Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Last Minute Christmas

It happens every year (for which I am very thankful), I have customer work that keeps me busy until late in December and am left with little time for family crafting.
So it came to pass that on Saturday, December 20th I texted this photo to my mom:

and asked if she would collaborate with me to make it for The Youngest for Christmas.
She accepted and we began,
First, it was a trip to the fabric shop to get the basics: canvas for the body of the chair cover, accent fabric, felt and bias tape for details.
My mom is great with 3-dimensional planning and thinking. She designed and built her back deck, back porch, myriad gardens, she has got the skills. 
So, of course, she whipped up the chair cover in about an hour.
I went over the next day and we worked for a couple of hours, making the apron, choosing the backsplash, making stove controls.
Mom did the heavy lifting with the doors and pockets. 
I picked up the kitchen on Monday (along with the baker's hat and potholder that my mom managed to whip up) and brought it back to do the hand sewing.  
I got the cover for the microwave door finished, attached the stove buttons, and started in on the oven door. After some research (I asked the daughter of a friend) about what to include inside the oven, I went with a pan of chocolate chip cookies. I will admit, I had a hard time figuring out what to do with the outside of the oven door, and the inside of the microwave. 
Yesterday just happened to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day; we discovered that we all had lice and while we were on our way to The Lice Lady (Totally worth the money)The Elder threw up in the car, and while we were waiting for The Younger, The Youngest and The Hubs the car battery died. 
But, after our 5 hour unpleasantness I was able to finish up the hand work last night. 
 We don't own a microwave, but we can just tell her it's popcorn door or something...
 I was still stymied on the oven door last night, so I copped out and just put a bird on it. The accent fabric is birds and flowers, so I borrowed one of the motifs.
 Add some pots, pans and food from IKEA and that's one exciting Christmas gift.
I hope she likes it!
Joining Nicole for KCCO

Monday, December 15, 2014

Birthday Room Redo

Friday was The Elder's 11th Birthday. 
The first of her B-day requests was cake decorating supplies.
I baked the cake, devil's chocolate from America's Test Kitchen, (made dairy-free with coconut milk) and did a crumb coat of frosting, but she did the rest and it turned out great!
Once the kids were at school on Friday, my mom came over and helped me zazz up her bedroom as another birthday surprise.
Earlier this year I built a rudimentary canopy for The Elder's bed.
For the big room redo I got some pipe insulation, painted it white and covered the uprights. Next we covered them with some more of the lacy fabric I used for the canopy.
Then, using some outdoor light clips, we attached a string of twinkle lights to the top.
It's the perfect reading light level, and turned out fairly magical, if I do say so...

 We found a bunch of lovely art that The Elder has been making in school, and hung it around the room.
She also needed a desk, and luckily the neighbors threw out this changing table the other week. 
It converted quite easily to a desk, and with a lick of paint it looks brand new.

She was mostly happy with the transformation, though there was a little panic when she couldn't find all of her toys. 
It's a little staggering that this tiny sweet baby
has turned into this confident, bright, delightful young lady.
Happy Birthday, my girl.

April in December

The photo in my header was taken by the river about two weeks ago. 
This one was this morning.  
We have been enjoying a few days of unseasonably warm weather.
This morning The Youngest and I took a walk by the river, and were rewarded with some cool misty loveliness.

No coat? On December 15th? Okie Doke.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Lazy Morning

It's a day off for my big kids, conferences, and we have been having a super lazy morning.
The Elder and Younger are procrastinating their chores by playing together, so I am not really pressing the issue.
The Youngest is preparing an art installation on the stairs,
and I am digging into the Christmas music.
It's been a while since I have gone through my favorite Christmas music and played whole albums, rather than putting it all on super shuffle, but today felt like the day to do it.
First there was When My Heart Finds Christmas by Harry Connick, Jr. followed by Ella Wishes You a Swingin' Christmas and now it's That Spirit of Christmas by Ray Charles.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of any of these perfect recordings.
What's your favorite music for getting into the spirit?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny today,
It's been a flurry of knitting lately.
I have had a couple of client commissions for christmas stockings and the Elder needed new mittens and scarf. So, it's a good thing that it's been one of the coldest Novembers on record.
This morning I am finishing up with the neckwarmer for the Elder, and the reading I have been doing is almost none, though I did have to pull out the America's Test Kitchen cookbook to whip up some banana bread.
What's on your needles lately?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Yarn Along

Good morning, friends.
I am home sick from work this morning.
The cough and gross I could do without, but it does give me an opportunity to join Ginny for Yarn Along.
It's been two months since my last day at the yarn shop, and I have noticed a major drop-off in my knitting.
I did manage to knit a sweater for a customer, one of my last, and I also whipped up this hat.

