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project // the stable felt playset

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

The stable. It's where a gift of love was born. And it's an event that I'll never get tired of, which is why I keep making projects that feature a tiny baby in a feed trough. Like this Nativity felt playset.

But let me go back. A few years ago, I shared a tutorial for an ornament I called "The Stable." It remains one of the top posts on my blog. Twelve months ago, I decided that this would be a year of "making old new", by way of taking previous or vintage projects and updating them in some way (and I've sort of followed through). A few weeks ago, I mentioned the idea of using my ornament pattern as a playset. And here we are.

So I took the old ornament pieces, enlarged them, and added a few more patterns. The figures work great on a felt board, or you can let children play and arrange them flat on a table. Or if you don't want a playset, try using the pieces to make a wall hanging!

You will need:

Felt - tan, brown, white, and a bunch of colors (I prefer Benzie Design felt)
Black embroidery floss
Craft or fabric glue

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Print the pattern pieces and start cutting out the shapes. All of the people use the same body and face pieces (except for the tiny baby Jesus). Use tan and brown felt for the face shapes and various colors for the body pieces.

Cut angel wings and sheep bodies from white (or perhaps you may want a dark sheep too!), and cut the extra pieces using the image above as suggestions for colors.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Cut out the large stable shape from tan and cut the stable frame from brown. And of course, you'll need the manger and star!

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset
The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

To assemble the stable background, run a wave of glue around the edge of the large stable piece where the frame will go. Then, lay the frame over the glue. Set this aside to dry.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Stitch the eyes on all of the face pieces. For the large pieces, use french knots and for the tiny baby Jesus, use scallop stitches so He is sleeping.

Of course, you can add a nose and mouth to these, but I love this simplicity. Oh, and if you need help with these stitches, check out my making faces tutorial.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Use glue to attach each face to a body.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Here's the Holy Family all gathered close. I like that Jesus can lay in the manger, but I love how it looks when Mary is holding Him.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

For the angel, attach the wings to the back. Or keep them separate so you can change out which body piece is the angel. You could even make a bunch of angels so they can fill the sky. Maybe shrink the pattern a bit so you can have some that are smaller?

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

And some shepherds! I decided to glue the shepherds' crooks to them, but again, leaving them loose will up the play value and customization.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Baaaaaaaaahhhh! Embroider faces on the sheep and consider making some look in different directions. They're pretty easy to stitch freehand. Just two french knots and a bit of back stitch for the nose.

Glue one ear behind the sheep body and one ear in front.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

At my house, we prefer to keep the kings or wise men away from the stable, because seriously...how did they travel so fast if the star appeared when Jesus was born?

But, I do love tradition, so I made some kings with crowns that can either be glued on or left separate. I didn't make gifts in the pattern, but you could definitely make some!

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Now it's time to tell the story! Place the felt pieces in the stable and set the scene.

...And while they were there, the time came for Mary's baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

You guys, I love this story. I love this truth. And I love when children get to experience these things and touch them with their little fingers. Because, like Mary, I'm pretty sure this happens:

"Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often."

When kids have their own Nativity sets to play with and retell the story, it helps them keep these things and think about them often. And that gives them the opportunity to talk and ask questions.

Of course, the reality is that as an adult, making projects like this does the exact same thing for me. I ponder these things in my heart.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Enjoy making this playset, and especially making this a time for celebrating Jesus.

pattern // peace on earth

Peace On Earth

Yesterday's Advent candle was the peace candle. Some days that almost feels laughable, because it seems like we're getting farther and farther away from peace on earth. Most days, it's the kind of thing that could make you just cry. Like so many of the big thoughts and ideas that make a home in my brain, I turn once again to stitching. Or at least a pattern for stitching.

Oftentimes I'm one to avoid conflict. I like things to be nice. Happy. Peaceful.

I try to follow mostly happy crafty people on social media, because I like seeing pretty pictures of things that aren't likely to get me upset or cause an argument. Maybe that's burying my head in the sand, but I see and hear more than enough negativity even with this arrangement. Can't we all just get along?

