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shop news // red, white & cute pattern set

Red, White & Cute embroidery pattern

I've got a new old embroidery pattern in my shop! What I mean is, I took my old set called The 4th! and updated it to make a new pattern. It's filled with designs to celebrate the USA and stitching it might make you feel more patriotic than usual. Or at least a little nostalgic?

Allow me to share a little fact about me and patriotism. I don't often think of myself as patriotic. (Which might sound odd given the club I ran for a year!) I've got my reasons, and really, they aren't so important here. But there a few things that make me very excited to be part of America.

First, a road trip gets me excited because seeing the country and people's lives intrigues me. Similarly, anything having to do with the 50 states puts me in a "this land is my land" sort of mood. But there's one thing that always, always brings out my patriotic side:

Disney World.

Specifically, Hall of Presidents and The American Adventure in Epcot. These two spots are easily seen as good napping spots, but I always walk out the doors feeling a new sense of pride in my country. I think because when you see all the horrible things our country has gone through (even when we're the cause) in history, but how we band together after? Well, it's inspiring. It makes me think that there's still hope that the hurts we deal with now can be healed.

So anyway, I'm good with a little red, white, and blue. And that's why I thought it was time to make my old pattern new again. Here's a peek at the designs:

Red, White & Cute embroidery pattern

A few of the old patterns are gone, the six that remain got a tiny facelift, and there are seven new designs. And of course, it's got a new name, which is based on a sign I saw at Hobby Lobby. Red, White & Cute!

Red, White & Cute embroidery pattern
Red, White & Cute embroidery pattern

The color palette is definitely patriotic, but a little altered, which I love.

And yes, it's a little close to the 4th of July, but these are easy patterns, so you'd still have time to whip something up. Plus, there is the election season. Though I'm not sure we want to taint any of these designs with that, yes?

pattern // we all scream for ice cream

We All Scream For Ice Cream

I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream!

While I don't really remember ever saying this as a child, I do remember my grandparents saying it. That alone is a good enough reason to put the phrase into an embroidery pattern. And when you add a cup of happy, frozen deliciousness, it all comes together.

My cup of ice cream is really more like a sundae, but I'm just as happy eating my ice cream plain. Not that I'd turn down whipped cream. And I'll almost always choose cup over cone. Unless it's a waffle cone.

However, if you're a cone sort of person (which I think is different from being a conehead), you might want to jump over to the Embroidery site at About.com. There you'll find this design that I made:

Ice Cream Mandala

It doesn't have faces (unless you look closely...then you might spot some sleepy ice cream faces), but it does have cones. And you can stitch them in a rainbow of flavors!

Now, the question for you is, which do you prefer? Ice cream in a cup or a cone?

book review // your sharpie style

Your Sharpie Style // book review

Do you love Sharpie markers? I mean, I really love any set of markers that comes in a rainbow of colors, but it's hard to resist these. It has nothing to do with my longstanding love of the smell of permanent markers. (I promise I don't have a problem!)

Anyway, I received a copy of Your Sharpie Style to check out, and now I want to draw on everything.

Your Sharpie Style // book review

From the cover, I was excited about the 75 projects, as well as eager to see what this would look like. After all, would it just be a book about drawing on things with Sharpies?

The back gives you a good overview of what you'll find in Deborah Green's book, but I get to show you some pages. Yay! Are you ready?

Your Sharpie Style // book review
Your Sharpie Style // book review

So, the reality is, this really is 140+ pages of drawing on things. Draw on a jar, on a headband, on a pencil case, on wrapping paper, on a tote bag and so on. Would I have thought to do many of these on my own? Definitely not.

But it's also more than all that. What makes this book a good idea is that it's something to get you started. Believe me. After you've worked through the projects and ideas, you'll be ready to make more and more pretty things with your Sharpies.

For example, the geometric design on the jar is something you can use to embellish the headband, and the bird could go on the jar, and that's just a quick swap. Now think of all the different jars and what you could put on them. Or the designs not in the book (think embroidery patterns!) and start adding them to anything you can imagine.

Your Sharpie Style // book review

You might not have thought about drawing on your furniture with permanent markers, but isn't this chair so cute? It actually reminds me of something you might find at IKEA.

Your Sharpie Style // book review

Some of the projects are shown as a photo of the finished item with instructions. Others are a more condensed version with illustrations of the projects. Usually these are some variation on another project or something that is especially easy to do. I'd love to see more photos, but these get the point across.

