Monday, June 28, 2010

Arts and crafts are basically my summer job

Finally got some good pictures of my awesome Batman cross stitch, and listed it on Etsy (along with my first eeveelutions cross stitch).

Right now I'm trying to figure out the projects schedule: my Glee swap needs to be shipped out by the 12th, I've got an afghan commission that's some point this fall, and a project from Kristen and Steven.

At the moment, I think it looks kind of like a face.  And yes, once again, I'm sponging off black-lupin's patterns (she's the one who made the Kirk and the Spock face patterns I've used).  I'd probably go back to using my own skills and imagination, but why would I do that when I could cross stitch the Gorn?

It amuses me greatly that Kristen and Steven both sort of cringed at the idea of the TNG equivalent of the TOS patterns--and apparently the designer couldn't get the photo patterns to look right.

Mr. Theiss, while I appreciate the incredibly flimsy design of male Starfleet uniforms, would it have killed you to make the TNG division colors in shades that are easily captured by DMC embroidery floss?  My friends, there is nothing quite so depressing as standing in the needlework aisle, squinting at shades of teal thread, searching for the perfect shade to represent Medical teal (3765).  Command Security mustard is also challenging (3852, but I'm not sure if I'm happy about it).  The next fun challenge will be figuring out Data's skin tone and convincing myself that this is slightly less sad than knowing the plan of the ship.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

If it means taking a chubby, I will suck it up

Amo's going away for the rest of the summer--including her birthday--so I decided to make her a Good Riddance/Happy Birthday package to bring to the lunch gathering.

The Invincibility Star comes from this pattern, but I completely ignored the "chain 1, join" business.

This fine masterpiece is almost all Kate, with some help from free alphabets and Mini Pop.

I'm trying to decide if I should make this a one of a kind piece for my one of a kind friend Amo, or if there's a market for it on Etsy.  As a scheming, conniving capitalist, I'm sure Amo wouldn't care.

I spent today in the Burg, where we all stumbled over to Goodwill after an Indian buffet.  They were selling 6 Disney cross stitch pieces from a pattern book my mother had--one of the six was the Dumbo the Flying Elephant that my mother made for me (I think she changed the pattern for some reason--I want to say because Dumbo's magic feather was the wrong color--so that's how long I've been demanding extra nerdiness in cross stitch)

If the pattern book hadn't fallen apart/lost critical pages, I would probably have made this Sleeping Beauty one for Kristen.  I was hoping the camera phone would be enough to figure out a pattern.  I might be able to manage Briar Rose, but it's probably less trouble to look the book up on eBay.  Oh, look, here's one.  Although the listed shipping seems pretty steep for what I remember being a pretty flimsy book.

I think selling them as a set is probably a poor choice--the frames are pretty flimsy, and half of them are Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse, and the other three were Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, and Dumbo.  I would've been seriously tempted to get the Sleeping Beauty one--even if I just used it to make an 18ct copy--but $20 for six pieces of somebody else's work for a skill I already have?  Especially after watching that hoarders show on TLC the night before?

There was also this animal alphabet sampler.  It bothers me that there's no A, and N is for Night Owl and X is for foX are pretty lazy, but it has potential.

I initially thought that BJP's relatives were jerks for offloading this since it looks like it was stitched on linen, but Michelle noticed some tell-tale printed lines.  Still, BJP's relatives are kind of jerks.  Based on the date next to the signature, this was probably made for a kid about my age.  Who apparently comes from a family where you actually get rid of things.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Of all the souls I have known, his was the most...embroidered.

For those of you who want closure on cross stitched Kirk.  I'm still trying to figure out a good quote.  Suggestions so far are "I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome I am" and "Where the green wimmin at?"  (And because I think forgetting to credit it, Kirk pattern is from black-lupin.)

This weekend I made patterns for all the eeveelutions except leafeon for some reason and glaceon because I think it looks stupid.

I'm trying to come up with a totally radical caption for the eevees, and...uhh, nothing so far.  (Not that there seems to be any great glut of eevee-based cross stitch on Etsy, but I figure I might as well come up with that little bit extra.)  Is it wrong to combine Pokemon and RHPS?  Because I feel like it's totally not.  I feel like it might be the best thing I've ever done.

