Posts tagged pretty pretty picture

strapped: “mario through the ages”

mario through the ages – guitar strap, originally uploaded by fingerpistol.

this guitar strap is awesome. it was also a freaking BEAST to make.

i used a generic black guitar strap made of a relatively loose webbing material (many of the webbing guitar straps i found were woven too tight to stitch through). since the weave isn’t exactly uniform (every row is offset by the last, so that every other row lines up), i had to sort of devise my own method of keeping the stitches even (not that anyone can tell).

i used the ever-popular “mario through the ages” pattern. i just edited out the background bits to keep the individual incarnations of mario.

the strap was originally meant to be a christmas gift, but it took sooooooooo long (nearly four months, off an on) that it eventually turned into a birthday gift instead. (ha.)

the number one reason it took so long? stitching black floss onto black webbing = SATAN. ohmygosh, it was so difficult to do. the marios with solid black bits (as opposed to black outlines) took literally twice as long as the rest. and they generally took about seven or eight hours a-piece, so… yeah, super suckypants.

thankfully, i was smart enough to go out and buy myself one of those fancypants “daylight” lightbulbs. those things are freaking AWESOME. five bucks well spent, i tell you what. i just plugged it into my normal everyday lamp and BAM, suddenly i could see things!  :o)

admittedly, a couple of the floss colors are a little off. this was the first project that i ever actually used a pattern for, so i didn’t think to check the floss i was grabbing. i assumed (silly me) that if i needed floss 1234, all i had to do was reach into the bin marked “1234” and grab one and i was good to go. not so.

turns out, there are a lot of people out there who don’t know how to put things away correctly, so i should have checked the floss as i grabbed it.  :o\  not a crazy disaster, but incredibly annoying to someone such as myself (who sorts her skittles by color before eating them…yeah, i’m *that* girl). you may notice that hammer mario is a little off.  :o\  yeah. not really sure what happened there. luckily, frog mario was next, so i just shoved him off to the other side to even them out. (and it just looks like he’s jumping! wooooo!)

another issue i ran across was that some of the marios were originally outlined in black on the pattern (because the background was intended to be white). unfortunately, it meant that a lot of bits just faded into the strap. so i ended up outlining those marios a second time with a coordinating thread color, so they still pop out.

there are individual shots of each mario, as well as shots of the back, in my flickr set.

as i stitched the strap, a lot of puckering occurred. it was weird. it was either from the way i was holding the strap (i gripped the hell out of it, i tell you what), or just from the strap trying to escape. or, i suppose it could have had something to do with the stitching itself. i don’t know. i tried to iron the strap after it was finished, per my mom’s suggestion. of course, neither of us realized that was a terrible idea (seeing as how the strap is made of NYLON). haaa. a tiny little edge melted, but i noticed real damn fast and stopped. luckily, the backing fixed most of the puckering problems.

i used a regular old embroidery needle and normal DMC thread, nothing fancy. after i finished it, i took some pictures of the back, then covered that shit up with some fleece. that way, it’s a little softer on the shoulders, and (hopefully) the thread will be protected a little better. i just used spray adhesive to stick the fleece to the back of the strap, then sewed up the sides to keep it down. it was kind enough to lay flat in gratitude.

the strap is still fully adjustable, only now it’s fully BADASS too.  :o)  yeah, i’m a nerd.

i have two other straps i’m supposed to make (one more x-stitched strap featuring images from the legend of zelda, and an embroidered one with a caricature image of frank zappa), but i’m pretty sure i’m gonna procrastinate like it’s my job.

first major crafty project: SUCCESS.



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“you’ve got zen on you”

You’ve got zen on you, originally uploaded by Riann’s Pictures.

i recently participated in my first Phat Quarterwap. the theme was “zen”, which i’m not really into, but i was lucky enough to get a swap partner who had done a few zombie stitches before. so, naturally, i tried to find an image that incorporated zen and zombies.

lucky me again! i found a book called (believe it or not) “the zen of zombies”. yeah. and this image was on the cover.

sadly, once finished, i had to send the damned thing without taking a picture because my new battery charger (for my camera’s battery) didn’t arrive until the day *after* we were supposed to send. (lame.)

but my swap partner excellently photographed on my behalf. :o)

(more later.)

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my funky feathered friend

funky little bird embroidery, originally uploaded by fingerpistol.

