Lightning Cross Stitch Pattern – Crafty Empowerment

This new Lightning cross stitch pattern (now available in my shop) is inspired by Serena Ryder’s outstanding song “Got Your Number.” lightning cross stitch pattern see my lightning hear my thunder cross stitch patternThe song is an empowering kick-butt break-up rocker in a similar vein as the Eurythmics’ “Would I Lie To You?” According to some online song lyric websites, this line actually is “See my lightning in my bottle” but I may have mis-heard the second half as “hear my thunder” and to tell the truth, I like it better! [No disrespect to Serena as her song kicks serious ass!] This misunderstanding counts among my favorite personal Mondegreens

The project uses white, three shades of grey, and I stitched the lettering in DMC E940 glow in the dark floss (also available in my Etsy shop). The photo below shows the project in black light and I love how the lettering glows while the white floss core of the lightning bolt pops! lightning cross stitch pattern serena ryder lyric see my lightning hear my thunder glow in the dark blacklightThe photo below shows the lettering glowing in the dark – it actually glows brighter than that but it’s tough to photograph effectively. It’s still very cool, though…lightning cross stitch pattern serena ryder lyric see my lightning hear my thunder glow in the darkI considered using a cartoon-like lightning bolt for this project but it just didn’t feel right. This project really started to come together when I started working with a photo of a real lightning bolt. I’d be curious to see how this project would look stitched on a white canvas with color in the lightning and lettering. Hm…

I’m not sure if this song got much airplay in the States as I only heard it on Canadian Broadcasting when I was very near the western Canada/US border in January 2017. However, the song is available at least on Amazon (where I purchased it). Please check out her great song and stitch this empowering lightning cross stitch pattern!

Kansas Sunflower Cross Stitch Pattern

This Kansas sunflower cross stitch pattern and kit of a state highway sign is now available in my Etsy shop!kansas highway road sign sunflower cross stitch pattern

The stitched example, Kansas Highway 7, is part of the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway also designated as part of the official route of the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail.kansas sunflower cross stitch pattern state highway sign

The sunflower pattern is easily one of the most interesting state highway signs in the United States. Many state highway signs feature plain squares or circles, but the folks in Kansas showed a little creativity when they generated this design.
Southbound K-99 near Alma, 4 May 2017

[Southbound K-99 near Alma by John Roever via Flickr]

Whether you’re a Jayhawker, a frequent visitor, or just a fan of the state, this Kansas sunflower cross stitch pattern and kit would be a great way to create a reminder of a favorite drive or place in “The Sunflower State.”

Kansas is just the latest in my series of State Highway signs! Thus far, there’s Colorado, Alaska, California, Texas, Washington, Michigan, Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, Utah, Montana, Louisiana, an Interstate sign, a US highway sign, and more are in the works. Until then, I hope you check out all the states and the other road sign patterns I’ve created – they’re a lot of fun!

Deeds Not Words Cross Stitch Pattern

This Deeds Not Words cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!deeds not words cross stitch pattern suffragette bannerThis was one of the mottoes of the women’s suffrage movement, as seen on the massive banner in this photo:deeds not words cross stitch example suffragette banner

Although the image is black and white, I imagine that the banner was in the purple, white, and green colors of the British suffrage movement. The three colors symbolized loyalty, purity, and hope.

Women worked so hard for the right to vote. They were jailed, went on hunger strikes, and even died for the suffrage rights women hold today. This right is something no woman should take for granted. I was encouraged recently to see women in the House of Representatives and Senate wearing white in honor of the suffragettes (in other photos and articles you’ll see some women wore purple as well).deeds not words cross stitch democratic women wearing whiteWhile “Deeds not Words” was a rallying cry for the more militaristic suffragists, I am by no means advocating violence. Instead, I hope this pattern will inspire us to demand action from ourselves, others, and our elected officials. Anyone can talk about “what needs to happen” while it’s a precious few who actually take steps to create positive change. I hope this Deeds Not Words project may serve as a reminder to do just that.

Bill Hicks Cross Stitch Pattern “Life is Only a Dream…”

This Bill Hicks cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!bill hicks cross stitch life is only a dream and we are the imaginations of ourselves

Bill Hicks was a comedian who died in 1994 of pancreatic cancer. You might not expect such a metaphysical quote from a comedian… only if you’re not familiar with Bill Hicks’ work. He was controversial, biting, and certainly not for those with delicate ears. At the same time, he was often spiritual, philosophical, and personal.

