Saturday, November 28, 2009

And here he is...

So here's an update on the silliest cross-stitch project, ever. Well, at least, that's my goal. The unlucky party on the receiving end of this gift should be receiving maximum embarrassment from this. :) I wanted to use a font that was a bit more fun, but it was hard to find something that fit the circle hoop above (which I'll probably keep it in). I was re-thinking the phrase because it's absolutely everywhere and so Hot Topic, but if the goal is maximum embarrassment for my friend, I think it scores....

I also experimented with metallic floss - silver, in particular, but the combination of it on a black background just looked super-cruddy:

metallic floss, that is

You'd have to see a macro close-up to see just how bad it looks, but it's bad, people, it's bad. It's odd how regular floss has a much nicer sheen to it, something about the texture makes it sit and look so much better in cross stitch.

What do you guys think? If you could have a red-eyed, creepy Robward say anything in cross stitch, what would he say? I'm sure the creative collective consciousness has something better than my awful Hot Topic phrase. Or worse? Worse works, too! ;)

Hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving - I spent mine with a friend's family and it was just perfect, fun, funny, and awesome. Oh, and I'll be showing you my wonderful Christmas decorating soon! Yes, that is sarcasm. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009


So, my Robward cross-stitch progress is crawling along and I'm almost finished. (But it's a Christmas present, anyway, so I have time, right?) In any case, that little phrase up there is what will go underneath Mr. Pattinson's head. I love that phrase because it's a nice allusion to that ridiculous quote from the first novel, yeah, you know what I'm talking about, just admit it. :) Also, because as a self-respecting, independent woman (who is entirely hypocritical for loving Twilight) I am irritated by the Bella character and find her a bit stupid.

Of course, none of that stopped me from watching New Moon twice this weekend. Yep, I'm admitting it. Mostly because none of you guys really know me. (I hope) :) But I must say it was a phenomenon I have never experienced before. Wall-to-wall women in a sold-out stadium theater, well past their 20's and nay, even into their 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. Not a teenybopper in sight! And everyone giggling nervously and/or cracking up at intentionally (and unintentionally) humorous moments. Like, shall we say, the moment towards the end when Edward and Bella come trotting out, in their Easter Sunday best like some rogue Gap ad, sparkling in the sunshine? Nevertheless, the film, although chock-full of cheese, was worthwhile if you can get into the books even a little. I'd have to say it's an instant cult classic because I have no other explanation for how much I enjoyed/mocked/loved it.

Anyone else care to "out" themselves as Twilight fans? Promise I won't tell anybody! ;)

Friday, November 20, 2009

PW Actions on a city pic

Hey guys! You were so cool about the Photoshop actions post that I decided to trot a few actions pics by you, just for kicks.

I had a city pic that I liked but was somewhat, meh about:

So, I basically tried every Pioneer Woman Action imaginable on it.

This one's my fave, I used (I think): Old West, Dim the Lights, 70's:

Here's Soft and Faded:

Here's Lovely and Ethereal + Soft and Faded:

(The Lovely and Ethereal seems to brighten things up and give a warm glow...)

Here's 70s:

And here's 70s + Colorized, which seems to leach out most of the strong colors:

So, what do you think? Is your fave the same as mine? I'd love to see if any of you have tried the Actions on your pics! :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Epicly ridiculous cross-stitch, tonight I finish thee... (not)

tonight's the night

That's right, peeps, partly in honor of New Moon opening tomorrow night, and partly because I am sadly in want of anything better to do, I have declared this evening Finish Robward Cross Stitch Night. And I will do it! No matter how many viewings of Twilight it takes. (Riffing, of course, included). I promise to post my results this evening. Wish me luck! (Or, perhaps, just a richer social life)... :)

Later that evening: Okay, okay. Dang, cross stitch is slow. I must admit partial defeat - it's midnight, I'm sleepy, and only almost finished. So, the saga continues. But at least his eyes are hilariously red now. :)

only almost finished

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Photoshop Actions

My sneaks + PW actions

About a week ago I started playing with Pioneer Woman's Photoshop Actions on some of my excessively boring pics. :) By the way, isn't she amazing? She's hilarious, she can cook, she takes a mean photograph, and Photoshops like nobody's business. If I was doing all that and had children, you can bet those kids would look like they'd been raised by wolves. She constantly inspires me.