I also read 3 books in the past month, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Princess Bride (both on the kindle, so I can't really photograph them) and Little Bee which I picked up from a Little Free Library.
I loved Little Bee until the end, Has anyone read it? 
What's on your needles today?
Joining Ginny

Monday, October 13, 2014


Yesterday began my seventh year of blogging.
This is, by far, the longest time I have ever journaled, and even though I lose my mojo once in a while, it's nice to know that this space is here for me.
This weekend was so beautiful, it reminded me of the first time I went out for fifthlamp photos.
The leaves are in tip top color, and the skies have been mostly clear.

Also, this weekend, we took a trip to the nearby Stillwater Pumpkin Festival.
We'd never been before, but I can see it becoming an annual tradition for us.
Really how can you beat cotton candy,
 giant pumpkins,
 and soda on a spectacular fall day?
Top that off with a giant pumpkin drop from a 100 ft. crane, and you have a recipe for an awesome afternoon

Here's to another year of fifthlamp fun,
thanks for hanging around with me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


We received notice of a drive at church to collect necessities for the refugee children from Central America. There are boxes for toothbrushes, and other hygiene products, clothes and dolls.
The Eldest and I decided to make a doll.
When I asked her how many we should make she told me that there are thousands of kids, but we compromised and decided that 8 was a good number.
Here are the first five. The sixth doll is on my sewing machine, but I just broke the needle so it'll be a little while before I dig out our extra needles and finish up the last three.
I am using the Olive  and Archie patterns from Wee Wonderfuls.
I had forgotten that the heads come out a little weird,  but I'm choosing to embrace it. The fabric was mostly from my stash, except the faces, which helps us declutter, so this project is good all around
Joining Nicole today for KCCO

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kid's Clothes Week.

I saw a notice today that announced the next kid's clothes week, and I couldn't be more excited.
It's been a while since I joined Meg, I always have the best intentions, but then I get busy or lazy or both.
There's a theme this time - Storybook.
kid's clothes week\
I love the idea of taking inspiration from a storybook. About 5 years ago I knitted a sweater based on an illustration by Jan Brett from Annie and the Wild Animals.

Even though Kid's Clothing Week Challenge is a sewing challenge, I think I'll try an outfit with a sweater and something sewn. 
Also, I have always wanted to make up those overalls from the book, perhaps I can get those going for the challenge too.
Time to start poring over my favorite books.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Beginnings

As I was perusing the blogs this morning someone pointed out that Back-to-School time is much like New Year's Eve for making resolutions and clearing out clutter.
I have found, over the years, that I never have been able to get over the sense of new beginnings this time of year.
Nearly every job I have ever had has either begun or ended in late August/Early September, something in my body tells me it's time.
Last week I worked my last shift at Treadle Yard Goods (my favorite fabric shop), and yesterday I taught my final class at The Yarnery.
It occurred to me the other day that with the completion of my time there I am ending a 20 year run of retail work.
This weekend also marks the end of the 7th job I have had on Grand Ave, which is a shopping/restaurant destination here in Saint Paul.
I am pretty conflicted about it, I loved the work and the people, but this will give me more time to teach piano and spend time with my family.
For my last class one of my students brought a box of strawberries, and another brought a bottle of wine to share.
And then, as I was walking out of the door, I bumped into a former student who thanked me for teaching her to knit (it was probably about 10 years ago, and she's kept it up beautifully), that was a perfect way to close out my time there.
Now it's time for the Herculean task of knitting and sewing through the stash that I have accumulated over the past dozen years of working in fibers.
I have so many plans, over a decade-worth.
I think it's going to be prudent to set aside one night a week for sewing.
The big kids are in Disney World right now with my parents, and Sunday morning I was able to make them each a couple of pairs of pajama shorts for the trip.
Super fast and easy, and a nice gateway into sewing again.
Also, I have a birthday party coming so I am super excited to do some dolly sewing.
Here's to new beginnings out there.

Monday, July 28, 2014


Do you ever get a bee in your bonnet and just have to make something silly?
I have always been a huge fan of William Joyce's work. Santa Calls, and Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo are both mainstays in our book rotation.
He has a distinctive style that evokes a simpler and more beautiful time, and that just makes me happy.
A few weeks ago we added Rolie Polie Olie to the bedtime story list, and The Youngest took a liking to that really swell guy.
It seemed to me that it wouldn't be too difficult to make a hugable Olie Polie to have at home, so I took out Stuffed Animals from Concept to Construction, and my copy of RPO and went to work.
Abby has a pattern for a bee in her book, and part of the pattern are different sized spheres.
I sewed up a couple and though they were the right size I wasn't really pleased with all of the seams; both in number and quality. I had a mishap last week with a leaky faucet and a ruined sewing table along with all of my sewing machines, so I sewed the spheres by hand. Also, I wasn't too careful with the direction of the fabric when I cut out the pieces, and the light hit the fabric in such a way that each piece looked like a different color even though they were cut from the same cloth.
I decided that the only way to make it work for me was to needle felt over the surface to give it a nice smooth finish.
I used pipe cleaners for the arms, legs and antenna, and needled the other details from scraps of roving and yarn I had around the house.
He's not perfect, but I think he came out pretty well. The Youngest loves him, and that's the only thing that really matters.
For those of you unfamiliar with Rolie Polie Olie, there was a tv show about 10-15 years ago as well. There are only a few episodes on You Tube but they're worth a watch.

