Wednesday, December 30, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Gifts--Buffy and Jody Edition

While trying to sort out the colors for my Star Trek MiniPop pattern (and eventually ignoring all of Kristen's suggestions), I learned that my brother-in-law's favorite Star Trek character is Chekhov.

For those of you who're unfamiliar with the Star Trek franchise, Chekhov is like the worst one.  And my family takes hating characters very seriously, so it was a serious blow to my father to find out that there are Chekhov fans and that my sister had married one.  (Keep in mind my father has not accepted my preferring Batman over Superman, and I came out as a bat-fan sometime in the 90's.)

Anyway, I naturally decided to go with Steven's acceptable favorite.  The pattern is by kiwicoy/black-lupin and will eventually look like this. (finished pic in upper left corner of the pattern)

My mother saw me working on this the other evening and said, "You're really cross stitching Leonard Nimoy's face?"  Hey, at least it's not Koenig.

12/20--Now that Leonard Nimoy's face is finished, my mother has conceded that it is a very nice needlework representation of Leonard Nimoy.  I'm starting to assume she doesn't actually know the character's name since she always refers to it by actor.

So now to decide if it needs some sort of extremely clever caption like "Live long and prosper" or "Vulcans do it logically".

Xmas--Here's the finished product.  I had to change my original font since it would take too long (and I still wasn't able to finish "humans" myself).  
Given that Steven lives with Kristen and Daisy, I figured something like this would be appropriate.
Since I can't sew, I did what all cool kids do to finish their Trekkie sewing projects: got my mom to do it.  (My mother's previous super-cool Star Trek sewing project: extra stripes on my Halloween costume because Rubies doesn't want high-ranking female officers.)

There were some concerns about Steven's mother stealing the pillow (and she was only allowed to look at it outside), but I figure we'd get it back the next time we ask them for a garbage bag full of Star Trek stuff.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Here's some more nerd gingerbread I decorated at Grandma's house:

Reptile, Noob Saibot, Ermac, Sub-Zero, Scorpion, and Rain

Kitana, Mileena, and Sonya Blade

I also made Jade (the green palette swap of Mileena and Kitana), but I tried to do the MK II costume, and it just looked lousy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nothing says Christmas cheer like baking with a cold.  Any germs that survive the oven have probably earned it.

Even the Amazing Amazon couldn't save these Red Shirts.  Or she killed them herself.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I hate flowers

Over Thanksgiving, I told my brother-in-law that there was a good chance that working on his Christmas present would make me blind.  My mother objected to this, but, as I pointed out, that doesn't ruin the surprise.  I could be writing him an epic poem by candlelight about man's first disobedience or something.

In terms of Christmas gifts, my brother-in-law is actually fairly easy to shop/make something for, so it's pretty sad that it's already come to risking blindness.  He's one of those people that as long as they keep licensing a certain character or a certain series, there will always be potential presents.

  • Brother-in-law: Legend of Zelda
  • Sister: Disney Princess crap (ideally Aurora)
  • Bridget: Hello Kitty
  • Jamel: Harry Potter (ideally Ravenclaw)  
And I usually do try a bit harder than just seeing what's in the Target dollar bin, but that doesn't change the fact that, if there were a way to combine pink glitter, Princess Aurora, and pomeranians, that would be the best present I could ever get my sister.  

But these are all young people--my grandparents have become my biggest Christmas gift challenge because they don't like video game characters and boy wizards.  And because they keep making comments about how, when they die, we can just back the dumpster up to the house.

It's very difficult to come up with an appropriate gift for people who are trying to get rid of a lot of their stuff.  Last year I did 12 Days of Christmas ornaments, and this year I've started a Poinsettia towel.  Because I forgot that, when you cross stitch what is essentially a big blob of red, you have to cross stitch a big blob of red.

It's one of Charles Craft's free designs.  The pattern that comes with the towel is split so that the symbol key is on one side and the pattern is on the other.  The pattern you can print off from the website includes both on the same page, but the symbols are all letters of the alphabet.  You'd think that wouldn't make a difference, but letters of the alphabet (printed in the same color) are even harder to distinguish than arrows pointing in different directions, especially when you're working with various shades of red.

