authority (embroidery no. 22)

embroidery from jeff vandermeer's authority

Earlier this year, I read Jeff VanderMeer’s creepy and haunting Annihilation, about an expedition into a terrifying and mysterious wilderness known as Area X. Authority (kindle here) continues the story, but from the perspective of Control, a government official recently transferred to clean up the mess at the Southern Reach after the expedition in Annihilation.

Control dives in, but he is never sure of what he sees or hears at the Southern Reach. Its shifting hallways and antagonistic employees don’t provide much help or comfort. But Control latches on to one idea that could help him grasp this puzzle: Terroir.

Terroir indicates a sense of place, and how that place can influence and produce a certain product. Typically a term that refers to the climate and region of certain vintages of wine, Control uses it to analyze Area X.

Why is Area X the way that it is? What, even, is it? Who made it that way, and how?

There aren’t many answers yet, but Authority peels back a few layers of the puzzle. What’s underneath is raw and scary, and there’s no sign of what can heal it.

The next book in this trilogy, Acceptance (kindle here) comes out Sept. 2 of this year.

embroidery from jeff vandermeer's authority

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here:

(I picked this book out on my own and was not being paid to write about it. But if you buy through my links, I’ll receive a little bit of money for it.)

easy project friday: spray-painted mirror

I have this mirror that I really like. It’s from Ikea–you’ve probably seen it before. I love that the frame is sort of ornate, but it’s small and different enough that it seems modern and fun. I like the black and I had it on my wall in black in my old apartment.

mirror

In this new place, I had just the right place to hang it, but the black wasn’t what I wanted. I have bold primary colors in this kitchen, so I tried to keep things light.

I covered the mirror with newspapers and used the same yellow spray paint I used when I spray painted a shelf last year–which I am now using in my bathroom. (It’s still yellow.)

spray painted mirror

And it’s like I have a whole new mirror.

dining area with spray painted mirror

I can’t afford to replace everything every time I change my mind or my apartment, even though I’m tempted to. But with some work and creativity, I really think you can make your home reflect your changing style. Even if it’s just details, like the color of a mirror.

Supplies:

the start of a sewing space

sewing and craft area

Remember that rack I bought for my jewelry? I also got one for my thread.

sewing rack before

I saw this idea on Sublime Stitching and thought it was really great. So one day as part of my tiny projects, I got some embroidery floss and sewing thread on my rack. But it still needed some work. I used some spray paint primer and painted it white to blend in more with my wall.

spray painted sewing rack

I have this wonderful big picture frame (you may remember it from my old jewelry rack) that fits around this rack as if they were made for each other. I hung the rack using two 3m hooks, and the frame just leans against the wall. It’s pretty heavy so I haven’t hung it up, but I think it fits pretty perfectly like this.

sewing rack

I’d still like to do some more things to this space, but this is a big improvement. I’ll probably add more to the wall and I need to do something about those cords. Plus maybe a rug? I’m not sure yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

Supplies:

I bought my supplies myself, but the links are affiliate.

easy project friday: painted canisters

painted canister tops for the kitchen

This easy project takes a little bit of paint in whatever colors you like, a paintbrush, and some painters tape.

I found these canisters at Goodwill and snagged them for just a few bucks. After a solid scrubbing I was ready to use them in my kitchen. I love the look of white and wood, but I wanted to add some pops of color to my counter.

containers for the kitchen counter

I started by taping off half of the top with painters tape. I used a ruler to help me find the middle, but you could also eyeball it or do a third, or fourth, or a diagonal. This is an easy project–have fun with it!

painted cannister tops

Then I painted half the top with each color. I’d recommend an acrylic paint–it is easy to use and has good coverage for projects like this. I did two coats of paint, but do whatever looks and feels right to you. Only paint the very top of the tops if you’re storing food in them–you don’t want paint fumes enclosed with your food.

Then all you have to do is wait for the paint to dry and slowly peel off that painters tape.

painted canisters for the kitchen

And you’re done! That’s all it takes to get some personal fun and color in your kitchen (or bathroom or bedroom or wherever you want!). Some materials:

(No one paid me to write about this project, but the Amazon links are affiliate. Updated at 10:16 a.m. to add sources to buy canisters)

easy project friday: using decorative paper

Sometimes all it takes to brighten up your life is a small change. This easy project takes just a few minutes and is very inexpensive–you just need some pretty paper or fabric, a ruler, scissors, and tape.

I love a glass cabinet but I’m not the most organized person. And if you’re going to be showing off your things with a window, they should look good sitting there. I have this little cabinet on the wall of my bathroom, and–let’s be real–none of the things I need in the bathroom are super cute to look at.

glass cabinet, decorative paper project

To hide my things and add some color and pattern to the bathroom, I found some decorative paper at Paper Source, a super cute paper store in my new neighborhood.

paper source paper

All you have to do is measure your window.

measure your window, decorative paper project

Cut out your paper (I added an inch to both sides so that I had some wiggle room when I was taping it up).

decorative paper project

And attach it to the back of your cabinet. You can use even just scotch tape, or you could try poster putty or tacks. Anything you feel is best to stick it to your cabinet without causing damage to it.

back of the cabinet, decorative paper project

Voila! After just a few minutes, it’s like you have a whole new cabinet.

decorative paper project

Change doesn’t have to be expensive or scary! And this is a great option for renters to add some color and pattern to their space without painting or adding wallpaper. Happy Friday! Now that this project is done, let’s relax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

annihilation (embroidery no. 21)

embroidery from annihilation

I know we just had St. Patrick’s day, but in my house, it might as well be Halloween. Everything I watch or read lately has been super creepy, and Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (Kindle here) is near the top of the creepy list.

