Thursday, March 31, 2011

snow day

It's snowing a bit today! I love it. Most people want it to be spring and I might if we still had spring. We don't though, it goes straight from winter to summer and I like winter a hell of a lot more than summer. Since I live on the fifth floor, I didn't have to turn my heat on even once, however I did have to turn my AC on a few weeks back when it was sixty-five degrees.

Here is the finished quote from Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I like the effect of the blue getting lighter as it goes out, though it makes me wish I'd done the text in a really dark blue rather than a dark tealish color. I didn't know starting out that I'd do the border in blues though, I just figured I'd grab whatever color I had the best progression of which happened to be blue. 

The pattern for this piece is now for sale in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This new project is a quote from Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It may be a phrase more widely used but I've never heard it except in that movie (one of the best movies ever!). 

I stayed up really late to finish the text so it would be ready to show this morning. This in turn, presumably, caused me to dream about doing the loveliest flowery border in wonderful peachy and sea foam colors. I might try to recreate it but not for this piece.

For the border on this I have a pretty good idea which will be quite simple and easy but hopefully give a nice effect.

So far I have raised $6 in my It Gets Better pattern fundraiser. Even if I can only raise enough to buy one of the books that's more than I'd be able to do on my own so it's all good. If you don't buy patterns (I certainly don't) you can donate through the It Gets Better website or make a purchase of the book which they'll then give to a school library (you can even ask that it go to a specific school library).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It Gets Better

I have long wanted to support Dan Savage's It Gets Better project, especially in buying the book for school libraries. I have a rather tight budget though so I'm not really able to do much on my own.

The solution? Create a cross-stitch pattern that I can sell as a fundraiser to go towards buying those books. It's a pretty large pattern with an intricate rainbow border and part of a quote from Robert Frost. The full quote goes as follow:
"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be 
made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself."

What it made me think of was the rash of suicides by gay teenagers. They were bullied into silence. The quote is of course applicable to all of us in one way or another. Everyone faces bullying of some sort, as adults or teenagers, physical or emotional or verbal. So the pattern can certainly be reworked with different colors (it would be nice if every public defender had this quote in their office) or just buy it for the borders and put in your own text (I worked damn hard on those borders!).

All proceeds from the sale of this pattern will go towards buying the It Gets Better book for school libraries. If you're not a stitcher or don't buy patterns you can donate directly to It Gets Better. There's a 'contribute' link on the top faaar right of the page where you can donate to this most worthy cause.

The pattern is in my Etsy shop, Hardcore StitchCorps. The finished piece will be framed and listed on Etsy in a few days. On 16 count Aida it will fit very nicely in an 8x10 inch frame. I really love how it came out. The colors and the way the borders interact are just as I wanted.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

take off, hosers

Long have I been a Bob and Doug McKenzie fan. My sister and I got the movie from Netflix and thought it was the best thing ever. We thought this because it IS the best thing ever. I own it and we still love it. We still quote it all the damn time too.

One of our favorite lines is "Give in the dark side, you knob," during the lovely hockey scene. It works on many levels as I'm also a massive Star Wars fan (used to watch the trilogy once a week minimum all summer long). I literally knew every single line of all three movies and once ran through the movies with a selection of stuffed animals on a three day drive to New Mexico. My mother kindly claims that it kept her awake.

Anyway. Bob and Doug needlework, eh? Beauty.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Warm colors for a Cold Snap

masses of hail!
After last night's massive hail storm and then thunderstorm the weather got cool again and stayed quite cool today. This is good news for me as warm weather just kills me and I hate having the noise of the air conditioner. I live on the fifth floor which was perfect for winter - I never turned my heater on all winter. For summer though... bleagh. 

I'm working on a frustratingly annoying border pattern which will frame part of a quote from Robert Frost: "never be bullied into silence." Once the piece is finished I'll be selling the pattern wherein all the proceeds will go towards buying the It Gets Better book for school libraries.

It's a sentiment that is true for pretty much any group or issue or individual person and I may make a more neutrally colored one to sell after this but I do love how the colors and the different borders are turning out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

raccoons and foxes and owls, oh my!

My energy stores never seem to recover anymore. When the weather starts changing a lot in quick succession I do tend to feel worse but this seems ridiculous. I can also predict rain with my leg pain, so I'm a girl with many uses.

I've put all three of my animal face patterns in my Etsy store (and a three for the price of two deal which includes all of them) and actually sold one! Yea! So here's the raccoon in any case.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Did a bit of stitching on a new project (a gift for someone who knows about this blog so I'm not going to post it) but mostly I've just rested today. Yesterday was extremely tiring but fun as well.

I finally got my sister to watch at least the first half of the St. Trinian's movie with me and had a wonderful time with my nephew when he woke up from his nap. My sister, Kyla, is due with her second baby in only a month and a half! I can't wait to see my niece in the onesies I've embroidered for her.

