Craig Ferguson Ass Mode Cross Stitch Pattern

This Craig Ferguson Ass Mode cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!craig ferguson ass mode cross stitch pattern

This pattern comes from the intros to his Tweetmail (Tweets and emails) segment. This video shows the first jingle from the Twitter era, and it introduced us to “Ass Möde.”

“Ass Möde” must have hit someone’s funny bone as they carried the phrase over into every other intro. The jingles’ themes range from The Beatles and Bollywood to David Bowie and Japanese monster movies to 70’s glam rock and 80’s hair bands, but “Ass Möde” is always there.

Other than the original intro above, my favorite is the dance version in this next video (skip ahead to 1:38).

This pattern is perfect for all hobos and fans of Craig Ferguson and the Late Late Show, especially his Robot Skeleton Army. It’s great for beginners (and what better time to pick up a new craft?) and more experienced stitchers alike.

Craig will be leaving the Late Late Show, but Ass Möde lives on!

Life Sucketh Not Cross Stitch Pattern

This Life Sucketh Not cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shoplife sucketh not cross stitch pattern

This is a phrase I came up with a long time ago, and it’s a fun way I appreciate living the good life. There are those moments when everything is… just fine. There are times when I just stop for a second and am happy and grateful. Things like enjoying dinner with friends at the end of the work week, looking out over a beautiful view, appreciating the blissful quiet in the house, or even finishing up a big project – that’s when I think “Wow, life sucketh not!”

If you also have those little moments of appreciation, then this pattern is for you…

The example I stitched uses DMC variegated floss 4022 for the letters, although it could be stitched in a solid color and still look great. The border pattern is my tiny version of French pillow ticking, with little flowers in blue and red outlined with a golden yellow and rich red backstitched border. This project was a lot of fun to stitch!

Cross Stitch Guide to the NFL

cross stitch guide to the NFL

2014 crafty football blog hop badgeThis cross stitch guide to the NFL is my contribution to this year’s Crafty Football Blog Hop hosted by commissioner Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod! Like last year’s blog hop, this 2014 hop is a combination of participants in the Crafty Fantasy Football League (#CraftyFFL) and other fellow crafty and inventive football fans. At the bottom of this post are thumbnails and links to everyone’s creations.

Although I am a fan of the Denver Broncos, this year I decided to make a project that could appeal to anyone with some interest in football. If you’re unfamiliar with American football, this is a perfect way to introduce yourself to the league. And if you already follow football, this is a fun and colorful way to familiarize yourself better with all 32 teams and a little of how the NFL is organized.

Materials:

  • A piece of 14 count Aida cloth measuring approximately 10 inches by 8 inches. [In 14 count, this project will fit perfectly into a standard 5 inch by 7 inch frame]
  • 16 colors of embroidery floss – I used DMC numbers 815 (burgundy), 666 (red), 720 or 946 (orange), 783 (gold), 319 (dark green), 699 (green), 704 or 907 (light green), 958 (teal), 336 or 3750 (dark blue), 820 (royal blue), 996 (bright blue), 333 (purple), 838 (brown), white, 168 or 415 (silver), and 310 (black). See the legend for a printable list.
  • A needle for cross stitch – I use a #26 tapestry needle.

Pattern:

cross stitch guide to the NFL patternThe pattern (pattern and legend) is a tidy little graphic that shows all 32 NFL teams with their team colors, grouped by their conferences (NFC and AFC) and divisions (East, South, North, and West).

 

 

Stitching:

This pattern calls for cross stitch and then backstitch. If you’re new to cross stitch and looking for basic directions, I recommend you visit my Stitching Instructions page. Otherwise, the stitching is pretty straightforward. If you use 14 count Aida as I did in this example, use two strands of floss with your needle.

cross stitch guide to the NFL - work in progress 1As with most projects, start from the middle and work toward the edges. In this photo you can see how I started with (clockwise from top left) Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Baltimore, and Detroit.

