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pattern // january birthstone embroidery & stitching club

January Garnet Embroidery Pattern

Want to celebrate a January birthday with some embroidery? This free gemstone embroidery pattern is just for you!

When I decided to make birthstone-themed calendars for this year, I also knew that I wanted to make embroidery patterns to match. As I started thinking about what that would look like, I came up with an idea.

Each month I'll have a new pattern to share and it will look like the gemstone shape for the matching calendar. That's not really new. But I thought it might be fun to make this into something a bit like one of my stitching clubs, but here on the blog.

This year I don't have plans to do a regular email-based stitching club so this will fill in that gap, both for you and for me! It will be lower pressure because it's just one mini pattern each month. And I won't be giving all the extra information in this...just a rough guide, which helps me a bit. Of course, one big benefit for you is that it's FREE!

Like with my regular stitching clubs, this has some EPP worked into it. Each of the 12 birthstone patterns goes on a 1-inch hexagon, surrounded by half-hexagons. Those 12 pieces will fit together with a few other pieces to make a small project.

I actually haven't decided what that project will be. Certainly, a mini quilt is an option, but I might come up with an alternate project too. Possibly a tote bag? Or a table runner or placemat that could come out on birthdays? If you have suggestions for what you would like to see, let me know in the comments!

If you aren't up for doing this as a big yearlong project, you can just use the individual pattern. The download has the mini pattern, plus a larger version. It also has the EPP pieces for you to print and cut.

And since I love seeing people stitching their way through projects like this, I hope you'll tag your pictures on Instagram and Twitter (or Facebook too, although I can't see those) with #WildOliveStitchingClub so we can all follow each other's work! You can also leave comments here with links to your posts.

What do you think? Fun? I hope so!

I stitched mine with DMC 304, but you can use your favorite garnet-shade of floss. I'd also like to point out that while this is intended to be birthstones, you can make these any colors you want because each pattern will essentially be a gemstone shape. Get creative with it!

Happy birthstone stitching!

calendar // welcoming 2018

Are you ready to welcome the new year with Wild Olive? This year's calendar wallpapers (and a bit of a running theme overall) will feature birthstones, starting with a garnet for January.

After just a small amount of researching garnets, I learned so many interesting things. First, I didn't know that garnets come in a variety of colors, and they're all so pretty! But I also learned that the Latin word for garnet refers to pomegranate seeds. Which makes sense, given the most common garnet color. And it's also why I drew this month's gem as a teardrop shape...or a seed shape!

A truth about me: I geek out about weird facts, something my stitching club members probably already know. I usually blame my homeschool upbringing!

Anyway, you can download the garnet calendars below. Save them to your devices and then set them as your background wallpapers or lock screens.

Now, let's talk New Year.

I had a rough 2016. You might read that and think it's a typo that should have said 2017. But no, 2016 was hard. Last year I was ready for a fresh start and a better 2017. But you know what? 2017 was also hard, on both global and personal levels. I'm ready for a fresh start and a better 2018.

But I keep remembering that while life is hard, God is good.

Although I struggled with a few things in the last year, there were so many blessings. In fact, one of the most exciting things of the year (it's still a secret!) started the same week as I was heading into the most difficult few months. It was a source of hope, joy, and distraction when I needed it most.

As I head into 2018, I'm doing so with open hands. I'm trying not to hold onto my plans too tightly. I'm also trying not to stress about blogging "the right way", so expect more slightly rambling posts like this one. 2018 is going to be what it's going to be and I'm good with that. But I do hope to draw plenty of kawaii cuteness!

And just as a quick end of December sort of thing, I intended to share one last pattern to go with my Advent Candle Garland project, and it didn't happen in time. But here's the link so you can make it for next year if you're so inclined!

Final thoughts...

Since I'm drawing birthstones this year, I want to wish all my friends and followers with January birthdays a very happy birthday month! Say hello in the comments so we can all greet you!

And may you all have a peaceful, joy-filled, and blessed 2018.

pattern // embroidered advent candles - weeks 3 & 4

Advent Candle Garland - Joy Candle

This Sunday is the third Sunday in Advent, and traditionally you light the "joy" candle. There are other versions of this one, but I like joy.

We sing Joy to the World at Christmas, but it's not really about Jesus being born. It's about Jesus coming. And He's the true source of joy. Back in Bethlehem, today in the midst of difficulties, and forever in eternity. And I actively seek that.

