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!