Annihilation is the diary of a woman, known only as the biologist, as she goes on a mission to explore Area X. Every member of the mission is required to make a record of their findings, and to keep it private so they don’t contaminate each other’s results.

Area X is a section of land that’s been blocked off by the government. Each team member on a mission brings a certain skill set: The biologist’s teammates are the psychologist, the surveyor, and the anthropologist. The linguist backed out at the last minute. No one uses their names, referring to each other only by their occupations.

I’m not totally sure which government is in charge, or what year it is, or where they are. Area X oozes weirdness almost immediately, when the biologist and her team happen upon a tower with a long, winding staircase. As they walk down the stairs, the biologist starts to see the writing on the wall–literally, and it’s made of plants.

embroidery from annihilation

This super creepy vine-and-moss scrawl inspired my embroidery. It begins “where lies the strangling fruit” and only gets weirder and more nonsensical as it spirals down into the darkness.

The biologist’s story is deeply unsettling. Between hallucinations, new forms of life, and plenty of death, she’s not sure what she’s exploring, dreaming, or seeing. And when plants learn how to write, and no one has a name, and you can’t trust what’s alive or dead, holding on to your humanity may be impossible.

Annihilation is the first of three books in the Southern Reach Trilogy. The next book comes out so soon! The publishers decided to do an expedited publication schedule–which I think is really cool–so you can pick up the second book, Authority (Kindle here), on May 6 or preorder it now. The third book, Acceptance (Kindle here), comes out on Sept. 2, and you can preorder it, too. Annihilation was a quick read at just less than 200 pages, so get to it! And watch for plants creeping in to your nightmares.

embroidery from annihilation

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here:

(I picked this book out on my own and was not being paid to write about it. But if you buy through my links, I’ll receive a little bit of money for it.)

sewing potholders

handmade potholders

I’ve been thinking and planning and pinning all kinds of things for my new apartment. I take a lot of pride in making my home a lovely place to be and even though I’m not moved in yet, I wanted to do something to get started. (I know, I know, I’ll have to move it. But these hot pads are small.)

So I went to the fabric store and picked out fabric for potholders. It’s a small enough project I thought I could get it done in the pre-moving chaos and pack it up and take it with me. I don’t know for sure what colors I’ll want to use or what things I’ll need–so I just picked out fabric I liked. If it doesn’t match, that will be ok. They were fun and turned out pretty cute.

materials for potholders

I used the Purl Bee’s pattern for liberty hot pads. I started by cutting out all of my materials: the fabric, batting, and a grosgrain ribbon for the edge. I wanted a bright yellow border and they had that color in ribbon, even though the pattern called for cotton twill tape, so that’s what I went with. It seems to have worked just fine, but I haven’t washed them yet. I used the teal pattern for one side and the gray chevron for the other, with the yellow border to tie them together.

putting together handmande potholders

And then I just followed their directions. This was the first time I had quilted anything, and I think it would be a lot easier and probably neater if I had the correct tools (like a rotary ruler and a cutting pad and some curved safety pins). I winged it, and they came out fine, but I don’t think they came out great. But that’s ok because it was good practice! And they definitely keep my hands from getting burned while I take things out of the oven (I tried it! Several times!), so they are good enough for me.

finished handmade potholders

beyonce (embroidery nos. 18-19)

beyonce embroidery

Going to the Beyonce concert this year with my friend Laura was one of the best things that ever happened to me–no lie. We love Bey (but who doesn’t?), and it was so fun to see her sing. So as a gift for Laura before she moved into her new apartment, I stitched some Beyonce lyrics for her to put on her walls.

beyonce embroidery

The best part of making these was that “Crazy in Love” and “Love on Top” were stuck in my head the whole time. I love having handmade things in my home, but I love even more sharing them with friends.

beyonce embroidery

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here:

project life: october/november

x_MG_1298

I was lucky enough to get two–TWO–project life kits for Christmas: the midnight edition and the honey edition. And it has made catching up on Project LIfe so much fun.

I’m working on the end of the year and doing roughly a month or event per spread. Obvs, the birth of my adorable niece will get a whole two pages. Here’s the pages I have for the second half of October and first weekend of November.

rae's days project life

rae's days project life left page

rae's days project life right page

As I look through my whole album, there are some pages I really like and some I don’t,  of course. But either way I’m glad I’m recording these pictures. I still have a few events left in 2013 to get into this album, and then it’s onto this new year. At least I’m not too far behind.

You can see my other project life updates here:

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goldie the gargoyle (embroidery no. 17)

goldie the gargoyle embroidery

It kills me when adorable things show up in comic books. Here I am, reading about a nightmare/King of Dreams/contract killers/reimagined biblical characters and WHAM, something cute drops in the frame.

I’ve been reading through The Sandman–the first issue is just a little younger than I am–and though it took me 25 years to catch on, I’m finally getting up to speed and loving every minute. Along with Death, one of the most fun characters I’ve ever met, I’ve also enjoyed spending time with Dream and his other siblings. And mixed in with the twisting, dark, interesting story lines are hilarious moments of fun. Like a super cute gargoyle called Goldie (aka Irving).

goldie the gargoyle embroidery close up

I’ve been thinking of a way to incorporate Sandman into my project of embroidering books and quotes that I enjoy, and Goldie is a perfect representation of what I love about this series: unexpected fun.

You can’t see dark without the light, or cruelty without kindness, and this epic storyline that takes us in and out of worlds and dreams is all the stronger by including some (adorable) levity.

As you can see on my to-read list, I’m just through volume 7, so if anything terrible happens to Goldie in volumes 8-10, don’t tell me.

embroidery and the sandman vol. 8

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images from books. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here: