Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wee internet break

I go in and out of phases when this internet thing feels strange and weird. You know, the sharing with total strangers, and the tug of war of what to share and what not to share. And the fear of anyone looking in on my little corner of the internet just to say something unkind or rankling.

These feelings are most acute when I come back from a vacation - when I've been away from my little silver pet for days and days, and I wonder honestly, what exactly am I doing here? So, maybe just a wee internet break while I get back into the swing of things. And evaluate what I'm sharing and not sharing. And why I'm here. And how much wonderful living I'm missing out on when I'm clicking and clacking away....

Hope you all are well, all of my friends out there! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Lottie was featured over at Mr X Stitch today and I'm all aglow. Thank you Bridget and Mr X Stitch! Needless to say, I heart your blog and I am moved beyond words.

So, I thought I'd share one of my 60's French faves with you, a little lovesong to say thanks. Sheesh. and shucks.

It also occurs to me that I never really said why I was drawn to Lottie and decided to stitch her - I'm drawn to unusual people of all kinds because I think of what a struggle it is to feel totally ordinary but have features that set you apart physically, that make people stop and stare. I think we can all relate to having something about us that makes us uncomfortable or that we wish we could change, or that makes us feel "freakish." But of course, ultimately, physical appearance is just one piece of the puzzle - it shapes who we are, but the person we are can be totally distinct.

What I loved about Badbird's pattern was the sweet and innocent expression and clothing she drew for Lottie. I imagine Lottie as a totally innocent, kind child who is aware of how others see her but unruffled by it. I also love the vintage lazy daisies in the border that Badbird drew, and decided to stitch everything in very sweet, pastel colors to emphasize, again, Lottie's sweetness. I loved how this pattern presents you with an unusual subject that makes you stop and think, juxtaposing the ordinary with the unusual. Thanks, Badbird, for the awesome pattern! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How close is TOO close?

This image is from Rob Ryan's blog

I recently did a post on Feeling Stitchy about an artist whose work was being altered just enough to look "similar, but different". The discussion took about 5,000 different turns as people analyzed every facet of the situation, but what I really wished we'd stuck to was this: "How close is TOO close?"

We've all seen "similar, but different" in advertising, art, fashion, and product design. Sadly, I see this is happening now to Rob Ryan (an amazing papercut artist) from a post on his blog. The artist acknowledges their work is inspired by Rob Ryan. But does an acknowledgment make selling such similar works right? (Note: If you scroll through the comments, there is some debate as to whether or not the artist sells the cuts - some say yes, some say no).

I know that when you put an idea out into the world, in whatever form, it will be copied, incorporated, altered, and riffed on. I see just about every lovely thing in our culture as a "riff" of something else or inspired by something else. I just wish that artists, whenever possible, used their skills to create something new.

Read (and see more images) on Rob Ryan's blog.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New project: Siamese Twins

And here's my next project. The Badbird patterns have seriously restored my crafting mojo - the second I finished embroidering Lottie I printed out and started on the Siamese twins, Rose and Daisy. Again, I enlarged the image 170% on the copier and taped 4 printouts together to trace the final image.

First, I started with a red transfer pencil, just like last time:

tracing my new project

But, lo and behold, when I flipped the tracing paper over to transfer, I didn't like the flipped version - the proportions and balance looked off. Drat! The idea of tracing all over again, and fussing with my iron was not appealing. So, I tried a shortcut. I pulled out some carbon paper (Sublime Stitching):

Switching to carbon paper (SS transfer paper)

It was easy to use, not messy at all, and saved me the extra hassle of ironing on. The lines are crisp, sharp, and dark:

finished tracing with carbon paper

If you look closely you'll notice I made some changes - Andrea Zuill's design has lots of beautiful details that I left out from pure laziness. I wanted to finish quickly, so I stuck with the simpler elements like the hearts and dotted border. I also added one of Andrea's hearts under the girls' hands and added their initials:

little added detail

I started stitching right away - here they are after 2 hours:

so far

I was admittedly distracted by The Painted Veil (most notably, Ed Norton) and slightly less so by Max Payne (cool effects, but overall it was a drawn out stinker).

colors used so far

These are the only colors I've used so far - two different shades of brown for the girls' hair (for a tiny bit of contrast) and a peachy pink shade for their skin (that's Presencia floss at the top, if you're curious). I still need to pick out the rest of the colors for the girls... I'm thinking, oddly (because I usually hate them) purples... or some deep wines and magentas...

wines, burgundies and magentas?

Yay! I'm so excited!



Okay, so I'm not totally finished. I still need to wash this (to remove the transfer pencil lines) and decide if it will be a pillow or a wall hanging. I'm undecided so far, as I think both would be nice.

Maybe I should leave it up to the person who'll be receiving it? Let's pretend you are that person - which would you prefer? I loved doing this project so much that I already started on another Badbird pattern. And I'm super-excited about that one!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Crushing on Vulcans...

Crush, part 1

I always had a crush on Spock as a kid, and my favorite Star Trek films were the ones that revolved around him - The Wrath of Khan and The Search For Spock. It pains me to report that my crush on Spock has gotten even worse:

Crush, part 2

There's simply no hope for me now. I rarely get blown away by films but this one completely silenced my (loud) inner critic and just knocked my socks off. I wouldn't say I'm an ultra-nerdy Trekkie but I love good sci-fi and obsessively watched the old and new series (and almost all the movies). To me, this movie celebrates everything that was good and funny and exciting about Star Trek, and (is it possible?) made it even better.

