No Speed Limit Cross Stitch Pattern

This no speed limit sign cross stitch pattern and kit are now available in my Etsy shop!no speed limit cross stitch road sign pattern

This is the latest in my fun series of road sign projects. In fact, this was created as a result of a custom order request from someone who had seen my other road sign patterns. It turned out so well that I thought I’d add it to my shop!

Autobahn - No Speed Limit (End Posted Speed Limit) SignThe pattern is based on a German Autobahn road sign. Yes, there are places where there are no speed limits, however the recommended top speed is 130 km/hr (81 mi/hr).

 

 

It’s perfect for your favorite speed demons and Sammy Hagar fans… from the way back machine – do you remember “I can’t drive… 55!”? [Caution: Cheesy 1980’s music video]

This fun no speed limit cross stitch pattern and kit are good for beginners and more experienced cross stitchers alike! With their crisp lines and bright colors, this and the other European road sign patterns are perfect for decorating kids’ rooms, media rooms, and offices. I also have a fun series of individual United States highway signs that is a continuing work-in-progress.

Polaroid Cross Stitch Pattern

This Polaroid cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!polaroid cross stitch pattern

This was just pure fun for me. This lyric from the OutKast song “Hey Ya” has always cracked me up. And the song itself is just pop-funk-dance perfection – admit it, you’ve danced to this song!

After doing some research on the Polaroid logo, I tried to find colors for the border that were as close as possible to the originals. Especially with the rise of Instagram and their Polaroid-esque logo, the rainbow colors are almost instantly recognizable. They are striking against the black background I used, but they would look good on other color backgrounds as well.

When I first stitched the font, I used a metallic blue floss that was nearly the same color as the blue I ended up using. Unfortunately, the metallic was just a little too hard to see against the black background. However, I imagine that other metallic flosses would look terrific in this project.

Lend me some sugar. I am your neighbor!

Alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright alright…

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!

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!

Update 12/30/14: I’ve bedazzled Ass Möde and it looks great!craig ferguson ass mode cross stitch pattern now bedazzled

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

Craig Ferguson Cross Stitch Pattern “Ring the Bell…”

This Craig Ferguson cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!

craig ferguson cross stitch pattern ring the bell one time we speak german etc.

This list is of how Craig and Geoff speak when Craig rings his desk bell. It goes like this:

  • One ring: We speak German
  • Two rings: Still German
  • Three rings: Dracula
  • Four rings: Italian Bill Clinton (“what’s-a-come-and-a-go”)
  • Five rings: Room service (usually Jerry from room service calls Craig)

If this sounds like lunacy, it is! It’s all a part of why Craig’s show is so uniquely funny.

For those of you unfamiliar with the gentleman, Craig Ferguson is the host of the Late Late Show, on after David Letterman’s (soon to be Stephen Colbert’s) Late Show on CBS. He is FUNNY, and most of what he says is improvised. Like he says, it’s not like any other late night talk show!

The border pattern is made up of the German flag (twice, of course), the Transylvanian flag, the Italian flag, and the international signal flag for H – Hotel!

This pattern is perfect for all hobos and fans of Craig Ferguson and the Late Late Show, especially his Robot Skeleton Army.

I also have two other Craig Ferguson cross stitch patterns available: “The Bastards Don’t Own Me,” and “I think I just earned a merit badge in FIERCE!” They’re fun – check ’em out!

craig ferguson cross stitch pattern the bastards don't own me

craig ferguson cross stitch pattern I think I just earned a merit badge in fierce!

 

 

Gypsy Ways 2014

My gypsy ways are returning…

Both new and returning readers to this blog may have noticed that my blogging has slowed a bit lately. This is due to a fantastic travel opportunity that is coming up very soon! From roughly May through October, my husband, dog, and I will be in motion.

gypsy ways - what remains of my printed photosFor the past few months, we’ve been concentrating on getting some personal projects done before we hit the road. We remodeled one of our bathrooms, and I finished up a massive project – scanning, organizing, and backing up all my printed and digital photos. This photo is of all that’s left of the printed photos and scrapbooks – a reduction of about 80% of the volume of what was before… heavy awkward scrapbooks begone!

