FEAR THE BEARD: finished piece and free pattern!

Here it is! That thing I finished months ago!

Also, while I’m thinking about giveaway pieces, I think I forgot to give the hedgehog I made to Dani. Did I? I know I finished and framed it. Sorry, Dani, if I haven’t given it to you yet. #worstbloggerever #alsoworstsisterever

Sorry. I’m kind of addicted to twitterspeak.

Anyway, here is the thing I made for Jack. He is obsessed with the Giants/Brian Wilson. The hardest part about this was turning the idea into a cross-stitch pattern, but I enjoyed the tedium of it.

And since I made the pattern for myself anyway, I might as well make it available to all of you lovely people. I didn’t make it fancy like professional patterns, but I think the point gets across. If you have any questions about the pattern, please ask it in the comments here. Thanks!


Usually when Grady is wandering, I imagine this music in her head. (Thanks to Rob Steffen for editing this for me.)


Near the end of February (yes, I’m still that far behind. shut up.) Grady, Jack and I went to lovely Sarah’s wedding in Draper. And Grady finally got to wear that dress.




10 cool recipes

I’m thinking of making these for the family gathering on Easter. Peanut Butter Bars from Make it Do. Are any of my family members allergic to peanuts? I feel like that is something I would know.

Greek Garbanzo Bean Salad from AllRecipes. Confession: I hate kalamata olives. Why on earth do people like those disgusting things?

Tomatillo salsa verde
from AllRecipes. Confession: I adore tomatillos.

Potato and bean enchiladas from AllRecipes. Potatoes in Mexican dishes = delicious.

Tomatillo guacamole
from AllRecipes. WANT.

Oatmeal with apples
from AllRecipes. I want to learn how to make zillions of types of oatmeal really really well. And different types of plain-Greek-based yogurt. So I can be the queen-mom of breakfast time.

Broccoli salad
from AllRecipes.

Portobello mushroom pasta
from AllRecipes.

Mini lemon blueberry scones
from Cooking With My Kid.

Cherry Crumble
from AllRecipes.

Written April 22.

Ruching regrets

There are people out there in the great wide internet that say shirring is easy. The tutorials I found all said that it was incredibly easy, requiring very little fiddling and adjusting and sobbing. These people are lying.

It is likely my machine – a Brother VX-1435 that I got three years ago at a Kohl’s mega-clearance – is the problem. But man alive, I cannot shirr to save my life. The example above is seriously the tidiest, least disastrous of my attempts to shirr.

And the fact that I cannot shirr brings me so much torment. (Well, perhaps torment is the wrong word. But it feels something similar to torment.) Last year I blithely read through shirring tutorials and patterns that required shirring, confident that when I got around to it, shirring would so enhance my sewing skillset.

Let’s be honest: This picture was taken on February 2. Soon after, the pre-thread serger I bought ran out of thread. The combination of this disaster and the threat of learning how to thread a serger has kept me from sewing anything at all since February. It’s putting a serious damper in my Etsy-shop plans.

Anyway, as far as I can tell from various forums, Brother machines often have trouble shirring. It is something to do with the bobbin tension. However: most experts recommend never messing with the bobbin tension, as you’ll never get it back to factory accuracy. Also, every tutorial I can find for messing with bobbin tension is for top-loading machines, whereas mine is a front-loader.

UGH. FRUSTRATING. Anyway, I just found this tutorial, which seems much more helpful than others. Maybe after reading through all the comments I’ll give shirring another go. Right after I clean off the two months of accumulated junk from my sewing table.

Pete’s Diner: Just go there.

Awesome things about Pete’s Diner:

  • The menus are great for playing peek-a-boo with, obviously.
  • Every single thing I have ever eaten there has been absolutely delicious. Seriously. Best diner food ever.
  • The coffee is amazing. No one I’ve talked to can tell exactly why it is so amazing, but the fact remains.
  • The waitress, Julie, is wonderful.
  • The dish I’d recommend the most: veggie omelet with a pancake instead of toast. It’s heaven.
  • It’s in downtown Provo, right around where a handful of my friends live.
  • My grandpa would have loved it there.
  • It resides on a block that Nuskin (one of the demon corporate bastards from hell that are homogenizing downtown Provo) recently bought for expansion, but I’m pretty sure Pete’s held out. So Nuskin will just have to build around them.

Pete’s is located at 190 W 100 S in Provo, and it’s open from 7 to 7 Monday-Saturday. They only take cash (which I find really endearing), so come prepared. And seriously. Just go there.



Yes. Yes I did complete a paint-by-numbers. Yes I enjoyed it. Yes I am totally proud of it.

Obviously, I messed with the colors a little bit. But other than that, this was totally about mindless attention to detail, which is so calming for me. I love projects that require many teeny tiny steps – like cross-stitch or quilting. Anyway, I’m in love with this piece. It will definitely end up on a wall in my house, but I’m thinking of making it a series. Maybe with other paint-by-numbers animals like these or these or these. I think I’d like to do the animals in each painting in very similar color palettes, with the backgrounds in the palettes dictated by the kit. Pretty excited about it, actually – especially that owl!

Also, while I was browsing the internet for paint-by-number kits, I found this amazing beauty. I told Grady to buy it for me for Mother’s Day and she was all “But I’m just a baby!”

(Also: Why did I buy this first kit in the first place? Because Hobby Lobby knows exactly how to force me into these things. Walking in that store – even just driving by it sometimes – makes me panic. It is too big. There are too many people. They too obviously cater to the conservative Christian crowd. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I went there with Cade to buy him a kitten calendar (because he just looooooooves kittens), and had to spend like 30 seconds alone and could only calm myself down by picking up, hugging compulsively, and purchasing this kit. And some Sharpies. I’m a sucker for Sharpies.)

Written Apr. 22.

Stately ponies




I’ve almost definitely blogged about this little project before, but I don’t think I’ve given it a proper post. I found these magnificent bookends at the thrift store a few months ago, and fell in love immediately. Only problems:

  • The paint was chipping, but they were too intricately carved to be sanded.
  • The color was awful. That seventies reddish-brown.
  • They were basically useless. Made out of wood, they weren’t heavy enough to function as bookends. Not even close.


  • I bought a can of gray spray-paint primer and gave them each two very light coats.
  • I originally thought I would spray paint the final color on, but it was too difficult to get the spray paint in those little crevices without making a drippy ugly mess. So I gave them three coats of acrylic paint. Yup. It took forever.
  • I screwed them into the bookshelf  from below. Now my bookshelf has a hole in it, but it’s worth it.

I particularly love these because they surround my favorites of Grady’s library.