Saturday, July 30, 2011


Here's some more progress on the Billy Bragg quote. Gorgeous, nee?

I've been working on a pattern for a piece using an AD Wintle quote - "Time spent dismounted can never be regained." I'm not sure what context it was meant in, but I'm taking it in a sexual sense because that amuses me most. 

It's another blackwork piece with very traditional elements but I'm having trouble fitting things together in a way that looks good.

Had dinner with the family (madre, sister, brother-in-law, nephew, baby niece) tonight. Tired beyond belief but I made the fat baby Evie giggle a lot, which is always a good feeling. Plus I got lots of kisses and cuddles from my Benjamin. It's so hard though. A couple hours of it and I need a full day to recover. It's depressing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Billy Bragg-a-lot

I love me some Billy Bragg, but there's one line in particular that always makes me smile and makes my mom crack up and do her "I'm a crazy mom!" face (no offense, I love that face). So I plucked it out and embroidered it up. 

Plus I really love the the way the border is going. Combined in this way it's so quilt-like (which is so my mom) and just really pretty. I say again and again, blackwork is the queen of embroideries! It just amazes me the various effects that can be used which all look so different from one another. At the same time when you create a pattern, filler, or motif yourself it is such a triumph. Also this piece is perfectly symmetrical (thank you god!).

Do you ever get an album and then take a ridiculously long time to really listen to it? I do, all the times. I finally made myself really listen to Sarah Harmer's album Oh Little Fire and it's brilliant. The song One Match is especially amazing. Consider it highly recommended.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

summer is evil

Summer is just not my time. Winter can be hard but summer is just brutal. Yesterday though I threw up my hands in protest and went to the Clay Center (local art/science museum) with my mom and my nephew Benjamin. It was so much fun to see him play in a different environment and he was generally quite good.

He also came to my apartment for the first time. He mostly just walked around in awe and listed everything as "Auntie Moo's picture," "Auntie Moo's TV," "Auntie Moo's clock," etc... He was SO good though. I have a ton of stuff at his level that I don't want him to touch but he was good about not grabbing and leaving things alone when I asked him too. It also helps that I put out some toys right at his level so he saw them right away. 

Once they left I went into healing sleep mode for about five hours, had a horrible nightmare, and then stayed up until 5 am. It was actually kind of a half-horrible nightmare. Part was just awful, and part was great (I was playing soccer, most of my dreams I'm in pain, just as I am, but sometimes I get a break).

In any case, I couldn't get a great picture of my Bullwinkle quote blackwork piece, and I noticed a few missing stitches (now remedied), but I absolutely love how this turned out. In person it's so so much more beautiful. I also just love that quote. that quote definitely summed me up as a kid and adolescent.

I've also got a great new piece using a Billy Bragg lyric. I came up with a gorgeous border that reminds me of traditional star motifs in quilting which I'll be utilizing in a purely non-textual piece soon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bullwinkle awesomeness

Not much to say. Things are just hard. Here's a blackwork WIP picture though. It's a quote from Bullwinkle, though of course it's funny to everyone and not just Bullwinkle fans.

I grew up with Bullwinkle, starting from age five. It still cracks me up, I still find jokes I didn't get two years ago or ten years ago. That's the beauty of Rocky and Bullwinkle. It's funny when you're eight and still funny when you're eighty.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

pogo party

Well I did finish my Pogo piece. And there's good news. The iron on pencil thing I used to transfer the design doesn't *wash* out, but it does fade quite quickly under sunlight. This means I hopefully won't need to dye the fabric grey. I'm sure that would have looked nice, but I'm quite lazy.

I'm now working on a Bullwinkle quote blackwork project, which shall be amazing. Bullwinkle is fairly obscure, but the quote is not specific to Bullwinkle watchers so I'm confident it will be enjoyed by all.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

oh well

I don't usually stitch things which are obscure references but I made an exception for this piece.

The Benevolent Order of Loyal Zebras is a parody organization in the old Mel Blanc radio show. I grew up listening to many of the great 1930s and 1940s radio shows. My dad just baarely grew up with a few of them and passed them onto me. In fifth grade I went to sleep each night listening to the Green Hornet or the Shadow.

Red Skelton is probably my favorite of the great radio comics, he was so amazing at off-the-cuff comments especially, but I love and adore the Mel Blanc show. It was only on the air for about a year and even among old time radio buffs I don't encounter people who know it. 

I don't care though. It's a sweet show, predictable but funny, and anything with Hans Conried is of course always good.

Monday, July 18, 2011

busy and not busy

I've been stitching and I've also had a fierce case of melancholy. Just tired and blah and not wanting to think or type. 

I started and almost finished stitching an illustration from a Pogo comic by Walt Kelly. The Pogo comic started in 1948 (using characters he created in 1941) and was the first political strip comic. The characters were all animals living in the Okeefenokee swamp. Various side characters were based on current presidents and other political figures. It is an amazingly hilarious comic that I was fortunate enough to grow up with. It's a great supplement to those studying the 1950s. 