Your Sharpie Style // book review

One of the most helpful parts of the book is section on supplies and techniques. Sharpie makes several types of markers and the author helps you understand which marker to choose and how to get the best results. Since you might not want to freehand the artwork, she also talks about transfer techniques. They're a bit like embroidery transfer, but working on different materials

Your Sharpie Style // book review
Your Sharpie Style // book review

These flamingo headphones are definitely my style. The instruction page shows how to draw the flamingo, which is a feature on many of the projects. Rather than just giving you a motif to trace, you can learn how to recreate the designs yourself.

Your Sharpie Style // book review
See the kitchen item drawings on the left? Some of the projects give you a collection of patterns that you can enlarge. Oh, and the author lets you know how to work with the markers on items on which food would come in contact (or when to avoid that entirely).

I should also point out that these designs could be used for other things and not just decorating with Sharpies.

Your Sharpie Style // book review

This set of kitchen items is so cute, and would make an excellent gift. But I like that you could choose to just update or upcycle something you already have or that you find at a thrift store.

Your Sharpie Style // book review

And then there's this scarf. It's certainly more than just drawing on things. The author has several projects using this technique, and they are beautiful! You don't look at this and think "permanent markers." For stitchers, I think pairing this with some embroidery would be amazing.

Your Sharpie Style // book review

One last favorite project from Your Sharpie Style. But only a tiny peek. This is a whole lot of drawing, but it takes something fairly inexpensive and ordinary and makes it really special.

Are you inspired already?

Find Your Sharpie Style at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or check your local bookseller.

piecing together summer plans

Summer Piecing

Are you struggling to come to terms with summer, as I am? I want to think of it as a time to have more relaxed making, but the opposite often ends up to be true. My plans become bigger than they should be. And I'd like to say that this is a post about how I've fixed that problem and how you can do the same in three easy steps.

It's not.

Instead, it's more of a post in which I say, once again, that I can't do it all, despite desperately trying. I think as posts here have slowed, it may be obvious. But perhaps not.

It's easy to think that other people have it all together (I certainly believe this about people too often!). I don't have it all (or even mostly) together.
These EPP pieces will become a summer design. Eventually.

Sketches for a new stitching club are coming along. I hope.

Freelance opportunities are happening. If I get busy.

A pattern update is waiting in the wings. But I'm already feeling late.
And then there's the matter of finishing two quilts for special gifts, my everyday writing/designing work, and maybe, just maybe, a few moments to breathe.

Even as I am piecing together my summer plans, I can see how the pieces may just fall apart. But this: "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17

Yeah, so I'll be leaning on Jesus to hold the pieces. (And I'll stitch a few pieces of my own along the way...)

fabric souvenir shopping in pennsylvania

Fabric Souvenirs from PA

This weekend my family took a VERY brief road trip to Pennsylvania. We stopped in Amish country, I ate an incredible chicken cheese steak, and visited Valley Forge. I'm a huge fan of the time of the revolution, so being in this part of the country that is so rich history was so good.

But these days I can't take a trip without at least trying to drop into a fabric store. This is the souvenir shopping I like to do.

I actually got to go to two fabric stores, and there were more in the area. This is the benefit of driving a little out of your way to Amish country. We were planning on going closer to Lancaster, but ending up stopping in Intercourse, PA (we'll avoid the jokes).

Zook's Fabric Store (Sauders online) was where I bought my souvenir stack. The store is in a house and they have a huge selection. And amazing prices.

It was the Kona solids that really called my name. They were all $5.49-$5.99 a yard!

Fabric Souvenirs from PA

I chose a rainbow of fabrics because I couldn't just select one or two.

Fabric Souvenirs from PA

And I may have found a few others too. No specific plans for any of these yet, but I mean...squirrels!

Because I often attach memories to items, when I pull these fabrics out to use them, I'll remember that they came from this trip. Which also means that as I use them I'll be stitching memories into whatever I'm making. And I love that.

Again, do check out Zook's/Sauders online or on your next trip to Pennsylvania!

thread bits // handling knots when backstitching

Thread Bits are short posts that have some little tips or ideas or bits about stitching. It's been a while since the last time I shared one of these posts, but I think it's time to make them more frequent again.

So today is about what happens when I embroider with back stitch and how to fix it.

Handling Backstitch Knots

I used to do everything to avoid them, but I now use knots when I embroider. I won't go into all the reasons why just now, but whatever your stance on knots, just know that it's okay. Believe me.

Anyway, with certain stitches, but most often with back stitch, there can be a problem. When the needle goes through the same hole where there's a knot on the reverse, the point of the needle will catch the knot. And it pulls the thread and is annoying.

Handling Backstitch Knots

This may be obvious, but I'm sharing it anyway. To fix this, I use my fingernail to hold the knot out of the way as I am pushing the needle through the fabric. Don't pull it so much that it pulls the stitch on the front, but just use your nail to guard the knot from the needle.