But that's just it. We can't.

There will always be disagreements about things. We will always think that we're right and they're wrong. But what if our response wasn't to demonize the other, but to respect them for the simple fact that they are a human being?

It's easier said than done, and that's where some help comes in handy.

Last night I heard Jerusalem Greer say that if we didn't have a great need, longing, and ache (for hope, for peace, for love, for joy), we wouldn't need Christmas. Because we wouldn't need Jesus. And you know what? I need Jesus. I need the one who offers true peace and who calls us to live peacefully with each other.

Do we get that wrong? Obviously. But that's why we need to keep turning to Him for the example and for the peace that only He gives.

Now let me circle back to stitching. Because other than grabbing a few moments of peaceful stitching, how does embroidery have anything to do with peace on earth? Maybe it doesn't. But maybe sharing this message as you work on this pattern would help others. Maybe stitching creates a space for you to pray for peace or think about how you might be an agent of peace.

Maybe the peace that Jesus offers to every single person, no matter what, could actually spread with a few stitches. And may you experience this peace today, if only for a moment.

calendar // old stars for a new december (plus free cross stitch patterns!)

Ah, December. Where did you come from? I'm still recovering from Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations, not to mention this whole year, and now it's time to prepare for Christmas and the end of the year. I'm not ready and also so very ready.

Speaking of birthdays, I wanted to share some of the Party Time cross-stitch patterns that didn't quite make it into the PDF package in my shop. The cupcake frame above is one of those patterns! I think it would be perfect with a short message in the center.

There are also a couple of border patterns packaged into a PDF. Two of them (pennants and candles) will make a repeating border...perhaps for stitching along a ribbon or as a top/bottom type of border?

Please note that the cupcake frame is just right here on my blog as a graphic, and not in the PDF. Feel free to save that image or just come visit me when you want to do some stitching!

Now, how about the last set of calendars for 2016? This one has stars that go back to a desktop from 2011. And I'm hoping to have a project that uses more of the artwork from that December too. Soon, soon...

For iPhone 6+, choose the iPad version. To use the iPhone and iPad versions, click the link for the wallpaper you want. When it opens, touch and hold the image until it pops up with the option to save. After you've saved the image, go to your settings, choose wallpaper, then find the image you've just saved.

If you prefer having a printed version to hang or display, download the printable December calendar. Trim the calendar page and then color the stars in those moments when December gets extra crazy. So like, all of December. You may need to print several copies of this one.

At this point in the year, it's usually a good idea for me to ask...do you still want these for 2017? Are there different kinds of calendars that you'd prefer? Let me know in the comments. I'd especially love to hear what size or option you use the most. It will help me plan for the future!

pattern // we have a hope

We Have A Hope embroidery pattern

Yesterday was the first day of Advent and the first candle that you light is called the Hope candle. And I, ever running just a little behind, made a hope pattern. I can't promise patterns for each Sunday (or Monday, in this case) of Advent, but we'll see.

Actually this pattern has been on my mind and sketched out for a while now. The words "we have a hope" are from a song that one of the worship leaders at my church wrote, and it's been a song that I've needed during this season of my life. In September, a dear friend of my family passed away. He was more than just a friend though. He was family and we spent birthdays and holidays and ordinary days with him...for most of my life.

His death was not entirely unexpected, but the cancer took him far too fast. We're all heartbroken. It made Thanksgiving traditions difficult and we're now trying to figure out how we'll start some new Christmas traditions. And it has most definitely taken a toll on my ability to work and focus.

But in the midst of the mourning and sorrow, we have a hope. Our hope is Jesus.

And that's what the Hope candle of Advent is about. Hope in a Savior who has been here already, is coming again, and is God with us here and now. If I didn't have that, I'd be more than just broken...I'd be shattered beyond repair.

