January 10, 2012
Since the year began, I’ve been quietly working on WIP embroidery projects and painting my nails like I’m 16 again (SPARKLES EVERYWHERE!). Thanks to a suggestion this past weekend, I am highlighting my daily crafting on Instagram (my username there is cavecibum) and using the hashtag #crafting366. But, truth be told, the two embroideries I’m working on are BIG, meaning it’s going to get boring to see minute progress each day. I’m going to need more crafting opportunities.
So when I saw a Valentine-themed swap on Oh Strumpets, I jumped at the chance. Plus, who doesn’t love receiving crafty love in the mail?! There’s still time to sign up – just click the image above!
January 4, 2012
I’m really bad with New Year’s Resolutions. I usually do what most people do and say I’m going to lose weight, and then I’m stuffing cookies in my mouth two weeks later.
This year, I opted for a resolution that makes me happy. I’m committing myself to making something every day. It could be embroidery, taking and editing photos, building my crafting cabinet (which I’ve only had plans to build for, oh, 2 years!), cooking something new and fancy, or any other craft that I may stumble across in my travels. I hope to go to more Saturday Knitters’ Brunches at Gather Here, an awesome crafting store in Cambridge (I want to take a beginner’s sewing class there as well). Making things with my hands just makes me happy, and this gives me an excuse to make it a daily habit.
Anyone else have a crafting resolution?
October 9, 2011
Ever since I finished my N is for Neville piece over a year ago, I’ve been wanting to embroider more of Edward Gorey‘s Gashlycrumb Tinies. I immediately decided on my second favorite part of the Gashlycrumb Tinies, Z is for Zillah, simplified the drawing to make it easier to stitch, then promptly forgot about it.
And then, about a week ago, a former teacher and current internet friend informed me that Panopticon, the art libraries interest group I co-chaired during my time at Simmons GSLIS, was looking for submissions for their art show. I emailed a few pieces over to the coordinator, and she said she especially like my Neville. I thought a matching pair would look so much better than a couple of mismatched pieces, so I jumped into production on the Zillah piece and managed to stitch it in only a couple of days. Much like my Neville piece, I started stitching at Starbucks, where no one except one little kid looked at me twice.
I won’t be able to make the exhibit opening next week, but I hope to stop by the next time I’m near Simmons to take a peek. The exhibit will be up until the end of the spring semester and is in the GSLIS Tech Lab. Maybe there’ll be some pictures on the Panopticon site.
This project also served as a nice reminder to work on short projects every now and again. Right now, I’m in the middle of two fairly large projects, and I vacillate between procrastinating on one and procrastinating on the other. Banging out this piece in a few short hours gave me the sense of accomplishment that I needed, and now I’m feeling slightly better about those other two pieces.
Oh, and I also taught myself the scroll stitch for the design on the wall. Yay for learning new stitches!
August 22, 2011
I know that by now, I’ve expressed my love for the Phat Quarter a million ways. The Phat Quarter is the Flickr branch of the wonderful stitchers found on the Mr. X Stitch site. I feel honored every time one of my pieces goes up on Mr. X Stitch, and I wouldn’t be able to do half of what I am able to do if it weren’t for the people in the Phat Quarter and all the photos of their truly amazing creations.
Ok, enough of that.
Every few months, there’s a swap held on the Phat Quarter, with some theme to stitch around before mailing off to a stranger. This month’s theme was food – a perfect theme for a food blogger, no? Pop culture references usually go over pretty well in this group, so when a few different Simpsons quotes popped into my head immediately, I figured I had a good foothold on the subject (did I mention that I taught a class in college on the Simpsons for not one, but two semesters?). Then I found out the person I was mailing to is named Lisa (here’s her blog!), and ideas started to fall into place. I asked Lisa if she was a Simpsons fan to make sure my plan would work (although if she had said no, I don’t think I had a back up…).
I opted for one of my favorite lines of Simpsons dialogue, from the episode Lisa the Vegetarian (yep, the one with Paul and Linda McCartney)… only to find out that I have been misquoting the episode for years (and I use this quote pretty damn often). I like the version in my head better (“mystical, magical animal”), but I had to stick to the real quote for the stitching.
