Saturday, May 31, 2008

This morning I was complaining to the Hubby about how much I detest the helicopters from the Maple trees.
They get all over the yard, when it rains they get slimy on the sidewalks, there's no way to get them all up, so there are hundreds of tiny maple trees trying to grow all over our yard.
I hate them.

This afternoon, my daughter looks up and says "Mama! Look! It's raining butterflies!"

All right.
I guess they're not that bad.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Flour Sack Bunny

I felt so sorry for my Flour Sack Bunny after the photo shoot yesterday, that I had to open it up and re-stuff it this morning.
I guess after 17 years or so, poly-fill loses its fluff factor.

While I was seaming up the back, my Elder Hug-a-Bug came over and asked to help.

She sewed up the back seam and did a great job.

I tried to get a close-up picture of her handiwork, but the flash was not cooperating.
Here's to a creative morning to you all,

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Button Baby

There was a question last post about the assembly of a doll.

I have made a few dolls for the Hug-a-Bugs, but mostly for myself, let's be honest...

Thus far I have used 3 methods of construction.

Method 1: like Wee Wonderful's Olive arms and legs are made and stuffed and then sewn into the seam of the body.

Method 2: like my Vogue Sewing Pattern Doll, Siobhan, the doll body is composed of two assembled pieces front and back including the arms and legs.

Method 3: like my sad McCalls Bunny from High School, which is in dire need of eyes and a new stuff, and reattaching of the arms, (but I still love those flour sacks) the arms and body are separate pieces which are sewn shut after stuffing and then the doll is assembled by hand-sewing the pieces together.

This last method is the how the Button baby is made, with the exception of the joints.

The baby has button joints. This means that the arms and body are sewn together with one long piece of craft string which is threaded through buttons between the pieces.

The doll is really floppy. The arms and legs go all over, but when I asked at Wonderment, they said it is supposed to be that way, that babies can't control where their limbs go either, and once I make it some clothes it will calm down.

As I have said, the Elder Hug-a-Bug is happy with the baby even with its flopping, the feet are already kinda grubby from all of the loving.

I think that my main problem with this construction technique is that the fabric is stretchy. I might try this with a woven next time and see if I get different results.

As I make this list of dolls, I realize that I have a little problem.

The Hug-a-Bugs are running out of room for toys.

I love making dolls and toys.

Where will it all end?

Have a terrific Wednesday,

Lost Finale Tomorrow!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New fun

I have a couple more friends who are expecting tiny bundles this year.
Last year I gave my two closest birth-giving friends blankets.
I knitted one and quilted the other.
I have to say that I wasn't perfectly happy with either project.
My quilting skills are not the best, and the knitted blanket was made of squares and it didn't come out as even as I might have liked.
I thought for these babes I would try dolls.
I bought a pattern for a Waldorf Baby Doll from Wonderment about 6 months ago, just to try it, some friends of mine from the Yarnery took a Waldorf Doll-Making class and they really liked it.
I have a primal fear of sewing on knits, even the Sew U book did not help my phobia, but this pattern came right together.
I am not sure if I am completely happy with the button joints, they seem a little too floppy to me, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt.
I did get the doll assembled yesterday but the Elder Hug-a-Bug appropriated it for bedtime so I didn't get a photo.
A trip to the Yarn store for some hair is the next item on my agenda.

Please keep the victims of the Hugo, MN tornado in your thoughts.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Softies for Mirabel

I heard about Softies for Mirabel by reading someone else's blog, and I don't remember who.
It is a marvellous thing.
Crafty folks from all over the world send in soft toys and they are displayed in a storefront window in Australia for a couple of months then they are all auctioned off and the proceeds go to the Mirabel Foundation.

Here is a quote from their website

"The Mirabel Foundation was established in 1998 to assist children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use and are now in the care of extended family (kinship care). Mirabel believes that every child deserves a childhood and its mission is to break the destructive cycle of addiction.

Mirabel is the only organisation in Australia specifically addressing the needs of this vulnerable group of children, the most profoundly overlooked casualties of substance abuse in our society. Mirabel supports children aged 0-17 years and works at restoring a child’s sense of self-worth, belonging and hope for the future in order for them to reach their full potential as young adults. Mirabel believes that investing in children is the most compassionate and economic investment we can make. Whether it is done financially, emotionally, or by lessening the stigma and feelings of isolation, both the community and these children will reap the rewards."

Such a great cause.

I am donating some Star Babies to the fundraiser.

I took inspiration from the Simple Organic Baby Doll pattern from Nature Babies.

I changed the shape slightly and instead of using organic cotton fabric for the head, I recycled loner baby socks.

I also made some smaller stars based on the same idea.

I will come clean and say that I had these laying around already.

