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. :)

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. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Conversations: doe-c-doe

1. Untitled by me 2. white-clutch by doe-c-doe 3. strange by me 4. blue-flower-purse by doe-c-doe

What I love most about the internet is the ability to share your thoughts and dreams in the form of images - with people across the country and around the world. Doe-c-doe has always inspired me, and I've been lucky enough to trade emails with her - she's such a sweet, generous, and incredibly talented person.

So, on to the idea of conversations - it's a new idea I have, to give me something to blog about. Each week I'm going to go through my contacts, all the people I've met over my years of blogging, and share a little glimpse of them to you. If I can, I'll pair my favorite images of theirs with some of mine, to have a sort of "conversation" through images. I think those pictures above clearly seem to be speaking to each other. :)

Also, in preparation for Blogtoberfest, I've decided to do my best to blog every single day through Oct. 31. I'm still grieving, but I thought it would be a good way to help me feel more productive and work through my memories. When I have something to say about my dad or my friend I will, but I promise to keep it hopeful! I want to celebrate life and its beauty and all the wonderful people I've met. Thanks, all of you, for bringing beauty to my life.

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!

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. :)

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.