Friday, August 29, 2008

Mind: More Fun with Han Solo

Blargh. Crappy, crappy work day. makes it all better:

I do love me some good Han Solo jokes...maybe I should cross stitch xkcd's version of the "hokey religions" line...

In other happy -- really happy -- news, my Kirby Cross Stitch Towel has been featured on Sprite Stitch today!

Thanks, Johloh!

Sprite Stitch
is one of my "happy place" blogs, never failing to make me smile even after the hardest day. Not to mention, Johloh creates some seriously awesome patterns that make my fingers itch to cross stitch. Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to try the big Super Smash Bros. pattern, but I know for sure a Mario Frog towel is in my near future...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hand: Bobby Pin Barrettes

It's the last night of my staycation. Boo. Which means it really isn't a vacation night, since I have to go to bed early, not drink too much, and be a "good girl." Phooey.

At least I had a really nice week off. I got to see my brother, bake some treats, finish and start some crafts, play with the new Xbox (I finished The Darkness last night, yay!), and hang out lots with my husband. I wish every week could be like this one.

On the downside though, it was a pretty hectic week for hair in my apartment. I cut my husband's hair for the second time ever, chopping off a good 6-7 inches from his rocker-like tresses. I actually cried a little once I was done, and saw the hair curled up on the floor, so sad and separate from his head. I am so not a professional stylist! To be fair, he still has shoulder-length hair, it's all healthy and free of split ends, and he's THRILLED with's just taking me some serious getting used to.

On top of that, the "trim" I wanted at the salon turned into a bit of a hack n' burn, with the back only a couple of inches long and the front still shaggy and longish (the exact opposite of what I asked for). So, in order to soften the blow, I decided to make some pretty new barrettes to "encourage" me to love my really short hair. I'd seen some cute fabric button bobby pin barrettes on, and decided to try my hand at some:

I'm pretty pleased with them! I used a little button-maker-dealy and some cute fabric I picked up at Joann's, and some plain ol' bobby pins and hot glue. They do their job: keeping the shaggies out of my face while adding a touch of cute to my new butchie 'do.

Making these buttons also gave me some other crafty ideas to play with, so this isn't the last you've seen of these little fabric buttons...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hand: Kirby Cross Stitch Towel

Kirby has always been one of my favorite video game characters. Kirby's Dreamland was my first non-Mario game on the old skool Gameboy ("back in my day, we didn't have no fancy-schmancy color screens! We had LED screens! And the Gameboy was almost as big as an NES console..."), and I remember playing it for hours in the back seat of the car on long drives.

So, when I saw this adorable Kirby pattern on Sprite Stitch, I knew I had to give it a go.

I ended up using different colored flosses than recommended, which resulted in maybe a slightly more rosy Kirby, but hey, wouldn't you be a little red-faced if you were flying with your mouth full?

The stars were designed by my own personal 8-bit artist, my husband, who actually spent a good deal of time trying to make the perfect star. It's harder than it looks!

Please ignore the hoop markings. I haven't washed it yet since it looks so pretty all fluffy and clean. Soon enough, it'll look like the rest of my bathroom towels, and I am so not sharing pictures of it then.

Funny enough, I finished this in the same weekend we finally broke down and bought ourselves an Xbox 360. I am so flippin' excited! I was able to transfer my saved files from The Darkness from my brother's Xbox 360, which has made me oh so very happy. I'm so hooked on this game right now. Taking on the NYC mob with the powers of hell at your disposal...

...yeah, it's a far cry from a happy, pink little fellow, huh? Video games have changed a lot in the past 20 years or so!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hand: Celtic Knot Cross Stitch

Think I'm a fan of purple?

I just thought it was too funny I was making a purple cross stitch on my purple hoop with my purple (tomato) pincushion, so I had to take a picture!

This pattern is from a book called Magical Cross Stitch that I picked up a few weeks ago at JoAnn's. I'm usually pretty skeptical about fantasy and myth themed cross stitch patterns, but this book has some I think are quite beautiful.

