Monday, May 30, 2011

Silly excitement

separate cases for warm and cool colors, of course.

I have an ophthalmologist appointment tomorrow, which I'm super psyched for. Generally I despite eye doctors. They treat me as though I'm twelve years old and tell the worst jokes imaginable. I've never been to an ophthalmologist, never having had serious eye disease or anything, but they are the only ones certified to accept Medicare so I have to see them for my eye exams.

The reason I'm excited for it is because I really want to know if my prescription has changed (I believe it has), if it's just eye strain or if I'm managing to go blind, and to ask if they think contacts would be easier on my eyes in terms of needlework. I don't want to wear contacts, I love my glasses, I've had them since I was seven years old, but if contacts will make my eyes ache less then I would use them for needlework.
What I'm finishing up now is the quote from the movie Horsefeathers (hard to say who actually wrote the line). I've completed the green on both sides now and I'm doing a bit more detailing in green above and below the purple flowers. I'll also be filling the middle of the flowers with a goldenrod yellow thread. These are colors I bought all at once, just randomly picked up the green, orange, and fuchsia and noticed in the car how pretty they looked together. I've never done a project using just those colors before but I'm happy to now. It's bright but it works. Gotta show the sexy side of blackwork, after all!

Friday, May 27, 2011

world domination

So my main life goal is to become Benevolent Dictator of the World or at least of the US. I wouldn't do anything drastic, most of my time would be spent making people obey traffic laws. I really dislike when people run red lights/stop signs, stop in cross-walks, don't use turn signals, etc... It drives me insane. Traffic laws are incredibly simple and generally straight forward and are there for your own damn safety. I mean how stupid do you have to be to break those laws?

Beyond that I would eat good food all the time and totally run the TV programming. No more awful reality shows, no more millions of Law and Orders, no more cancelling of truly stupendous shows like Better Off Todd, and no more American remakes of British shows. They're in English already! Also Turner Classic Movies wouldn't be allowed to show anything made later than 1960. Nothing made in the 1980s is a classic yet! 

Anyway. I think my next project will be "bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out," or "never bet on an eggplant" (which is a quote from the Daniel Pinkwater novel Borgel). The latter is more obscure than I like to do, but Borgel is one of my favorite books. I'm listening to Shanghai Girls by Lisa See right now, but once I finish it I'm going to re-read some of my favorite humorous books to search for more good quotes, especially the Dortmunder series by Donald E. Westlake.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Things I love Thursday

Technically it's Friday now but I fell asleep for most of the day.

Tea cups. I adore tea cups and collect them. Not full sets, just individual lovely tea cups. My mom just got me a new one today, in order of us putting up a third shelf for my tea things. The picture is my new tea cup!

Carl Barks. Fantagraphics is publishing the Carl Barks library in installments (or at least what he wrote for Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge). The first one comes out in October and I'm actually thinking of pre-ordering it, something I never do. I can't wait though. I grew up with Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics, mostly the ones by Barks and Don Rosa. When Rosa's "Life and Times of Uncle Scrooge" came out my dad and I would go to the grocery store every month and buy the new issue in the series and then read it aloud together. It's one of my favorite memories.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

tribute to Father Ted

Here is my first tribute to the show Father Ted. If you've seen the show it's pretty self-explanatory but you probably know the word anyway. I have a second piece that's been almost done for over a month but got shoved under something so I forgot about it for a bit. That should be up soon.

This piece was also made to show off the font, which I created. This font and the one from the "cat's in the bag" piece are on sale in my Etsy shop as a pattern pack, both are included and come with lowercase and uppercase. Given how little luck I've had in finding blackwork fonts I thought some other people might find these useful too, especially since these are wider and not so pointy.

Today was really tiring, but my teacup collection area has a new shelf up, ripe for expansion and some of my books have been moved around. Things look better and I have more room for new books. meaning I went and purchased a few young adult books I read as a kid that I've wanted for a while. That's something at least - I don't actually buy books unless there is a space on the shelf, but when I do have the space I go for it.

As I kid I read a lot, but I also re-read a lot. There were about 15 books at the library, favorites, that I'd check out and read once a month, every single month. Most of the young adult books I own are the ones we owned when I was a kid, I haven't added many to that collection. But I thought I'd like to add those books that I did read, over and over.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

a problem

The trouble with me and blogging is that I don't have much of a life. I'm mostly homebound and spend my time stitching, designing, reading, and occasionally playing Civilization games. The last year has been worse physically for me so I've been doing less baking and crafting.

So while I many opinions and recommendations and angry mentally written letters to advertising firms, I don't have many adventures. I go to the store, I visit my sister and her kids, I go out for lunch with my mom. It's not very interesting or exciting and it's very repetitive.