As for Hardcore StitchCorps, I posted listings for the patterns for my fox face and owl face (reproduced here) yesterday. Today I finally got the pattern for the raccoon worked out and printed. Once I get him stitched up I'll be posting the three patterns as one listing as well for a two for three deal. I'm thinking about doing another series of animal faces. My idea is to do a simple quilt with five inch square pieces in different colors with embroidered squares featuring the animals mixed in. Simple, cute, personal touch, etc...

I'm afraid I'm being utterly lazy. I got through six episodes of Upstairs Downstairs. Madre and I are prepping to watch the new Upstairs Downstairs that they've been making. I love the old show so much. Certain episodes stick in my mind SO well. The first episode I ever saw was the Titanic once and it just hit me so hard.

What didn't work out so well is the movie they made of the Terry Pratchett novel Going Postal. It is one of my very favorite Discworld books and the movie was okay and probably quite good if you'd never read the book. They somehow managed to remove all the singularly Pratchetty details. Quite depressing. David Suchet was in it which was crazy because I've only seem him as Poirot. The casting was lovely but the script writer was a fool, the operation was a success but the patient died. C'est la guerre.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More drunkeness...

Well I've posted a few more items in my Hardcore StitchCorps shop, finished the piece I was working on, and made carnitas.

I'm happy with how the border for this piece turned out. At some point I began to worry that I was getting a bit carried away with things but the end result is just perfect.

Since we found out they're doing new episodes of Upstairs Downstairs my mother and I are rewatching the original series to prepare. I doubt we'll watch even half of it before seeing the new series since my mom tends to watch things rather slowly but I'm at least going to watch all of the last season before seeing the new. When I couldn't sleep when I was younger (ten or so) I would go downstairs and my mom would let me have a spoonful of peanut butter. She'd usually have one with me and when it was finished I had to go back to bed without fuss. Most of the time when I'd come down I'd find her watching Upstairs Downstairs. It looked like such an interesting show and I connect it so much with my mother.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hardcore StitchCorps is open!

My needlwork shop on Etsy is now open! Huzzah! I'm posting a few items each day this week. Eventually it will have my animal face patterns, the Dalek and Poetry quote patterns, the framed Felix cross-stitch, my framed Obelix cross-stitch, and a few others. Hopefully it will go well.

I've mostly been knitting for the last couple of days but last night started work on this little beauty. In fact I wish I wasn't sober right now! I'm debating on whether to leave it as is, to fill in the border with a second color, or to add some more border things on the top and bottom so as to balance out the shape a little (I have issues with symmetry and balance). Any thoughts?

I am so tired it's not even funny, but every day pretty much feels like that anymore. I bought some chocolate syrup and have been treating myself to a glass of chocolate milk every day, which is lovely and no doubt I need the calcium. I also dreamed a Doctor Who episode last night, one with Peter Davison (who I love). It wasn't an actual episode just my brain making up an episode for me. My brain is really nice to me in terms of dreams, I remember one dream pretty much every night and they're usually pretty interesting and are often basically just movies with full plots that I'm only watching, not participating in. Thank you brain.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

At the cost of eyes and hands...

Well my Celtic motif letter B is finally finished! It turned out so beautifully that I'm half-tempted to keep it for myself. I'd say "Perhaps I'll make the M for myself..." but that would be suicide.

This project, while rewarding, was possibly not the best choice for my first piece on even weave. My hands feel like they'll detach from my body if I pick up another needle (and I really need to start the sample piece for one of my pattern designs today) and my eyes seem to ache more every day. Little did I imagine as a young girl that someday I'd suffer from the same aches and pains as the garment workers of old. Next perhaps I'll get the consumption (le sigh, le swooon).

In any case, first I present a picture of this piece prior to the black outlining being added. I kept telling people how different it would look once it was outlined but I don't think they entirely believed me. Hence the before and after pictures. If you're halfway through a similar project, starting to doubt whether it will look at all decent, just remember these pictures. Those black stitches change everything.

I already have an appropriate frame for the piece here with me so it will actually be totally finished by this evening! Thank the honk. I will eventually do a similarly styled letter G, which I admit I am not looking forward to even a tiny bit.

Monday, March 7, 2011

So close!

I am so close to being finished with the Celtic motif B! I've done all the colorwork except for the big purple spiral which shouldn't take any time at all. Then some white outline and then the larger task of outlining every bloody inch of it in black, which will take quite some time.

Still, I'll be very happy when it's done and I get to show it off. It may not be as impressive as my Roman mosaic but oh well.

I finished making two patterns of mine completely ready to post on Etsy. Also got the Dalek piece framed and photographed so it's ready to be listed. I need to do a few more photographs of four of my small 5"x7" pieces but then I'll have four framed things to sell, plus the two patterns. I finished touching up the outlines for my other animal face patterns so once I stitch them I can get those typed up and ready to list. In other words, getting close to opening shop!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whenever he gets in a fix...

