Greetings from the Omnigraphic Blogopticon. On view are vile sticky things dragged from the attic, snarky commentary on the world at large, and all-encompassing ennui. All that and a weird rubbery smell. A horrible time will be had by all.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Cross-Stitched House, Apparently

I've been plugging away at my eBay Diamond Avenue cross stitch for the past couple weeks and I'm regretting starting in the center like you're supposed to do with cross stitch.  The center house, of course, is the ugliest one of the three.  I should've just done the two outer ones as separate pieces and saved a hunk of fabric that I could've used for something better.  Like a Robocop hand towel, for instance.

Stop laughing.

I'm liking that before all the flowers and bushes and crap are put in it looks like the house has been ravaged by termites.  This would've been a good place to say the hell with it and stitch in some giant ants.  Or fire.  Glorious fire!

House in Shades of Sad Adobe.

Once you get the cartoonish outlines in it's not too bad, though I doubt any real human has ever put that many flowers on a real house on purpose.  It's like a 1980s chintz sofa exploded.  I'm guessing the owner regretted their tan color scheme and rather than repaint the whole thing they thought flowers would be a cheap fix because that electric blue door just wasn't cutting it.

The other two houses have a lot less floral going on, like the owners weren't quite off their meds like the lunatic in the center.  I do like the useless little cupola thing and laugh at the idea that some poor loser has to lug a watering can up to the third floor to water a fucking window box.

Club-foot kitty has six colors.  WHY.

Another big WHY is why doesn't this center set of windows have a dark accent thingy like the others?  WHY.  It upsets my brain.  It's one of those things nobody else would notice but I know if I somehow finish this thing and frame it I'll look at it every time I go past and years later I'll completely lose it and rip it from its frame with my teeth.

So I'll change it now and say nothing else about it.

See, it's not in the pattern so I didn't forget it.

I bought Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock a month or so ago and decided to work on that to clear the floral insanity out of my brain for a while, though the large blocks of color are making me tired.  As you can see by the giant catdog paw, Grady knows Paper disproves Spock.

Away We Ride mocks me.  I have all the stuff for it, fancy hand-dyed floss I said I wasn't going to buy and a piece of actual linen, but the more I read about stitching on linen the more intimidated I am.  You can't use a hoop because that'll mess up the weave and it doesn't have holes like Aida cloth does so you have to pay attention rather than use my method of jamming the needle in willy-nilly and hoping it looks right.  I'll have to count THREADS for fuck's sake.

I'll also have to build a frame for it since I've run through all my largish old-timey thrift store frames.  Lowe's has that fancy wood edging I've used for frames; you just have to glue a strip of thin lathe on the back so there's a slot for the glass, then cut the pieces out of that.  The Victorian house project will just go in an 80s brass frame I've had for a while, since that's what it would've ended up in way back 30 years ago.  Everything wound up in one of those things.

Did I mention way back then I worked in a custom frame shop?  That's how I know everything wound up in either a shiny brass or shiny chrome frame, with a mat painstakingly matched to whatever fugly thing the customer dragged in.  The 80s were so damn matchy-matchy, despite the wrongheaded notion that the whole decade was haphazardly thrown together by Cyndi Lauper on acid.

Anyhow, we had wood in stock but hardly used it unless somebody brought in an antique Audobon print which was, like, never.   It was usually a pair of those Robert Furber prints that everybody that wasn't doing Southwest had in the 80s (I recently bought a pair at the thrift store for the frames), or some boring art museum poster you bought to let your parents know that you'd grown past that Duran Duran poster you had over the sofa.

Everything looks better in a crappy 45-cent thrift store frame.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Accursed Embroidery

After many curses and picked-out and re-done embroidery here is the finished Ohm Sweet Ohm complete with pencil lines and scribbles.  Those washed out better than expected and somehow this actually fits into the thrift store frame I had planned for it.  Now if I could just keep the cat from pulling it off the wall.

It's an easy pattern but it does eat a lot of floss because most of it is done in three strands instead of the usual two.  I ran out of red because I thought I'd get all fancy and use a border that went all the way around, plus I had to re-do at least ten of those stupid little flowers since I can't be arsed to pay attention to a simple embroidery chart.