BADASS BACKSTORY: so in december, my mama hosted herself a fabulous little ornament swap party. at this swap party, there was a cupcake ornament. i NEEDED to have this cupcake ornament, and so i schemed and pilfered and finally got it. i made it aaaaalmost to the end of the party with it still in my possession…then lost it to another chickadee who thought it was adorable. (i couldn’t blame her. it was super-freaking-cute.)

now, fast-forward a week or so, and i get a call from my mom saying that one of her friends from the party, a lovely lady named anne, had gone out and gotten another cupcake ornament JUST FOR ME! little old me, whom she had never met before the party, and who had done nothing to earn it. HOW COOL IS THAT?!

so, obviously, i wanted to do something nice for anne to say thank you…but the only thing i know about anne is that she likes birds. (she kept going for the bird ornaments at the party, so…) i had originally intended to attempt a little bird clutch for her, but as i am not the most adept at complicated sewing, i was a bit nervous. then i come home one night, determined to start on it, and my roommate hands me a small stack of drawings. (he does that sometimes.) and what did i find amongst them? a rad-looking little bird!

perfect! so i asked him if i could embroider it as a gift. to which he replied, “don’t you think it’s a little too creepy?”

his drawing was a little pen-on-paper thing, and it was admittedly a little morbid-looking, but i assured him that NOTHING looks creepy in bright, pretty colors. (it’s true, too.) i chose the pink to match the hoop (because i had nothing else to frame it in), and then chose a nice bright blue and green to make it pop. the fabric was just some random polka-dotty stuff i had lying around.

when i first started embroidering it, i was going to do it mostly in split-stitch with some satin to fill in, but as it turns out, my stupid red transfer pencil needs to be sharpened. the lines it left on my fabric were SO THICK that i had no choice but to stain-stitch over them. GAH! (okay, i could have just gotten a pencil sharpener, sharpened, and re-transfered on a different piece of cloth, but i am just sooooo lazy.) so, yeah, it’s almost entirely freaking satin stitch. holy crap, but it took so much longer than i’d anticipated. HA! i like the way it looks, though. the satin stitch gives it kind of a feathery texture, which works for me (since it’s a bird and all).

matter of fact, when i finished it, i realized that the transfer pencil had left some stray marks on the fabric, but i desperately did NOT want to start over, so i’ve decided that the stray marks just GIVE IT CHARACTER. and if anybody asks, that’s my story (and i’m sticking to it). so meh.

i used french knots for it’s funny little head-feathers, but other than that, it’s all satin stitch. i think it’s about three or four inches across (the hoop’s five inches, i think?). i just stitched the back closed over the frame. i didn’t cover it or anything because, thanks to the satin stitching, the back actually looks pretty neat (as in tidy, not cool-looking).

now to finish working on at least ONE of my stupid cross-stitch guitar straps (which are taking aaaaaaaaaages and aaaaaaaaaages)…

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actual size

this wall is actual size, originally uploaded by fingerpistol.

this is just a quick little cross-stitch i whipped up for my new boss. just before everybody headed home for the holidays on wednesday, we were sitting around in my office talking about nothing. i have no idea how it came up, but my boss said something about how she has an empty wall in her office, and she was thinking about just putting up a little sign that said, “this wall is actual size”. well, i thought that was hilarious, and promised that i would make her the smallest sign i could.

so i did!  i used a little bit of graph paper to figure out how to make the letters tiny but readable, then used the smallest hoop i had (about two inches across, round) to stitch it up in. all i had were the little brown rubbery woodgrain hoops, and i couldn’t find any plain-colored aida cloth (like white, cream, or black), so i used brown floss on light blue fabric to try and keep it matchy.

it only took me twenty minutes or so to stitch, and she thought it was funny, so i’m pleased with it. (terrible picture is my fault. i suck.)

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“love you forever”

“love you forever” embroidered letter, originally uploaded by fingerpistol.

if you haven’t read love you forever, you need to. it’s the sweetest little children’s book ever. i thought it was one of my mom’s favorite children’s books, but i guess i made that up.  :o)  i’ve been dying for an excuse to embroider paper, and this was just the opportunity i was looking for.

i used press’n seal as a makeshift transfer medium and stabilizer, after having read (on craftster) about another woman using it for embroidery. i stuck a piece of press’n seal to a sheet of ruled paper and traced all of the lines (even the three holes). then i peeled the ruled paper away and stuck the press’n seal to the piece of white cotton i wanted to embroider. then i wrote the quote i wanted to use onto the press’n seal, shoved it all into an embroidery hoop, and started embroidering. i did the text first, then i just did whatever lines were in the hoop. when i finished everything in the hoop, i moved it over and did another section.

it’s hard to tell, but if you look in the bottom right-hand corner of the “page”, i used cursive lettering to alter two of the ruled lines so that they read “christmas 2009”.

it took a long time to do, but it was incredibly easy to stitch. the hardest part was removing the press’n seal after i was done. while it was amazing for transferring and as a stabilizer, it wasn’t very easy to remove. i had assumed that all of the stitches would act as a sort of perforation, making it easier to remove the press’n seal. NOT SO. in fact, i had to pick it off with a needle and small pair of scissors because my stitching was so close together. peeling it away also loosened a lot of the stitching along the edge, but it wasn’t too bad.