Here's the original bore-fest:


Maybe photographs are subject to the photographer's mood (just like any other artistic creation)? Because lots of my pics seem to have the blahs lately. :)

I made black and white versions of my recent night pics (again using PW Photoshop Actions):
black and white

I'm sort of a fan.... I like the extra drama of the black and white, and how it simplifies photos into a very dramatic conversation of lights and darks and shadows... What do you think? :) Has anyone tried out Actions before? I'm gonna warn you though, I can give you zero technical assistance on them, I barely understand how I got them to work, myself. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More nighttime shots

Snapped this one last week, it's dark but I like the lights on the church spire. It's odd to me that I've lived in New York so long that so much of it has become very intimate and familiar to me. This church spire, for instance, that I have passed probably hundreds of times over the years, morning, noon, and night. Of course I share this city with millions of people, and I wonder about their connections to all the same corners, landmarks, and lights. It's something to all of us, all at once...

And here was the sky at dusk tonight:

Thank you for all your comments about my mother's paintings. I know she will be flattered beyond belief. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My mother's paintings

my mom's painting

My sister was always the creative one in the family - taking art classes, sketching, drawing, painting, crafting. She bought my brother and I sketchbooks but I never really got into drawing until high school. Then, all of a sudden, I became pretty good at drawing, and it seemed to come out of nowhere. I always wondered where we 3 got our creative side - that stuff seems to run in families, but my mom and dad never drew, painted, or honestly had time to indulge in creative stuff. There were no artists in my family, on either side, that I knew of...

I'm reminded of a story my mom told me about when she was a kid: her family had so little that she had a certain number of sheets of paper to use at school. She had to use every scrap, writing in the margins, using front and back, because when she ran out, there was no money to buy more. Paper was so precious, it went without saying that there was nothing to draw on. She had to quit school at an early age and work full-time to support her mom and younger siblings. I never forget how different her life was from mine.

mami drawing

Early this year, when my dad was sick, my mom took an acrylic painting class with my sister, to take her mind off the stress of constant worrying. And she was nervous at first, really hesitant to draw, but seemingly overnight, she progressed so, so quickly. I was blown away by her work when I went home in September:

my mom's hummingbird

I was amazed by the tiny details and this instinct she has for using color. In just 7 months time she is light years ahead of my sister and I, and her skill puts our years of practice to shame. :) It felt so strange to see the colorful, paint-splattered kitchen sink, and be discussing drawing with my mom. So strange and so nice, to think that at any time of your life, at any age, you can find something amazing within yourself you never knew was there before. So, from now on, when anyone asks me where I got my creative streak, I have my answer. Oh, of course. I got that from my mom. :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pretty in Punk is done

All done!

All done now! I was surprised how quickly it went - less than an hour and a half (yeah, one more viewing of Twilight + Riff Trax, soon I'll have that thing memorized). :) I didn't do any complicated stitches or filling in, so it was fun and fast. The trickiest part had to be those eensy-weensy buttons on her jacket, though:

Up close

I started stressing myself out because my "DIY" was illegible, then I stopped and said, "You know what, who cares?" ;) I used DMC metallic silver floss in spots, and I've finally gotten the hang of it. Use it only on small areas, like that straight line under "Punk" - because if you pull that floss through the fabric any more than 5-6 times it's definitely gonna tangle, break, and make you all-around regret it.

Here are the floss colors I used, if you're curious (click the pic to see additional description):

Colors used

Just a sidenote about colors - have you ever noticed that colors for clothing, furniture, design, and fabrics go "in" and "out"? I remember attending my first little workshop at Parsons where I listened open-mouthed to one of the people who actually gets to plan all that out! People actually sit in rooms and plan 10-15 years in advance, what colors will be "in". Well, to those peeps, whoever they may be, may I say 'thank you' for all the magentas, pinks and purples:

Colors on the brain

Yeah, I'll admit that I was hating on you for awhile, and just wasn't loving it. Those pinks, purples and magentas are an acquired taste. But now I'm hooked. And so glad all the crappy browns, tans, and olives are out, because I never looked good in them, anyway.

What about you guys? What do you think of all the magentas out there right now? What's been your favorite "in color"? :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Progress on the punk

this morning...

I decided she must have pink hair, and for no reason I could discern, lavender eyes. Having lots of fun with this one, especially stitching the stubble. :) Click that pic if you want a link to the free pattern by Jenny.

