Tuesday, September 30, 2008


We were watching Princess Bride just now, and my son tells me:"This is the story 'bout Cinderella don't gets eaten by fish"

update: the Elder Hug-a-Bug:
"This has the Hamsters of Unpleasant Size"

That has nothing to do with anything. I just had to record it somewhere.

Thanks for the concern about My Hubby.
He is doing great.
The overnight stay at the hospital was just for observation and he passed all of his tests with flying colors.

I finished my big secret project yesterday and as a result, I was able to spend some time cleaning out my crafty area during my 45 minutes of solitude between dropping kids off at school and picking them up.
I managed to mend 4 pieces of clothing that have been hanging out on my table for weeks and weeks.

I was also able to locate my floor.
That sounds impossible, I know, but I actually can see the hardwood that had been beneath all of the fabric scraps and self-healing mats.

I have a birthday present to make for a party this sunday, I haven't decided whether to make an Olive or one of these.
I have another 45 minutes on Thursday to look forward to, so I guess I don't have to rush it right now.

We're off to the park!
Have a great Tuesday,

Monday, September 29, 2008

Apples, Apples, Apples

I love fall when the farmer's markets start to fill with apples.

I got a big bag of them on Friday and today we are making applesauce.

I haven't ever made applesauce before, but the recipe seems pretty easy.
Apples, water, cinnamon.

I discovered something fun while I was peeling the apples.

If you spin the apple a second time, you get apple spaghetti.

The Younger Hug-a-Bug was perfectly entertained eating his apple spaghetti, and I could focus on cutting up the apples.

My beloved peeler/corer/slicer needed adjusting, and I was too impatient to fix it, though I think that I did about 10 minutes more work by slicing the apples by hand.

It's really the peeling that I dislike, so that worked out ok.

The aroma in my house right now is heavenly.

We're in for a lunchtime treat that can't be beat!


Saturday, September 27, 2008


Big excitement this week!
I received a special present from Hillary at wee wonderfuls: my Chloe doll!

She is, as you can see, very beautiful and I love her! Thanks Hillary!

I also began a new knitting project, perfect for bringing to the park, as it can get kinda grubby and no one will notice. It even survived a high-spirited young boy, not my own, swinging it around by the needle before I noticed what he was doing.

The yarn is 13 mile Sport-Weight Organic Wool, I am loving it!

The yarn is vegetable-dyed and the dye is really intense.

It does come off on your fingers, but the manufacturers promise that a hot water bath will take care of that issue.

The pattern is the Candle Flame Scarf with an extra flame on either side as the pattern is written for worsted and I am using a sport-weight. Also, I would like it to be a little wider than the original.

The last totally fun thing that I did this week was fern printing.

I found out about this on Painted Fish Studio's great blog.

The Mamas of the Craft came over last night and we went out to the back sidewalk and hammered the clorophyll out of these ferns.

It was kind of cathartic as we were discussing the impending financial crisis and the election and needed to express our frustrations.

I am pretty happy with the results, the only thing is that I didn't move the gusset out of the way before I started hammering this one, so there is a crease in the print.

The bag only took me about a half-hour to make, so I can make another one pretty easily.

That is, if the fall hasn't taken the ferns away...

I must go, my husband is home after a Week in Omaha and I am excited to see him.

Off to the fall festival!


Friday, September 26, 2008

Tell me why

Why do we let home improvement projects wait so long?

Maybe you all don't do this, but I am a procrastinator by trade and I am very good at it.

I have lived with an unsightly crack on our stairway wall for 4 and a half years.

I patched it and then there was a big white blob on the brown/taupe/olive wall.

Today, I chipped a piece of the wall off, took it to a home stuff store, matched the paint and fixed the wall, paint included, in about 2 hours.

Surely, I had that two hours earlier in my tenure here at the house.

So now, the wall is still that ugly brown/taupe/olive color, but at least it all is the same.

I also have been climbing my stairs for that whole time and thinking, when will someone pull out these carpet staples that I see everywhere.

The previous homeowners pulled up the carpet on the stairs, for which I am grateful as they had 4 cats, but left in the staples everywhere.

Well, I spent the last 50 minutes pulling all of those out and in spite of a bruised thumb I am very happy.

So there it is, I could have spent 3 hours fixing this stuff 4 years ago, but instead I lived with the ugliness.

Now that is done, here is a picture from Germany, as I have mislaid the camera again.

This is a forest in Neuss, Germany.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hello My Name is Jess

I realized the other day that I have been here for almost a year, and I have never really talked about myself.

I talk about my kids and my crafting, but that's pretty much it.
I also realize that most of you know me, but here are some things you might not know.

