box_camera: (kaylee parasol)
Totoro in hydrangeas cross stitch (with flash)

This is the first cross stitch I've completed in a while. I got bogged down with those Celtic crosses; I wanted to do the entire book of designs (I think there were 8 in all), but as I was about to finish the 2nd to last one I got a serious case of the eff thises and didn't want to pick up any needlecrafts for the next several months. Which is my normal routine, I go in spurts where I'm obsessed with it and do it every waking minute, then I can't stand the sight of an embroidery hoop for the rest of the year.

This is a small design, actually one of 2 My Neighbor Totoro designs that I bought as a digital file from an Etsy seller for a few dollars, back when I was still working on the crosses. I usually like to ease back into things with a small project. I was just going to hoop it, but it's small enough that maybe I can use it for a clothing or a tote bag patch or something.
box_camera: (frida kahlo vogue cover)
I couldn't find any that I really liked, so I just made my own.

ocean meditation beads flash

I've got to stop photographing things on a semi-reflective surface.

Anyway, they're ocean meditation beads. From the inside, the 3 main sections are freshwater pearls, imperial blue jasper, and abalone. The jasper was chosen mainly on the basis of color, but I figure it's all symbolism anyway so it works. The tiny white spacer beads are mother-of-pearl, and the slightly larger blue spacer beads are also abalone. The 4 large spacer "beads" are actually a bunch of little seed pearls strung together to form a ball.

The large charm is a pewter labyrinth disc, which isn't necessarily ocean-related but is a good all-purpose contemplative symbol. The smaller charm is a silver sea shell that's also a locket, for storing a wish/prayer or a very small object. Next to the charms are some more spacer beads and freshwater pearls in a lighter color, just to kind of "taper" the ends.

I experimented with alternating the beads, but it looked tidier doing them in 3 different sections separated by the large spacer beads. There's 9 in each section, because 3 is a mystical number, 9 is 3 3s, and there are 3 sections. It just seemed right.

Here's a photo without the flash:

ocean meditation beads no flash

In somewhat related news, I just finished reading a book about New Orleans Voodoo, and apparently carrying a $2 bill around in your wallet is a Voodoo thing, it's supposed to attract more money. (Voodoo traditionally being a religion of poor people, a lot of it has to do with money or finding work or just avoiding bad luck.) Anyway, it's funny because Granny carried a $2 bill around with her for decades. She said it was so she always had $2 in case of emergency, but since $2 hasn't been much use in any kind of emergency since Kennedy was assassinated, Mom and I figured it was some kind of good luck charm. Mom gave it to me when Granny died, and now it's in my wallet. (The date on the bill is 1976! I was less than 2 when it was printed!)
box_camera: (cross stitch)
This was definitely the most complex of this series of designs, and may be one of the most complex designs I've ever done. That backstitching was murder.

With flash:
macregol medallion flash

Without flash:
macregol medallion no flash

macregol medallion close up

macregol medallion macro
box_camera: (cross stitch)

mini celtic cross

This is a small design, about 3x4 inches. I'm thinking this will make a good crest, if I can find a blazer. Like a private school jacket.

box_camera: (cross stitch)
iona cross flash

Without the flash:

iona cross wo flash

I forgot to make the French knots in the arms until after I'd washed it, so there are some marks from the hoop still in it, but those will easily press out with a warm iron.
box_camera: (cross stitch)
knots cross flash

This one took a while because I went through a period of a couple of months where I didn't want to work on it. I got kind of bogged down in the center, it was all shades of the same color and the backstitching was really confusing--it makes sense when you pull back and look at the whole design, but when you're working on one tiny fraction of it inches from your nose, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. So I really needed to take a break from it for a while. Once I was done with that part, the rest was relatively easy.

knots cross no flash

This is a photo I took without the flash, so it's blurry but the colors are truer to reality. I really like the alternating color scheme in this design.

The next cross is the Iona Cross, which has some fussy elements--French knots, single stitches that need to be individually backstitched, some blackwork design--but doesn't look difficult.
box_camera: (Default)
I decided to make a lampshade out of some of the photo slides, since they look nice when light shines through them. I figured it had been done before, so I Googled it and sure enough found some photos and instructions. I didn't follow any one set of instructions exactly, I sort of just used them for basic inspiration and then made the actual process up as I went along.


I used all landscape slides. I wanted to make the whole thing out of the beach/ocean slides, and there were enough, but about half of them were in plastic frames instead of cardboard and I couldn't punch holes in them. And I experimented with painting a couple of the slide frames black, but it was too hard to keep the paint off the actual slide. Anyway, I like all the handwritten notes and the Kodachrome logos, it's part of the charm.

I bought a cheap lampshade at Target and tore off the material for the frame. I also bought the lamp base there, both of them together were $20. The rest of the material was about another $15, so it really didn't cost that much to make.

