Mar 19, 2008

fun with cross stitch

creative cross stitch.....

(thanks to casi for enlightening me to the creative craft of subversive cross stitch!)

Mar 18, 2008

"...but i can use a bandsaw like a mo fo"

in yet another perfect example of how my lack of domesticity has been ingrained in my very being for 30 plus years, i was telling a story last night that actually caused me to utter the phrase in the title line of this post. yes, it's true - my bandsaw skills are pretty f'in good (or at least they were last time i put them to the test). my sewing skills? horrific, at best. case in point - the story i was recounting last night.....

when i was in seventh grade, we were required to take 9 weeks of industrial arts (woodworking) and 9 weeks of home economics (sewing). going in to these classes, the popular (stereotypical) assumption was that the girls would excel at the sewing class, while the boys would do better in woodworking, though as long as no one stabbed their hand with the electric sewing machine or lost a finger at the mercy of a table saw, the teachers didn't care one way or the other and yelled at us equally when our skills weren't up to par. woodworking came first for me and i actually did quite well, painstakingly cutting the shape of the state of indiana out of a piece of wood and turning it promptly into an IU clock. if you've never seen the state of indiana on a map, or have never had the misfortune to try to cut it out of wood, you should know that it has a lot of little curves and ridges at the bottom and actually makes for a tough pattern when trying to negotiate an electric saw to smoothly form the border. however, i cut out my great state with care and proudly shellacked the hell out of it once it was sanded smooth. bless my parents for hanging it up - though i think it found a home in the seldom used den.

so with great accomplishment i completed my industrial arts project earlier than most of the class. rather than take on another project, i was enlisted by my friend ben to help him with his own indiana-shaped clock. poor thing just couldn't seem to cut out the bottom border with all of its curves. his block of wood looked more like he had hacked at it with a tiny axe than run the blade of the saw around it. so, i stepped in with my newfound woodworking ability and helped him salvage his project. and because of me, my friend ben got a respectable B on his project and told me he owed me. i shrugged it off, thinking that i was now the master of all things industrial art-ish and i wouldn't need to call in that favor. boy, was i wrong.

nine weeks of sewing followed the woodworking class and i found that my sewing skills weren't nearly as quick to emerge as my woodworking skills. in fact, they never actually emerged at all. one of the first things we did was write our names in large script across a sheet of notebook paper and then we had to use the sewing machine to trace our name. granted, i think i got screwed because my name was 6 loooooong letters, but i was determined to do this. at the end of the class, i was sweating and annoyed and my sheet of notebook paper looked like a small animal had chewed its was across it, rather than having my name perfectly punched out across the page like most of my classmates. this gave me cause for alarm. i knew the next 9 weeks would not be nearly as fun as industrial arts. we made potholders, which i managed to muddle through well enough. then came the big dog. it was time to make the pillow. i chose a square pillow in some god-awful royal blue furry material and went to town. i would sew, pick up the material, realize it was crooked, and start over. a useful little tool called the seam ripper became my best friend. i sewed and sewed, watching with panic as my fellow domestic engineers hummed away at their machines, neatly putting together pillows of many sizes, shapes and colors. in choosing to do a square pillow, i also was forced to sew an applique of letters or numbers onto the front, so that the project proved as difficult as those of various shapes that other students had chosen. barely able to sew straight lines to put the pillow together, i had no idea how i was going to be able to get the 9 and 5 (yes, i put my high school graduation year on the pillow) to appear without the use of super glue.

and that's when i remembered that my friend ben owed me a favor. looking to see how he was progressing one day near the end of the 9 weeks, i was amazed to see that not only had he finished his project, but he was also working on an additional small project to while away his time. and so there i went, over to cash in on that favor. sneakily, we managed to finish my pillow with him doing most of the work to apply the numbers to the front and i stuffed the monstrosity with relief. i had barely hand stitched the closing when the deadline hit and projects had to be turned in. somehow i managed to get an A in the class, if for no other reason than my teacher watched me in so much exasperation that maybe she felt sorry for me. as that particular teacher was not known as one to show sympathy, however, i also have to give ben his fair share of credit for my grade.

and so it went - the tennis-playing, cheerleading, girly-girl and the football QB, star wrestler and all-around jock sawed and sewed their way to good grades and respectable projects, managing to break down a few stereotypes in the process.

to this day i can't sew on a button. stitch witchery saves my life (and the hems of my pants) and i'm more than happy to pay my neighborhood cleaners to bail me out of any repair work that any of my clothing needs. could i still cut a chunk of wood into the state of indiana if i had the saw and the materials? like a mo fo.