The other day I felt the need to draw a narwhal. It was one of the creatures that I considered having in my book, but left out, and that kinda made me sad. It was time.
Now you can get a very sweet little narwhal surrounded by some bubbles, seaweed, and such. And a word: believe.
Why believe? Well, I just love hearing from people that they didn't think that narwhals were real creatures. Sometimes I read comments from people who still don't know that they really do exist. If you're one of those people, go Google it. We'll wait.
Did you see? Do you believe me? They're real! There truly are unicorns swimming around in the oceans!
Although the design fits in an 8-inch hoop, and that's sorta big for one design, I'm calling this a mini pattern. Why? So that you can get this pattern for just $2.00, or get it in a choose 3 pack for only $5.00.
Of course, you don't have to use the entire design. You could change the word at the top, stitch the narwhal alone, or swap in another design within the undersea borders.
And yes, I did use metallic thread for this. It's some sort of magical thread that was super easy to work with. And get ready for this...I don't know where to get more or even the brand name. If I figure it out, I'll be sure to pass along the info of the incredible metallic floss!
By Mollie Johanson at Thursday, May 21, 2015
You know those books that you just want to look through over and over? They are the books that are so delightful that you want to climb in the pages. Snail Mail: Rediscovering the Art and Craft of Handmade Correspondence is one of those books.
If I'm being honest, I'm terrible at snail mail. Sometimes I'm pretty bad at email too, but for some reason I find it difficult to get things posted in a timely fashion. (Ask anyone who has ever expected...or is currently expecting...mail from me!) But that doesn't mean that I don't still love mail.
I love both sending and receiving something sweet through the postal service. And I admire beautiful envelopes, stamps, and mail art. Even if I can't quite accomplish that very well on my own.
Michelle Mackintosh's book is full of all of these things, and more. It's a guide for how to write different kinds of correspondence, how to make it pretty, and everything in between. And I'm quite confident that it's going to do wonders for me and my mail habits.
Throughout the book, there are quotes and letters from famous folks. The quotes appear on handmade paper (for which there are instructions to make your own!), and the letters are shown in their original format as well as being transcribed for when you can't quite make out Beatrix Potter's handwriting. But let me tell you...I just love her doodles!
Not all snail mail comes in the form of a letter, and this little "Make Me!" shows how to make and mail some peg people in a very cool package. I'd be completely delighted if this appeared in my mail box!
To encourage handwritten notes and letters, there are handwriting helps. For when you just need to type it out, the author shows some very wonderful fonts. For some reason, these letters were especially appealing to me.
Want to display your collection of letters or other postal-ish items? There are ideas for that too!
And what book about mail would be complete without a photo of a kitty post box?
If you couldn't already tell, I'm smitten with this book. The hard cover, matte pages, and stripy sides are all kinds of wonderful. So are the pages of stickers at the back. Also, it smells nice.
I can't wait to try some of the examples in here and mail them to folks...just for fun! I'll be sure to include a few extras just because. (If you receive a letter from me, be prepared for sequins!)
Since I love a good DIY, I've started making a tiny fabric envelope like the one shown on the cover of Snail Mail. Not only is it made with materials I love and with some stitching, but it's also tiny for extra cute!
While you go order yourself a copy of Snail Mail: Rediscovering the Art and Craft of Handmade Correspondence, I'll be gawking at pretty pictures of precious post!
I received a copy of Snail Mail for review, but the opinions, as crazy fangirl as they are, are entirely my own. You can't make up enthusiasm like this!
Thread Bits is a new series that I'm trying out. Sharing thoughts and ideas about sewing, fabric, and thread. Today I'd like to hear your thoughts on something...
This is a little quilt project I'm working on. I ordered fabric, went shopping for more fabric, cut and pinned, and really felt like I was rolling. Then I started sewing and found that one of my fabrics just wasn't going to work.
The project stalled. The thought of unpinning, cutting new fabric, pinning again, and then hoping that it would all work, well, in the words of Emperor Kuzco, it threw off my groove.