This project is only a part of a longer quotation of Hicks. Although he stopped using drugs in 1988, he still espoused their use, saying ““I’ve had some killer times on drugs.” He railed against the war on drugs and on the media focusing only on negative stories about drugs. Hicks instead hop[ed] for a different perspective:

[As if giving a news cast] “Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration—that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imaginations of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the weather.”

anchor 1345 variegated flossOn a more superficial note, I filled the stars in border with seven different variegated flosses. The one I had really been wanting to try is Anchor 1345, called “Blue Hawaii,” and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s gorgeous and you can see it in the star in the upper left corner of the pattern.

I stitched some of the stars filling in a serpentine way and some in a spiral way, and it was interesting to see how differently the colors pooled. For example, all three were the same color, Anchor 1345, but the star in the upper left corner was stitched serpentine in horizontal rows, while the fourth one below it and the first one from top right were stitched in a spiral.

This Bill Hicks cross stitch pattern is perfect for everyone who appreciates counter-culture ideas, alternative spiritual philosophies, variegated embroidery floss, and of course, Bill Hicks.

If you’re interested in seeing some of his work, below is a clip from The Late Show with David Letterman. At the taping in 1993, Letterman and CBS decided that his material was too controversial and his performance was not aired. However, in 2009, Bill’s mother was a guest on Letterman and they aired his set in it’s entirety. [Warning: this is not for the easily offended]

Think for Yourself and Question Authority Cross Stitch Pattern

My Think for Yourself and Question Authority cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!think for yourself and question authority cross stitch pattern

The inspiration for the pattern comes from a famous quote from Dr. Timothy Leary. He was a psychiatrist who advocated the use of LSD for therapeutic uses, and he was a counter culture icon from the 1960’s until his death in 1996. In fact, Richard Nixon considered Leary one of the most dangerous men in America. In the 60’s he popularized the phrases “turn on, tune in, drop out” and “think for yourself and question authority”.

The pattern features a mirrored pair of fun 1960’s pop art style flowers that I intended to bring a little color and flair in juxtaposition to the more serious nature of the quote. Pop art started in the 1950’s, bloomed in the 1960’s, and the style of these flowers could easily be seen in the works of artists such as Peter Max and the animation team behind the Beatles‘ movie Yellow Submarine.

Of course, I don’t advocate that we all drop acid and form our own psychedelic religions while skipping in and out of jail. However, the idea that we read, research, and think for ourselves and question all kinds of authority (political, religious, economic, et al.) is certainly valid. And if the political culture of 2016 is any indication, it appears that a little 1960’s-style peaceful counterculture would be a welcome change.

Let this think for yourself and question authority cross stitch pattern be a good reminder to have some healthy skepticism of authority.

MST3K Patrick Swayze Christmas Cross Stitch Pattern

This MST3K Patrick Swayze Christmas cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!mst3k patrick swayze christmas cross stitch pattern

The inspiration comes from the the classic Episode 321 – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. The lyrics are from Crow’s song “A Patrick Swayze Christmas,” performed by Joel and the ‘bots during one of the host segments. It was inspired by Crow’s favorite movie, Road House, starring Patrick Swayze. With it’s references to barstools, action sequences, and Santa drafting his will, it’s a modern holiday tradition!

In 2013 Reddit and Joel worked with acapella group The Lost Keys to create this version of the song:

Joel’s reaction at end of the video is a funny reference to another outstanding MST3K episode, Pod People.

mst3k patrick swayze christmas cross stitch patternThe cross stitch captures their usual silhouettes, plus with Crow’s red nose, Joel’s ivory scarf, and Tom’s blue and white snow globe noggin from the sketch. It also has the draped gold garland and the Christmas tree from the set, and I added a colorful string of lights around the border. This project was a lot of fun to put together!

 

I know that for many MSTies (fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000), including myself, the holiday season is not quite complete without a viewing of this hilarious episode.

mst3k turn down your lights cross stitch patternI have two other MST3K themed patterns available. One is the “Turn down your lights…” pattern you see at right. This image unfurled at the beginning of Mystery Science Theater 3000 from Episodes 201 – Rocketship XM to 404 – Teenagers from Outer Space. It’s a welcome and happy sight to the fans of the show.

 

mst3k cross stitch pattern the answer my friend is blow it out your assThe other pattern is this “The answer my friend, is blow it…” which is a funny quote from Episode 614 – San Francisco International.

 

 

 

 

For those of you who have read this far and don’t have a clue as to what MST3K is, read this Wikipedia article. A MST3K revival just became the biggest Film and Video category Kickstarter project of all time, raising $6.3 Million for 14 new episodes in 2016. Can’t wait…

This MST3K Patrick Swayze Christmas cross stitch pattern is perfect for all MSTies past, present, and future.

Keep circulating the tapes!

