azriona: (Threads)
We managed to get up to DC this weekend, mostly so I could deliver the latest batch of cross-stitch baby announcements to their respective families.  And as they're now delivered, I can share pictures.

First up is Frankie, whose parents are baseball afficianados, and thus got a baseball-themed announcement.

Frankie's baseball announcement )

Next up is Tyler, who was born about a week after Frankie, and whose parents are into scuba-diving.  You'd think that it'd be easy to find a sea-themed cross-stitch easily convertible to an announcement.... you'd be wrong, wrong, wrong.  I looked for a month, I was this close to just designing one myself with various elements cribbed from other locations, before I found something that would work.

Tyler's baby announcement )

I stupidly forgot to take pics of them framed - which is too bad because they both looked really good framed - but a friend who did take pics is going to send them to me, so I'll try to add those in when I get them.  In the meantime, I'm super pleased with how they turned out, so here you are.
azriona: (Threads)
Every so often, I treat myself by getting a cross-stitch magazine. I don't do it often, because my favorites are the British magazines, which are kind of pricey on this side of the pond, but they're usually full of awesome ideas and come with free stuff, so I tell myself it's an investment.

Anyway, the last one had the really neat idea of decorating craft matchboxes - you know, the sort that have a little drawer and you push on it, and it slides out the other side.  They were super cute: little bits of blackwork on the covers and paper lining the insides, and I looked at them, and thought to myself, "Self, those would make awesome little homes for those cross-stitch people of yours."

So I went trolling online, thinking I'd buy some plain craft matchboxes.  You can get them cheap from Amazon - about 30 for $5, but there was also an intriguing link on how to make a box yourself.  And I thought to myself, "Self, you are crafty and have lots of cardstock lying around and some glue.  Why spend $5?"

So I did.  And I was pretty pleased, and then I noticed that the website had instructions for making a little foldy book sort of thing to put in the box, and that just sparked ideas.

Have I mentioned that I am dangerous with ideas?

20150218_095132 20150218_095137

I made two matchboxes and two mini books for each - matching sets for [ profile] kizzia and [ profile] ladyprydian, both because I owe them big, and because I have their addresses.  (Take note certain people who might be reading this: if I had your address, I would make you one.  Or two.  Or ten.)

Here's how I made them. )

It was so much fun making these.  I finished and immediately wanted to make another... except it seems kind of rude to just make little books of other people's fanfics, and kind of self-centered to make them of my own.  (Plus, I have discovered that it's best to stick to fanfics of certain sizes - Pry's Minding the Gap is just under 800 words, and I think that's about as short as a booklet can be and still have a good weight to it.  Kizzia's The Lamps Go Out is 1500, and I wouldn't mind trying longer, but not by much.)

But in the meantime... I really, really, really want to make more of these.  I just haven't quite figured out how to do it in a way that isn't going to get me into trouble with either the authors or the show's creators.

Most importantly, though - Kizzia and Pry like them, and thus, I am happy.  :)  (Pry's pictures and comments are here.  She took pics of the inside of the booklet; I didn't want to chance breaking the spine before she could see it!)
azriona: (cat in a box)
Okay, this is about as dorky a project as I will ever do... and that includes all the fandom stuff I cross-stitch from time to time.  But I wanted to do something other than the multitude of baby announcements I need to get done, and I desperately need a pencil holder for my I figured I'd do this.

Also, it occurred to me at Gridlock that the vast majority of the stuff I stitch ends up being given away.  Okay, let me rephrase that: everything I stitch is usually for someone else.  I think I have one thing that I stitched that I've kept.  (A Stonehenge magnet.  It is pretty and lives on my fridge.)  Everything else goes to someone else.  And dammit, I want something that I stitched for me.

I found the patterns in one of my old cross-stitch magazines (British cross-stitch magazines are the best, and you can buy them here but at seriously jacked-up prices which I will sometimes do because they are just that awesome), bought some plastic canvas (14-point, on sale, yay) and went to town.  It took about a month - I started this just before Gridlock in August, and I finished it yesterday.  In retrospect, I should have done the girl and the kitchen tools on paper, and then made a box of carboard and glued it all together, but eh, live and learn.  I think it looks very nice, and it works like gangbusters, those pencils aren't falling out and the magnets are srong enough to keep the box from sliding down.