One of the reasons I switched over to my own patterns and stuff on the internet is because most of the cross stitch kits you can find in Michael's are teddy bears, lighthouses, and flowers (which are still much better than shit like Dolly Mama).  

With cross stitch, you start with some squares of color and eventually it starts to turn into a picture.  Flowers are basically just blobs of color and, unlike Pokemon and alphabets, the "Oh, now it's something" moment happens a lot later.  Usually not until you've started backstitching.

Since I'm an awful substitute, I usually bring cross stitch projects to work with me, and the kids'll often ask questions about it.  Someone almost always mentions something about cross stitch being difficult, and I usually say it's pretty easy, but it takes a lot of patience.  And flowers require even more patience than anything else because my brother-in-law's present has looked like [the fruit of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste brought death into the World] for awhile now, but my poinsetta towel looks like pointy red and green things, and I'm already starting to get bored with it.

And giving people one towel is pretty freaking sad when you're my age, so I'm going to need to come up with another one or keep hoping I can find Charles Craft's other two Christmas patterns somewhere.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Onward, Christmas Sweatshop

Crochet may be healthier for me than some of my other vices, but I don't think it's any cheaper.

There's a lot of free patterns out there, so unless it's something I really like (the amigurumi patterns I've bought), something on some ridiculous sale (90% hilarious dog stuff), or something I absolutely can't find a free equivalent for (the cat bed I'm going to actually make one of these days), the instructions don't cost me a thing.

The problem is that some of the patterns take some exorbitant amount of yarn.  I thought doing a felted yoga mat tote for either myself or a present, and the stupid thing takes 7 balls of yarn.  $5.99/ball if you get the stuff listed in the pattern, $3.49/ball if you get Wool-Ease.

This reminds me that I don't know if Wool-Ease actually felts.  As an idiot, I would assume that everything made of wool will felt if you just stick it in the dryer enough times, but the internet is starting to make me wonder about this.  So maybe Wool-Ease is out.  You could probably shop around, use some coupons, and wait for a sale, but this is still a $30-$40 yoga mat tote before you've even made the stupid thing.

I know it's probably supposed to be about lovingly making something with my own two hands, but what's the point of spending $30 and several hours to loving make a sweater that's probably not going to fit well?  If you time it right, you can get two nice looking sweaters for that price and you don't have to worry about hurting some poor exploited sweatshop worker's feelings.

Now, I'll admit that three balls of cotton yarn for a reusable shopping bag is potentially ridiculous.  You can buy reusable bags will filled in sides and everything at the grocery store for a dollar, and I can see how it would defeat the purpose to buy new stuff to make your eco-bags (instead of reusing all the crappy old Woolworth's yarn one finds in the attic, for example.).

But Lily is way off about this "three balls" nonsense, even when you make the base a little bit bigger, go up a few hook sizes, and completely ignore their handle instructions.  And it's a bag, so you can use it for other stuff to, and you can make it in colors someone would actually like (as opposed to Kroger Blue and Ukrop's Green).

Felted pot holders, on the other hand, seem to be approaching a sweet scam.  Not that I actually know how much pot holders cost, but one $6 skein of wool has made two felted pot holders and part of a scarf.  I'm cautiously optimistic that I have enough yarn left to make the entire scarf--if my One Skein Scarf pattern uses a 50g skein and I'm using a 100g - 2 pot holders, that should be enough for a scarf, right?

Potholderfest continues tomorrow.  I've got a full day of substituting and since it's just "sc across until it looks about the right size", it's easy to put down and pick up again if I need to deal with students.  (My substitute teaching philosophy is very simple: arts and crafts.)

Monday, November 30, 2009

You follow your katra, and you can do anything

The Christmas sweatshop is still plugging along.  Or whatever a sweatshop of one would do.  I got two presents finished, two almost done, and made an ornament for my grandparents' tree.  And I haven't gotten around to taking pictures of any of this--some of it I can't post until it's in someone else's hot little hands, and the ornament is two states away.

The ornament is another Ana Paula Rimoli pattern.  So far I've made about three of the little trees with light green Vanna's Choice and Lion Brand Holiday Homespun.  I hate working with Holiday Homespun, but it does make nicer trees.  I'd like to make two of the birds for Ms. H--- and Ms. C--- over at the school where I tutor.  Birds seem nondenominational.

