Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sporking an Elephant

Let me introduce you to an awesome army wife named Diane. Here's a bit of an email exchange I had with her over on Etsy:

"A popular saying amongst Army wives is about eating an elephant one bite at a time. (finding out about impending deployments & all that means tends to feel like getting an elephant stuffed in your mouth... at first you don't think you can do it)."

So, I made Diane this embroidery. 




This holiday season her husband is in Africa (his sixth deployment!) and they got to spend a short moment talking via a military video teleconference call. 

The holiday season can be tough for so many people and I truly admire the strength and dedication of those who serve our country and their army spouses. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to Diane and the #36thEngineerBrigade !!!

If you want to be extra cool, you could post one of your own Christmas photos with any of your holiday wishes to the #36thEngineer Brigade on Instagram. Or here on my page. THANKS!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Scary People




Update! If you are on a device that doesn't show the video in the post, here is a special link. CLICK.

Halloween ended a few weeks ago, but I thought that I would share with you this very powerful, moving, awe-inspiring movie that I made to the footage my husband took while we were at Frightmares at Lagoon Park.

If it would help to have context about how I feel about haunted houses and Halloween LARPing teenagers please read this post and this post.

I'll wait.

Finished? Then may I present to you (all five of you) my very first YouTube video: Too Many Scary People. 



Monday, October 27, 2014

The Heart of a Floozy


Perhaps, I should explain this.

I stitched this pillow for my brother about four years ago when he was down in the dumps after a messy divorce. It really cheered him up! Isn't it adORable? My mom sewed the pillow part, because I am super allergic to sewing machines. But the embroidery, the appliqué heart, and the adorable-ized hate is all mine.

Yes. There is a back story. Take my hand while we gently travel down memory lane. (Why is your hand so sweaty?) When I was an early teenager I went through a hardcore holocaust reading phase. You know, where I would read every single book I could find on the subject. Anne Frank was followed by Alicia was followed by The Hiding Place, and a kazillion more. It was an obsession. I still do the same thing now with my reading. Exhaust a genre. Young Adult Urban Fantasy, Serial Killer Lit, whatever. I don't stop until I feel sated (much like the serial killers and vampires I read about. Interesting.)

One day, many bad hairstyles ago, my younger brother Eric was teasing my other (even younger) brother John -- in a really stinky-mean way that I found morally appalling. I'm sure that I was in the middle of some gut-wrenching novel, when I stopped, looked at Eric with the eyes of an avenging angel and told him, "You have the heart of Hitler."

This is now a family favorite story. Told and retold at every get-together. (Along with the one of me hiding behind the couch when I had a bad perm. Yes, I was 17 years old. I would still hide behind the couch if that happened to me now.) 

I can just imagine my brother as an old man, his little grandchildren gathered around his knees, bringing out this keepsake pillow, and telling them the touching tale of how long, long ago, his over-dramatic sister told him he had the heart of Hitler.

Cherish precious memories. Cherish.

And here is my point. We all say horrible things. With this new Adorable-izing the Hate project of mine, I have gotten a lot of feedback. Most positive. A wee little bit negative. And I think it is important to remember that behind every hateful comment is a person. Sure, some of these online trolls are probably actual trolls with rocky crevices and lichen growing out of their toenails, but some of them are just people who say really stupid things. Really hurtful things. I would hope that if any of the people who have found out that I have stitched their online comments, texts, or social media rants, and feel angry about it, that they will be able to take responsibility and apologize. And then laugh. Because we all know that laughter is the second best medicine. (Xanax being the first.)

Eric, I am sorry that I said such a weird teenagery hurtful thing to you so many years ago. You have the heart of Oprah.


*This is a repost of post back from the early days of my blog. But it felt super relevant to today. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Your Basic No-Frills Sales Agreement

To all the people who are here because of HuffPo or The Independent, WELCOME TO THE CRAZY. Sit down and stay awhile. I will stitch while you tell me all about yourself.

