Wednesday, January 22, 2014

cross stitch: basic shit

i craft in phases.
like, i get really into one thing and do that almost exclusively for a while and then i find something else that's really interesting and turn my attention to that and sometimes forget about the first thing forever.
right now the thing is cross stitch.

it's really a lot easier than i expected it to be, although it's time consuming--it definitely helps to pass the time while marathoning on netflix, but it can be pretty slow going. this one took me about three episodes of buffy along with this week's elementary.

it's pretty simple, though, and i mostly got started because i had everything on hand (besides the aida cloth) already so it was pretty easy for me to adopt.
you need:
-embroidery floss (DMC seems to be the preferred brand, and you can pick out colours very specifically with that, but i've just been using a jumbo-pack of embroidery floss i had on hand because of a bracelet-making phase)
-aida cloth (i'm using 14 count)
-needle (i'm using embroidery needles because, again, that's what i already had, but there are special cross stitch needles out there)
important: most embroidery floss comes in skeins with six strands. you have to actually pull the strands apart in order to stitch properly, otherwise the design will be chunky and unwieldy. the standard is two strands--so cut a length of floss, then pull two strands out to sew with and set the other four aside for when you need to rethread.
 to start a stitch, push the needle through one of the holes in the cloth and pull the thread most of the way through to the right side of the fabric.
 leaving a little tail of floss on the other side, bring the needle back through the hole that is diagonal to your initial stitch, and pull it through.
 i know it's sort of hard to tell what's happening in this picture, but the next step is to bring the needle back to the right side of the cloth using one of the two holes bordering the square that you're working on that you haven't stitched through yet with this cross. if you don't pull the thread all the way through, there will be a loop on the back side of the cloth. pull the end through the loop to secure it, then pull the stitch tight.
 cut off the extra because if you don't it will poke through on another stitch and fuck your whole day up
 ok that's a cross stitch now what??!
when you run out of thread or need to switch colours, just bring your threaded needle to the wrong side of the fabric and slip it under some of the stitches you've already made on the back of the piece. pull it through and cut it short to secure it. 
 when you're making a long row of stitches that are all the same colour, or filling in a large area, it's fastest to stitch the whole row at once but only one way. 
 then, you can come back around to complete the stitches, going in the opposite direction.
 theoretically, all of your stitches should be going in the same direction so the piece will look its nicest. i'm not quite there yet, it's too much of a headache for me to remember which stitches are over and which are under.
 because i wasn't working off a preexisting pattern, i did my longer word first so that i could properly center the smaller word. 
and here is the finished piece! the heart was a last-minute decision because i felt there was too much white space.
i'm not 100 percent satisfied with this, because i'm still experimenting with how letters fit together and how they look. the s-es kind of look like a's to me, and i think some of my connections between letters are too short (and some are too long).
practice makes perfect or whatever i guess
i made this one yesterday, although using cross stitch plastic instead of aida cloth. i'm not sure what i'm gonna do with it, but it was my first attempt at backstitching (the littler letters on the top and bottom) and i'm happy that i think i've gotten the hang of it~