Finding the little eyes has become my grail quest.  (My sad, ultimately unimportant grail quest, but at least I'm not going to fail to get my safety eyes because of kingdom-ruining adultery.)  Locally I can't find any small enough to look good on my little animals, I hate embroidering the eyes and am not very good at it, and I don't like the backs of the ones I got from Etsy.  Apparently I have now been crocheting enough to have started the slow slide into insanity that seems to plague all crocheters and knitters (or at least the ones on the internet).


Tonight I am an orange belt.

I don't even remember doing my third kata.  I know I did something and that it was apparently correct, but the moves just sort of did themselves.  Which has happened before because theater people are crazy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Despite my lousy mood due to rain and having to drive to and from eastern Henrico in the rain, I stopped at Kroger's after work because tomorrow night I'm making a pumpkin pie.  And I'm making a pumpkin pie not out of any Thanksgiving-style kindness or even as part of my food pusher nature: I'm making pumpkin pie because this week I want to eat pumpkin pie.

Tonight it's Kroger Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies before going to karate.  Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies are place and back chocolate chip cookies with red and green tree sprinkles.  After coming out of the oven, they slowly deflate and look really depressing.  They're so crappy looking, Blogger won't even let me upload a picture of my culinary failure.

Which is why these are cookies for family instead of decent folk.

Also I Kroger I have acquired a small Christmas tree, so now Amy has yet another thing to keep alive over the weekend.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Well, it only took me six months, but I've finally figured out Creepy Cute.  Sort of.  Okay, not really since I still can't do the stupid magic ring.  And I have no idea what the Creepy Cute Basic Head Pattern is trying to tell me, so I just used the head pattern from Amigurumi World's tiny amis.
But, still, check out this sweet ass blue devil!  The less said about FAILigator, my other commission from Kristen, the better.  Basically, I have failed Vanna White and her Vanna's Choice Easy Crochet Critters.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Like a light bulb

Damn you, Ink Circles, do you know how many on-going projects I already have?

I need to remember that I'm poor, already have too much stuff to work on, and that the number of reindeer is wrong.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's not product placement; I just like it!

On my last visit to Target, I found more Lynka frames.  If I am capable of loving anything, I love these frames.

They're perfect for little cross stitch designs since they're small and they're magnets so you don't have to  figure out what you're going to do with all your tiny cross stitch projects that you can't offload on friends and family.

Here is the latest thing after ironing and before going into the frame.  The MiniPop figures with text are basically the perfect size for the Lynkas.

I thought I'd counted it out for "ESCALATOR" to be centered, but apparently I was way off.  Or, because of the shape of the letters, it may be centered but not actually look it (Since it's me, I probably miscounted.)

I should always iron pieces before I frame them, but sometimes that step gets skipped.  And by "sometimes" I mean "almost always."  Exceptions are when I'm actually giving someone something in a frame, and days like today when I've got about four levels of procrastination going.

Here's all of the Lynka frames still in my possession.  (And if you look closely, you can see I didn't bother to iron Life or Death before I framed it.  Oh, Kate, you lovable sloth!)

I decided that the first Kirk I did doesn't deserve a magnet frame, so I used one of my magnet cards.  The magnet cards are sticky on one side so, if I had a career, I could use them to make my business cards into magnets.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with SLUT now that I've publicly said it's not up to my exacting nerd magnet standards.  I would say there's always Etsy, but I had absolutely no luck the last time I tried using it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

No homo

Hopefully I've scheduled this far enough out for Kristen to have gotten this in the mail and not ruined the surprise.

Earlier this month I talked about doing some MiniPop cross stitch and asking Kristen to help me with some color choices and character selection.

me: Should Kirk's shirt be ripped?
Kristen: no, too gay

Like any reasonable adult, I immediately decided that Kristen needed to be rewarded with her efforts with gay Star Trek cross stitch.  I faced two obstacles:

  1. My incredible laziness
  2. The last scraps of my dignity
I decided I should go with something that one could easily pretend is totally platonic (but is still kind of gay).  This plan would probably have worked a hell of a lot better if I hadn't revealed it to the internet.

Which meant no hand-holding and a severe reduction in hearts and sparkles.

I think you can tell from the picture, but the letters are done in metallic floss, as are the uniform details.  God, I really hate metallic floss, and I always manage to forget how awful it is until I've already started.