McDeath



THE COTTON FLOOZY'S SALES AGREEMENT

As an artist who makes everything by hand in dim lighting without the aid of sweatshop workers or elves, I retain the rights to the patterns I create for custom orders. I reserve the right to reuse my patterns and to post photographs of my finished (hand-stitched-in-dim-lighting) embroideries. Like other fan artists, I allege that my embroidery work is transformative and permissible under the fair use principles of U.S. copyright laws. I do not sell enough embroidery commissions to warrant any freaking out from the owners of any copyrighted materials, whereas I only make enough money to buy an occasional McDonald's Breakfast Combo #9 with a super-sized Diet Coke to-go.  If you have a beef with anything I have made or do not feel properly attributed, please email me directly at thecottonfloozy@gmail.com and I will consult that cold dark stone that is my heart after I make a phone call to my kickass big sister lawyer.

If you would like to buy an embroidery pattern that I create, for exclusive rights, to be used only by you or your very own equestrian dressage society, then you must agree to pay the full price of $250. Which would make me very happy indeed, because then I would be able to afford the medication I will need to unclot the McDonald's Breakfast Combo #9 from my cold dark heart.

I will assume that you agree to my terms unless you write me an email in caps-locked comic sans font stating that you do not agree to my terms. In which case, I will politely decline doing business with you.

If you are the awesome person whom I believe you to be, and have made it through this delightful sales agreement without falling asleep, thank you for commissioning a custom order from me. Let's be friends. Want to meet for McBrunch?

Ridiculously yours,
The Cotton Floozy

Friday, August 22, 2014

Andre the Giant doesn't care if you obey the ice bucket challenge or not.

Obey. Or not.


Everybody is doing the ice bucket challenge. And honestly, I think it's great. That doesn't mean that you have to do it, too, to fit in with the cool kids like Amanda Palmer and Weird Al. (Hmmm. My idea of "cool kids" might be different from the norm.)

One of my friends has epilepsy. She probably won't be doing the ice bucket challenge. My mom is in remission from cancer. She is going to skip it, too. A lot of people suffer from severe public-embarrassment allergies. Which is what I have. The idea of filming myself being doused in ice water makes me mildly, meekly FREAK THE EFF OUT. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy watching you being doused with a bucket of ice water. I enjoy watching your humiliation *immensely." 

Here is my introvert-approved ice bucket challenge. I sit down on a computer, log onto alsa.org and donate some money to the cause. I can choose whatever amount I like. I don't have only two choices. It doesn't have to be either $10 or $100. Maybe I'll choose $32! or $300,200! At this point, I would like all of you to focus your magical energies on me actually having $300,200 dollars. Thank you. Point is, you can feel just as good and less wet by sitting down and donating money on the internet. You don't even have to put pants on. (If you are going to film the actual ice bucket challenge, please wear pants. Except for you Alexander Skarsgård. Mrrrreow.)

Here's the thing. My grandma died of ALS. It was not a fun way to go. She sat there paralyzed, not able to talk or communicate. She was completely aware, but unable to say, hey! stop arguing about politics! Or, you there! I wanted a chocolate milkshake, not this lame vanilla crap! 

Eventually, she stopped being able to swallow or breathe and she died in the hospital. Really, not a fun way to go.

Now, to cheer myself up, I am trying to think of a fun way to go. Maybe a quick painless decapitation from the sword of your enemy while you're chest-deep in pirate gold? Or being split in half instantaneously when out of nowhere a giant dome comes down over half of you and all of your town? Or croaking while being loved to death by a succubus? I really need to take a break from reading ridiculous novels.

There's no need to trash talk the bucket challenge. A gentle snarking is fine, but don't go Matt Walsh all over it. It's just a fun fad. A YouTube sensation. (Please, Lord, let me never be a YouTube sensation, amen.) If someone challenges you and you don't want to do it, say NO. If you don't want to donate money, or much more likely, can't afford to donate money, don't worry about it. Lou Gehrig absolves you. The pressure reminds me of those chain letters from the 80's, where if you didn't forward the chain letter to ten people, you would be cursed blind and fall down a well.  