In the last 2 years, and this is not an exaggeration, I have had about 15-20 pregnant friends. I guess that's what happens when you've kept in touch with 4 different ECFE classes-worth of child-bearing aged women.

I had this great idea that I would put a bunch of these Star Babies together and give them all to my friends when they had their babies.

Unfortunately, I am not as on the ball as I had hoped to be, and most of the babies got a big smile and hug instead.

I did get a few done anyway, and they have been packed away for a special event.

I think this is the place that they need to go...

Have a memorable Memorial Weekend,


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Naturalized Garden Update

There has been some encouraging progress in the Naturalized Garden.

I think by the time we hit high summer I may have something to be really excited about.

Thank You

Yesterday was the last day of Choir School at House of Hope.
We did some sight-reading and cleaned out folders.

I got to take the kids up in groups of 10 or so to see the bells in the bell tower, really fun.

We had our end-of-year potluck, and gave out awards.

At the end the director Sofia, and I got flowers from the parents and we both recieved a journal from one of the boys in my 2nd & 3rd grade group.

It was so touching to see the card that my little student had written.

I love my Choir School work.
So Thank You back, Choir School.
Thanks for making each year more fun than the last.
I am so enjoying watching the kids grow.
This is my 8th year in my current position and it has been my pleasure to watch unsure and squirrely 2nd and 3rd graders grow into confident, and still goofy young adults.
I have been present through 3 directors, 7 if you count my entire history with the choir since age 9, and I am really proud to be a part of this program right now.
My friend Sofia is such a talented director and you can see that the kids really respect and love her.
Not an easy feat.
I don't think anyone from choir reads this weblog, but I hope that they can all feel the positive feelings I am sending out.
Have a quiet Thursday,

Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe, with some ammendments, is from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Peanut Butter Reese's Pieces Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar (I used dark)

1 cup granulated sugar (I used baking sugar)

1 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter (I used creamy)

2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup dry-roasted salted peanuts, ground fine (I used Reese's Pieces)

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.

2. Beat the butter and sugars together in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the peanut butter until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds.Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3. Reduce speed to low and slowly mix in the dry ingredients until combined. Mix in the peanuts (Reese's Pieces) until incorporated.

4. Using a spoon make balls with about a tablespoon-worth of dough. I pressed down the dough with my fingers instead of the traditional fork smush.

5. Bake until the edges are golden and the centers have puffed up and are beginning to deflate, 10-12 minutes. America's Test Kitchen suggests turning the pans around halfway through. I don't always remember to do this with my cookies, but it does make for more even baking.

6. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes before eating or moving to another surface. They need the time to set up, or they will crumble.

7. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk.
These were a hit with my knitting class on Tuesday, and I have to say that we don't have very many left round the 'old fifth lamp house, even with the hubby's distaste of peanut butter cookies.
I have also made the recipe following the recipe exactly and it is terrific as well.
You all know my deep and abiding love for any recipe from the Test Kitchen.
Have a good night,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


My college friend Anita called us yesterday with an exciting plan; to ride the light rail to Downtown Minneapolis and see the Minnesota Orchestra in an open-air concert.
It was really fun.
We got up this morning and sped to the park and ride, then took a 20 minute ride on the train and then walked down Nicollet Mall, which is a pedestrian-friendly length of street in the downtown.
I hadn't been downtown Minneapolis since 2004.
The elder hug-a-bug was tiny and spent the entire time in a stroller.
When we got to Peavey Plaza we had just missed the Taiko demonstration, I was a little bummed, but we were right next to these guys

a trio of percussionists who let their sons and grandsons get in on the musical fun in the sun, note the two-year-old on the marimba!

The Younger Hug-a-Bug was overcome with the music, and he rushed in to be a part of it as well.

The mom of the fellow in the striped shirt said that it was o.k. and Little Hug-a-Bug played the marimba for a short while too.

The band was terrific!

Then we all sat down and listened to the Minnesota Orchestra with a huge crowd.

The Elder Hug-a-Bug was very excited, and maybe a little disturbed, that there were so many adults sitting on this wall.

The kids did really well.

They lasted all the way through the overture to the Barber of Seville, and a Suite from Carmen.

Eventually we did have to get back on the train and come home, but I will certainly keep this on our itinerary for the future.

On a baking note, I went to a little deli near our house the other day and had the most tasty cookies.

They were peanut butter with Reese's Pieces in them.

I had to try my own.

They were also quite tasty.

Recipe to follow, I have to get to work.

Have a musical Wednesday,


Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring Clouds

I have found that the best part of Spring for me is the change in the clouds.

All Winter we are subjected to high thin Cirrus clouds.

Then with the change to more moisture in the air and Thuderstorms we get the lush Maxfield Parrish-esque clouds that I love so much.

Today, while I was looking at the clouds, I was reminded of a fantastic episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The freshman class at the college in Sunnydale was being attacked by vampires, but the vampires were very sneaky and they stole all of the victims belongings so it just looked like the students had dropped out and gone home.