As the Sybok, it didn't occur to me that I could easily put a magnet on the back and mail it before I sealed the envelope. (If you want a magnet, just bring it with you next time you're here, Kristen.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Finished g-g-g-ghost cakes

My mother was right: I'm a food pusher.

Today's project: ghost cakes and candy-coated Oreos.  Okay, by "Oreos" I mean Halloween-themed Kroger brand chocolate sandwich cookies, but they 1)were cheaper and 2)have orange colored filling.

Unlike some of my other Wilton specialty pans, the ghost cakes have worked pretty well.  They're a real pain to clean, but last year there weren't any problems with uneven cooking or the ghosts getting stuck.

Thinking about how well the ghost cakes worked last time was obviously a mistake.  I'm not sure if the directions that came with the pan are different from the ones I found online, but there's some uneven cooking issues, as you can see from their bloated stomachs.

Fortunately, I'm only interested in making adorable ghost cakes.  Ideally people would enjoy eating them, but I'm probably not going to, especially since my costume this year is epically unforgiving.

I don't have the materials to do any of the examples shown in the ghost directions, but I really like Giggling Ghoul.  Piping like that is a huge pain in the ass, and I don't have a frosting tip small enough.

Also, I loathe those plastic frosting bags.  I've never been able to get them to work, and I can't find a reusable icing thing like we used to have.  Which is just bizarre considering all the "go green" stuff now.  Why is the only option plastic bags that you have to throw out after each different frosting color when DMC's sending me e-mails about "eco-friendly" cross stitch accessories?

Since I'm not really in a school (and there wasn't a practical way to bring/leave things for coworkers), I haven't had an excuse to break out the Halloween candy molds, and of course this is the year that I find Midnight Black candy melts.

The test run of the cookies was fairly popular, and they're fairly quick to do.  I'm keeping them two colors because the way the mold is shaped, details like the Jack o'lantern eyes are more trouble than they're worth.

I've still got some of the test run cookies leftover, so I need a volunteer to check if they're stale or not.  I may just give them to my dear old parents anyway since the candy's gotten a bit scuffed (see, when you don't actually want to eat any of the desserts you make, you can worry about things like that).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yesterday I planted some of my goth tulip bulbs around the Laziest Little Dogwood.  I saved two to try planting indoors, but I'm having the hardest time finding those plastic planters.  Like a basic, cheap plastic pot to put dirt and some sort of flower in.

I went to Target in the hopes that they might actually have a gardening section that didn't piss me off and because I don't go to Wal-Mart on the weekends.  Just so you know, Target's gardening section is a few watering cans and Christmas decorations.

I decided to grab a small bud vase and some of those flat marble things.  Years ago my aunt had a bulb growing in something like that, so I figured that was an option.

Since I don't know how heavy tulips get, there's a good chance this will end in tears.  And now I have overpriced flat marbles that I'm sure I'll find something to do with.

I also felted my pot holder.  Most of the letters shrank too much, so I spent last night picking them out with my embroidery scissors.  (The fact that two family members immediately disapproved of the color choice may or may not have been a factor.)

So, now it's science blue.  And instead of baking, it's for throwing bowls of soup at people.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I did this while watching series 1 of Pulling, so that's why my phrasing may have gone weird

No matter what the internet or Crochet for Dummies says, changing yarn colors is not fun and easy.

Being the sort of person I am, I want Batman potholders.  If I were smart enough to crochet the bat-logo, I would sit back and think, "Self, today you have actually accomplished something."

My other dream was to crochet a Star Trek potholder and have it say "Bake it so, #1".  And I thought that, even though that site gives a knitting pattern, I could just use the chart and do it in crochet.

Because God doesn't want me to have nice things, I am too stupid to follow a crochet color chart and have it look like an actual design instead of technicolor failure.

And then I found out that you can cross stitch on crochet.  So I thought: that's something I'm way more competent in!

I know people are impressed that I can demand so much of myself for some things and yet still be so lazy.  And I can probably be too critical, but I look at this, and I just think, "Kate, I dare you to do better.  Because this is a bit shit."

And since it's nerd-craft, I can't even give it to my grandmother who is legally obligated to say it looks very nice and pretend they need more potholders.