Anyway, here are the patterns for "joy" and "love", which is the fourth candle. These go with the Advent Candle Garland project I shared.

On Christmas Day, one last candle is lit, and it's the Christ Candle. This one is white, and for my pattern, I chose to use the name Jesus. It has a crown image to welcome the King of Kings.

Side note: Can I just tell you how much it bugs me that the joy candle is pink? I either want them all to be the same, all be different, or at least make the love candle pink. Honestly...this has always been a pet peeve of mine, but nobody asked me when they were planning this whole Advent thing...

project // embroidered advent candle garland

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

Advent wreaths come in many shapes and sizes, and this one isn't even a wreath at all, but rather, an Advent candle garland. It's stitched with words and icons (Wild Olive style!) that represent each week, and it's an easy project to make through this season.

We love to celebrate Advent at my house. Celebrate may not always be the right word, actually. Observe might be closer, because sometimes there's some sadness and longing that comes with Advent. But all of that helps make Christmas more of a celebration.

And I don't know about you, but even when I'm thinking that I'm ready for Advent, I'm rarely actually ready. Case in point: I started this project on the first Sunday of Advent. Ideally, I would have had this whole thing ready to go and display each week. Instead, I'm making it along the way. And you know what? I like that. It's part of the process of waiting well.

The idea I had was to make an embroidery for each week. (Last year I made some larger patterns) Then I thought about the candles, and tried to come up with a way to include them, and then...what if the candles were a garland! It's abstract, with a yellow tab for the flame, but if you squint, you'll see candles. Maybe at some point, I'll add some greens in between, but for now, I have green sparkle string.

If you'd like to work on this along with me, please do. Below you'll find the first two patterns for weeks 1 & 2. They are hope (with an anchor...see Hebrews 6:19) and peace (with a dove). Both are on purple candles.

In the next few weeks, I'll share the patterns for the joy, love, and Christ candles.

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

You will need:

Purple, pink, and white felt (I use Benzie Design felt!)
Embroidery floss
Tracing paper
Yellow fabric scraps


Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

To make each candle, trace a pattern onto thin tracing paper. Baste the paper onto the felt. I used to always use pins for this, but basting the paper is a little easier for me because there's nothing for the embroidery thread to catch on.

Stitch through the felt and the paper as you embroider the design. I used all six strands for this. On the eyes for the anchor, I wrapped the needle just one time for the french knots so they were tiny.

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

Tear away the paper and trim the felt down to 2"x5". You may find that it's simpler to cut the felt to size before you stitch from the previous step.

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

Cut a small rectangle of yellow fabric and fold it in half. Hold it behind the top of the felt piece and stitch it in place. I stitched with running stitch, then went back and filled in the gaps with running stitch, which, by the way, is called holbein stitch.

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

Thread a hanging string through the candle tab/flame. Tie a loop in each end and add candles each Sunday in Advent!

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

I'm working on this project week by week, but this gives you an idea of where we're going. Normally I'd feel bad about not having a finished project to show, or even having all the patterns ready! But Advent is about waiting, so this is probably okay!

You can find the patterns for weeks 3 & 4, plus the Christmas Day calendar here.

get ready for a super bundle that's handmade with love

Have you launched into the gift-making season? I looooovvveeee making gifts for people whenever I can. And even once Christmas is over, there's something about winter that feels especially perfect for crafting. Right? It's so cozy to curl up by the fire with a quilt, some stitching, and a fresh cup of coffee (or perhaps tea...I have a new favorite cinnamon berry tea that I drink every night!).

I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Whether you have your crafting plans all lined up for gifts and beyond or if you're not quite sure what you want to make or learn next, you should check out the Handmade With Love Super Bundle.

Every so often I share a bundle like this here, but this one is a little different. Because it's 100% crafting. And I know you and I probably share the crafting bug!

Okay, let’s talk about what’s inside!

With over 200 patterns, projects, and step-by-step tutorials, you’ll find dreamy projects to create, new ways to sharpen your skills, or even a whole new technique to play with (quilting! fabric dyeing! rug making! weaving!).

This bundle covers: quilting, sewing, crochet, knitting, applique, embroidery, cross-stitch, dyeing, fiber arts, and crafting in general.

It’s basically a crafter’s dream collection!

