Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stitch Along With Stump: Love, Indifferently

First of all, my loves, this is NOT, I repeat NOT, the ugliest cross stitch in craftdom I promised to show off last week. I got sidetracked this weekend by some other stuff (including this one). I say this because I had an image of posting this and having several posts saying, "Hey- that really is the ugliest cross stitch I have ever seen. No joke." Trust will know.

I lived in Philadelphia for a hot minute back in the early Nineties. One of the few things I remember (I think I was sober for a good 17.5 minutes back then, and those minutes were not sequential.) was Robert Indiana's "LOVE" statue in the aptly named LOVE Park in center city. It was very near where I would get the bus from my disgusting job, so I would use it as a landmark on those nights when I It was hard to miss.

The next picture is my favorite of Indiana's variations of his "LOVE" pieces...

When I first found out about on-line pattern makers (the one I use can be found here: ) one of the first things I ran through it was this picture. I just always liked it, and I thought the fact it was in black and white would make it a bit easier. Turns out, no. For the black and white picture above, the pattern maker came back with a chart that included over thirty different DMC colors.

When I printed it out, it looked like this...

The nice things about it are that it has a nice stitch count on the side and it does give you the DMC colors required.

The bad thing is that it can be really hard to read. I think I would try it on a color printer next time. It was a little hard to read.

Here's what I have so far...

As usual, I have no idea how I feel about it yet. There is a huge mistake going on in the upper right part of the "O." I might just repair that, and then leave it as a single thing instead of doing the other four quarters.

What I like about it, so far, is that I decided to do the negative space instead of the positive (ooooh...smell me with my art fart terms and whatnot). I think if I do decide to keep going with it, I'll make do the letters of the top two so it looks like a rubber stamp and the actual stamp.

Eh, who knows.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Seriously Ugly. Seriously.

Just to keep the literally tens of you out there who actually pay attention to what I am doing on here in suspense for the weekend...

I am currently working on what might be the ugliest cross stitch project I have ever done. Seriously. There is just no getting around it.

I found a small pattern in a really nice book ("A Rainbow of Stitches" if you are curious) filled with really nice projects and things. It really is a gorgeous (and I don't use that word often) book.

I found this small pattern that just looked so awesome in the pictures. I had some oddly colored Aida to use and chose an odd color of DMC floss I was sure would do well together. I even had a funny little phrase and a font all picked out for it.

Worked on it for about an hour and a half before I realized how truly unattractive it is.

I am going to finish it though, just to show it to you all.

I'll try to get it done while i am doing laundry on Sunday.

Seriously ugly. Seriously.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stitch Along with Stump: Still Sweet, Less Sticky... But is it Done?

And so, another project comes to an end. Sort of.

I have two issues with the completed work here:

1. I really should have used five strands of floss as called for in the directions. I shall ne'er doubt the ancient wisdom of Ondorisha again. The thicker strands would have really made it all pop even more on the black background and would have made it that much more wacky and over the top.

2. I really sort of love it. I love the colors and am glad I did it on the black background. It almost makes it look like some sort of stylized Japanese LED display. An ad for a candy shop in Blade Runner. (Yeah Brent...butch it up. Butch that candy shop cross stitch you did right the fuck up with a Blade Runner reference.) As I said before, my original plan was to stitch the Ondarisha pharmacy right next to it, but now I'm not sure. We'll see. Not everything has to be a joke, I guess.

There were times it was a huge pain in the ass to do. Lots of little color switches and whatnot. It was especially perturbing in the area with the long jars because I'll be damned sometimes if I could figure out the difference between two of those shades of pink or the subtle shading of white and the lightest blue possible. It probably would have been more pronounced if I had just FOLLOWED THE DAMNED DIRECTIONS. (Mother? Is that you?)

All in all, I really and fond of it. Again, not sure what to do with it.

And yes, everyone, I promise to iron it soon.

And for those of you who have been waiting for two weeks for the great mystery to end.... here is the part of the directions where it said TIT a lot, and here is how that are turned out.

Ha! Tit. Never not funny.

Things I Wouldn't Understand. Things I Shouldn't Understand, part deux

Bonjour, mes amis.

Je m'appelle Yves-Gaston.

Bienvenue to my tasteful maison.

Oui, it is just a small pied-a-terre here in Pennsylvania where I take some time for myself when Paris gets too crowded avec les touristes.

Fumez-vous? Would you like a Gauloise? Yes, it is all I see fit to smoke, I am afraid.