 

 

cross stitch guide to the NFL - work in progress 2Then I spread out from there, trying to do as much with one color at a time as possible, just to be a little more efficient.

 

 

 

cross stitch guide to the NFL - work in progress 3Finishing up the team blocks creates this pattern, which I thought looked pretty groovy on it’s own. I can easily see this pattern being turned into an awesome graphic quilt or blanket!

 

 

cross stitch guide to the NFL - work in progress 4The last of the cross stitch was the border of alternating greens.

 

 

 

 

Backstitch the title and the labels for the conferences, divisions, and team names, and ta-da! you’ve created a stylish and informative cross stitch guide to the NFL!cross stitch guide to the NFL - photo on ledge

Check out what the other Crafty Football Blog Hop participants made this year!


Compass Needlepoint Update 1

I’m happy to say that I’ve made some great progress on my compass needlepoint project! Last time I posted about this was in January, shortly after I started stitching. Well, despite being on the road since May, I have managed to work on it quite a bit.

The pattern is based on a compass rose made of tile pieces on the patio of a charming hotel in France. The hotel is Cuq en Terrasses in the countryside near Toulouse, and it’s one of our favorite places to stay in the world. I find that one of the great benefits of travel is the nearly endless sources of inspiration for future projects.

Compass Tile WIP #1bIn the last update, I had just begun the double stitched center tile of the pattern.

 

 

 

 

This photo shows the center tile in progress, along with the early stages of the first row of radiating tiles. The double stitch used in the center tile combines a long cross stitch and a small cross stitch, so in this photo you can see I’ve completed all the long XS and have started filling in the small XS.

Compass Tile WIP #2

I outlined each of the radiating tiles and then used whatever floss I had remaining in the needle to start filling in. Once I ran out of floss, I moved on to the next tile. I will go back and fill in the remainder of each tile sometime later.

Here, you get to see the project next to it’s original inspiration!Compass Tile WIP #3

Earlier this summer we were lucky enough to spend a few nights at Cuq en Terrasses. It, as always, was beautiful and charming. I managed to snap a few photos of the project with it’s model in situ.

You can see that I have made the project a little more colorful than the original, but have stayed true to it’s earth tones. At this point I had completed nearly all of the first row of tiles except for the four gray tiles of the primary compass directions.

One of the reasons I stitched the primary direction tiles last is that I was having a tough time trying to figure out how to do the double stitch on them. As I have discovered through this project, double stitch works great on a square area. However, in a slightly irregular shape, it turned into quite a challenge. At some point I will write an entire separate post about how I tackled the situation…

Although once I did tackle those primary direction tiles, WOW!compass needlepoint update 1

The first ring of radiating tiles are all outlined and partially filled in, except for the NSEW tiles which are completed.Compass Tile WIP #4a

Here you can see the three colorways of brown flosses I chose for this first ring. There’s a chocolate brown, a rusty brown, and a muddy brown. You can also see that I have slightly blended the colors, mixing 5 strands of the darker colors with one strand of lighter colors. I did this to better represent the speckled color and texture of the original tiles and to add a little visual interest. The lighter colors will show up again in the outer rings of tiles as well.

You can also see the two colors I used in the primary directional tiles. The long XS are in a dark grey, while the short XS are in a dark greyish blue color. When I was choosing colors for this project, I thought the blue would make a nice visual compliment to all the earth tones without contrasting too much.

Because of our travel, I have put this project aside for a little while. However, I really look forward to continuing my work on this compass needlepoint!

Gypsy Ways Update 5 – Italy

Gypsy Ways Update 5 starts with us near the Cinque Terre (Five Lands), and has us moving on to Tuscany!
Terre Toscane

[Terre Toscane by Filippo Marchi via Flickr]

The Tuscan landscape is beautiful. We stayed in an agriturismo about a half hour drive East from Siena. It’s a perfect location, off the beaten path, but central enough to make easy day trips to a number of historic and scenic locations.

