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summer reading stitching club registration

Summer Reading Stitching Club

Summer is here and that means it's time for Summer Reading Stitching Club! When you were growing up, or maybe even as an adult, did you participate in a summer reading club at your local library? I LOVED it as a kid and I'm bringing that to my new Wild Olive Stitching Club.

This year, summer reading clubs will feel different in many communities, but that doesn't mean we can't have our own version online...with embroidery and English paper piecing! I chose 12 classic children's books to embroider on little hand-pieced books, which will then become a quilted book bag. If you'd rather, you could also make them into a mini quilt.

Summer Reading Stitching Club
Summer Reading Stitching Club

Each week, club members will receive an embroidery pattern PDF by email, along with some other fun along the way. The patterns represent key elements or characters from books, but the books will be a surprise each time (though you can probably guess a few from the photos!). Taking a cue from illustrated classics, these patterns are all stitched in a single color. It makes stitching them fast and easy while giving them a bold look!

Summer Reading Stitching Club
Summer Reading Stitching Club
Summer Reading Stitching Club

Summer Reading Stitching Club combines several needlecrafts that I love. Embroidery (all simple stitches), English paper piecing (all the instructions come with the club), and sewing (all straight seams, but it will help if you know your way 'round a sewing machine).

If you've ever done one of my paid stitching clubs in the past, you'll be familiar with the process and format of this club. The Summer Reading Stitching Club will run from June 2 to August 25. That's 12 weeks of patterns, plus time for finishing.

When you sign up, you'll get a PDF welcome kit with a supply list, EPP templates, and instructions for getting ready.

Summer Reading Stitching Club
Summer Reading Stitching Club

The cost for the entire club is just $6.00 if you sign up by June 8. After that, the price will go up to $8.00.

The club starts June 2, so be sure to sign up early so you can stitch along with us!

Note: All of the books represented in this stitching club are considered classics, but a few contain views and character portrayals that are problematic at best. Rather than avoiding these titles completely, I see them as opportunities to think and talk about what makes these themes wrong then and now, where the beliefs still exist, and how we can do better going forward.

Questions? Ask in the comments and I'll get back to you right away!

pattern // kawaii crossing bakery cross stitch

Kawaii Crossing Bakery Cross Stitch

Well, I finished cross stitching the Kawaii Crossing Bakery, and now I have the free pattern for you!

Let me tell you, this little town is my happy place. And I just want to spend more time here. Like, I want to actually walk down these streets and visit the sewing shop, garden center, and bakery. Because a sweet and cute world is what I'm craving. How about you?

Kawaii Crossing Bakery Cross Stitch

As I added the bakery to my town, I continued stitching the streets a little. Stitching all of this early would make the rest of this a lot easier down the road (get it...streets? down the road?). But I'm adding it bit by bit. At any rate, I love seeing this second row showing up.

A few folks wanted to do theirs all in one long row, which is also fantastic, and I can't wait to see! If that's you, tag me (@molliejohanson) on Instagram and/or use the tag #kawaiicrossing or #wildolivestitchingclub so everyone can also see your work!

Kawaii Crossing Bakery Cross Stitch

Oh, and I over-stitched my green grass, so what you see doesn't match up with the chart. But it may? We shall see as I get started on the June design.

You can grab the updated Kawaii Crossing Stitching Club chart below or work with the individual shop charts, which are under the cross stitch patterns from this year.

pattern // kawaii crossing bakery embroidery pattern

Kawaii Crossing Bakery Embroidery Pattern

With sharing both embroidery and cross stitch patterns for the Kawaii Crossing Wild Olive Stitching Clubs, I like to mix it up with which one I'll share first each month. And this time the embroidery folks get their pattern first!

This happy little bakery is all ready for you to embroider. You can add it into the English paper piecing mini quilt design or stitch it large on a tea towel or apron for the kitchen!

When I introduced this bakery, I mentioned that it's inspired by my grandma, and if she were still living, I'd definitely be stitching a kitchen towel for her. In fact, my embroidery journey started with her letting me stitch on her kitchen towels. Over the years, when I'd be helping (and probably baking!) at her house, I'd find one of those towels with my colorful running stitches still in place along the hems.

Oh, and speaking of when I introduced the Kawaii Crossing bakery...I managed to get more yeast! Yay for more baking!

I'm also very excited to share that I have a new Stitching Club in the works! Summer, even staying home, is gonna be stitchy and fun!

project // millenium falcon felt plush

Millennium Falcon Felt Plush

Happy Star Wars Day! This May the Fourth, I'm very happy to share my pattern for making a felt Millennium Falcon.