Here, come sit by my giant ashtray while I tell you all of the bon mots I have learned about Napoleon from this old issue of Paris Match I found in my closet.

The lamp?

Oh how impressive of you to notice. What a cultured eye you possess, ma petite choux!

Believe it or not, I hand stitched it myself. Les can-can girls are tres Francais, n'est-ce pas?

Tres, tres Francais.

Oui....I find MacCall's Complete Book of Stitchery to be the only true source of such breathtaking, truly Continental design.


Where are you going?

Why do you look so scared?

Oh well... Au revoir, mes amis nouvelles.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Still More Things You Do for Your Friends, or, Prepping My Line of Foul-Mouthed Linens

So one of my oldest friends, Beth, saw the ever-tasteful "Namaste Bitches" cross stitch on my Facebook page, and said (probably in jest) "That would be great on a yoga towel."

"Yes," I said to myself, "this would be an awesome yoga towel." Of course, I have no clue what a yoga towel should look like. Do you wipe yourself off with it? Do you wipe off other people? Do you just wipe off your little mat with it? The possibilities are endless and disgusting.

Luckily enough, the castle of joy that is Jo-Ann Fabric had had a sale on hand towels not too long ago, so I had picked a few of them up with no real clue what to do with them.

It was all just so serendipitous.

I used the same font as before, but the border would have been a bit much for the smaller space and overpowered the towel, so I found some paisley doodads and just used them. They look a little cockeyed, but I think that adds to the charm. At least that is what I am telling myself and you.

I forgot to take a picture of it before I sent it off....luckily Beth took one that I am cribbing and slapping on here.

Perhaps this will be the start of my new kitchen and bath towel empire.

Soon people all around the world will be wiping their areas with my foul-mouthed terry cloth creations.

And then they will have to change the name of the store to "Brent, Bath, and Beyond."

Or I will just make towels for my friends. They are easy and fun.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Parallel Universe

Did you ever see one of those episodes of "Intervention" on A&E (The Arts and Entertainment Channel, which, as it turns out, is rarely artful or entertaining...discuss) where instead of just giving the addict in question money to go buy their own drugs, friends and family members insist on actually going with the addict to the drug purchasing location? I never actually understand what the family member is trying to prove. Is there some sort of protection the family member feels he or she can offer? Does said family member think his or her presence alone will cause the addict to wake up and say, "You know what mom? You're right. I don't need to shoot up today. Thanks for being here?" Or is it just flat out morbid curiosity about where their child/brother/friend spends his time?

It just makes me curious.

In other news, my neighbor and possibly another friend of mine are heading out of town on a floss run on Saturday! I have heard rumors that AC Moore is having another "five for a dollar" floss sale!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Things I Wouldn't Understand. Things I Shouldn't Understand.

So as I said previously, I have been getting a lot of pattern books from Inter-Library loan. I am lucky enough to work in the library of a major university, but your local library will do you just as well. It can be a great resource. And remember, library funding is often based on usage, so use the shit out of them now so future generations can use the shit out of them as well. It's amazing how many really nifty patterns and ideas you can find in a cross stitch book from the Sixties or earlier.

It's the Seventies where things go a little awry, cross-stitch-wise. But then I guess everything was a little awry then. I mean, a friend of mine's parents had a car with an interior that looked like jeans and a living room carpet you had to rake instead of vacuum, so I guess this stuff just follows along with the "Just How Coked Up are You?" trend.

Take the pillows pictured above. They are from my dear friends at Ondorisha. And like a lot of their patterns, the more I look at them, the more I like them. The issue? The "Y," "M," and "K" are the letters pictured, and they are the only patterns in the book. If your name doesn't start with one of those letters, you are SOL. (which you cannot spell). They could have, at the very least, thrown in a vowel or something. Geeze.

This picture is from McCall's Big Book of Cross-Stitching. You know what McCall's readers apparently despise first thing in the morning? Cold eggs and uncoordinated breakfast tablescapes. I apologizing for using the word "tablescape." I know it is nonsense, but I spent the better part of yesterday finishing up a project while watching 6 or so TiVo's episodes of Semi-Homade (yes I dropped the "me" on purpose) with Sandra Lee. She needs help in more ways than I can go into here, but she would love the bejezus out of this farkakte stuff.

Let's face it that "egg cozy" (as it is called in the description) is keeping nothing warm. It is purely, badly decorative. And trust me, as soon as someone cracks that egg, it is going to spill all over the placemat that obviously took someone hours to make. Thank the Lord there is that matching napkin dispensatory right near by.

