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project // linen and floral hope banner

Hope Banner


There's a whole big story behind today's project, and sometimes I think that it's even bigger than I think it is. It's hard to know where to begin, so it might be best if I start somewhere and then loop around as needed.

Hope. This isn't a banner that is about "I hope you have a nice trip!" or "I hope I get that new job." This is a bigger hope. And it's one that I've been thinking on for the last month or so.

Our church had its 10th Celebration of Hope, a 3-week time of getting to know about global needs, and how we as a church can partner with people around the world to help bring real change...real hope. We're talking about micro-loans, education, peacemaking, and more.



Here's a little loop in the story. For Mother's Day, I made this banner for my mom. Eucharisteo is a Greek word that means giving thanks in all things, but it's bigger than that. Bigger than I have room for here today. But it's a word that you'll encounter a lot if you read anything from Ann Voskamp.

The banner hangs in our kitchen now, but I thought it would be nice to make another. Maybe you'd want to make one too. But maybe with a different word? Hope came to mind.

And to connect hope and banners and Ann Voskamp, last week she shared a post on her blog about ISIS. I'd highly encourage you to read this post, but be prepared that it is a hard read. Terrible, terrible things are happening in our world, and as I was reading, I kept thinking, something needs to be done! But what? How do you bring hope to people who's lives have been literally torn apart?

The answer is love. A ministry called Preemptive Love has been working in Iraq for about 10 years, and they've been bringing hope, and they're in a place where they are able to help people pick up the pieces that are left of their ISIS-attacked lives and find hope. It's simple really: Help women create businesses and help children get in school.

HOPE.

So I made a banner. And I helped support hope through Preemptive Love and a micro-loan through my church, and I will continue to look for ways (both financially and otherwise) to share hope. I'd love it if you considered doing the same. Starting with a banner?

Hope Banner

You will need:

1/4 yard linen
1/4 yard floral fabric
1/4 yard fusible interfacing (I suggest Pellon WonderUnder)
Perle cotton
Felt
Embroidery floss
Large skewer or thin dowel rod
Basic sewing tools, including an iron and sewing machine

Hope Banner Template PDF

Note: The PDF includes the complete alphabet so your banner can say whatever you want it to. Simply adjust the length of the banner to fit the word you choose.

Hope Banner

Trace the letters and the chevron onto the paper backing of the fusible interfacing. The letters are reversed so that you can trace them this way.

Hope Banner

Iron the interfacing onto the back of the floral fabric, then cut out the pieces. Cutting out the letters is pretty easy, as long as you have good scissors, and keep a steady hand.

Hope Banner

Join the two banner template pieces, then cut out two banner shapes from linen. Iron the floral chevron to the bottom of one of the linen pieces.

Hope Banner

Arrange the letters on the banner, then iron them down.

Hope Banner
Hope Banner

This part is optional, but it's super cute. Cut out a heart from the felt, and stitch a little face on it. Then, stitch it onto your banner with perle cotton and running stitch. I placed mine at the top of the floral chevron, but go with what you like!

Hope Banner

Cut a 3-1/2 x 6-1/2 inch piece of floral fabric, and press the short ends in AT LEAST 1/2 inch. Press the entire strip in half the long way. You can see the creases in the photo. This will be the hanger for the banner

Hope Banner

Place the front of your banner face up. Place the folded and pressed hanger at the top, with the fold facing in and the raw edges aligned with the banner. Place the back of the banner face down. Pin the edges.

Sew around the banner with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning (be sure to back stitch the ends). Carefully trim the corners.

Hope Banner

Turn the banner right side out, and poke the corners into place. Iron the banner, making sure that the seams are nice and open. Take care around the opening so that the seam allowance is pressed as straight as you can.

Hope Banner

Stitch around the banner with perle cotton and running stitch, starting and ending on either side of the heart (if you added that). To get to the starting point, I tie a knot in one end, then go in through a side seam and come up at the place I want to stitch.

Since going around the banner takes a long piece of thread, I recommend coating it with Thread Heaven. You could also work with shorter pieces, and start/stop more often.

Hope Banner

Cut off the skewer or dowel rod to the width of the banner. Slide it through the fabric hanger, then tie perle cotton to the ends.

Hope Banner

At this point, you may also want to iron it one more time. Otherwise, it's ready for display!

Hope Banner
Hope Banner

Hang this banner in your home as a reminder of hope. As a reminder to bring hope. Or maybe gift it to someone who needs a reminder.

