Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12 Days of Hell: Day Five: How Could Hell Be Any Work?

Wholly S-H-I-T! It was a busy day. I got almost no sleep and stitched the entire time I was not soothing a congested toddler who can't sleep.

The best news is that I finished page 9 of 9! The bad news is I was reading ahead. I still have a few more pages to do. I think that when I finished the usual column I was working on on page 9 the remainder of it looked like it could go by pretty fast and it did. 13 hours fast.

I think this is where things are going to start getting interesting! Actually things may have already reached maximum interest. This is where things will continue to be mediocre!

Monday, December 27, 2010

12 Days of Hell: Day Four

After blocking out that little section I would say I have made some pretty good headway!

I have been listening to the album this morning (as well as the latest, Dissent of Man) and I am pumped to stitch today.

I have also come up with an idea for a smaller version of this for folks who may not want to spend all year stitching it. Of course I will have to stitch it again to show you so you still may not see it for another year anyway (I keep ALL the good shit behind the counter)!

I would love to sit and keep telling you about it but this thing is not going to stitch itself. I tried. I left it in a drawer for, like, three months and I think it actually took a block of stitches out as it counted the days! It also shanked my pincushion.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

12 Days of Hell: Day Three

...and we're back. Yes, I know it's Sunday but I already lost two days this week (it's not like it was MY birthday).

So with the holiday schedule there has not been a lot of time to stitch but I wanted to start getting a sense that I am getting closer to the end then I am currently feeling. Instead of the usual 10x10 grid I usually work in, the first section is 16 stitches across. This is just because of where the chart ended on the page.

With the little time I have had I went ahead and did the shorter 4-stitch-across section from the next page (completing the 10 started by the 6 stitches on the last page). I also took it all the way down to the project bottom (yet another new page) and I think I will complete the entire boxed portion before going back and doing the bottom to the previous pages!

Anyway I gotta get going. I have a tea party to be at!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

12 Days of Hell: Day Two

12 Days: Day Two
Originally uploaded by whateverjames

I posted on the Facebook Fan Page that it has been crazy busy and that I probably would not have a whole lot done for today's entry. As you can see: I keep my promises, bitches!

The good news is that I am stitching while loading pics and typing this out. It's a little thing called multi-tasking and as you can see i am greet at i t@@@

Ok, ok. No more one-hand typing. At least I didn't screw up my stitching...awww, shit. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

12 Days of Hell: Day One

12 Days: Day One
Originally uploaded by whateverjames

Well after one day of stitching here is where I am at! I have been listening to a lot of the album the last 24 hours. I know that may be a little silly but I needed the inspiration to start this push.

I am coming up on a very dense section. Not really since the band's name have I done so much black in one area with little or no breakage. Sigh. Now we will find out if working down in 10-stitch rows will pay off...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12 Days of Hell: Day Zero, The Begining of The End

12 Days of Hell: Day Zero
Originally uploaded by whateverjames

Ok, I am crazy obsessed with finishing this piece by the end of the year. I have been working on it the better part of forever and I wanted to finish it this year as it is the 30th Anniversary of Bad Religion. I already missed any possibility of taking it to one of the shows in or around California in the hopes of getting it signed but what's a guy to do?

But as I said, I am obsessing. Between Xmas, relatives, health, employment, etc it has been really hard the last week or so. That is why I am making a big push to finish this piece. So every day for the next 12 days I will be posting updates. This first picture is actually where I am starting this 12-Day business at in the project. Aside from the obvious section on the right, there is 25 more rows to go down across the whole thing (I'm making this look hard, right)?

I know the math is a little off but I don't actually know if I will finish before the end of the year...I just really hope I can, at the very least, get really close and have a lot of fun over the next 12 days. Stay tuned...or at least stay tuna.

Monday, December 6, 2010

But Can You Stitch To It?: Jonathan Coulton - Live in 2006

Due to a mixture of Red Bull and Vodka, I'm here growing up in a musical home and being a fan of Punk music I have always had a preference for live albums. I know they are not as great as going out to see a live band but unless you are offering to babysit and convince Windy that it would be better then dinner and a movie, shut your face! There have been a lot of great ones released by the record companies such as 7 Seconds and most of the Live In A Dive series. But my favorites are the bootlegs. No longer purchased from someone's trunk, there are a surprising number of good quality recordings available for free and some are even, at least sorta, semi-legal (my attorneys remind me to remind you to research the laws for music download and file sharing in your area...then disregard them Boo-Ya)!

I love a good singer-songwriter, too. Clever, simple songs are my favorite. And if they include zombies, robots, monkeys and even ninjas when things get personal, well all the better. So I don't know if this is some kind of time travel back to the Temple Bar in Santa Monica, 2006 or an incredible artifact from a simpler time. Either way, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage Jonathan Colton!
 I found a series of videos on YouTube of this performance and as I was getting ready to start ripping the audio it dawned on me that someone else probably already has and not surprisingly, I was right! The video was originally by Gle3nn and mp3 versions worked by spiffworld. The video and the audio are both very good and the set list is like a Greatest Hits record. Yeah, the kind that still somehow misses your favorite song you knew was gonna be there.