Next step is to add a border, felt it, figure out what to do if felting makes it look even worse, and figure out what to do about the back.

If anyone ever tells you that the back of your cross stitch should be as neat as the front, they're taking the piss.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I finally got around to re-staking the tomato plants.  (The fact that my mother just happened to have an adequate number of 3' stakes in her car definitely helped with the "get off my ass and do it" factor.)

Here's Zoot with the farm so you can get an idea of how large the plants have gotten.  All five of them were grown from seeds (I think from one of those little dollar plant kits they have at Target).

If you're not familiar with Zoot, she would be a small, dainty little puss if she wasn't so disgustingly fat.

Boldly going forward

This weekend's project: sorting out my colors for this

Original pixel art is here, under Star Trek.  I used Uhura to figure out the other two ladies.  And since I've got a bit more wiggle room than pixel art, it was super-important to me that the dudes got their stupid 60's pant cuffs.  God willing, I will figure out how a decent way to give everybody heels.

(If you notice that somebody's missing, it's because shunning is a Russian inwention.  Down at the bottom are Ripped Shirt Kirk and Fat Day Kirk.)

In what will probably be one of the coolness nadirs of my life, I got Kristen on gchat to talk about DMC colors.  Red was pretty easily taken care of--when in doubt, DMC 666--but we had trouble with the blue.
And we may have gotten distracted by the reference pictures.

I don't think we figured anything out for Vulcan skin tone, or at least not anything I'm happy with.  (At the top of the picture you might be able to see that I've figured out Uhura's.  Maybe.)  This cross stitch definitely makes Spock a different color than the white humans, but some additional internet sleuthing only got me the graph paper pattern without a color chart.  And the only other Spock cross stitch I can find shows him with rosy cheeks, which is offensive to nerds and space racists.

To get an idea for colors, I usually pull up a DMC color chart online before I go digging through my embroidery floss.  Apparently Kristen's screen shows things at a slightly different color than mine, so that didn't help either.  Still, she may be rewarded for her time.  Since she said that Ripped Shirt Kirk was too gay for a Christmas present to the old man, I am wondering if I want to be the kind of person who makes twee gay Star Trek cross stitch to give to their sister.  Ideally it would involve hearts, sparkles, and a pairing she hates so much that she would immediately send me an angry text/chat/e-mail.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Apparently they make flowers for goths, or at least people like me who aren't quite sure how they've managed to avoid being goth.

I went to K-Mart the other evening to try to get another seed starter tray.  The outside planters have looked like hell for awhile, and filling them with dirt seemed like a good idea at the time.  And was still better than dealing with pots full of dead plants and probably bugs.

My plan was to get some flower seeds and a mini-greenhouse, then rip out the crappy plants and put in the new ones.  I've been thwarted by the fact that Wal-Mart and K-Mart have both gotten rid of these sorts of things.

I did see a bag of goth blubs at K-Mart, but decided I wasn't going to pay $6 for them.  I picked up a smaller box for $3 at Kroger, and I'm too mathtarded to bother figuring out if this was a better deal or not.

My goth tulips are a black and purple color and have a name as bleak as my soul: Queen of the Night.  They bloom in spring, which seems like an odd choice for tulips designed to show the futility of life.

The internet has confirmed that, if I plant one of them inside now, it'll bloom a bit earlier than normal.  I need to find a good place for the rest of them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A lot of my own cross stitch patterns are taken from video game sprites, and one of my great frustrations is that 2-D Mortal Kombat sprites are too detailed to easily make into patterns.

I've been able to find fan-made sprites of some of the characters--if you've been to my house you've seen my MK I and II Perler bead pictures--but nothing that I've really liked enough to cross stitch.  Until I discovered all the kharacters of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 in the style of Pokemon trainers.

Usually I try to stick with NES/SNES era sprites since they're much easier to work with.  Depending on what it is, I'll often simplify the number of colors in an SNES sprite since some of the shading doesn't read well at cross stitch/Perler bead size.

These are apparently DS sprites, which would explain why it's been so frustrating.  The kombatants are too complicated/time consuming to stitch off the screen, so I have been using high tech equipment such as graph paper and cheap colored pencils.

I finally got KG Stitch--a program that lets you import a picture and turn it into a pattern--and it's just giving me another level of frustration.  I guess my real objection is that computer pattern-making software is not magic and requires just as much (if not more) work as filling in squares on graph paper.