It's funny how hope and sadness and hope and anxiety and hope and brokenness can exist side by side and all together. But I think that's kind of the point of hope.

So now as I try to pull myself together and stitch through another day, maybe you'd like to stitch some hope too.

You can work this however you like, but I'm planning to stitch the wide part of the letters with some loose fill (maybe horizontal stripes?). And I'm also thinking of stitching the flower with a felt base, like with the flowers in this tutorial. Oh, and those circles in the pattern? They're meant to be worked as woven wheel stitch for some pretty roses.

There are a few people in my life who need this reminder, so I've got some Christmas stitching to do, and I had better get busy!

happy birthday to me, happy savings to you


It's that time of year...time for the Annual Mollie's Turning 29 Sale! This kind of Wild Olive sale only happens one time a year, and you don't want to miss it. Why? Because you save 29% on EVERYTHING. That includes patterns, printables, stitching clubs, and even the already discounted "choose 3" packs. Yep...everything.

This sale is only happening in my Etsy shop, so head over there to start your shopping. Then use coupon code MOLLIE29 to save 29% at checkout. And since we like to have "birthday week" at my house, this sale lasts a whole week for you!

Party Time Cross Stitch
Party Time Cross Stitch

And newly in the shop you'll find a set of Party Time cross-stitch patterns! It's more than a little different for me, except that I've been creating a few sets like this for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine over the last two years. And I've loved it. Now it's time to share some of those in my shop!

This set includes 30 charts (they range from 10x10 to 50x50), all for just $8.00. And that's before the discount! I also have a few more freebie charts that I'll be sharing here during the birthday week sale.

Today also happens to be Small Business Saturday, and I'd like to take this moment to thank everyone who has supported and continues to support my small business. You really have no idea how your small purchases, clicks, and comments have shaped my life. Thank you.

printable // thanksgiving turkey cracker table favors

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

When you want to add a bit of extra flair to your Thanksgiving place settings, whether it's the kids' table or the "grown up" table (whatever that is), these turkey crackers are fun to make and use. Print, cut, and fold the pieces, then fill them and place them at each plate. Let each of your guests pull the ends to pop them open and find a treat!

As I write this, it's less than two days before Thanksgiving, which isn't the ideal time to share a Thanksgiving craft project. What can I say? I run late most of the time. If you're like me, perhaps you're still looking for a little something to make for Thursday. These go together pretty quickly, so you still have time. I'll be making ten more in the next 36 hours.

If you're one to plan ahead, pin this post and come back to it earlier in November next time. And please don't judge my last-minuteness.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

You will need:

Ruler & knife
Double-sided tape or a glue stick
Small treats, trinkets or large confetti
Thin ribbon


Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Print the PDF onto cardstock and cut them out.

You really only need one set of tail feathers per turkey cracker, but you can use both of them if you want the back to be pretty too. Otherwise, print two body piece pages for every one tail feather page.

When you cut out the body pieces, cut the notches at the sides and leave everything else for now.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Use a ruler and knife to score every place that will fold. A craft knife is great, but even a steak knife works. Only press hard enough to score the cardstock and NOT cut through it.

Score all of the horizontal lines where the brown and yellow meet, as well as across the yellow where the white diamond shapes are. Score all of the vertical lines, including where the brown meets the white.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Fold the cracker on the vertical lines and cut out the diamond shapes on the fold.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Fold the cracker on the horizontal lines so that the yellow section has right sides facing themselves.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Roll the cracker into a square tube. Use double-sided tape or glue stick on the white section (on the ends and the center section) to secure the shape.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Tie ribbon around the bottom yellow section and secure it with a knot. You can tie a bow, but it's a little fiddly to get your fingers in there. Trim the ends.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker
Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Now it's time to stuff your turkey. Because of how this ties together, there will be a bit of a hole still in each end. That means you'll need to choose items that are large enough that they won't fall out.