I love to bake and cook.
I worked in a couple of bakeries in my college and post-college pre-kids days.
I can make a pretty passable pizza, and a tasty chicken soup, but my secret shame is that I can't make fried eggs.
I always ruin them, not to an inedible stage (for me, though my husband has more refined tastes), but they always end up scrambled.

I am a slob.
I mean it.
Total Slob.
Clothes on the floor, dishes on the counter, unswept kitchen floor kind of slob.
However, I do like to organize some things.
My colorful dinner plates, when I put them away, are always in rainbow order.
I also have to alphabetize my movies and cds.
If I want to watch Love Actually, I like knowing that I can find it between A League of Their Own and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

I feel like I do a pretty good job with my kids.
I read to them, we do crafts (sometimes), we take walks, we watch a lot of T.V.together, I know that last one isn't so great, but I like the Backyardigans, what can I say...
Mostly they are polite and nice to others, mostly.
My downfall is bedtime.
I suck at putting my kids to bed.
They know how to play me like a fiddle.
I know that no one became a bank robber because their mama didn't give them a 4th snuggle, but I always feel just guilty enough to go back in.
Then it stretches out to an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, and then I get really frustrated and I lose it.
I hope that no one became a bank robber because their mama had no patience for nighttime rituals...

Anyway, that is a little about me.
What kinds of contradictions do you all have in your lives?

p.s. thanks for the nice comments.
I think that blogger is broke or sumthin', 'cause the comments never get sent to my email address, even though I did check the box that says send me my comments via email.
In any event, thanks for the comments, I always read them and get excited to see them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A it is

Thanks for the comments about the new Fifth Lamp Down photo series.

I look forward to watching the seasons changing over the next year from the East side of the bridge.


As we have been taking our walks home from school every day, the Elder Hug-a-Bug has noticed that there is a lot of litter.

"There is a lot of garbage on our Mother!"
"Some people don't realize that there are trash cans!"

She has been reminding me to bring a trash bag to help clean up while we walk.

This is what we picked up in 10 blocks.


Most of it is food wrappers and bottles.

We picked up a beer bottle from outside the front door of the school, classy...

She is learning about being a good citizen of the Earth, but I wish that our neighbors would work towards that as well.

I do my best not to blog cranky, so that is the end of today's rant.

I am going to go wash my hands again,


Can I play at my toy school?


I am a total cliche.

Here it is, almost the end of the second week of school and I am just blogging about the Younger Hug-a-Bug's experience in pre-school.
He is going to think that I love his sister a week and a half better.
I haven't taken many photos of the Space Backpack either...
Anyway, it's going great!
I get about 50 minutes to myself between the Younger Drop-Off and the Elder retrieval.
Today I am squandering the first 15 minutes here posting and baking cookies.
Then to some serious speed knitting.
There is a project in the works that is quite exciting, but I can not speak of it for a couple of weeks.
Suffice it to say that I am spending all of my non-kid time plugging away at it.
The weather is Terrific! here in MN, I hope that it is also fair where you are,

Monday, September 15, 2008


I spent the whole of yesterday in bed with a distressing condition and as a result, I spent over 24 hours without a knitting needle in sight.

I did do some reading and was finally able to finish Sense and Sensibility.

I may have to stop reading Austen, however, as I am constantly reminded of the defects in my character while I am reading.

I always see myself in the lesser and more cautionary characters.

I certainly do not have a divine figure, I love to gossip, I am not blessed with the greatest tact and I might be accused of occasionally overindulging my children in bad behavior.

Somehow, I was able to secure a husband, but at the time of our betrothal he had not ten thousand a year.
I am feeling much better today, and am about to embark upon a delightful walk through the lanes and past the houses of my neighbors.
I do wish every felicity to you all,

Friday, September 12, 2008


Well, I have been here in blogland for almost a year now.
I took my first pictures from the Fifth Lamp in October of last year.
Here it is September and I have taken 12 months-worth of Fifth Lamp Photos and I am faced with a dilemma - Do I continue taking photos from my current Fifth Lamp on the West side of the bridge or cross over to the East side?
As you may or may not know, the other side of the Smith Ave Bridge faces glorious downtown Saint Paul, MN.
So then I am presented with a further dilemma - Wide or tight focus?
I can have the full vista as above, or just the Cathedral and Capitol buildings as shown below, a little church and state action,

or the Big Buildings of Downtown and the lovely park across the river on Harriet Island.
I am now asking you all to help me decide.
Please weigh in with your vote.
Let's call the first picture with the full vista picture A, and then B and C as we travel down the page.