I was going to just use it for some shading help and color choices, but then it told me that Kitana's skin should be orange.  Another flaw in the "let the computer decide the colors" is that I'm up to 155 different colors of embroidery floss, so I really need to see if I can make do with what I've got.

Still, Minipop pattern making has gone well.  More on that once I actually start stitching something.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

While setting up some future posts I realized I never posted the finished "TAYLOR":

You can see the embiggened version here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

They're not really dead as long as we have their morbid sampler.

I got Picture It in Cross Stitch from the library.  Which is designed to make corny samplers of your family and garden and such.  I naturally look at it and think "mischief."

In my copy--I think the linked version is slightly different--there is an old timey sampler verse:

When this you see remember me
And bear me in your mind;
And be not like the weathercock
That turn at every wind.
When I am dead and laid in grav
And all my bones are rotten,
By this may I remembered be
When I should be forgotten  (1736)

Apparently in day's of yore it was perfectly acceptable for young ladies to sit around, making samplers with morbid little poems.  And when I see something like those last four lines, I think, "Is there a hilariously inappropriate cheerful design I can put around this?  Like the chart of the baby sliding down a rainbow?"

Given my history, I'm sure I'd be institutionalized if somebody found me stitching something like these:

When I am dead and worms me eat
Here you shall see my name complete.

Mother dear weep not for me
When in this yard my grave you see
My time was short and blessed was he
That called me to eternity

For one thing, planting bulbs is hard enough in "this yard".  I don't even want to think about burying a human body.  I think any hamsters or whatever were buried in the woods next to the house or very close to it, and Garfield didn't give us the option.  (I got a rock.)

Unlike these dead Colonial to Victorian consumptives, my legacy will have to be what a sad nerd I was.   And when I'm dead you can look at my Perler Bead recreation of Mortal Kombat II or a cross stitch of Batman Returns Catwoman and know that I'm smiling up at you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finished crochet stuff

First felting project is done.  Yarn is Lion Brand Wool in "Autumn Sunset". (provided by a grant from the Rowe Ellis Foundation)

Here's before and after its magical trip through the washer and dryer:

After the first magical journey, I decided it needed more felting so I soaked it in hot water, rinsed it with cold, and tossed it back in the dryer.

And Baby Lion finally got a body.  Also, I hate sewing yarn pieces together.  Because I suck at it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tomorrow's project: planting two yellow mums by the mailbox.

Our soil is absolutely god awful.  It's basically clay, and the two most miserable spots to dig are by the side of the house and around the mailbox.  Right now I'm trying to keep anyone else from messing with the side of the house.  Last year I busted my ass putting some lilies and other plants there for the summer, went to camp, and that was pretty much the end of those plants.

At least one lily came back and was then pulled out since my father's definition of "weed" is extremely broad and inaccurate.  And somebody dropped a bush directly over some of the others.

I did put some spring bulbs in there--the pink oxalis keep popping back up--but I'm trying to encourage "patience" since I'm sick and tired of putting a few hours into just planting something to have the landlords get impatient and pull it up or drop a bush on it.

The mailbox soil is just as crap, and there's a mailbox post in the way.  It gets a lot of sun, but that means anything planted there needs to be watered every day.  And I cannot bitch about how hard it is to dig.  If we actually needed to plant a vegetable garden, we'd probably be screwed.

Mailbox Flowers is tomorrow's project because I missed the last two karate classes (instructor's illness and then mine), and I don't want to come in with stiff shoulders from Honest Toil.  Especially since I haven't been practicing enough.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Somehow my accumulation of crochet patterns and unfinished projects is already starting to rival my cross stitch equivalents.  Which is impressive when you consider that I only learned to crochet in May or June of this year.

Baby Lion from Amigurumi World should be finished fairly soon since all he needs is a body.

I was too lazy to look for felt and couldn't find safety eyes smaller than 9mm.  After looking at Baby Lion's slightly square head, I decided he should have some ears.  They're the same as the pattern for Daddy Lion, but with the Baby Lion sized hook.

The yarn is Vanna's Choice (yes, that  Vanna.), but I'm drawing a blank on the exact colors.