I know that this happens to everyone is some way or another, so I thought we might have a conversation about it. Here's my question:
What causes you to lose your momentum on a project, and what helps you get back in the groove?
Share your answer, read others' answers, and maybe even come back later to see what folks are saying. Who knows? We may all find new ways to keep our sewing, stitching, crafting going!
I always hope that when people see the things I make, they'll think that they are super cute. It's sort of a goal. When I make things with faces, I try to make them kawaii.
So when the website Super Cute Kawaii asked to review my book and then invited me to do a Super Cute Creator interview, I got excited. And I felt validated. That's a pretty great feeling.
To read Marceline's review of Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small, head right over here, then check out the super cute interview. You'll find out what got me hooked on kawaii, though this photo is a good indicator!
You guys, I just love making super cute stuff, and I hope that I can continue to do so for a long time! Thanks, to Marceline of Super Cute Kawaii for the encouragement to keep it up!
By Mollie Johanson at Saturday, May 16, 2015
Back in January I made a mug rug that has become one of my favorite things I've made. I say that a lot, but I'm completely sincere. The quilted mat featured a circle formed out of pentagons, and since May is pentagon month, I thought I would bring back that ring of shapes.
Instead of stitching them onto something else, this time I looked for a way to use the pentagon circle on its own. And it occurred to me that the circle in the middle would make a nice frame. There are probably plenty of ways to make this shape into a frame, but I went for something magnetic.
And it's also reversible! The magnets are hidden between the layers so you can easily flip it over to better suit your decor, the picture in the middle, or even your mood for the day. It's perfect for on a refrigerator, a file cabinet, or anything else magnetic.
Little Mollie (in the frame!) and grown-up Mollie like both sides of this one!
You will need:
Fabric scraps (use as many or as few fabrics as you want!)
4 Strong, thin magnets (I used 1/16" thick neodymium disc magnets)
Glue stick (optional)
Craft glue (I used Fabri-tac, simply because it was around and easy)
Pentagon Templates PDF
Print the templates onto the card stock, then cut out the pieces. You will need all 20 pentagons.
Each ring consists of 10 pentagons, so use basic EPP methods to baste them. I use a dab of glue stick to hold the template to the fabric, trim around with 1/4" seam allowance (sometimes a little larger), then tack the corners with a stitch or two.
My first ring is a mix of fabrics, while the second ring is all one fabric. You could also do both sides the same!
Join the pentagons. Hold two pieces right sides together and stitch one side, catching just a tiny bit of fabric.
To prevent the tails of thread from the knots from showing, I anchor the knot in from the edge a bit. Look closely at the photo above and you'll see the knots near the seam.
Continue adding pentagons on so that they form a ring. When you've completed the first ring, make another!
This is important: Leave the templates in the rings!
Use a tiny bit of glue to attach the magnets so they are semi-evenly spaced on the ring. The glue doesn't need to hold them long term, because they shouldn't go anywhere once this is sewn together, but you don't want them shifting as you finish up your frame.
You can also use a few dabs of glue to help hold the two layers together.
Of course, Wonder Clips are also your friend! Place the two rings wrong sides together.
Using two strands and a large, sharp needle, stitch through the layers with running stitch. You're going through the fabric and the card stock templates, so it takes a little effort, but it shouldn't be too difficult if you have a strong needle.
Stitch around the center circle, and the points around the outside.
Try to keep your stitches as even as possible, and be sure to hide your knots between the layers. That way it looks pretty from both sides!
To use your frame (or to gift it to someone with a little photo enclosed), trim the photo to a circle, or just round the corners so it will fit completely behind the frame.
You'll hardly be able to resist a big smile when you put this frame to use!
It'll be instant happiness.
I also happen to know that this little frame makes a very good Frisbee too. Just sayin'.
Remember that Simply Bound Blanket I showed a couple weeks ago? I've been planning to make another one, and this is as far as I've gotten.
Fabric purchased? Check.
Binding prepared? Check.
Embroidered patch made? Check.
Attach the binding and patch? Um...no.
