for jon.

jon sharp is a funny kid. but i kind of like him. and since i like him, i let him do some crazy things. like turn our dining room into a pub.


he built this. it houses beer. and so that everyone knows what's in it, i made him an awesome chalkboard sign for his birthday.

it started out as this lovely piece of art that i got at a habitat restore for five dollars.


a little bit of paint later...


a swell chalkboard sign for all your informative beer needs. complete with pictures of hops.



tis the season for glitter. glittered dinosaurs.


...animals called dinosaurs ruled the earth. but the dinosaurs could not exist unopposed for long.


the defeat was swift and merciless.


and much rejoicing followed.


but the calm was brief...


*please forgive any historical inaccuracies in this depiction.

if you would like to make your own glittered menagerie--thirty five cent plastic animals, glue, glitter, clear coat (unless you want glitter to take over your life).



this year's soon to be cider.


170 pounds. next saturday will be press day. feel free to come by and partake in the festivities.

the farmer claimed he didn't have any boxes to give away. hence the free range apples...



conan enjoys fishing.
but he doesn't like fish.
he does like poptarts.




my two favorite guys.




they're pretty much fantastic.



we went to charlottesville a few weeks ago for a wedding. and charlottesville in late summer makes me think of one thing...peaches


not quite millions of peaches, but a half bushel. and after eating as many fresh, drip down your elbows peaches as we could handle and making one mean peach cobbler, we canned what was left.


we did this on a friday night. because we party hard.


we ended up with eight pints of peaches. to be enjoyed at a later day.



i like to go to yard sales. and junk stores. this may be obvious...

this handsome metal pair cost 2 dollars at a yard sale benefiting the local youth theater. normally, i'd talk the price down to a dollar, but it was for the children.


the paint job left a little something to be desired though. so i learned a new trick. painted metal plus simmering in water and baking soda for thirty minutes equals no more painted metal.


now i have the desire to find painted metal objects and make them unpainted metal objects.

the roosters didn't remain unpainted for long however. a couple of coats of white spray paint later...


just like new.

i bought them with my sister in law in mind and i'm happy to say that i followed through on the gift. not before jon scolded me for taking them around the house and imagining where i was going to put them.



this came rather unceremoniously in the mail today.


now what...



fresh flowers make everything better. these came from the hydrangea bushes in the front yard. some how they've survived the incessant heat. magic.


and queen ann's lace is about the only thing growing in my garden (not intentionally), as i've kind of been neglecting it this year.


this display kind of makes us look like drunks...



we built a bench!

the bench is in our mud room. which used to house the recycling bin, broom, and the giant mirror that we took down from the living room and only got carried as far as the mud room (and has now made it as far as the garage).

the whole mud room redo came about because while browsing the clearance section at lowes, we found two super cheap boxes of nice laminate wood flooring. we bought them expecting it to be enough to cover the mud room floor, only to find out that we were about a foot and a half short. but have no fear! we're resourceful. a little lumber and paint later, bench!


it also has a hinged top, so it can hold the recycling, reusable grocery bags, umbrellas and other miscellanea. and i made pillows.


i clearly had fun playing with pleats. i just cut the front fabric half an inch longer for every pleat that i wanted, and then ironed down the pleats and sewed quarter inch seams along the outside. i used white thread on the dark gray fabric, partly for contrast and partly because that's what i had in the machine and i'm kind of lazy. i also used fabric glue to close up the final hole used to stuff the pillows, rather than hand stitching.


the mud room looks very different now--much cheerier. i'll post pictures sometime, but we're not quite done with it yet.



i like terrariums. especially ridiculous terrariums. like ones with gnomes in them. and plants that look like jellybeans. and i especially like lilly. so i made her this.

he has a nice little world. even though he has a hard time enjoying it, as he has no eyes. but his large nose and beard make up for it.

sometimes he ventures into the world, but he hasn't gotten very far yet. venturing is sort of hard when you don't have any legs.

and now i'm a little jealous of lilly. because i want a gnome of my own.



i have the greatest husband. you could try and argue that yours is better, but i think this picture proves otherwise.

he made these. aren't they beautiful? and they were delicious. and smokey. and did i say delicious?

smoking takes grilling to the next level. for this, jon took the hot coals, and small tin of hickory wood chips and an old cookie tin of water and put them at the bottom of the grill below the grate. he put the chickens on top and closed the lid, with the vent closed. that's it. an hour or so later, magic.

if you're going to try this, i advise making more than you need. because you'll want leftovers. smoked chicken quesadillas. smoked chicken pizza. smoked chicken on a salad. you just can't go wrong.



i've been trying to figure out what to put on the wall behind the couch since we finished the living room. the christmas decorations were nice, but they were meant to be a temporary thing. if temporary is sixth months, then sure, they were temporary.

hello hexagons.

we made these shelves this week. i've been wanting to for a while now and we finally made it happen. and i thing they look pretty awesome.

they were easy too make too, with the help of geometry and a compound miter saw. what can't you do with those two powers combined.