Click for pictures )

Now back to the regular grind of baby announcements.  Someday, people will stop getting pregnant and then I can go back to Erised.  If I'm lucky, this will happen before I go blind.
azriona: (cat in a box)
So the very exciting news over here (which, in typical me fashion, I am trying not to be overly excited about) is that the editor for the anthology liked the story, so it's in.  I am told it'll be available before Christmas via Amazon, and I'll post updates (and a link, natch) once I have them.

The only trouble is (and this is very minor trouble) that I have to submit a 2-3 sentence bio of me, and I completely hate writing bios because they always sound endlessly stupid. Sharon lives in Virginia with her husband, son, and cat.  She plans to make zucchini cookies later today.

So there's that.  Which is still pretty cool, and I keep thinking I ought to be dancing on the rooftops right now...but.  I have lived too long with the "don't believe anything until you have tickets in hand" theory, and while I'm not entirely sure what would count as tickets in this situation, I don't feel as though I have them yet.  (I do have an email contract, though.  I don't have a publish date, and perhaps that would count as the ticket?)

(Sharon lives in Virginia with her husband, son, and cat, unless there's a hurricane and she gets evacuated.  Again.  But at least this time she can take the cat.)


In other news, I've been working like mad on the Alphaverse story.  It's Omegaverse, except all the roles are reversed: Alphas are the oppressed gender, and it's a total dystopia, which is a great deal of fun to write.  And I'm about 56K in, and I kind of want there to be a revolution/insurrection/general unrest in the background, and I just realized that I have not done a lick of research into that sort of thing.

(Sharon currently lives in Virginia with her husband, son, and cat.  Her favorite grocery store was burned down during the Kyrgyz revolution in 2005, and she had just found a really neat store with some gorgeous pottery when she and her son had to flee Cairo during the Arab Summer.  She left behind the pottery. The cat joined her 10 days later.)

So now I have to research revolutions and figure out how one would overthrow an entire cultural system that is oppressive toward a segment of society.  I don't think I have to scrap the first 50K (thank goodness, because I really like a lot of it), but I might have to modify it a little.

Me: Hey!  Fanfic problem, want to solve it?
Bill: Sure.   Hit me.
Me: I need to start a revolution.
Me: I did marry you for a reason.

(Useful Husband is Useful, what can I say?)

(Sharon lives in Virginia with her husband, son, and cat.  Her husband is useful in any number of really scary ways.  Also, he's tall and can reach the stuff on the high shelves.)


Lastly: so here's what I've been working on for Gridlock - I'm planning on giving these out during the con, because Girl Scout habits die hard.

The idea is that I'll cut them apart and fashion them into either pins or magnets (I lean toward magnets, but I suspect people would rather have pins).  The unfinished one above Lestrade is going to be another set of John Watsons in his black jacket, and I still have to add the gold accents to the door to 221B.  I also want to make at least a couple more doors, because they are awesome.

Anyway, I think they're cute.  (Molly especially, I really like how she turned out.  And Mary's scarf, which you can't really see in the picture.)

(Sharon lives in Virginia with her husband, son, and cat.  She likes to create cross-stitch figures of BBC characters.  We all have our idiosyncrasies.)
azriona: (Threads)
Okay, so technically I finished this baby announcement back in Egypt, but was unable to mail it for various revolutionary reasons. And then we got to the States and somehow it got lost under a pile of stuff and so I only managed to mail it out on Wednesday, and I was just informed today that the family received it, and thus I'm able to share it with all of you. (I like to hold off on sharing 'cause I figure the parents should get to see it first.)

Anyway! This is Baby #3 for this particular family, and I did announcements with book themes for the first two kids, so I figured I should stick with the theme for #3. I knew that the mom really liked the Llama Llama series (she's given one or two of the books to Andrew), so I thought that would be a good thing to do. This ended up being the most detailed baby announcement yet - some 70 colors, no backstitching, all full stitches. (In the end, probably a bad move - I think some backstitching might have helped, but eh. Live and learn. One of these days I'd love to take a class in how to design/convert a pattern, because I'm terrible at it and it's what I want to do most of the time.)

