Life Sucks Cross Stitch Pattern “…so why not be a schmuck?”

This Life Sucks cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!life sucks cross stitch pattern life sucks so why not be a schmuck?

This quote comes from Chevy Chase movie “Modern Problems.” The antagonist, played by none other than Dabney Coleman, has an incredibly abrasive personality. At one point in the movie he says “You gotta understand something. Life sucks, so why not be a schmuck?” He uttered the line in a slightly southern drawl, which makes it just that much richer.

Dabney Coleman probably is best known for playing jerks. Among other roles, he was the evil boss in “9 to 5,” the womanizing soap opera director in “Tootsie,” and a government spy director opposite Tom Hanks in “The Man with One Red Shoe.” In Modern Problems, he plays Mark Winslow, a Dr. Phil type therapist who calls everyone “a manipulatin’ son-of-a-bitch.” Here’s a clip of him in character:

According to IMDB, Dabney has said that “I’ve played good guys and nice guys, but the truth is I’d rather be nasty than nice. The bad guys are always better written and more fun to play.”

Modern Problems may not be the most popular of all of Chevy Chase’s movies, but it surely has some funny moments thanks to a talented cast that included Patti D’Arbanville, Mary Kay Place, Nell Carter, and Brian Doyle-Murray.

I personally don’t subscribe to the idea of being a schmuck (at least not on purpose). In fact, my Life Sucketh Not pattern released earlier in 2014 more accurately reflects my philosophy. However, there are those curmudgeons out there – tactless, sometimes rude, and they really don’t care if they offend someone. This project is for them!

This Life Sucks cross stitch pattern stitches up quickly and is good for beginners and experienced stitchers alike! As a fun touch, I used DMC Variegated Floss 4210 (Radiant Ruby) for the lettering and in the flowers and it turned out prettier than I had imagined.

Spinal Tap Cross Stitch

This Spinal Tap cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!spinal tap cross stitch you can't really dust for vomit pattern

This pattern is perfect for anyone who appreciates this hilarious movie that has turned into a cult classic. And if you’ll note, the border pattern is of little Stonehenge stones “in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.” Even if you haven’t seen the movie, I guarantee that you know some of the lines.

This particular quote comes from a scene where they explain how Stumpy Joe, one of their innumerable previous drummers, died. You can see it in this clip:

“This is Spinal Tap” is so near reality that, according to IMDB, “guitarist The Edge said about this movie, ‘I didn’t laugh, I wept. It was so close to the truth.'”

11 Real-Life Stories Behind Spinal Tap Movie Moments and 20 Most Insane Real Life Spinal Tap Moments give you a good idea of the truth The Edge spoke about. From Nigel’s fit over the size of the catered bread to the band getting lost on it’s way to the stage, and from Derek being trapped in the pod to David’s meddling astrological girlfriend, all bands big and small have seen similar scenes unfold.

There is a sweet side to the story of the movie. Jamie Lee Curtis saw a photo of writer and actor Christopher Guest (Nigel) in Rolling Stone Magazine around the time that Spinal Tap was released. Without ever meeting him before, she said “I’m going to marry that man.” Within the year, she did, and they’ve been married ever since.

This Spinal Tap cross stitch project stitches up quickly and is suitable for both beginners and experienced cross stitchers alike. It was fun to create this project!

Blazing Saddles Cross Stitch Read It Pattern

This new and fun Blazing Saddles cross stitch Read it… cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!blazing saddles cross stitch read it pattern

The quote for this pattern comes from the “Harumph” scene. When his secretary has an urgent telegram from Rock Ridge, the Governor replies: “Read it, read it… you wild bitch.”

I have always thought that this quote would be a great present to a friend who is a voracious reader with a good sense of humor. I can also see this going to women who appreciate writers such as Dorothy Parker, Anais Nin, Alice Munro… there’s just too many excellent woman writers to list here.

Here’s a clip of the scene. The “Read it…” quote comes at about 1:35 into this video:

I think it’s funny that while this quote is directed to a bubble-headed scantily-clad secretary, I have always thought of this project as for intelligent, independent-thinking literary women.

If you’re a new visitor to my blog and a Blazing Saddles fan, you might also want to see two of my previous projects (below). The first is a cross stitch of the list that Harvey Korman dictates; a list of the worst scum and scoundrels he wants Slim Pickens to round up to attack the town of Rock Ridge.Blazing Saddles

The second project comes from Lili Von Shtupp as played by Madeline Kahn. When someone knocks on her “dwessing woom” door, she replies “Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, c’mon in!”blazing saddles cross stitch pattern willkommen bienvenue welcome c'mon in

I’m especially fond of the border of books on this project. I used two variegated flosses, DMC 4135 and DMC 4030 (both available in my Etsy shop), for the books in the border.

This Blazing Saddles cross stitch Read it… project stitches up quickly and is suitable for cross stitch beginners and experts alike. It was fun to put together!

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)