So, I figured I'd start with Espeon and Umbreon.  I need to iron this and my super-awesome bat-propaganda poster, then list them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gonna dig me a hole (gonna dig me a hole), Gonna put a nerd in it


Todays activities: baking a cake and planting more flowers.

The cake is butter pecan with vanilla frosting, both from box/can because I'm super important.  I need to do super important things like go to Home Depot and impulse buy flowers.

I forgot how frosting works, but nothing says Happy Father's Day quite like "I was too stupid to think of buying back up frosting when I went to Kroger's earlier today, and going to Wal-Mart could interfere with digging holes in the yard."

I did manage to buy a big ass bag of pecans to put on the parts of the cake that were actually frosted.  The fact that I could stuff my mouth with any pecans that I did not deem cake quality was not a factor in my decision to decorate the cake with exactly the type of nuts I enjoy stuffing in my mouth (hurr hurr).

This is probably the gayest Father's Day cake ever, but I didn't know if I'd have time to pull off anything awesome.  And without karate to bring leftover desserts to, cupcakes wouldn't be practical.  (I did consider the lazy, store bought route, but finding James Bond cake toppers is, as always, a challenge.)

And then it was time to dig holes in the ground and stuff plants in them.

The new rose bush really makes the little surviving one look like a piece of crap.  But I'm sure given enough time we'll break this one too.

Have I mentioned yet how much I hate annuals?  And our horrible dirt?  And digging in our horrible dirt to plant annuals?

I picked up two Tiny Skyline Lilies that have promised to come back year after year, assuming no one becomes over-enthusiastic and digs them up to put in more god damn annuals.  Once they bloom they're going to be a bright orange.  Just like today's gardening ensemble: my orange sneakers, my orange shorts, and my orange sports bra.  I ain't classy, but at least I'm color coordinated.  I'm what happened after Lala Orange left the Color Kids to move back in with her parents in the suburbs.

I think it's super important that you know that, after finishing this project, I was covered in dirt, purloined suntan lotion, bug spray, and sweat.  Lots and lots of sweat.  We Simonsens are notorious sweaters, and apparently after twenty minutes tilling the soil and being abused by Angry Sun, my stomach gleams with the sweat of an honest day's complaining.


The rose bush already has several new blooms and lots of little buds.  More of the Tiny Skylines look like they're ready to go.

In celebration of Father's Day and to get ready for the Daddy Daughter Henrico County Landfill Visit, I've been picking up glass.  Because we couldn't live in a house that was built on an ancient Indian burial ground--we had to live over a reclaimed garbage dump.  Except the garbage is pretty much all shards of glass.  (Because I am the coolest kid you know, I have been silently singing "Walking on Broken Glass" to myself during this super-awesome activity.)

I also decided it was time to dig the suet cage out of the front bushes and accept that the squirrels won't let me have nice bird feeders.

While there I moved some earthworms off the front walkway to flower plots (like I said, coolest kid you know) and found a tiny little snail.  And, quite conveniently, a paper clip for helping with size comparisons.

I don't think I've ever seen snails out here.  One time when Mike and I were in LA, a lot of them came out on his patio after it rained, but I can't remember seeing any Virginia snails before.  Definitely slugs and a lot of those little pill bugs as the old man and I have been digging shit up and killing grass, but no snails.

Yes, part of the recent gardening project has involved killing the grass.  We attempted to suffocate it under garbage bags, and then got tired of waiting and just dug and tore it up.  You may be interested to know that this grass was doing much better than the rest of the lawn.

Friday, June 18, 2010

You're the birthday you're the birthday you're the birthday boy or girl

This year's June birthdays are brought to you by Creepy Cute.

I may be a failure monkey who couldn't come up with a present by the actual deadline or the Sister in Town Deadline, but my devil skills seem to be improving.  I think this time I finally actually did the tail correctly (okay, probably not, but at least wrong in a nicer looking way).

A few more of these and I should be able to level up to making super devils.

Since Tammy had a birthday and I had a belt test, I decided to make her a bribe present.  I considered a baby mutant ninja turtle, but I don't know if she's up on TMNT.  Or, if she is, which one is her favorite.  Which is an important consideration when you're making mutant ninja turtles of any age for someone.  (Raphael, who is simultaneously cool and crude.)  So, regular ninjas.