And even better? You’ll get all these projects and fresh patterns – created by hip, modern designers like Allison Glass, Elise Blaha-Cripe, Anne Weil, Rebecca Langford, and Liat Gat (plus 47 others...including me!)...

...for just $29.97. (They’re worth over $1,000!)

Curious how it’s possible to get all of this so inexpensively?

The creators of these patterns, tutorials, courses and more joined forces to offer this incredibly special bundle, but just for a super short period of time. Once the sale’s over, we’ll go back to selling our products and patterns at full price.

All In The Details

By the way, my own contribution to the Handmade with Love Super Bundle is The Embroidery Project: All in the Details. If you've never seen it before, it's a PDF course focusing on adding fun elements to your embroidery. You'll find tips and techniques, plus 15 projects, including accessories, a baby blanket, home items, and a growth chart.

The cost of The Embroidery Project: All in the Details on its own is normally $35, so buying the bundle is like getting a deal, AND all those other patterns and courses for free!

Want to check it out and get your own Handmade with Love Super Bundle? This is how it works:
  1. Visit the website, take a quick look at all the delightful projects you’ll be able to create with this package, then click the pink “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
  2. You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks and patterns, signing up for your online courses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
  3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the project or technique you want to try your hand at first and start creating!
The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available for just 8 days! After Monday night, December 4th, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

It’s even backed by a 30-day full money-back happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

Create one-of-a-kind items to wear, gift, decorate with, and simply enjoy, with this curated, convenient, and super affordable library of patterns and projects.

Seriously, you don't want to miss out on this!

Plus, through Thursday at midnight, get a free Craftsy class when you purchase a bundle!

FREE Craftsy Class

I'd hate for you to miss out on such a great free gift. I know that I'm always thrilled with the content in Craftsy classes, so to have it as a bonus alongside such a huge bundle is something special.

Note: As a contributor to the Handmade With Love Super Bundle, I'm also an affiliate. Your purchase of the bundle helps support this blog and my ongoing work. Thanks!

printable // give thanks bookmarks

Give Thanks Printable Bookmarks

I've got plenty to be thankful for...

These are words from a song in the film "Holiday Inn", one of few true Thanksgiving songs. As in, it's not just about being thankful, but it's directed tied to the holiday. And I love it.

Because I do have plenty to be thankful for. We all do. And not just at Thanksgiving.

The bookmarks pictured above are a free printable I made to share as a reminder for us all. You'll find the download link at the end of the post if you prefer to skip ahead. But before I get to that, here are some thankful, grateful thoughts.

In September I had a spot on my face checked and found that it was melanoma. It wasn't deep, but it was creeping wider and removing it was ugly. Repairing the area was the biggest medical procedure I've ever had, and the recovery was much slower than I expected or would have liked.

In the middle of it all, I was grateful for doctors who took excellent care of me, and of course, I was thankful that we found it early. I was and still am thankful for family and friends who supported me and stepped in when I couldn't do certain things.

Of course, the skin cancer is gone and that's something HUGE to be grateful for. I've also been learning that it's okay to let some things go because I don't need to do everything (pausing the posts on my blog is an example of this), a lesson that I'm very thankful for. And these are a just a few things I'm thankful for. Seriously, there are tons of things. A few that are pretty amazing (but that I can't share just yet...)

And throughout all of this, in the middle of a crazy world and life that isn't always fun, God is good.

Right now, I really don't even need a reminder to be thankful. But since I don't think it's possible to express gratitude enough, a bookmark to keep handy isn't a bad idea.

If you'd like to color a give thanks bookmark for your everyday use, or perhaps to have as a Thanksgiving day activity for the little ones at your house, grab the PDF below and enjoy!

So tell me, what are you thankful for today? I'd love to hear about the gifts of grace in your life, big or small!

travel the globe with a new wild olive stitching club

Where do you like to stitch? Around the house? Out in nature? While exploring your town? Or maybe as you travel the globe? No matter where you pick up a needle, if you like stitching cuteness, I'm pretty sure you're gonna enjoy the latest Wild Olive stitching clubs!

Traveling the Globe Stitching Club

With this club, we'll be stitching something from each of the seven continents. This really is a stitching trip around the world!

Bringing together two things I love, embroidery and English paper piecing, this 8-week club will result in a large mini quilt. Each week club members receive an email from me with that week's pattern and/or instructions, ways to connect with other club members, and a special section with prayer prompts for those who wish to pray for the world (it's at the end of the email and easy to skip if you'd rather).