And then look for ways that you can give tangible hope.

thread bits // memorial day edition

Thread Bits // Memorial Day

This week's Thread Bits is a pretty literal take on this Monday feature...

Thread Bits // Memorial Day

I found these red, white, and blue thread bits scattered about my house. On my desk, on the floor, in a stitching bag. They're the sort of thing that inspired this series.

Since it's Memorial Day here in the US, I thought the colors appropriate. May your day be filled with good memories of those we have lost.

printable // pentagon paper chains

Pentagon Paper Chain


My pentagon play continues, and this time with a printable that, I will admit, can be time consuming. But also really cool looking.

These are similar to the paper chains we made as kids (okay, so not just as kids...I still love traditional paper chains!), but they stay flat, and get connected and decorated with washi tape.

You can make them with white card stock to show off the tape designs, or use colored stock for a brighter garland. I made two sizes of pentagons, and while the pictures here show only the small size, I'll be making some of the bigger pentagons soon. I expect that they'll make a longer chain much faster!

Pentagon Paper Chain

You will need:

Card stock
Washi tape
Scissors

Small Pentagon Paper Chains

Large Pentagon Paper Chains

Pentagon Paper Chain

Cut apart the pentagons, then cut out the centers. There's a line along pentagon "ring" that allows you to cut into the center, as well as to link all the pieces together. The cutting is the part that takes the most time.

Pentagon Paper Chain

Use washi tape to secure the ends of each pentagon ring together. Start with one, then add a ring to the chain and tape that one. Keep going!

Pentagon Paper Chain

I like to create a pattern with the washi tape designs, but you could do this however you like. They'd look great with every pentagon using the same tape.

Pentagon Paper Chain
Pentagon Paper Chain

Make your chain as long as you want. Wear it as a necklace (watch out for paper cuts!). Display it near a window. Decorate your desk with it. Hang pentagons everywhere!

My mom is planning on making a garland of them in red, white, and blue. She's doing the bigger size, and most likely they'll be up from Memorial Day through Independence Day. I think they'll look fantastic!

new pattern // believe (a narwhal embroidery design)

Believe. (a narwhal embroidery pattern)

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.

Believe. (a narwhal embroidery pattern)

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!

Believe. (a narwhal embroidery pattern)
Believe. (a narwhal embroidery pattern)

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!

book review // snail mail by michelle mackintosh

Snail Mail // Book Review

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.

Snail Mail // Book Review

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.

Snail Mail // Book Review
Snail Mail // Book Review

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!

Snail Mail // Book Review

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!

Snail Mail // Book Review

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.

Snail Mail // Book Review
Snail Mail // Book Review

Want to display your collection of letters or other postal-ish items? There are ideas for that too!

Snail Mail // Book Review

And what book about mail would be complete without a photo of a kitty post box?

Snail Mail // Book Review
Snail Mail // Book Review

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!)

Snail Mail // Book Review
Snail Mail // Book Review

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!

Snail Mail // Book Review

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 // losing your groove and getting it back

Thread Bits // Stalled Projects

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...

Pinned

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'm mollie and i make super cute stuff



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.

Sanrio From My Childhood

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!

project // pentagonal epp magnet frame

Pentagon Magnet Frame


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.

Pentagon Magnet Frame

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!

Pentagon Magnet Frame

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)
Thread
Embroidery floss
Scissors
Glue stick (optional)
Needle
Craft glue (I used Fabri-tac, simply because it was around and easy)
Card stock

Pentagon Templates PDF

Pentagon Magnet Frame

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!

Pentagon Magnet Frame
Pentagon Magnet Frame

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.

Pentagon Magnet Frame
Pentagon Magnet Frame

Continue adding pentagons on so that they form a ring. When you've completed the first ring, make another!

Pentagon Magnet Frame

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.

Pentagon Magnet Frame

Of course, Wonder Clips are also your friend! Place the two rings wrong sides together.

Pentagon Magnet Frame

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.

Pentagon Magnet Frame
Pentagon Magnet Frame

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!

Pentagon Magnet Frame

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.

Pentagon Magnet Frame

You'll hardly be able to resist a big smile when you put this frame to use!

Pentagon Magnet Frame
Pentagon Magnet Frame

It'll be instant happiness.

I also happen to know that this little frame makes a very good Frisbee too. Just sayin'.