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Dolls

Heirloom Doll: Aster

January 17, 2017

 

A few months ago I posted a photo of some very humble embroidery practice. It has become something for me to do to make my sewing projects feel a little more special. I made hand-embroidered labels for the jammies I made for my family this Christmas. But as you can tell by my very first attempts, I had faces in mind. Specifically that of an heirloom doll. 

I’ve been making really simple cloth dolls for a few years. I just love the fact that I can take a sketch or an idea for a character and turn it into a real-life friend. And a piece of art that is tactile and can be handled.

Heirloom dolls certainly have their place on Instagram and Pinterest at the moment. (As well as the rest of the Internet.) I have had this idea for this little mouse-friend floating around in my head for several months and she’s finally real! (And you can be sure there will be cats to follow.)

Trial and Error

I can’t tell you how many mouse heads I sewed, bodies I assembled, methods for arms and legs to be jointed to the body I tested, etc. I’ve sewn a couple other animals too, which I’m sure will make their debut in the near future. 

But I’m really proud of how this little girl mouse turned out. Experimenting and taking what I like to call “creative risks” is so rewarding. 

An important feature is that she is sturdy enough to play with. I dreamed up a doll that someone could give to a creative, thoughtful child and would happily endure thousands of tea and slumber parties. And hopefully the type of treasure that could be inherited after a time.

I hope you like her! I plan to make more and offer them in a special pixelpleat etsy shop. Along with clothing and other fun, frivolous things.

heirloom doll

Art

2016 Christmas Card Roundup

December 29, 2016

2016 was a huge year for my custom, hand-drawn Christmas cards. I had so much fun drawing the families of friends new and old.

I always love looking through them once the season is all wrapped up and people have had a chance to get their cards out to family and friends. This year does not disappoint! 

Enjoy looking through the gallery and subscribe to my Custom Christmas Card Illustration Newsletter if you’re interested in commissioning me for something like this in the future.

I plan to do a batch in the next couple months for just regular family illustrations.

Christmas Card/Personalized Family Illustration Roundup – 2016

Thanks for reading and to everybody who ordered a card this year, thank you so much! Obviously I was very busy!!

Freebie

Free Printable Thanksgiving Feast Coloring Page

November 15, 2016

Guess Who’s Back… Again?

Well, gosh. It feels like it’s been a little too long since I last posted something that can be downloaded and printed, so here I am again. Presenting, comically drawn Thanksgiving feast-things in the form of a PDF coloring page! So, get your crayons, colored pencils, washable markers or whatever tickles your art-tool fancy and get scribblin’. You can even use gravy!

I wish I could say that this super cute idea popped into my head for fun, practical coloring sheet place mats to help keep your kids entertained like the snazzy restaurants do sometimes. I thought about suggesting you track down some of those gnome-sized crayons. Then you could give just two to each child who attends your Thanksgiving dinner. 

Since, you know… kids hardly ever eat anything at these functions. The food’s sloshing around on their plate like pigs in a mudbath and they can’t eat it because there are beats and now everything’s pink. So, a coloring sheet will surely keep your kids entertained while you push your own turkey pants to their limit.

Just kidding. I made this coloring sheet for myself. Because I’m the only one who colors at the restaurants. 

After I pick the stupidly-small crayons up off the nasty, nasty carpet.

Guys. This Thanksgiving coloring page is for everybody.

See if you can name all of the dishes I’ve doodled and then color it yourself, you filthy animal. ‘Cause even though adult coloring pages and books are probably so last year, there are still a few of us left who have enjoyed coloring since 1993 and will probably never stop. 

coloring_page_preview thanksgiving coloring page

I don’t know why things have to be so sassy around here all the time. What I should be saying is “Hey, I made this cute coloring page. Download it. Or not. Up to you.” 

Whatever, Happy Thanksgiving!

Download the PDF

Sewing

Sewing Eyes – Beginning with Hand Embroidery

September 22, 2016

Sheesh, has it been a while or WHAT? 

I’ve been busy being a mommy and trying lotsa new things. Like pixel art (more on that soon) and embroidery! 

I’ve had this idea for a while now that I would really love to try to make some dolls. Like, really cool, weird dolls. And Halloween is right around the corner so I can totally justify this conquest with the fact that it may in fact produce some cool critters to sit on my shelf. 

So, I bought a tiny embroidery hoop (I’m actually going to see if I can find a tinier one, because I’d like to be able to do this face stitching after I sew the head pieces together. I think the one I have might be a tad too big. 

Anyway, my very first attempt is in this photo.

beginner hand embroidery eyes character doll faces

That green egg-shaped blob at the top was my first attempt at something dumb and I quickly realized I didn’t like that approach.