It's all just so KMY.

Totally KMY.

Stitch Along with Stump II: Sticky and Sweet

So, I was home sick yesterday (the less said about that the better), and I decided to root through My Big Bag O' Crap That I Started and Lost Interest In Quickly(tm). It is a sad and pathetic collection of stuff like the Island of Lost Stitching or something. Some of it just got boring, and some of it (like a gigantic Mona Lisa kit that I got online because it was on sale, did about two tiny areas of and then ditched) proved to be a little too ambitious for my severely limited skills.

Among it all was this little number I had started out of a book from Ondorisha. I have no clue if Ondorisha is a person or a publishing house or what. I picture it as some sort of madcap Japanese Willy Wonka-esque factory of whackadoos and Oompa Loompas churning out almost too colorful and trippy designs like this one.

This is from a chapter called "Around Town" or something. There is a clothing store, this candy shop and, fascinatingly enough, a pharmacy. The pharmacy is essentially the candy shop but with pills instead of candy. I'm thinking I am going to start on it as soon as I finish this one and just call them "Candy" and "Pills."

Anyway, all I had done previously was the pretzel, the gingerbread man, and the cookie, and yesterday I got a lot more done. I am really enjoying all of the colors on the black background. The original directions called for you to use five strands of floss instead of the usual two or three. Using that much was annoying for me for some reason, which is why I stopped it. Now I am doing it with just two. It doesn't have the same "puffiness," but it is still cool.

I am just including this picture to show off my new hoop. It has a rubber ring instead of plastic or wood, and you don't need to tighten it or something. It can be a struggle to get situated at first, but it keeps things nice and tight. Just like daddy likes. I have no idea why I decided to take this picture next to my stove top though.

So far, about a third of the way through.

I got this book through interlibrary loan (more on that later), and just made copies of the patterns I wanted to use. Ergo, I have no recollection of what it is supposed to look like.

Here is the part I am working on now. I am showing this to you because it made me laugh. One of the color symbols is "T" and another is "I." This, of course, leads to several areas that just say "TIT" all over them.

Ha. It says tit.

I am soooooo mature.

Thanks, Ondorisha, whomever or whatever you may be.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ohm My God

OK, so I read this phrase in an article making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow and her "GOOP" web page and thought it was funny. Personally, I think anything making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow is funny. She is one of those people I would enjoy seeing being attacked by a swarm of bees. Not killer bees or anything... just your average workaday bees that sting. Just picture her running around in terror, swatting at them and getting occasionally stung on her newborn fawn-esque legs as she runs to a nearby Italian lake for shelter.

I honestly didn't hate her all that much until I reader the introduction to "GOOP:"

"My life is good because I am not passive about it. I want to nourish what is real, and I want to do it without wasting time. I love to travel, to cook, to eat, to take care of my body and mind, to work hard. I love being a mother who has to overcome my bad qualities to be a good mother. I love being in spaces that are clean and feel nice."

And then from the distance..."Bzzzzzzzz."

I hope Gwyneth would find this clean and nice...

It was pretty quick work. On the AC Moore trip, I wound some cloth that was "marbled." I had no idea what to do with it until I saw "the phrase." The marble effect is pretty subtle, but it does add to the design. The font is from an online source. The border is from one of my usual "One Trillion and a Half Cross Stitch Motifs to Occupy Your Tiny Brain" books. It was supposed to be in about four colors, but I liked this color combination so much that I just kept it.

It seriously didn't take much time at all. I'm going to try to learn how to make pillows so that I can turn this into one, as it matches my couch.

I really need to learn how to "finish" a project. I mean the back of this thing is really awful....full of little knots and whatnot. Oh well, I am a cross-stitcher who needs to overcome his bad qualities to be a good cross-stitcher.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is this done? Is it funny?

Sometimes things are funnier in my head than they are when you actually see them done.

Found within the pages of "792.5 Exciting Afternoon Stitchery Projects III," I found a few pages called "People and Professions." There was a milkman, an astronaut, a mailman, a teacher and whatnot. Creatively enough, each of the people were the exact same square body, head and feet except with different hair and clothing. This certainly lead me to see the page as a bald mailman dressed up as different things during his off time. So now in my head, the "People and Professions" page had pretty much changed into "Mailman Marty: Transvestite."

I had no idea how to turn that into a palatable pattern. However, the "transvestite" part stuck.

