Monty Python Spanish Inquisition Cross Stitch Pattern

This Monty Python Spanish Inquisition cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!monty python spanish inquisition cross stitch project

The quote for this project comes from their classic sketch from the second show of their second season. Michael Palin’s Cardinal Ximénez is flanked by Cardinal Biggles (Terry Jones with the aviator goggles) and Cardinal Fang (Terry Gilliam) as they stumble through their badly rehearsed ferocity and terror. It’s one of their most popular and oft-quoted sketches. You can see part of the episode here:
Monty Python’s Flying Circus ran from 1969 to 1974, creating a body of very silly and subversive comedy sketches that are still as bizarre today as they were then. If you’re unfamiliar with them, I recommend you start with either the BBC TV show, or the movie “And Now for Something Completely Different,” which is some of their best sketches from their first two seasons recreated with a higher production budget.

After their TV show, the popularity of Monty Python only kept growing. The troupe went on to create Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian (my personal favorite), and the Meaning of Life, stirring up controversy at nearly every turn and even serious academic analysis along the way.

Monty Python "Moose Bites" Cross StitchI have two other Monty Python cross stitch patterns available in my shop – the first based on the very silly opening credits of their movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail,

 

 

 

Monty Python Fresh Fruitand the second based on their sketch about self defense against homicidal maniacs armed with fresh fruit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now go check out this Monty Python Spanish Inquisition cross stitch project before I have to… “fetch the soft cushions!”

Gypsy Ways Update 9 – London and the UK

Gypsy ways update 9 begins with us just arrived back in the UK from our adventures in continental Europe. At this point we joined my Mom who had never been to the UK before. She arrived a few days before we did, and in that time she visited the Sandringham Estate, which is the Queen’s home in Norfolk.Sandringham House 23-05-2011

[Sandringham House by Karen Roe via Flickr]

While she enjoyed the Estate and the grounds (and their delicious apple juice), the setting is informal, and she was also wanting to see a little Imperial opulence. So we took her to Windsor Castle!

Parts of Windsor Castle truly are spectacular. Despite the volume of visitors it receives, the grounds and gardens are immaculate,gypsy ways update 9 - garden at windsor castle

and the State Apartments are stately, indeed.The Crimson Drawing Room - State Apartments at Windsor Castle England

[The Crimson Drawing Room by mbell1975 via Flickr]

In November 1992, a fire destroyed or damaged more than 100 rooms at the Castle (the Crimson Drawing Room shown in the photo above was completely gutted). There are fascinating tales of chains of people, staff and volunteers, passing furniture, works of art, and manuscripts to safety, and the restoration work is a tribute to the craftspeople who executed it so beautifully.

Mom and I spent two full days in London. We started with museums, namely the massive and impressive Victoria and Albert Museum with it’s emphasis on art and design. The V&A is so big that I asked her to pick out one part of the museum that she wanted to see in particular, and she chose the Jameel Gallery of Islamic art. In that gallery is the beautiful Ardabil carpet that no other than famous designer William Morris recommended that the museum purchase.The Ardabil Carpet on display in the Jameel Gallery, V&A

We also went to the unique and unusual Sir John Soane’s museum. He was an architect who collected objects of art and architecture from around the world. His home is full of these pieces, and “in 1833 Soane negotiated an Act of Parliament to settle and preserve the house and collection for the benefit of ‘amateurs and students’ in architecture, painting and sculpture.” It was a fascinating place. antiquities gallery at Sir John Soane's museum

[Antiquities Gallery at Sir John Soane’s Museum by Arwen O’Reilly via Flickr] 

Of course, we visited the area around the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament) and Westminster Abbey.Houses of Parliament & Westminster Bridge.

[Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge by Apostolis Giontzis via Flickr]

We toured Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the modern construction of the original Globe Theater from Shakespeare’s time. The new theater is about 750 feet from the original building that was torn down around 1644. Here you can see that much of the roof is open to the sky, and the floor of the theater has no seats – it’s standing room only!gypsy ways update 9 - shakespeare's globe theater

We went to Greenwich, home of the Old Royal Naval College with it’s twin domes designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The Cutty Sark resides there, and the Royal Observatory that houses the Greenwich Meridian at 0 degrees longitude is less than a mile away. However the real stars are the Chapel and the Painted Hall.