I’ve been sketching concepts for months and the eyes are super important to me because along with the general shape of my dolls, I think the faces will set them apart. After all, embroidery like this enables me to basically draw with thread which is pretty dang cool.

We’ll see how it goes. 

Also, there is a 85% chance that the blog will turn into a bit of an outlet for my more… artistic endeavors and less of the mommy blog that it has been. I still plan to offer free downloads and quirky holiday printables, but we have created a family blog elsewhere, so PIXELPLEAT can just be weird Drea-stuffs.

Lifestyle

Yard Work Medicine

April 16, 2016

In the past, Pax and I have really had a hard time getting much done on our weekends. We look forward to them and during the week have no problem discussing all the things we want to do around the house and yard, but when we roll out of bed on Saturday morning we kind of play the “well, what do you feel like doing today” game. 

Well, we nailed it today. Gardening really is good for the soul. And so is meeting goals. We set out to put up another section of our fence, pull as many dandelions as possible and plant some new stuff in “the bean”. (i.e., The bean-shaped flower bed we dug out of our front lawn a couple years ago.)

One section of fence, approximately 3,576 dandelions, and a run to the nursery later and I’m feeling really freaking good. My body is sore. I am going to sleep really well tonight and I think I checked every last thing off of my list today. As Vi would say, “Bing bang boom!”

spring_apple_blossoms_tree_yard_work_gardening_april_utah

Our beloved apple tree is looking quite nice right now. Spring is just the best.

It is a lot of work, but man, having a yard to take care of can heal so much. Now, I just can’t wait to get started on my vegetables. And someday, a greenhouse. 🙂

Lifestyle

Oh, Hey. It’s called Obsessalitis.

April 2, 2016

I am ailed by Obsessalitis. Never heard of it? It’s hereditary. I bet you know somebody who has it. The person afflicted with Obsessalitis is an idea-haver; a creative mind. A fresh concept is conceived in their busy mind, perhaps inspired by something they see on the tube, hear about on the train, or surf upon it on the Internets, something so Pinteresting that they obsess over it for days, weeks, even months. The idea becomes a way of life.

If I do this “thing”, make that “thing”, something with the “thing”, it will change my life. People will love me. People will want to buy the “thing”. They’ll throw money at the “thing”. I will bathe in the coolness of my “thing”. It is the only thing I will ever need. 

You can imagine that constant access to social media and the Internet in general only makes the condition worsen.

“Mom, come play with me.”
“Hang on. I just thought about urban farming for the tenth time today and now I MUST look at something on my phone really quick.” 

It’s not really quick. It spirals out of control quicker than you can say “Hilarious Goat Birthing Stories”. 

And then the “thing” fizzles out and the afflicted moves on to some other “thing”.

So, now I’m trying to only do the “thing” on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And weekends. 

You know. All things in moderation or something. 

Or maybe this is just a symptom of my Obsessalitis and the “thing” is being a better mom/wife.

(And homesteading, blogging, sewing, sculpting, goats, lagenlook, mori girl fashion, household management binders, and another helping of goats.)

Faith

Motherhood is a Ministry

March 20, 2016

Today is the dedication for the brand new Provo City Center Temple. Our church building is being used so members can watch the broadcast throughout the day and so our meetings were cancelled. I have had the past few hours to myself while everyone else napped. The house is so quiet. I feel like it’s been ages since it’s been this quiet. So, I took my time curling my hair and doing my makeup. And breathing and pondering. 

Lately I’ve been thinking about the choice I made to stay home from a mission to get married. I had had a blessing from my dad as I tried to navigate my feelings. I remember standing in the laundry room with my parents trying to work up the courage to tell them that I had decided not to go to Brazil to serve a mission.

The judgement of others, particularly people who I love and admire, has been something I have feared my whole life. It has prompted me to feel distrust toward loved ones in the past and shut people out. As scared as I was, I knew I had to tell my parents that I couldn’t possibly leave on a mission. I had prayed about it and found that receiving a mission call was just part of opening my heart to the path the Lord had prepared for me. So, I tried my best to explain to my mom and dad what I was feeling in my heart. 

My parents are wonderful and have always been very supportive. I’ve always imagined that my mom and dad could have felt some sort of parenting whiplash while I stumbled through that part of my life. But they never let on.

Toward the end of our discussion, my dad shared a thought with me. He told me that he knew I would never regret serving a mission, but that I could regret choosing not to. 

 

I have been asked more than once if I regret not going. And I reflect on my dad’s council often.

The truth is, going to Brazil, teaching the Gospel, learning Portuguese… these are all things I would have loved to have done. But, in the past five and a half years I’ve figured a few things out. 

Motherhood is a ministry. I am a missionary. The thought of ignoring what I felt in my gut when I prayed to God telling him I was going to serve a mission instead of getting married still makes me feel sick. I’m not saying that what my dad told me was wrong. Because he’s was absolutely right. I’ve just come to learn that my mission is to align my will with the Lord’s and to magnify my calling as a steward over the sweet spirits He sends to me. 