Also stuck in my head was a cartoon from the late, great "Spy" magazine.

Hence, this creation...

Just not as funny as I wanted it to be. And it requires some recall of 8th grade science class and/or a recent trip to some sort of cavern. If you have to explain a joke, it just ain't funny.

Anyway, here it is in total:

Is it funnier now? Huh? Huh?

In addition to it being not as hilarious as I wanted, it is oddly shaped. The font I chose for the captions wound up being bigger than I anticipated, which made the whole thing long. I really need to plan this stuff out better.

I'm thinking it maybe needs more people on an extra two on each side in different colored dresses. This would unfortunately make it necessary to pluralize both words. Ugh.

I think it really looks bad when you see it as all one thing. The individual pictures don't look too bad.

Oh least I enjoyed it in my head.

We'll see what happens to it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dirty Towels

Well, not really dirty. Just vaguely suggestive, I guess.

So, on that last Memorial Day craft store binge, I wound up getting some cross-stitchable dish towels. Oddly enough, I actually needed new dish towels. I had gotten some at Pier 1 Imports around the turn of the millennium that, oddly enough, smelled no matter how many times I washed them. So when I saw these, I was pretty happy. And they were on sale for $1.99 for a set of two. Pretty cheap.

Luckily enough, in my big old stack of old cross-stitch magazines, I had a folder of what were called "Kitchen Designs." I have no clue where it came from. The copyright is 1978. Amidst all of the cutesy country jam jars and "Ice Cream Five Cents" sign patterns were one for a hamburger and one for a hot dog. Well, there you go!

I just started in on the hamburger right away, not sure what I would do with it. Leave it as is? Add some sort of comment to it? I decided to go halfway and just do a quick "Juicy."

Short and to the point.

Two things I don't really like about the towels themselves...

1. The actual stitchable space on them is pretty small, so it looks like you were just being lazy. In reality, this pretty much took up the whole area, save for a few lines above and below.


2. I worked hard enough on it that I don't really want to use it for its intended purpose. However, growing up in a house where the holy "guest soap" was ne'er to be touched by either occupant or guest has lead me to detest useless 'display" accessories such as this. Sadly, all this hard work will eventually smell just as bad as those Pier 1 ones soon.

I will start working on the hot dog one one soon. I am thinking of using the same font and calling it "Wiener."

But then if you hang them up together it will say "Juicy Wiener" which is either gross, stupid or awesome. Not sure yet.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Suck It, Jo-Ann: A Memorial Day Update

Fascinating turn of events on Sunday.

Well, not so much fascinating as "Hey, that happened."

So my neighbor and I decided to make a day of shopping on Sunday. ( gets gayer) At first we were just going to head to the local Jo-Ann store and totally bust their little 30 skein limit on the DMC floss sale.

In actuality, I was dreading it. As I have mentioned previously, the cranky gals at Jo-Ann can get even more persnickety when you unload a few piles of floss on the counter. Each one has to be rung up separately, and that just eats into their notions dusting time. No good can come of that.

So, it was decided we would make the 45 minute trip to the next town over and hit their Jo-Ann. Mayhaps my Jo-Ann experiences would be different in another venue. Maybe the Altoona ladies would welcome me with open arms and not glare at me like some sort of string-loving child molester. Maybe the store would be brighter and not look like some sort of dimly-lit handicraft purgatory.

Turns out, it was all true! The Altoona Jo-Ann employee was very nice, helped me sort out my coupons, and most importantly did not bat an eyelash when I dumped my floss out on her workspace. In fact, she made no mention of the fat that I obviously had 40 skeins, ten over that pesky limit.

And then something happened that changed the day, if not my entire life, completely...

My neighbor suggested we head down to AC Moore (less that a 1/4 of a mile away) and see what was going on there.

I have never been to an A.C. Moore.

I grabbed a basket and headed for the clearly marked "stitchery" aisle.

It was like a movie, I swear. I turned the corner and there uit was. A huge sign over the floss display... "MEMORIAL DAY DOOR BUSTER ALL DMC FLOSS 5 FOR A DOLLAR."

I swear I heard birds chirping.

I loaded up as best I could. I had already bought everything on my list, and didn't have my checklist of what I have in storage, so I just started grabbing shit left and right. I stopped when I hit 80, not wanting to ruffle the feathers of a new chain. They also had Aida material on sale in a bigger variety of colors than I had seen before, so I stocked up there as well.

I sheepishly headed to the checkout counter, filled with equal amounts of delight and shame.