Close by, there are popular places like Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, San Giminano, and Monteriggioni. Monteriggioni is one of my favorites. It’s a medieval village and it’s towers and walls remain intact.
Volando sopra Monteriggioni

[Flying over Monteriggioni by Angela Massagni via Flickr]

As you can see in the photo, the town hasn’t grown past it’s walls and it retains the charm of a small, unspoiled, hilltop village.

Pienza is also a favorite of mine as it’s small and not too heavily touristy. The view of Pienza as you drive to it from the West is stunning.
Pienza in Tuscany Italy

[Pienza, Tuscany by Steve via Flickr]

A little further away are the beautiful and historic towns of Volterra and Assisi. As for bigger cities, there are always Florence and Pisa, but Siena is definitely my favorite. Siena has the enormous and beautiful Piazza del Campo, unique with it’s shell shape and home to the Palio horse race. gypsy ways update 5 - siena palio jockeys before the race

Siena also has it’s Duomo, which is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world. You can look at the photos of it’s facade, the ornate floors, the alternating black and white marble columns… but photos can only capture some of it’s beauty.

One highlight is the amazing Piccolimini library which holds precious illuminated musical manuscripts in a richly decorated room. Libreria Piccolomini

[Libreria Piccolomini by Steffen Ramsaier via Flickr]

gypsy ways update 5 - gorganza, tuscanyThere are also some lesser-known spots that are just lovely and not very touristy. Places like Gorganza – an entire hilltop village that is now a quiet self-catering hotel. It has a great restaurant, perfect for lunch after exploring the town.

 

 

 

 

 

gypsy ways update 5 - rome sign in buonconventoBuonconvento is another virtually unspoiled town on the road to Rome.

 

 

 

 

gypsy ways update 5 - serre di rapolano town hallSerre di Rapolano is near travertine marble quarries (thus the gleaming town hall you see here) and the natural hot springs at Rapolano Terme.

 

 

 

gypsy ways update 5 - norcia, umbria, italyLucignano is also worth a look around, and if you go south out of Tuscany and into Umbria, the towns of Norcia and Amelia are well worth the visit. Norcia (pronounced nor-cha) is famous for its meats and sausages and for pasta with truffles – yum!

 

 

In the next update, we’ll go into France and Spain. Stay tuned!

(Here’s a link to the previous Update 4.)

DMC Glow in the Dark Floss E940 Now Available

DMC glow in the dark floss (DMC E940) is now available in my Etsy shop!

DMC E940 glow in the dark flossI’m offering this floss at a good price and at a reasonable shipping rate – same as all of the variegated flosses I offer in my shop.

As you can see here, this DMC glow in the dark floss really works! It’s a great way to add some intrigue to a Halloween project, to include a secret message into a needlework project, or to add some fun to a friendship bracelet!

You can use this floss as you would any other six strand floss, and it appears white in daylight conditions. In typical 14 count Aida cloth, using two strands works just fine. It has a very slightly different texture than regular floss, but that doesn’t affect how you treat it while you’re stitching or the quality of the stitches at all.

In the photos below, you can see how I used it this KM 0 pattern and kit, one of my series of street sign projects,

DMC glow in the dark floss E940 - KM0 glow in the dark street sign cross stitch daylight

DMC glow in the dark floss E940 - KM0 glow in the dark street sign cross stitch in the dark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and here I used it in this Monty Python sampler:monty python cross stitch pattern - Mind you, moose bites can be pretty nasty

Iron ManDMC has an nice little post on some other uses of this floss, and I found a couple of great examples on Flickr including this awesome Ironman project by Lindy.

 

 

 

As DMC says on it’s blog post, “One of the main challenges of crafting with this wonderful thread is photographing your awesome results, which can be tricky…” No doubt! I was unable to get a really good photo of my Monty Python project in the dark. The human eye can pick up the glow quite easily, but a camera lens is more difficult to manage. Don’t let that discourage you!

