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color combo // fresh cut

Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette

This fabric. I saw it and was head over heels. It was one of those fabric lines where I said, if I ever find a deal on that, I WILL buy it. So when it was up as one of Missouri Star Quilt Company's Daily Deals a few weeks back, I snatched up a charm pack.

Fresh Cut is a recent line from Moda, and the colors are so fresh...and...colorful. Okay, so I'm not feeling the words today. But the fabrics have a slightly vintage feeling to them, and I can't wait to make something with these prints. I'm considering a quilt of some kind.

But since the colors are so, ahem, fresh and colorful, I thought they would make a nice DMC floss palette. Take a look...

Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette
Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette

There are actually more colors in this fabric line than I selected. Some are variations on these colors, and some are more like neutrals (navy, gray, etc.). I went with the ones that I really loved.

So you can see more of why I love this fabric line, and because once I start taking pictures of fabric and floss, it's hard to stop, here are a few more beauty shots!

Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette
Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette
Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette
Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette

That last one is a color that doesn't really fit for me. At least, not with the dominant colors that you see in the rest of the line. And yet, when you take it all as a whole, it completely works. I love fabric lines for this very reason. So often there are things that you might not match up on your own, but they really are perfect together!

Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette

And finally, some neutral. Here you really see the colors pop, and I think that stitching something with these floss hues on a gray would really be stunning.

I hope these colors inspire some freshly cut stitching!

printable // rainbow raindrop card

Rainbow Card

I love and collect stationery items, rarely use them, and then can never seem to find them when I need them. Printables are a great solution for that, right? Let's hope that I remember that I can print these rainbow cards the next time I need one.

If you're like me, this handy little PDF may be just what you need. You can fold them and write inside, or cut it to use as a flat (because there's plenty of room to write on the front!). They'll fit in A4 "invitation" envelopes.

Plus, who doesn't need more rainbow order in their life?

Speaking of rainbows, these brightly colored Ink Joy pens are awesome. I bought them as an Amazon add-on once, and now I'm hooked on them! They come in several styles, so go get some pens. You won't regret it. (I'm not compensated for this...not even an affiliate link...I just love them!)

Blank Card Inside

This is what the inside of the cards look like. Blank. Coming up, my family will be assembling the 120 Caregiver Kits that the Wild Olive community helped purchase. Each one gets a handwritten note.

That got me thinking. Would you like to send a message of encouragement or blessing in one of these Caregiver Kits? Blank cards wouldn't be so blank any more.

I'm happy to transfer the message from a comment here or an email (send to molliejohanson at gmail dot com) onto a card (I haven't decided if I'll be using the rainbows or not), and then send it along. If you weren't able to participate in the fundraising, this is also a great way to still be involved. I know that each one of these notes is going to mean a lot to the recipients.

If you would like to actually send a handwritten note for me to drop into one of the kits, again, just send me an email and we'll work that out. Hopefully kits will be going together the first week of May!

Questions? I'll do my best to answer in the comments!

book review // sweetly stitched handmades

Sweetly Stitched Handmades
Sweetly Stitched Handmades

Are you familiar with this phrase? "Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then, be a unicorn." That's how I feel about Amy Sinibaldi of nanaCompany.

Always find your own stitching style. Unless you can emulate Amy. Then, be Amy.

I've loved reading nanaCompany for years, and I've always been smitten by her style. She makes you want to climb into her photos...into her world. And that's not even counting the lovely things that she makes!

Amy excels at making even the supplies look beautiful, and of course choosing delightful fabrics. Her photo styling truly adds to the charm (my photo up there is my best try at being Amy!), but I've found that she is sweetness itself.

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

I'm not gonna lie. The first time Amy and I interacted on Instagram I got a little giddy. So when she offered to send me a copy of her book, and it came to me with a little message inside, I nearly died.

To say that this "review" is going to be a little biased is a bit of an understatement. I've been hoping that Amy would write a book for a while, and I was expecting to love Sweetly Stitched Handmades. And I did.

Often nanaCompany posts show finished items without a how-to. That alone is inspiring, but I always get a little excited when a tutorial pops up. With a book full of this inspiration AND instructions to try it yourself, how could I not love this book?