Small confetti won't work, but larger confetti or metallic table scatter will. Individually wrapped candies are good. Small plastic toys are fun for at the kids table. You could even include a card and crayons to write down what you're thankful for!

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Tie up the end with ribbon, then attach the tail feathers with double-sided tape or glue stick. If you want the tail feathers to be double-sided, attach to the two pieces together before sticking them to the back of the turkey.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Now, make a bunch of them for your Thanksgiving guests! Happy Thanksgiving!

in print // christmas stitching in international magazines

in print // christmas stitching

It's always an honor to contribute patterns and projects to publications around the world. And while I work on these kinds of projects at different times throughout the year, right now I happen to have things in three UK-based magazines at the same time. And all are Christmas themed!

That means that in the spring I started on Christmas embroidery, but you know what? It's actually a lot of fun to turn on the Christmas music in May and get some holiday crafting in! I may never do that without the push of a deadline, but I like it when it happens.

The first magazine project that I started on was for Love Patchwork & Quilting, a favorite of mine.

in print // christmas stitching

It doesn't matter how many times I get something published, it's always exciting. And it might be a little vain, but yes, I was quite proud to see my photo within the first couple pages. And next to Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane, whose work I respect so much.

in print // christmas stitching

My project in Love Patchwork & Quilting might look a little familiar if you've been following Wild Olive a little while. It's based on some ornaments that I made last Christmas, but with all new patterns. And while you can't see it here, it gave me a chance to use some really cute Christmas fabrics for the backs of these.

in print // christmas stitching

Being a Mollie, any opportunity to create for Mollie Makes is pretty perfect. And their Christmas issues are always amazing. I mean, just look at that pom pom wreath!

in print // christmas stitching

For this issue, I made an embroidered sweatshirt that looks a bit like a Christmas sweater. I worked with DMC's Matte Cotton, and it worked so well for this. If you look closely, you'll see that the trees even have little faces. They're subtle, but they're there!

in print // christmas stitching

And for something completely different, I also had the pleasure and challenge of designing cross stitch charts for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine. See them there at the upper right corner?

in print // christmas stitching

For this I designed 35 patterns...it was so much fun! Especially because I don't usually work on patterns or artwork like this. But I did some a couple years ago, and since I made these Christmas designs, I've had the opportunity to make a few more for future issues. Can't wait to share more soon!

I'm so thankful to these fantastic publications for inviting me to contribute. And thank you for letting me share these with you! All of these should be on US shelves by now, or if not yet, definitely as digital copies.

printable // crafty characters needle book

Printable Matchbook Style Needle Books

Over two years ago, I shared a printable for making matchbook-style needle books. Along with that, I showed a little teaser for a version that went out to my mailing list. Well, I think it's about time that I make that printable available for everyone. Because keeping your needles in a simple case covered with cute craft supplies is a must, right?

I love making needle books, and I'm more than willing to spend a chunk of time embroidering and sewing something special. But there's something to be said for fast and easy too. You may even find that these are perfect for putting together little stitching kits for gifts or classes. (I do ask that you not sell these or use them for profit, but I'm totally fine with you giving away the finished needle books!)

Print the PDF below and then head to the original post to see how easy it is to make your own printable needle books!

calendar // old birch logs for a new november

I love November. I really do. It's the month of Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie, and fall is in full force. Plus it's my birthday month! There are bittersweet things too, but the weather in November seems to support a bit of melancholy. And I'm okay with that.

A little melancholy can be good for the soul.

My challenge is always to not stay there too long. So I'm setting some goals and I'm going to try and reach them, while not beating myself up if I don't. They are goals about getting items in my shop and stitching some gifts. And a goal about reaching an ongoing goal.

Speaking of goals, you may have heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a challenge to write a novel in November. My friend Heather is co-opting that idea and doing NaBiStiProMo (National Big Stitching Project Month). She has a large cross stitch project that she is focusing all of her stitching energy on, and attempting to do the whole thing, start to finish, in November.

I'm sharing that because we're only 3 days into the month and this might be something you want to try too!