The whole time I was stitching this, I had a strong craving for bacon…
July 26, 2011
Every year, my friend April (obsessed with TV and pop culture as she is) chooses a different theme for her birthday party. Last year, we went all out and dressed as characters from our favorite Joss Whedon shows (I was Inara, by order of the birthday girl herself). This year, she opted for a group favorite, Supernatural.
I admit, I was late to the game on Supernatural. When the show first started, I thought it sounded stupid, so I decided not to watch (and I’m one of those people who HAS to watch from the beginning or I won’t even give it a shot). Sometime last year, all of my friends were talking about how amazing the story had become (season 5 saw all of heaven and hell go to war with each other, and Sam and Dean Winchester, the show’s protagonists, where right at the center). I was laid up with the flu and figured I had nothing better to do, so I zoomed through all 4 and a half seasons in just about a week. Watching the show that quickly (and catching up right before the story line became AMAZING) hooked me in tight. Weekly discussions about how Sam is an idiot or about Dean’s lips (come on girls, you know what I’m talking about) are the norm now.
Where was I (besides thinking about Dean’s lips, that is)? Oh, right, April’s birthday. Once again, we all dressed in costume (I was the seer Pamela, by order of the birthday girl) and ate burgers and pie, befitting the boys. We drew devil’s traps on the walkway to the house, and we scared off the neighboring kids by taking photos of each other holding huge demon-hunting knives.
And while the birthday girl was thinking about the party, the rest of us were thinking about her gift. Megan suggested creating Sam and Dean dolls for April, and as a group, we ran with the idea.
The dolls are from Mattel, with clothing sourced from other Ken doll sets and online retailers (and one Edward Cullen doll, whose clothes were perfect for the boys). We also “made” a Castiel doll, and by made, I mean we found a doll that looked exactly like Castiel and then I made wings. (Bonus points if you know what that doll is originally from.) The Sam doll looked just slightly evil, like he was about to drink a demon’s blood, and the Dean doll spoke when you pressed a button (we recorded him yelling “SAM!”). Each boy had a tattoo over his heart, and Dean even had his lucky amulet on.
Megan put together a fantastic box for the dolls, including amazing copy on the back as if it were a real toy you could buy. She even fashioned the interior of the box to look like Bobby’s study, so the boys could have a home base to hunt from.
Besides Cas’ wings, I made most of the accessories for the dolls (although everyone chipped in once I showed them how much fun Fimo could be). I am especially proud of John Winchester’s journal (with additional pictures here, here, and here) and the fake IDs for the boys. The journal pages are all from an official Supernatural website (thumbnails of which I grabbed from the Supernatural wiki), and I used tiny jump rings to hold them together. When the rings were sewn into the book cover, the pages really turned. I also made a whole stash of weapons (including Ruby’s knife, the Colt with inscriptions, and the Sword of Brunswick) in a tiny duffel bag, Sam’s laptop (which really opens and closes thanks to a hinge), and a cooler filled with food (because those boys sure do like to eat).
April’s face as she opened her present was fantastic, but she was quick to start asking for more characters. Next birthday, maybe.
June 8, 2011
My life has generally been beyond shitty lately, so when a new Phat Quarter embroidery swap rolled around, I was not particularly gung-ho on participating. But then I saw that the theme was books, and I felt that, as a librarian and bookseller, I would be remiss NOT to partake in the challenge. For someone who loves books as much as I do (have you been to my book blog?), you’d think I would have an easy time coming up with an idea, but I was stumped (that not-wanting-to-participate thing probably had something to do with that).
I was discussing Edward Gorey with someone at the bookstore one day, and finally inspiration struck. I flipped through the anthologies of his work (Amphigorey, Amphigorey Too, Amphigorey Also, and Amphigorey Again) and came across the above image, one that I had never noticed before. I thought it was more than perfect for the swap.
