Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fairy Tale

This is something I wrote for a visual prompt at a writing community I belong to. The visual prompt is at the end of the story. I'm just happy to be able to use my "write" tag for a change.

The day after, he woke up queasy, and felt as thought he'd gotten caught at something, and punished. He thought about going downstairs, feeling the dust under his bare feet, and watching it dance through the sun shafting through the stained glass window on the landing. He pictured his mom's smile, his dad's playful slap on the shoulder, and wondered how he'd be able to accept that. Their love, their perfect faith in his innocence. Wouldn't they see it in his eyes? Would he have to watch the light fade from theirs, the smiles dim, as they saw who he'd become?

Breakfast smells rose up the stairs. Mom was making bacon and pancakes. Coffee, too, but he hated the bitterness of coffee. He'd settle for syrup drowning his plate, and a glass of apple juice. Then his stomach flipped as he remembered.

"Chicken! See, I told you. He's a pussy. Still kisses his mommy goodbye in the morning." Robbie was tall, and fat, and angry, the kind of kid you always thought of when you thought the word "bully". He stood in the middle of the field of overgrown grass. Charlie hadn't known grass could grow that tall, would grow heads like wheat, and poke you as you walked through it. All around Robbie, dark shadows darted and flicked, too fast and small to be identified. But Charlie knew.

The first day, Charlie was walking behind them, and had stopped short at the edge of the field, nervously taking in the flying buzzing shapes. Robbie and crew stomped on a few feet, and that's when Charlie heard it, the crunches as they were crushed under foot, the truncated cries of pain, and the quick zip of energy drawn up and away.

"C'mon, you baby. What're you waiting for? Scared? Scared of grasshoppers!" Robbie turned to his fellows and laughed. He sneered as he caught the look on Charlie's face, mistaking disgust for fear. He turned threatening in an instant, smelling prey. "C'mon, I said. Now." Robbie advanced toward him, and Charlie turned back, running home. He hid on the side of the garage, showing up late for school on his first day. Since then, he'd taken a circuitous route through back yards and down alleys, successfully avoiding Robbie. But yesterday, at the end of an alley that emptied out on the far side of the field, he'd found Robbie and a group of other boys waiting. He could smell his own blood in the air, feel pain in his ribs as he looked at their bared teeth.

All it had taken to save himself was a walk through the field. It had helped that he'd peed his pants. Robbie saw it as a sign of submission, although it had really been his distress as he felt all those lights crunched out beneath his sneakers. He'd walked all day with the scent of death wafting up from underneath him, a lingering curse that made him keep his head down, so nobody would see his tears.

Sighing deeply, sounding much older than eight years old, Charlie padded downstairs and braved his way through the ignorance of his parents' smiles and jokes. "Go on out and play" they'd urged. So Charlie squared his shoulders and went to the closet for his shoes. They were there, and they looked the way they always had, but he could smell it, and he saw smudges of black smoking up from underneath them. He picked up the right one, and turned it over. There, the way he knew it would be, was the evidence of his dishonor. Perfectly splayed out, as thought intending to preserve itself for all time, lay the corpse of a single pixie. Charlie would not brush it off, would never, in fact, wear those shoes again. He told his mother he'd lost one, and endured her exasperation as but partial payment for what he deserved.

One day, when he was much older, he would tell fairy stories to his daughter, and she would wonder at how his face glowed with conviction and sadness over a tale she already knew, at her age, to be false.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stitchy pics - mostly older

Well, I finally got my camera to work, both in taking pictures and uploading them to my also-stubborn computer.

First off, I received a gorgeous fob from Jill for the Hooked on Exchanging fob exchange. Check it out:

She also sent some goodies:

I am so happy with that fob - I hope mine turns out as well. I've never made a fob, and the technique for the one I'm sending off is a little unusual. I am all finished with the stitching & cutting out, I just need to do the sewing together. That will happen this week. *crossed fingers*

Quite belatedly, here is something I got from Hannah for an exchange back in - well, obviously October. :) (I'm using Hannah's pictures here, because hers turned out better than any I could coax out of my camera.)

And the back. I love this fabric!

Ooh, and goodies!

Are you tired of pictures? I hope not. I know that I never tire of pictures when reading stitching blogs, so hopefully you'll continue on, too....