1. The Future Soon
2. Skullcrusher Mountain
3. First of May
4. Shop Vac
5. I Feel Fantastic
6. Baby Got Back
7. Creepy Doll
8. Big Bad World One
9. I Crush Everything
10. Code Monkey
11. You Ruined Everything
12. Tom Cruise Crazy
13. Re: Your Brains

It's a pretty awesome set with just enough banter and just the right pace. I have been stitching to it almost religiously since I got it and I have to say it really is a great listen. There are a couple other complete shows of JoCo available but this one is just the right length. Just like me. You didn't think I would just let that go, did you?

My personal favorites are "Big Bad World One" which has inspired a new sampler and "You Ruined Everything". Despite what the guy in the crowd would have you believe, it's a touching song NOT about ninjas. I honestly pictured Kadie and I dancing at her wedding to this song. If she grows up "getting" me enough that we would actually dance to Jonathan Coulton at her wedding, I can assure you, I will die a happy man. Now go download it and stitch something awesome before it's too late. After all, it's gonna be the future soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Drugs Are Good: Vicodin

So back in January I turned 30 and while I was pretty proud that I didn't have some kind of meltdown, I realized that it was about time for me to put up or shut up. All year it's been a bit of a struggle to find out what that actually meant, though. A couple jobs, half a year of being unemployed and so many internal struggles later, I realize I have got some serious problems. One of which is that I like drugs. Not all drugs, I can't put anything in my nose or mess with needles. Ha ha. I cross stitch but I'm still afraid of needles. I'm a bigger sissy then those kids at the playground thought said I was last night.

In all honesty (ok, in kinda honesty) I have been thinking of doing a set of motivational poster-type samplers where I put one of my favorite drug names in bigger letters and something describing it underneath. What do I mean? You can't visualize it? Visualize this:
Drugs Are Good: Vicodin
I thought it was funny that I use song lyrics and titles as my blog posts or inspiration a lot, but it wasn't until all around good person doaflip mentioned over on flickr that "The Kids Are Alright" is, in fact, the name of a very good song by The Offspring. I knew I was familiar with the term already, it's just not where I was going with it in my head...it just worked out that way. 

I am giving some thought to doing a second "Valium" piece, the new one redesigned to fit into the plans I have for this series, but for now I hope to post a new piece every week or so. What are you so excited about, only the first one is free...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Furlough Friday: daisymae_cs

I know posting a picture of a recently completed or work-in-progress is not mandatory (I skipped my senior year at blogging school so what do I know). I also know you don’t come here for the instant coffee and penny candies I leave out. So rather then post another picture of “Hell” or busting my hump on yet another sampler or small piece, I thought, being in California, I would take a furlough (see how I did that) from stitching and tell you about someone else’s work. Without further adieu (about something), let me introduce daisymae_cs:
cross stitch 1

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Could A Little Inspiration Be Any Worse?

Oh christ, he's doing that again.

I mentioned in my last post some of the more personal stuff I have been dealing with lately and I have to admit I was feeling a bit disconnected from stitching as a whole. Partly as a joke, and partly trying to find, well, anything, I posted a request to the Facebook Fan Page. I just wanted to see what anyone else is working on and I don't know anyone local, I don't communicate with many people directly by email, so that left Facebook. Since I was not working on anything at the time it seemed like I could live through somebody's hard work, just not mine.

While the rest of you were busy counting stitches there was one response from facebook like-er(?) Carrie. She showed off her current piece which she is working on as a gift. But she said I could post a picture of it. Soooo...whoever is getting this likes Lady GaGa but doesn't read this blog? Really, Carrie, who are you associating with? Honestly though, I looked it up online and your piece is looking bad-ass! So everyone who likes Lady GaGa, has a friend named Carrie and is hoping this is for you, close your eyes.

Now, everything I know about Lady GaGa comes from the above picture and the songs my five-year-old sings me. But it seems to be exactly what I needed because I have since resumed work on
my album cover project I started so long ago and kind of fell to the wayside.

So what was it? Someone working on something that reminded me of my work in progress? The neat blog/free charts/free char generator she turned me onto? Her overwhelming awesome? Probably a little of everything. What matters is the skyline is almost done and I can move down!

Now anyone who has been reading this blog since Monday when they got in line for the new Harry Potter flick can tell you I have been hitting the samplers pretty hard. And there is more to come! In the meantime go over to the Facebook Fan Page and talk or post pics of your big project, finished or in progress. As far as what I mean when I say big is I am hung like a tuna can whatever is big to you. Time, stitch count or final size (it matters, they're telling me).
I'll be here all week, folks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Going To Hell For This One!

It’s been a long couple of months. I lost a really great job for a really lame reason and I got really depressed. I’m working again (temp style), a major pay cut, and not really cutting it all the way around. I tried to rally around some great stuff: the contest here, the facebook fan page, etc. but overall I kind of found some disconnect from stitching for almost two months. I missed three podcasts, tons of amazing projects by other folks and a lot of down time on my own every night.

What happened? I’ll get into that in another post. What matters is that I decided to revisit an unfinished project, plus realize flaws and all, I am who I am. Sometimes I wish I weren’t. So where do I start? At the top. According to a predominant religion up is where the home is. So in sampler form, here is my take on the title of one of the songs from the most recent NOFX album:

I am still slightly debating more kissing same-sex fish but I think this is pretty much done. I thought the upside down crosses would be a bit much in all four corners and thought that it came off a bit more…playful that they were up and down. This was kind of fun to do as a public piece over about two and a half hours at the coffee house nearest the largest church in our city. This was the first time no one talked to me about stitching. Co-inkie-dink?

