas-y shots.

Hey, anyone have any christmas music suggestions this year?
I am always on the lookout for another album to add to my collection.
Have a great day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hey Mom, Hey Mom

Look what I can do-
My lovely parents-in-law took the kids overnight last night so that the hubby and myself could build this bunk bed.
We got through building the whole thing without injury or a fight.
We also only had to go to Menards once, I had the wrong size drill bit.
And, my super parents came over and helped finish painting our kitchen.
This was, to quote the Elder Hug-a-Bug, "The best day EVER!"
We have giant closets in our house and we decided to move all of the beds into them so we could better utilize our space.
We are also switching bedrooms with the kids and painting and cleaning and it is really exciting for us, though there aren't too many fun pictures that I can post about sweeping so it's not too terribly exciting to read about.
Anyway, we are on our way and I will post some after pictures when we get there.
Have a great Sunday,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving and a little silliness

We celebrated Thanksgiving this past Thursday.
The day started out great and ended so-so.
We, the Hug-a-Bugs, the Hubby and myself set off for Thanksgiving breakfast at my parents' house.
It was delightful.
My brother and his family were there and I got to spend some super together time with my nephew. He is 7 and a real joy.
We played some goofy games and had a lot of fun.
Then we came home and I made the dinner.
I don't know nothing about baking no birds.
We had Thanksgiving here 2 years ago, and the turkey took about an hour longer than we expected.
This year, we made a chicken and I thought it was done 15 minutes early, so I rushed all the sides to the table, and then I saw that the chicken was, in fact, not done.
So, back into the oven for the bird.
We ended up eating room-temp sides and then having chicken for dessert.
Oh, well.
We have a lot to be thankful for, not the least of which is spending so much family time in one day.
Actually, the dinner wasn't a complete disaster.
I got on the list to test recipes for Cook's Country Magazine and I tested a carrot cake recipe for the non-chicken dessert.
It turned out really tasty.
The frosting was the best part. Neufchatel, Marshmallow Fluff and a little powdered sugar.
Light, tangy, mmmmm.
I didn't take any pictures on Thanksgiving, but I do have these;

The other day the Hug-a-Bugs got into my sewing stuff and asked if they could build some robots with the sewing machine attachments.

The Elder put this one together, and insisted upon taking her own photos.

I love two things here, first his hair is made of tiny bolts, and he is holding a little wrench.

I hope that you get in some family together-time if you haven't yet this weekend,


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


In the December issue of Martha Stewart Living from 1997 there is a very tasty Gingerbread cookie recipe.
I have made these cookies every year since then, and we started cookie production a few days ago.
The dough is pretty easy and it keeps well in the refrigerator.
Martha says that the recipe will make 16 cookies, but it really makes about 70.
I have a tiny cookie cutter addiction, and this is the one time of the year when I pull them all out.
The Elder Hug-a-Bug and I had a counting party and she put them all in categories.
It was difficult to decide whether the foot should go into the people or stuff pile, but the rest were pretty easy.

Then we start cutting out and baking and eating and eating.
Happy Holiday season!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's beginning to look...

I have been thinking and doing Christmas all week.
I am in a couple of swaps, and I finished the ornaments for the Freshly Blended/Cake & Pie swap.

They are ready to send out tomorrow or the next day.
Also, the other swap that I am involved in, the one from Sew Liberated, it is suggested that I make a mix CD of Christmas music.
This is a difficult task for me, as I love Christmas music.
I have finally decided on the list, I think.
That swap stuff is almost entirely compiled.
Then, we have to schedule a visit with Santa for pictures.
Whew, I am a little mentally winded, but I am having tons of fun!
Talk to you soon,

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sad Day

I have just found out that ABC is cancelling 3 of my favorite shows.

I may or may not have mentioned it before, but I am a TV junkie.

I love my stories, and now I have to give up 3! in one season.

When will there be a long-running show with musical interludes and dance numbers?