Go ahead and dump a bucket over your head. Or not. Go ahead and donate money. Or not. Just don't be a dick.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Adorable-izing the Hate



I don't expect everyone to like me. But considering how boring and hermit-like I am, I find it to be strange (and yes, hurtful) when someone absolutely hates me and my Cotton Floozy business. I recently learned about a steamy bit of internet hate written by someone I used to know and still care about.

So, whatevs. What was said was horrible and full of blatant lies and FUN FACT! Did you know that spitting on someone is considered a battery charge (as in assault and battery) of bodily fluids? So maybe you shouldn't tell everyone to go and spit on me. Alert security! And I have a lawyer, just an FYI. 

I decided to handle the situation by turning something mean into something frickin' adorable, so I lifted one sentence from the online hate rant, an admittedly awesome and clever line that didn't involve spitting threats or rampant f-bombs, and stitched it on some muslin and framed it in an embroidery hoop and gave it a pompom trim. 

And listen, everybody rants about somebody sometimes. Good people say horrible things all the time. And horrible people say good things all the time. I don't know how to sort it all out. 

Haters gonna hate, stitchers gonna stitch.



All I know is that stitching a bit of the hate directed towards me was immensely cathartic. It turned my tears (thin-skin) into laughter. If you have any bit of hate that you have received from a crazy ex or an online troll, let me know, either through this blog or my email (thecottonfloozy[at]gmail[dot]com.) Maybe I can adorable-ize it through the power of embroidery. Sharing this blog post will probably result in more hate mail for me, so I would definitely plan on seeing more hate-inspired stitchery in the near future. 

Meanwhile, I am going to focus on the positive people in my life, and tonight I am lucky enough to hang out with some wonderful people, including my friend Stephanie, who is celebrating her birthday. Stephanie has been my friend since we were kids and is one of the ballsiest, funniest people I know. Everybody wish Steph a happy birthday!

I am serious about stitching some of your juiciest hate mail. Lay it on me. My needle and thread are ready. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Forced to Play an Instrument


Last week I shipped my two daughters off to two separate summer camps. My 13-year-old went to a science/math camp --'Camp Awe+Sum' (get it?) at Westminster University and my 11-year-old went to Shadow Mountain -- a camp run by the school district and located somewhere high up in the mountains.

Camp Awe+Sum had private bedrooms and an indoor pool. 

Shadow Mountain had bunkbeds in cabins and a freezing glacial lake at the top of a three-mile hike. 

Camp Awe+Sum had a cafeteria.

Shadow Mountain had campfire food and a kitchen that was, I shit you not, invaded by a bear.

Camp Awe+Sum was "just okay" according to my daughter. I guess that she spent the four days mostly all by herself. She ate by herself at every meal in the campus cafeteria. A parent's worst nightmare. I felt slightly mollified when I found out that she sat alone at a booth with a book propped in one hand while she picked at her food.

Shadow Mountain was crowded with girls who already knew each other. Whereas I am absolutely positive that sweet and awesome girls were left out (dammit!), my daughter was not. She felt included and enjoyed the company of her friends and cabin-mates.

When I picked up my 13-year-old from Camp Awe+Sum I found her sitting alone under a tree, ready to go home.

When I picked up my 11-year-old from Shadow Mountain she was sunburned, reeked of campfire, and was grinning like a looney. 

The stories I got from Camp Awe+Sum were mostly about how my daughter hated the food and the craft activities. 

The stories I got from Shadow Mountain were beyond hilarious. My daughter had about five excellent campfire stories that she believed with all her heart to be true. My favorite one was from a camp counselor who told the kids that he lived for four months on an island inhabited by cannibals who put him in a cage and forced him to play an instrument. "What instrument?" we asked my daughter. She looked at us and gravely answered, "a ukulele."













Thursday, May 29, 2014

FEMINAZI

Quote by Lois Wyse
Print by grimmricksen

Back in the mid-1990's I was labeled a "feminazi." Sure, this was not a very difficult achievement, considering that I attended a university in Utah County -- Brigham Young University. At first I was confused about why I was being called this behind my back by all of my housemates and ward members: both boys and girls. I found out that it was because when a bunch of guys started door-to-dooring in the search of some "women who would make them cookies," I was the only one who said "No." Also, I was mocked for being very upset when I heard the voicemail of our 18-year-old male church leader. "Leave me a message or I will beat you up like the woman you are."