How would the counter gal react to my secret addiction?

As I always do, I apologized in advance and offered to go to another station if she was going on break or something. She looked at me like I was nuts, but not for the reason I thought. She then told me that the first customer she had that morning brought up two entire handbaskets filled to the brim with floss. In the end she purchased over 700 skeins. Seriously.

Now that, my friends, is just crazy.

And by the way, Jo-Ann..

Bite me.

I am A.C. Moore's bitch now.

Almost done with two new to come.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Everyday Annoyances... 50% Off

So yesterday was a pretty good day for a Monday. Work went quickly. I had leftovers from a really good meal this weekend for dinner. I got rid of some chairs that I have hated for a few years now AND got those magazines I told you about earlier organized.

Not bad.

The capper was the Jo-Ann flyer I got in the mail. I realize how sad my life may seem to some of you. But really, I am glad that at my advanced age, something as simple as a Jo-Ann mailer can make me giddy.

Even better? FLOSS SALE! Three skeins for 99 cents! That is a whopping savings of four cents a skein! Plus, if you shop on Memorial Day, you get an additional 10% off your total bill. I can't do math, but I know that's a deal. The downside? There is a limit of 30 skeins per person. I believe that this rule was instated because of me. I have annoyed many a Jo-Ann's notions jockey with my over-purchasing of floss. Ha-ha notions jockey...I have some friends lined up to go with me on Memorial Day so I can get more floss. So there. Your rules mean nothing to me!

I also want to get one of these things...

Look how f-ing handy that mofo is. First, you can put 20 kinds of floss in it while you are working on something. Then you can write the floss number on it to keep track. And that black thing is a magnet to keep your needles on. Love it. It is a little steep at $11.95. Much more than what I would normally budget for such things, which is zero point zero zero dollars.

Amazingly enough, the Jo-Ann's mailer also includes a 40% off and a 50% off any regularly priced item purchased in store or on-line. A very nice deal, especially on Memorial Day.

So what is so annoying?

You know what is regularly priced on the Jo-Ann web page this month?


Not a thing. Everything is 5% off or 10% off. I have found exactly one thing I may be interested in that is regularly priced and it is $1.39. Not useful.

I will get you, Jo-Ann. Oh, I will get you. Me an my floss army!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Things You Do for Your Friends...

When I first started doing this stuff, I bought a book for a quarter called "1,001 Cross Stitch Motifs." It was published in England in the Seventies. I really like using it a lot because it is just small things that you can throw together and make your own bigger pattern. The first time I used it was that vacuum cleaner one I showed off earlier.

The only real problem is that it is old enough that some of the floss colors are out of date. There is nothing more frustrating (well, there are a few more frustrating things in the scope of things. War. Poverty. Whatever.) than making your little shopping list of floss numbers, getting to the store, and then finding out that the number you need is no longer made or has changed numbers. It's just irritating. Then you don't remember what the color was or anything, so you just have to guess or make due. That is what happened with the first one I made....

This was made for a friend of mine who is letting my family stay with her when the are here for graduation this weekend. That is a huge undertaking, trust me. And she refuses to be paid for it. So, I decided to make this. She plays the cello and is a music teacher. So, I picked up my handy dandy "1,001 Cross Stitch Motifs," looked in the index and BAM...there's a cello.

The actual body of the cello is the wrong color. The original one called for "Mahogany." It no longer exists. So now it is a golden cello. Magical. The "S" is her first initial. After I took the picture, I decided it was a little plain, so I added some musical notes in the right hand corner. It looks pretty good and she seemed happy with it.

I have found that Downy Wrinkle Releaser works pretty well to get rid of the hoop marks.

Then I needed to make something for another friend's birthday. I knew I wanted it to have a knitting theme. Luckily, "1,001" has a whole page of knitting and sewing things. There is also a page devoted to keys. And one for stamps. And one for muffins. It's that encyclopedic.

I needed to make it a little edgier, though. Well, as edgy as cross stitching something about knitting could possibly be. (which is a "3" edgy-wise) I found a phrase on or someplace that seemed to suit...

I had purchased the red material when Jo-Ann's was having a big sale on it. I had no idea what I would use it for, though. The letters are just the basic ones from "Subversive Cross Stitch."

This was a quick one to do once the idea came together and I plotted out the design. A little over and hour and a half stitching time. The only hard part was working with the metallic thread for the needles. I hate using it, but it always looks sort of cool. Like fake beading or something.