My new idea is to have a sort of theme for each day (or every other day). Book, movie, and music recommendations, maybe a day for other craft ideas, recipes, links to other amazing needlework projects, patterns and articles from vintage (pre-1960s) needlework magazines, etc... 

So here's my semi-plan:
Cooking Sunday
Movie Monday
Book Club Tuesday
Vintage Wednesday
Things I Love Thursday (featuring other needleworkers)
Music Fest Friday
Silly Saturday

I probably won't do this every day of every week, but mostly just on days when I don't have embroidery to post. When I was at boarding school I made announcements at breakfast every Wednesday morning to tell people a theme for Thursday. I made up things like "Don't Walk Dance" day and "International Cross-dressing Day" (though there probably is one of those). So this is right up my alley.

I gave you a book on Monday so I'll give you a movie today: Little Ashes - a movie about the friendship between Salvador Dali and Garcia Lorca when they were  at school together. It's a lovely movie and well-acted. Garcia Lorca is one of my favorite poets. He was truly amazing.

Monday, May 23, 2011

finished cats

The cats are in the bags and all finished up! I really like how it turned out and I used the same technique on a project I started today. Once I finish that project and post it I'll be selling the charts for the two fonts in my Etsy shop. That should be up in a few days.

The new project is fun and turning out very very art deco, which I enjoy. I felt better today for the first time in a week, which is a relief. The burn on my knuckle has also gotten a lot better, making every day things like dishes a bit easier. Those days scare me -- the times that are so bad I can't even go to the bathroom easily. Things are bad enough even when they're good, seeing the alternative makes me want to crawl inside myself and disappear.

Let me recommend a book to you. I do a whole lot of reading. Last year I read three to four books each week. I'm cutting back this year, as it's harder to find books I really enjoy. My dad's a librarian, I grew up spending eight hours at a time in libraries, so we all had to learn to love reading and learn to amuse ourselves (a skill this generation of kids with DVD players in their cars could stand to learn). So I know good books.

The book you should read is Don't Ask by Donald E. Westlake. It is a comic crime novel and one of the most hilarious books ever written. It's not a crime novel in any traditional sense, some people are biased against them and so am I, I hate all the normal 'crime' novels. There are numerous Dortmunder books, almost all are wonderful (the last three or four were weaker than earlier ones). The audio editions of the first nine are the best audio books I've ever heard, the reader perfectly captures each character. Most libraries have at least a few of the audio books.

This is the first sentence of Don't Ask:
Stuck in traffic on the Williamsburg Bridge out of lower Manhattan in a stolen frozen fish truck full of stolen frozen fish at 1:30 on a bright June afternoon with construction out ahead of them forever on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, with Stan Murch on Dortmunder's left complaining how there are no decent routes left from anywhere to anywhere in New York City--"If there ain't snow on the road there's construction crews"--and Andy Kelp on Dortmunder's right prattling on happily about global warming and how much nicer it will be when there isn't any winter, Dortmunder also had to contend with an air conditional dripping on his ankles.

Do yourself the best favor ever and read that book! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cat's in the bag...

So here's a work-in-progress picture of my controversial new piece. I saw controversial because I know there are always people who take umbrage at even fictional references to injuries to animals. I know a man who can't even bear to see cartoon cats in sadness. I personally think that's ridiculous.

I grew up with a lot of cats around. We lived in a tiny town and animals got dumped on the roadside all the time. We left cat food out and fed all the strays we could, most of them quite wild. The animal shelter was a mile or half-mile away and I'd walk up there with my dad and siblings to see the animals and sometimes feed a goat or deer with a bottle. Country animal shelters are the best because of the wild animals. 

So let me say now, that this is just a line that struck me as amusing. It's in one of the new St. Trinian's movies (I forget which one) and it just amuses me. A lot of people like to take random words with no ill-purpose more seriously than real things and events. So I don't care. I love cats, but this line is hilarious and the two things are not contradictory.

The font is one that I designed myself. I was unsure how it would look when actually strung together into words but I think it's generally a success. Let me know if you have any constructive criticism on it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Summer colors

Orange and green together is one of my favorite color combinations, and this is one of my favorite borders I've done! I spent forever getting it perfectly symmetrical. This was a custom order through Etsy, certainly my favorite kind of order to get. It's just nice making something specific for someone else.
I finished working on a couple of blackwork alphabets so I need to pick a quote to show them off. I'm thinking "Cat's in the bag, bag's in the river." I love cats and fluffy things but that line cracks me up every time.

