variegated floss cross stitch sampler & 2 small projects

All done! I really wish photos did this justice, the cloth is actually a deep tan color that contrasts really lovely with the bright, rich colors. And the floss itself is much more vibrant that it appears in photos.

The spots are just water from being sprayed with a mister.

And this is a just a little sachet I whipped up Saturday afternoon, stuffed with dried lavender. I did another autumn-themed one too, but I don’t have any stuffing left so I didn’t bother to finish it.

And this is a little something I started Sunday evening. It’s really more of an exercise than a serious project. This is a stitch called Bargello, sometimes called Florentine. This is actually a needlepoint pattern, but Bargello can also be used in embroidery, so I’m doing it on linen even-weave. Like I said, it’s not a serious project; I just really like the stitch and want to practice it, and see what it looks like when you fill a large area in with it.

stitching, block party, random photos, and i really think it’s time for a new bike

Nearly done. I just have a few leaves to add to the lower-left corner, do the border, and a couple other details.

We closed off the street and had a 4th of July block party on Friday. We even had a volleyball net stretched across the street. It’s a dead-end street, doesn’t go anywhere, so it’s not a big deal to close it to traffic. We had lots of food, I brought cheddarwurst and strawberry shortcake.

Here are some photos I took on Saturday while waiting for my bus across the street from The Hub.


I got to change an innertube this weekend. And it wasn’t the front one again; it was the back one, which is about a year old and has been losing air pretty steadily, so it wasn’t unexpected. It was time-consuming, and the back tire is more complicated than the front because of the chain, but it was easy enough.

But on the way to work this morning, the chain suddenly popped off the gear. That bike ran perfectly for a year, then suddenly every single thing that could possibly happen to it, happened. It’s easy enough to fix, but it shouldn’t be happening at all. And what if it happens again? What if it happens while I’m coasting downhill with cross traffic and a stoplight at the bottom?? That bike has coaster brakes, meaning no chain = no brakes.

I really think it’s time for that new bike I’ve been thinking of. And this time I’m going to get a Schwinn or a Huffy. I’d love an Electra, they make some sweet-ass cruisers, but they’re pretty pricey.

stitching, the flu, and another terrible movie

I didn’t get as much done this weekend, because I had either the flu or a really terrible cold, and for most of the weekend I wasn’t up to anything more strenuous than lying in bed and sipping Gatorade. I woke up with a sore throat on Friday, but thought it might just be a reaction to the incredibly poor air quality, from the wildfires. Plus, I didn’t know anyone who was sick; and I almost never get colds or flu in summer.

Well, Saturday put paid to that notion. When I woke up my throat felt like it had a flaming golf ball stuck in it, and after I’d been awake about an hour I started to feel lightheaded and achy all over. Hello, fever! The best part? I had no fluids in the house besides milk, and really nothing I could eat if I was sick, except for some crackers. There are times when being without a car really kind of sucks, and when you’re running a 101-degree fever and need some clear fluids is one of them.

So I got on my feet, and ever so slowly biked the mile or so down to the closest grocery store, loaded up on Gatorade, Coke, 7-Up, cough and Vitamin C drops (I know they don’t really make you any better, but it helps my throat to be sucking on anything, and it’s marginally more healthy than candy, even if it does have about the same amount of sugar) and chicken soup. Then I slooowly biked home, and collapsed into bed and barely moved for the next several hours; except to call the ‘rents and ask if Advil is a fever reducer (it is), because I don’t keep Tylenol in the house.

The fever broke Saturday evening, and now I’m just snotty and tired. It’s been 72 hours so I shouldn’t be contagious anymore, so I went ahead and came into work.

This weekend’s terrible movie was Strangeland on IFC, which was written by and starred Dee Snider. It’s about a killer stalking teens through the internet and is 10 years old, so of course it was totally hilarious. It’s filled with revelations, like did you know that people sometimes misrepresent themselves online?! And if you go into a chatroom, everyone in there will somehow be from your hometown. Also, Colorado suburbs are so blasé that a guy with multiple facial piercings and tattoos can just wander around unremarked.

Vote for McCain or I’ll kidnap you and give you a Prince Albert!