This floss is a lot of fun to work with, and I enjoy seeing how people use it in new and creative ways.DMC glow in the dark floss E940

Gypsy Ways Update 4 – Switzerland and Italy

Gypsy Ways Update 4 starts with us leaving the UK and heading quickly through France on our way to Italy (fans of France, don’t worry, as we will return to France later). However, we did take a quick stop to visit Montreux, Switzerland.gypsy ways update 4 - montreux, switzerlandThe photo above is from a gorgeous path that follows the lakeshore. It really is a lovely town. It is home to the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival, held annually since 1967.

Montreux has had many famous residents, but the one who brought us to this beautiful town was Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen. Queen isn’t necessarily to everyone’s taste, but Freddie had amazing charisma on stage. There is a statue of him overlooking Lake Geneva, and people to this day leave tributes to him there. gypsy ways update 4 - freddie mercury statue in montreux switzerland

If you want to see him in action (and see one of the best live performances by any band EVER), watch the video below, where he has the entire audience at the old Wembley Stadium in the palm of his hand.

Freddy was amazing!

From there we drove over and through the Alps on the spectacular Col du Saint Bernard into Italy.

Col du Grand Saint-Bernard, Italie

[The Col du Grand Saint-Bernard by ClearFrost via Flickr] 

The first place we stayed in Italy is a very small town near the Cinque Terre (Five Lands). The towns of the Cinque Terre are beautiful, but extraordinarily difficult to reach by car, so we stay in Mattarana, a mountain town off the beaten track.gypsy ways update 4 - mattarana italy

Mattarana has one hotel that also happens to be a great social hub for the locals. It opens at 6:00 AM, closes at 11:00 PM, and is always full of people eating, talking, drinking coffee, playing cards, and arguing. It’s a great place to watch the world go by.

The drives to either La Spezia and/or Levanto are relatively easy, and both have stations for the train that runs through the towns of the Cinque Terre.
Sunset over Manarola, Italy

 [Sunset over Manarola by Joel Bedford via Flickr]

Although the five towns of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are spectacular, some of the other nearby towns are fun to visit as well. Unlike the Cinque Terre towns which have narrow harbors rather than beaches, Bonassola has a sandy beach that is better suited to swimming and sunbathing – and best of all, it’s GREEN sand – how cool is that!gypsy ways update 4 - green sand beach in bonassola italy

Stay tuned for the next update with more Italian adventures!

(Here’s a link to the previous Update 3. And here’s the link to the next episode, Update 5)

Monty Python Cross Stitch Pattern – Moose Bites

This Monty Python cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!monty python cross stitch pattern - Mind you, moose bites can be pretty nasty

The quote for this pattern comes from the opening credits of their 1975 movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This is one of the silliest movies in history, starting from the very first moments of the opening credits. Lots of people involved in the credit sequence were “sacked” for, among a great laundry list of funny things, putting these fake Swedish subtitles on screen. “Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretti nasti…” is one of my favorites, and that’s only 2:00 minutes into the opening…

I must admit, as much as I like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it’s not my favorite Python movie. That honor would go to their 1979 effort, Life of Brian. However, Holy Grail has some classic moments that always make me laugh. Even if you haven’t seen the movie yet, upon your first viewing you would recognize some of the references. Many quotes from the movie are thoroughly incorporated into the lexicons on both sides of the Atlantic.

The continuing popularity of the film also inspired the musical stage production Spamalot, which opened on Broadway in 2005, a full 30 years after the movie debut.

I stitched this project on black 14 count aida cloth with DMC’s glow in the dark floss (DMC E940) which makes it fun to see at night. However, it would look equally as good in DMC’s white, B5200 (bright white), or even one of their fluorescent flosses.

This cross stitch pattern is quick to stitch, and is perfect for any Monty Python fan. Especially the ones who are being repressed or need to go and face the peril!

[Update: I now carry DMC’s glow in the dark floss in my Etsy shop!]