Moving on. I’m having a lot of fun. Getting a lot of stitches done and can’t wait to share more with you. Also I have met some really awesome people and I want to tell you about them. But that’s later. Until then…

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I've Got My Mind On My Stitching and My Stitching On My Mind

Like that itchy little rash that you swear is just a cold sore, I'm back!

Usually when there is a long break between posts I have been stitching like crazy but could not find the time to post. Well, lately I have all the time in the world but I have been so unable to focus on anything long enough to allow me to put my mind on my stitching that I really have not been working on anything until about a week ago.

The story so far: I started the month by losing my job for the (verbatim) following reason: "...the stars just didn't seem to align". My unemployment department has suddenly become concerned with the math skills of those writing benefit checks and has halted my claim until corrected to their satisfaction
. Finally my half-decade long fight with chronic back-pain took a turn that was positive in that it meant an immediate upswing in attempting to find a definitive diagnosis. The downside is a definitive diagnosis scares the shit out of me.

Maybe it's all that crap and more going on. Perhaps it's "just" the day-long Dora the Explorer marathons that my darling two-year-old is demanding. But about a week ago I started a new project and I finished it last night:

The cloth is a light blue 14-count aida. The thread is my default red; D.M.C. Bright Red (#666). I entertained the idea of a simple border in white, and by that I mean I ended up ripping out thirty or so stitches. In the end I realized that sometimes it's okay to want to say/stitch something as direct as possible. So this is my no-frills statement. My father raised me to know that honesty gets you everywhere in this life.

I have used the font before. I like it and I like some of the symbols that are charted (hearts and broken hearts, son)! I am trying to make a few tweaks to it but I think it will actually get it's own post soon and I can strut it around here like the sexy piece of trophy-font it is! As for the words, it's a sentiment I have used "jokingly" in the past. It's also the title of a NOFX album released in 2000. It's currently hanging in the living room, still in the hoop, awaiting a bad-ass frame.

Each letter in this font takes me about half an hour to do and I probably could have finished it a couple days sooner. However, I was in the emergency room Monday night and with all the pain meds and other stuff they were pumping into me, it was probably best not to let the doc see what this said. For the comments: Have you ever had to stop or hide your stitching because of where you were or who was around? For example: your stitching the words "This craft is not a bomb" and you realize everyone in the airport is staring at you. Let's hear about it. You can also post your story at the Facebook Fan Page...yeah, I went ahead and did that. So come lick me if you have not already. What? Oh, yeah. Come like me at the Facebook Fan Page. Or lick me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Only God Can Judge Me - The Results Show!

First off, my apologies to everyone who entered and everyone who has been waiting to find out what happened. A little "real life" got in the way and, well, we know how that goes (Northwest?). So before something else stops working, the kids start whining about wanting to eat for a second time today or I get carted off to the hospital we better start talking results. By the by, I was just kidding - I only get an ambulance to the hospital when I am at work.

In full disclosure I put all the pictures I received in a slideshow and my two-year-old Kadie picked one at random...or whatever random is to a two-year-old. A big congratulations to our winner, Quilterina! I think the spools of thread spelling words is pretty neat, but what do I know. Here's what she says about it:
"those spools spell peace grace love and faith. they twist into a black spool on my front shoulder that unravels to spell compassion with a sewing needle piercing my heart"

She sent a link to pics of her getting some cover-up work done with a patch-work heart and some other stuff going on and it was pretty awesome. In no particular order here is another entry I received. Becky sent a couple of pics of her embroidery and button tattoo done by Frank McManus at the Brass Monkey Studio in Harrisburg, Pa. You know how you have your links that are in every email you send and for a lot of us that's a link to our etsy store?! Becky is one of those and who doesn't love a nickle's worth of free advertising. Check out her store.

Up next (on the D.L.?) is rainbowsweetstitch. This was "done by Tom Kenney from Classic Electric Tattoo in Frederick, Maryland". So if you are there, go see Tom. And for what it's worth: I have always had a thing for the idea of a woman with a couple T.I.E. fighters and Yavin IV for her tramp stamp. Embroidery scissors on your shoulder...not bad, either!

Last but not least. Though further then most...somewhere in the upper-middle range is the always-fucking-awesome Giggly Mama. I don't know but I am seriously thinking that this may be the most...simple? Not in design or execution, it's amazing. But it seems sparce in such a beautiful way. It makes me wish I had a hoop on my arm too. Here is what Mama says:
My life long pal and tattoo artist, is Scott Osburn (Facebook | Scott Osburn). He tattooed this embroidery themed tattoo on my left arm. He freehand tattooed it, no pattern before hand. :)
Awesome job, Scott! If there were a runner up prize it would probably suck so don't feel bad. Remember the piece I did for MY tattoo artist? Well, I promised the winner of this gig a matching piece. I decided to do it in a different color scheme and it's a funny story. I was gonna do blue and red on the border. I couldn't find the blue I wanted and the baby was sleeping so I could not run to the store. I found the orange and purple sitting next to each other in the first drawer I opened and figured: What the fuck!?! It's coming to you, Quilterina, deal with it!

