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.)