Sunday, January 30, 2011

Damned Browser

I'm getting ready to order everything I need to start "Lo How a Rose" from the 2001 A Cross Stitch Christmas book. 

I saw it finished on a different blog and fell in love with it, tho' now that I look at the original, I think the stitcher may have substituted colors for what she liked.

Now I'm mad. 

Not because the colors were changed to suit her, but because I really liked those colors and now I don't remember what blog it was so I can see the color scheme again. 

Damn you, "clear cache" function on my browser. Foiled again.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Denim and Doritos

Holy crap! The "skinny" jeans that have been making friends with the dust bunnies in my closet are too big! 

For years, I've stored that guilt-laden denim albatross, only to stumble across them while cleaning the closet, sigh, and go find a bag of Doritos to drown my disgust and desperation in a soothing cloud of orange, nacho flavored, fake cheese dust.

So join me in a "Hot Freakin' Damn" dance around the house, to be followed by a trip to Macy's to buy a new pair of jeans.

Yay me!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

At Least the House is Clean

There has been zero time for stitching this week.

I forget what was going on Monday. Tuesday, Boybat got his report card and did such a great job that we went out to dinner at a restaurant of his choice. Last night was the gym (it was all I could do to get up the stairs to the house when I was done, damn, I was sore) and trying to clean before Jackie got here to clean.

Hopefully, I'll have some time to stitch this evening. The house is clean, homework is done, dinner is finished. I'd like to get the white checks finished tonight.

Oh, Hell, Archer is on TV tonight. I'm not going to get anything done.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sewing in Straight Lines

I have a sewing machine. It lives in my basement closet, and I've used it 4 times in 2 years.

For as much as I love to cross stitch, I HATE sewing. When I was about 13, my mom struggled to teach me how to use her sewing machine. She didn't struggle when she used it, she ran that thing like a pro. Sewed almost all of mine and my sisters clothes when we were little. No, what she struggled with was me and my lack of sewing talent. It's that eye/hand coordination thing, I suck at video games too, so much so that boybat asks me to leave the room when he and Joe play Wii. I have great eye/hand coordination when its something that doesn't piss me off so bad that I go temporarily insane and scare the cat, like...uummm...well, I'll think of something.

When I started working for Debbie Mumm, I got another sewing bug. I figured, what the hell, I was older, wiser and more patient, right? I worked there as a watercolor artist and a graphic designer, next to me were the quilters. They made sewing look as easy as burning toast. Joe, after much prodding from me, got me a sewing machine that year for Christmas. Even with experts to help me, I never got past being able to sew a straight line. Don't get me wrong, I sew a wicked straight line (kinda like my knitting, I can knit the hell out of squares). 

Nowadays, I get that machine out to serge the edges of the linen for my stitch projects. Yesterday, I felt adventurous and sewed Boybat's Boy Scout badges on his uniform–the fabric glue I had been using was wearing off. I like fabric glue, doesn't work very well, but I like it. The time before that was a year ago to hem some of boybat's school pants.

I have recognized my lack of sewing skills and have come to peace with it.

Know anyone who will sew Boy Scout badges on a uniform for me?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quiet mornings

It's Sunday morning here at the Butler home. Still quiet.

Oops, spoke to soon, I hear Boybat stirring in his room. I wish I could wake up like that kid, full of energy in the morning. From 0 to 100 mph.

I got the errands done yesterday. Fortunately, there weren't that many, because I hate errands, unless it involves pedicures–does that make it an errand if I enjoy it? Crap, forgot to pick up the dry cleaning. It'll wait, the longer it stays at the dry cleaner, the longer it stays clean, since I seem to bring ALL the dry cleaning in at once. Joe makes a pile of them in the laundry room, so about every three months I  say something like "have you seen my damned green sweater set?" The reply is always "its downstairs in the dry cleaning pile" and I inevitably tell him "It's not doing me any good down there, is it?" It's a ritual now, we've been doing the same cycle for almost 12 years. If it stopped, that means something has gone terribly, horribly wrong. Armageddon wrong.

Yesterday afternoon I decided to take the floss for this new project off the bobbins (that's them in the picture) and get it on floss project cards (not nearly pretty as the bobbins, so no picture). That way, I don't have to find out what color number goes with the pattern symbol. With the color key on a separate piece paper–which is never where I thought I left it–and all the color changes I'm doing in this pattern, it was taking more time to find the next color to use than it was to actually stitch the color.

Gotta go, Boybat just opened his door.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Starting Over, and over, and over

I started a new project yesterday. Actually, I started a new project for a third time yesterday.

It's a pattern that I designed, hard to explain but it involves stylized flowers and bright colored borders behind the flowers. Flowers you say, incredulously? Yes, dammit, I am a delicate and fragile flower myself...Bwaaahaaahhaaaa, I tried to say that with a straight face, I just couldn't do it.