I am too tired to think of anything much to say. My brain and my body are just frazzled.

In any case, here is the finished Felix the Cat. I should have included his bag of tricks, I guess, but thinking on it now the pattern wouldn't be fun to design and wouldn't be fun to stitch either. C'est la guerre.

Friday, March 4, 2011

work work work

Still no black thread but I've made some great progress on the Celtic B piece. It's such an annoying piece with all those little bits of color. Oh cross-stitch, you are a harsh mistress. Still, it's half-way done and once I pick up some black thread and get it all outlined I think it will be really terrific.

You decide "I'll make this for my niece/nephew" but of course you're not making it for them at all. Maybe when they're six or seven they'll think "Oh how pretty" and later on they'll hang it in their house but they probably won't understand how frustrating all of needlework is. Even the simplest piece is fraught with annoyance and anger and bad juju.

I look forward to the day I can sit down with my nieces and nephews and say "You there, try some embroidery and I want to see nice, even stitches or no dinner for you." No, I wouldn't do that. I'm an aunt, dinner is not my responsibility, which is why it's such a marvelous scheme, being an aunt. Come the end of April I'll have ten nieces and nephews. Granted I only ever get to see my sister's kids but at least I get to see some. Not to mention that I will never make ten giant, ornate, Celtic letter cross-stitches. Two is seeming a bit much at the moment, if I'm honest.

Still, with my sister and her family having moved down here I'm getting more exciting about the new baby coming. What I'm especially looking forward to is my nephew's reaction to it. Sure, right now he's all kissing the tummy and full of sweetness and light but eventually there will be another small, cute thing around that cries. I'm sure he'll be a good big brother, I have no doubt of it, but the reaction for the first few months will still be funny. An aunt's got to have some pleasures.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Up Up and Asleep

It is criminal how tired and worn out I am. Hoping to hit the YMCA tomorrow and do some hot tub soaking but I also want to hang out with my nephew and sister for a while. They literally just moved down here. Benjamin seems to be settling in well, but toddlers are pretty flexible about things that don't involve food or toys.

Meanwhile my apartment is a complete wreck but my legs just don't want to cooperate. So instead I've done a bit of lethargic picking up and a lot of stitching on the Celtic B project. I was thinking about making these letters to sell but they are too much of a pain. All those little tiny pockets of color just frustrate me to no end. There's a reason I do a lot of text pieces which primarily feature one color and have borders that can be thoroughly connected without the endless starting and ending of numerous new threads.

The pictures once I start the black backstitch outlining will
change the look of the piece completely. It's amazing what a difference it makes. Working on the even weave is a joy. So much nicer on the hands than old Aida (though I know I'll continue to use that as well).

I did, however, finish the logo and banner and such for Hardcore StitchCorps which I share with you here. I think it turned out pretty well.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Lethargy and Movies

I generally spend a lot of time reading and listening to audio books while I stitch. I usually average between ten and fourteen books read per month and I enjoy that. However, there have been so many mediocre books in my life lately that I only read five books in February. There were a lot of factors but the biggest is a prevailing blahness.

We all have cycles and mine is one of bravely coping in a cheerful Pollyanna way which can suddenly turn to letha
rgy and the desire to watch whole seasons of TV shows in quick succession. I still keep stitching and knitting and whatnot but I don't have the patience to read mediocre books. I've run out of books by my longer series authors (Rex Stout primarily) and have a hot yen for history but all the books I think sound good I can't find on audio. Tres frustrating. Time for another Pratchett I guess, though I'm trying to pace myself and not run out of Discworlds any time soon.

So tonight I worked on my Celtic style B (an eventual gift for my nephew Benjamin, well, for his parents really) and watched the recent St. Trinian's remake. I knew the English did a series of St. Trinian's moves in the 1950s but decided it would be a bad idea to watch them. I grew up with St. Trinian's, first reading it when I was about eight years old. And then of course I went to a boarding school and played field hockey which increased my love for the comics.

When I saw they did a remake in 2007 I got it but put off watching it, fearing what they'd done to my beloved comic. Finally broke down and watched it tonight and it was PERFECT! I knew from the opening that they'd done well by old Ronald Searle and I'm so glad the English are still all over the good things in life. They did a second one in 2009 which I'll watch soon. It was the perfect mood lifter too! I've been wanting to do a St. Trinian's embroidery and I think I'll work on the pattern soon.

I found some black thread hiding under another work-in-progress (just a short length which I'd misplaced some days ago) so I did a little more on Felix the Cat, worked on Frida's vines and the Celtic B (picture tomorrow), and framed and shipped out my Roman mosaic piece. It's the first needlework piece that I've sold and you know I'm so proud of it. I'm glad it will get to be seen but also glad it went to a friend.