MST3K Turn Down Your Lights Cross Stitch Pattern

This MST3K Turn down your lights cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!mst3k turn down your lights cross stitch pattern

This image unfurled at the beginning of Mystery Science Theater 3000 from Episodes 201 – Rocketship XM to 404 – Teenagers from Outer Space. This span includes three of my personal favorite episodes: Cave Dwellers, Pod People, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. “Turn down your lights (Where applicable)” is a welcome and happy sight to fans of the show.

If you’re not familiar with Mystery Science Theater 3000, it is a classic comedy show that originally ran from 1988 to 1999. It cleverly skewered terrible movies with it’s characters making funny comments during the movies and performing sketches during the intermissions.

It won a Peabody Award in 1993 and was nominated for several Emmy Awards. To this day it remains popular and maintains a large cult-like following. It is so popular, in fact, a MST3K revival recently became the biggest Film and Video category Kickstarter project of all time, raising $6.3 Million for 14 new episodes in 2016. The casting for the new episodes includes Jonah Ray as the host, with Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day as the new “mads.” I just can’t wait to see how the series continues!

mst3k cross stitch pattern the answer my friend is blow it out your assThis is my second MST3K themed project, the first being this funny quote from Episode 614 – San Francisco International.  It’s a terrible movie, cleverly skewered by Mike and the ‘bots. It was written as the pilot episode of a series that lasted six episodes. The TV movie appeared in 1970 and featured Clu Gallagher, Tab Hunter, Van Johnson, and David Hartman. When it went to series, Lloyd Bridges played the airport security chief, a role he spoofed later in the movie Airplane!

This MST3K Turn Down Your Lights cross stitch pattern is perfect for all MSTies (fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000) present, past, and future (and for everyone who has a lot of dimmer switches).

Keep circulating the tapes!

React with Love Cross Stitch Pattern

This React with love cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!react with love cross stitch pattern

This project is my reaction to the enmity, conflict, and ignorance in the world. If we react to certain situations in a positive way, toward kindness, trust, and understanding, the world might be a happier, more constructive place. [Of course, there are situations where love is not the immediate answer. For example, I don’t advocate welcoming physical threats to ourselves, our families, or our friends. That’s not what I’m addressing here.]

It can be overwhelming as there is so much conflict out there: between religions, between nations, between political parties, between neighbors, between co-workers, and even within our families. I find that concentrating on individuals rather than groups helps alleviate some of that overwhelmed feeling. Every two people have something in common, if only the fact that we exist. Even from a meager beginning we can develop our commonalities into a better understanding. This project can serve as a gentle reminder to work toward this goal.
handshake

[Handshake by Sakina-san via Flickr]

In an interesting coincidence, a conflict has come up between me and a good friend while I’ve been writing this post. This friend said that putting all Muslims on American soil into internment camps, much like the US did to people of Japanese ancestry during World War II, is a good idea. I was flabbergasted and deeply disappointed; how could someone I consider a friend espouse such a ugly, fearful idea?

My reaction? To be perfectly honest, my first reaction was not “with love.” It was disgust and exasperation as my husband and I argued fruitlessly against his idea. The next day, my reminder to “react with love not fear” kicked in as I started really thinking about what to do next.

My main thought was: EDUCATE MYSELF. Because I didn’t have the best information on hand at the time, I didn’t know how to respond intelligently or even coherently when my friend first brought up his awful idea.

I feel there are two big points to address: the first is about Islam and Muslims vs. radicalized Muslims, and the second is about the about the idea of internment camps. I happen to be friends with a really lovely Muslim couple, and I will ask if they can lead me to information that will address the first point. As for the second point, I happen to know that Japanese-American actor George Takei (he played Sulu on Star Trek) was in an internment camp as a child during WWII. He is an internet powerhouse and a champion of fighting the idea of internment camps, so I will search the internet for his most persuasive arguments on the subject.

DSC_0287

[Manzanar by Jason Neville via Flickr]

Will I then share these pieces of information with my friend? You bet. How will I do it? I’ll present the clearest, most succinct and rational ideas I can find and ask him to read them. Will he read them? Maybe not, but this is a person who generally respects my ideas, so I have hope that he will. Will this information change his mind? I don’t know, and that has to be okay.

Even if he doesn’t change his mind, my understanding of two big topics will expand. In the future, if I am confronted by anyone else with similar prejudices, I will be better able to react with love and in a more constructive way.

Self & Conflict

[Self & Conflict by Soul Patcher via Flickr]

My story above is just a tiny instance of conflict between a handful of people. Think globally and look at a situation as complex as the unrest in the Middle East. There are thousands of years of root causes of the violence there, from religious differences to political upheaval, from oil to opium, and countless more. It would take a multitude of scholars’ lifetimes to unravel the web of conflicts and truly understand all of the major points of view. How does one react with love toward something this overwhelming?