Thank you, ladies. In all honesty, this has been a blast. Getting in touch with people, getting touched by in people. All of it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

There's a Real Cool Club on the Other Side of Town: My Adventures in the E.G.A.

The Embroidery Guild of America. Immediately your mind is filled with old women sewing the same fabric for the last two decades, sitting with their backs to the door not interested in getting out or letting anyone (or anything) new in. Not so.

The Camellia chapter of the EGA meets at my local power utility offices and quite honestly could probably be mistaken for a woman's 12-step meeting except for the lack of coffee. Naturally, I was a little nervous. I am male, young(er, 30,) then anyone else I saw walking in and there is the fact that these ladies know their stuff...more then I do for sure.

So I was completely taken back when it was all "hello's" and handshakes. Everyone was very welcoming. Charlie is in charge of new memberships and a perfect welcoming committee. She explained the groups policy on visitors and how the meetings kind of go.

I was sat next to Marge and Carol and I didn't catch to much of what happened in the meeting after that. We talked about stitching, little known floss makers they like to use, and they even taught me the quick-cheat version of railroading (this is where you put your needle back through the two threads of floss, or between the tracks, so they generally lay side by side). This has been worth the trip already as I did not have, nor did I have any interest in buying, a laying tool.

One thing I noticed was that everyone had something out that they were working on. I was so surprised and thought they would get in trouble...but that is sort of the purpose of the whole thing isn't it. I really was upset that I didn't bring anything to work on.

There was a group project that you had to have signed up for. They supplied the cloth and project, you were to bring floss and everything else. It was very cool. A finished one made it's way around the room and my camera stayed at home (sorry folks). It blew my mind the way stitching was being done here. So many techniques. So many new ways to play.

At the end I stayed and talked. I am going back and I am going to take part in the next project (I am a sucker for group things), and I think I am really going to like the whole experience. If there are any naysayers, try looking up your local chapter at www.egausa.org and give it a go. If you are in the Sacramento area, give me a shout in the comments or email at whateverjamesinstitches@gmail.com. And if anyone else has been to a meeting of the EGA or you are a member, leave your experience in the comments too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

But Can You Stitch To It?: Weezer - Hurley

Weezer has a lot to answer for. Their self-titled debut, lovingly referred to as the Blue Album saw non-stop play in my Discman in my freshman year in high school. The follow-up was everything I could have wanted at the time. I was moving past Nirvana but had only just started to find Bad Religion and NOFX. They both also established that ten seemed to be the perfect number of songs on a Weezer album.

Since then I have listened to every Weezer record and have my likes and dislikes with each one (mostly dislikes). But now comes the strangely titles, and even strangely-er covered, Hurley

Musically speaking it honestly sounds like it should have been the third album. The weird pop of the blue album is back and with it the out-of-nowhere screams and more obviously heartfelt lyrics that became the downfall and eventual rise of Pinkerton.

But Can You Stitch To It?
I believe you can. I can and have and will. So neener-neener! The first three songs are my favorite and they follow a musical slide. The rest of the album doesn't feel like a progression through songs so much as a Weezer radio show: "Here have some songs in no particular order". Sometimes this can kill a stitch session for me. Sometimes you just want to sink into the music regardless of if it's a symphony, Metallica's Black Album or a jungle sounds relaxation disc. Think I sound like a artsy jackass? Well, I do but I am still right. Go stitch to your favorite album on shuffle. I'll wait. Really, you like that? ... ... See what I mean. Your brain was caught off guard when the order was changed. For Hurley I think this isn't really a problem. Maybe due to the eclectic mix of material they have released, I don't know, but everything does sound like a Weezer song, so it all kind of mixes well even if it doesn't necessarily flow. The deluxe edition adds four more songs. Two I really like are the way-out-of-left-field "All My Friends Are Insects" and the live and acoustic "Viva La Vida"

All in all its a good album and an enjoyable listen. It touches a little on most types of "rock" music and when I was at Starbucks stitching and the album ended I put it on again while I finished the letter I was working on. That should say enough I guess.

Comments people! Have you heard Hurley? What did you think? What else are you listening to while you stitch? Post here or go have a go at a discussion on the new Facebook fan page!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting Ink and Giving Stitches

Okay, babies and gentlemen. We have a winner and they are...going to have to wait just a little longer! FACE!!!

In the meantime though, some of you may remember my cross stitch tattoo. For those of you who do not, here is a trip down memory lane. When I left I asked my artist, Nick, what he was into. First he mentioned G.G. Alin and finally just said the more out there the better. He had a lot of art in his little tattoo cave that he had done that was more traditional but inspired by modern times as well. The old-timey female boxer with the Stormtrooper helmet was a personal favorite.

Long story short I grabbed some old fabric I had around and using just black, gray and white I came up with this:

Also, I have been so taken by my tattoo and the response that I think it has become my little "signature" for smaller pieces. So whenever I think "Whatever James" is too much stitching for a signature I will just do this:

Does this symbolic representation of my name make me the "Prince" of cross stitch? I hope so because I want to Batdance!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

9/03/10: National Stitch In Public Day

I think it's only half about that and half that I just like being "seen"! Now turn of the interwebs, get out there and stitch where they can see you!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We got two Articles of Faith, 31 minutes of group sex We got a couple of Avengers, and a pair of Out Of Steps...