Because I'm a bad sister, dog-aunt, and sister-in-law, I still haven't finished the Daisy Coaster.  The Daisy Coaster is a god awful neon pink and sort of like a large pom sized Snuggle.  Except instead of providing warmth and comfort to a shelter animal, the Daisy Coaster is meant to keep a spoiled, owned Pomeranian from directly touching the furniture.

Obviously, the Daisy Coaster is desperately needed.  As history's greatest monster, I've been working on Baby Lion and starting My First Felting project.  Like all sad starter projects, it's going to be a potholder.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Two more works in progress. Because I never learn.

My cousin's baby was going to be born today (no updates on Facebook yet, but mother, father, and grandmother haven't posted since yesterday's "inducing tomorrow" post), so I need to hurry up and finish the real baby gift:

The pattern's from Cross Stitch Alphabets by Christine Porter.  I should just suck it up and get my own copy --this is my second time getting it from the library, and my color copies of the Nursery Alphabet pattern make it difficult to see some of the backstitch.
I looked up the nursery rhymes each letter is based on because I thought that would be a nice companion piece, but some of them were a huge stretch.
T--Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
A--Pussycat, Pussycat ("...And frightened A little mouse under her chair")
Y--The Duke of York
L--Little Miss Muffet
O--Old Mother Hubbard
R--Ring Around the Rosie (Maybe.)
When finished, "R" is a man and a woman in Ye Olde Fancy Clothes holding hands.  So it's "Ring Around the Rosie" because I burned out the little grey cells trying to figure out "A".

Even though I really shouldn't start anymore cross stitch projects until I actually manage to finish some, the lure of Halloween crafts is too strong.  Despite "TAYLO", [can't disclose], Cirque des Cercles, the Christmas kit that time forgot, Pluto Dead Scream, Poodle Gift 2 of 2, and the stuff I've probably given up on, I've started the Quaker Boo freebie from The Sampler Girl.  The chart isn't available anymore, so I'm using the color chart.  There's been a lot of counting and zooming in.

Colors at the moment are Carrie's Threads Halloween for most of the green areas, CT Orange Zing for the pumpkin, and DMC 4070 for the pumpkin stem.  The cat will probably be good old DMC 310.

The fabric is Charles Craft Monaco 28ct in "Tea".  Usually anything higher than 18ct is worked "over two", but I'm hardcore.  Sure, it takes more concentration, and I could go blind, but it's not like my vision was that great to begin with.

Here's TAYLOR (18ct white aida) next to Quaker Boo so you can get a better idea of how totally Milton I'm getting with this:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I think I need a new pin cushion.

Apparently sticking your embroidery needles in the sofa arms is frowned upon for some reason, so I've been using an amigurumi coffee cup.  It was supposed to look like this one from Amigurumi World, but mine uses variegated yarn and looks like crap.

The "looks like crap" part helps because I'd probably have a problem jabbing needles in something cute.  Like this "sleeping cat pin cushion" is kind of cute, but potentially horrible.

So like any rational, sensitive person, I'm thinking "voodoo doll".  I'm trying to find a decent free pattern (maybe something I can felt with my new wool yarn?)

I'm also trying to find 6mm safety eyes because neither Michaels nor Ben Franklin carries them.  I assume this is just to spite me.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I think today's project is going to be finishing up the Bat Mini Treat Holder  from the Michaels website, the companion piece to Pot Spider.

There is a pattern for the wings and ears, but I'm not entirely sure hot to "Trace and transfer wing and ear pattern onto foam sheet. "  Since it's foam, and I assume you can't pin shit to foam.  My best guess is that I'm going to reverse engineer some really stupid solution.  It may involve scotch tape.

I also need to figure out what I'm going to do with a small, wooden coffin.  I would like to believe there's some toy lying around the house that would fit perfectly in it, but I may have to make a miniature corpse.  Are mummies appropriate for a coffin with a bat on the front?  Because, with my skills, I probably have a better chance at a mummy than a skeletal hand or something that requires talent.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kendra's Birthday Presents

Like I mentioned in the last post, I've been making a lot of presents for people since I quit smoking.

These two were gifts for Kendra, an arteest who appreciates intelligent entertainment.  Like Sailor Moon.

Venus is her favorite, and I've been meaning to do a Sailor Venus cross stitch for awhile.  For whatever reason, it just didn't happen until this summer.