Llama Llama )

Baby announcement bingo continues - I've got one that's nearly done, one that needs its name and birthdate, and one that I need to start on shortly. And given my luck, I'm sure someone else will announce their pregnancy any day now.
azriona: (Threads)
So....I've now cross-stitched my third fandom. :)

The story )
azriona: (cat in a box)
1. Cooking. I continue to be a lean, mean, recipe-testing machine. I remade the spinach on Friday night and it turned out MUCH better, though could still use some tweaking. Picture/recipe to follow. I also made Anzac Biscuits with the golden syrup, and they are quite yummy and being passed around. Currently there is a chicken in the oven, rubbed with garlic and parsley and balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. Eventually, it will end up in risotto.

(The chicken, incidentally, is not for Mise; it's just because I have a chicken and risotto rice and wanted to do something with them.)

Later this week: English bangers, but without the sausage casings because pig parts are proving to be difficult to source in a Muslim country - SHOCKING, I KNOW - and a carrot-ginger soup, because I might convince Andrew to eat it.

2. Cross-stitch. I AM DONE WITH BABY ANNOUNCEMENTS. I finally finished the last one a few days ago and so I'm back to working on Erised - which means there will have been PROGRESS by the time its anniversary rolls around next month.

All I have to say is, no one's allowed to get pregnant now, because dammit, I want to finish Page 7 of Erised before Andrew starts kindergarten.

3. Television Watching. I got the next disc of To the Ends of the Earth. Hurrah! Pirate-shirted Benedict Cumberbatch is in my future; let's see if Edmund continues to be a jerk or if he gets his comeuppance in the last episode.

Bill and I have also started watching Star Trek TOS again. I have not been doing recaps, mostly because I've been caught up with other things. But OMG, the second season seems to be all about trying to kill Spock and leaving Scotty in charge of the ship. And Chekov keeps getting the girls. It's very strange.

4. Paris. Three people I know have been to Paris in the last month. I am jealous, but mostly because of the food.

5. Bill has written a haiku, based on current events in the UL and the fact that the news tends to blow things out of proportion.

UL is burning.
We are fine; do not worry.
Today ends in Y.
azriona: (Threads)
Well, maybe not that many. Just feels like it most days.

ANYWAY, [ profile] fid_gin finally got Finn's announcement yesterday (or the day before, hard to tell with time differences) and she said I can post it for the world to see, so here you are.

Baby Announcement! )
azriona: (Threads)
I am spammy today on the creative front, which makes up for the fact that I haven't had a chance to write my 750 words this morning and probably won't, at this rate, because I've been anxious to get both the fic and this announcement posted. [ profile] papilio_luna gave me permission to share, so I wanted you to see the baby announcement I cross-stitched for her son, Rory.

Frogs frogs frogs...well, ONE frog.... )
azriona: (Threads)
Sorry for the spamming - Andrew's sleeping on the couch (and for that matter, Mom is, too) so I'm trying to get lots done before he wakes up. We didn't get him to sleep last night until after 11pm, and then he woke up this morning at the obnoxious hour of 5.30am. Bill says it's his fault, as he closed a door, but I still say that Andrew wakes when he wants to wake, no matter what kind of noise you're making.

And seriously, if closing a door wakes up the baby, either you're closing the door wrong or the baby's not really asleep.

One other awesome thing about overseas embassy housing: when stuff breaks, other people come to fix it. This is a definite advantage over home ownership. The maintenance crew was just here and repaired Andrew's screen door, our toilet paper dispenser, a kitchen shelf, and the lazy susan in the corner cabinet. They also sawed off the too-long screws on Andrew's headboard, as they pose a safety hazard. Best part: Bill put in the work order this morning, and they were here four hours later. SCORE.