The Chapel interior was originally quite plain, but after a fire in 1779, it was redecorated in the Greek revival style you see here:
Inside the Old Royal Navy Chapel

[Inside the Old Royal Navy Chapel by Nicholas Schooley via Flickr]

The Painted Hall is a real treat. It was originally intended as a dining hall for naval veterans, and it took the artist James Thornhill 19 years to paint the interior. At completion in 1727, the space was deemed far too grand for it’s original purpose, so it sat mainly unused for most of the next 70 years. Today it is open to the public and used as a space to hire for formal dinners and occasions.
The Painted Hall, Greenwich, London, England

[The Painted Hall, Greenwich by Joe Daniel Price via Flickr]

The last location we visited in London was the beautiful and sobering “Blood Swept Land and Sea of Red” at the Tower of London. One ceramic poppy was handmade for every British fatality in World War I and all 888,246 poppies were installed in the moat around the Tower gradually between July 17 and November 11, 2014. All of the poppies were sold and the proceeds were split between six service charities.gypsy ways update 9 - poppies at the tower of london

After our time in London, my Mom had to go back to the States, but my husband and I did a little more traveling in the UK before we boarded the Queen Mary 2. We visited a family member who lives in the lovely town of Bovey Tracey in Devon. From there, we drove into Dartmoor and had a pub lunch in the beautiful, tiny, and ancient village of Widecombe in the Moor.
Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Dartmoor

[Widecombe-in-the-Moor by Baz Richardson via Flickr]

We also visited a friend who lives in Meads Village, Eastbourne near the chalky cliffs of Beachy Head. Another pub lunch was had in the nearby town of East Dean, famous for being the retirement spot of Sherlock Holmes. In the photo below, the house he “lived in” is at left in the fore of the photo, and the Tiger Inn pub is easy to see with it’s bright umbrellas.
Tiger Inn, East Dean

[Tiger Inn, East Dean by Dave_S. via Flickr]

The next post will be the final chapter of these travels, covering our time on the Queen Mary 2 and our trip back across the US on our way home. Stay tuned!

(Here’s a link to the previous Update 8, and to the next [and final] Update 10)

Blues Brothers Cross Stitch Pattern – If the Shit Fits…

This Blues Brothers cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!blues brothers cross stitch pattern if the shit fits wear it

This project is a quote uttered by no other than Donald “Duck” Dunn, base player for the band. He says this line after they had played at Bob’s Country Bunker, a rowdy country and western bar.

This is a funny (and rude) take on the old saying “If the shoe fits, wear it,” which is quite an old idiom in itself.

From this and his other lines in the movie, it’s plain to see that Donald Dunn was no actor, but he was a great musician. In 1992 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Booker T and the MG’s, and his musical accomplishments, including recording sessions with Stax Records and extensive touring and performing with everyone from Muddy Waters to Eddie Vedder, are the stuff of legend.

I was lucky enough to see him in person when he was touring with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young in the mid-2000’s. I had no idea he was with the band until he appeared on stage. I may have been more excited to be in the same room with a member of the Blues Brothers band than with CSNY!

I stitched the green lettering in DMC 4047, one of their gorgeous variegated flosses. This project is small so it stitches up quickly, and it’s perfect for beginners and more experienced stitchers alike.

blues brothers cross stitch pattern shit. what. rollers. no. yeah. shitThe Blues Brothers is about as good a comedy movie as you will ever see, thanks in part to lots of quotes like this. This is my second Blues Brothers cross stitch pattern, the first being this “rollers” project. I’m pretty confident that I will create even more projects honoring this outstanding movie in the future as well.

Morning Person Cross Stitch Project

This “not morning person” cross stitch pattern, now available in my Etsy shop, is perfect for all your favorite A.M. curmudgeons!not morning person cross stitch pattern no surprises before 9:00 AM

It’s a warning to whomever just can’t wait to share something awful with you… before you are properly awake and aware. It’s perfect for your kitchen, bathroom, desk – wherever family members and coworkers are likely to find you too early and try to ruin your whole morning.

You know the kinds of awful early surprises that “not morning persons” loathe. “The dog just threw up on the carpet.” “I have to bring snacks for the team today.” “I need a Ben Franklin costume by noon.” “My Mother will be staying for a few weeks.” “The car won’t start.” “The whole presentation was deleted last night.” “Our entire email system is locked up.” “Our auto insurance has expired.” Ah yes, the early body blows to your morale just keep on coming.

It’s not like you can’t deal with these challenges – of course you can. You just can’t deal with them quite YET.
Smiling Dog [explore]

[A totally adorable not me smiling first thing in the morning by Allen Skyy via Flickr]

I wish I would have stitched this saying of mine years ago. Before about 9 o’clock, and especially if I haven’t had breakfast yet, nasty surprises have a rather detrimental effect on my personality. My family can provide reams of evidence on this point. Displaying this sign may have saved us all a lot of… um… let’s just say “trouble.”

Use this not morning person cross stitch project to give your friends, family, and coworkers a funny and fair warning. With it’s black and yellow caution tape border and unmistakable message, it will tell them very quickly that 1) you are not a morning person, and 2) if they cross the line and give you some bad news now, they will have to share in the consequences. Fair enough!

Compass Needlepoint Update 2

I’m happy to share more progress on my compass needlepoint project!

compass needlepoint update 1On the last update, I had outlined and partially filled in all of the first ring of radiating tiles and had completed the double stitch in the primary direction (NSEW) tiles.

 

 

 

After finishing up our travels last summer, I was able to start working on this project again, and I’m SO pleased with the progress thus far:compass needlepoint update 2

All of the radiating tiles are complete! Here you can see the first, innermost ring in the three darkest colors, the second ring in three medium colors, and the third, outermost ring in the two lightest colors.compass needlepoint update 2 detail

Now you can see all of the colors that will be used in this project. There is the dark grey and dark greyish blue color of the primary direction tiles. Then there are the chocolate brown, rusty brown, and muddy brown of the first ring. The second ring has lighter shades of the chocolate brown and the rusty brown plus a dark gold. The third ring has a lighter gold color and a very light rust, nearly peach color.

You can also see that I have slightly blended the colors, mixing 5 strands of the main colors with one strand of contrasting colors. I did this to better represent the speckled color and texture of the original tiles and to add a little visual interest. I must admit that this looks better than I had originally imagined – it’s really wonderful in this project.

The next step in this compass needlepoint is to define the edge of this center part of the project and the surrounding border tiles with what I’ll call a “grout line.” After that, I’ll fill in the border tiles using some fun and interesting needlepoint stitches, and then I’ll fill in the entire background of this center section. I can’t wait to see how this tribute to one of our favorite hotels, Cuq-en-Terrasses, turns out – stay tuned!

Update: Progress Update 3 is here!

Gypsy Ways Update 8 – Spain and France

Gypsy ways update 8 begins with us in Spain, leaving the cool green beauty of Asturias and heading south to the Mediterranean along the Costa Blanca.

Some people like the busy beaches and high rises of Benidorm, but I prefer the smaller, lesser developed towns nearby like Moraira and Xàbia (Javea) that still retain some of their original charm.
Javea - from the Cap de Sant Antoni

[Javea by Baz Richardson via Flickr]

We stay with family members who have a house in the area, and their view looking down on the Mediterranean is outstanding.gypsy ways update 8 - view from cumbre del sol

It’s a wonderful, relaxing place and a great spot to get organized for the final push and drive north back to the UK.

Driving north along the A31 Motorway between Alicante and Albacete, there are some great castles including ones at Sax, Chinchilla de Monte Aragón, and this beauty at Villena. I’m happy to say that that the Spanish government has done some major preservation and restoration work on it’s historical sites in recent years to save these from becoming ruins.gypsy ways update 8 - castle at villena spain

One building along the A31 always received my particular attention. I can only guess that it was a long abandoned inn – possibly for people traveling by horse carriage? I wish I knew! The oval shape of the upper windows is my only indication of it’s possible age. Regardless, I was always curious about the history of the building and thought it was unfortunate that the building was in such bad shape (see the before photo below on the left).

Well, last time we drove by, I was thrilled to see that the building has been completely restored (see the after photo on the right). There is now a gas station and a convenience shop and I can only hope that it is again being used as a travelers inn.

gypsy ways update 8 - old coach stop before and after

The remainder of our days driving north through Spain and France were pretty uneventful, but we were lucky to find a little jewel of a hotel – the Auberge du Port des Roches near Le Mans.gypsy ways update 8 - auberge du port de roches

The setting is ideal – it stands on one side of a small lane, and on the other side of the lane is a beautiful patio along the Loir river. gypsy ways update 8 - auberge du port de roches patioOur room was charming, the dinner on the patio that evening was excellent and beautifully served, and best of all, the proprietor loves to cross stitch!

gypsy ways update 8 - auberge du port de roches cross stitch key boardCross stitched pieces are everywhere, from the room keys

 

 

 

 

gypsy ways update 8 - auberge du port de roches cross stitch chambre non fumeurto the no smoking signs in the rooms.

 

 

 

 

Here is the proprietor with some of her pieces (her signs say “closed Sunday evening and Monday.” “Open Tuesday at 5:00 P.M.”). You can see she also has some small cross stitched and framed monograms for sale on the wall behind her. gypsy ways update 8 - proprietor at auberge du port de roches and her cross stitch

I couldn’t imagine a nicer way to complete our time in continental Europe!

