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.