This is such a good habit to pick up. You'll be glad you did, because sometimes I still forget. And of course it drives me crazy when I catch the knot.

Happy stitching!

project // 1-hour piggy pouch for guinea pigs

Piggy Pouch

Hello. Captain Cuddles here. My mama asked me to introduce this post today because she made something sweet and cuddly for me! Mollie calls it a piggy pouch, and she put me inside, so I guess that makes me the piggy.

When my adopted sister Lieutenant Nibbles or I are inside this snuggly spot, we feel so secure. We also like to poke around inside. I don't want to brag or anything, but I think it makes me extra cute. Way cuter than Nibbles. But don't tell her I said that. She scares me sometimes.

Thanks for my new pouch mama Mollie! And thanks for letting me write a little something for your blog!

Piggy Pouch

Thanks, Captain!

You know, it's a risk asking a guinea pig to write for your blog, but I think she did a great job. Am I right?

This soft pouch is basically a fabric bag with a flat bottom where the guinea pigs can hang out. It's part blankie and part cave. I just made this and it's still new to them, but both of the piggies really seem to like it. The humans like it because it's easy to hold them without having them squirm away.

And yeah, they look super cute inside.

I found similar things online to order, but I knew it would be simple to make and I was right. There are easily a dozen ways to make a lined bag. I referenced the 1-Hour Basket for the basics and made adjustments from there. Read on for those customizations.

Piggy Pouch

The piggy pouch is super soft and can be scrunched down around them (or pulled up tall for them to scrunch down themselves). If you fold the sides down a couple times it can be more structured and like a basket.

I just love how Captain Cuddles peeks out over the top!

Piggy Pouch

We've been folding it down one time, making it easier for the piggies to see, but still keeping the sides moveable. This is where it becomes like a hide or a cave. We can also carry them without having them wiggle away, although they do like to poke their noses out to see where they're going.

What's funny though is that once you set them down in the pouch, they haven't really tried to climb out. I guess that means they like it!

Again, this is very new to them. So far, they haven't had any accidents inside, but it's totally washable for when it does happen. I folded a hand towel in the bottom for extra absorbency just in case.

Piggy Pouch

To make your own piggy pouch (which could work for other small pets too), use this as a guide:

Start with the free 1-Hour Basket tutorial.

(skip the other items on the original list)
Two 15x15 pieces of outer fabric
Two 15x15 pieces of anti-pill fleece

1. Follow steps 3-9 in the tutorial, using the fleece as the lining piece. In steps 5-6 I measured the 3" from the seam, not the edge of the fabric.

2. Skip step 10 because you aren't adding handles. Follow steps 11-13. You can top stitch the edge as in step 14, but it's not necessary.

3. Finally, sew the opening closed as in step 15.

Because of skipping a few things, this will take a lot less than an hour to make. Right now I just have this one made, but I'll probably make a couple more so we have at least one for each of the guinea pigs.

I'm pretty sure that both of them will fit in this one bag and they'll most likely snuggle with each other. But if it's too small, I can always sew up a pouch that's a little wider.

Yay for guinea pig stitching!

calendar // old suns for a new june (and a look back at may)

Butterfly Felt Board Activity

When the calendar page turns over to the next month, it's nice to look back on the things that the previous month held. I find this to be especially true when a lot of what I'm making and sharing online is all over the place. But I think it's helpful with an average calendar too. Sort of like a month-long version of my You Did It! lists.

Looking back often tells you why you might be feeling tired. Or it may point you toward what you need to focus on next month. Or it could just give you something to celebrate, and I know I need that in my life. How about you?

So anyway, let's look at some things I made this month! The butterfly is a felt board activity for Hello Bee. There are a bunch of shapes to work with, and when you add in a bunch of colors, the butterfly design possibilities are endless!

Rainbow Color Mixing Garland

Also for Hello Bee, I used colored cellophane to make this rainbow garland. The colors overlap to show how primary colors blend to make new colors!

Felt Patches

At About.com I'm usually a lot more busy. So these are just a couple of the posts I wrote over there.

I used a few of my patterns to make some felt patches. They're an easy way to personalize your clothing or a tote bag. Plus you can stitch them on with minimal stitches so you can remove them with little trouble.

You Did It embroidery pattern

I mentioned making You Did It! lists, but you can also embroider that message of congratulations. It's great for a grad or anyone who did something special.

DIY Needle Minder

Keep lost needles to a minimum with a needle minder! They're quick to make, and they're wonderful little gifts too. I made this one with a button covered in vintage embroidery. Even though the embroidery was falling apart, it was still hard for me to cut into!