The next update will start with some adventures in the UK before our trip back across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 – stay tuned…

(Here’s a link to the previous Update 7, and the next Update 9)

Monty Python Fruit Cross Stitch Pattern

This Monty Python fruit cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!monty python fruit cross stitch list from self defense against fresh fruit sketch

This project comes from the Monty Python sketch about self defense against homicidal maniacs armed with fresh fruit. John Cleese plays a drill sergeant training four hapless recruits. All the fruit they have trained for is on this list, plus one item deemed too “high and mighty” for their meager lot. In spite of the fact that I’ve seen this sketch repeatedly, “…and mangoes in syrup” cracks me up every single time I hear it.

This bizarre and hilarious sketch first appeared on their BBC show in a 1969 episode called “Owl Stretching Time” and they recreated the first half of the sketch for their movie “And Now for Something Completely Different.”

Monty Python’s Flying Circus ran from 1969 to 1974, creating a body of very silly and subversive comedy sketches that are still as bizarre today as they were then. If you’re unfamiliar with them, I recommend you start with either the BBC TV show, or the movie “And Now for Something Completely Different,” which is some of their best sketches from their first two seasons recreated with a higher production budget.

After their TV show, the popularity of Monty Python only kept growing. The troupe went on to create Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian (my personal favorite), and the Meaning of Life, stirring up controversy at nearly every turn and even serious academic analysis along the way.

monty python cross stitch pattern - Mind you, moose bites can be pretty nastyI have another Monty Python cross stitch pattern currently available, based on the entirely silly opening credits of their movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I also have a project in the works that features another popular sketch from their BBC show so stay tuned for that!

 

In the meantime, check out this Monty Python fruit cross stitch pattern… and the next time “some great homicidal maniac comes at you with a bunch of loganberries, don’t come crying to me!”

Gluten in Your Muffin Cross Stitch Pattern

This Gluten in Your Muffin cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!

gluten in your muffin cross stitch pattern

The quote for this project is from a 2015 episode of Saturday Night Live with Kevin Hart as the host. The line comes from a very funny sketch about gentrification in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Kenan Thompson uttering “You actin’ like someone put gluten in yo’ muffin” just cracked me up – especially with all of the increased gluten awareness these days.

I also love the idea of the “artisanal mayonnaise” shop, which as it turns out IS REAL. Entrepreneur has an article about how the Empire Mayonnaise company of Brooklyn embraced the SNL sketch and even released a flavor inspired by it. The Wall Street Journal has an article about Empire Mayonnaise’s operation, about a year after it opened in 2012. Bacon flavored mayo sounds pretty good!

I used two DMC variegated flosses in this project – pink 4180 and blue 4022. The variegated pink was used for the flower petals around the dark pink center, and I really love how they turned out – each flower is just slightly different.

gluten in your muffin DMC variegated floss 4180 rose petals

And I am so thrilled with the variegated blue in this whimsical font – it’s just gorgeous, and looks even better in person (although as it appears in the photo at top isn’t too shabby).

gluten in your muffin dmc variegated floss 4022 mediteranean sea

I carry both flosses in my shop, if you want to take a closer look – Rose Petals 4180 and Mediterranean Sea 4022.

Nearly everyone knows someone who is going gluten free either for medical reasons or for other general health issues. If they have a good sense of humor, you know they would just LOVE this little Gluten in Your Muffin project. It stitches up quickly, it’s silly and cute, and it would make a great gift!

Blues Brothers Cross Stitch Pattern “Rollers”

This Blues Brothers cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!blues brothers cross stitch pattern shit. what. rollers. no. yeah. shit

The quote comes from the 1980 movie “The Blues Brothers” starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. The movie is a classic that has achieved cult status, and for good reason. First off, it has a great plot and it’s hilarious. Also, the movie has performances by some of the best blues artists who ever existed: Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, John Lee Hooker, and Ray Charles among others. On top of the music, there are tons of cameos – from Twiggy and Frank Oz to Steven Spielberg, Paul Reubens, and John Candy.

Other than Belushi and Aykroyd, the Blues Brothers band were musicians, not actors (which is pretty obvious by their speaking parts) and their resumes are impressive. Check out these articles about just three of the musicians: Donald “Duck” Dunn, Steve Cropper, and Tom Malone. Dan Aykroyd plays a mean harmonica in the movie and in real life.

This Blues Brothers Cross Stitch pattern comes from the scene just before they demolish the mall. Elwood runs a red light, the police pursue with lights flashing. Elwood sees them in the rear view mirror, and starts the conversation. Although it’s brief, it’s a brilliant little exchange between the brothers, and it’s a favorite sequence of mine in a movie full of great lines.

The colors in the border of my pattern are a small nod to the red stars and light blue stripes of the Chicago city flag. Director John Landis said the movie was “conceived as a love letter to the city” and it’s true.

If you haven’t seen “The Blues Brothers” before, I can’t encourage you enough.

[Update May 2015: I’ve added a second Blues Brothers project to my pattern list – take a look!]

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.