You might think that I am joking. 

That was literally his answering machine recording.

And everybody thought it was hilarious. (Or pretended to think it was hilarious.)

I was called a feminazi because of my pretty understandable outrage. And what's funniest to me now, is that I wasn't even that much of a feminist. I was still a teenager and pretty sold on "gender roles" and the goodness of patriarchy. Within the first few weeks of school, I felt like a pariah. It made me wonder if BYU was the right school for me. Spoiler alert: it was not the right school for me.

I hadn't really thought about any of this for a long time until I read a comment left on my friend's stellar article about Elliot Rodger in the Salt Lake City Weekly. Here's a bit of Stephanie Lauritzen's genius:

Despite the fact that a man who feels entitled to a woman’s body and finds feminism evil just shot six people in an act of premeditated murder, responders are already quick to condemn anyone who identifies his behavior as an example of our inherently misogynistic culture gone tragic. “Not all men!” is the default response, trying to portray Rodger as an anomaly instead of a byproduct of a culture that consistently blames women for the crimes perpetrated against their gender. We live in a world where it is acceptable to ask what a rape victim was wearing, or why they didn’t fight back against their attacker, and yet stand back in wonder when a man believes he has the right to slaughter the “sluts” who wouldn’t sleep with him. 


And here is what the commenter "truther" has to say.

Warning: this comment is very graphic and disturbing. I took a screenshot of it, rather than typing in the quote because I do not want it to go into a search engine.











I'm speechless. Okay, I'm not speechless, but the speeches I am using are not family restaurant friendly. 

Maybe we still need some feminism, YATHINK?

But what do I know. I'm just a feminazi.



Friday, April 25, 2014

Gay Man or Mother Who Has An Inappropriate Relationship With Her Son? The Party Game!

Yesterday my friend pointed out this insanely helpful article from a 1970's Cosmo mag. 

things to do with your hands that men like

Click on the image if you can't read it because you are old and/or a raccoon.
I don't think that this was written by an ordinary heterosexual cosmopolitan woman. No. And to demonstrate, I have made a little game that would be great for parties. You simply read off each sentence of the article and ask, "Gay Man or Mother Who has an Inappropriate Relationship with Her Son?"

Here are a few examples with my answer in italics.

"Pat his stomach and ask if there's any movement."
Answer: Mother Who has an Inappropriate Relationship with Her Son

"Smash his goblet in the fireplace." 
Answer: Gay Man

"Hand his orange juice to him while he's toweling after the shower."
Answer: Inappropriate Mother

"Frolic in his chest hair."
Answer: Gay Man

"Rub baby oil into his entire body after a shower."
Answer: Inappropriate Mother

"Tie him up and tickle him."
Answer: Inappropriate Mother

"Make a sandwich out of him and two pillows. Your feast."
Answer: Gay Man

"Shake hands with his ex-wife."
Answer: Gay Man

"Bring his daily vitamin to him with water in a crystal glass."
Answer: Inappropriate Mother

"Immerse him in a warm tub in the middle of Sunday afternoon and play geisha."
Answer: Gay Man

"Dangle grapes over his mouth. Feed him one at a time."
Answer: Inappropriate Mother

Print out a copy of this photo and use it as a conversation starter. Tell me your favorite and if you think it was written by a Gay Man or a Mother Who has an Inappropriate Relationship with Her Son? OR BOTH.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

DIY PORCH POTTY



DIY PORCH POTTY

I live in the mountains. Smack dab in capital N Nature. And Nature is dirty. Especially during Mud Season, which is a mini season between every-regularly-scheduled-program season. Every time we took our dogs for a walk, we had to throw them in the bathtub to de-Nature them. Also, I should admit right now that I am lazy. So, because of the mud and my inherent laziness, I came up with a DIY porch potty for my dogs to do their bizness. We put the porch potty on the deck and added a doggie flap to our deck door. LAZY.

Perhaps sometimes you feel lazy, too. If so, follow these simple instructions.