Friday, July 18, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In the Garden

Amanda does a weekly series about what's happening in her gardens and (though I am hardly what you would call a green thumbed individual) I decided to join her today.
This has been the summer of the backyard. We started in June with our hosta patch. This was a two-fold problem area. Since this part of the yard is under our beautiful maple tree no grass would grow here and every time it rained it would turn into a giant mud hole. Then there was the problem of water running from there, directly into the basement.
The erosion problem is much improved, and the hostas are so hardy that they have thrived, even that one on the lower left looks nice now.
That was the warm-up for a couple of other projects, a new patio area and the big, looming project - painting the garage.
At the beginning of June I started the patio project
and it wasn't long before we had a lovely spot for outside enjoyment.
This garage was charming in its way, but was also covered in lead paint and sat listing at a 10% angle. I didn't feel confident that I could bring the walls back to plumb, but painting was doable.
We also realized that if we tore down the attached lean-to shed, that was falling down anyway, it would infinitely improve matters.
The tear-down took about 3 hours, including clean-up, and then I was wracked with guilt because we had procrastinated about this for 10 years. The painting took about a week, though there are still a few finishing touches to come.
The best part of tearing down the overhang is that we have a new space for gardening, and my delightful neighbor across the street (who has a wild and wonderful front yard full of flowers) donated a couple of wheelbarrows full of phlox. Now, I couldn't be happier with the fruits of our labors.
Also, the best part was that the Hubby and I did these projects together and never got snippy with each other.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yarn Along

I do a lot of knitting that never makes it here to this virtual space.
I knit for customers, making sweaters, scarves and Christmas stockings.
I enjoy the work, but often there is little time left to make things for my family.
This project is for The Youngest. It was a combination of businesses and pleasure.
I have been teaching a class on light sweaters/vests and one of the patterns is Boardwalk from Brooklyn Tweed.

I knew I wouldn't have time to knit a sweater for myself as an example for the class, but I could absolutely make one in a two-year-old size.
I took a few measurements from a top that she already owned and followed the spirit of the pattern from there. I enjoyed the knitting, enough interesting details to keep my interest. while still having lots of nice, easy stockinette so I could watch tv. I added buttons at the shoulder, because of big baby heads, but the rest is pretty much as it happens in the pattern.
I have been having a little reading drought, though I picked up Telegraph Avenue, our book club selection, and tried to slog through the first chapter. It's dense reading. I can't get into Michael Chabon's style. Hopefully it'll come, it's interesting subject matter so far.
What's on your needles today?
Joining Ginny for Yarn Along.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Some Sewing for Me

After the flurry of toddler-sewing last week, I realized that I could squeeze in something for myself.
A couple of years ago my friend met me and a very brand new Youngest for coffee, and she had on the cutest skirt. It was striped, and the stripes went every which way.
I thought it wouldn't be too hard to make one for myself, so I bought a couple of yards of fabric.
Well, it only took me two years to actually get it done.
I perused the blogs for a pattern, and found this tutorial  which basically states that you can take a skirt pattern, cut the piece in two and lay it crazy ways on your fabric, then reassemble it and you have a cutie skirt.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squ-
Well, it was pretty easy after I took out that seam and re-re-assembled it.

I forgot how satisfying a quick yoga-pants waistband skirt can be. 
My mom gave me a gift certificate to my favorite fabric store last week for my birthday, and I think it's time to peruse the knit section.
Joining Nicole this morning for KCCO.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Crafting On

So, the resident 2-year-old is growing taller (how dare she?) and, since her sister and brother are both winter babies, the hand-me-downs are all the wrong season.
So I took a few hours yesterday and today to make her some new outfits.
This one is a super simple t-shirt dress: Hand-me-down t-shirt, with a gathered skirt.
I took an image from the fabric and embroidered it on the bodice.


(This one is terrible.)
On Sunday I did a shift at the world's best fabric shop (Treadle Yard Goods in Saint Paul) and was powerless against the new Burda Kids magazine. 
The next two came from the mag, and I think I may make lots more.
This one is made from fabric I had in the stash, I think I bought it for The Youngest about a year ago. Even though I did some disastrous topstitching that had to be removed, this one didn't take too long. 

I don't think I'll ever tire of trying to take photos of this sweet lady.

This romper came out a little small, because I spaced about Burda not publishing seam allowances.
So, I may have to make another one.
Joining Nicole this morning for KCCO. What's on your creative to do list today?