This is what I stitched for Hanna for the same exchange:

Nevermore by The Cricket Collection
28 ct. Pumpkin Jazlyn with DMC - I changed a few of the colors to show up better on the orange. The original fabric was green.

I finished it into a lined padded box, trimmed with ribbon and covered with awesome "mummy" fabric:

I still haven't gotten any of my new projects together for my 2008 goals. It is a long story, and I realize that I have eyes bigger than my needle. Perhaps as long as I'm making progress on something I will be content.

Friday, January 4, 2008

2008 goals, or fantasies

Well, I haven't made particular goals for stitching before, and I think it's evidenced by my lack of finishes. So, I'm hoping by giving myself some direction, I can accomplish more this year. I really want some substantial pieces to hang on my walls, so I've made a list of 12 medium/large projects. I am sure I won't finish all of these, since I'm sort of a slow stitcher, but at least I know they'll get done. These are the things that are currently dearest to my heart, and I am sure there will be a couple that drop off in favor of even more wonderful things I don't own yet, but these are my starts. My one rule is going to be that once it's started, I have to keep it in rotation until it's finished.

Here's my schedule:
I plan on stitching two hours a day Monday - Saturday during the day, and in the evenings if I have time. I'm scheduling four Medium/Large projects and will stitch on each of those one day a week. I'll also stitch on UFOs one day a week. The rest of the time will be for exchanges and ornaments.

Medium/Large projects
1. Desiderata by Indigo Rose - This one is started already - just a few stitches in so far. I'm putting this in my first rotation because I've wanted this one the longest. I made a lot of changes to the threads, I'll post about that as I post progress pics.

2. Lizzie Kate Double Flips - I'll be doing this one in a long panel like this model. I'm using the recommended threads and whatever looks nice when I go to the shop.

3. Inspiration by Rosewood Manor - Still need the fabric for this, which will be whatever looks good with the DMC threads called for.

4. Wedding Row by Bent Creek - I'm going to change the colors so I can use my husbands favorite color (green) and my own (purple). Our third anniversary is this year and I don't think it will be done by then - maybe by our fifth?

5. Cirque des Triangles by Ink Circles - I wanted to use Bethlehem by Weeks Dye works on a neutral fabric. But then I found some Needle Necessities (Creme de Menthe) that I think would be amazing. Of course, I only have three skeins and would need four. I am going to have to find a source for ThreadWorx (they are doing colors comparable to what NN threads used to be) to see how their alternative color looks. If I like that, I'll probably do this with medium greens on a light green background.

6. Mine All Mine Stocking by Xs and Os - for my son's Christmas stocking. He needs one before he moves out of the house! (He's 16.)

7. Japanese Octagon Box by Chatelaine - I've had the materials since the beginning of the class - I think that was 2006. I am doing this on mint green, and I need the fabric for it. I am not as enthused about this one as I was, because I have a phobia of trying to make up the box for it, but I will be darned if I'm going to put this much money into a project and not finish it.

8. Gingerbread Christmas by The Rocking Horse cross stitch store - I bought this last month because the finished model in the store suckered me into it. So sparkly! I don't have any Christmas pieces, and this should work up quickly. It was a kit, and the frame is included, so I have no excuse to procrastinate.

9. Queen of the Needle by Just Nan - I dearly love this pattern.

10. Always Kiss Me Goodnight by Forever In My Heart - I can't actually find this chart online, and I don't know where I got the pic saved to my hard drive. I can't find it on Hoffman's site, either by designer or keyword search. Also, I understand the designer is having some family problems (Her husband is quite ill, it's so sad.) So, this one might have to be dropped.

11. What A Hoot by Cat's Whiskers Design Studio - He is the cutest!

12. A Christmas stocking for myself - I haven't picked one out yet, but I have time - I'm sure it won't get into rotation until next year, anyway.

In addition to those projects, I want to participate in the Fair and Square rounds this year. I think there are five or six a year.

I also joined the Hooked on Exchanging group, so I'll be doing whatever exchanges they have through the year.

And lastly, I want to make six Christmas ornaments, and 2 or 3 RAK-type gifts for various stitching friends.

Ok - it's a little much, right? I think I will actually probably finish only two larger projects - Lizzie Kate's Double Flips and Wedding Row. But I'll have a whole bunch of smaller projects, too, and that will be - ohhh - 500% more than I did in '07.

Here's a slide show of the larger projects. If it annoys you, you can just view the Picasa album.