Traveling the Globe Stitching Club
Traveling the Globe Stitching Club

Of course, this project starts with embroidery. This club features seven small embroidery patterns representing landmarks and a few natural features from each of the seven continents. Six of the locations are beautiful places I'd love to see someday (okay, so maybe not Antarctica...), as well as one that is near and dear to me.

Because of the locations we're stitching, the color palette for this club is much more neutral and natural, with a few fun pops of color.

Traveling the Globe Stitching Club

Each pattern fits on a 2-inch hexagon, and that's where the English paper piecing comes in. Along with the embroidered hexagons, you'll also make extra pieces and everything will fit together to make a mini quilt.

And because both embroidery and EPP are so portable, you can actually stitch while you're traveling the globe! (or just dreaming of your trip!)

Basic instructions for English paper piecing and quilt-making are included, though it's helpful to have some knowledge of embroidery. If you need assistance with this project along the way, I'm happy to help.

Plan to set aside a few hours a week for this, and you'll have a hand-embroidered, hand-pieced, and even hand-quilted mini quilt in eight weeks.

In addition to making something cute, you'll also have the opportunity to connect with other club members by sharing your progress and interacting with others using the tag #TravelingTheGlobeStitchingClub on social media.

Traveling the Globe Stitching Club

The price for the Traveling the Globe Stitching Club is just $8.00! When you register, you'll receive a welcome PDF with a supply list and templates to get you started, as well as access to all the club emails that were already sent out to members. Patterns and instructions will be emailed on Tuesdays starting through December 12.

Traveling the Globe Stitching Club: 8.00
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NOTE: If you are outside of the US or Canada, please visit my Etsy shop to sign up.

If you have any questions, please ask them here and I'll answer right in the comments. Or, feel free to email me (molliejohanson at gmail) or reach out via social media.

Let's stitch while traveling the globe!

pattern // halloween candy bats

Candy Bat Embroidery Pattern

If you're batty for Halloween candy, or any candy for that matter, this is an embroidery pattern for you!

As I was doodling and drawing some Halloween candy recently, I realized that it kinda resembled a bat. You know, if you squint and imagine a roly poly super cute bat. Of course, that's pretty much how I picture everything, so it worked out.

This colony of candy bats is flying in front of the moon and they'd love you to stitch them up in a variety of colors. Or just in black and orange like those peanut butter candies that look pretty all wrapped up, but which very few people actually want to eat.

Happy stitching!

calendar // trick-or-treating guinea pigs for october

I'd like to think that guinea pigs would go trick-or-treating for yummy veggie treats. In truth, I'm sure that my two piggies would be far too lazy for that. They would much rather wheek loudly until I bring them something. Which I suppose is their daily version of trick-or-treating!

Anyway, I drew up Captain Cuddles and Lieutenant Nibbles enjoying a Halloween treat for this month's calendar.

As I type this, it's October 5. I'm late with the calendar again. But I won't let myself give up on it just yet. Despite my falling behind on so many things. Perhaps if I were better at actually using a calendar, this wouldn't happen!

These wallpapers will fit most devices, and even though we're nearly a week into the month, they'll still work for the rest of slightly spooky October.

In other news, I have a new newsletter that is slowly replacing my old mailing list! You can sign up right here. Each issue comes out mid-month, so you'll want to be signed up to get the next issue (with an exclusive project!).

book review // pretty handmades by lauren wright

Pretty Handmades Book

For the last week or so I've been stitching, stitching, stitching so I could make something pretty and handmade. Why? Because today I get to show you Lauren Wright's new book Pretty Handmades, along with a project I made from it!

This delightful book is filled with felt and florals, embroidery and hand sewing, and so much more. It perfectly captures Lauren's Molly and Mama style and I was so excited when she asked me to be part of her book showcase, which is a month-long blog tour of sorts. Each day in September, you can see what folks are making. It's a great way to get a glimpse of what's in the book, while being inspired by the different takes each person has on a project.

Pretty Handmades Book

There are so many beautiful projects in Pretty Handmades, but I went for the Ribbons and Bows Clutch, making it just a little different from the original plan. But first, here's a few other projects that caught my eye...

Pretty Handmades Book

The Sweet Treat Wall Banner was a top contender for me. After all, I know that I could add a little Wild Olive face to that cupcake to bring my personality to the pastry!