since we already had the stain and the paint, they were also cheap. eight seven cents of wood per shelf. and i got to use power tools. and i still have all my fingers.

we even hung them to have proper tessellated space between them. this involved paper templates and a lot of trial and error to get a layout that worked aesthetically.

i'm pretty happy with them. i'm still not sold on the yellow, but i probably won't change it. i think i'll just book it as a win that there is something on the wall that isn't made of paper.



i like dishes. a lot. i tend to buy them at thrift stores. if i didn't have self control (or jon) i'd buy dishes every time we went to thrift stores (which happens often). but i try to refrain.

i've discovered that they make markers that let you draw on dishes. now i can use the excuse that i don't want to draw on our 'real' dishes to buy twenty cent cups and plates.

i started with these cups. i think i may have bought them in high school, before i really drank coffee or tea regularly. i just thought they were cute. i don't really use them much though because they're pretty small, so they were perfect for experimenting.

the marker was a little fickle, but it worked well enough. i highly suggest getting one and giving it a go. perk up some tired old dishes. like these now even cuter little cups.

now the only question is what to draw on next. i'm thinking a set of plates with some sort of theme, but i don't have any ideas beyond that. suggestions?


make this.

wow it's been a long time. but i cannot think of a better thing to tell you about after a long absence. this may be the greatest saturday breakfast ever. and i'm not even exaggerating.

i'd like to thank the wonderful blogger of joy the baker for this life changing recipe. this bread is everything a saturday breakfast should be--warm, soft, cinnamon-sugary and terrible for you.

it's a bit of a long process, as you are making a dough. it's got quite a bit of resting and rising and testing your patience involved in it. but it's worth it. very much so. so suffer through dear friends, and reap the rewards.

we sure did. and i'm sitting here now typing this debating another piece. because honestly, it's just not going to be as good tomorrow.


lucy and the chalkboard.

i've been looking for an ornate frame to make into a kitchen chalkboard for quite a while now, and i finally got lucky on our last thrift store excursion.

it was a bit pricey for my thrift store taste (6.99! oh my), but given the amount of time i've been looking for something like this, i splurged. and don't be mislead by the tag that says it's metal. the frame is actually plastic, which is good since finding studs in our plaster walls is kind of hit or miss. lucy was very much a fan of the frame. sitting inside it made her feel like a lady.

to make it into a chalkboard i just took the mirror out and then flipped around the backing piece and painted it with chalkboard paint. i used an old mini roller to get a smooth finish on the chalkboard. painting the frame was more difficult. it involved about 10 coats and an entire can of spray paint. painting all of the nooks and crannies took some effort, but i am loving the finished product.

please forgive the horrible pink-purple faux tile behind the mirror. maybe one day we'll have the courage to take it down and see what looms beneath. for now though, i'll just try to draw the attention elsewhere, like to this lovely chalkboard.

lucy does love lamp. and shoes. and hot dogs. and this pile of towels.

so precarious.

if anyone wants to do any chalkboard projects, let me know. i have the better part of a quart of chalkboard paint left over.


bubble pipe.

another onesie! this is old news, made in october or so of last year, but i thought i'd post the pictures anyway. mostly because my nephew's super cute.

yep, that's an alligator smoking a bubble pipe. i'm not sure why. i had drawn the alligator with the snaggle tooth and thought he was really awesome. i originally wanted to print the alligator giant and have him wrap around to the back of the shirt, but jon said it would be hard to print over the side seam. since he's always the pragmatist and ruins my fun, i asked him what i should do instead. for some reason he quickly suggested a bubble pipe. so i ran with it. pretty sure it's a one of a kind idea...


a cause.

normally i use this blog to post about thing that i make. writing about the things i do helps to inspire me to create more, and hopefully it inspires you to create too. i'd like to use this post though, to talk about something that inspires me in a completely different way. about something that touches my soul and inspires me to act. and hopefully it will inspire you too.

the statistics on childhood hunger in the world are startling. ten million children die of hunger related illness each year. ten million children die because they lack food--something that most of us have in plenty and usually take for granted. ten million die of hunger before they ever really get a chance to experience life.

and it doesn't take a lot to give them that chance at life. with only 10 dollars a child in need can be fed for a month. fed so that they can focus on living life, rather than focusing on the empty feeling in their stomach.

kid's against hunger is a food aid organization that focuses on providing nutrient rich meals to children in need throughout the world. in the past couple of years i've volunteered with my church at events they've held at their cincinnati location, packing food to be shipped to children in need. giving something as small as a couple of hours on a saturday morning makes an enormous impact by preparing 75,000 plus meals. these experiences have been eye opening for me. they've shown me the power of many people with a common concern. of how huge issues like hunger can be chipped away at by generous people with caring hearts that break when they see suffering. it's opened my eyes to the suffering that's in the world, and of how blessed i am and how i should use my blessings to lessen just a little bit of that suffering.