I have been teaching the Gospel for the past four years and plan to continue doing so forever.
There is nothing stopping me from learning Portuguese.
And I’ll just go to Brazil later.

🙂

Uncategorised

27th Birthday

February 28, 2016

My birthday was on Monday. I can honestly say, this is a point in my life I never really imagined. If you had asked my 18 year-old self what I thought I’d be doing at 27, I probably wouldn’t have known how to answer. And that makes it feel like kind of a weird age. I’ve been married for five and a half years and I’ve got three kids. My family is incredible. And it is the single most important thing to me right now.

Anyway, the night before, my parents’ had everyone over for a birthday dinner and made me a cake. Mom made delicious lasagna and Megan made the cake (which dad frosted with his own recipe). 

On my actual birthday things were fairly quiet. The kids were especially pleasant, which was very nice. Pax came home a little early and skipped class that night so we could take the kittens bowling and grab a bite. 

It was a super good way to spend my birthday with my “special friends” and I even got some cool new stuff. Including a really rad new sewing machine which I am really chomping at the bit to break in.

 

birthday bowling outing family kids, cute husband

(Don’t ask my what the mushroom picture is all about. Aside from the fact that I find fungi strangely beautiful and I like using other people’s nice photography on my blog, I can’t give you a good excuse.)

Lifestyle

Parlow

February 11, 2016

 

I feel like I am finally clawing my way out of my dark, cold den into the blistering sunlight of real life. Hiding out in our house is starting to drive me insane. So far, I’ve gotten by just leaving once a week to run to the store or visit family for a birthday, but it’s not enough anymore. And it’s not just me.

Parley is getting cabin fever, too. The past three days he has asked me if he can go play outside and each time it’s been a glacial 20 or so degrees outside. Each time I’ve seen that warmer days are coming later in the week, but so far, the prophecies of my weather app have yet to come to pass. My son has way too much practice coping with disappointment. 

I know I should just take the time to bundle the chickens up and send them out, but last time I did that, everyone came back crying with wet, frozen fingers. And sickness. 

We’ve been slowly working ourselves back into some sort of routine. We even managed to do some school this week and this evening the kids crafted some Valentine’s for their dad. I downloaded some snazzy clipart, brought out what I’ll call the “craft crate” and before long we had a mess of homemade stickers, lidless markers, cardstock with tiny cuts along one edge (courtesy of Vi’s smashing scissor skills), and a gluestick that was not supposed to be discovered. There were also googly eyes which everyone INSISTED had to be on their card for dad. 

It cheered me up. They make me really happy. But their hard. Correction, being two must be hard, because Vi is really the one that is hard right now. Which is why I have been referring to her as my “troll year-old”. And sadly, she has stopped calling her brother “Parlow” and has transitioned to “Parley”. I should think this is awesome, but I confess, I always get a little sad when my kids figure this stuff out. Thankfully, there always seems to be something else. 

Because Vi now answers nearly every question by saying “sure” in her scratchy toddler voice. And it usually doesn’t quite fit the situation which makes me smile. And she is fascinated by colors and has been trying to learn their names. You can imagine this makes me especially proud and excited. 

Just like today when she spent some time alone with me at the table drawing our family. I have enjoyed spending time doing things with her so Parley can have some time to himself. Which I am just learning he really needs. He’s an incredible brother and does an amazing job of including her, but today he just needed to play Skylanders alone.

So, I got to play Hungry Hungry Hippos with Vi and I think it was the most fun I’ve had doing it. 

One last note for my posterity, I found the most awesome soft pretzel recipe and have made them already like a bajillion times in the three weeks I’ve had my paws on it. So, that’s a thing, now. And here it is in case anyone needs to find it in the distant future. (Because I am totally imagining my daughters someday being like, “Do you have mom’s pretzel recipe?”, “No, but isn’t that dusty old blog still up?”)

 