I don't know if any of my pictures make it clear that I used my R-Pattz Sparkle Yarn, the very same yarn that I used to make my Special Valentine the most sparklingest vampire pot holder EVER.

I went with white so I could give this ninja a tiny black belt.  And because one should never reject a legitimate opportunity for R-Pattz sparkle yarn.

I don't think of this as a crappy picture with weird lighting: it is proof of elite ninja skills allowing even a white, sparkling ninja to blend seamlessly into the lack of shadows.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Turtle Power

There's going to be a sequel to Amigurumi World and Amigurumi Two!, so I need to start saving my pennies or get a job or something.

From Ana Paula's blog I wander onto the Flickr group and saw the best use ever of the sea turtle pattern: Baby Mutant Ninja Turtles.

And I think I've already got all the necessary yarn colors.  Excelsior!  (Pale blue and pale purple felt will probably be my biggest challenge, but everybody knows that Donatello is the worst one, both in artists and ninja turtles.)

By rearranging the accessories and sewing the limbs on in a slightly different position, it probably wouldn't be too difficult to make small teenage versions.

Today's big project: fancying up the flower plot by the neighbors' fence.

Apparently Angry Sun accepted my challenge from last time and decided to be even more of a dick today.  There's nothing quite like digging small trenches in the hot sun while your father sweats enough to turn dirt into mud.

In the first picture you can also see the new birdhouse pole.  I don't know if squirrels can jump from the deck railing onto the little house, but they can shimmy up the pole.

As a delicate lady, I did lady's things, like dig out the loose dirt after my father used the pick and nearly pass out in the sun.  I also added some more plants in once the good dirt was added.  If they thrive, I might take some more pictures once there are actually flowers.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Technicolor pachyderms are really too much for me

Since Michelle and Thessaly were going to be meeting people in Williamsburg, and at least one of them loves elephants, I decided to make the elephant from Easy Crochet Critters.  I bought some light turquoise Red Heart yarn awhile back--I think possibly for an Ana Paula Rimoli elephant.

This one is a more realistic elephant (my other patterns are for bipedal pachyderms), and there were fewer pieces to make and sew together--the head and the body are all one piece, starting from the elephant's butt and finishing up at the tip of the trunk.

You can see the color fairly well in this extremely flattering picture of me sewing the legs on.  Kristen helped stuff the legs, but could not be conned into sewing the legs on.

Here the yarn looks like a pale grey/blue-grey.

The pattern says to use 6mm eyes, but those looked too small and beady.  When I make an elephant, I want him to look trustworthy.

And here is the elephant in action.  I may need to send some blunt needles and some yarn just in case the trunk remains a popular hand hold.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Valdeez nuts

This week's goal: finish belated birthday present for elderly father.  Fortunately Kristen's arrival this weekend gives me an awesome excuse for delaying.

The important thing is that I haven't gone blind, and isn't a sighted child the best gift any father could receive?

Other projects: turtle scrubbin' rags to send to the Gulf.  Craft Hope is collecting sewn, crocheted, or knitted washcloths and hand towels to clean up marine birds and mammals.  From the comments, it looks like some people are cutting old towels down to the correct size (10x10 for washrags, 14x27 for hand towels) and cutting the backs off old T-shirts to send.

The organizations (Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, Audubon Nature Institute, and  Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge) can also use Dawn dish soap, and here's a link if you'd like to donate directly to IMMS.

I'm starting with cotton yarn left over from some of my other projects (acrylic yarn is fine, but cotton is better).  When making blankets for the Snuggles Project I've used the same color yarn since even though the animals don't care, I figure that makes it more likely for the humans to want to hang on to the comfort item.

For something that's going to get covered in oil, I'm not too concerned about it looking nice.  And it's not going to--tied to the end of the variegated green is a little piece of hot pink from the Zoot Bed Project.

Rainbow Explosion is just rows of sc, but I might use some Attic Yarn in this dishcloth pattern.  It's few stitches, so a smart, efficient person would've used that pattern to begin with.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shine On, Harvest Moon

My weekend hasn't been all about drinking rum and watching Nicktoons.  Today I decided to finally start planting some of those prison flowers that've been sitting by the driveway, waiting for me to take a break from straining my liver and watching whatever Netflix Instant pukes up.