Funny Flamingo Marionette

I've always loved marionettes and flamingoes, and it was so much fun to put those two together in a printable project for Handmade Charlotte. Jump over there to download and make your own funny flamingo puppet!

Laughing Leaf Builders

And then I also shared some laughing leaves that you can use to build letters, sculptures, and mini houses for fairies. All you need is card stock and straws!

So, when I'm feeling like I'm barely making it through all I have to do, it's good to see what I've done. And this isn't even all of the creating, because you can see the posts here at Wild Olive that are separate from this. AND I contributed a project to a book for Lark Crafts and I designed a set of 35 patterns for a magazine.

After I finish writing this I'm gonna take a nap. Just kidding. There's more to do...

...because it's June! Time for making more fun things! Time to get out in the sun!

It might also be time for me to change calendars over on computer and my iPad. (There's a chance that I haven't changed my iPad calendar since March.)

This sun goes back to 2012, and it's one of my favorite sets of calendar designs because of its simplicity. I think the fact that I still like something I drew after four years is a good thing.

Anyway, you can grab a calendar for your computer or handheld device, or download the printable version below.

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 and print a June calendar PDF. I recommend printing this on card stock, and then trimming it. Suns might not be as exciting to color, but I'd like to see someone color this in a gradient of yellows and oranges across the page.

In fact, if you use any of the calendars, share a photo on Twitter or Instagram and tag me! I'm @molliejohanson

one last chance at 93 amazing home resources


Back in April I shared the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle with you. It's a collection of e-books, printables, e-courses, and audio files, all designed to help you keep your home running smoothly.

So many people had the opportunity to purchase one of these bundles. But because it was only available for a limited time, there's a pretty good chance that folks thought about ordering one and missed it. The good news is, it's back! But this flash sale is only happening for two days.

Even though I'm not really running a home, I do work from home, and there are helps for that! Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook is an incredible e-book for those wanting to get started or for people who have been at it for a while. I'm definitely in need of the section on email lists, and I can always use a chapter called "How I Do it All".

And I don't know about you, but I am forever trying to escape the "what's for dinner" moment that hits in the busiest of times. For some reason, everyone in my house wants to eat every day! My mom and I usually work together to plan meals, and having a new collection of ideas to work from is so helpful.

Oh, and there are some amazing bonuses you'll have access to as well!


The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has tons of great items, and I have two of my products in there too. The Little Owls Meal Planning Pages and Recipe Cards are one of my favorite ways to organize recipes and family menus.

Plus, as an offer for Wild Olive readers, if you order the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle through any of the links on my blog, I'll send you ALL of the Little Owls items in my shop. That's two embroidery patterns, printable lists, tags, more recipe cards, and an advent calendar.

To receive your Wild Olive bonus, send me an email (molliejohanson at gmail.com) with your order number and I'll email the extras to you.

All of these items, plus the bonuses would cost over $1000, but as part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, this collection is just $29.99. There are 8 resources that would each be more than that price tag alone!

When you add in the fact that there's a 30-day money-back guarantee, this is such a great value that it doesn't require much thought.

I don't want you to miss this, because this really is the last chance for this offer. So hop over to the site and check it out.

Note: As a contributor to this bundle, I'm also an affiliate, and your purchase through the links on my blog will help support Wild Olive. Thank you!

wear some cuteness with new wild olive tees

A Rainbow of Floss Tee

Wild Olive friends, I'm very happy to share that you can now wear my designs on t-shirts! I guess technically, you could have embroidered my designs on t-shirts, but these are printed and I'm very excited about them.

When my first shirt arrived, I took to Instagram to show it off, and now I have a few others available too. All of them are printed on demand by Threadless, who makes all of my favorite tees.

A Rainbow of Floss Tee

A Rainbow of Floss is only on two types of regular t-shirts right now, but I may be adding a few other styles if I hear from folks who are interested in things like hoodies or such.

Something you should know is that the tri-blend tees fit on the small side. For reference, I typically wear a men's small or a women's medium (average fit). The shirt I'm wearing above is a tri-blend women's large and it's very fitted. So bear this in mind.

Sew Cute Thread Tee

This sweet spool of pink thread is the only one on a v-neck right now, because I'm still working out designs that work on this style without looking a little awkward for ladies. Ahem. (And this is available in other colors and styles.)

A Rainbow of Hexagons Hoodie
A Rainbow of Hexagons Baseball Tee

But A Rainbow of Hexagons might be my favorite. Because hexagons with faces in rainbow order.

Find these, and most like more to come, in my Threadless Artist Shop.