Sweetly Stitched Handmades
Sweetly Stitched Handmades

This bear billow is our favorite. And by our, I mean everyone in my family. Oh my, this is sweet! The fabrics! The trims! The hand quilting! Even that slouchiness.

Not all of the projects have how-to illustrations like this one, but where there are steps that benefit from some visual assistance, they are there. And they're cute too!

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

Charming pockets? Check! You have no idea how much I wish I had a wall to hang this. (I'm crazy short on wall space these days...)

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

This trivet is so very nanaCompany. Actually, everything in here is, but some projects feel especially like what I would expect to see on her blog. And it's things like her fabrics, crochet trim, and that little embroidered tag in the corner.

Even the book design has those kinds of details.

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

In fact, Amy has a two-page spread talking about those little embroidered tags and how to make them. I'm telling you...this is the "how to be Amy" guide that I've been looking for!

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

This interactive doll quilt is adorable, especially because there are little stitched mice under the doors! There's also a baby quilt in the book that I think I need to make.

Who am I kidding? I want to make everything in here!

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

Maybe starting with this jam jar pincushion? A goal for this year is that I want Sunday afternoons to be about stitching things just for me and my family, and Sweetly Stitched Handmades is going to be my go-to resource for those projects.

Amy, thank you for being as sweet as the things you make!

Find Sweetly Stitched Handmades on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through your local bookseller.

(By the way, I joke about wanting to become Amy (maybe only half joking?), but even if you make these a little different from how she does, these are simply wonderful projects. Check it out...you won't regret it!)

giving and receiving the studio ghibli swap

Ghibli Swap

Have you ever participated in an online craft swap? There are always tons of them going on Instagram, and I always think they look like so much fun! I rarely do them though, because in order to make something special takes time that I don't always have.

But when the Studio Ghibli Swap was announce, I knew that I HAD to be part of it. I love My Neighbor Totoro, and lots of other Studio Ghibli films, so this swap had the potential to be amazing.

My partner Julia liked Howl's Moving Castle (especially Calcifer!) and Totoro and Soot Sprites, so I focused on those things. The little stuffed Calcifer was made using a tutorial I found, but changing it up a little to make it a "Wild Olive" Calcifer.

For "extras" I made a triangle zip pouch, and included some socks and nail polish in colors to match the main project. Oh, and some caramel lip balm! I lucked out, because Julia likes caramel, and I didn't even know that!

Ghibli Swap

The main project I sent was a mini quilt that I designed to look like Totoro, but only give the essence of him. My partner said she like hexagons, and that played to my strengths! I drew the design, and HOPED it would work as I thought it would. The results aren't perfect, but thankfully those curves didn't drive me too crazy!

Ghibli Swap
Ghibli Swap

Totoro's spots are embroidered, and some Soot Sprites are on there too. Magic. If you look closely at the whole quilt, you'll see that I "signed" it with a little face, too.

Ghibli Swap

And then, this is what came my way! This swap was set up so you were making for someone different than you were receiving from. Amy made this fantastic mini quilt for me, and sent along some delightful extras. Just look at that Totoro! And Cat Bus socks! And lots of other goodies too.

Yes, I did go a little crazy as I was trying to finish my project in the midst of other things I was working on, but I'm so glad that I participated in the swap. Not only was it fun to design something and receive something, but thinking about another person and seeing what everyone was working on made this a really great experience!

You can see pictures from everyone in the swap on Instagram. Just search #studioghibliswap

project // polymer clay raindrop necklace

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

It is raining like crazy here today, almost as if the weather knew that I had this tutorial planned. It's perfect for a rainy day, or perhaps a couple rainy days, because you'll need to paint, wait, paint, wait, and so on. But it's fun, easy, and cute!

Perfect to wear during April showers, May flowers, or if you're feeling a little sad. (Think of it as a tear drop then!) Now, let's make a raindrop necklace!

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

You will need:

Polymer clay (Sculpey, Fimo, etc.)
Acrylic paint in light blue and black
1/8" wide ribbon
Rolling pin or smooth jar
Sharp knife
Baking pan and aluminum foil
Paint brush
Optional: Sculpey glaze or another sealant

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

Grab a little blob of clay and warm it up with your hands so it is smooth.