I thought that since the fabric has butterflies on it, how nice would it be to have an embroidered butterfly on there? Since I didn't want the back showing, I stitched it on quilting cotton, then made an EPP pentagon to stitch on one corner. When it's finished. Which could still be awhile!
The butterfly is one of the motifs from Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small. I stitched it with colors to match the knit fabric, and with a few different stitches than I used in the book. Because it's fun to change things up!
And I just LOVE this purple fabric that I'm using for the binding. I keep finding places to use it and worry that I'll run out far too soon.
Even though this particular project is temporarily stalled, I've been starting a few more things, and moving through others. Perhaps this is why I have so many WIPs and such a big crafty mess around here?
By Mollie Johanson at Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Yesterday I had been sitting and prepping some English paper piecing, cutting diamonds and snipping away at fabric. And then it was time to go out for dinner with the family. As I was on the way to the car, I noticed that I had evidence of my previous activity all over the front of me.
"I'm covered in thread bits!" I exclaimed as brushed myself off and climbed into the car.
My brother told me that "thread bits" sounded like a blog. Or like something you'd put on a blog. Like, "Now it's time for Monday Thread Bits!" And I kind thought he was right. And in a perfect world, this would be an every Monday sort of thing. But I'm just calling it Thread Bits, and we'll see when and how often it comes around. I'm living with grace here!
I picture Thread Bits as little tips and ideas, as well as some fun things I find to share with you. Sound good? Here's our very first Thread Bit!
If you follow me on Instagram, this one isn't new to you. It's an idea I had the other day and shared as soon as I discovered it. But it was too good to keep only for the IG crowd.
My cutting mat has markings for up to 21 inches the long way, even though the mat is more like 23 inches. When you're cutting the width of fabric, most quilting cottons are over 21 inches folded in half. How are you supposed to cut it accurately when the fabric covers the markings?
Sometimes I fold it again (cutting through four layers), but that invites more chance for error. After fussing with it a bit, a light bulb went off. It's probably gone off for many people before me, but it sometimes takes me a while to catch on.
Anyway, here's the simple solution: Use washi tape to extend the markings to the edge of the cutting mat.
You could do this for all of the markings, or just what you're cutting that particular time. I was cutting 10-inch strips, so to be able to just have one set of markings (each edge!) to line up with made it even easier. And you can peel away the tape just like that!
For a very helpful series (that is certainly an inspiration for Thread Bits), check out Terrific Tip Tuesdays from May Chappell!
In February I told you about how I wanted to help World Vision build Caregiver Kits for those work working Ebola patients. They have an urgent need for these kits, and yet I wasn't sure that we would be able to meet the minimum number of kits required for a supply drop off.
You can read more about it here and here, but the news today is that we did it, the kits are packed, and have been sent off to be distributed! THANK YOU!!!
Last week this truck pulled up in front of my house. And they dropped off a pallet that looked like this...
It was so big that it didn't fit in the picture. Seriously, it was taller than me!
We unwrapped the pallet and checked each box to make sure that everything was here, and that it was all in good condition. One of the boxes was a little crunched, so I was worried, but everything was as it should be.
The front porch was full, and yes, people stared. A parent of one of my sister's students asked her what was going on. My brother's friend stopped by and listened to us tell him about the project.
My whole family has taken every opportunity to tell people about what happens when a bunch of people pitch in with orders and gifts and generosity and prayer.
Typically when people pack Caregiver Kits they are doing it as part of a big event. Churches and businesses often do this. The set up they recommend is a 24-foot row of tables, and that just doesn't work in a house. Not in our house anyway!
So we set up around our kitchen island.
Every person in my family helped. There were eight of us, and while each of us packed some of the kits, a few of us also had other special jobs: taping boxes, checking kits, refilling supplies, and hand writing notes. You can see one through the bag here:
When they were all packed up, they made a nice stack of boxes in the living room (this picture isn't even all of them...there were 20 in total!). We all gathered around, and we prayed for the people who would receive the kits. We prayed for the caregivers and the patients. And we will continue to pray. If you're someone who believes in prayer, would you join us?
Thank you once again to every person who jumped in to be part of what God was doing here. I thank you, and so does World Vision.