Yup, the recent contest (still running through tonight, btw) nagged me off the couch and into action! So now you can follow the site on facebook, which I will actually update because, well, I like reading what's in my head!

So "like" it, love it, stroke it gently at first then break out the ball gag. What do you mean there's no "so and so would ball-gag this" button. Maybe I don't want a facebook, then. Link is on the sidebar --->

I'm not saying I have picked a random number for another contest winner but...that's exactly what I am saying.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fortunately, I Live In A Constant State Of Emergency

My friend Rooster and I go back...crap it's closer to ten years then I think we realize. We started out on the Sunday morning shift at RadioShack and since everyone was at church I would bring my electric guitar and he would play one of the display keyboards. I was gonna be a rock god and he was going to be a hip hop star and audio engineer in his own studio.

Today he is a member of the only hip hop group I like, Coldcokt, and he just graduated audio engineering school. Now he knows how to work all the stuff in the studio in his second bedroom. As for me I adjust claims by day and fight criminals with my cross stitch and witty online banter by night! Okay, okay...so it's early evening.

Anyway I have wanted to do this piece for a while now. It's been done elsewhere, and probably better. But I wanted to make him something to celebrate and grease the wheels on some studio time! The one thing I am taking from this piece is "matting" with scrapbook paper. I LOVE IT! Here's how it came out:

And here is Rooster doing what he does best. I am told it's called "Rocking The Mic".

I guess so.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Contest? But Only God Can Judge Me!

Things don't exist simply because you believe in them, thus sayeth the almighty creature in the sky - Dr. Banjo

So I have decided to do a contest. Why not. I really have wanted to turn this into a "real blog" but with my style or lack thereof. I even have a domain somewhere else where I am practicing being more personable. But let's try here.

I am making my tattoo artist a piece to say thank you. Actually it's going to say "Fuck Your Shit". If you want one too, send in your craft tattoos and I will pick a winner. Well, I won't but I will find some random ass way to pick a winner. Send entries to whateverjamesinstitches@gmail.com

Here are the rules:
1. I can't enter.
2. You should. Since I doubt many people actually read this your chances are pretty good. And on that note:
3. Naked pics won't help you win, but they also couldn't hurt. Remember I have a wife in real life so it's all for fun but let's not get nasty. Respect yourself and her...or at least her.
4. If I get a naked pick of Jamie because of this - he automatically wins!
5. A winner will be picked at random from all entries.
6. Craft tattoos only but any craft is ok. If you do pottery maybe show off your "ghost
tattoo - what you don't have one too? If you are a tattoo artist don't send in pictures of your work unless you have done a craft piece...or maybe you have a tattoo of a tattoo gun or something.
7. If possible, include info on your artist. We like seeing our names by our work so let's give them the same respect!

That's it for the rules, I think. Send entries to whateverjamesinstitches@gmail.com before (looks for random date on the calendar) August 31, 2010.

Cool And Unusual Punishment

I finally got my cross stitch tattoo! It came at great personal sacrifice but here it is:

Big thanks to Nick M. over at Fat Cat Tattoo on and in Fair Oaks, CA!

Pic is less then an hour after taking the plastic off (I love how we get to "unwrap" new tattoos - it's like a fucked-up Christmas). That was Thursday night and as of Saturday morning it is setting so damn pretty. Hey, it has purple in it so it can be as pretty as I want it to be! By the by, the purple is a mix of the single light and single dark purples he had.

I know what your thinking: "Where's the personal sacrifice? It's not a heroic story unless our star suffers some tragedy!" Well here you go, you hateful sons of bitches: I managed to lose 7 projects spanning my ENTIRE cross stitch career and representing over 100 hours of work.

I almost always have my craft bag with me. Its like my god-damn purse, really. I placed it on top of the car when I was getting our youngest out of her seat. Can you see it coming from a mile away? Yes, Windy went to the store later that night and since it is not her job to listen for stray craft bags falling of the roof, she did not hear it do so. It's been really hard to get her to realize it was not her fault and I am not mad at her. I don't think she actually reads my blog but if so: I love you!

The bag was, itself, awesome. It was a DMC branded bag from the craft store and I loved it so much I have been meaning to "review" it here at some point. But inside were projects I carry to show off my work (rest assured you can see pictures on my iPod instead from now on). I will post about them separately.

So who has crafty tattoos? Send a pic to whateverjamesinstitches@gmail.com and I'll post it here with some words about how awesome it is (spoiler). Here is me with mine (my tattoo gutter-brain):

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Whatever James (The Logo): In Stitches

Has it really been 20 days since my last post? Wow. Well, for anyone who has been patiently stalking checking the site daily: MADE YOU LOOK!

Seriously, after a little more then six months in the unemployment line, I finally picked up a temp position in my regular industry! I think it's gonna go the three month distance but I like it so much already I applied for the gig permanently - we will wait and see. While this has taken a H-U-G-E bite out of my stitching time, I have managed to get some projects done and I will try to post them every few days.

The first piece is very special to me. A few years ago when I started getting social on the internet I thought that a bad-ass like myself needed a logo (and a theme song). All I knew is it had to be a heart with a lightning bolt "crack" in it and it had to have my initials. Armed with that amazing idea and a broken crayon I created a work of art my mom won't even hang on the fridge!