More recently, I’ve been designing cross stitch projects, picking floss colors, and getting all the necessary supplies together to take with us. There are some wardrobe requirements for the trip, so I’ve had to work on that as well. I will say that the purchase of these two pairs of fabulous shoes was necessary (thanks to the sales at Macy’s for not breaking the bank, and man I just love that clear lucite platform!).

gypsy ways - orange strappy platform heelgypsy ways - black patent and clear lucite platform heel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of the time, we will have regular internet access. But on similar trips we have stayed in some remote villages where the neighbors were what you see in the video below and internet access was in the nearest library 20 miles away. If that scenario arises, I hope to regularly post some quick updates and photo highlights.

My Etsy shop will continue normal operations, thanks to my Mom who graciously agreed to help with shipping. I’ll be releasing new patterns as I finish stitching them from my current backlog of nifty designs, and as always, I’ll be working on creating new designs. I find a lot of inspiration along our gypsy ways!

So for a short time, my blogging will slow down, but it definitely will not cease. I count myself as one of the truly fortunate that I get to make this trip, so I hope to appreciate it in the moment and not only when I look back in the photos. As many have said, it is not the destination but the journey that really matters.

[Update: The adventure starts here!]

Variegated Floss Projects Part 1

Welcome to Part 1 of this six-part series on variegated floss projects! I’m going to share a ton of ways to use variegated floss in craft projects ranging from needlework and quilting to furniture, jewelry, and home decor.

Variegated flosses are beautiful and by their very nature, they make every piece that uses them unique. No two people will ever use the exact same length of a floss in the same way, thus every project will have a different result! This makes creating with them an exercise in curiosity and a fun adventure.variegated floss projects - DMC 4211

This first post on variegated floss projects is going to concentrate on three types of needlework: cross stitch, needlepoint, and embroidery. These are probably the most popular ways of using variegated floss, and for good reason as you are about to see.

Before we get to the projects, Alison Murray at Dream a Little Big has this excellent tutorial on creating your own variegated floss, and in her part 2 she has a free pattern that you can use with your new floss!

 

 

 

All DMC Variegated FlossHowever, there are hundreds of beautiful variegated flosses available from a variety of companies and retailers. I’m proud to have all 76 colors of the DMC six-strand variegated flosses available in my Etsy shop. They’re gorgeous to look at and, with the consistent quality of DMC floss, they’re easy to work with.

Variegated Floss Projects in Cross Stitch

On About.com, Connie G. Barwick has a few things for newcomers to consider when working on variegated floss cross stitch projects, such as her free “Yummy Watermelon” pattern seen here.

Also on About.com, Connie shared some very helpful advanced tips on using variegated floss in cross stitch, including dyeing methods and how to achieve certain looks with specific techniques. Definitely worth the read.

variegated floss projects - cross stitch samplerThis pretty variegated floss sampler by Nancy Rossi through Better Homes and Gardens can be seen in a couple of places on the net. The pattern is not in print anymore, but you can still find it on Ebay.

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - floral borders bookThere is a ton of inspiration in this LeisureArts book of variegated border patterns. The different elements of these designs could be mixed and matched in a million different ways!

 

 

 

 

 

Tsmcs4blogIn a more modern vein is this great project by Elizabeth Hartman featured on her blog Oh, Fransson! She replicated the Tokyo subway map first for a quilt and then for this cross stitch. She changed floss colors every nine stitches, creating a variegated effect. I think variegated flosses would work very well in this project, with the added bonus of not having to tie off and start so darn much. Regardless, what a bright, colorful and fun project!

I love this little biscornu project by Lorraine at HippywitchCrafts. It uses variegated floss around the center and then again in the border. It’s just darling…

[Here’s a link to more information on biscornus]

 

 

This pretty bookmark is a free design from Lady Kell of Kincavel. As the pattern is relatively simple, the variegated floss nicely augments the design.

 

 

 

Image of AventailSome of the best cross stitch patterns that lend themselves to using variegated floss come from Tracy Horner of Ink Circles. Her designs range from this small “Aventail

 

 

 

 

Image of Turkish Delightto the more complex “Turkish Delight

 

 

 

 

 

Image of Baroqueand her popular “Baroque,” all of which look stunning executed in variegated floss. Take a leisurely look through her store and her latest news to see all her great projects that could be executed in variegated floss.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle itty bitty patternAnother great source for patterns is Nordic Needle. As well as carrying many of Tracy Horner’s Ink Circles designs, they feature other artists as well. This Itty Bitty’s design is a perfect way to try out lots of new variegated flosses,

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle coffee patternwhile this coffee pattern would look terrific in a variegated floss. Might I be so bold to suggest DMC 4000 – Espresso?