I love, love, love making Star Wars projects, and usually they start as gifts for my brother. In the past, I've designed a Wompa, a Storm Trooper, Maz Kanata, C-3PO, and more. This particular plush is a little different from the others, in that it's a ship and not a character. But I think Star Wars fans would agree that the Millennium Falcon sort of is a character, right?

So here's the story on this. It's been a while since I shared a Star Wars Day pattern and that's because I started this two years ago. At least, I think that's when I started it. It's been so long that I couldn't actually find the step-by-step photos I took. Yikes!

Since I can't show you all the steps for this, I almost decided to let it be only a one-of-a-kind felt ship. But maaaaayybe you're up for trying this with a few simple instructions? I'll warn you that at times it was a little fiddly. But worth it, I think! Be sure to look at the photos as a guide for placement on the pieces.

Millennium Falcon Felt Plush

Here's what you need:

Grayish-tan felt in two shades (though you could use just one)
Charcoal gray felt
Aqua blue felt
Dark gray-tan embroidery floss
Pins and/or Wonder Clips

Millennium Falcon Plush Pattern PDF

1. Embroider the lines from the main ship piece in light gray-tan felt. Embroider the lines from the smaller pieces on dark gray-tan felt.

I did this before cutting out the shape because I used Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy, so I didn't want to risk it shrinking when soaking off the stabilizer.

I used three strands and back stitch for almost everything except the thick lines on the pattern. For those I did bullion knots. And for the dots on the small front piece I used french knots.

2. Cut out the embroidered Millennium Falcon shape (plus an extra one that's not embroidered) and the small embroidered pieces. Stitch the small pieces onto the main piece with whip stitch and three strands of embroidery floss. They should fit in the non-embroidered areas.

Millennium Falcon Felt Plush
Millennium Falcon Felt Plush

3. Cut a strip of aqua blue felt with the long rectangle template. Cut a long strip of light gray tan felt that's the same height as the blue strip (1-1/4" tall). I think mine was 24 inches? You can piece this together if you need to. Basically it will need to wrap around the sides of the Falcon.

I added a face to the blue piece because it's kinda my thing. You can do that too if you want, and now's the time! But it's more traditional without the face.

4. Join the end of the blue strip to the end of the tan strip. The blue will be the back of the ship when it goes into lightspeed. Start sewing the blue strip in place along the back where the two indents are, attaching it to the embroidered top. Use three strands of embroidery floss and whip stitch.

Continue sewing around the entire shape, fitting the tan felt into all the lines of the ship. You should end up with a little extra tan felt, which you can trim off. If you came up short, add another strip to finish it off.

5. Next, sew around the bottom in the same way. You should end up with an opening where the blue and tan meet.

6. Fill the Millennium Falcon with stuffing. When it puffs up a little, it's super cute! But don't overstuff it. Stitch the opening closed.

Millennium Falcon Felt Plush

7. For the escape pods and cockpit, using the templates, cut a curved piece of dark gray-tan felt and cut it in half. Cut one half-curved piece (the same size as the ones you just cut) from charcoal gray felt. Cut three charcoal gray circles and one dark gray-tan rectangle.

8. Stitch the curved pieces onto the circles and then stitch the end down where it overlaps. You should have pieces that flare out a little at the bottom.

9. For the gray-tan side escape pods, put a tiny bit of stuffing in each one and then stitch them down to the sides of the ship in the large indented areas.

10. For the cockpit, stitch the rectangle to the end of the charcoal gray piece and stitch it into a cylinder.

Now, this next part is the hardest to explain, because I kid you not, I just cut the thing. If it doesn't go well the first time, thankfully, felt isn't very expensive.

11. Flatten the cylinder on the cockpit piece and cut it off at about a 45-degree angle. Add some stuffing and stitch it onto the side of the ship as shown in the photos.

Millennium Falcon Felt Plush

All that's left to do is send your Millennium Falcon to infinity and beyond! Wait...that's the wrong movie.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this VERY paired down tutorial. I'll do my best to answer any questions, but a lot of this I just figured out as I went. As I said, this was made as a gift, but over a long period of time and without taking notes. Oops!

Also, my version of the Falcon is nowhere near as detailed as the real deal, even with all that stitching on top. This is more like an impression of the Millennium Falcon, and I kind of love that.

May the Fourth be with you!