I still want to put in shelving in the storage room and the laundry room, but I'm pretty sure that will entail negotiation with the GSO as it would be a permanent change to the apartment. And I want to know what the rules are about replacing the mattress, because there is a definite indent in the center, and Bill and I keep rolling toward each other. (No snarky commentary, please.)

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about cross-stitching, you know. )

The current project - which I do have in its entirety, as I brought it with me on the plane - is yet another baby announcement for friends who just adopted a baby girl. I have all the pieces, but I haven't gotten started on it since we packed out, for one reason or another. The current reason is that I don't have a good lamp set up at the moment - the way our living room is set up, there's nowhere to plug a lamp in near the couch, so I have to buy an extension cord. Which requires SHOPPING. Horrors.

(Actually, it is sort of horrors. There's a Radio Shack near me. And an Auntie Anne's. If it weren't for the lack of English, the abysmal road conditions, and my inability to drive, I'd think I were back in the States.)
azriona: (Default)
Crimedoc received her bookmark. )

Update to the MFCOAP )

I received a notice from the library this weekend, so Andrew and I stopped by today to pick up my copy of the Steve Jobs biography. Not that I'm a huge Apple fan, mind you - I own exactly one iItem which was a present and I haven't even taken it out of the box yet - but I heard good things about the book so I was curious. I really didn't think I'd get it before we left; last I checked about two weeks ago, my position in the queue was somewhere in the low 200s. So now I get to speed-read 700 pages. Ooo. This'll be fun.

As regards to the actual move and passports and visas.....I am pointedly not challenging the Passport/Visa gods, and therefore say nothing. Lalalalalalalalala.
azriona: (Erised)
So long ago to remember, Bill's aunt decided she was going to retire this spring. I happened to find a really neat set of four countryside scenes that I wanted to cross-stitch, so I declared them to be her retirement present and set to work. I finished the last one on Wednesday, so of course the aunt in question has now decided that she's not going to retire for at least a year. Ah well. Her present's done anyway.

And here it is! )

(If you are the aunt in question, and I'm fairly sure you're not, since as far as I know you don't read my LJ, click on the above links at your own risk. Also, pretend to be surprised when I give them to you.)
azriona: (Threads)
I am happy to announce that the last of the 2011 Baby Announcements are DONE, and better yet, currently at Micheal's for framing. HUR. RAH.

Of course, right after finishing, I had the following conversation with a friend.

Friend: So how's the stitching?
Me: I finished the baby announcements finally! No more baby announcements!
Friend: .....I'm pregnant.
Me: Dammit! I mean, Congratulations!

Happily for me, she's not due until 2012, so I have a little breathing room - but it does mean a few additional months before I can get back to Erised.

Background to Baby Announcement Extravaganza and the final three announcements under the cut )

So, with the 2011 crop of baby announcements done, it's back to...well, more baby announcements, actually. I've got a half-finished pattern that will work very well for a little girl, and I'm going to go ahead and finish it before returning back to the retirement patterns, and then it's a back-up announcements for a little boy, and THEN I'm going to let myself get back to Erised. I'm hoping by...oh, Christmas, maybe. Unless somebody ELSE gets pregnant. At least I know it won't be me! :)
azriona: (Threads)
This has been the year of babies over here; four of my friends were pregnant, and the last of the bunch was born this morning a week early. (Isa's new little brother, incidentally; Isa ended up spending the morning with us, and her father just came by to pick her up to go to the hospital and meet him. We went to IHOP and had celebratory Big Sister Pancakes, which look quite a lot like regular pancakes, except they are celebratory. Because I say so. And omg, Andrew and Isa were hysterical playing together this morning. Well, when I say "playing together", I mean "stealing each other's toys and then yelling about it before marching off in a huff to find another toy and trying to fit in as much play as possible before it's stolen in turn".)

Anyway, I've been refraining from posting the pics of the announcements since one of the moms in question reads this journal on occasion, but it occurred to me that she had her munchkin two months ago and has the announcement in her possession, so I can at least post that one. Anyway, here's the first two of the four-and-a-half announcements:

Declan's & Ian's Announcements )

Now, the trick is that I've got two of the other three announcements done, save for the names and birthdates. The third I'm still working on, but it ought to be done before the end of next week if I don't get distracted. (The reason there are four babies but five announcements is because since I'm doing one for Isa's little brother, I figured I'd also do one belatedly for Isa - they're both very small and they're moving very quickly.)