The best scene was where the vampires were going through the belongings of the students and they all had either "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt or "Water Lilies" by Monet. There was a big stack of each poster and I think that "The Kiss" was the winner.

I suppose that the clouds reminded me of that scene because I had Maxfield Parrish up on the wall in my dorm room my fresh(wo)man year of college.

As a complete non-sequitor, my kids said some funny things this week and I need to record them somewhere. Please forgive the doting of a Mama.

I hear a sneeze from the back seat in the car-
Younger Hug-a-Bug: I put gesundheits all over my buckles!

The Younger Hug-a-Bug was looking at a picture of a rattlesnake wrapped around a yellow flower.
Younger Hug-a-Bug: I don't like snakes!
The Elder Hug-a-Bug: Don't you like Sunflowers? They smell like sun!

On the knitting front, I finished the primary work on Eris.

The knitting is complete, but I need to block it, sew down the front facings and put in a zipper.

These three things are not my favorite activities, so it may be a while before we have a checkmark in the finished objects column.

I don't think I need to hurry if we continue having the fantastic weather that we are having right now...

We have been invited to a birthday party this afternoon, so I plan on spending the next couple of hours whipping up a "Peanut" from Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.

I have made three now, two for other birthday gifts, and they are so fast and fun.

I was going to post a picture of the Elder Hug-a-Bug's Peanut, but she stopped me from taking its photo, saying "It's special to me."

I am apparantly not authorized to take Peanut's likeness.

I have to get sewing now.

Have a fun and relaxing Saturday!


p.s. longest post ever, guess I should come on here more often...

Monday, May 12, 2008

O.K. here is a reality check

This is the craft table after some days of, shall we call it creativity?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Have you ever had a day that felt like 5 days?
I had one of those today.

I woke up to a lovely breakfast with the Hubby and the Hug-a-Bugs.

Next, I finished the Mothers Day present that I made for my Mom, a felted Cardinal from the Wooly Birds Pattern by Marie Mayhew.

Then, the Elder Hug-a-Bug and I spent second breakfast with my Mom and Dad and Sister for a little Barden Mothers Day Fun. Then only thing missing was my little bro, he had his own family plans today.

When we came home, the Elder Hug-a-Bug and I weeded the garden and planted some plants that have been in their pots outside in the rain for the last few days.

After the gardening, during which the Elder Hug-a-Bug planted her first snap dragon plant without any help!,we went to the park and she played the girl who is being chased by stuff and the other girls at the park obliged her by being lions or wolves or whatever they thought might chase someone.

Still not done with the Mothers Day Festivities, I had a concert to sing this afternoon.

That's me on the right.
The Hubby did his best with the Hug-a-Bugs, but the Younger one just wanted to come up and say hi.

They made it through about 2 songs, and then they went home.

My Mom and Dad and Sister were able to keep from being too rowdy and they decided to stay to the end.

Tonight was our last concert of the season and I kept getting a little choked up in places.

One of our songs is Set Me as a Seal by Rene Clausen.

My Soprano buddy told us that Clausen wrote the piece for his wife after she had miscarried a pregnancy and it always gets me when we sing "For Love is strong as Death"
After the concert I came home and had a nice dinner with the fam, and we went on a walk to the DQ for dessert.
I always feel like it cancels out any poor eating that we may do at the Dairy Queen if we walk the 5 blocks there and then the 5 blocks back.
I can't think of a nicer way to spend my Mothers Day than doing all of the things that I love with the people that I love the most in this big ol' world.
I hope that next year can be as nice.
Happy Mothers Day Mom!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One more thing

My favorite moment of the day today:
The Hug-a-Bugs and myself took a trip to the gardening store today.
Me: "Mmmmm, smell these flowers! What do they smell like to you?"(holding up the honey-scented Alyssum)
Younger Hug-a-Bug (age 2 1/3):"Mmmm. Toast."

May from the Fifth Lamp part 2

Look at the difference a couple of days makes! Everything is greener and more Spring-y!

While I am talking about green things, can I just give some props to the weeds out there?

The wild violets are blooming and they are a sweet surprise in the middle of the lawn.

Little purple drops of loveliness.

I am also in favor of Creeping Charlie, though I don't think that my neighbors appreciate it.

I love that it fills up the spaces where grass can't or won't grow.

I also love their little blue flowers.

There, I said it.

I am pro weeds!

For this portion of the post I would like my parents and husband to look away.

Are they gone?


I am not what you might call a clean freak.

I am not what you might call overly sanitary if it comes right down to it.

I didn't get a lot done today, but I did clean my downstairs windows for the first time this Spring.

It was really satisfying to see the light coming through the windows without the filter of months of grime.

I actually enjoyed it.