NOTE: The Millennium Falcon is copyright Disney/LucasArts, and I'm only sharing this pattern as fan art. Please do not sell items made with this pattern.

calendar // may's kawaii crossing bakery wallpaper

It's May and time to visit the Kawaii Crossing bakery!

I planned out most of the shops for this year back in January and I knew that May needed to be a bakeshop of some kind. Why? Because May was my grandma's birthday month and she's who taught me to bake! She taught me many things, and lots of things remind me of her, but baked goods are at the top of the list. So in honor of Nanny, we have a swirled pecan roll bakery.

Of course, in January I wasn't aware that we'd all be staying at home and many people would start baking for the first time. Nor did I expect that we'd have a yeast shortage! Thankfully we bake a lot at my house and we started this stay-at-home order with a decent supply, but it's dwindling. Maybe this little bakery has some extra they would share?

While I dream of baking Nanny's rye bread, pecan rolls, and coffee bread, you can go ahead and grab a new wallpaper.

(I'm also about to make a bread starter so I can continue to bake yummy treats even without packaged yeast!)

pattern // kawaii crossing garden center embroidery pattern

Are you ready to embroider a kawaii garden center? This month's free Kawaii Crossing pattern is here! I really love this little flower pot shop and all its tiny details.

When I was little, I spent a lot of time at Frank's Nursery and Crafts. Did they have those stores by you? I have such happy memories of shopping there. Certainly lots of craft supplies. I even recently used some felt from my stash that still had Frank's price tags on the sheets!

But I also loved walking around outside by the plants. Like many garden centers, they had tiny pea gravel, separated by sidewalks. That pea gravel was my favorite. I used to look through it for "special" rocks and then slip them in my pocket. It's true. And boy did I get in trouble! My parents clearly didn't want me growing up to be a rock and landscaping thief. Ha!

Anyway, without realizing, I added a little yellow flower above the door on this garden center, which may have been a sub-conscious nod to Frank's. They had a similar yellow flower in their logo! But back to the pattern...

The tiny details that make this extra cute will make this a tricky pattern at times, but if you use only one or two strands on the bitty plants (on the shelf out front), that will help. That's for the tiny version that will work for the mini quilt. If you're using the larger version in the PDF those bits shouldn't be a problem.

Now, download the pattern and start stitching!

pattern // kawaii crossing garden center cross stitch

Kawaii Crossing Garden Center Cross Stitch

It's time to get out in the garden and do some stitching! Okay, so it might still be a little chilly in some places to stitch outdoors, but at least you can cross stitch a garden center and mentally prepare for a new season. My latest Kawaii Crossing pattern is free and ready to download!

I've been adding these new patterns all in a row, and with the garden center, this top row is complete! I'm working mine in three rows, but I've seen some folks change this up a little. Here's the first little lane:

Kawaii Crossing Garden Center Cross Stitch

This is my first time making a larger cross stitch design made up of smaller elements, and I learn a little more with each pattern I add. Thank you for bearing with me. But I have to say I'm having so much fun!

If you're new to this, I'm working with two strands on 16-count Aida. You can grab the entire pattern (so far!) below, or work with the individual shop charts. For those, you'll need to look back through the cross stitch patterns from this year.

Kawaii Crossing Garden Center Cross Stitch

And don't forget to tag me (@molliejohanson) on Instagram and/or use the tag #kawaiicrossing or #wildolivestitchingclub so everyone can see!

the secret to doing it all

Times are weird. Some of us have more time than they used to. Others are busier than ever. And no matter where you land in that spectrum, you may be feeling like you you're not sure what you should be doing. Or even what you can do. Someone reminded me of the embroidery pattern in this post, and it felt appropriate for me to do a quick update here and help folks find it again. So enjoy this post and free embroidery pattern from 2014. Do what you can do.

Waiting to be stitched

The Internet is full of examples of people who appear to be "doing it all," and perhaps they are. You may have even looked at me and asked, "how do you do so much?" Well, today I'm here to share the secret.

Every day there are dozens, hundreds, even thousands of things that call for your attention. Do you tackle all of them? Probably not. Spam filters and caller ID are examples of how we choose to weed out some of the things that we don't need to handle. Once those things are filtered out, we're left with the bigger stuff, and this is where it gets tricky.

In the latest Uppercase magazine newsletter, editor Janine writes about how she does so much: "My day is always a juggle of what is imperative and what I want to be doing, with the must-do always winning out." If you have a job outside the home, that's a must-do. If you're a stay-at-home mom, feeding little ones throughout the day is a must-do. If you freelance craft (like me), meeting deadlines is a must-do.