Fortunately growing up there were three brothers who were very close to our family and, honestly, my little brother and I consider them as much family as anyone we have ever actually been related to, to this day (Family Is More Then Blood - Mandalorian proverb). His name is Gabriel and he is a true renaissance man. He is a graphic artist, an amazing musician, takes neat pictures, it's rumored he is made out of candy and he's an all around good guy. He turned my garbage into art (you can see it as my profile pic right here on the blog) and the circle is now complete because I have stitched the logo he made.

I actually started this back in 2007 and it fell by the wayside so I am stoked to finally have it done. Thanks Gabe, you are the man! And if you like music check him out on iTunes. Yes, it's mostly bluesy stuff and yeah, he's my friend but I would suggest it anyway because good music is good music!

Friday, July 9, 2010

I Can't Control My Fingers, I Can't Control My Brain

Does that mean I am busy with multiple crafting projects or that I just REALLY want to be sedated? No I am confused!

I think I have a total of four projects going and I am really starting to feel a little duck-duck-goosed! Every time I set one project down I try to make sure I pick a different one up the next time...and because I am a huge nerd (lots-o-nerdy, not overweight...I mean I am, that's just not where I was going with that statement) I try to keep the rotation order the same.

So, of course, I am working on Tinkerbell for MJ's birthday, which if you missed my last post about it: I Hate You! I am also working on a popular project for a friend, you may have seen it elsewhere, "In Case Of Emergency Break Dance" and there is a little boom box! I am working on the time travel code from the first Futurama move, Bender's Big Score - check it out! Finally, I am finishing a piece I started back in 2007: I am stitching the little heart logo I use everywhere with the lightining-bolt break and my initials in it.

Since three of the four or smaller projects I really hope to have some neat stuff to show soon. I am also finishing up a tutorial on how to personalize travel mugs with stitches and also a "review" of the craft-satchel Windy got me for my birthday and I honestly don't think I can live without!

Talk Back: How many projects are you balancing and how do you manage them all?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

You Know That Place Between Sleep And Awake...?

That's where I am right now, stitchingly speaking, anyhow. First off, let's give some love to Oprah theirs was the only comment left! In response: Thanks for the comments. I'm a big fan of rock projects (a series 0f punk covers is on my to-do list) so please let us know when it's done then we can go crowd up your blog or board or where ever you may post it! (A little thinking out loud here:) if you want I could even post it here for others to see...some reader appreciation, if you will!

So now that "Punks Not Dead" is done there is one project I wanted to focus on. It is a store-bought kit of Disney's Tinkerbell. It's 98% backstitching to look like a quick pencil sketch. There are some metallic threads in half-stitch to add some color highlights but there really is not a standard cross stitch in the whole thing. Oh, there are some quarter stitches too. I know, I know, I am getting fancy but that's what happens when you finish a big project and you let it go to your head!

She is coming along much faster then I expected. She is for my oldest daughter's fifth birthday so she doesn't need to be completed until 7/25! Here is where we were at a couple days ago when I took the pictures.

The bottom half is completely done. The only color was on her feet so it went fast. Since taking the picture I have completed the top half except the color and the wings. There is some crazy back stitching on the wings so I am admittedly taking a small "break".

I have two or three other little projects going right now too but I will get into those tomorrow. I want to get some stitching done before the holiday festivities start today and my DVR is begging me to finish last night's UFC fights.

In the meantime (because I will miss you and assume you will miss me too) check out Mr X Stitch for their Craftster Pick of the Week. It's Me. Whatever James!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Punks Not Dead!!!

Although I have heard it might be taking a nap after a long lunch (thanks to Mr. X Stitch for that bit of comedy gold)!!!

So where do I start with this one? For anyone reading this for a while you may remember I was excited about setting up a booth at a punk rock swap meet that unfortunately never happened =( This was a request from the person putting it together and was going to be "swapped" for my table fees. Like I said it never happened so I kinda worked on it for a while but lately I wanted to get it done.

It's done:

So it took about six months and I do not know how many hours. It was not an exclusive relationship, though. About 1.5 miles of DMC 666, which I believe is bright christmas red. There is probably a little DMC 321 in there too, which I know for a fact is I'm not paying attention to which red I grab this late at night! There are a few mistakes but I will try to save those for a day I don't have anything to post or if everyone requests it (jerks). I don't know how many stitches there are (sorry, I threw that info away back in January) but I did make the pattern using KG Stitch, a free program, and I am nothing if not cheap! I really will keep track of this for future projects!

Thanks for sticking with me on this, it has been fun. Next up is a kit of Tinkerbell for my daughter's 5th birthday. It's big and it's due by July 25th!

Comments: What big projects, if any, are you working on and what about the little updates to the blog? Suggestions? Critiques? Don't care?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Give Me An "E"

So Windy took Kadie out shopping for father's day. I needed to get away from the house so I went to Starbucks, through on an ipod playlist and got busy! I know I "never stop stitching" at home but there are lots of things people do at home that they prefer to do out. I mean how many people do you see reading at a coffee shop? You can do that at home too! So, yeah, I like to stitch in public. It must have something to do with my exhibitionist nature: I just like to be seen!!!

