Yearly Archives



What we did over Christmas vacation.

Partied with friends and family on Christmas Eve.

Set the mood on Christmas morning.

Made sure Santa’s gift was front and center.

Got our rock ‘n’ roll on. Well, mostly “roll”; the “rock” will come in time.

Experienced a toy tornado.

Practiced our tickling techniques.

Gawked at giant trees.

Ventured to Newport Beach on a blustery day.

Found refuge inside an abandoned boat.

Marveled at the glittery sand.

Took panorama pics on my new iPhone(!).

Captured some magical surf.

Found a walking stick on the beach.

Watched Alexa give random, sweet hugs to her Baba.

Strolled through the art museum in search of food, only to find these (non-edible) noodles.

Nibbled on beef shawarma on a bright patio.

Tried to take 23-month photos only to encounter an epic tantrum.

Tackled the playground like a big girl.

Enjoyed the ease of iPhone self-portraits.

Strolled down to the shore on a whim.

Taught Alexa how to search for seashells.

How has your week been?

I’m feeling recharged after a week of relaxation. Ready to take charge of 2013 and make it cry out for mercy. Thanks for another great year here on Little Gray Pixel. Sometimes I can’t believe how many friends I’ve made from this little blog. I want you to know that I appreciate you taking time out of your busy lives to check in here and say hi.

Much love,

33 Projects: Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Coffee Filter Snowlakes DIY

Exhibit A.

I have really got to figure out how to take better photos in this low-light condo. Or maybe I should just stop living in places that have bad light. I need this to be my living room. Floor-to-ceiling windows, baby, yeah.

This is all to say that my project turned out way cuter than this one photo would have you believe.

Coffee filter snowflakes are not exactly a novel idea. But for those of us who inexplicably have no pieces of plain white paper in our craft stash (how is this even POSSIBLE?), being reminded that our pantry holds the key to easy snowflakes lifts coffee filters to genius level.

I made several dozen during one episode of “MacGyver.” This was the episode in which MacGyver uses a coat rack as a crutch and a cart for a wheelchair, so you know I was distracted.

Pros: So easy to cut through the thin filters.

Cons: They can become limp and collapse into themselves. (See Exhibit A.)

Fifteen projects down, 18 to go.

33 Projects: DIY Pine Cone Garland

Pinecone Garland DIY

This project was so simple I don’t really have a story for it. I wasn’t really even inspired by anyone online (it’s a Christmas miracle!). The project happened because I was defenseless against the alluring odor of cinnamon pine cones and somehow they ended up in my home.

I already have a hurricane glass full of from-the-ground, non-fancy-smelling pine cones on my dining table, so I had to think of a place for my new delicious-smelling friends. There just so happens to be a rail in the staircase perfect for the draping. Just like that, an idea is born!

Pinecone Garland DIY

Enter the tools: pine cones, baking twine, scissors.


Pinecone Garland DIY

In hindsight there is an easier way than just measuring out an absurdly long piece of twine and painstakingly tying each pine cone the same distance apart. Certainly there would be a lot less tangling and mental cursing involved.

This 10-minute project turned into 30 minutes because of my shortsightedness. But I persevered, and distracted Alexa from my shenanigans with unscented pine cones to sort.

Pinecone Garland DIY

Pinecone Garland DIY

These pine cones may look innocent, but they are about to engage in a twisted, naughty dance.

After they’ve been untangled:

Pinecone Garland DIY

I would suggest cutting out several pieces of twine the same size, tying each end to a different cone and calling it a day. It would call for double the knots, but trust me. Worth it.

The garland has been hanging in my stairwell for the past three weeks, and it’s still looking good (sorry, no pics, the lighting in here is just terrible). Be aware that the cinnamon scent will dissipate, unfortunately. Still, I think I’ll keep this simple little decoration for Christmases future; I like it that much.

Fourteen projects down, 19 to go.

Weathering the Storm

I was going to avoid writing about the shootings in Newtown, Conn., for many reasons.

The first being that talking/writing/reading about this tragedy does nothing to alleviate the heaviness in my chest at the mere thought of those children — those babies — being gunned down.