I only wish I would have spaced it out better.

It was also easy to get it to look nice because the red material was pretty heavy, so it wrinkled less.

Its funny. I like it.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day Whatnots

Hey all...back again.

I was trying to get things done for Mother's Day. I do have a feeling that my other and grandmother are pretty much just dreading getting their presents this year. Or they will be really happy. Who knows.

Usually, I try to make things that suit my sense of humor or have some sort of original bent. This time, I just went with the patterns in the book. They are both from the Better Homes and Gardens Big Book of Cross Stitch or some such title. I got it used for about a dollar. I have actually wound up using it much more than expected. I have gotten four items out of it so far, and am using one of the alphabets in the back for another one.

These two patterns were chosen because they match wallpaper. Seriously.

This is the first time I have made anything for my grandmother, and she can be a about things. The pattern matches her new kitchen wallpaper. I think.

It took forever because of all of the color changes. A lot of stopping and starting.

I took some pictures of it in progress earlier, and here it is done and framed...

It is way too nerdy for me, but there it is. I actually like the lettuce the best. Probably because it was a lot of effort. I also sort of like the material. It sort of looks like I made it on an old potato sack, which is kind of cool in a "Little House on the Prairie" farm woman kind of way.

And now for the one for my mother. I don' t like it near as much. I also decided on this one because it matches the color in her bathroom. She also had some sea horse guest soap in a dish last time I was there. It is entirely possible that someone just gave her the soap and she put it out to be nice. I don't recall her enjoying nautical themed stuff when I was a kid...but hey.

It was probably a really bad idea to chose a pattern based on something that will wind up disintegrating, as you are then just left with a framed thing apropos of nothing. it is:

The material is actually a light blue which isn't showing up very well. I also really need to learn how to put stuff on those board things better and trim my strings better. Again, they don't show up in real life as much as they do in the picture.

Here is a better picture. I do like the frame, so maybe she can at least use that.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Nerd Alert

I just bought a lot of FIFTY "vintage" cross stitch magazines on Ebay for 99 cents.

Of course, shipping was about a billion dollars, but I have convinced myself that I got them for 99 cents.

What a nerd.

Interested to see if I get anything fun out of it.

Not even sure how old they are.

Only on Ebay can something from January 2010 be considered "vintage" in April 2010.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stitch Along with Stump project this week is an actual serious one that involves no swearing. Rare, I know. I have a feeling it is going to take a longer time than usual to finish it, so I decided I would take some pictures of it as it progressed.

It is a Mother's Day present for my grandmother. I was looking at one of my big dumb pattern books (I think this is from "Reader's Digest Best American Patterns in Uniform" or something.), and I realized that this vegetable pattern pretty well matched the wallpaper my grandmother just put up in her kitchen. Trust me, if it wasn't for that there is no way I would be doing this project. There is a lot of switching out of colors and shading and whatnot. And cutesy vegetable stuff is just not how I roll.

Oh well...the things you will do for your grandmother.

Onions and eggplants done. Carrots well on their way.

More news as it happens.

You Suck

Finished this one up last week. Yet again, I'm not sure what I am going to do with it. Anyone want it? The "You Suck" is from Subversive Cross Stitch. The original pattern was just the words with some flowers and whatnot around it. I was just going to do it as printed, but then one of the pattern books I bought for about 50 cents had a page of "housewife" motifs. I saw the vacuum cleaner and knew I had to do something or other with it. Hence, this.

For some reason, the vacuum cleaner took me forever. I think it was all of the color changes required for the shading and whatnot.

I really like how 50s looking it is. Of course no 1950s pattern would actually say "You Suck" on it. That's what makes it cool. Right? RIGHT?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oooooh, Flossy Flossy Now

The excellent thing about being a cross stitching nerd is that it is a relatively cheap. I mean when compared to putting ships in bottles, world travel and heroin, it is a pretty low-cost hobby. A roll of Aida material is usually around $3.99, and you can get four or so smaller projects out of that. I bought my first embroidery hoop for 50 cents, and it has served me well. Most of the pattern books and whatnot I have purchased have been from EBay or Amazon used book sellers. Not a major expense at all. There are also plenty of on-line, free patterns and pattern creators. Actually, the most expensive thing I have purchased because of this nerdy pursuit is a set of little bags and rings to hold my floss all together and neat. I think that stuff wound up costing me $6.00.

