Framing is ridiculously expensive. I don't really understand how a few dollars' worth of cardboard and wood suddenly becomes worth $50 when put together, but whatever.
I decided to frame my needlework by stretching it around a prestretched canvas (which I left intact), stapling it as if I were stretching a canvas. How do you do that? See my blog post here.
Easy, and the price is right! Under $4.00 apiece. However, I compromised my principles and shopped at Hobby Lobby, because it's right next to Kroger and I didn't want to drive all the way over to the West Side just for Michaels. (Hobby Lobby is fighting the birth control mandate. Courts say: You're not a religious organization. Sotomayor says: This is not an emergency.)
Anyway. This framing method is not perfect. And next time I need to be careful when stretching that the design stays straight (I have two others not pictured because they are gifts, and they got a bit wonky in the stretching). (Not that too many people read my blog-ha!)
Anyway, here is the framed piece on the wall.
Here's a shot of the entire living room:
Symon is growling because a kid is shoveling snow. Actually, he's doing what Steve did yesterday - using a plastic trash can. Two 18" back-to-back blizzards in Maryland (Feb 2010) and we still have not gotten a snow shovel. I think it's time we purchased one, don't you think?
So, I was reading the comments in the Cross Stitch Portrait article on the Martha Stewart website. A commenter mentioned that these cross stitch portraits are done by an Etsy seller. No comment from Martha Stewart Living on their borrowing of the concept.
Interesting I saw that comment the same day I read this article, where an artist goes to Miami and sees a gallery where an artist has made paintings of his photographs. I really like the attitude of the artist whose photos were used. He just kind of shrugged, like: that's what happens.
I don't really have a specific comment here, other than: Well, this is life in our current world.
Talentless hacks and/or corporations with no ideas of their own will steal from others and pass it off as their own, be it paintings, online class materials, designs, etc. And people will continue to spread it via the internet to (hopefully) shame them into stopping. Rinse and repeat.
Over a year ago I mentioned in a blog post that I still hadn't made a butterfly to submit to The Butterfly Project at the Holocaust Museum Houston. As with most other projects since moving to Indiana, it was put on hold or neglected. I have been trying to clean up old projects, intended art journaling, and other things.
I finally finished the butterflies. I am sending three.
One of them I made in kindergarten! When I was sorting through stuff to get rid of in the Big Purge in Illinois, I pulled out the paper mache butterfly and decided I would send it along, too.
I drew a child's face on a stretched canvas, then attached some small canvas butterflies, with antennae of waxed bookmaking thread.
I also cut out a large butterfly on heavy watercolor paper, attached a drawing of a young girl (that I sketched on my commute in Illinois) and rubber-stamped some butterflies, as well as tiny butterfly cutouts.
In the November 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living, there was an article on Cross-Stitch Family Portraits. I've wanted to do this ever since I saw them! I've never been a fan of counted cross-stitch. I did some embroidery in my teens and 20s, but I always felt sewing crafts took up too much time that I'd rather spend doing art. However, for some time I've felt like I needed a relaxing non-art hobby, and stitching seems to fit the bill. I have found it very calming. In Martha Beck terms, it is easy to 'drop into Wordlessness' while closely examining the cloth and thread while stitching.
I designed a pattern for me, Steve and Symon.
The article in MSL gave instructions for using colored pencils on graph paper to design, but I thought doing it on the computer would be better, and easier to edit (once you put down colored pencil, you aren't erasing). Here is what I did:
In Microsoft Word, open a new document. Change the orientation to Landscape. Change the margins to .5" all around. Click Insert, Table, then Insert Table - this gives you the option to specify how many columns and rows. You want 50 columns and 35 rows. Now click the little box in the upper left corner to Select the entire table. Right-Click, click Borders and Shading, and click under Color and choose one of the light blues. It's easier to work with the table when the lines are a light color.
See the MSL article for guidelines about how to design the figures, and look at all the examples - you'll get face, hair and wardrobe ideas.
To fill in the table boxes with color, right-click on a box. In the Text toolbar that appears, there is a 'Fill' symbol that looks like a pitcher pouring liquid. Click the drop-down arrow and you can choose from the basic colors listed, or click More Colors at the bottom. Click on the color you want.
You can select several boxes, then click to make them all the same color. However, you cannot select and copy/paste, because there is nothing in the box to copy. It's a little tedious, but easier to work with and correct than pencils and paper.
Here is my pattern:
At the article's recommendation, I bought some Aida cloth, but I didn't like it. I did a small test of just our heads and shoulders, with Symon in between. I did not like the way the Aida cloth pulled out of shape so easily. I also didn't like the light color of the fabric. So, I found a needlework shop (Fancy Works) nearby and purchased some very nice 'Evenweave' cloth, in a darker color. They even cut the piece in two for me, and machine-stitched a border all around so it wouldn't unravel. (NOTE: I showed great restraint and only purchased the cloth - they had tons of thread, and beads and charms! Great restraint!)
I learned about Evenweave cloth from the Posy Gets Cozy blog Cross Stitch Tutorial. Go to her shop and click on Tutorials, then "How to do counted cross stitch." This tutorial was extremely helpful, and I did my cross-stitch the way she recommends: one cross at a time. Also: I love this blog. Her photos are beautiful and her writing is lovely.
I've enjoyed this project and am glad I found a mind-quieting hobby.
Here is last year's Holiday picture. We tried to take this year's picture last weekend, but they came out all blurry so we'll try again this weekend.
Holiday Pic 2011
UPDATE: I read the comments below the Cross Stitch Portrait article on the Martha Stewart website, and someone mentioned this Etsy seller, who does cross stitch portraits. No comment from MSL.
I started this blog post back in April, and never went back to finish it. I didn't realize it had been that long. I still needed to take a picture of our bed with nightstands and lamps. What can I say, it's been kind of a weird year.
Taking Martha Beck's advice (Starlight) on redecorating. Remove something from your space that you dislike (bins!) and bring in something new.
A cloth Shower Curtain.
Mermaids on the bathroom wall.
A Tablecloth for the dust-collecting kitchen table.
Symon helps me sew the tablecloth.
A new chair and ottoman.
And now, two bookshelves, and nightstands.
Yes, we still have the box the vacuum came in - Symon likes to play in it.
Real lamps, too. We were using these little desk lamps that pointed down and made the bedroom dark. It's amazing how much light there is now that we have real lamps.
Many years ago, we purchased a bunch of bins - and I mean a bunch, like over two dozen clear bins - while in Seattle. We had a Studio apartment, so it made sense to be able to store and stack our stuff in the big walk-in closet as well as our basement storage area. Then we never got our stuff out of the bins, until now. There are none left. Everything is unpacked. For the first time since we left Memphis, which was 2000.
It's been amusing that as Steve drops off the bins in the 'free stuff' area at the recycling center, they are gone in less than ten seconds. The useless wooden bar stool, too.
No more stacked bins as nightstands.
Or a printer stand.
Our home has a different energy. Our lives have a different energy.