I added a new section to my Etsy shop yesterday – embroidered note cards. I’m starting with a small selection, mostly focusing on Valentine’s Day (or anti-Valentine’s Day, depending on the card).
I don’t usually go for outright subversive stuff. A cross stitched “Fuck Off” is funny enough, but not very subtle. When planning this new section for my shop, I knew things could quickly slide into that obvious category, and I didn’t want that to happen. During my brainstorming, I came to realize what was once shocking will now barely get a second thought; for example, the song Relax by Frankie goes to Hollywood. BBC Radio actually banned the song because of its “suggestive lyrics”. Of course, I had no idea what Frankie meant when he said “relax”, and I doubt any of my 9 year old cohorts did either. That didn’t stop me from jamming to it, even though I thought it was by Duran Duran.
I might have overlooked Relax as a potential greeting card if it weren’t for my friend and neighbor, Ben. A photo of Ben as a youngster, wearing a RELAX half shirt, popped up on Facebook. Going back to look for it, I was surprised to see the original post was in 2011. That means I have been thinking about, and laughing at, this photo for nearly four years. There are so many things going on in the photo, from his knobby knees and short shorts, to the Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery Rock and pastoral setting, to his sister’s sly smile. I think of this photo often, and it immediately came to mind when I was jotting 80s song lyrics into my notebook. Believe me, if I could stitch this picture of Ben in his RELAX half shirt onto the front of a card, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Go check out the new stitched card section when you have a minute. If you have ideas for quotes, shoot them my way. In the meantime, be like Ben. Put on a half shirt and relax.