Monday, May 30, 2011

Getting my help_japan charity commission finished up.  I'd offered myself up for two cross stitch commissions, but one of my bidders disappeared into the ether.  Which is probably good given my level of grad-school related fail.

After some negotiations, we went with Cubone.  Pokemon are great since most of them now have an overworld sprite and several front sprites to choose from.  This is the first time I've done a back sprite, but it's what my commissioner sent over.

Most video game sprites have a black outline.  It's much easier to start with the outline and then fill it in, but then you also have to be very careful that you're not getting stray threads caught under or pulled through with your lighter colors.

During the PCA/ACA conference I started working on a Shiny Vaporeon for personal use.  I don't have to worry about getting my threads mixed up, but I did have to learn how to count.  And since I don't "fill in" areas that are the same color as the fabric, I dread finding out that I've miscounted everything below Vaporeon's white ruff.

Cubone I did start with the outline because I'm a jerk because that made it much easier to figure out the starting point and a lot of the design is that big white skull.  Yes, I did spend a lot of time carefully picking stray bits of black out from behind my stitches.

I talk about color choices a lot, but that's only because color choices are either ridiculously obvious or the biggest pain in my ass.  Except for the few times they are a total pain in my ass until an Angel of the Lord descends and says, "Glory to God in the Highest, for He hath decided that all white people shall hence forth be stitched with 945 or possibly 948, but really thou shalt just go with 945."

Like I've said before, choosing colors is not about what color something actually is; it's about what color something looks like.  I'm still not entirely sure I got the colors quite right for Cubone, but I also have no idea what would've been better.  Some of the official art looks like a pale golden brown, but the sprites and other pictures look more tan.

If you look at the stitched picture and the sprite, you can see I've skipped the shading.  I didn't think the little highlight on the arm was worth it, and I was definitely worried that the shading on the back of the skull would just look dingy at this size (fortunately my commissioner is willing to trust me rather than wanting to go totally accurate).

According to its Pok√©dex entry, Cubone is hardcore.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lucky Cat

Belt test tonight, so instead of actually reviewing my material, I spent the afternoon making a good luck charm.  But it's the same kind of cultural appropriation as karate, so that's got to be worth something!

According to googling ancient tradition, green is for educational luck, and the raised right paw is supposed to bring in the money to pay for that education.  The bell is because it's a kitty.

As usual, I kind of hate his face.  Why do other people's embroidered faces look so cute, and mine look like some cretin had access to string and a needle.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Black and yellow

I've got a good sized piece of Lemon Twist Aida lying around for some reason.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's a Batman related reason since the only things I've made with it so far have been Batman related.

And then in my recent fever delirium, it hit me: The Simpsons.

Like a lot of people in my general age bracket, I have a conflicted relationship with The Simpsons.  I spent 1999-2002 saying, "Well, it's still better than most of TV."  I was in London for a good chunk of 2003-2004, but after I came back it took me a few years to realize that I didn't actually have to watch Fox at 8 on Sundays.  This was still after I'd declared the show dead to me at least five or six times.  Am I going to watch the season finale just to get angry at it?  Yes.  Because it would never occur to me that The Simpsons and I could just go our separate ways.  (Am I being sarcastic?  I don't even know anymore.)

Basically, no one 25-40 can be expected to think rationally about The Simpsons.  We would take a bullet for the first decade (or possibly only seasons 3-8 or maybe 2-7. but definitely not anything after "The Principal and the Pauper").  We would like to hold a pillow over the face of the second and third decade until it stops twitching--but only because we love it.  Like Urkel!

So, if this doesn't appeal to nostalgic Gen-Xers, maybe it'll appeal to those damn kids who don't realize "That 90's Show" was an abomination.

I still need to iron my frontier Springfield sampler.  The alphabet comes from Traditional Samplers, which I really only use for mischief.

I'm trying to decide if a border or some old school animal motifs would make it more cromulent.

Friday, May 20, 2011

How thou art fallen from Heaven, O Cake of the Morning

The Rapture's this weekend.  Fortunately my friend's throwing a party so we can all make sure we don't have to go anywhere.  And instead of spending my final moments on Earth in prayer and sincere repentance, I'm making cupcakes.  Devil's Food cupcakes, the most sinful of cakes.  Because I assume that before turning against Cake God in Dessert Heaven, Devil's Food cake was Angel Food cake.

This particular Wilton's icing color (Red-Red. the concentrated gel so nice they named it twice) claims it has no taste, but you really have to dump it in there to get a decent baboon's ass red.

The horns are similar to the Duke Blue Devil Cupcakes I made for Kristen's graduation except Ben Franklin just has bags of Artificially Flavored Cherry Slices Candies.  Two bags is not quite enough to make 24 devil cupcakes, but that does mean two leftover cupcakes that will not require the following explanation: "Uh, well, you know how it was supposed to be the Rapture this weekend?  Well..."

Having looked at the technique for the Duke Devil's Food Cupcakes, I'm now bitterly wishing I'd remembered that I'd used chocolate chips for eyes.

Black cookie icing is a real pain in the ass for super-important detail work.

Some of the devils have red, white, and blue stars on their paper wrappers.  I felt this would represent the status of America as the Great Satan.  Also, Ben Franklin doesn't sell red cupcake wrappers, and Wall-E or Disney Princesses just wouldn't make any sense.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dig and dig and dig and diggity

I'm tired from shoveling mulch.  That's how glamorous my life is.

Once all the mulch is hauled away, then I can dig holes in the dirt and put more flowers in them.

The first two pictures are from earlier in the spring.

The rest are from today.  A smart person would probably have taken pictures before pruning the rose bush.

The pansies and the...other purple things have really taken off, and the lilies seem to be back in full force.  I'm not sure when the lilies should bloom--either June or July, assuming Richmond's angry sun doesn't swoop down and kill everything.

My Chambourcin grape vine did have some little sprouts on it in March or April, but it doesn't seem to be doing too well anymore.  Apparently I can only cultivate useless flowers which, as far as I know, cannot be magically transformed into booze.