Soft Pretzels
Yields 8
These pretz are the shiz.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
25 min
Prep Time
25 min
265 calories
37 g
27 g
11 g
5 g
6 g
160 g
3148 g
1 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
160g
Yields
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 265
Calories from Fat 93
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
16%
Saturated Fat 6g
32%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 27mg
9%
Sodium 3148mg
131%
Total Carbohydrates 37g
12%
Dietary Fiber 2g
6%
Sugars 1g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
6%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
1%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Dough
  1. 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  2. 1 cup warm water
  3. 1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  4. 1 tsp sugar
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 3 cups all-purpose flour + up to 3/4 cup more if needed
Soda Bath
  1. 2 cups water
  2. 4 tbs baking soda
  3. 1 tbs coarse salt, for sprinkling on top
Just Out of the Oven
  1. 6 tbs salted butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees and line a large baking sheet or two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine yeast with warm water and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Once mixture becomes "frothy" your yeast is ready. Stir in salt and melted butter. Add flour 1 cup at a time until a dough forms and is no longer sticky. You may need more or less depending on temperature differences. If you press your finger into the dough and it bounces back, it's ready to knead. Knead dough for 5 more minutes until smooth and pliable. Form dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl to rest for 15 minutes. During this time, prepare baking soda bath.
  3. In a medium sized pot, boil 2 cups of water with 4 tbs of baking soda. Once the baking soda is mostly dissolved, take mixture off heat and allow it to come down to a lukewarm temperature. Pour into a 9x9 baking dish once cooled down.
  4. At this time, 15 minutes of dough resting time should be up. Take dough out of the bowl and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Cut dough into 8 sections (like a pizza). Roll each triangle into a long rope, about 19-20 inches long. Shape dough into pretzel shape and place in baking soda bath for 2 minutes. If the whole pretzel isn't covered by the water, spoon it on top of the areas is doesn't reach. Once the 2 minutes is up, carefully pick pretzel up either by your hand or with the help of a fork and place on prepared baking sheet. You may have to re-shape slightly. Sprinkle the pretzel with coarse salt while still wet (optional). Repeat these steps until all 8 pretzels are prepared and on the baking sheet(s).
  5. Bake pretzels for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately from the oven, brush (heavily) with melted butter.
  6. These homemade soft pretzels are best served hot and fresh out of the oven but will keep for about 2 days stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Pop them in the microwave and they're good as new!
Notes
  1. Make pretzel bites by cutting dough ropes into 1-2 inch pieces. Bake for 4-6 minutes.
  2. Don't feel bad if they don't look all fancy-like. They're tasty knots of doughy goodness.
beta
calories
265
fat
11g
protein
5g
carbs
37g
more
Adapted from Sprinkle Some Sugar
PIXELPLEAT http://www.pixelpleat.com/

 

Mommyhood

I’m Back

January 28, 2016

There have been barbies in my bed all week. Usually I remember to toss them out into the hall, but sometimes one of them works her way to the foot of the bed to be discovered whenever I get around to stripping the bed to make it. Along with tiny socks, and lego minifigs. I wonder if my parents slept with so many toys when I was two years old. I suppose they must have. 

I am not writing this post for any particular reason. I guess that’s why I haven’t written since my baby was a week old. She is now six weeks old and I finally decided that instead of worrying about ruining my good record for posts with “good SEO”, I’m just going to go back to using my blog as a raw, authentic outlet. 

I need it. I can count on one hand the times I have left my house since Poppy’s birth. And I don’t see that number improving in the next week or two because we’ve all been so sick. Including the baby. 

Aside from needing a friend every once in a while, I have learned I don’t really need to leave my house that much anyway. The past six weeks have been so blessed and wonderful, but also taxing and filled with me sitting anxiously nursing on the couch while my kids have their way with the house right in front of my eyes. Breastfeeding is  rad and I am grateful for it, but the thing that has definitely happened too often to count on one hand is me chained to whatever piece of furniture I’m nursing in while watching helplessly as my troll year-old dumps yet another bag of chips/crackers/something messy and crumby all over the kitchen floor. While standing on the kitchen table. With her older brother watching. It wasn’t him. He didn’t do it. But he’s grinning. 

I’ve been in awe of my kids lately. Especially Parley. The situations I just described have been wearing me out. And I’ve been yelling a lot. Which makes me feel really guilty. So, I started reading the parenting manual found in the Gospel Library. (Hah.) I’ve enjoyed and appreciated everything I’ve read, but a particular section encouraging parents to treasure their children and get to know them as individuals slapped me in the face. 

I was most certainly not treasuring my kids. In fact, more often than not, I found myself resenting certain traits they possess. So I checked myself and have been trying to find something new every day to “treasure”. It has helped me immensely. 

It makes me very sad to think about the mean, grouchy mommy they have had to put up with. Especially Parley. I’ve let his sweet, joyful disposition irritate me in the past. Not only do I not want to stifle this about him, but those are words people used to use to describe me! I’m trying to dig it back up. To join in on the cheerfulness and treasure these moments. 

Poppy has helped as well. The realization that these times with newborns, toddlers, every phase of life really just passes so quickly has urged me to savor it as best I can. I look at her, smell her, feel her warm little body pressed against my chest (because she won’t sleep anywhere else) and I long for that with Parley and Vi. To do it again. 

So, I’m hearkening to the words of every seasoned mother in the universe and I’m living in the moment and trying not to take any of it for granted. I am treasuring this beautiful, blessed family God has given me.