at the end of the month kids against hunger in cincinnati is preparing one million meals to go to children in haiti. the supplies and man power that are needed to pull this off are huge and many people are working to make this event happen. to prepare one million meals takes 3 semi-truck loads of rice. one truck alone costs 18,000 dollars. my church has made it a goal to raise awareness for this cause and in doing so, help fund one of these trucks of rice.

i strongly believe that this goal, although it is large, is attainable. i believe this because the cause is great and the need is real. and it takes so little to make an impact. every little bit that can be raised will give a child a chance to feel what it means to not be hungry. a chance to grow up. a chance at life.

if you can give a child a chance, please donate today. and if you too feel compelled by this organization, pass it on.

if you live in cincinnati and want to participate in packing the million meals, let me know. i'll be there and you can come along too.

matthew 25: 35 through 40

'for i was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
i was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
i was a stranger and you invited me in,
i needed clothes and you clothed me,
i was sick and you looked after me,
i was in prison and you came to visit me.’

then the righteous will answer him,
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you something to drink?
when did we see you a stranger and invite you in,
or needing clothes and clothe you?
when did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

the King will reply,
‘truly i tell you, whatever you did
for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.’



mmmm herringbone. and knitted socks. my first pair actually. not sure how i've gone this long without making any, but alas, here goes.

they're knitty's red herring socks, but not red, or made of fish...

perhaps i can finish them while it's still cozy sock wearing season.


roasted tomato soup.

this was last night's dinner. it was perhaps the tastiest soup i've made so far (which may be saying something as soup is the only thing i seem to make deliciously).

it was incredibly easy to make and didn't take much time as soups go. i was also a very filling tomato soup because of the addition of the pasta (which you can just barely see peeking through near the bottom of the bowl). i did the whole thing in our cast iron dutch oven so that i could go from stove top to oven back to stove top without dirtying multiple dishes. here's the recipe, i strongly suggest trying it out for yourself:

-2 lb tomatoes, halved
-1 large onion, chopped
-1 bulb of garlic (~10-12 cloves, peeled)
-8 tbs olive oil
-handful of mint
-2.5 cups vegetable stock
-1-1.5 cups small pasta (i used mini shells)
-salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 425F. meanwhile, saute the onions with half of the olive oil until soft and slightly browned. add tomatoes, garlic, mint, salt and pepper. transfer to oven and roast, uncovered, 20-30 minutes (time is really flexible here--with more time you're just going to develop deeper flavors).

let cool slightly and then puree mixture with remaining oil. return to pan and add stock. bring to a boil and then add pasta, cooking until the pasta is cooked to your taste. check seasoning and adjust as needed

serve with a generous helping of ricotta cheese, a little mint, and, in my opinion, a couple (or several) dashes of hot sauce. i served ours with a nice side salad. it would also be super awesome with grilled cheese or a nice crusty bread, but i'm trying to make better life choices :D

it's delicious. i promise. you will not regret it. next time i make it i think i'll add a red pepper or two to the roasting mix. the soup ends up a bit sweet (depending on your tomatoes probably) and benefits greatly from the ricotta and hot sauce.


sock monster.

he's very cute. and striped. and he has a belly button. i used danger crafts' sammie the sock monster pattern and added the striping.

joggless stripes in the legs really tested my patience and my ability to hold proper tension. too tight and the legs twisted all up into little leg spirals and too loose and the jogs still showed. worked out pretty well in the end. sadly the socks cover up all my hard work.

i made him for jon. i think he's going to live in his office. he still needs a name though. any suggestions?



one of my favorite things to do at the zoo is to watch the polar bears swim. once while we were there a polar bear was doing laps back and forth across the pool--front stroke in one direction and the back stroke in the other. saved him the effort of turning around i suppose.

i drew this picture at work over several days during several teleconferences, hence the blue lines in the background. i thought about cleaning the picture up in photoshop, but kind of like it this way.

mayhaps i'll make this into a t-shirt.


more mitts.

i made these some time ago, but i'm just now getting around to posting. they're janelle master's reading mitts, published by ewe yarns. i made the first pair while traveling to and from england. they were a fairly quick knit and the end product is incredibly wearable. the lace work at the top and bottom provides additional support as well as warmth.

becca saw them while we were staying with them and asked me to make a purple pair. for these i used a wool/cashmere blend, which turned out softer and more flexible then the wool/cotton blend i used for mine.

all in all they were a nice project. a relatively simple knit with a very usable result.



for christmas, jon and i made napkins for our 'moms' (my mom, jon's mom and starla). it was a fun process, even if it ended up being a little more involved then i originally anticipated.

we started with fabric and i cut and machine sewed each one. we then screen printed them with a moose design that i made. jon has to do the screen printing with our current set up, because i'm too short to consistently get a good pull. hopefully we'll be building more libby compatible workspace soon.

it was nice to actually mass produce something for once. screen printing involves so much initial set up that it's less satisfying to do one off designs. i think the last thing that we mass produced was our wedding invitations.

i'm now regretting that we didn't make any of these cute guys for ourselves. they look mighty exciting on the dining room table.