Pretty Handmades Book

This pillow combines embroidery and English paper piecing, which I love. Isn't the piecing so pretty on this?

Pretty Handmades Book

And then there's this darling felt kitty and the EPP sleeping bag. So cute! I may convince my little sister that she should make this one.

Pretty Handmades Book

I settled on the Ribbons and Bows Clutch because I loved the little detail stitching on the outside and the usefulness of the pockets on the inside. But since I don't wear a lot of hair accessories or have need of a large travel case even for jewelry, I came up with a plan to adapt it slightly.

Pretty Handmades Book

The first change was just for fun. Instead of machine quilting, I hand quilted the outside panel. It really didn't take all that long, and the result is so pretty. Actually, it's probably better than my machine quilting would have been!

I also stitched the flower petals with two straight stitches rather than the suggested lazy daisies. It changes the look just a bit, and it's been a flower stitching method I've wanted to try more.

Pretty Handmades Book

Inside, I made the pockets a little different because of the crochet trim I wanted to use. Partly because I love this navy lace that I bought in NYC and partly because I hoped to make the entire thing without buying any supplies!

Pretty Handmades Book

I added a ribbon tie for holding items, and created a third row of pockets in place of the original hair clip band.

Pretty Handmades Book

The biggest alteration is that I've made my clutch to hold stitching supplies! It's just the right size for a tiny embroidery hoop and lots of EPP. A spool of thread is little lump in there, but I think I can work around that.

If you look closely, you'll notice there's just one thing missing, leaving this project unfinished. A snap! I got down to the last minute and couldn't find my nice sew-on snaps, so I guess I'll be buying a supply after all. Still, not too bad!

And I'm so happy with the result.

One thing I'd point out about the book is that the instructions for each project are extensive. That's good because she walks you through each step thoroughly. But it was a little overwhelming when I first looked at it. Especially as a person who wants to jump right in! If you've done much sewing in the past, you'll find that you can breeze through most of the steps and make something cute in hardly any time at all.

But I think the true test of a project is the repeat test. Would I make this again? Yes! In fact, I'm thinking of making another clutch and filling it with EPP supplies as a gift for my 12-year-old sister for Christmas. And with all the hand work, that's saying something!

Pretty Handmades Book

To see more of the Pretty Handmades book showcase, visit each stop on the tour! And be sure to enter the giveaway that Lauren Wright will have at the end of the month. Because if you like making pretty things, you'll want this book!

September 1 // Lauren Wright www.mollyandmama.com.au
September 2 // Jemima Flendt www.blog.tiedwitharibbon.com
September 3 // Sharon Burgess www.lilabellelanecreations.com
September 4 // Lauren Nash www.transientart.com
September 5 // Sarah Edgar www.alittlehappyplace.blogspot.co.uk
September 6 // Ange Hamilton www.alittlepatchwork.wordpress.com
September 7 // Elea Lutz www.elealutzdesign.com
September 8 // Sarah Scott www.piccolostudio.com.au
September 9 // Martina Bahre www.avaandneve.com.au
September 10 // Heather Andrus www.quiltstory.blogspot.com
September 11 // Faith Essenburg www.saranaave.wordpress.com
September 12 // Alisha Orlando www.ministryoffabric.com.au
September 13 // Bev McCullough www.flamingotoes.com
September 14 // Stacy Olson www.stacyolsondesign.com
September 15 // Ali Phillips www.arabesque-scissors.com
September 16 // Mollie Johanson (you're here!)
September 17 // Kristyne Czepuryk www.prettybyhand.com
September 18 // Xanthe Grundy www.wife-made.com
September 19 // Anne Oliver www.lolliandgrace.com
September 20 // Larisa Shurupov www.stitchingnotes.com
September 21 // Sedef Imer www.downgrapevinelane.com
September 22 // Wynn Tan www.zakkaArt.blogspot.com
September 23 // Veronica AM www.VividFelicity.wordpress.com
September 24 // Minki Kim www.minkikim.com
September 25 // Elise Baek www.eliseandemelie.com
September 26 // Megan Price www.dollyhenry.com.au
September 27 // Nadra Ridgeway www.ellisandhiggs.com
September 28 // Ayda Algin www.cafenohut.com
September 29 // Jodi Godfrey www.talesofcloth.com
September 30 // Lauren Wright www.mollyandmama.com.au