This is the (almost) finished version.  It's sort of sprite stitch since the source picture is a sprite from the SNES Sailor Stars Puzzle Game, taken from here.

I say it's sort of sprite stitch because I usually change the sprites a bit.  The most obvious change here is that I've added some backstitching to show the detail on the sleeves and to give her a nose.  I also did an orange backstitch (DMC S741) around the big yellow heart instead of using different colored pixles like in the sprite.

Another thing I tend to do is take out the shading.  Some sprites will also have a few pixels that are a different color, and when I was doing Perler Beads more frequently, I thought it looked kind of crap.

For whatever reason, I probably spent more time on this sprite than any other.  (Okay, so a lot of the other stuff was little Mario sprites)  One problem was getting a new computer before I'd finished the pattern.  A new computer with Windows Vista, which doesn't like XP's free photo editor.  I had to make do with Paint since that was the only thing that let me zoom in without losing picture quality.

(And I wish I'd gotten KG Stitch up and running much sooner.)

While I was finishing up Venus Love and Beauty Shock, the idea for the other present popped into my head.

I took this LJ icon, and turned it into a quick and dirty cross stitch.

I graphed out the cross stitches for the head, but the hair, brooch, and collar were freehand.  As for the text, "Sailor V for Victory!" is something Sailor Venus says at some point in the anime.

And this is either the best personalized gift ever, or proof that I shouldn't craft late at night.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Keep it gay, keep it gay, keep it gay

Tonight's project: Rainbow Cake.  The internet was completely useless in telling me how to make my own Magical Rainbow Tower of Dreams.

Some day I will have my own Magical Rainbow Tower of Dreams.  The really depressing thing is I don't even like cake that much.  I don't want to eat the Magical Rainbow Tower of Dreams--I just want to have it.  I want to look at it and say, "I have this awesome cake."

Anyway, I'm using my heart shaped pan instead of two round ones, so there's a chance this will go horribly wrong.  I just want it to look nice.

This is going to be the birthday cake for my joint party with Kendra.  We're doing a Sailor Moon theme, so I did it in the Inner Senshi's colors.  Because I take my nerd cakes to the saddest level possible.
Pink--Sailor Moon
Blue--Sailor Mercury
Red--Sailor Mars
Green--Sailor Jupiter
Orange--Sailor Venus

And if this works out--or if I can figure out how to get it to work--next stop Royal Rainbow!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Party on Saturday, so today was Couch Clearing Day.

Around here, that means there's still stuff on the couches, but this pile has been split into three smaller piles and moved somewhere else.

There's about four unfinished projects in this picture: the neon pink Daisy coaster (a single crochet blanket for the Daisy to sit on in her new home), a blanket for the Snuggles Project, pieces of an amigurumi elephant, and Cirque des Cercles in the Old Navy bag.

I've decided I'm going to be an orange belt by the end of October.  The should be do-able even though my hook kicks are pretty sad.  (The link's not quite it, but had the best pictures I could find.)

If you know anything about my athletic ability, you probably know that I'm lazy.  And if you know two things about my athletic ability, the other one would be that I'm as flexible as a brick.  My flexibility's improved since I started doing yoga and karate, but seeing the improvement makes people feel sorry for me.

So, some of the higher kicks are currently unimpressive.  Fortunately I'm one of the tallest people in the class, so it's not that hard to land even my crappiest kicks above the belt.  Some credit should also go to my big, sasquatch feet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eppon III, Pot Spider, and Plants

Doing an hour of Wii Fit Free Step the day before karate was a poor choice.  My calves are unhappy.

Given that I'm not epic fail at memorizing kata, maybe I actually could have become a tolerable dancer.  You know, if not for the "laziness" and "unwillingness to practice" and "giving up because I wasn't good at it right away."

Finished up Pot Spider yesterday.  The legs are bit too long, but I think that--and the anatomically correct googly eyes--add to the Halloween creepiness of it.

I need to think of something to put in it, but candy doesn't really last in this house, and I'm not sure how a plant would work with Pot Spider (and do I really want to put dirt in something I spent two days painting?)

But I do have baby cacti now!  There's going to be a lot of plant abortions though.  Some of the seeds grew through the mesh that came on the soil pellets, and there's some pellets that already have four seedlings.