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - nordic needle plum puddingI’d also like to share this pattern, called Plum Pudding. Here, in it’s original purples, it’s a gorgeous design.

 

 

 

 

Then Kristal, one of the employees at QuiltingAdventures, stitched it in different colors, and I must say, to a beautiful result. When you look at some of the detail photos, you can see where she used variegated flosses to add just a sparkle of visual interest to some of the backgrounds. She started this color scheme by picking out some flosses from her stash. What an amazing stash that must be!

Variegated Floss Projects in Needlepoint

variegated floss projects - hexagon needlepointThis hexagon pattern might appeal to those people new to variegated flosses and would like a fun project on which to try them, or those who may have existing stashes of variegated floss. This example comes from the CarolStitches blog.

 

 

 

hexipuff-with-groutThe project originated in Janet Perry’s May 2012 Stash-Busting Club. I believe it uses the mosaic stitch shown here to make a glasses case (I wish I had a link to more information about the project). What a great way to experiment with variegated floss while working with hexagons – currently one of the most popular shapes in crafts!

 

A quick project is this needlepoint and leather keychain on RedFlannelPantry, given to a 16 year old girl when she got her driver’s license. Variegated floss in the basketweave stitch is a great choice to create the background effect you see here.

 

 

This post by Laura at TwoHandedStitcher shows how different colors used with the same pattern can produce completely different end results. I like how she used variegated threads to create a little more visual interest, especially in this green and gold example.

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - chrysanthenums gardenInspiration and patterns for needlepoint projects that use variegated floss can be found all over the web. The Caron Collection has several including this pretty “Chrysanthemums Garden”

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - venetian glass stockingand this “Venetian Glass” stocking pattern. Clicking the link to this design will also show how vastly different the same project can look using different colors and stitches.

 

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - detail of jmd projectThere’s plenty of inspiration in this post by Janet M. Davies. She has quite a few smaller projects that use lots of variegated floss, including this detail from one of her fantastic creations,

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - summer logsand 123Stitch has lots of needlepoint patterns by a variety of designers. A great example is this Summer Logs pattern that uses no less than 18 different variegated flosses in an amazing array of different stitches. This fun sampler would never get boring!

 

Variegated Floss Projects in Embroidery

I’ll start with some machine embroidery inspirations as I have a really lovely story about hand embroidery that I will use to wrap up this post.

variegated floss projects - machine featherDesignsinStitches has quite a few patterns that call for variegated thread. One example is this feather pattern; one of a set of 10.

 

 

 

 

variegated floss projects - machine embroidery butterflyEmbroideryDesigns has a series of four birds and this pretty butterfly,

 

 

 

 

 

Paisley Motifs Embroidery Designsand ABCEmbroideryDesigns has this cool Paisley Motifs set. This example is stitched in a rainbow variegated thread that suits the pattern perfectly.

 

 

 

 

And this is one of a set of 15 sea shells available through NeedlePassionEmbroidery. They are a really gorgeous collection!

 

 

 

 

I’ll start the hand embroidery with this lark of a project, embroidering patches for old jeans, from Charlotte on her Ta Da! blog. This little patch is a great way to experiment with different stitches and variegated floss.

 

 

Amy Friend at DuringQuietTime used a Sizzix to create the pattern for this lovely partridge Christmas ornament. She then used Cosmo variegated floss to stitch the embossed pattern to a very sweet result.

 

 

variegated floss projects - line embroideryI bet this pattern from Lady Kell of Kincavel would look great in variegated floss. It’s a bit of a flashback to a Rush laser show at the Planetarium, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

 

 

 

UntitledI love this simple but elegant idea from TheSmallestForest on using up leftover floss, and I love how she’s put some variegated strands in the mix. I think the variegated gives the piece just that little bit more randomness and visual interest than solid colors alone would produce.

 

 

Aqua Snowflake Embroidery PatternFrom Polka&Bloom, this fun and lighthearted Aqua Snowflake pattern, along with it’s siblings the Gold and Lilac Snowflakes, would look awesome in variegated flosses (if they’re not already). These three patterns are a lovely trio.