But now, November calendars. This month I have some birch logs from the Woodlanders set I made back in 2010. There are embroidery patterns for a year's worth of Woodlanders, and if you search my blog, you'll find them!

For iPhone 6+, choose the iPad version. To use the iPhone and iPad versions, click the link for the wallpaper you want. When it opens, touch and hold the image until it pops up with the option to save. After you've saved the image, go to your settings, choose wallpaper, then find the image you've just saved.

You can also download a printable November calendar. The idea with all of the printable calendars this year was that you could also color them. Birch logs are white, but you can color the negative space around them! Maybe in a nice gradient of colors? Or hey...make some pastel logs!

Have a very happy November, friends!

project & blog hop // stitchable mesh candle wrap

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

It's always exciting when a new embroidery supply comes along, and when two come out at the same time, it's even better. That's why I'm so happy to be part of a blog hop showing some fun ways to use DMC's new Stitchable Mesh and Stitchable Cork. I've worked with screening mesh and regular cork in the past, and I love the idea of having the same or similar materials that are actually designed for embroidery.

The mesh has a beautiful metallic finish and liked the idea of making something that was a little formal and a little rustic too. Something you might put on your Thanksgiving table. A candle wrap is pretty way to adorn a candle, or in this case, the battery-powered version, and the light shines through this mesh so well.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

DMC sent me some of each of these stitchable fabrics to try, and so far I've only used the mesh. But I hope to get to the cork soon! The mesh is doubled-sided with gold on one side and silver on the other. The weave is small enough to work designs with some precision, but large enough to have plenty of room for stitches (I used three strands and went through the same hole eight times without much trouble). The weave has some give, which is good. For the most part.

The one downside I found was that it frays fairly easily. As you'll see in the project below, I stitched the edges to prevent fraying, but sometimes that was a challenge. I've also heard that if you place it in a hoop, the hoop shape will stay, so play accordingly. That said, it wasn't difficult to stitch without a hoop.

Now, let's make some candle wraps!

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

You will need:

DMC Stitchable Mesh (one sheet per one to two candles)
Embroidery Thread (I used Color Variations)
Battery-powered Candle

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Wrap the mesh around your candle and decide how tall you want the wrap to be. You can make it the same height as your candle, shorter, or taller. For mine, I used the full sheet of mesh so that the wrap is much taller than the candle.

Cut the mesh to size (or leave it), following the weave of the mesh.

Stitch around the edges with whip stitch to bind the material and stop it from fraying. Stitch evenly so it doesn't get too messy. I actually went so far as to count squares and form a pattern with the binding stitches.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Embroider a simple, freestyle design on the wrap. Lines of running stitch in varying lengths are a great start, and then top off a few of them with star stitches.

Remember that the back of your stitches will show on the front, so don't jump from one area to another (which is also good practice for any stitching!). The running stitch does show through, but it's a nice effect here...sort of two-tone. Of course, you can choose whatever you want to use. Chain stitch would look pretty amazing on this too!

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Add as much or as little embroidery as you want. You should have something like this. Or something completely different! Make this your own. In fact, if you're making this for a special occasion, you could even embroider a word or short phrase (think "give thanks" or "be merry!")

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Roll the mesh into a tube and stitch the bound edges together, then tie it off. You only need to stitch it together every inch or two.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Slip the finished candle wrap over your candle, and it's ready to use.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Switch on the candle and watch it glow through your stitching!

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap
Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

I love how even the most basic stitches shine on this metallic material. Silver is usually my thing, but the gold was too good to resist, especially with the autumn tones of the floss I chose.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Stitch one candle wrap, or a cluster of them for a tablescape!

Then, be sure to check in with DMC Commonthread to see all of the posts and projects in the blog hop. (While you're at it, follow them on Instagram!) Bev from Flamingo Toes coordinated all of this, and she has updates too! Thanks so much to Beverly and DMC for bringing so many projects together and for the great product!