The piece is done all in backstitch, and while the original has a lot of muted color in it, I like the simplicity of black and white for Gorey’s art. I hope my swap partner anUnquietMind enjoys the piece.
I received this amazing piece from crafty mcgee. I sent her a bunch of ideas of books I love, including a link to my book blog, and she captured a scene from one of my favorite recent books, The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger. The graphic novel tells the story of a mysterious bookmobile and a woman’s love of books. It’s a fast read. I even got two of my coworkers, neither of whom have ever read a graphic novel before, to read it through.
What I found especially touching is that the face detail on the left side of the bookmobile is actually from one of my photos that crafty mcgee pulled from my photostream. She did an amazing job capturing the image in a space the size of a quarter (here’s a comparison of the images). What she didn’t know, though, is that I look at the picture every day because it hangs right above my TV. And when I finally get around to hanging my Wall of Awesome (including this and all the other pieces I’ve received), the two will be near each other.
May 22, 2011
So of course, when Ann’s birthday rolled around and it was time for me to embroider her gift (last year she got this), she tossed out the idea of “Cake or Death,” a bit from Izzard’s Dress to Kill. It’s one of his most famous bits and one that we refer to often (“I’m covered in bees!” being another popular line for us). I’m pretty sure Ann didn’t know how she wanted the line embroidered, just that she wanted it to hang on her wall somehow. (Here is another part to the Cake or Death joke, setting up why the Church of England is particularly funny.)
Someone on Flickr had used an awesome blood-drippy font on a project, and I instantly knew how to design this. Simply “cake” and “death.” Pretty straight forward, really. Of course, there are so many other great lines from Mr. Izzard that I could be kept busy just embroidering all of them.
The piece is done entirely in satin stitch. I was very happy with how it turned out, and by looking through my past pieces, I can see that my satin stitch has improved roughly 1000 percent.
April 16, 2011
Like any good geek, I enjoy perusing the ThinkGeek website. I could probably go to any page on that site and find something I want. (And any non-food website that has a category for bacon is fine by me.) Every April 1st, ThinkGeek comes up with a bunch of stuff that seems real enough, or at least, should be.
Enter this year’s batch of April Fool’s Day objects. I personally think the Star Wars lightsaber popsicle molds should be real. And when a friend mentioned wanting to buy one of these zombie Easter bunnies for another friend, I knew I could at least make that one happen.
I found a bunny mold that is, I think, even better than the original because he’s holding a brain (ok, ok, an egg, but it works so well as a brain!). I colored white chocolate with gel food coloring to get that great zombie green tint and away we went! I had bought a bag of Nerds jelly beans to snack on and was pleasantly surprised to find that the pink ones looked a little bit like brains and would fit in the bunny’s basket.
Originally posted on my food blog, Cave Cibum.
March 29, 2011
It’s been a while, huh? Well, fear not, I’ve still been around stitching. There just hasn’t been much will to blog. That’s changing, I assure you. So while I have not one, not two, but three (3!) pieces going at once right now (I NEVER have more than one, as I like to make sure they get finished), I can give you a sneak peek at the one that should be finished first above. Yes, that’s a letter D dripping in blood. What’s it to you?!
October 9, 2010
Have you heard that there’s a potential third Bill and Ted movie in the works? I’m a huge fan of the original (and yes, the sequel had some decent moments), and the news got me thinking about just how great a movie Excellent Adventure is. One of my favorite moments is when the boys meet the princesses and play around in authentic armor. Bill accidentally pushes Ted down a flight of stairs, and when he gets down to the bottom of the stairs, he finds another knight pushing a sword through Ted’s armor. No worries, though – Ted rolled out of the suit as he fell down the stairs.
I found this suit of armor clipart and gothic font online, and I love how the design looks so serious, especially when you consider what the words say. The armor is done in back stitch and French knots (a little satin stitch, too), and while I had originally intended just to outline the letters, I went with satin stitch instead and am very happy with the outcome. (My satin stitch abilities also got about ten times better while working on this piece alone!)
What’s your favorite Bill and Ted quote? Because I could quote “the two great ones” all day…