If I'm really lucky, I'll have all three done by the time Michael's has their next 60% off sale. Probably not, though.

But YAY. The end of baby announcements is in sight. So that I can get back to....retirement presents, and then to Erised. I miss Erised. *sigh*
azriona: (Erised)
It sort of sneaks up on you, doesn't it? I've had the date marked on the calendar for a week now, so I wouldn't forget to take photos, but today was so busy, it's only now that I'm able to post them.

Anyway, today is the sixth anniversary of when I started my massive cross-stitch BAP (Big Ass Project), The Mirror of Erised. Hence, photographs.

Photos of Erised (and Andrew!) under the cut )
azriona: (Threads)
So I tripled my cross-stitch stash in one go this morning at a garage sale.

*hands head in shame*


Don't answer that, please.

And then, while I was pulling the car up to her driveway (I'd parked around the corner and couldn't carry both box and Andrew back by myself), she decided not only to give me the box of kits, but two additional boxes of patterns and books as well.

Hence the tripling, instead of mere doubling.

A closer inspection has revealed that had I paid "listed" price for the kits I wanted, I would have ended up paying something like $75. So I think I did okay. Even if I now have two boxes of cross-stitch books/kits/patterns that I will never, ever, in a million years do anything with.

(The fact that I am unlikely to ever actually stitch everything in my stash is beside the point.)
azriona: (Erised)
I'd been hoping for the end of June, but nine days late isn't too bad. Last night, I finished off Page Six of Erised. Six pages down....ten more to go. As if I want reminding.

Photos of Erised. And of Andrew, yes. )
azriona: (Erised)
The stars have clearly aligned themselves today. In five days, Andrew will be five months old, and today marks the five-year anniversary of when I started my Erised cross-stitch – for which I’ve now finished five pages (and a bit). Obviously, this calls for photos.

Photos of Erised. And of Andrew, yes. )

Anyway, I'm not too far off from finishing Page 6 - so expect another update in another month or so. But I figured what with the plethora of fives, today was a good day for an update, too. :)
azriona: (Erised)
On a cold and windy day (April 13, 2005, to be exact), I started a massive cross-stitch project. (Okay, it might not have been cold and windy, I don't remember. I'm trying to set some ambiance here, be quiet.)

I figured it would take me about three years to finish, by which point I would need trifocals, assuming I wasn't blind.

Four and a half years later...I have finished Page Five. (Out of sixteen. Again, be quiet.)

The Mirror of Erised, Page Five )
azriona: (Threads)
I realized this morning that I hadn't shared the latest baby announcement. The parents picked it up from Michael's this morning, and as promised took photos and sent them to me.

(I live in D.C., and the parents are in Boston. Because shipping a framed cross-stitch would be prohibitively expensive, I went to Michaels, had them mock up which mats and which frame were to be used, write everything up, figure out how much it would cost at 50% off, and bought a gift card in that amount. I then took the cross-stitch, the gift card, and the instructions to the post office and mailed the whole thing. Upon receiving it, the parents took it to their local Michaels and paid for the framing according to the instructions with the gift card. Ta-da! Slight running around on the parents of a not-so-newborn anymore, but MUCH EASIER than receiving broken glass in the mail.)

Anyway, I present Annie's Announcement. I don't like traditional baby announcements, I find them kind of boring and too cutesy. And what teenager is going to want the widdle teddy bear on their wall, really? So I try to find something fun that a sixteen-year-old won't be embarrased to have in their room.

I wanted to do a sampler for Annie - mostly because I was in the mood to do a sampler. I found a pretty pattern that featured quilt blocks. Beause Annie's grandmother is a quilter, I figure she'll be sleeping under quilts for most of her life, and so this works out very well.

Annie's Quilts )

So for the moment, that's it for baby announcements. Whew!

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