The image I'm stitching is the tattoo I would get, were I to get a tattoo. The main benefit is I'd be the only one in the world (probably) with that tattoo! Much more fun than the same flower/fish/whatever that everyone has. My grandfather was in the Navy during WWI (born in 1900, lied about his age), in Scotland for most of it and got loads of tattoos. So it would be nice to get one as a nod to him. My brother Zachary has a number of tattoos, including a few he did himself in high school. I'd like for me, my brother, and my sister to each get one of the bat characters from Pogo. Their names are Bewitched, Bothered, and Bemildred, and I'm totally Bemildred.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

old books, old thoughts

There was once a time when books were happy and sweet, when romances were conveyed with a mere clasping of hands, when you knew exactly who the heroine would marry. This was a fun time.

See, I love old books. I just finished Dear Enemy by Jean Webster, which was a sequel to her bestselling novel Daddy-Long-Legs, about an orphan being sent to college by an anonymous patron. It is generally shelved in the young adult section these days but it was written for and enjoyed by adults (and does include a romance between a 21 year old girl and a 35 year old man). Theodore Roosevelt was excited to meet her and Daddy-Long-Legs has never been out of print.

Both of these books can be read for free on Project Gutenberg and there's a free audio version of Daddy-Long-Legs on Librivox.

It's not that I dislike modern books, though contemporary fiction gets fairly ridiculous at times, but I love old books. I don't mind that they're predictable, most books are, after all, they're just so sweet and fun and uplifting.

Pogo stitching progresses. I'm sore and tired and just want to lose myself in something. Women's World Cup semi-finals tomorrow at least. Should be good!

Monday, July 11, 2011

lazy days

After a week of hard cleaning I decided to take it relatively easy today. My apartment has passed inspection, as I knew it would, but it could have been Friday before she got round to me and I'm glad to have it over with. The clean apartment has made me a bit cheerful.

I finished my awesome piece using the quote from Ed's Redeeming Qualities. I designed the flower border myself, though you can't see all the detail and I'm too tired to go for another picture. It looks SO much better in person and is my favorite thing I've made recently. I like the balance of it (the lack of symmetry annoys me but in the top border there was no choice on that), the birds weighing down the sides and the bottom left open so the quote isn't over-powered.

I've starting stitching a Walt Kelly illustration from the Pogo comics. This is one of my favorite images and if I got a tattoo this is the one I'd want (though I just realized I don't have a picture of it on my computer so I'll show it another day).

My body is so worn out. I didn't get much sleep last night but managed to avoid napping this afternoon. It's one of those times where I'm so sore and the pain level is so high that I'm completely restless (last of sleep doesn't help that of course). At least I have Wednesday's soccer game (Women's World Cup - US vs France, semifinals) to look forward to. I'm sure it won't be as exciting and nerve wracking a game as the one with Brazil but that's okay given that I was half-hyperventilating by the end...

Also check out my blooming succulent! The plant is called 'baby toes' and is so weird looking that it's amusing to me that the bloom looks like a plain daisy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

song lyrics

For a long time I barely listened to music. I love music, always have. My parents gave us all extremely eclectic music educations for which I'm grateful. Only then I got sick and it became important to distract myself as much as possible with audio books while knitting or stitching. Plus music made me think of dancing.

Since I've had the kindle (can't hold paper books for very long) I've listened to more music again, and it's a happy change. Plus I cut my reading down this year so sometimes I just listen to music while I stitch. 

Hence this new piece (still a work-in-progress) using the lyrics of one of my favorite bands, Ed's Redeeming Qualities. They play calypso-ish music with the most hilarious lyrics in the world. They're funny songs but also intensely real, things real people feel, rather than the unrealistic people that inhabit most song lyrics.

Also, here is a funny picture I took of my niece, Evie. My new nickname for her is Clamps because she's got a very tight grip. She tends to give disapproving looks, and in combination with her fat face this makes her look like an old, male politician.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

apologies for absence

I did finally finished my opera blackwork piece (and all ink black!) and I know what project I'm doing next. The opera piece was hard to finish because of border difficulties. Just designing opera motifs that weren't too large was a challenge and I didn't think there was enough room to do a border on the top. I like my solution though and I love my champagne glasses and especially that skull! Ever tried to design a small blackwork skull? It's damned hard!

It's also apartment inspection time (I live in subsidized housing) so I've been busy cleaning as much as I can. Plus today was my mom's birthday. My sister and the fat baby came over and we had tea and lunch and gave my mom her presents. I held Miss Evie for a while and bounced her around, being rewarded with some giggles and smiles. She's in a fussy stage though and my poor cat spent the whole time terrified under the couch and now won't deign to look at me.