Obviously, there are no simple answers (how I wish there were). But this is a good example where focusing on individuals rather than groups helps me. I find myself often thinking about war refugees and their situations. If we act toward a refugee family with fear, with ignorance, distrust, and isolation, then they may have good reason to become our enemies. However, if we greet the family with love, with a desire to understand them better, with kindness and compassion and with opportunities for work and education, then they may have have good reason to become our friends.

Like I said above, every two people have something in common, if only the fact that we exist. The most simple acts of kindness can open up channels of understanding between people. I hope that this react with love cross stitch pattern may help remind us of that idea. 

Willy Wonka Cross Stitch Pattern

This Willy Wonka cross stitch pattern is now available in my Etsy shop!willy wonka cross stitch pattern so much time and so little to do

This pattern features one of the famous quotes from Gene Wilder’s character in the 1971 version of the movie. As the visitors to the factory have just walked in the door and are removing their coats, Willy says: “So much time and so little to see. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.”

Only after I stitched the photographed example did I realize that I got the quote slightly incorrect! In my mind and on IMDB.com the line is “…so little to do,” whereas the line in the movie is clearly “…so little to see.” Nevertheless, this project will appeal to fans of the movie and to busy people everywhere (and who of us isn’t busy?).

photo of gene wilder as willy wonkaThe border of this pattern is a homage to the floral fabric in Willy Wonka’s waistcoat. With it’s purple, pink and white flowers on a background of black and light purple, it’s an enduing part of Willy’s ensemble.

 

 

 

 

 

On Spoonflower, there are two separate versions of this fabric, as well as two different “Golden Ticket” fabrics, a reproduction of the “lickable wallpaper” fruit pattern, and a rather unusual fabric of Willy with the Oompa Loompas.

If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it’s based on the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. At it’s release in 1971 it received good reviews and fared decently at the box office. Since its release for television and home video, it has become a cult classic with quite a few devoted fans.

Dahl didn’t like this version of the movie, saying it strayed too far from his original book. One can understand his concerns, considering the change of emphasis from Charlie to Willy, the introduction of Slugworth as an enemy, and the inclusion of seemingly random literary quotes from various authors. I’ve also heard that the lyrics of the Oompa Loompa’s songs were completely different than what they sang in this this first version.

willy wonka cross stitch pattern so much time and so little to doDahl’s family was much happier with the Tim Burton-directed version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp from 2005. Although they are much different movies, I happen to like them both. Ah, but when it comes to quotable lines, the 1971 version certainly takes the (chocolate) cake.

 

This Willy Wonka cross stitch pattern is perfect for all fans of the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and for all of us with hectic schedules.

US Highway Cross Stitch Pattern

This US Highway cross stitch pattern and kit are now available in my Etsy shop!

us highway cross stitch road sign

The pattern is based on real US highway signs. The stitched example, Highway 89, is a roughly 1250-mile stretch from the Montana-Canada border to Flagstaff, Arizona. It is nicknamed “The National Park Highway” as it links seven national parks including Glacier National Park in Montana, Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah, and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. It also provides access to numerous other national park areas including national monuments.Bryce Canyon

[Bryce Canyon by Suzanham via Flickr]

Another fascinating location along Highway 89 is Thistle, Utah. According to Wikipedia, it is “a ghost town that was destroyed by a lake resulting from a landslide in 1983.”Thistle, Utah

[Thistle, Utah by Rick Smith via Flickr]

The US numbered highway system was approved in 1926. Before then, “auto trails designated by auto trail associations were the main means of marking roads through the United States.” With names like the “Bee Line Highway,” “Glacier to Gulf Motorway,” and the “Old Spanish Trail,” these trails’ names definitely sound more romantic than their numerical replacements.

Route 66 is probably the best known of all the US Highways, although it was officially removed from the highway system in 1985. It spanned roughly 2450 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. Before the numbered highway system, this path included parts of three trails: The Lone Star Route, the Ozark Trail, and the National Old Trails Road. It was the migration path for thousands of people during the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s and again during World War II. It inspired both a popular song, “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” and a successful TV show in the 1960’s. Eventually, the growth of the Interstate Highway System rendered Route 66 obsolete, however many parts of the old roadway have been specially designated as “Historic Route 66” and set aside for preservation.Route 66 Hackberry (Arizona USA)

[Route 66 Hackberry (Arizona USA) by Perry Tak via Flickr]

I can easily customize this pattern for any of your favorite highways. Create a reminder of a favorite drive or road trip with this US highway cross stitch pattern and kit!

This pattern is just the latest in a series of US and state highway sign patterns. Others in the series thus far include Colorado, Alaska, California, Texas, Michigan, Utah, Florida, New Mexico, Georgia, Washington, Montana, and an Interstate sign… Check ’em out!