YOU WILL NEED: 

Cutting shears
Pocket knife
Tape of any kind
Kitty litter





Notes: you can find a washing machine pan at your local home improvement store for about $20. Amazon sells artificial grass that comes in 3' x 3' sizes for $32. I like to use a really outdoorsy scented kitty litter made from cedar or pine.


1. Measure the grass to the same dimensions as the washing machine pan. To mark it, tear off strips of tape and place it on the back of the grass mat as a cutting guide.



2. Cut the grass using your shears.

3. Poke a lot of holes into the rubber backing of the grass mat with a pocket knife. The grass should already have a few holes, but to better drain, it's a good idea to err on the side of too many holes, rather than too little.



4. You are ready to assemble! Fill the washing machine pan with kitty litter. You want it a few inches deep. Place the grass on top of the kitty litter.






Hints: To clean the grass, rinse it off periodically with a hose in the summer. In the winter, you can keep it clean longer by regularly spritzing it with a spray bottle full of vodka (yes, I said vodka. It's a wonder cleaner). When it really needs to be rinsed, clean it in the shower or utility sink. Regularly clean the kitty litter just like you would for a cat. Scoop out the clumps and replace the entire litter when necessary. 

There! Now you can be lazy like me. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

That Time I Filled in My 7th Grade Daughter's Goal Setting Page at Parent Teacher Conference For Her:



Goal Setting
Spartan Target Conferences

After reviewing my learning targets, assessments, and report card, my academic or behavioral goal is . . .

. . . to turn in my assignments.

Steps I will take to achieve my goal:

1. I will make sure that I finish and complete my homework assignments while in the corporeal plane and not from my astral body which sits nightly, lotus-position, on an icy cliff top of Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas.

2. After I finish my homework, I won't leave it at home, even if that means inventing a time machine, going back in time to the morning the assignment is due, reminding my past self not to forget to put the assignment in my backpack, being careful not to scare my past self, lest I create a time paradox and a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe.

3. Once I am at school with the actual physical incarnation of my homework assignment in my hands, I will adopt a British accent and a humble mien and fall upon my knees in front of my teacher, imploring her to take the assignment from my outstretched fingers, promising her fresh flower wreaths and gold-foiled chocolates if she grades my homework with benevolence and a sparing red pen, thus harkening to the bowels of her everlasting mercy, amen.

Friday, March 21, 2014

SLEEP, THE FINAL FRONTIER

I have always been a good sleeper. When I was a baby, I took six hour naps and still slept through the night. When I was a kid, I napped every day. My mom was worried that when I started first grade I would automatically fall asleep at 2pm regardless of whether or not I was at my desk or in the middle of a kickball game at recess.

I still need a lot of sleep. More than the average person. Yes, I have had my blood tested. No, I do not have a thyroid problem. I simply am a sleep-centric person.

My kids are the same way. When it is time for bed, there are no fights. They lumber off to bed without a word of complaint. On weekend nights when they are allowed to stay up later, my husband and I often find ourselves alone on the couch at 9pm, wondering where the heck the kids are. They are in bed asleep. They sleep in cars when we drive. They take naps when they are sick. I know that this is very rare and that we are very lucky. The flip-side, of course, is not so great. When my kids don't get enough sleep, they fall apart, becoming weepy and irrational. Which, no surprise, is exactly what I do when I am sleep-deprived.

I also hallucinate in the middle of the night, but that's a story for another time.

Such good little sleepers, my children, except for when they sleepwalk, which is rare, but does happen occasionally.

One night, several years ago, my husband looked in my daughters' bedroom to check in on them. One daughter was fast asleep and the other daughter was missing. He checked everywhere in the house and after a few minutes, started to freak out until he saw this:




That's a foot.

He woke me up, telling me about the search for the missing child and led me to the laundry hamper. There was my daughter, bonelessly asleep, upside-down. We pulled her out of the laundry hamper and put her back in bed.




A lot of my friends suffer from insomnia, and until a few years ago, I had no idea how awful insomnia was. After I had my head injury, I had a few weeks of horrible insomnia. Insomnia is Insanity. It was so infuriating that I could be so tired and yet unable to fall asleep. To all of my friends with insomnia, I am so appalled that you have to deal with that. It is super yuck.