I'll admit, though, that I'm kind of terrified of taking on some of the bigger projects in the book, so I started small. This is supposed to be a lid for a "trinket pot," but since no U.S.-based shops or website I've found seem to stock official, (U.K.-based) Framecraft trinket pots, I just need to be content with the pretty circular design and hopefully figure out a better way to display it.

This was my first foray into "tweeding," where I took one strand of metallic floss and one strand of regular cotton floss and used them together. It's hard to see in the picture, but it lends a nice, subtle sparkliness to the knots. It was also easier to work with then straight up using metallic thread, so this may the way I'll be using them from now on.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mouth: Strawberry Empanadas

First off, I want to give a big "thank you!!!" from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has blogged, commented, viewed, or even just smiled at my little Han Solo Cross Stitch this past week. It's been friggin' surreal seeing something *I* made everywhere online...and seeing people enjoying it so much. But it's also made me tremendously happy through a pretty trying week.

The last week before a vacation is always rough, and this last week was no exception. Aside from a lovely, after-work knitting lesson from my brother's girlfriend, I barely had time to craft (or do much else) before the weekend! So, when Saturday finally rolled around in all it's vacation-weekend rosiness, I felt a special breakfast was in order.

Fresh from the oven, these Strawberry Empanadas are soft, sweet little bundles of delight. The flaky crust gives way to a deliciously gooey filling of cream cheese and ripe strawberries, making this a perfect, decadent weekend breakfast.

I'll admit here, I'm totally a frozen pie crust type of girl, so my baking sensitivities weren't rankled by the thought of using store-bought, refrigerated dough. Maybe someday I'll play with my own dough recipe, but for now, "quick and easy" are the words for me on a leisurely Saturday morning.

Strawberry Empanadas
adapted from the InterCourses Cookbook*

1/4 cup reduced fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons brown sugar (I like dark)
2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh strawberries
1 6-count package refrigerated crescent rolls

Topping (optional)
1 pat of butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon/sugar mix

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Blend the cream cheese and brown sugar in a small bowl. Gently fold in chopped strawberries.
3. Unroll the crescent dough, separating the six triangular pieces. Plop about a tablespoon of the cream cheese filling into the middle of the widest part of the triangle. Fold up the bottom, crimping the side, then wrap the remaining dough around the bundle. Make sure there's no holes where the filling can leak out.
4. Bake for 16-19 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.
5. If you want to use topping, brush the pat of butter gently over the top of oven-warm pastry, then sprinkle with a little of the cinnamon/sugar mix.

Makes 6 Strawberry Empanadas.

*InterCourses is an incredibly sexy cookbook featuring romantic and "aphrodisiac" recipes. It's more PG-13 vein than R or NC-17 rated (*I* think, at least), so its safe on your kitchen cookbook shelf. It's filled with titillating and creative photographs highlighting some really delicious recipes. The Black Russian Cake, which they have listed for free on their web site, is a truly decadent dessert for anyone who loves chocolate, coffee, and Kahlua!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mind: My Interview on the Official Star Wars Blog!

So, I swear I'll soon be getting back to posting my creations and ceasing with the self-promos, but I just had to share...

I've been interviewed for the official Star Wars blog!

Bonniegrrl saw my Han Solo cross stitch sampler, and asked if she could share it with the Star Wars craft community at large. I have to say, I'm practically giddy seeing my pictures under than "official" Star Wars banner...I've been a fan since I was a little girl.

Thank you to Bonnie for posing such thoughtful -- and thought-provoking -- questions! It was a lot of fun to talk about my project!

Heh. I always said I wanted to be involved with Lucasfilm. I just never figured it'd be with my crafting!

Edit 8/18/08: Looks like this has also been picked up by Technabob,, and re-posted on! This is too friggin' surreal! Thank you, all!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mind: Avoiding the Inevitable

Yay! Thank you Brook from Knit With Love! I feel really honored. I've only been blogging here for a few months...and sporadically at that. But it's been fun! I'm so glad you like my fledgling blog (and projects)! I hope to have more to share soon.

I'll admit...I'm gonna have to cheat this.'t really *know* 7 bloggers to share this with...that I'm not too shy to approach! I know, I know, if I don't "mingle" I'll never meet anyone! But I'm just such a wallflower sometimes...especially Monday mornings.