And that’s what the killer does to the teens: locks them in cages and gives them “body art”, in between torturing them with pseudo-philosophical blather like “We must all go through a rite of passage, and it must be physical, it must be painful, and it must leave a mark”. I’ll take the piercings, please. Also Dee, aren’t you like 50? Why are you ranting about “rites of passage”?? It’s like Dee Snider got pissed at Generation X for growing up and no longer being impressed with a fright wig and some badly applied make-up. These kids today, with their crazy pierced genitalia and tattoos! I’ll show them how dangerous it all is!! It makes sense once you realize that Dee Snider is a Republican (trufax, he campaigned for Schwarzenegger and performed at his inauguration).

I fell asleep about 2/3 of the way through, after Dee got lynched by some angry townfolk, so I don’t know how it ended. I can only assume he rose from the dead and extracted some bloody vengeance, before being dispatched by Lindsay Weir (Oh, Linda Cardellini, did you really need the money THAT badly?). Perhaps he continued stalking teens in their dreams, or maybe I just think that since Robert Englund, aka Freddy Kreuger in a zillion movies, was a member of the aforementioned mob.

ETA: How on earth did I become one of the top Google Image listings for “Dee Snider”?? This is disturbing.

the weekend just past: stitching, good food and bad movies, and the death of george carlin

Nearing the halfway mark.

Natasha’s back in town (or maybe she never left), so we went out Saturday night. She suggested seeing The Hulk, but that just looks boring-bad, so I said how about The Happening, which looks hilarious-bad. She wanted Italian for dinner, so we went to Massimo’s, which is pretty pricey and usually a special occasion place, but what the hell, it really is the best food to be had in Fremont.

Let me tell you chickadees, The Happening is exactly as bad as you probably heard it was. Marky Mark constantly has a facial expression like he’s trying to figure out who farted and talks to everyone like they’re 5 years old; Zooey Deschanel spends the movie acting and looking like a total halfwit (“Close the doors and windows!” “Why?” OMG ZOOEY HAVE YOU NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION AT ALL.)–and I don’t mean in the typical horror movie “This chick is an idiot” way, I mean she literally seems “special”; and both of them, in a bizarre directorial and/or acting choice whose reason I can not fathom, speak in a register way higher than their real voices. It’s like the set had a slow helium leak from somewhere the whole time. It’s CRAZY. Plus there’s some freak obsessed with hot dogs, and Betty “You’re outta the prom, Hargensen!” Buckley acting totally insane and accusing people of eyeing her lemon drink.

Anyway, you just GOTTA see it. Natasha and I were cracking up the whole time, and probably coming off as really obnoxious to everyone else in the theater. But it was the last showing, and there were only like 6 or 7 other people there anyway.

Also, on weekends of triple-digit heat, this is my new favorite thing:

Matcha milk tea + Häagen Dasz vanilla honey bee ice cream = DELISH.

So, this would have been a great weekend, except that George Carlin died on Sunday night. That totally sucks, it’s not like we have so many iconic and truly great comedians that we can afford to lose any of them. Who’s going to take his place, Larry the fucking Cable Guy?

Here is Carlin’s most famous bit, the 7 dirty words you can’t say on television:

I’m gonna miss that gravelly sarcasm.

variegated floss cross stitch sampler work-in-progress: 2

I didn’t get as much done this weekend as I’d wanted to; I had to work Saturday, and the less said about Sunday the better. It involved a bicycle tire innertube that had a busted seam 48 hours after I purchased it, a lot of yelling, and a trip to the bike repair place. I got maybe 3 1/2 hours in on Sunday evening.

butterfly embroidery pillowcase and variegated floss sampler work-in-progress: 1

I’ve been working on this pillowcase for my grandmother for months–I gave her the first one for Christmas. Satin stitching is my most-hated stitch (every stitcher has one), and after working on these pillowcases and another pair for my brother (which appears to have gotten lost in the mail >_<), I don’t want to do any more fucking satin stitch for quite a while.


So after that, it was a relief to finally start a cross stitch project. I started this yesterday. It’s a sampler done entirely with variegated floss, so the colors darken and lighten and darken again as you stitch. The flash washed it out, but the cloth is actually quite a bit darker than it appears. I thought that would contrast nicely with the bright colors.

My next project was supposed to be a wedding sampler for my sister and her fiancé, but I can’t get the software to work on my computer. However, I got it installed on my mother’s computer last Christmas, when I bought it, so maybe it will be a Christmas present instead.

I also bought an embroidery book at Borders this weekend — actually I ordered it almost a month ago, and kept forgetting to pick it up: Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Wooly Embroidery. There are some really adorable designs in there and I can’t wait to try some, but it will probably have to wait until fall. Wooly embroidery is really not something that’s very enjoyable in hot weather.