Sunday, April 14, 2013

She's Crafty: Mish Mash of Stitches

Here are some stitch works that I have done recently, for myself and for others.

The red piece is from the cover of a Hawkeye comic book. The original did not have the outline of the hair but it had smoke coming from the gun. I did not like the smoke, it did not translate well in thread.

The second one is a simple quote from the movie Annie. I've been toying with doing a series of movie quotes but am struggling with style.

The last is a Hunger Games Mockingjay icon. This was a hard piece as I have trouble with circles and with metallic thread. The bird is outlined in metallic and I used metallic to dither into the ring.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

She's Crafty: Just Like Mike

After a few smaller projects, I finally started on my largest cross stitch project, EVER!

By "largest" I mean most ambitious in regards to technique, colors and hours, I spent 30 hours with the needle by the time it was all finished!

I decided that I wanted to make a gift for an artist I like, Mike Mitchell. Mike has a series of prints that he has done called "Just Like Us" which features well known characters doing things that we all like. For example; Mickey Mouse taking a bath, or Batman using a camera to take a picture. Mike did a self portrait in the style of the "Just Like Us" prints.

Yes, that's Mike, wearing no pants, with a cute box censoring his private parts.

I started my project by finding a cross stitching template online that I could print out. Then I took Mike's original piece, saved it onto my computer and used my ancient Publisher program to turn it into a black and white picture. Then I printed it onto the template. It wasn't an exact pattern but it was close enough to get started.

Next, I just sort of started stitching, using the original to guide my color choices and the print-out as a loose pattern. I had to make up some of the stitches as I went along but having the squares there on the page made it a little easier. I used regular cross stitching X's plus half stitches, back stitching for outlining, French knots (for the eyes on the shirt) and straight out embroidery for a few of the details.

There were a few sections that gave me some trouble. It took a couple tries to get the eyes how I wanted them. I had a hard time getting them as round as I wanted in the same size that I wanted. The right eye is a little larger in the picture because of the perspective and I was worried that I had made it *too* large. Once I got the white part and the pupil added it did not see as noticeable as it did before.  And the ears also took multiple tries. As did the arms. Basically, I just kept working until it looked right to me. Also, Superfro was there to help and give suggestions. He also pulled one stitch through, so technically this was a "joint effort" on both our parts.

I also attempted a technique that is new to me, called "dithering." Dithering involves mixing colors of thread together in one strand. Usually I use 3 threads of the same color to create one strand to stitch with. Dithering helps to blend colors together and I used it in the cheeks and nose to make them appear rose colored.
I am very satisfied with how it worked out in this project! Look at those cute cheeks!

For Mike's censorship box I decided to outline the box and then cut out a felt piece that could be attached with Velcro. This would give the piece a little bit of texture and also allow me to make an alternate cover, a small felt telescope. Mike is an astronomy enthusiast and I thought a telescope would be funny on several different levels. Stitching the letters onto the felt was frustrating. Finally I used a colored pencil to outline the letters and then stitch over them

I also used multiple layers on Mike's t-shirt design, his tattoos and the stripes on his socks, all for texture.

Finally, I added a "1/1" edition number to the piece, in a nod to the numbering on the original "Just Like Us" prints.

Before I sent it to Mike I fixed it a piece of card stock wrapped with quilting batting and put it in a simple frame. The batting helps to take out any wrinkles that might come from attaching the piece to the cardboard. It gives a smoother finish.

Oh, I added a piece of Velcro to the back of the frame to hold whatever felt applique isn't being used. The frame is 5" x 7" and as you can see the actual piece is pretty close to that size.

I am very anxious to find out if Mike likes the piece! I know I am very proud of it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

She's Crafty: Lightning Cloud

I wanted to make a little stitch gift for artist Mike Mitchell and thought this little cloud he made was not too complicated. I used an online pattern creator but was really bummed with the pattern that it made. It wanted me to use about 15 different colors which I wasn't in the mood for at all. So, I used the pattern as a loose guide and sort of winged it. This was my first time experimenting with multiple thread colors for blending, also called dithering. In the end, I decided to keep this piece for myself and make Mike something a little more exciting (blog coming soon!)

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

She's Crafty: Mondo Icons

Superfro and I are fans of the screenprints that Mondo puts out, as you probably know. They have introduced us to many new artists whose work we now enjoy collecting. Last summer, at Comic-Com we spent a good deal of time at their booth, buying prints and meeting artists. All the Mondo employees were incredibly kind, and very cheerful despite the crazy crowds. I decided to make them some little cross stitched ornaments of their logo, as a token of thanks. Superfro recently mentioned to me that perhaps my unsolicited gifts could possibly make the recipient feel awkward, and my motive may be questioned. This statement sort of split me head and my heart right open. First, I realized that it's a sad world that kindness on the part of one person would even have to have it's motives questioned. It never really occurred to me that the recipient of a gift would think I'm giving it for any other reason besides because I *want* to. Second, I realize that I am guilty of hoping that my gifts will somehow let the recipient know what they mean to me, my appreciation, my thanks, my regard, my love, whatever the case my be. Last summer, when I made stitched portraits of Yvette Nicole Brown and Michael Ausiello as gifts, I did so because I was thankful to both of them, and it was a token of my thanks. These ornaments for Mondo, a token of my thanks. It would make me incredibly sad to find out that any of my gestures were regarded as anything else. *Sigh* I don't know why I'm sharing all of this, it's just been on my mind today.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Little Victories:Six

On Monday the CrossFit workout was pretty simple: 15 lifts, run 400 meters, 12 lifts, run 400 meters, 9 lifts and again, run 400 meters.

Besides the amount of weight we were lifting, we were on a pretty even playing field.

Well, I didn't finish last. I didn't even finish second to last. I was 3rd out of 5 people. This was the very first time I didn't finish last when compared to others doing an identical work level. The very first.

Little victory!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Little Victories: Five

Today at CrossFit I did multiple head/hand stands. I had several pads under my head so my arms were more extended.

This is the first of many steps towards hand stand push ups, I'll need to get much stronger before I can lift and lower myself, but I never thought I would ever be able to get my feet over my head.

Little victory!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Little Victories: Four

Back Squats are when a bar of weight is resting on the area where your neck meets your back, and then you squat. It's my 2nd favorite squat, after the air squat, which requires no weight.

Today I did 5 sets of 5 back squats with 44.6k of weight, which is a smidge shy of 100 lbs. Yes, I was a wee bit shaky and no, not every squat was super deep. Still, I beat my previous max of 32k. So, hooray for little victories!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Little Victories: Three

Each month I'm going to try to replace one item that contains fructose or high fructose corn syrup with a similar item that is fructose free, or a different, more healthful, item.

I'm starting with cereal and have decided to go with Cheerios. No more Honey Nut Chex or Cinnamon Chex, just plain old Cheerios.

Honestly, this will be the easiest of the changes, as I like Cheerios and won't likely miss the others.

So, hooray, another little victory!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Little Victories: Two

Our "toy closet" is sorted and organized.

50% of the items are being stored for eventual sale on EBay, 20% were donated to the Salvation Army, 10% were thrown away and the other 20% were things we decided to save, mostly board games.

With the extra space we now have room to store all the other stuff we plan of selling on EBay which had been cluttering up the guest room (where the "toy closet" is located.)

Next step is picking out paint and curtains, patching some cracks in the plaster and of course, selling all that stuff on EBay.

But the "toy closet" is done. Little victory #2!