I have a feeling I'm going to watch this movie at least 5 more times this year. And, isn't the internet a wonderful thing? It's how I know I'm not alone in crushing on Spock.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Summer dreams


There's something about late Spring and summer that makes me very, very happy and restless. For some reason, my brain chooses this one time of year to give me the feeling that I need to get up and move - but I'm not sure where or how. Also, I remember, in a vivid display, so many things that have happened to me over the years at this time. I remember hot, sticky summer days filled with a golden heat that gleams in the hair, skin, and eyes. I remember swimming pools and cool streams and breeze. I remember car trips and wishing for things with all my might. I remember, even, dreams.

Here's the music that says to me, most clearly, the strange and restless things I'm feeling (being totally aware that these playlist sites are here today and gone tomorrow - so enjoy it while it lasts! :)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Lottie

colors I've been using

I think I've finally reached my favorite stage in any embroidery project - about 3/4 of the way through, when I have finally decided which colors I'm using and just fill in the rest rather placidly and happily. One thing I've noticed is how colors play tricks on you - a color you started out stitching with seems to change as you progress and juxtapose it with other colors - I'm not 100% sure that blue is the one I started with. I remember it being a more china blue, Alice in Wonderland-y shade. Now I see more turquoise. (It's entirely possible I lost the original and grabbed for a similar shade from my pile.) Either way, I'm content with the colors.

little stitches

I started out using a darker, moss lime-y green on the leaves but I didn't like how the tone looked so similar to my girl's hair and fur. So I ripped it all out and stitched in a lighter, springier green that reminded me of faded storybook illustrations.

French knot and Lazy daisy time...

I am almost done and am loving this stage of just plowing forward. So, here's my (wrinkled) girl after about 16 hours of stitching (again, not counting all the pulling out and re-stitching and staring that occurred in between). You can see I still have some darker moss green in the right hand corner to remove and re-stitch. Almost done!

after 16 hours of stitching

Hmmmm... I am not liking the very pink shade I used for her hands. Might re-visit that. As for my plans - this will either be a pillow or a stretched wall hanging - whatever I like best. And I think I already know who's going to get this. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day


Mom, you are the most beautiful woman I know - the toughest, the strongest, the sweetest, the kindest. Thank you mom.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 3: More Lottie Progress

after about 14 hours of stitching

So here Lottie stands after about 14 hours of stitching. As I noted on the photo, it was "about" because I kept getting distracted. Number 1: I started this while watching The Princess Bride and I kept getting interrupted by tears coming to my eyes at the romantic parts. Yes, I am that big of a sucker for Princess Bride. Normally I am quite calloused to love stories and spend the whole time rolling my eyes at romantic comedies. But that one is so sweet and silly it always hits me with a sucker punch.

Also, I made the poor choice of watching "Serial Killers on the Loose" and there was a whole lot more looking up, feeling sad, saying ewww, and feeling rather disappointed in humanity.

As you can see, I didn't add a lot, mainly because at this stage I do a lot of inner debate at very small things like, "what color should the stems be?" or "what's the perfect shade of green?" or "how yellow should the yellow be?" I'm on the fence about the olive-y green and may change it. White daisies, so-so. But I do like the lemon yellow bows:

lemon yellow bows

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Progress on Lottie

tracing with the transfer pencil

Sometimes it's really hard for me to get inspired - then sometimes, all of a sudden, I see a pattern that strikes me and I'm just bit with a bug. I'd actually seen this pattern months ago but had hemmed and hawed about buying it because the last thing I needed was another unfinished project. But suddenly, Sunday, I found myself not only purchasing, but immediately starting on it...

I enlarged the pattern 170%, because I wanted Lottie to be a large work. I had to photocopy it in sections and tape the 4 pieces together. Then I used 2 sheets of tracing paper to trace it with my transfer pencil.

Then, came the fabric - I had a beautiful new pillowcase with subtle vertical stripes woven in - I thought they'd be a sweet background for my girl. I probably should have tested on a small section first? Because this fabric was a be-atch to transfer to! I had to go over the same sections over and over and over and still the lines were very faint in places. Oh, well. Learn for next time:

kind of faint

I had to start right away, because faint lines fade fast, so I sat down and did over 6 hours of stem stitching. I used 3-4 different blonde, olive-y shades for Lottie's hair, a nice bright blue for her dress and dark brown for her sash. After 6 hours:

after 6 hours of stitching

On day 2, I finished up her hair, fur, ruffles, dress and sash, the dotted border and her locket:


This was a small change I made - instead of the bead necklace in the pattern, I drew in a heart pendant with a cursive "L" because in my imagination, Lottie is a sweet girl who is loved and cared for, in spite of her unusual appearance. I used one strand of gold metallic thread to make it dainty and teensy.

There were a lot of elements that drew me to this pattern, but one especially was the delicate rendering of the hands:


I'm really loving this pattern and quick progress - just the flowers are left! It's really made my imagination go wild and and I've developed quite an affection for Lottie. Here she is, after about 12 hours of stitching:

after 12 hours of stitching

Monday, May 4, 2009

My newest project

by the amazing Badbird - Visit her Etsy store

Ok, I don't even have any progress shots yet, but I just have to show you my latest project because I'm so excited. I did about 6 hours of stem stitch yesterday while watching Scooby Doo, The Last Mimzy, and The English Patient. By the way, it is very hard to tell what is happening in The Last Mimzy when you never look up. I have no clue what that movie was about. The English Patient made me look up. But, you know why.

What are you guys working on?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Actual finished embroidery!

little freebie

This week has been crazy. One of those weeks where it's hard to sleep, where every day you feel a thousand different emotions, where you re-play in your mind everything you've said, if you could have said it better, wondering what you did right, wondering what you did wrong, etc. etc. Into infinity. Which is why I was so happy when I saw this little freebie from Jenny, at exactly the right moment last night. I was able to drop everything I was doing and every thought I was thinking and, just make something.

I'm in love. Too much sweetness!


Hope all is well with you and that this weekend you find time to do the things that bring you peace.