Even Monday mornings I don't have to go to work! Ah, the benefits of working only 4 days week. However...I promised myself this was going to be a day of writing. I was gonna sit down with a blank word document and crank out the DVD case text for my film, and actually start working on a new short story. So...I think I need to shower, pack up my laptop, and head out to my local cafe, because I'm already getting the itch to:

1. Blog about my film, my favorite beer, and the embroidery projects I finished over the weekend.
2. Finish my current embroidery project, then start scouring the web for fabric to match it.
3. Wash dishes/do laundry/scrub bathroom/pick up living room/make bed
4. Start a NEW craft project from the Doodle Stitching book I picked up yesterday.
5. Call my family, which can be a 3-hour conversation!
6. Try Vanilla Garlic's Chocolate Chipotle Cupcakes recipe.
7. Keep adding to this list.
8. Do ANYTHING I can to avoid the terror of the blank page.

So. Stall with a shower. And by stopping by Petco for a new heating bulb for my lizard, Arrakis. And write.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hand: Han Solo sampler...on!!

Holy mother of Jeff.

I just was doing my daily scan of blogs in my reader, and came across this:

My Han Solo sampler is on Craft: magazine's blog!!!

Never, in a bazillion light years did I imagine my little contest entry to make such a prestigious crafting blog. I'm alternating between stunned and elated.

This has totally made my day!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hand: Han Solo Quote Cross Stitch

EDIT (1/17/11):
I've finally charted the pattern, and it's available for free!

Yay! So, after posting my entry for the Summer Needlework Challenge at 11:30 p.m. last night, I've had over 500 views! This is my first time entering any sort of crafty challenge on Craftster...and only my second posting a craft there in general. It's seriously made my day to see how many folks are digging on my hard-worked, geek design!

And here I was nervous that people would think it was silly. In a bad way.

I actually made this before the Buffy cross stitch I posted previously. This is the first counted cross stitch I've done (I've done a couple stamped ones), and the first one I've designed. My husband actually drew out the blasters, and the font was generated from yourpersonalizedpat

This was also my first foray into metallic threads, which I have to say, can be a major pain in the butt! They were worth it, though, I think, for the nice shine on the lightsaber handles and blaster barrels.

In it's pretty frame:

Han Solo stands by his words (bun-dun-dun-cha!):

It even made Craftster's homepage!

This is so friggin' cool. For the first time, I really feel like I'm really taking part in this whole, awesome crafter community, beyond being an admirer or consumer. It feels pretty damn good.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hand: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Quote Cross Stitch

If you love Buffy and you know it, clap your hands...

This is one of my favorite quotes from BtVS: season 3 (the season of Faith & the Mayor), the last episode, "Graduation Day, part 2." This was Buffy's description of her shell-shocked state of mind after everything was said and done: "Fire bad. Tree pretty."

A couple of Buffy-loving friends of mine recently moved back to the East Coast, and I thought this would be a fitting housewarming gift for their new apartment. I designed the layout and the tree, and my husband designed the fire (he's surprisingly good at drawing little cross stitch patterns). The font is from Carrie's Creations' Free Patterns Online, alphabet #19.

Detail of the cross stitch, though a little blurry:

I'm really proud of this one, and though a little part of me wishes I could've kept it, I know it's going to have a loving home across the country. They were seriously jubilant when they opened it!

I also shared this at Crochet Me's call for Jossverse crafts, in support of their master plan to get Joss himself to do an interview with them. Check it out!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Eye: My photo chosen for Schmap!

Yay! I just found out that one of the pictures I took of my trip to Portland was included in the Schmap!! Portland Guide!

I fell in love with McMenamins Kennedy School when I was in Portland, wandering the hallways that still held the friendly ghosts of childhoods long past. Once an elementary school, the good folks at McMenamins transformed the place into a brewery/pub/movie theater/hostel.

The beer was amazing, and I spent a dreamy afternoon watching the cherry blossoms dance across the roiling gray sky through the industrial-grade wooden windows in the bar. It's memories like this that have made me almost certain I want to uproot from the Bay Area and re-plant myself in Portland's rich soil...