That brings me to what has been my downfall monetarily. The demon addiction to floss. I cannot quit buying it. It's not because I run out of it quickly or anything. One tiny skein of floss which is on sale right now at Michael's for 35 cents a piece can be unraveled and stretch to the moon and back it seems.

The actual problem is that, for some reason, I feel the need to have every GD color of floss available. I have no idea why. I guess I think there is going to be some kind of shortage. I am also a completist to a weird degree. When I was a kid, I needed to buy all of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. In order. I could not have #277 until I had #275 and #276. It was a sad state of OCD affairs. Now I am that way about stupid DMC floss. DMC-OCD. Look for me on A&E's Intervention soon.

The problem started when I went to Jo-Ann Fabric (which is where a lot of problems in this world start, trust me) and bought that damn expensive floss organizing system. It came with little stickers with all of the DMC color numbers on them. As I spent the hours (and I mean HOURS) of time wrangling my floss skeins into their little bags and then stickering them appropriately, I realized I was going to be left with a few hundred stickers because there was some floss I did not own. Unacceptable! Completely unacceptable!

Look at all the pretty colors, Mommy!
Click on the picture to make it bigger!

Here is my sad little plan. Stupid DMC floss (not that Anchor floss crap or that Prism floss bullshit. Only DMC thank is French) is still on sale at Michael's for 35 cents a skein. I am going to take my little sheet of stickers and use it as a shopping list. Then I am going to need another one of those organizing notebooks. Then I will probably need some sort of storage for all of them. Then I will need a bigger apartment with a spare room for all my supplies.

It really is a nice, cheap hobby. I promise.

Tomorrow, I will show you my most recent finished project and then show you what I am working on now. I figured I will do a little Stitch Along with Stump series.

So lame.

Monday, April 12, 2010

It's Funny because It's True...and Creepy!

Sometimes you wind of with some fabric and some floss, but you don't have a whole lot of time on your hands.

What to do?

Well, go to one of the online caption makers linked to above, put in some phrase that made you laugh recently, print it out and get to work!

The picture is bad because I hadn't put any backing or anything on it, but I think that adds to the "sinister quality."

Finished it while I was watching a movie.

Makes me laugh every time I see it.


Muy Caliente!

Sometimes I just get bored and want to start working on something stupid and easy.

This was one of those times...

The germ of the idea was that I had some left over floss in the colors of the Mexican flag. Well, green, red and yellow, not exactly the right colors, but close enough.

So then I had to think of something borderline offensive to say in Spanish. I didn't want it to be racist or anything...but just sort of offensive enough to get a laugh. Then I remembered a phrase I saw on a t-shirt once "Fiesta en mes Pantalones." ("Party in my Pants" for all of you who cannot wrap your mouths around the Spanish tongue.)

I knew I needed some embellishment for it, but none of my cheap deal cross stitch pattern books had anything near goofy enough for me. Then I came across a page with small patterns for a baby shower gift. The stitching muse hit me like a ton of bricks!

"You know, Brent," the muse began, "if you take the little handles off of the pattern for those baby rattles, they sure would look like maracas!"

Gracias Muse!

So that is what I did. I then put it all in a plain wooden frame that I thought would look rustic and was on sale at the craft store for a dollar.

Unfortunately, it just wound up looking plain and beige. Certainly not the fiesta I had initially envisioned. So back to the store I went, too find something to spruce up my Plain Jane frame. Lo and behold, I wondered into the scrapbooking aisle.

Normally I find people who scrapbook more than a little odd....but hey, I guess I have no right to cast stones. I am nearly 40 and have started a grandma's hobby. Go on with your business, crazy scrapbook people! Especially now that I know you can provide really tacky stickers for me to put all over my wooden frame.

Its tacky as all hell, but I love it!

The initial work. The maracas originally had little handles on them at the bottom . They were easy enough to skip. At this point, I had no idea that I should trip the extra thread off of the back. It isn't as noticeable in real life, though.

You can see how plain this would have been without the stickers. They are really something, don't you think?

The sombreros and chili peppers add just the right tough of class.

Tacos and tequila, anyone???

Motherly Love

After I out myself as a fella who likes to cross stitch, people usually fall into one of two camps.

  1. That is weird. You are weird.
  2. Can you make me something?
Many times, people in camp number one immediately evolve into members of camp number two.

My mother, bless her heart, was an immediate number two (I realize now how awful that sounds.)