Gypsy Ways Update 3 – United Kingdom and Greece

Gypsy Ways Update 3 starts after the elegance of the Queen Mary 2 and finds us on the dock in Southampton, in the cold wind and rain waiting for our car to arrive. The south of England, on a sunny day, is one of the prettiest places in the world. However, in the cold wet wind, it can chill you to the bone. Next time, I have to remember that when disembarking, less elegance and more warm layers are a more practical approach!_MG_0523

[Near the Port of Southampton by Alexandra D via Flickr]

The next few days in the UK were a whirlwind of organization and catching up with friends and family. A real highlight of this time was a trip to Wembley Stadium in London to watch the Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR) vs. Derby County football match. QPR happens to be my husband’s favorite team as he grew up just a few miles from their home grounds in Shepherd’s Bush, London.

This particular game was incredibly important to both teams as it determined who would be promoted to the English Premier League division and the roughly £120 million(!) in additional team revenue that the promotion represents.

The trains we took to Wembley Central station were loaded with QPR fans, young and old. Some were in costumes, some carried bullhorns, but all were singing the songs of praise for the beloved team. gypsy ways update 3 - new QPR friends on the train to clapham junction

[Fellow QPR fans who befriended us on the train to Clapham Junction]

[The train platform at Wembley Central tube station]

The match was incredibly close, but in the 89th minute QPR scored. It was incredible… unbelievable… indescribable! Below is a quick video of the highlights of the match. Keep in mind that although blue and white are QPR’s home colors, they were playing in their “away” colors of red and black.

After that, it will be hard to ever match the elation of that moment again (at least when it comes to a sporting event!)

We went to Greece next! We left our pooch for a few days with family in the UK, flew to Athens, and then drove from there to the island of Lefkada.

I had not been in Greece in nearly 20 years, and it had been an even longer time for my husband, so we were both curious to go back. What a lovely place it was! We didn’t have any plans other than relaxation to break up our UK whirlwind tour, and relax we did.gypsy ways update 3 - greece view from the hotel beach

[Sunset view from the hotel beach]

gypsy ways update 3 - greece view from the marina wine bar

[View of the harbor from a from a lovely little wine and champagne bar]

The hotel was simple but spotlessly clean, and Greek locals ate at the attached taverna, so you know it was good food. It was early enough in the season that the town wasn’t overrun with tourists, and there were plenty of locals out enjoying themselves in the evenings and nights.

We found a great restaurant (photo below) that didn’t have a menu. We would just say if we wanted meat, fish, seafood, or a vegetarian menu, and the chef would cook whatever he had fresh and best that day. It was incredible.gypsy ways update 3 - nidri greece our favorite restaurant

One of the most appealing things we found in Greece was the genuine friendliness of the Greek people. If you’ve never been to Greece before, I can only recommend it to future travelers.

We returned to the UK, had a happy reunion with our dog, and then got ready for the next part of the trip…

(Here’s a link to the previous Update 2. And here’s the link to the next episode, Update 4)

Stripes Cross Stitch Pattern – Death Before Disco

This Stripes cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!stripes cross stitch pattern death before disco

The source for this pattern comes from the sweatshirt that Elmo, played by Judge Reinhold, was wearing for the mud wrestling sequence. stripes cross stitch pattern death before disco - still from the movie showing the original shirt

 [“Well sir, we were going to this bingo parlor at the YMCA, well one thing led to another, and the instructions got all fouled up…”] 

Seeing “Death Before Disco” on the shirt has always made me laugh. It’s just a tiny detail from Stripes, a genuinely funny movie from the classic combination of Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis, and Bill Murray.

This is reminiscent of the rampant anti-disco sentiment of the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, also perfectly expressed by this hilarious shot from the 1980 movie Airplane!

If you haven’t seen Stripes before, it is essentially “Bill Murray joins the Army,” and it is FUNNY! Totally unrealistic, but a lot of fun to watch.

So if you’re a fan of Stripes, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman, or just really hate disco music, this pattern is for you!

If you enjoy Bill Murray’s movies, I have a couple of other projects you might find interesting. From Caddyshack, I have the very fun “Au revoir, gopher,” and “Gunga Lagunga” patterns available!