Finished Star Trek embroidery.  I was much too lazy to photograph them both after I sewed the second one on its towel.  Deal with it. 

Old-school Garfield hand towel, from back in the day when he walked on all fours and did cat things.  This is the other half of the bath towel I used to make the Back to the Future towel a couple weeks ago.

I pretended the rainbow didn't exist, much like I do real rainbows.  The pattern had lots of those pointless half-stitches and quarter-stitches and some stupidly complicated outline stuff that seemed to be unnecessarily popular in 80s cross stitch.  I especially love the late-70s disco font.

Speaking of 1980s complicated outline cross stitch stuff, take a gander at this crazy-ass thing I just got on eBay dirt cheap.  I mostly bought it because it reminds me of the neighborhood I rented an apartment in back in 1987, except where there are cats in the embroidery there should be winos.  The couple who owned my building had a lavender Edwardian house with purple and white trim; this was when Painted Ladies had a brief vogue here.  I'll admit I'm much too lazy to walk three blocks to see what it looks like these days, but I'm pretty sure it's whatever gray could be gotten on sale at Lowe's.

Anyhow, my kit came with two huge wads of embroidery floss that took me at least an hour to sort.  There are nine different shades of green in here.  Lt. Green, Lt. Lime Green, Med Green, etc. and there isn't a color chart.  You kinda have to count how many yards you have of something and check to see if the symbol for whatever it is in the photo is next to the name of whatever shade of green is six yards.  Yeah, awesome.  I'm currently muddling through the center house which comes in Tan, Pale Rust, Lt. Rust, Med. Rust, and Pale Peach.  Whatever, dude.

Lookit how many colors they used just in this one section.  I think the person who originally bought this kit (and all those other unopened kits on eBay) took a closer look at the photo when they got it home and tossed it in the to-do pile and never saw it again.

Doesn't look like such a bargain now does it, smart girl?  Couldn't you have used that $15 to buy yarn or vodka or something that wouldn't cause an aneurysm?

It's gonna be such a party.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Old Lady Crafting be Damned

I keep making stuff but yet I never seem to post any of it these days.  My knitting/crocheting winds up on Ravelry or the occasional Vintage Stitch-O-Rama post but everything else gets photographed and forgotten.  I have an arm chair to cat bed project I've been meaning to post since forever but I keep forgetting I can post stuff from my smartphone. 

Click on photos to embiggen.

Warning: plastic granny-grid is a gateway drug to other old lady crafts.  Thankfully I couldn't find any other tissue covers I liked so this is where I stopped and there aren't any stupid little gingerbread houses with tissues coming out the chimney hiding in my apartment somewhere. 

Of course I found out later the Rubik's Cube tissue cover on The Big Bang Theory is either painted wood or solid plastic and not plastic mesh so I could've just bought the damn thing on Amazon.

Marvel at my early morning photography skills!  This one came out of the book Star Trek Cross-Stitch, which I'd bought thinking there might be something I could convert to colorwork knitting if I added a few rows to un-flatten it.  Ha.  This is a big piece, like 11"x13".  I goofed up the stitch count somewhere in the middle and didn't notice until it was too late so I had to fudge it a little, but it doesn't seem to make any difference in the design.

This book also had a plastic granny-grid Borg cube ornament but I'll be damned if I can get cross stitch on plastic mesh to look like it does in the book, so I said the hell with it.  

 Another one from Star Trek Cross-Stitch, on top of the black towel I'm going to sew it onto.  I cut a beat-up old bath towel in half and the other half will have the original series crew because why the fuck not.

Three different Back to the Future cross stitch patterns combined into one unholy Frankenstein's monster of a design.  I still need to turn the edges and sew them down.  Same thing as with the black bath towel but I haven't decided what to do with the other half yet.

Four random patterns using scrap Aida cloth.  All are pretty small, maybe 3 1/2"x5" and are brutally shoved into thrift store frames.   

