Planning a needlepoint gallery wall

I finally got around to thrifting a bunch of random wood frames to hang up some of my needlepoints, gallery wall style. I figure I spent the time making them, why not display them somewhere I can see them each day? I have no experience with gallery wall layouts whatsoever, but I found some great tips whether you want to go the traditional route and hang on a grid or not, a la Kate Spade.  Hope to get these pictured below (and more) on the wall above my kitchen table sometime this week. Just have to trim and secure them all in the frames, and make a decision whether to paint all the frames white or leave them eclectic. (I originally planned to paint them white, even bought the paint, but realized I can’t paint the smaller ones and red ones in the bottom right. What to do!?)


Here’s the most recent needlepoint I’m working on, marigolds in front of a stained glass window. This is probably the most expensive kit I’ve bought–it cost $1.50. 😉


And yes, those are my sweatpants in the background. No shame.

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July 9 2013 meal plan


  • Pitas with roasted red pepper hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers
  • BLTs on torta bread with avocado
  • Chef’s salad with turkey, avocado, jack cheese
  • Smoked salmon, creme fraiche, thinly sliced cucumber on baguette
  • “Stuffed burgers” and a fingerling potato salad

I have no idea what stuffed burgers are, that is the husband’s request for a BBQ day. I have cheese, bacon, beef, avocado, lettuce, tomato, buns…so we will see what he comes up with. This week’s meal plan is dictated by not wanting to use the stove (again) and a plethora of avocados and red peppers from a recent Costco run. Also you can tell when I make my meal plans before eating lunch…that’s when there is meat all 5 meals instead of the normal twice/thrice a week. Oops!

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July 2 2013 meal plan

  • Caprese salad (1st tomatoes I’ve bought this year…yum!) and baguette with creme fraiche, herbs from garden
  • Creamy garden pasta salad
  • Creamy broccoli salad, and cantaloupe/mozzarella/proscuitto/mint salad
  • BBQ chicken and coleslaw sandwiches
  • Bagels with smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and red onion

I bought a tub of creme fraiche from Trader Joe’s a couple weeks ago. Then took a couple tablespoons of it and put it in a mason jar with a cup of cream. Left it on the counter for 12 hours then stuck it in the fridge. Perpetual creme fraiche!

As you can tell it was waaay too hot to cook this week. The only time I turned the stove on was once (pasta) otherwise it was just microwaving canned chicken and toasting bagels. Sometimes you just need a lazy week.

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Meal plan for June 26

I thought I’d start sharing some meal plans here. My style of cooking is using as many fresh (not processed) ingredients as possible. And everything in season! It just makes it cheaper as well as more delicious. I also make my “weekly” meal plans for 5 days–any longer than that and I find some of the ingredients go bad as we’ll inevitably eat out one night or just eat leftovers. I also don’t usually follow recipes exactly. Without further ado:

  • Baked Ziti (husband’s request as we’ve been watching The Sopranos)
  • Fish sandwiches with radish remoulade (catfish or Tilapia, whatever they have at the store)
  • Fava, mint and ricotta crostini (with a simple side salad)
  • Grilled pepper and turkey sausage pizza 
  • Barbecued steak with herb sauce and buttered radishes

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How to crochet a granny square

Since I’ve been crocheting up a storm lately, I thought I’d show you all how to make your own granny squares so you can get hooked (see what I did there?) too.