I used a leather punch to make the holes and I didn't measure, I just eyeballed it. I think I did a pretty good job; there are a few slides that are hanging ever so slightly askew, but overall they look pretty straight--I used jump rings big enough give me a little leeway. I hadn't planned to put charms on the bottom, I wound up doing it because I'm kind of a moron sometimes I forgot that the bottom row doesn't need holes punched in the bottom. So then I had to put something there, but once I did I realized they both make the lamp look more finished and keep the rows of slides pulled straight.

I'm really happy with it, it was fun to make and casts a soft, subtly colored light. From a distance it almost looks like stained glass; up close you can discern each individual photo.
box_camera: (Default)
I got a package in the mail Saturday from one of my snail mail pals. It was pretty large and felt like a magazine; it actually turned out to contain over 100 old Kodak slides! She's a public/found artist and is always picking up goofy stuff from thrift stores and garage sales.

mary slides

Most of them appear to have been shot in the San Diego area in the early '80s-early '90s, judging from notes that were written on the frames and the archival sleeves they were stored in.

When I showed them to my brother, he said "I bet you see a murder being committed!" (I think we watched too many Brian De Palma movies as children.) It took me about an hour and a half to sort through them all; no murders, but when I picked up the pile one slide fell out at random, and I held it up to the light:


I haven't been 23 in a while, but I can still recognize a marijuana plant.

Hilarity aside, whoever took these photos was actually a really good photographer. They took a lot of macros, photos of the ocean, food photographs that could be in a magazine.


They took a lot of photos of this cat; this one is my favorite. (There's also a lot of photos of a dog.)


It's a cherry in an ice cube. I don't know, I like it.


It is HARD to take close-ups of insects, they tend not to stay still.

I eventually sorted them all into the following categories: animals, mountains/hills, interiors/still lifes, sunsets, light blurs (you know, like when you take a photo from a moving car at night), trees, plants (including about a dozen pot plants and one slide of a huge, hairy bud), food, landscapes w/ buildings, and beaches/ocean (which composed about 1/3 of the slides).

I'd like to make something like this with them, although probably on a smaller scale. Or maybe I could do like a lampshade, somehow? That would look cool, too. I probably have enough slides for both ideas, actually.


I lined a few up along my windowsill, just to get an idea of what they look like. (There's a strip of metal behind them, they'll look better without that.) I have a northeast-facing window and I only get a few fleeting moments of direct sunlight early in the morning, so I don't think fading would be much of a problem. I'd like to eventually scan them all, so the images themselves won't be destroyed even if they do fade (or I inadvertently destroy them playing Martha Stewart).

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box_camera: (cross stitch)

PICT0521, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

PICT0524, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

box_camera: (cross stitch)

darrow medallion, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This is the first design I've completed from the House of White Birches cross stitch pattern book Celtic Crosses, and I think it came out super cool, so I'm going to do all of the designs. I don't know what I'll do with them (I think it's boring to just put a frame around needlework and stick it on the wall), but I'll figure something out.

Originally I thought of getting a blazer and making this a crest, like a private school jacket, but it's just a little too big for that. However, there are a couple of small designs in the book that will work just fine, whenever I get to them.

This is some of the most complex backstitching I've ever seen, so I decided to do it as I went--cross stitch patterns are divided into a grid of 10 x 10 stitches, and you're meant to do one square at a time, or you'll very easily lose your place. Normally I do all the main stitching, then go over it with the backstitching afterward, but this time I did the backstitching for each square before I moved onto the next one. It seemed easier, and I think that was the right decision.

darrow medallion close up, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

box_camera: (cross stitch)

owl tote, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

This is something I bought from Sublime Stitching last year and just got around to. It was kind of a palate cleanser after finishing the hurricane tracking map, it only took one afternoon/evening of work.

The pattern was stamped on the tote with water-soluble ink, so once you finish the stitching you just throw it in the wash and the pattern washes out, leaving just the floss. I prefer that to the iron-on transfers, which don't wash out. Sometimes the lines are too thick, or your stitching is a hair off, and you can see the pattern creeping around the edges, and that really bugs the perfectionist in me.

Next project (which I've already started) is a design from the House of White Birches Celtic Crosses book. The one I'm doing isn't actually a cross, it's a medallion that has one of those twisty bird designs. The backstitching is so complicated that I'm actually doing it piece by piece, instead of doing the whole design at once after I finish the primary stitches, like I usually do.

I'm doing it on 18-count Aida, which I haven't used in a while. I prefer evenweave, because it's more flexible and cloth-like. But they only make that in high stitch counts like 28 and 32; usually I use 28 and work over 2 squares for each stitch, which gives me a 14-count design. But I wanted this to be smaller because I'm probably going to use it on a piece of clothing somehow. I thought it would be fun to buy an old blazer from a thrift store and put it on the breast, like a private school crested blazer. But at 7" x 7", it might be a little too big for that. I won't really be able to judge until it's finished.