There are many things I could say regarding guns, mental health and the state of an America that has been largely desensitized by brutal imagery in even the most benign settings. But I won’t. It’s been done, and better, by others.

I could tell you how terrified I am to live in this world where mass shootings seem to happen more and more often. One day I will send my daughter to school and in the back of my mind I will be worried about the bogeyman. Always. 

I could talk about what it all means. What were the shooter’s motives? How did this happen? Why, after more details come out, it seems so meaningless.

Instead, I want to talk about love and hope and finding meaning even in the darkest of storms. 


A few weeks ago we went to the beach during a light drizzle. Not excellent beach weather by most peoples’ standards. We bundled up tight, the clouds growing darker by the second and the brisk ocean breeze cutting through our light jackets.


H removed his jacket to wrap around Alexa, a parent willing to give anything to his child to keep her shielded from the elements. I held her in my arms, willing to shield her body with my own. Double protection. Actually, if you count her jean jacket, triple protection.

And even as we shivered uncontrollably and the winds picked up, we didn’t think about leaving. We were having too much fun.










We can’t let fear keep us from living a life of adventure, a life of meaning with the ones we love. There is too much beauty in the world to fall apart at the threat of storm clouds. Let’s try to find solutions to be better prepared tomorrow, not reasons to invoke fear and despair and inertia.

Let’s hold on tight to our loved ones always, not just when it’s raining.


P.S. Send love to the shooting victims’ families by donating here or leaving words of hope here.

The Five Worst Commenters on the Internet

The Five Worst Commenters on the Internet •

Sometimes I find myself getting inexplicably sidetracked by scrolling through hundreds of comments on blog posts or news articles I find intriguing.

This happens often enough that I would consider myself a pro comment reader. (I don’t know whether to be proud of this status or whether to put myself in timeout for being the queen of free-time suckage.)

At any rate, there are a several types of comments I see over and over again that make me want to stab my computer, pull my hair out and revoke my membership to the human race. Here are a few of them.

The 5 Worst Commenters on the Internet

  1. Hi! I love your blog. Check mine out! {stupid link here, usually in another color}
  2. How dare you forget my favorite band on this highly subjective best-of list? Don’t you know that you must have my exact same taste in music in order for me to take you seriously?!
  3. I can’t believe you imbeciles wrote an article about this completely un-newsworthy celebrity (never mind that I clicked on it via my own free will).
  4. This completely unrelated post totally justifies my racist/sexist/elitist/political views, and allow me to reiterate them here in the comments because this is the perfect soapbox for my pathetic cause.
  5. Anyone who comments on Yahoo! News articles or YouTube videos, ever.

33 Projects: Trees in a Jar

diy trees in a mason jar

The local Joann’s store is so overwhelming the employees don’t even know where anything is. For instance, finding a standard hole punch is damn near impossible. It doesn’t live near the fancy Martha Stewart paper punches. Ditto for the school supply aisle.

But guess what? I found the white bottlebrush trees I was looking for. It’s a Christmas miracle!

Yes, this is another one of my super original projects. But, like all of them, I managed to tweak them and find lazy workarounds that you might be interested in.

At first I thought about adding glitter and “snow” to the jars, and hot-gluing the trees to the lids so they wouldn’t move. Then I came to my senses. What if I want to use these mason jars in the future? What if I just didn’t want to plug in my hot glue gun?

I opened the jar, balanced the tree and gently screwed the jar back on. Two weeks, and I can honestly report that they look great and there was no reason to hot glue in the first place. As for the glitter/snow, eh. I don’t miss it.

diy trees in a mason jar
diy trees in a mason jar
diy trees in a mason jar
diy trees in a mason jar

They look great as-is, I think. No muss, no fuss! And still super cute.

Thirteen projects down, 20 to go.

33 Projects: Washi Taped Branch

diy washi taped branch

Everyone, pull up a chair to this session of Lazy DIY.

I remember seeing a painted stick tutorial on Maryam’s blog last year, and I filed it away for future use. About a month ago I found this branch lying on the ground. After some skepticism from H that I would actually do anything with it (OK, so it was sitting on our dining table for about three weeks), I came up with a brilliant plan.