Her birthday was coming up, and she wanted something I made. I severely doubted, however, that she would want something that said "Bitch" or "Fuck" on it, so I had to work something up for her, and it would have to be nice. To top it all off, she had just gotten over a bout of breast cancer. Never fun, so I wanted to do something that referred to that, but wasn't some sort of typical pink ribbon sort of thing.

Then I remembered a line from a poem I had read somewhere. I have no idea who wrote it, but it seemed very appropriate: "Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over... she became a butterfly." Very nice without being too schmaltzy or overused.

I found a pattern for a butterfly in one of the cross stitch books I had purchased from EBay (more on that later) and I was off. The only tough thing would be to pattern out the lettering. Luckily, I found a page that allows you to type in a phrase and choose a font and then it makes a pattern for you. Very handy! You can find it here. When I first found it, you could choose any of the fonts shown, but now they have turned it into a pay site. There are still two free fonts available, though. I have used them a few times now.

There is another caption maker available here, but it is a little clunky.

Anyways, I am pretty proud of how it all turned out, and my mother seemed to like it.

I consider this my first non-offensive, serious work.

Magnum Opus

So, I wound up buying Julie Jackson's book Subversive Cross Stitch at Amazon (and really, so should is fun.) However, after working on more than a few of her designs, I realized I needed to start branching out. Machete my own way though the jungle that is cross stitchery.

In the book are several links to crafting "communities," the most insane and hilarious one being Craftster. Here, people show off their goofy cross stitches, share patterns and give advice to nascent hobbyists.

For my next project, I decided I would crib a pattern for a project I found on Craftster: a portrait of Tom Selleck.

Yeah, I totally stole the pattern. I just copied the picture, blew it up a little so I could see the stitching and then printed it out to use as a guide. The rest was up to me, though. What color thread would I use? How big should I make it?

I went to the craft store (more about that later) and found some variegated floss. Essentially, it is thread that gradually changes color as you use it. I thought it seemed cool.

Little did I know what a pain in the ass it was. It was hard to thread on the needle, and the more you worked with it, the more the color came off on your hands and canvas. It sucked and took me hours, and looking at it now, I realize I never really finished it. Tom is sort of cut off at the top, which makes it look like he has a coon skin cap on or something. However, that sweet 'stache is still well represented and highlighted.

A good next effort. Maybe I will finish it someday.

PS. My apologies to whomever actually designed this pattern. I promise to not steal from you again. Unless, of course, I decide to finish up with your picture of Chuck Norris.

Who the Hell Do I Think I am, and Just What Do I Think I am Doing?

Hey Kids!

This is my second go round with having a blog. The first one was a moderately successful one about useless but fascinating products that I really wanted to buy couldn't. For some reason, it got really boring for me, and probably for the literally tens of people who would check in on it occasionally. Ergo, I abandoned it; however, I am sure you can still find it somewhere if you look hard enough. It was called "Stone Cold Stump." Weirdly enough, it did have a following. A sad a possibly deranged following, but a following nonetheless (much like that of Gwar or Sarah Palin.)

Anywho, when I get bored, I wind up looking for new things to do to occupy my time. I was reading some other blog one day and came upon the brilliant and demented work of Julie Jackson, creator of Subversive Cross Stitch. I immediately became enthralled by the silliness of it all. What could be more fun than creating charming yet filthy-mouthed little pieces of art? Nothing. That's right. Nothing.

So I called up my oldest and dearest friend Andrea. She is all sorts of crafty. She tried to teach me how to knit once, but I wound up with the longest and most misshapen scarf ever documented. It was awful. Like "I would not buy this from a sale of the work of mildly retarded and blind pre-teens in order to rebuild their school that burned down" awful. I asked her if she thought I would be able to cross stitch. Much to my pleasure, she immediately said "Absolutely, it's as easy as anything."

The fact that she never followed up with, "And why do you want to cross stitch" either says a lot about her or a lot about me. I have yet to decide. However, if I told her the truth and said "I found a pattern for a cross stitch that says "Shut Your Whore Mouth" and I want to make it, she would have been right there with me. She is that kind of gal.

So with a little trepidation, I ordered the kit. The deee-lux $20 one with the hoop and everything. It arrived less than a week later, and I got to work.

The directions were pretty clear, and surprisingly, withing a few hours, I had created my first masterpiece.

I was so tickled with it. It was like it released some new form of weird in me that made me want to do more. So, I got right online and ordered two more kits: Candy Ass and Bite Me. I actually stayed in on a Saturday night to finish both of them. Here is how they look while nestled up on my warm TiVo...

I love them quite a bit.

More soon!