Everything else falls under things that would be good to do, or that you simply want to do. These are extras.

Squeezing in extras whenever you can is how they happen. Yes, you can try to schedule things with the best organizational strategies, and that may work for some, but Janine from Uppercase has this insight: "What I have learned, though, is that time cannot be controlled. It is basically unmanageable." Another way to say this is "life happens."

And so here's the big secret to doing it all: don't.

Rather, I offer this alternative...

Say yes to fewer things. So no to more things. Choose what's really important for your life...for your soul. Do what you can do, and don't feel bad that you're not doing it all.

I spend a ton of time making things, and I can do that because there's a lot that I don't do. I don't go out with friends often (maybe one Saturday morning a month...if that!). Crafting is now my primary job, but it doesn't pay a huge amount. I don't live in my own apartment, because I choose this work (and time with my family) over that independence. I'm also single, so I have less family responsibilities. I also don't release nearly as many patterns and projects as I would like to.

But it's a lesson I'm still working on. I'd like to think that this post is progress. You see, I had hoped to embroider the design above. I have a hoop with fabric and floss all picked out. I'd like this hanging on my wall as a reminder to do what I can do.

I opted to share my thoughts and not worry about the stitching just yet.

This might not have been the big secret you were looking for, but I hope it gives some hope. It's okay to let some things go. Doing everything, or even just doing more, may not be what you need. You may just need some grace in your days. Do what you can do.

beyond embroidery basics // woven circle stitch

Woven Circle Stitch

Do you ever need to embroider a small circle? You can use simple outline stitches, but there are more options. And that's where the woven circle stitch comes in! Today's beyond embroidery basics tutorial shows you how to form this stitch and ways to use it.

A while back, I showed how to make another type of circle stitch. The woven circle stitch is similar to that in how it looks, but it's easier to do. Instead of making a circle of thread and tacking it down with two stitches, this starts with four tacking stitches and then you weave the circle under them.

But before I get too far, let me bring in a friend of mine...

It has been a long time! Everyone say hello to Olive! She likes to help me out in these stitch posts and it didn't feel right to make another one without her.

Plus, I had olives on my mind when making this tutorial. (Don't tell Olive this, but this stitch is perfect for making the sliced olives on the pizza in my pattern set, A Pizza My Heart.")

Oh, nothing! Let's move along, shall we?

Woven Circle Stitch

At the top of what will be your circle, make a small straight stitch.

Woven Circle Stitch

Make three more straight stitches like the markings on a clock at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock spots. Come back up near the top stitch.

I know, Olive. Right now it looks more like a diamond or twinkly star shape. But trust me...it's gonna become a circle! A woven circle stitch!

Woven Circle Stitch

Slide the needle under the top straight stitch.

Now, despite that clock description I gave before, I'm actually working counterclockwise. But you can work in either direction!

Woven Circle Stitch

Slide the needle under each stitch around the circle. Don't pull the thread too tight or it will look more square-ish.

Repeat this, sliding the needle under each stitch, so you go around the circle several times.

Woven Circle Stitch

It's okay, Olive! Because now it's time to end the stitch by going down through the fabric under the circle part.

Woven Circle Stitch

And that's a woven circle stitch!

Really, you can use this for any time you want to make a circle. You can even make the straight stitches a little longer so you have a fuller area to fill in with more dizzying times around the circle.

It's also great for making tiny flowers!

Woven Circle Stitch

I made these with a few different sized circles (some are a little more like ovals because I wasn't being super careful), and then I added french knots in the middle to make them into flowers. See how fun and easy that was?

Try these out for your next floral embroidery project, for stitched pizza toppings, or anytime you need some fun polka dot circles. And thanks to Olive for joining me again!

calendar // april's kawaii crossing garden center wallpaper

April is here! Normally (at least in the northern hemisphere) that means lots of people heading to the nursery to buy flats of flowers. We're staying home in these parts, but people are still using the opportunity to get outside in their yards and prepare for spring. If we can't shop as usual, at least we can imagine visiting the garden center in my little fictional town of Kawaii Crossing!

I'd like to think that if you buy flowers and other plants from a shop that looks like a flower pot that the flowers would all have smiling faces in your garden. That might be why snapdragons are one of my favorites to plant...you can squeeze them and make them talk so it's like they have little faces!

Okay, so let's add some spring cheer to our screens! Grab a wallpaper below!

What other flower things might come your way this month? I'm already thinking about some fun!