As my reward for my honest toil, I discovered that one of the rosebushes has actually started blooming.  The other two are...possibly dead.  According to eHow, rosebushes are like Juliet--they may only be tricking me into thinking they're dead, so I probably shouldn't kill myself over it.  Unless I want to speed up the rosebush's recovery by having it revive as soon as I've already swallowed all of the deadly poison.  Oh, cruel staging choices!

Unlike the two lazy/dead rosebushes, my Kroger oxalis has come back to life.  In the background, you can see the newest bird feeder.  My cunning plan was that the squirrels wouldn't try to gnaw pieces off it since they could just walk in and take the seeds.  The one flaw in my cunning plan: squirrels will apparently just sit inside the little house until they've eaten all the seeds.  So, cunning plan step two: wait for squirrels to become fat and slow enough for the cat to catch.

I didn't mind feeding the squirrels until I realized they will destroy your bird feeders, and they are greedy little binge eaters.

Since the old woman wanted to be able to look out the kitchen window and see flowers, I did a lot of planting near the rosebushes.  Until I posted this picture, I didn't realize quite how ugly this spot was.

Over in my hated side garden, some of my seeds are finally starting to bloom.  I celebrated with the traditional oak seedling genocide.

The prison tomatoes are doing well, even though I forgot about them for a few days and left them to their own devices in the hot, cruel sun.  There's currently a green tomato that I'll probably ripen in the house once it gets big enough.  The little woodland creatures cannot be trusted, and Garfield was the Teddy Roosevelt of Simonsen cats.

These green wires are left over from the grape plant I got from K-Mart.  It failed to thrive, and my attempts to buy grapes have failed miserable.  So, tomatoes.  Which I assume can be fermented if one gets desperate enough.  I mean, you can ferment any fruit, right?

As a Virginian, I'm going to need cocktails to sip as I look at the veranda from inside my air-conditioned house.  Being outside today was like that level in Super Mario Bros. 3 where the angry sun comes down and tries to kill you.  God, I hate you, Angry Sun.

After digging in the dirt and thinking about how much I hate the Sun, I decided to harvest some of the spring onions for vegetarian chili.  As much as I love sticking it to The Man, organic gardening is for chumps.  Not only am I denying the sweet, sadistic pleasure of dousing things in chemicals, but my scallions are small and feeble.  [phallic joke]

Now, I'm not saying I put a whole lot of effort into tilling my soil and sowing my seeds and tending my crops, because it's me.  I didn't even till any soil since I had my seed starter pellets and my bags of dirt.

But it was still slightly more effort than going to the grocery store and buying a bunch of scallions for 89 cents.  In the picture you can see what I managed to get from two of my Victory Garden scallions.  Thank God we already beat Hitler, because this pittance of seasonings sure isn't going to do it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Don't phase me, bro

I can't tell if I'm enjoying cupcake drama or if I'm just horrified by almost everyone involved.  Also, I still don't understand why cake in any form would make fat people cry, unless it's locked away or smashed on the floor or something.  "Cups of cake" makes me think about the food in Wall-E and/or makes me want to stab myself in the eye.

Also, $8 for a cupcake?  People will pay $8 for 1/12-1/24 of a normal cake?  And all this time I've been giving it away for free?


This week's project: working on the old man's birthday present.  And by "birthday present", I may mean "Father's Day present".  And by "project", I may mean "attempting to purchase a present since he buys all the TV shows he wants and I don't think he even opened the last three books I gave him."  Since he already bought himself a Blu-Ray player, I'm looking for ideas on Amazon.  It's mostly making me think, "Why the hell would I need that on Blu-Ray?"

Anyway, back to actually crafting, I'm once again trying to blind myself.  This time with the slightly smug visage of James T. Kirk. 

I'm still trying to think of a good quote to put next to the face.  I suspect I'm just going to be completely lazy and just stitch the opening narration.  Of which there are apparently far more versions than I had realized (assuming Wikipedia isn't trying to punk me).

Or: "A starship captain's most solemn oath is that he will give his life, even his entire crew, rather than violate the Prime Directive."

I just don't know if I'd be able to stop laughing long enough to actually stitch it.