Here's a little detail:

Oh, and there was a question in the comments I wanted to answer:
I just recently started embroidering and am trying to figure out how people keep their work nicely framed in the hoop, it seems like a cute, cheap way to do things. I've looked around and haven't been able to find an answer to this seemingly easy question! Help?

Well, I'm no expert at the "embroidery hoop art" - I just stick my stuff in a hoop, trim the edges, and cross my fingers that the fabric never pops out. ;) However, there is a method to secure the fabric in the hoop (which I have always been too, ahem, lazy to try):

Let me know if this works for you! Also, do any of you want to chime in? Do you guys have a tried and true method to secure your fabric for "framing"? I bet I'm the only lazy-ass crafter in the house! :)

Hello again to the long nights

So, as of the time change last week, it is once again that time of year in New York, when the days grow shorter and shorter, until much of the day is spent in darkness... I must say it really freaked me out when I first moved here - I crave sunlight, and it took a lot of getting used to. Soon, it will be dark by 4:30 in the afternoon, and stay that way until sometime in March when the daylight slowly returns. Sounds like a long time, doesn't it? It is.

But there is something beautiful about New York in the dark - you get this sense that much of the city was crafted for this time of year, when darkness looms and the cold stings. But the lights of the city are bright and warm.

All of my night shots come from this time of year, when I stroll here and there in the dark, seeing what I can catch with the available light...

I'm also sure this time of year is why I love to craft. There's nothing nicer than sitting by a warm lamp with a cup of tea and imagining weird, fun, and ridiculous crafts. Or, reading a book, and cozying up to a movie.

How about you guys? What's fall/winter like where you are? What do you like most about it? What do you do to get through it? :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Recent embroidery

Robward progress

So, thanks to cheesy films and Riff Trax, I've made excellent Robward progress, such that I decided to photograph him in the lovely sunlight we enjoyed this morning. And what, you may be asking is Riff Trax? Well, if you, like me, are a nerd of the prime order, you may be aware of a canceled show called Mystery Science Theater 3000. Although the show is no longer with us on air, the goofballs behind the riffing are, and they have a website called Riff Trax, where they peddle MP3 audio files you can cue to your DVDs. Their riff of Twilight is legendary, and highly recommended by this nerd (particularly if you have watched this film an inordinate amount of times already, and/or have males in your household who hate the whole Twilight phenomenon, so they can fully love / loathe it right along with you.) :)

Also on my viewing menu for Robward progress was: Officer and a Gentleman, 1/2 of Blade Runner, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Lord of the Rings: Two Towers + accompanying Riff track. Yeah, it's really slow going.

But of course, even though I have a ton of unfinished projects, I just had to start another one this morning, the second Ms. Hart uploaded it:

Just had to

Wish me luck! Hey, what are you guys working on? Also, let me know if you've checked out the Riff Trax... :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The bug bit me

flesh tones

So, blogging every day for over a month was a little exhausting, but also really inspiring! Now I feel an extra kick to blog as regularly as possible. I have a few works in progress, so I'm going to blog as often as I can to get my butt into gear and finish them.

after one viewing of Twilight

Recognize that one half of an eye/ head up there? Seriously, I find it a little hard to stitch this because I'm laughing so hard at it. :) Don't get me wrong, I love Robert Pattinson, but there's nothing quite so funny as a cross-stitched Robward. I mean, really, look. I'm planning this as a secret gift to someone special, and there will be a few modifications. Most notably, a choice phrase stitched underneath... :)

rather slow progress

Isn't it so teensy-tiny? I'm stitching on 18 ct black Aida cloth with Presencia floss. This, by the way represents my piteous progress after one viewing of Twilight. It's gonna be a while! :)

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on, emailed, or said good things about the Conversations. I'm so glad you guys enjoyed them and that I had a chance to say 'thank you' to ONLY SOME of the many, many awesome people I have met, admired, or interacted with online. I'd like to leave the line of conversation open and create a new one every so often. But, please, if I have left anyone out, chalk it up to my own lack of energy and creativity and nothing more. Every single person I have met online and in this crafty community means so much to me. Every person who comments, emails me, or marks me as a contact on Flickr is part of that world, a world I'm so grateful to inhabit. Thank you to everyone, because you all inspire me!