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

Shape the clay into a rough raindrop shape, then use your rolling pin or smooth jar to roll the clay out flat. It should be about 3/16" thick. 1/8" is too thin, but 1/4" is a little thick.

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

Use the knife to cut out a raindrop shape. It doesn't have to be perfect, and if you don't like how it came out, you can squish it together and start again.

Use the toothpick to make a hole at the top. It should be large enough for your ribbon to fit through. Smooth the edges a bit with your finger.

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

Now it's time to bake the pendant. Follow the instructions for the clay you're using. For mine, I'm using Sculpey and I baked this at 275 F for 10 minutes.

I recommend placing the clay on a piece of foil so you aren't putting the clay on your baking pans.

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

The painting is the part that takes the longest. And I somehow always forget this fact. You'll need a LOT of coats. Unless you started with a color of clay that is close to what your paint color is. Going from white to aqua took maybe 8 coats. And although the paint dries quickly, don't rush each coat.

And this should be obvious, but don't start with say, hot pink clay and then try to paint it aqua. Eventually you'll probably get there, but you'll go mad in the process.

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

After you're happy with the base color and it's good and dry, grab the toothpick and dip it into the black paint. Make two tiny dots for eyes...

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

...and add a tiny smile.

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

When the face is dry, you can add a coat of sealer so it's protected and shiny. Then, when everything is good and dry, cut a 30-inch piece of ribbon and loop it through the hole in the pendant. Knot the ends.

Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace
Polymer Clay Raindrop Necklace

Wear your necklace right away, or save it for a rainy day!

formatting photos for retina display


Fair warning: This is a geek post for people with blogs. It's also long. You've been warned.

Not too long ago I decided that it was time for me to get a new laptop. It has already resulted in my getting more patterns made whilst keeping me engaged with the people around me. It was a good choice.

One of the features on my new Mac Book (which of course, I bought before the new models were announced) is retina display. This never seemed like a big deal to me, and wasn't important, and then I experienced it. Everything on the screen is so clear, so crisp, so beautiful! Except my blog wasn't.

My blog images displayed kinda blurry on my new screen, and I didn't like it. And if it looks that way to me, it must look that way to others with retina display. And I looked at other sites and found that some blogs and websites look good, and others have that same blur.

But before I get too far, let me show you what I mean. Some of this will be simulated to account for different displays, and I'm hoping that it works properly!

Embroidery colors

Above is how this photo should look on any computer screen. I've made some adjustments to my image coding and size to have it look pretty on a retina display.

Embroidery colors

The image above now has different settings. If you're on a standard monitor, a laptop, or mobile device, this probably looks fine to you as long as you don't zoom. But if you're viewing on a retina display, notice that the photo just isn't as crisp.

Embroidery colors

Now, this last image shows the blur, even if you're on a standard display. Without adjustment, this is how all the images on my blog (and potentially yours too!) look on a retina display. (On retina, it's just plain scary.)

Now, is this a big deal? Is anyone hurt by this? Certainly not. But whenever I can, I want to present things in the best way possible. As I learn something new, I want to improve! I want to go from good to great! Plus, I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of this sort of display coming along.

So, here's where it gets technical.

Photos are made of pixels, and my main blog column is 640px wide. So, I've been displaying the photos at 640px wide. That works for standard monitors.

Retina displays work by displaying twice as many pixels in the same space. So a 640px wide column actually shows 1280px. Tinier pixels all squished close makes the display so pretty! (I suppose that wasn't the most technical description...)

A Google search for retina display blog photos turns up some help on the topic, and I recommend having a look at that to find possible fixes for your blog platform. (This one didn't work for my blog, but helped me a lot.) Here's how I fixed mine.

My photos are hosted with Flickr.

I create all of my photos at 1280px wide or more. Actually, I usually make them at least 2000px wide, just so that I have edited copies at a larger size.

When I grab the html code from Flickr to place the images in my blog posts, it gives the option to choose what size you want. Instead of choosing the one that is 640px wide, I now choose the option for 1600px wide, or whichever is closest to 1280px, but still larger.

For your blog, you would choose whatever is closest to twice your blog width.