Washi tape + branch = easy, less messy than paint, plus can be done during one episode of Melrose Place on Netflix

Also, precision and drying time are not necessary. It’s a win all around.

diy washi taped branch

I strategically left some spots empty so you could see the branch. Rustic, eh?

diy washi taped branch
diy washi taped branch

I wrapped a string of twine around both ends and hung the branch from a nail on the wall. It makes a fun focal point on a wall that has been seriously lacking in art since we moved in.

Twelve projects down, 21 to go.

diy washi taped branch

Photoshoot: 22 Months Old


Baby girl turned 22 months old on Nov. 28. Each month on the 28th I take a photo of Miss Alexa and her owl to mark her growth because, as everyone likes to remind me, “they’re only little for a short while.”

This morning I handed Alexa a cup of milk. She turned away, then turned back to me and said, “Thank you, Mama.”

Heart. Bursting. Out. All. Over.

I managed to keep it together long enough to reply, “You’re welcome, sweetheart.” Then I collected my bursting heart quickly. Someone had to make scrambled eggs for breakfast, after all, and we can’t have hearts bursting all over the kitchen like that.

All of these months of teaching manners, and she was listening! This parenting thing is amazing like that.

Tonight I arrived home before bedtime (a rare treat!). I talked about how we were going to read “Goodnight Moon” together, and that she was going to go night-night. At first I thought she was going to resist because Miss Lexa hates bedtime, but she surprised me by acquiescing. She stood up, waved to H and said, “Bye-bye Daddy.” And as she was going up the stairs, she announced, “Night-night, Daddy.”

Time for Daddy’s heart to burst all over.


Her clothing situation is the same as last month. She wears 18-24 month clothing. Some 2T stuff (T-shirts, for length). She wears size 6 shoes. She really hates getting dressed. If it were up to her, she would stay in her pajamas all day. Can’t say I blame her.

The veggie strike continues. Hiding spinach in her eggs and crushing peas in her pasta. She is obsessed with “fish,” aka Goldfish crackers. She requests them constantly (and Daddy is such a sucker). I have been able to trick her into eating her Flintstones vitamin by telling her that it’s candy. Hey, whatever works. Alexa is not pleased if she cannot start her day with a banana. I’m starting to feel like a freak at the grocery; the only person who buys 20 bananas at a time, and yet I can’t remember the last time I had a banana. Alexa and H leave no banana unturned; she is her father’s daughter for sure.

We bought her a Hello Kitty balloon on a stick on Thanksgiving Day, and it was the best $3.99 ever spent. She asks for “bah-woon” every morning, looks at it and says “Hello Kitty!” And it’s now Dec. 6, so … yeah. Mad props to the balloon for this amazing longevity.

Favorite things: Dressing up in Mama’s shoes and other accessories, claiming the Christmas tree skirt as a blanket and pretending to nap on the ground, opening up books and reading to herself, putting together plastic beads (a fine motor skill she is proud of), stacking blocks (11 high!), jumping up and down in front of the mirror

New words: Look, cook, rain, up, down, “play guitar,” “what dat?,” dangerous, presto, “help me,” outside, tree, robot, princess, eggs, yes, fish, yeah, bunny, zebra, cheese, star, ready, “hello kitty”; colors: red, green, pink, purple, blue, orange

She counts to 10 now. It goes something like this: 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10.



Previous months:
one  •  two  •  three  •  four
  •  five  •  six  •  seven  •  eight
nine •  ten •  eleven •  twelve
•  thirteen •  fourteen •  fifteen •  sixteen

Wish List

I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping. And it’s only Dec. 4. I know! It’s almost like I’m not the procrastinator you know and love. That doesn’t mean I still do not get distracted by shiny things. Oh, I’ve got your shiny things right here. All things I’ve accumulated during my yuletide surfing, things I would like for myself.

And I’m sure some of you might like these, too!

2013 calendar /// Is This It on vinyl /// mason jar tumbler /// DSLR remote /// Vamoose necklace

Original artwork (by Cathy McMurray) /// Amazon gift card /// panini press /// Wacom tablet