The top sampler is part of the Blackbird Designs pattern Bittersweet Moon using just the tree and a weird alphabet crammed around.  Unicorn pattern found here and NOPE made by squinting at a photograph of someone's project and getting the flowers wrong.  Nevermore was drowned in strong tea because I really seriously hated making those little doodads in the background; most of them are ONE STITCH.  I'm pretty sure there's come fancy way of doing that which doesn't involve two knots and severe cursing but I'm not privy to that technique. 

Current project. I thought I didn't already have enough nerd projects littering the place so I chose this dandy resistor chart from Adafruit.  It helps that they also sell all kinds of electronic stuff I shouldn't be buying instead of groceries; stuff like the Raspberry Pi.

Groceries are overrated.

I hate metallic embroidery floss by the way.  There are only a couple squares of that on here but they took at least two hours punctuated by creative swearing.  So, fuck you metallic embroidery floss and the scrofulous nag you rode in on.

I just ordered this pattern.  Away We Ride, from Blackbird Designs, because it has a witch house and ravens and it's all old-timey without having one of those priggish homilies smack in the center like a lot of cross stitch patterns seem to be plagued with.  I'm not bothering with the fancy-ass hand dyed floss because I doubt my stitching skills warrant that kind of expense.  I prefer to spend my bucks on fancy-ass hand dyed yarns and computer parts.


Salem - 1826 from notforgottenfarm on Etsy.  Another recently ordered pattern that's all spooky-old-timey.  I've got a piece of linen that should be the right size for it and some scraps of carved wood trim to build a frame.  Because you can never have enough stuff on the walls.  Landlords love it when you fill the plaster with nail holes.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Meh and Feh.

I know I missed my usual Xmas Gift Horror posts for the past couple holidays but there's been a complete lack of new material.  I keep hoping I'll encounter some bad vintage crafts made from chicken bones and army boots or bleach bottles and glitter but all I'm finding these days is relatively new and incredibly lame.  I think the local thrift stores are on to my crap and now just throw those magazines out instead of putting them out in the racks.

On a recent parental visit my trip to the thrift store scored me 25-30 old Workbasket magazines from the 1970s and I fully expected it to be knee-deep in bad crafts but they've mostly been a disappointment.  Loads of ads for magnifying glasses, compression stockings, laxatives of all kinds and incontinence pants make retirement seem like a long, slow road to death with no reward at the end but pain and shame. 

Most of the knitting/crocheting is pretty dull and it seems to be geared towards those elderly crafters who are counting their last days and just plain don't care enough to bother making insane things out of outdated pills and false teeth glue.

I managed to weed out a couple things from my sad sad Workbasket stack and because I seem to have a radar for things made of garbage I found this prize.  Behold, the Googly-Eyed Church Bazaar Owl, because gluing googly eyes on anything makes it fun!  Try that on some random item, like a dead frog or a tampon.  For some reason the designer thinks this particular prize would fetch 50-75 cents.  I suspect over-medication was involved and she perhaps meant she would give you spare change if you take one of her magnets.

I've always been confused by the plethora of bazaar items made from food.  I dimly recall a varnished Oreo cookie on the fridge when I was young though it seemed to have disappeared by the time I started high school and was replaced with a weird molded rubber version.  God knows why it wasn't covered in ants. 

I think this sweater commemorates the comment General McCauliffe made to the German commander when he requested the 101st Armored Division's surrender during the Battle of the Bulge, though I think I'd knit a tank instead of the squirrel to save confusion.

Long before bored crafters crocheted cooter tissue boxes there were weird grandmas on the wrong medications making severed head Kleenex dispensers.  I know when I hack a hole in someone's skull the first thing I want to see pouring out of it is tissue paper. 

Back to my nap.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I've Done Something, But I'm Not Sure What Exactly

I haven't been blogging for a while because things have been eating my brain.  Three of those things appear to be bad novels, one a compendium of patterns for filet unmentionables, and yet another is a Victorian lady inventors' quarterly cobbled together from my long-dead steambustle site.  All of these but one is at some level of not-finished, though barely-started would be the more accurate description.  I should be knitting instead, or perhaps napping.