A Is For Anarchy (Insert Snarly Punk Face Here)

I was on a decent track last night and am still working today. Here is the "A" all done! Why did I start in the middle and then work my way back to the beginning? It worked for Star Wars and I don't even have a Jar-Jar Binks!

Currently listening to Stephen Egerton - Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton.
Currently watching Futurama.
Currently eating: COFFEE!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Everyone Is Making Me Work!!!

First off... I got some big love on the latest Stitchin n Junk podcast big thanks to the great folks over at Mr X Stitch for that. If you are here because of said love, welcome. If you just hit "next blog" and are trying to figure out why you are here: Pterodactyl Cupcakes! Figure THAT out!!!

Here are links to a couple of the projects mentioned on the podcast:

The Pac-Man ghosts can be found here and the Star Wars Valentine here.

My internet connection was M.I.A. for a while and I finally heard the new podcast last night and knew I would have to post a little something while finishing my latest project. I was not sure what to do. Fortunately Windy always finds something for me to do...it just usually involves the dishes.

Here is where I am with the Punk Is Dead project. Windy just came home 17 minutes ago and looks me in the eye and says: Can you finish that by tomorrow? I guess they are having a huge sale on mounting and framing...which ends tomorrow and she wants to do that for my fathers day gift. Nice but couldn't you tell me about this two days ago? And what the hell am I still posting for? I have a whole lot of Star Wars to watch, music to listen to and stitches to cross!!

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Punks Not...

Originally uploaded by whateverjames

Here it is! Two-thirds done. Maybe not mathematically correct but I am counting words, not stitches. This is also the last time all the completed parts will be visible until its done *sniff*. I have already rolled it up and started outlining the "D" (for D-ead).

Now It's Time For Something Completely Similar:
I may have to set this big project aside (Say its not true, Whatever)! My oldest daughter turns 5 at the end of July and I am doing this rather large kit I got of Tinkerbell. It's really neat. It looks like a hand drawing! Anyway, to make sure I hit the deadline I am going to be stopping the Punk project in about two weeks to focus on her gift...let's see how far I can get!

Useless thought: I just realized in the previous paragraph I referred to myself as if Whatever was my first name and not my nickname. Odd. Even for me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bored of Black and Red

Originally uploaded by whateverjames

Ok, I hope the new look doesn't make your eyes bleed. I am trying this from my new flickr account and I am sure this is gonna come out upside down and in Japanese. God damn you half-Japanese girls, you do it to me every time (My apologies to Rivers Cuomo).

Anyway, I saw this on a shirt, or a bumper sticker, or something and I just needed a break from the black and red wall that my big project is turning into. I whipped it up while Windy and I were watching Alice In Wonderland.

It's a small piece so it gets a small post. Out.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Back In The Saddle...But I'd Rather Be Back To The Future

And I don't mean because my mom looked like Leah Thompson did in 1955, I want a hover board. Anyway, I'm back! Sorry to take off like that and not call or anything (it wasn't you, it was me).

I got laid off back in February and finding a new job has been harder then finding Jesus. I'm just kidding, I didn't find Jesus. I have been looking for a job, though. In the meantime, I started really stitching again after a short lull. I'm still working on "Punks Not Dead" and would say I am about half way there. You can see that I am outlining each letter. I know its unconventional but its been a big help in getting it done at a decent pace.

I have some new stuff in the work. Maybe we can try some of it out soon in the near future. Until then, here is where I am right now:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentines 2010: I Have Immunity This Challenge!!!

So Valentines was last weekend and that means Windy got something cross stitched instead of shiny or put-it-in-a-vase-and-watch-it-die-y!

I know the first one has been done a lot but I have been meaning to do it and since I can't top last years model, that gave me free reign. I guess this is what it feels like to have immunity on Project Runway. I could cross stitch a monkey opening a coconut with a turtle and it won't matter because last year was so great! That said I was really happy with how it turned out and she loved it too. Already framed and displayed too!

Speaking of tetris stitches, Mr X-Stitch himself told me that this really old project of mine was recently posted by the cool folks over at technabob.

The second I did just because I have wanted to do it for a while now and never got around to it. I was going to do it a different way but I really wanted something fast so I did a pretty straight forward thing.


A friend tried to tell me that her hubby thinks this sort of thing is ruining the curve for my guy friends. I say if there is a woman who actually wants a valentine that says "I'd rather kiss a wookie", well then I want to introduce her to my Ewok don't want to know about it because I love my wife.

Friday, January 22, 2010

You Seem Nervous. Is It The Scars?

First the really cool news: I have been invited to set up a table and attempt to sell my cross-stitch projects at the third Punk Swap Meet here in Sacramento on 2/06/10! Woo-Hoo!! I’m excited and kinda going in expecting to not sell anything but damn it will be fun. I don’t really know any other crafters in my area. The old ladies at Michael’s always look at me weird when they find out I stitch or, if we make it that far, when they see what I stitch (insert boo lip here). But who cares, I will be around people who are like-minded and out to find some neat stuff. I honestly think I am looking more forward to talking to people who are unfamiliar with needlework, this type of needlework, or with dudes doing needlework then I am about being able to quit my job and live the stitch and needle dream of making my income selling bad words on fabric. I think it’s safe to say I am gonna have a good time. And there is gonna hopefully be a concert afterwards.