Sunday, January 19, 2014

decoden! mostly an experiment

i had to touch up the caulk on some tiles in my bathroom and decided to attempt some decoden with the leftover caulk!
i was inspired by crafty chica's decoden tutorial which is sort of already a spin on actual decoden which is a japanese thing used to decorate phone cases & such that often ends up looking a bit frou-frou (google search it if you don't know what i'm talking about, it's pretty hardcore).
anyway here are the materials i used:
-thing to decorate (obvious). i used a lil hand mirror sephora gave me in thanks for consistently spending way too much money at sephora
-DAP alex plus silicone caulk (it comes in clear also which would probably work too? i used white)
-a whole bunch of charms or cabochons or, yknow, whatever
 put the thing on the thing
congrats u did it 
this is maybe not the most professional way to do things but i just smooshed it around with my finger until it was kinda even. it does really look like frosting. don't eat it  
 im just gonna take a moment here to apologize for how much my pictures suck. i need to get a new lens for my SLR so i'm stuck using my iphone right now, and the lighting in my apartment is TERRIBLE. i use those eco friendly shit bulbs which is like good for the environment but bad for taking pictures and also for my eyeballs
 ok heres a nice evenish relatively thick layer of stuff
 it has to be thick enough to actually put things into it. like press them in a little bit. arrange them how you like. squish em in. yes
 ok this is satisfactory
i am wearing sweatpants that say trick or treat because everything in my life is halloween
 i used this glitter. it's black licorice by martha stewart crafts. it's really really pretty but kind of expensive, i wouldn't have bought it if i didn't have a gift card. whatever u got
put some glitter on it. while the dap is still wet, obviously 
ok now shake the excess glitter off and immediately regret that you did this on a paper towel and not a piece of newspaper or something that would more readily allow you to funnel the extra glitter back into the thing. try to do it anyway. make a mess 
 ok here is how it looks now. let it dry. 
~time travel~
 now it's dry. use a softish brush to sweep the extra glitter off
 now it looks like this

Friday, January 17, 2014

this is the worst post ever

i'm serious this is literally the most useless diy blog post ever because it's essentially completely just gluing two things to another thing and then going to sleep but i'm trying to get the hang of posting things like this which i havent done so i just shot something kinda dumb for practice
necessary things (oh god this is so dumb)
1. really poor lighting
2. gemstones (i have these cutie cutie halloween gemstones/glass cabochons that i actually just ripped off a different pair of sunglasses that i decorated with them, i didn't really like how they turned out so i dismantled the creation like a more insightful dr. frankenstein) 
3. sunglasses (mine were from some cheapie place somewhere)
4. e-6000 or something equally as heavy duty in terms of glue
5. buffy on netflix (shirtless angel not mandatory although in all honesty could probably do without that bit? i don't find angel very attractive)
 somehow steady your sunglasses. i used a paper towel roll, it worked well. this step is kinda necessary because of gravity. if you just have them folded up or something they won't be level and your rhinestone/cabochon will slowly slide down and probably get on the lens and then you won't be able to see and it will be terrible. just prop it up on something i dunno

 place ur shit. one of the reasons i didn't like the former pair was because i kinda went overboard, i put wayyyy too many of these cabs on (they were so cute! i couldnt resist!) and they ended up looking kinda tacky. i went for a moon on one side and a pumpkin on the other--i would have used a bat but the pumpkin pops way more against the black of the sunglasses.
 then glue! use a teeny tiny amount because you dont want it to ooze out. that will look kind of weird?
ok and here they are done! they're drying. i'm going to sleep 

p.s. here's an extra bonus: the sunglasses i ripped the cabs off of!
they just didnt look even enough to me, maybe if some of the cabs were bigger or something, i dunno. also my glue was definitely oozing out in some parts here. so. i like the revised version better. 
i still have the frames so i'll probably do something with them later~

some past projects

here are some of the things (of various quality) i have made in the past!
 rorschach doll (he didn't turn out so great so now i just use him as a pincushion)
 halloween simple skirt 
 venture bros. stenciled dress
 lord of the rings bleach shirt 
 resin axe necklace
 stannis baratheon sigil perler
brienne of tarth jacket 
valar morghulis resin necklace 
dethklok cross stitch 
henchman 21 cosplay

as is pretty obvious, i'm really influenced by the shows and books i like; often if i can't find merchandise i like or the stuff that exists i can't afford so i just make it myself 
uh i've done a bunch of other stuff too this is just the shit i'd already photographed to post to tumblr haha 

welcome foolish mortals

hello hello hello and welcome
i'm lizz, i live in nyc
i like to make things when i'm not watching netflix (or, more accurately, i like to make things while i am watching netflix)
i love everything halloween, enthusiastically
and all things spooky and macabre
i put bats on everything

i am trying to document the things that i make, many of which will not involve stitching at all (sorry). everything i do is self-taught (i come from a very non-crafty household) and i foresee plenty of missteps in the future. bear with me x