I sure do appreciate your help.
See you all soon,

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day

Here it is.
The first day of school.
I know it's only 2 1/2 hours, but she is excited none the less.
Here she is backing her backpack last night, already wearing her first day of school dress.
Here she is praying that her brother doesn't get to stay.

I have been saving the lunch box fabric that she is wearing for about 5 years.

I may not have even been pregnant with the Elder Hug-a-Bug yet.

I have been planning her first day of school dress for that whole time.

You can imagine the blow to my sensitive nature that the idea of a uniform delivered.

Fortunately, I didn't have to pout forever, since, as I mentioned before, 4 year-olds don't have to wear uniforms to school.

I have to make the slog back up the hill to get her soon,

Talk to you all later,


Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Promise

This is the last post about my living room.

I think I'll start off with a little crafty stuff.
First, the Mamas of the Craft did a project with Flour-Paste Batik that we started about a month ago and finally moved forward with last night.
It worked so well!

I am totally excited about the prospect of this new creative outlet.

If you don't feel like clicking over to the link, what we did was mix up some paste with flour, water and a little alum, then, using a cake decorating bag and tip, I piped the paste onto a piece of fabric (I used an old sheet) that had been secured with tacks to an old window frame.

Then you let the flour dry and spray dye on the piece.

After that is dry you pick off the flour and you're left with the relief of your design.

All that remains with this piece is to heat-set with my iron.

I don't know what I will do with this, probably make a pillow.

Now I have these ideas about tracing pattern pieces on to a plain piece of broadcloth or muslin and batiking the hems and collars.

I am pretty excited!

The Elder Hug-a-Bug is going to school on Monday, and I spent the summer under the illusion that since she is going to attend a school where the kids wear uniforms that she would also wear them.


Apparently only the 4-year-olds do NOT wear uniforms.

Well, I can tell you, I was pretty irritated at the idea that I could have spent the summer making up a new school wardrobe for my girl.

My mom pitched in and made up a couple of jumpers for her, in record time I might add, and as I have 3 uninterrupted hours this afternoon due to the Hug-a-Bugs spending the night with their other grandparents, I plan on throwing something else together for her first day.

I had a request from my Auntie J to see a 360 view of the new lay-out of my beautiful living room, how I love it.

I went through and did a cursury pick-up and tidy before my photo shoot, but I had to have some reality at the end here-
Imagination Movers and trail mix all over the couch. lovely.

Sorry these pictures are so grainy.

I had to send my beloved Nikon to the camera doctor. It suffered a mishap.

So, for a few weeks at least, it's back to the trusty old Canon PowerShot.

So ends the Living Room worship.

See you soon with September from the Fifth Lamp,

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Beginning and End

Thanks for the great comments on the last post everyone!

Those were great suggestions for the Netflix queue!

In response to Melissa, the backpack is raspberry-colored corduroy.

This week is a week of transition for us.

Well, really a preparation for transitions.

We went to the Elder Hug-a-Bug's school on Tuesday to meet her teacher and finalize the paperwork for her first day next Monday.

Today we meet the Younger Hug-a-Bug's teacher for pre-school.

This morning, and this might be the saddest news of all, I finished the last of the fresh-picked strawberry freezer jam.

We have also been in the midst of painting decisions.

To tell you the truth, the living room is putting the kitchen to shame, and we need to immediately address that situation.
There has been a certain amount of waffling as to the color scheme; Yellow? Green? Yellow with Green trim? (this one looked too much like the Packers, and you may know that we are a Vikings state) Green with Green trim? White with Yellow trim?
I guess I will have to wait to find out along with all of you, faithful readers...

Along with the painting, I made a decision the other night which may change our lives as we have known them.

I organized the tool bench.

For four years we have been living out of a pile of junk, tools, dirt, sawdust, bugs, spiderwebs- you get the idea.

Anyway, when I was at the Home Depot the other day, I saw that it would cost about $11.00 to make a real change and I made that investment.
I apologize for the lack of a before picture, but it was truly a sight that I didn't want to document.

If you look closely, you can see that yes, I did label the boxed power tools on the outside of their cases.

While I was at the Home Depot I also bagged some pegs for the kids' backpacks.

I have finished the lining for the Elder's and I cut out the Younger's.

He is very excited to have a space backpack.

Even though the end of Summer unofficially came on Labor Day, Minnesota is playing along.

The weather has been decidedly chilly compared to the last few weeks.

I have taken to wearing a sweatshirt.

I may even resort to socks soon.

Ah well, that means that Sweater Weather can't be far behind.

Good luck through all of your upcoming transitions,