Is it too much to expect that a knitting detective will be there for me every week for more than 13 episodes?

And you, billionaire bad boys, I think I'll miss you most of all.
I guess I am going to have to start making jam or something to fill up my empty life...
Boo Hoo.
O.K. that is the end of the wallowing.
Maybe next year there will be a show with a billionaire singing knitting detective who can bring stuff back to life.
or maybe not.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meet Strawberry

I have finished one model for Treadle.
This is Strawberry.
She is the horse from Simplicity pattern #2763.

She is really little.

But don't tell her that...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

distraction du jour

One of the benefits of working at a fabric store or a yarn store is making models.

I really like to make models.

It gives me an opportunity to keep my hands busy and to try new things.

As I was flipping through the new Simplicity catalogue I saw two patterns that I have to make.

First, there is Simplicity 2867.

This is a fun and really inexpensive project.

To make a pair of booties you need a felt square, and two colors of embroidery floss.

I made this one last night while I was watching tv.

My next project is of great interest to the Elder Hug-a-Bug.
She loves to help me stuff and sew up seams.
I just have to choose the fabric.
She has chosen the puppy, and I like the horse.
We may have to make one of each.
I have to venture outside of the stash for this project, as I have realized that most of my fabric comes from the sale bin, and we don't have it at the store anymore.

Time for lunch,
See you soon,

Friday, November 14, 2008

One Good Loaf

I have joined a group on Flickr that warms my heart and fills my belly.

It is called One Good Loaf and it is a celebration of all things bread-like.

I love to bake, and I love to take pictures, so One Good Loaf is right up my alley.
Sorry for the redux photos, but I wanted to have a post with my latest baking exploits all together.
Go and join.
It's a lot of fun!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I am participating in a couple of holiday swaps this year.

Here is a peek at my planning.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mission: Submission

I brought my One Yard Wonders submission to Crafty Planet yesterday.

I worked up a larger rocket and I added a pocket to use up most of a yard of fabric.

I agonized over the directions, hoping that they would be clear enough for someone who is not me and had never made the rocket.

I asked my mom to test my pattern, and here is what she made, in an afternoon, no less.

This new rocket takes an entire 8 oz bag of stuffing, and it is super fun for tossing around with the kids.
My mom gave me some suggestions for the directions, and I finished tweaking on Sunday night.
It is a huge relief to have this project finished, and in about a year I can see it in a book!
I just want to thank all the little people who helped me come to this moment-
Thanks to my kids for being so cute and needing a toy rocket.
Thanks to my Mom for helping me with the pattern directions.
Thanks to NASA for going to space.
o.k. I went a little overboard on that last one...
Yesterday was my first visit to Crafty Planet at their new location.
Totally worth the drive.
They have a GIANT selection of super cute japanese prints, along with all the other usual suspects, Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, Moda, etc., and yarn to boot!
I like to go there because, even though nothing can replace Treadle as fabric store #1 for me, they have a different inventory than Treadle and it is fun to see different stuff.
Time to bring the Younger to school,
Talk to you all soon,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fourth post today

O.K. this is the last one today.
Soulemama has started a new craftivism website.
The first project is Caps to Cap-Haiti.
The upshot of this is that babies born with low birth weight have trouble keeping themselves warm, and that can lead to extremely poor health or worse.
All you need to do to help is make some baby hats and send them to Soulemama.
The info is all on her website.


I made 5 hats in about an hour including the cutting out.
These are all made from things that the kids have outgrown, but that have wear left.
Mostly these were onsies, the perfect amount of fabric for a hat, and fun patterns.

It is a tiny investment of materials and time, but it can make a huge difference in the lives of new babies and their mamas.

Have a great Monday!

Ahmama's Whatnots

Hey, me again,

I started an etsy website and I just added some patterns to the nothing that was for sale there.

I am selling my patterns for christmas stockings.

I originally designed these for the Hug-a-Bugs then I decided to write them up as a pattern.

Christmas time is near!