The fact that I designed it means it doomed to starts and stops and color changes as I go.  By the time I'm done with it, it may not look like anything like the pattern I started with. 

My first start–after getting about a fifth of it done–I decided I didn't like the fabric it was on, got disgusted and put it in the "basket of the ostracized projects". Those projects are not allowed to play with the good projects, they would be a bad influence, the stitching equivilent of smoking under the bleachers.

A thought just occurred to me as I was picturing the previous sentence, this must be why all my friends look at me furtively, they're waiting to see what bizarre tangent I'll take. I'm not really crazy.

The second start–almost 2 years after the first start–I didn't like the colors anymore, the design needed to have bright, summery colors, not the ones I started with. The ply was wrong too, should have gone with single ply thread.

So, this is my third start of the same project. Right colors, right fabric.

I think.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another finish!

I finished Shepherd's Hill! Yay me!

It was a great 4 day weekend with not a lot of errands so I was able to stitch up a storm this weekend (I was sharing project accomplishments with my stitch buddy, Mindy, via text message–sounds like she got quite a lot done too).  The little clay bee keeps shifting so I may have to glue his wings to the fabric (that'll teach him to move around).

Off to a new project, maybe one of the patterns I've designed. I'll have to see what I have in my stash pile that I can get started on.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rip it out

Today I am frustrated with premade kits. Its like that some days. 

I've been working on the Shepherd's Hill pattern for a few weeks now. Just after Christmas I decided to rip out the half of the hill I had finished because the two greens in the kit were so similar that I couldn't see the leaves or even the flowers. Thursday was the same thing with the sheep. You can see in the photo that the two gray colors are almost the same. 

I hate ripping out stitches. I argued with myself that that was what the designer intended or they wouldn't give you the floss. Then I argued with myself that the photo on the front of the kit had definite separations of the color and I should just do what I want cause I bought the kit and its mine. Then the "you're lazy and you just don't want to have to restitch it" argument started. Then the "it's mine and I can do what I want with it, so stuff it" argument beat the crap out of the other two and set forth to find a floss color that I already had, so I wouldn't have to drive an hour just to pick up one skein. 

Well, that, and I rarely leave that store with just one thing.

I've found the color that I'm going to use. It's an Olde Willow thread called Shale. It has a little bit of a purple tinge to it but I think it will end up fine.

I'm off to rip out more stitches and up my medication.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Candles, hand lotions, and emotional stability

My neighbor has my number, even if she doesnt realize it. She likes to host home parties. Specifically, lotions and candles–wonderful smelly lotions and candles. I know what your doing right now, you're saying "Why the $#@& would someone buy something that smells?" Not bad scents, delicious scents. Fruit, spice, sometimes even sweets. 

By rough count I have over 15 candles, all different and a drawer full of different hand lotions, mostly citrus scented. I love them! Every useless, smelly one of them.

Why do I keep picking out more? Cause I'm weak? I'm supporting the economy? I'm part of the mindless consumerist masses that cries at Hallmark commercials and boybat's Pixar movies? Seriously, I teared up at the end of Despicable Me when Gru kissed the girls goodnight. 

I'm not as far gone in the consumerist department to think that if Joe doesn't buy me a Lexus or a diamond at Christmas it means that he hates me and he's got a divorce themed Hallmark card in my stocking. Do they make those? hmmmm...
If I think about it–which trust me, I don't normally like to do, introspection bad, obliviousness good–the scents make me feel good, remind me of happy things.

Except for the crappy smelling lotions and candles, they can all bite it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cross stitch masochist

Most of the patterns I pick out are monsters, not as in "EEEK! A Monster!", but as in "Good God! How many years is it going to take you to finish that?" I am apparently a cross stitch masochist.

For instance, one of the current WIP is "Marriage of the Minds" from The Drawn Thread.
Loved the pattern,  just didnt realize that it'll be over 2 feet long when I'm finished. Twenty six inches!


I have about 3 bands done. The only reason I have that many done is because I was at home for three weeks.

Boybat will be driving a car by the time I finish this. Not my car–a car, preferably not one that I'm paying for.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How many is too many?

I like to have a few projects going at the same time. When I get tired of one I get to work on a different one until I get bored. Its like a big circle, I eventually get back to the first one, and theoretically I should get them all done.

Unless I keep adding new patterns. Damn you, new patterns! I blame you for my short attention span! 

What was I saying? Oh yeah....

Off the top of my head I have 4 rotating projects going right now,  2 that I've designed (here's one of them called Of Thee I Sing) and 2 from other designers (here's another Shepherd's Bush pattern-I've finished all the specialty stitches–Yay for me!). 