It must be Spring Fever,

talk to you soon,


Saturday, May 3, 2008

May from the Fifth Lamp

I'm gonna have to take more Fifth Lamp Photos this month than I did last month.
Spring is creeping in little by little and I am going to miss the trasformation if I'm not especially vigilant.
This is my favorite time of the year, when the trees look a little blurry with their tiny buds and leaflets.

See you again,


My first meme.

Ms. P from the Meema Files has tagged me with a meme.
This is my first one.
Here goes.

Using the top 100 yarns on Ravelry (by number of projects):Bold the ones you’ve used and would use again;Cross out the ones you’ve used and would not use again; and Italicize the ones you’ve never tried, but would like to.
Add comments as desired, and then pass the meme along to 5 knitters/crocheters. Link back to this post and to the person who tagged you.
1. Cascade 220 Wool
2. Patons Classic Wool Merino
3. Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted
4. Noro Kureyon
5. Caron Simply Soft-----(I can't figure out the crossing out feature)
6. Lily Sugar’n Cream Solid
7. Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted
8. Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solids-----
9. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solid
10. Noro Silk Garden
11. Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM)
12. Knit Picks Wool of the Andes
13. Lion Brand Homespun-----
14. Lion Brand Cotton-Ease
15. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi
16. Manos del Uruguay 100% Wool
17. Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky
18. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
19. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock - Lightweight
20. Plymouth Encore Worsted
21. Cascade 220 Heathers
22. Lily Sugar’n Cream Ombres & Prints
23. Zitron Trekking (XXL)
24. Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes)
25. Rowan Kidsilk Haze
26. Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino
27. Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc. Peaches & Creme Ombres
28. Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
29. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock - Mediumweight
30. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick
31. Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc. Peaches & Creme Solids
32. Cascade 220 Superwash (in my stash)
33. Berroco Ultra Alpaca
34. Knit Picks Swish Superwash
35. Knit Picks Essential
36. Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Solid
37. Colinette Jitterbug
38. Lion Brand Lion Wool Solid
39. Knit Picks Shine Sport
40. Dale of Norway/Dalegarn Baby Ull
41. Lion Brand Microspun
42. Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino
43. Knit Picks Palette
44. South West Trading Company TOFUtsies
45. Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
46. Mission Falls 1824 Wool
47. Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK
48. Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Multis/Ombres---
49. Rowan Felted Tweed
50. Rowan Calmer
51. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Heather
52. Knit Picks Merino Style
53. Garnstudio Drops Alpaca
54. Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering
55. Knit Picks Andean Silk
56. Red Heart Ltd. Soft Yarn Solids
57. Elann Peruvian Highland Wool
58. Tahki Cotton Classic
59. Dream in Color Smooshy
60. Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton
61. Dream in Color Classy
62. Rowan Big Wool
63. Peace Fleece Worsted
64. Caron Simply Soft Brites
65. Plymouth Galway Worsted
66. Karabella Aurora 8
67. Rowan Wool Cotton
68. Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton
69. Knit Picks Shine Worsted
70. Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock
71. Lion Brand Fun Fur Solid
72. Misti International Misti Alpaca Chunky
73. Handmaiden Fine Yarn Sea Silk
74. Mountain Colors Bearfoot
75. Lion Brand Jiffy Solid
76. Knit Picks Shadow
77. Bernat Softee Chunky Solids & Marls
78. Austermann Step
79. Bernat Cottontots Solid
80. Cascade Ecological Wool
81. Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud
82. Patons Shetland Chunky
83. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Chunky
84. Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted
85. Malabrigo Yarn Lace
86. Bernat Satin Solids
87. Lily Sugar’n Cream Stripes
88. Knit Picks Gloss
89. Lion Brand Magic Stripes
90. Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk
91. Cascade 220 Quatro
92. Rowan All Seasons Cotton
93. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Solid
94. JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18
95. Novita 7 Veljestä
96. Rowan Kid Classic
97. Mission Falls 1824 Cotton
98. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted Multi
99. Cascade Fixation Spray Dyed/Effects
100. Patons Kroy Socks 4-Ply

Looks like I have used 37 of the yarns and only would never use 4 again.
That's a pretty o.k. ratio.
I don't make socks, so that lets me out of most of the yarns I haven't used yet.
My problem with this meme is that Meema already tagged the knitters that I know, and I don't know if you can tag someone that you don't know. Would that be rude?
I guess I'll wait for some divine inspiration on that one.
If anyone has done one of these or would like to join in on this one please leave me a comment.
Have a great sunday.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tra La! It's May!!!!!

April has done its part with the showers and so forth.
Let's hope that May holds up its end of the bargain with some flowers!

Now I have to perform my traditional May 1st custom.
I must listen to "The Lusty Month of May" from Camelot at least 3 times.

Happy May!