Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Don't Puke" Cross Stitch

It's a rainy Saturday afternoon on a holiday weekend. Which means curling up under blankets with steaming mugs of coffee and pan dulce. Mmmm.

I mentioned in my last post that my friend Dana and I had successfully completed year two of our annual craft swap. I showed you the awesome hat she crocheted me, but I didn't show you what I sent her.

Don't Puke Cross Stitch (Framed)

Dana requested a piece similar to one she'd seen posted on Apartment Therapy's tour of Liv and Jeff's Long Beach home.

After trying to figure out if the pattern was available, I contacted Liv at her blog, A Lovely Little Life, who told me she'd designed it herself.

I figured this was a good chance to make a custom one for Dana, so I asked her to pick her font and color scheme. The border I adapted from my copy of Donna Kooler's 555 Fabulous Cross-Stitch Patterns.

Don't Puke Cross Stitch

The result? A uniquely Dana cross stitch, ready to tell her cats to keep their hairballs to themselves.

I'm thrilled to announce that the week she got the swap package, she got an even more special delivery: she gave birth to her first child! Big congrats to her and her amazing husband Justin on the birth of their beautiful baby boy.

What's next on my crafting plate? I have another couple of geeky embroidery projects transferred and ready to stitch, plus a cross stitch pattern I'm developing. I'm really excited by it, but it's taking longer than I thought! I also have another couple of cool craft-related announcements to make later, but right now I've gotta keep things under wraps to not jinx anything. I promise I'll tell soon.

Now, to stitch, and enjoy the patter of rain on the window.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Holiday Hearts

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you spend it in the spirit of love, be it by spending it with those you cherish or by celebrating how awesome you are.

I love the red heart motif surrounding Valentine's Day. Hearts can be lovely and innocent, but through the right lens can easily be made into something little more…merrily morbid.

This year, in honor of the holiday, I bring you a handful of the sweetest, most “heartfelt” crafts I’ve come across lately.

First off, I have to share this amazingly beautiful crochet hat my good friend Dana Koster made for me as part of our now-annual craft swap. Not only did she whip this up in my favorite shade of red, she appliqued an adorable human heart to it. This is without a doubt my new favorite hat.

Dana also gets credit for pointing me towards this wee, blown-glass heart, made by Kiva Ford. I love how it looks suspended in space.

Anatomology is my favorite jewelry store these days, which you can tell from my recent Geek Crafts post. There are numerous heart-based designs, my favorite of which is this heart-in-hand necklace.

If I could go back in time to my wedding and register for tableware, it would be for these “Eat Your Heart Out” dinner plates by Folded Pigs.

What to serve on such plates? Why, heart-shaped cookies, made with this custom-made cookie cutter by West Tinworks!

Of course, the set wouldn’t be complete without some sweet anatomical diagram tea towels to dry them with, right? By Girls Can Tell.

Someday, when I win the lottery, this will be the first opulent thing I buy: an 18K gold anatomical heart locket, embellished with diamonds (because not only hookers can have hearts of gold, y’know).

Made by Peggy Skemp, who also offers a sterling silver heart for those of us who are still playing the numbers.

Now, off to celebrate with the Professor with some micro-brew beer at Triple Rock Brewery, our special Valentine's Day place. Don't judge. They're cracking a "White Chocolate Milk Stout" in honor of the holiday (well, and SF Beer Week). It's festive!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Parrot Perspective

Yesterday I found myself inexplicably in the depths of the midwinter blues. Despite the lovely weather -- which offered clear, blue skies and mildly warm breezes -- I couldn't shake the feeling of restless melancholy. Blame the writer's block, perhaps.

I dragged myself to my weekly appointment in North Beach, and managed to emerge feeling a bit better. I still had a funky miasma about me, though, one I was sure would plague me for the rest of the day.

Until, I cut through my favorite little park. Though it's only a one-block plot of grass and trees, it's close enough to the water to get a nice salt wind. Even more importantly, it's home to one of the flocks of famous wild parrots.

Normally, they're up high in the eucalyptus trees, chattering and fluttering about. Imagine my surprise, then, when I found them all no more than a foot above me, perched in the flowering cherry blossom trees.

It was a riot of color and song, their vibrant green and red feathers standing out among the delicate pink blossoms. They feasted on the flowers with impunity, oblivious to the crowd they were drawing.

It's amazing what a gorgeous sight like this can do to lighten your mood. Especially when you look around and see that everyone else has the safe goofy, child-like grin on their face. And I do mean everyone: the tired nine-to-fivers, the hipsters, the tourists, and even the too-cool teenagers. Some were whipping out their smart phones and cameras, others were just standing there drinking it all in. We'd look at each other and smile, linked in temporary camaraderie.

It's moments like this that gently remind me that there is beauty in simplicity, and that things don't have to be as complicated as I make them out them to be. I left the park feeling lighter, happier, and 99.9% funk-free.

Thanks, little parrots.