(You thought old cameras were the only thing I was obsessive about, didn't you?)
box_camera: (cross stitch)

hurricane tracking chart, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Stitching all the pink for Mexico/Central America/South America was tedious as fuuuuck. I'm really pleased with how it looks on the darker fabric (I usually use ivory fabric, this is parchment), it adds to the feel of an old map.

I bought this pattern at the Quarter Stitch in New Orleans during Christmas of 2009. I started working on it in early spring of 2010, shortly after I moved to Louisiana. I finished it last Saturday. Whew! That does not represent continuous work, however. Several times I put it aside to work on something else, usually because I got a seething case of what Phil calls "the I hate its".

I'm not going to put this under glass, instead I'm going to stretch it over corkboard and staple it from the back, then add a ribbon so it can be hung. That way we can add a pin every hurricane season for any hurricanes that make landfall anywhere on the map.

I'm letting Mom hang it behind the bar for now, but I'm not giving it to her permanently. At some point I'm going to want it back, although I may let her keep it for years. I may at some point make another one, but I doubt I'll have the stomach for that for a looooong time.
box_camera: (kaylee parasol)
At some point during my internet perambulations last year, I came across this site detailing how to hollow out light bulbs and build terrariums in them. It must have been when I was first researching regular terrariums. I bookmarked it, bought 3 light bulbs, and kind of forgot about it.

Flash forward to this weekend, where the forecasted high is 100 fucking degrees and I'm desperately trying to think of something to do that doesn't involve leaving the house, when my eye happens to fall on those light bulbs, just gathering dust in the closet.

Hollowing out the bulbs was actually easier than I thought. Peel off the metal tab, break everything below the metal, stick in a flathead screwdriver and break all the interior parts, pull out with needlenosed pliers. Stick some silicone bumpers on, pour in some white sand (already had that from my other terrarium projects), and stick in some plants.

"Stick in some plants" was where I hit a snag. I have lots of tillandsia (air plants), but none of them would fit through the neck of the bulb. So I decided use moss and lichen. Which unfortunately did involve going into the yard, but at least I stayed in the shade. I had made a moss terrarium a while back but wasn't happy with it, and decided to use the mason jar for a little cactus.

mini terr 2, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I found all this in the yard. We have huge oak trees, and where there's old oaks, there's plenty of moss and lichen. There's 2 different kinds of moss--I just scooped it out of the ground with a butter knife--3 different kinds of lichen (including some on a piece of bark), some acorns, and a glittery button shaped like a leaf, because it's fun to have one non-organic element in a terrarium. I just shoved everything through the neck, then used a chopstick to poke it all into place.

mini terr 1, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.


I have 2 more bulbs--right now one contains some sprigs I pulled off of one of Mom's plants, but obviously that'll die eventually. I'll probably do all 3 of them with moss and lichen. There's all kinds of interesting tiny stuff in the yard, if you just look closely.
box_camera: (yay omg)

terrarium 2, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I built a terrarium! I got the idea from Real Simple, which featured bought terrariums in a re-decorating article. They were going for some ludicrously inflated price, $300 or something. They probably had like $10 worth of material in them. So I used my Google-fu and found some pages about making your own.

I bought the plants first, because I figured the plants would dictate the size and shape of the container, and the color and amount of any accessories I used. If you use more than one plant, it' s important that you choose plants that have similar light and temperature requirements. It's also a good idea to pick one that grows mostly up and one that grows mostly out.

My initial choice was a polka dot plant, but they don't seem to be as common in Louisiana as they were in California. I decided on White Anne fittonia and a purple velvet. They both like low and indirect light, making them good houseplants. Cost: $3 per plant.

I decided to look at Hobby Lobby for the container, and I'm really glad I chose this weekend because they were having a 50% off sale on glassware. I was able to get basically the biggest lidded glass container they had. Cost: $20.

The first 2 layers both come from the aquarium section of the pet store. Gravel is important because it supplies the plants' drainage. You want at least a half inch. I went with natural gravel, none of that garishly colored synthetic crap. Cost: $2.49.

On top of that you want to sprinkle a thin layer of activated carbon. It will help filter out mold spores and particulates. Cost: $3.99.

I also got some decorative sea glass stones at PetSmart. Cost: $1.99.

Next is the potting soil, which we already had plenty of. The shells I also had already, and they're from local beaches.

I bought the little Maneki Neko (lucky cat) at World Market. Cost: $.99. (I also had a little kokeshi doll, but she's too spindly to stand up so I removed her. Maybe once the soil settles and compacts a bit she can go back in.)