One finished project published to Amazon is Grace Harlowe At Overton College, Or Freshman Year Among the Undead, one of those half-assed mashups so popular with the cool kids these days.  I started this one when I came back from having dental students play havoc with a cracked molar, but other than awesome painkillers I have no excuse.

If you've read the old-timey Grace Harlowe series, Grace was an insufferable busybody, as was popular in 1915, and played an ungodly amount of basketball.  She rights wrongs and meddles in others' affairs and impresses the entire school with her blah blah blah.

Amazon thoughtfully provides a preview, though the undead don't make an appearance until later.

Random excerpt, whereupon Grace and her friends Miriam and Elfreda are escorted to a college reception by several lively juniors.

Just as they were ready to start the door bell rang. There was a sound of loud, laughing voices and the stumble of slippered feet on the stairs, and Mabel Ashe, accompanied by two more juniors no one had ever heard of nor cared about, appeared on the landing.
"Well, aren't you the gnat's whiskers," announced Mabel a little too loudly, as Grace appeared in the doorway. "Positively the dog's intestinal worms! We've come to escort you to that shindig but we gotta make up for lost time." She pulled up her long skirt, took a silver hip flask out of the top of her stocking and handed it to Grace.
"Why, I didn't know juniors were invited to the reception," exclaimed Grace, refusing Mabel's flask.
"Suit yourself, toots," giggled Mabel. "We weren't invited, but we're crashing the joint. I got a fella I'm goofy for in the orchestra and we'll probably neck in his car during breaks." She took a swig from the flask and stuck it back into her stocking top.
"I'm so glad you'll be going," returned Grace warmly. "We know nearly all the freshmen, even the smelly ones, but we know only a few sophomores. We were lamenting to-night because we expected to be wall flowers."
"Not if I can help it, doll," promised Mabel. "Girls, these two tomatoes are Miss Graham and Miss Allen. They know a couple swell fellas in case you gals wanna make it a petting party."
The "tomatoes" sniggered as Mabel presented Grace and her friends. Miss Graham waved, slipped, and nearly pulled Miss Allen back down the stairs.
"Get your glad rags and let's ankle," directed Mabel. "Who's the wet blanket?" She nodded at Anne, who was curled up in a chair with a hot water bottle jammed firmly in her lap.
"Did the cork come out of the bottle?" Anne began to grope around the fabric of her robe, much to the amusement of the three juniors. "I am not at all wet," she protested.
"Her friend has come to visit," said Grace, being very deliberate, and making vague hand gestures towards the region of her waist. "Her friend." The juniors burst into gales of laughter.
"Bank's closed, huh, toots?” asked Mabel, sympathetically. Miss Graham and Miss Allan snorted and spluttered.
"Oh! You horrid things!" shrieked Anne, and with that she stormed out of the room.
"So's your old man," replied Mabel, sending Miss Graham and Miss Allen into near hysterics. Mabel fumbled around in her stocking for the flask which had slipped down nearly to her ankle, took another swallow and bellowed, “Let's blow this joint!” With that, the three juniors slipped and stumbled and giggled back down the stairs.
Grace found her wrap and was primping in the mirror when behind her there was a soft cough, a splatty sort of cracking sound, and Miriam quickly stepped back. On the polished wood floor where she once stood, were the remains of a fresh egg.
"Oh, Miriam," sighed Grace. "Please contain yourself. We might be dancing with sophomores to-night."
"I tried to hold it in," Miriam muttered sullenly, grabbing her wrap. "I don't lay eggs on purpose, you know."
Elfreda harrumphed, "You did yesterday. We had boiled eggs for luncheon." She farted quietly. The muffler and charcoal filter in her skirt were working splendidly. "Honestly, if you stupid Oakdale people are gonna lie about eggs, I don't know who I can trust."
"Elfreda is right," said Grace, mopping up the egg. "We should be able to trust one another, and be truthful, and honest, and rah rah rah, Overton——"
"Blah blah blah," interrupted Elfreda. "We don't have any time for your Goody Two Shoes hogwash. We've got a reception to attend."