First-make a slip knot and chain 5.

granny square instructions 1

Join together with a slip stitch in your first round, creating a ring. Chain 3, which will count as your first DC for this shell.

granny square instructions 2

YO, and DC twice into the center of your ring. Your first shell is complete! Now, chain 2 and DC 3 times into the center of the ring again.The chain of 2 becomes a corner of your square.

granny square instructions 3

Chain 2 to make another corner, DC 3 times, chain 2, DC3, and chain 2. Now you have 4 shells and 4 corners, creating a square. To join, slip stitch into the top chain of that “chain 3” you created. Now you could change colors if you wish, but for the purpose of this tutorial we will continue with a single color.

granny square instructions 4

Now we need to move from the top right corner over to the top left corner. Slip stitch your way over there, making a slip stitch in between each DC in your top shell until you reach the chain 2 upper left corner. Once there, chain 3.

granny square instructions 5

Just as in the last round, make a shell of 3 DC. Then chain 2 for a corner and 3 DC again in the same hole.

granny square instructions 6

Now, chain only once before you create your next 2 shells in the next hole. Always chain 2 when turning a corner, and chain 1 to separate shells not on corners. Continue until you have 8 shells, and join together with a slip stitch again.

granny square instructions 7

Repeat as for the last round- slip stitch to the corner hole, and continue the 3 DC shells. Two shells when turning a corner, and one in the other holes, as shown below.

granny square instructions 8

Ta-da! That’s all. Finish with a slip stitch, pull tight and cut off your yarn.

granny square instructions 9

You can make the granny squares as large as you want, like I did for my granny square chair covers. Just have fun with it! But be careful, these little guys are super addictive, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Crocheted baby gnome hat

I wanted to make a hat for Britni’s soon to be born nephew, and when I saw this gnome one on Lorajeans Magazine, I knew it was the one. I mean come on, it’s hilarious.


I made mine with a thinner yarn, and in a gender-neutral yet beautiful teal color.

crochet gnome baby hat

The iPhone picture doesn’t convey how pretty this “Pagoda” color really is. Oh, and since I don’t have any babies laying around to model the hat, here it is partially done on my cat. Haha, didn’t you know I would go there?

crochet cat hat

Anyway, this pattern is ridiculously quick and ridiculously funny (I think babies should be dressed in funny outfits at all times) so I would definitely recommend crocheting it. Ok, ok, one more picture of The Cat in the Hat:

cat in the hat

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Winter Turns to Spring

I thoroughly enjoy Pacific Northwest winters because they are an excuse to hibernate and craft [or in Morgan’s case, re-play Arkham Asylum].

hibernation means crafting and video games

However, I am definitely ready for spring, so my tulips coming up in the front yard make me happy.

tulip sprout

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Yarn Stash Panorama

My yarn stash makes me want to create a rainbow blanket.


yarn stash iphone panorama

yarn stash iphone panorama [2 Different free iPhone panorama apps: top is “Panolab,” bottom is “Panorama.”]

Also, I wear gray clothes probably 5 or 6 days a week, yet I don’t own any gray yarn. Weird.

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Weekly Meal Plan

I can’t believe we’ve lived in Portland for over 13 months now! One of the biggest changes we made when moving here was cooking. Yes, when we lived in San Francisco we rarely cooked for ourselves. No we didn’t live off Ramen like the common college stereotype. We lived off of tacos. And burritos. And nachos. Sort of came with the territory since we lived in the Mission District. Now I cook dinner everyday. The biggest help has been creating a meal plan and shopping from it once a week. I love the meal plans created for you in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine, and usually use that once a month (except for when it involves expensive cuts of meat…) Other times I just make up my own meal plan based on whatever I’m craving. [This week, it was salmon, so that comes into play twice, haha.] Here’s this week as an example:

You may have noticed that my “weekly” meal plans are only 5 days long…yeah I’ve just found that’s the time frame that works best for us [sometimes we take a night off of cooking to go to a friends house or just eat leftovers]. You may also have noticed that all the recipes this week are from Everyday Food. Yeah, what can I say-I subscribe to the cult of Martha. 😉 Plus those recipes aren’t even really recipes per say, more like methods of cooking, and they often use less than 5 ingredients.

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120 Granny Squares

So this is what 120 granny squares (8 skeins of yarn) looks like:

120 granny squares

I’ve reworked the dimensions, and now I think I need just 30 more-2 more colors-before I start joining them together. This afghan is so close I can feel it.


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