It took about 20 minutes to assemble it all. The inside is a little condensed so I'm removing the top to let it dry a little. The plants create their own oxygen of course, and you only need a small sprinkle of water every couple weeks. I'm not great with plants, but terrariums mostly take care of themselves.

terrarium 1, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

So, total cost: about $35. Even if the plants die, it'll only cost about $10 to replace them! (I hope they don't die, though.)

box_camera: (cross stitch)

half apron 2, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I got this cute half apron a while back at Hobby Lobby. I had a hard time deciding what to put on it, because a lot of it is covered in stripes. I needed something simple that wouldn’t look awful with the stripes. I was saving this for a lampshade, but what the hell, the transfers are good for several applications. I stuck with primary colors so as to not clash with the bright stripes.

redwork pillowcase, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I’ve been wanting to do a design entirely in red (a style which is called, amazingly enough, redwork). This is from the Sublime Stitching Craft Pad. I went with a slightly darker red than is normally used.

I really wish I was better at lazy daisies.

cocktail cocktail napkins, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Cocktail cocktail napkins! I like the martini olive.

box_camera: (cross stitch)

peacock cardigan, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

In the Embroidered Effects book Jenny Hart has this stitched on a yellow satin bomber jacket, but satin bomber jackets are a) hard to come by in my size, and b) not really my thing. So I stitched it on a very lightweight yellow cardigan.

It was tricky stitching on this material, because of course cardigans are always very stretchy. I had to be careful to pull each stitch tight enough so it wasn't slack, but not so tight that the material puckered. I think I did a pretty good job, and it went faster than I'd thought it would.

Mostly I followed Jenny Hart's color suggestions (and these colors are not true because for some reason the flash gave everything a weird purplish cast), but I wanted something with green in it for the tail feathers (she used dark gray), and I didn't have any iris sequins so I used dark blue. Oh, and my beaks are orange--hers were dark yellow, but the cardigan was a darker yellow than her bomber jacket and I didn't think dark yellow would show up.

For the eyes I used those little stick-on jewels with the adhesive base that you melt with a special tool; I've had that set for a year and never used it, and they were the right size so I figured hey why not.

The little squiggle underneath the heart is... I forget what you call that stitch; it's not cording because that's when the base is tacked down with the top stitches. It's basically plain ol' split stitch like the rest of the design (what can I say, I like the classics), but with a second color woven through it.

box_camera: (cross stitch)

black apple pillow, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Pillow #2: the Black Apple embroidery transfers from Sublime Stitching. I chose somewhat more muted colors than I used for the Julie West pillow.

I think that's actually supposed to be a fly, but flies are gross so I turned it into a bee.

I wish I had set those trees up a little higher so there wasn't such a blank space between the girl and the bear, but overall I'm pleased.

black apple pillow detail, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Detail! I couldn't resist throwing a woven spider web onto her apron.

box_camera: (cross stitch)

julie west pillow, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I bought a pair of 14" x 14" zippered cotton throw pillow covers a couple weeks back from Sublime Stitching and finished the first one this afternoon. You can get plain pillows in all shapes and sizes at Hobby Lobby, and I easily found a couple that were the right fit.

The embroidery transfers were the set on Sublime Stitching designed by artist Julie West, I used most of the motifs. The sun was actually a flower, but I thought it made a better sun, so I trimmed off the stalk and eyeballed stitching a complete circle. Came out pretty good!

box_camera: (cross stitch)

meaty treats towel, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Okay, so this is basically the most awesome thing I have ever embroidered. It's a flour sack kitchen towel using the "Meaty Treats" pattern set from Sublime Stitching. MEAT!

meaty treats hamburger, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Some close-ups...

meaty treats ham, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

meaty treats bacon, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

i love veggies, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

And for the other towel (they come in pairs) I used the "I Love Veggies" pattern set.

i love veggies orange, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

They had mix & match faces.

i love veggies lemon, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Lemon is making a sour face. Heh.

box_camera: (cross stitch)

sushi shirt front, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

Normally I really don't like polo shirts. But I had to get one for casual Fridays at work. Then I passed my probationary period and was given a company polo shirt, making this one extraneous. So logically, I turned it into a sushi shirt. Yup.

sushi shirt back, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

The back. (This was the "sushi bar" pattern set from Sublime Stitching.)

This was a holiday table runner and bread cloth which sadly did not get finished until halfway through January. Oh well. It was a stamped cross stitch design from Bucilla.

asian cocktail napkins 1, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I bought a set of 6 cocktail napkins from Sublime Stitching. This is 3 of them...

asian cocktail napkins 2, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

...and this is the other 3. All these came from the "Chinatown" set from Sublime Stitching, except for the one in the middle which is from the "Chinese acrobats" set.

meat towel turkey, originally uploaded by pinstripe_bindi.

I have just begun my next project, which is embroidering the "meaty treats" set from Sublime Stitching onto a large flour sack kitchen towel.

June 2014



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