once i finished removing the press’n seal, i cut the fabric down to size and put it in a floating frame. i taped the book to the front of the frame before i wrapped it, so that my mama would see the book first, then the embroidery. good thing i did, because i found out that she’d never read the book!

she liked it, though. there were many tears. (good tears!)

this is what it looks like in the frame:

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fluffy platinum record

fleece platinum record (framed), originally uploaded by fingerpistol.

i woke up at 9:30am on christmas eve and didn’t go to sleep until about 9:30pm on christmas day. why, you ask? because i am retarded and have no concept of time, distance, or any other form of measurement. (you think i exaggerate? no. i wish.)

i started my brother’s christmas present the weekend before christmas (immediately after finishing my mama’s christmas present), but just didn’t have enough time to work on it because of work. thankfully, we got christmas eve AND christmas day off. less thankfully, that wasn’t quite enough time.

i worked on this thing all damn day, then all evening, and then all night and into the morning. i was supposed to be at my mom’s at 9:00am for christmas presents on christmas day, but i had to call her at 8:30am to let them know i was going to be about an hour late.

aaaaanyways, this was my little brother’s christmas present. my little brother is easily one of the single most talented people i have ever met in my life. he can draw, sing, play piano, write music, cook, and about a million other things. on top of this, he is ridiculously charming and good-looking (i have this on good authority, as strange girls use to come up to me in high school and tell me my brother was hot…no joke).

well, my ridiculously talented baby bro went and got himself a job as a badass songwriter. he is also finishing up his first record, too. (see? wildly successful.) so i decided to give him his “first” platinum record…made of fluffy fleece!

the “record” is a gunmetal grey fleece (i had originally planned to use felt, which seems to be the sort of standard material for making plushie versions of real items, but couldn’t find any in a suitable platinum-like color), and the backing is black fleece. i used light silver metallic embroidery thread and antique metallic embroidery floss. it was slow going using the metallic thread and floss, but it wasn’t as difficult as i’d anticipated (after having read so many horror stories of how difficult it’s supposed to be to work with). i honestly believe that i just built it up to be so horrible and difficult in my mind that when i actually started working with it, it was sort of a relief.

i used different combinations of the thread and floss (e.g. two threads of each, or one light silver thread and two antique threads, etc.) for the different concentric rings on the record to give the “grooves” variation. i also used the metallic floss to create the “plaque” at the bottom. and while you can’t really tell in the picture, the metallic thread and floss really gives the matte gunmetal grey fleece a good shiny effect. ( i had considered using a “shiny” metallic fabric instead of fleece with metallic thread, but i’m glad i didn’t.)

it was originally intended to read: “presented to bryan ellis to commemorate how awesome he is”…but i had a very difficult time trying to embroider text on the black fleece because i couldn’t find a good way to transfer or stabilize the text. so it’s all freehand work, and it’s all kinda wonky. (the record “grooves” are all kinda wonky for the same reason. no ruler in my house means i have to freehand all the measurements. yikes.)

the whole thing is just hot-glued into the frame. it wasn’t supposed to be, but i’m dumb and forgot that all of the embroidery would sort of shrink the fabric i was working with. so while it was originally cut to the same measurements as the frame, it shrunk down a good inch or so on each side, and had to be stretched and glued down to look right.

it didn’t quite come out the way that i’d wanted, but my brother recognized what it was as soon as he opened it, so i’m not going to complain.

this is what it looked like before i framed it:

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carved in wood

embroidered initials woodcarving, originally uploaded by fingerpistol.

this was the first christmas present i completed this year. (oddly, it’s also the last one to get where it’s going. i forgot to mail the damned thing on time. but they’re getting homemade gingerbread cookies to make up for it, so lucky them.)

the original idea was just to embroider the initials inside a heart, but it just seemed kind of boring that way. so then i went dumb and decided to embroider woodgrain behind the “carving” to really give the impression that it’s carved into a tree. that was about the most fun i could have had (without actually having any).

i don’t know what i was thinking with the satin stitch (the “carving” is just a few rows of backstitch offset next to each other to create a jagged effect, while the woodgrain is satin stitch), but it SUCKED. whenever i moved the fabric in the hoop, my satin stitching would go super wonky. so i ended up pulling most of it out and redoing it all until i liked the way it sat.

it looks badass now, but some fairly harsh words were exchanged periodically until it was finished. the back isn’t fancy (i got lazy and frustrated and just hot-glued some matching fabric over the back of the hoop), but at least it’s done.

i wish i could have gotten a better picture, especially a close up, because it looks pretty cool up close. not that this crappy super-blurry and washed-out picture isn’t great, too. (gah.)

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