I found another pattern that I'm obsessively coveting (I've almost rationalized getting it) and just got another pattern in the mail that I MUST START NOW! If I'm lucky I wont have a piece of linen the right size, which gives me at least another week to get to the cross stitch store in Spokane I discovered this fall.

But for tonight, I must clean my home before the house cleaner comes–it makes sense if you have a house cleaner–you have to clean the big stuff and hide the piles of clean laundry you dont want to fold yet and the mounds of paper that seems to collect on the dining room table. It's not like people eat dinner or anything on the table, do they? 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Done, finished and framed

While I was lounging on the previously mentioned alcoholic, foot fetish planet, I managed to finish a few patterns. Which surprised the hell outta me. Really. I didn't think I was capable of finishing a cross stitch.

Maybe I've matured?

Probably not. I had to finish a few of my WIP's before I could buy new patterns. It has to do with the face that Joe swears he doesn't make, but that I, apparently, hallucinate whenever I touch the debit card.

Get out of my head, you evil, thrifty face!!!

Here's what I've finished. Hellllooo, debit card.

Coffin Buzz
This was a free pattern that I found at from Plum Street Samplers. I coffee dyed the linen a few times until the whole house smelled like coffee. Later that day and into the next I was bouncing off furniture. Apparently you can absorb caffeine through your skin. I'll have to remember that, might come in handy. I only used one color of thread throughout it. 

Pumpkin Hill
This Shepherd's Bush pattern went pretty fast! 
What really made me buy the kit was the colors. The kit had all these wonderful color threads twisted together and I couldn't put it down at the store (Thread Needle Street in Issaquah,WA). The bizarre pumpkin sheep helped too. 

Four Wishes (Just Nan)

This is the pattern that I started the blog with. Toward the end it got hard to work on it. I got distracted by shiny things. No, I'm serious, there are days where I have the attention span of a gnat on crack. 

I think I'll go soak my hands in some coffee.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

21st Century Sewing Circles

I was talking to my friend Stacy a few days ago. She's writing a feature for the college internal newsletter about what staff and faculty do when they're done working for the day.

One of the questions was "Why did you start a blog?" 

I started it as a way to encourage myself to keep up on the patterns I was doing. It's a technological diary, a visual record of my progress. I read other stitching blogs to see what they were stitching, what they were doing, where there were good websites for patterns and supplies. Its a great way to see patterns that you may never have come across in your own wanderings.

Its also a social thing. Here's a network of people who have the same interest as I do. People I would never have connected with otherwise. People from all over this country, and the world. They love stitching enough to write about it. They also share some of their day to day world. The lady whose car drove itself along the backyard until it came to a stop down the hill. The woman who is battling an illness that saps her energy, but still posts her progress on her most current project, her blog friends that send her encouragement and sympathy. Another woman, around my age that chafes against the idea that cross stitch is for past generations, a feeling that I've sometimes had myself. She called on her friends to find a friend who might want to learn and take the time to encourage them to try. Mothers with small children and teenagers sharing the trials and joys of raising kids, working and still finding time to stitch art with tiny x's and colored thread. 

Later, talking to Stacy, she asked if I had a local group of people that I meet with. There's a shop in Spokane, WA that has a group that meets Friday afternoons. It just is too hard to find enough time to be a working mom and all the things that it involves to try to drive 35 miles each way, stitch for 2 hours and head home.  I tried to start a stitch group here in Post Fals last spring, it never seemed to work out. I still would love to find some local people to gather with and share our days and hobby with.

Toward the end, Stacy said something that really summed up my enjoyment of following other's blogs and writing my own, "it's a sewing circle." Exactly!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Photo Finish

There are some days that I wish I had my old film camera. It definitely wasn’t convenient, but I knew all of its quirks and could make it do what I wanted it to do.  I like/hate my digital camera, but I can’t help thinking that it’s smarter than me. During the night, it probably reports to its digital overlords that it has again foiled my attempts to take a decent picture.
It would probably help if I read the instructions or took a class, but where’s the fun in that? It’s me against the camera–cue evil laugh–Bwaaahaahaa!
Back to my original point that has yet to show up in this entry.
I was going to show you some of my finished pieces.
The camera won. I’ll try to get some respectable photos of them when the camera isn’t looking at me. 

Bastard camera.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Kidnapped by Aliens

There's no good excuse why I've been gone so long, so I'm going with aliens. They came and offered to take me to a planet that is entirely devoted to whiskey sours, rock music and pedicures. 

I've been catching up on a lot of UFO's (UnFinished Objects)–you thought I was talking about the aliens again, didn't you? Started a few new projects. Even got some of the ones I finished framed. 

I've been able to design a few new projects, one that I'm almost finished with and three more that are all ready to go.  

Wish I could stitch faster!