So, in anticipation of the swap meet I am working on some new projects, just to have some new stuff to display and get my floss flowing! Since it seems like I have been doing a lot of wordy projects and sampler-type work I thought it was time to get another picture piece done and considering my last “portrait” was Bender Rodriquez of Futurama fame, I decided to do another portrait. I have been watching the Dark Knight a bit lately and my friend, Richard, is guaranteed to wear one of two types of shirts on casual Friday (he has multiples of each): UC Berkeley or Heath Ledger’s Joker. So I found a pic I liked and spent a few hours editing it in KG Stitch - an awesome freeware program by the way. I highly recommend it for anyone too underpaid to get their hands on PC Stitch.

There are roughly 1500 stitches and I can’t wait to clean, iron and frame it but I am waiting to do everything in one day! I was hoping to do a series of projects, each taking about a week. This one took almost two. So now I really have to get crackin! The next piece was actually requested by the organizer of the swap meet…and I think it’s my first requested piece ever! Sweet!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He Must Know Somebody Over There Thats Got To Be The Reason: Best Of Craftster 2009

Craftster Best of 2009 Winner
I'm a Craftster Best of 2009 Winner!

Holy Cow. I logged on to craftster.org today to see one of my old projects (it was a Valentine’s gift) had a new comment on it. Come to find out I made craftster.org’s Best of 2009 list!!!

There is a little explanation of how they pick their list and you can view the whole best of 2009 here. The original post I made of my project, and comments from others, can be found here.

I’ve never claimed to be the most creative or technically sound stitcher out there. Just using those two parameters I can think of ten projects that I would have expected to see up there in place of mine. What I REALLY appreciate about this is that I think I got picked based on emotion. The emotion of the project, the emotion it brought in others, etc. I really didn’t know how better to tell Windy I love her more then anything then to hold her up against the obsession I am best known for people. I mean, seriously, I have Star Wars tattoos…and one is on my neck. MY NECK, PEOPLE! I named one of my daughters Mara Jade!

When I am writing a song or crossing stitches, it is emotional to me. I write songs I want to hear about things that I know about and I rarely ever cross-stitch something I can’t enjoy. Most of the time, the only response I am looking from anyone else is the occasional laugh. Windy would say I like to think I am funny. I would say I like to think I am hilarious.

But this one was private (in a sense). It was all my emotions about her, to her. The emotion I wanted back was her love and for her to really understand mine, which I got (Go Team). So even if you aren’t on craftster, if you have never seen the project, or if you just don’t care – thanks everyone for your comments, your emotional responses and for your support. You really are the reason I get up every morning and give it 65%, or so.

Now, how about your favorite craft project of 2009? You can give props to someone else if you want but I won’t mind if we all sit around and toot our own horns. In fact, I used to go to parties like that. Not really. Ok, really.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It Came From Outer Space

Ok, maybe not. But it did come from an 80's video game and an 1898 novel...both based on outer space. Sadly I must admit this brilliant design is not mine. It comes from the good folks over at Sprite Stitch and they were inspired by one of my favorite thread artists beefranck.

Obviously I wanted to use the black for a space/arcade screen look. The green is DMC 704 and I just liked the way it looked. I used two threads because I still wanted to give it a thin or something I might make the border look "pixel-y". The lettering is three threads of DMC 307. I did think about using glow-in-the-dark thread, maybe for the border, but that thought didn't come until tonight when I was finishing the lettering. I have no idea the amount of time spent. I started it Sunday and have worked on it at lunch and at night. It's 12:32 a.m. on Friday and I just finished. You can see I have not even ironed it yet.

And holy shit - I think my time away has made my ability to take pictures even worse then it was... well, if you can't read it it says "We can never anticipate the unseen good or evil that may come upon us suddenly out of space - H.G. Wells". I just thought the pairing of that quote with the border was awesome.

So I have been working on my big Bad Religion piece of the holidays (no, really. I have). But I am gonna set it down for a bit. I am gonna be selling my wares at a swap meet in February and I want to have a few more/new pieces to take with me! If anyone is in, or knows anyone in, the Sacramento area, stay tuned as I will be posting more info soon!

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010: I'm Not Making Resolutions, I Am Making Plans!

Alright party people! How Is everyone doing? Obviously I took some time away from the blog to focus on work, family and being lazy over the holidays (Go Team)! But I’m back, baby!

The reason for the title of this post is everyone always makes then breaks their resolutions (myself included). By December 31st you can’t even remember what you resolved to do, and probably end up making the same resolution anyway! So this year I am making plans. One of my plans is to get out there and start meeting other people (locally) who do crafts with the same subversive mindset as myself. Another plan is to get out and start attempting to sell some of my work that is just sitting around. I’m not looking to make millions (yes, I am) but if I can make enough that the projects pay for themselves, and maybe a new set of guitar strings once in a while, that would be cool. But that’s not why I stitch, it would just be awesome!

With all of that said, I am hoping very soon to announce where I will be first. There is a Punk Swap Meet on February 6th, and I am trying to reach someone about a table there. In the meantime, I am using this as the fire under my ass to start getting some of my to-do list done!

Looking forward to 2010: What project are you REALLY gonna try and do/finish?