Friday, September 30, 2011

Tom Lehrer, part two

Well, she's all done. Live pigeons, dead pigeons, bottle of poisons, and a few skulls for good measure. Classic. 

It is obviously only the first of my Tom Lehrer lyric pieces. Next will probably need to be a line from The Old Dope Peddler. Also of course I need to decide whether to sell the pigeon piece or keep it for myself. I don't really have room to hang up more art at the moment, but eventually I might...

Now I'm waffling over whether or not to start another piece with a quote from Kim Possible. I can't tell whether it would be at all amusing to anyone else though, and while I know a few adult KP fans (it is seriously a hilarious show) I don't know that there are a lot of them. The quote is "Your fancy pants will become your very undoing," (it's best if you say it in a German accent). So, opinions? Workable? 

Otherwise I'll start work on Scrooge McDuck/Don Rosa quote piece that will be a Christmas present for my dad. I finished another Christmas present but I haven't blogged about it since it's such an obscure reference. I did design a nice blackwork ax for it though, which I'm a bit proud of.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life is skittles and life is beer...

I love Tom Lehrer's music. Absolutely love it. My dad found it when he was in college and introduced me to it when I was in middle school. My first exposure was the song Poisoning Pigeons in the Park, which my dad chose to teach me (we drove a lot, so we sang in the car all the time) because I don't like birds. I spent a good portion of my senior year singing "Bright College Days" at people.

Yes, that was me in the park as a 10 year old running and screaming at the pigeons to make them fly away. You can't just run at them, they don't go far enough. I perfected a sort of squawky crow noise that worked wonders. I still do it as an adult, even from a wheelchair. 

So here's a WIP shot of the Tom Lehrer embroidery I'm working on. The border below the text will be a line of dead pigeons. Then I'll be doing rows of poison bottles and a skull on either side. Overkill? Perhaps, but that's the point of the song!

My favorite line in the song is actually "We'll murder them all amid laughter and merriment, except for the few we take home to experiment," but it doesn't make a good stand-alone embroidery piece. The line I chose is recognizable to fans but not the most predictable choice. Plus people who don't know the song might also find it funny. 

The only downside is that while working on it I literally can not get the song out of my head. Even while listening to other music my head is still singing about poisoning pigeons.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

pretend quilting

I finally present to you the completely finished (and framed) color-fade blackwork piece. It's not exactly what I wanted, because I didn't start with a large enough piece of fabric but it does look pretty. 

Plus it gave me a lot of ideas for color fade pieces which I could then do properly. Before that I need to bulk up my thread collection. I have a ton of embroidery floss, but not enough oranges and not enough blues and missing some important reds. It feels like I never have the colors I want.

I got a new computer, as mine was getting run down (especially in the touchpad department) and I'd like to have a backup that still works normally. The new machine is running Linux because holy crap I hate Windows 7. I thought I just disliked it, but having to use it for more than two minutes at a time amped the dislike right up to despise. 

We used Linux on all the computers at my high school (a tiny boarding school) so I'm not completely unfamiliar with it (though even if I was Ubuntu is SO intuitive that it should be easy for anyone to use). The best part for me is downloading all the free applications. I got a geography lesson program and can now identify all the countries on all the continents and a number of island nations. When something big happens in Moldova or Togo I'll know just where they are! I'm beyond psyched about this.

So thank you, Microsoft, for completely screwing up the operating system I grew up with and liked using. You even managed to make networking my two computers a pain and not workable. Now that's talent. Change for change's sake is always a bad idea.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

moths and daleks

Well there's news all around. I finished my moth piece. Again, it comes from Leslie Wilkins' Traditional Blackwork Samplers, though I've removed a lot of the little elements which I felt took away from the lovely moth. I'm fairly pleased with it. Not thoroughly pleased but I'll give it to someone so I don't have to look at it any more.

Also, someone will be stitching my Dalek pattern on stage in a play they're in! It's the play The Great Fire, being performed in Chicago at the Lookingglass Theater (which just won an award for Best Regional Theater). So hundreds of people will be witnessing my pattern being stitched whether they know it or not. Too bad you can't send business cards with a .jpg file! It's a nice warm feeling though.

I have been so lazy with the crafts though. I resolve to start work on a new funny pattern tomorrow though. Perhaps a Tom Lehrer quote.

Friday, September 16, 2011

new project

Started a new project the other day. It could be finished but I think I'll add another row of the moth pattern before the top one, but with slightly different colors. 

I do like how they've turned out, and it makes the frustration that comes with satin thread almost worth it. I hate satin thread. Hate it to death! Sometimes you need the effect though.

Might I recommend to all a book and a sequel to that book? The books are Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy by Lisa See. They are absolutely wonderful. She's most known, I think, for her book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan which is quite good, but the two I just mentioned are a lot better (and that's saying something). Shanghai Girls follows two sisters sold in marriage to strangers in California. They're going to avoid going but then the Japanese come and their tickets to the US seem like the only escape. That's just the very beginning of the book but you can read longer descriptions elsewhere. Trust me when I say it's a wonderful, worthwhile read and the sequel, Dreams of Joy, is even better.

Monday, September 12, 2011

shine on, shine on harvest moon...

My best African violet
The days have been long, but I've immersed myself in reading about Mao's 'Great Leap Forward' and the resulting massive famine and extreme leaps of stupidity. 

I think my creativity gene might just be on vacation. Or that colorfade has sapped everything from me. Maybe that's it, repetitive patterns are bad for the brain! That piece is almost done, as it the smaller green to blue with the same pattern. 

Tonight I started on piece from Leslie Wilkins' Traditional Blackwork Samplers. Then I messed it up and had to unpick an entire evening's work. Thank you, brain-dead Meredith. 

It's a good night to look at the moon. Why? Well, it's full and it's the Moon Festival tonight! So I stood at the open window and sang all the moon songs I know, quite loudly.  A lot of them are old 30s and 40s songs, so maybe some of the oldies in my building got a nice surprise.