Sleeping pills didn't really work because of my delicate brain (see: sleep hallucinations, sleep-walking, sleep-fighting with the spouse). The only thing that worked were hypnotic guided-sleep apps. My favorite sleep app (PZIZZ) made my brain feel tingly and relaxed and I was able to fall asleep a lot easier. It turns out that the pleasant brain tingly feeling has a name. It is an ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). Neato, huh.

Ever since my head injury, sleep is no longer a sure fire thing. My friend told me about how he and his family induce ASMRs before sleep by listening to various television shows. His daughter listens to Bob Ross painting happy trees and he listens to an obscure British show about cheese.

I have two shows on Netflix that can brain-tingle me to sleep. The first one is Murder She Wrote. As soon as Jessica Fletcher finishes her morning jog, I am half-way to unconsciousness. For some reason, it reminds me of when I was a kid and would watch it in my parents's room, feeling safe and secure. Which is perfect considering it's a cozy mystery show about murder.

But right now I fall asleep every night listening to Star Trek: Next Gen. There is something so soporific about those first four sustained musical notes. And Jean-Luc's voice is so damned dreamy.

And now here is my final point. This blog post is so long and boring that it is my gift to you. Use it as an ASMR to put you to sleep. Anytime you suffer from insomnia, pull it up and read it. I bet you can't stay awake past the third paragraph.

Sleep, make it so.

Monday, February 10, 2014

TWO MINUTE DOGGIE SWEATER BAM!





My dogs got furcuts recently and are constantly shivering because I keep my thermostat set to Dreary London Winter (my fave). I have a few cute dog sweaters that I crocheted, but I wanted something that I cared less about in case their outfits got ruined when they romp outside in the snow and yuck. Inspired by Maria Von Trapp, Scarlett O'Hara, and Carol Burnett, I left the window curtains alone and instead looked in Mr. Floozy's closet. I found a grubby XL Old Navy sweatshirt that he never wears because it is too huge and makes him look like he has given up on life. I cut the sweatshirt up a bit and voila! two dog shirts!

STEP ONE


Find old largish sweatshirt in closet or steal one from someone else's closet. 





STEP TWO

Cut off a sleeve.






STEP THREE

Cut off cuff, unless your dog has an unusually small head.




STEPS FOUR thru WHATEVER

Hold the sweatshirt sleeve over your dog so that you can figure out how long you want it. 



Cut off bottom of sleeve.



Center the sleeve seam down the middle and cut out holes for your dog's front legs.



Cut out a small semi-circle on the bottom so that your dog has clearance for her hoohaw.




And you're done! Without any sewing! Unless the raw edges make your OCD tic flare up, in which case, go ahead and stitch the hem. I don't want you to have an episode.






Friday, January 17, 2014

Things I Found While Cleaning Out my Refrigerator



Things I Found While Cleaning Out my Refrigerator:


1.  The obligatory takeout box of old Chinese food which is magical and omnipresent and exists in multiple universes. Whenever someone removes an old Chinese food takeout box, an exact replica suddenly appears in someone else's refrigerator.

2. A ziplock bag with a brick of mystery cheese. Origin known: Costco.

3. 20,000 bottles of expired condiments. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit. 11,000 bottles of expired condiments, including something called "fish sauce" (WTF?).

4. Mummified baby carrots. The temperature and dryness of my fridge perfectly embalms the carrots' features into shriveled little death masks. So adorable!

5. Zuul, refrigerator demon and beauty consultant.  

6. That bag of kale from the time I actually believed that I was the sort of person who would eat kale. Did you know that your bag of kale should not make sloshy noises when shaken?

7. Leftovers. Many many tupperware containers of leftovers, because leftovers are for peasants.

8. A small bowl fuzzed over with what appears to be the beginning growth of chia seeds. Cha cha cha chIam so scared.

9. I am not telling you about any beverages I found because you will judge me.

10. A portal to Gwyneth Paltrow's mind. I had never dreamed that such darkness existed!