The last week has been really difficult. My pain's been off the charts and even my cat is driving me crazy. She wants to rub against my legs every two seconds and it just hurts too much. I very much need things to go back to the old sub-normal. And more Uncle Scrooge comics. I need more of those. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ron Stoppable would be my best friend ever

So it's another Kim Possible piece! This is a quote from my boy Ron Stoppable. It's not like you have to know the show to find the quote amusing though - I try to always choose text that can be enjoyed and understood but anyone rather than a specific in-joke.

This is one of my favorite lines in the whole series (closely followed by "time travel: a cornucopia of disturbing concepts"). The border is from the book Repertoire des Motifs and while not completely symmetrical it's not bad. I do quite love the way it turned out in fact.

The flowers are a dark purple, easily distinguishable from the black text in real life but showing up much darker in picture (and who knows when the sun will really be out again in Charleston).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Please and thank you!

So there are a few things I especially adore in this world (okay, many MANY things) but as far as TV shows one of my favorites is the cartoon Kim Possible. It's one of those perfect cartoons that has a lot of adult references and humor in addition to the usual stuff. It's also just genuinely hilarious and I relate a lot to the bumbling sidekick character, Ron, as he's my twinsy.

Anyway, one of the commonly said phrases in the show is "please and thank you" so I thought I'd embroider it on a tea towel.

I know most people don't like this kind of rough free-handed cursive but I love it. Something in the simplicity and roughness pleases me greatly.

Now I'm working on another Kim Possible quote in cross-stitch with a gorgeous floral border: "not dumb luck, dumb skill."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rose tea napkin

Finally finished my rose tea napkin. It matches the tea cup very well, especially in terms of the colors. Nice to have two of the napkins done and it's sort of upped my excitement about working on the other napkins.

The custom piece is coming along really well and I can't wait to show it off. I used a few different motifs from the French book Repertoire des Motifs (which I wish to god I could find somewhere, all I have are some bad scans) and combined them to make a circular border around the text. The best part is that I managed to make it perfectly symmetrical. I get a little obsessed with symmetry so I spent the better part of a few hours working on this relatively small border. But it IS symmetrical! So worth it.

You know who I love? Ed Byrne! He looks a bit like an ex of mine, but he's so funny that I overlook it. I highly recommend checking out his shows. I personally love hearing him and Dara O Briain talk. They can talk about anything, it pleases me to listen.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A little work on Frida

Well it was about time I took up Frida again, so I did. I finished the main vine border, the plain dark green on. It goes all the way around her. The second set is almost done and go around about halfway. The third vine design will be a browny green with thorns. The color in the picture is a bit off - I took it at night so I had to up the contrast to get the light colored vine and flowers to be easily visible.

I finally got a magnifier that I can use while stitching (not a great one, just a holdover until I figure out a nicer one to get - any suggestions?) but I still feel like I'm going blind. Making an appointment for an eye exam next week (plus then I can get some cute new glasses from Zenni). 

Here in Charleston the summers are usually full of rain. It's a very very humid area so we'll get sudden huge downpours that last 15 minutes and then the sun comes out again. This is pretty good for gardeners but awful for me. My fibromyalgia pain gets way worse eight hours or so before it rains and stays bad until it starts raining. It's nice to be able to predict the rain (well, sort of) but it makes the summers horrible. Add to that the fact that the heat makes my legs, feet, and hands swell worse than usual and you have a fairly unhappy young lady.

So what to do other than throw myself into stitching, blindness or no! I'm almost done with my rose tea napkin, I did a rustic tea towel design, and I'm working on a custom piece for someone which includes a border that I'm very proud of. I'll be showing them off in the next few days.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hanging around again...

Between Easter and my birthday and my sister giving birth on a clinic floor things have been pretty crazy. I usually don't enjoy just sitting and watching TV shows but between the fatigue and stress I've been happy to sit back and watch a season of Jonathan Creek. 

You know what's sad about the modern age? You can't really have shows like MacGuyver or Jonathan Creek or those kinds of detective shows. It's all forensics and "Oh you can't tell it wasn't suicide because the angle of the shot to the head was wrong." The science ruins the story. It's all down to adapting Agatha Christie stories or other period things.

Anyway. This piece includes one of the ancestral mottoes. Dum spiro spero, which basically means "While I breathe I hope." It is generally attributed to Cicero, and who knows, he might have said it. He said a lot of good things, but he was also a sell-out coward. 

I include also the cutest brother + sister picture ever. My new niece was born April 20th and her name is Geneva (mostly called Evie) Lindsay. This makes ten nieces and nephews for me. My dad is hoping for one more so that he'll have had more grandchildren than his mother. He's silly like that.