 

 

 

Stitch Around The Clock page Augustus for CQJP 2013.For some more beautiful inspiration and examples of embroidery stitches in variegated floss, you need go no further than the Flickr photostream of Margreet from Holland. On her crazy quilt blocks, she consistently produces embroidery of great quality. She uses a multitude of colors and types of stitches to achieve all kinds of textures and effects.

 

 

variegated floss projects - DMC 4235My last example is a story from Kim, one of my customers, who purchased skeins of DMC 4240 and 4235 (shown). As I love these flosses so much, I ask many of my customers how they use them. She replied: “I stitched a labyrinth in a hoop for my friend who lost her mom to ALS in October. Walking a labyrinth has meant a lot to her. I used the 4235 and my friend said the colors were just perfect.”

What a lovely way for Kim to support her friend! I’m really happy that I was able to provide Kim with the floss for her project.

If you would like to see the design, the labyrinth pattern she used is available from Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching, and it was featured in Jenny’s tutorial on the backstitch.

 

That rather touching note wraps up this first of six posts on variegated floss projects! Are there any projects in the crafty categories of cross stitch, needlepoint, or embroidery that you would like to add to the comments?

Stay tuned for more in knitting, quilting, scrapbooking, jewelry, decor, and a whole lot more!

Update: Here are Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6.

New Projects – Floss, Remodeling, and Old Photos

Some big new projects have kept me incredibly busy lately!

dmc variegated floss 4210First and foremost, my variegated floss sales on Etsy have been picking up considerably, which is great news. People are discovering that my pricing is very competitive, so I’ve spent some time filling orders. The most popular colors thus far are DMC 4210 (Radiant Ruby) and 4255 (Orchid).

 

 

dmc variegated floss 4255The Ruby floss (above) is gorgeous, so I understand why it’s popular. And Pantone declared “Radiant Orchid” to be their 2014 Color of the Year, which may help explain why DMC’s lovely Orchid variegated floss is selling well.

With the increased sales, in the last week I’ve created a few more metrics and tools to help me keep track of inventory. These take some time to set up, but once that is done, it’s a matter of maintenance.

ancora crafts projects bathroom remodelAside from Ancora Crafts, I’ve got two big projects underway. First, one of our two bathrooms is being remodeled. A corner shower stall is going away and making way for the whole end of the room to be tiled and a glass wall and door installed. The room is pretty small, so it’s not an enormous project, but it’s substantial enough that we have a contractor doing the work. My husband and I have been running around for a couple of weeks picking out new tile and plumbing fixtures. Much fun but much time consumed!

 

 

ancora crafts projects photo organizationRemember non-digital photographs? Like many of you, I have a ton of ’em, and I’ve just started the process of putting them in chronological order, tossing out 75% of them (how many photos of a graduation or a family picnic do you really need to keep?), and then scanning the photos that remain.

I’m also going to dismantle nearly all of my scrapbooks (you can see a few of them in the photo at top left). I really don’t look at them very often, they’re heavy and take up a lot of space, and most of them use those sticky sheets that just aren’t good for the photos. The photos reside in an earthquake and tsunami zone, so if the big one were to hit, they would be destroyed. At least if I have them digitally, I can put them in the cloud and I know I won’t lose them forever to become part of a huge Pacific floating trash island.

ancora crafts projects first stitching projectA benefit of digging out all my old photos is that I found a few of my old stitching projects from years ago. Someday I’ll make a proper post about my old projects, but for now I’ll just share a couple highlights. At right is the first stitching project I ever made, with a ton of help from my Mom. I’m sure she threaded the needle and started and stopped the threads for me. She sewed on the cute trim and put the bell at the bottom. This thing hung on the door of my bedroom for years.

 

 

ancora crafts projects plastic canvas boxesNext are a couple of boxes made from plastic canvas and yarn, made when I was in my tweens and early teens. I made oodles of these little boxes but these are the only two that I still have. They’re cute, and I like the diagonal pattern I created on the box on the left.

 

As usual, I have more commercial ventures underway, including my compass rose needlepoint project and a series of fun cross stitched sayings that will appear on the blog and on Etsy soon. Staying busy is a happy place to be!