In the code, it tells the width and height that the image will display. I change the width to 640px and remove the height (it's not necessary, and I don't want to always do the math).

You're done! Now the images will display properly for both standard and retina displays!

And now I have to decide if I should go back in my blog posts and fix the images, or just move forward. I still have things to fix elsewhere on my blog (including my sidebar), so we'll see where I go with this. But I thought I'd share this sooner than later so you could get a jump on it...if you like geeking out about this sort of thing too!

Hopefully it's been helpful, and if you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer intelligently!

And a quick question for you: Have you noticed that the images on my blog are loading a lot slower lately, or about the same?

caregiver kits // a very huge thank you

I didn't think I could do it. I wasn't even sure that we could do it. But I knew that if God wanted to, I knew that HE could do it. And He did.

Since February 18, the start of Lent, 100% of the profits from my shop and blog sales have been going toward building Ebola Caregiver Kits. The kits include disinfectant, soap, medications, protective gear, and more. The need for these kits is urgent, and I felt that this was something important to work on.

The goal was $1500. That's the minimum number of kits I could order supplies for, and that makes 50 kits.

Well over 100 people made purchases during this time. They bought embroidery patterns, recipe cards, club memberships and Ultimate DIY Bundles. And after I subtract the fees from all of those (Etsy and Paypal still get their cut!), the total we raised was...

$1795! Goal met!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to every single person who helped make this happen!

But it's even better than that. Because an amazing, awesome, generous family emailed me to let me know that they are matching the entire amount. I can't think about it without crying. So a very special thank you to them.

I'll be rounding up the amount to have it come out evenly, which means that this week I'll be ordering supplies to make 120 Caregiver Kits, and assembling them with my family soon after. 120! That's more than twice what I thought would be difficult to do.

All glory to God, with much thanks to everyone who helped with an order and who spread the word. Be watching for an update on this when everything shows up and these kits come together.

If you'd like to contribute directly to World Vision's Caregiver Kits project, you can do so here. I know that every bit helps them help others.

pattern // he is risen indeed

He is Risen Indeed

He is risen!

Easter is THE DAY. This day we celebrate that God's Son, Jesus, came and loved and died for us, and then...he busted out of that grave alive again. The power, grace, forgiveness, and love of God overwhelm me.

And so I choose to follow Jesus. I choose to accept his forgiveness, let myself be covered by his grace and love, and see each and every day as a celebration of my risen Savior.

I drew up this design, not for Easter, but for every day. Because every day He is Risen Indeed! I need to stitch this reminder and live in this light.

Happy Easter, friends! Be blessed and know that you are so very loved.

my first shopping trip to daiso

Daiso shopping trips spoils

Dear friends, I've recently had my first Daiso experience.

If you aren't familiar with Daiso, it's kind of like a Japanese dollar store. Nearly everything is $1.50, and it's so very Japanese. Lots of kawaii, pretty papers, sweet dishes, and of course, Japanese snacks. They only have stores on the West Coast, so when I was visiting Seattle, I made a point to visit one of these little treasures.

Daiso shopping trips spoils

I had seen and heard about people finding fun craft supplies, so that was one of the first places in the store that I stopped. They didn't have all of the wonderful things that I've seen on Instagram, but like shopping at Dollar Tree or the Dollar Spot at Target, you just never know what you'll encounter.

Of course, I still found some fun items! Buttons, thimbles, a measuring tape, and drawstring accessories! I also picked up some little craft kits for my sister.

Daiso shopping trips spoils

The paper goods were sooooo much fun. Lots of stationery to choose from, but I tried to resist. I have a habit of buying stationery items and never using them. These delightful little bags, grid paper word cards, and paper tape (not washi tape exactly) all made it into my basket.

Daiso shopping trips spoils

Super adorable twist ties? Check. Plastic grass for bento boxes? Check.

Okay, so I've never made bento in my life, but at $1.50, I somehow felt that my life needed that plastic grass. I have a day or so to figure out how to use them for Easter.

Daiso shopping trips spoils

And then there was this little towel. How I wish there had been more of these! The rest of the towels and furoshiki cloths weren't as nice or as pretty. But this one...this one is going to become something crafty.

And now I shall start hoping and hoping that Daiso decides to open up a store in the Chicago area!