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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!

project // felt pizza pal playset

Pizza Pal Felt Playset

You shouldn't play with your food, but with this felt pizza pal playset your kids (or you!) can play and make faces to your heart's content!

I've been on a pizza kick here on the blog, thanks to my Kawaii Crossing Pizzeria cross stitch and embroidery patterns. And I'm quite fine with that! Anyway, I like putting faces on things, and that includes pizza. In fact, I recently added a new pattern set to my shop and it's filled with pizza-y things.

A Pizza My Heart Embroidery Pattern

But let's get back to this felt playset. So, I've had these small pizza boxes sitting here for a while and I couldn't decide what to do with them. They are clean and never had any pizza in them, making them perfect for crafting. You could probably use a box with minimal grease and cover it, but having these ones was quite lucky. I don't know how I even ended up with them, it's been so long.

Once I got on a pizza roll with my making (pizza roll...get it?), I quickly thought of a felt board type pizza. And then I realized that you could use the pieces to make faces! Your own pizza pal!

It's as easy as cutting out felt pieces. If you have a box, it's a perfect place to store the pieces and play (there's even a printable label for your box top!), but it also works on a felt board or as its own thing stored in a bag or large envelope.

Here's what you need:

Felt in a bunch of pizza colors: I used tan, red, cream, two shades of green, yellow, orange, brown, lavender, and more
Freezer paper
Plate (should fit in the box if you're using one)
Rotary cutter and mat (optional – you can simply trace and cut the circle)
Pizza box (optional)
Glue stick (optional — for attaching the label to the box)


Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Print the first page of the PDF on paper and trace the topping pattern pieces on freezer paper. I like to group the pieces by color. Then, iron the freezer paper to the felt.

Cut out the pieces. For the center of the olives, you can use a hole punch, which is much easier than cutting! You can also cut some of the bell pepper pieces in half.

Finally, peel away the freezer paper.

Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Use a plate as a template and cut out a circle of crust-colored felt.

Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Next, flip over your pattern page and trace the plate. It's okay if it doesn't all fit on the page, as you'll be cutting it out smaller.

Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Trim the paper template down a little with a wavy line around the edge. Use this to cut out a sauce-colored piece of felt.

Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Trim the template down again in the same way. Once you make it a little smaller than the sauce template, cut out a cheese-colored piece of felt.

Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Print the second page the PDF on cardstock and cut out the circle. If you have a small (clean!) pizza box, attach it to the top with a glue stick.

Pizza Pal Felt Playset
Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Layer the crust, sauce and cheese pieces in the box and get ready to design a pizza pal!

Pizza Pal Felt Playset
Pizza Pal Felt Playset
Pizza Pal Felt Playset

You can use the toppings in all kinds of ways to make all kinds of faces and kids will certainly be even more creative than I have!

Pizza Pal Felt Playset
Pizza Pal Felt Playset
Pizza Pal Felt Playset
Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Of course, you don't have to only make faces. You can simply create regular pizzas with your favorite toppings!

And to end this, I'll add one more pizza that may be more than a little contentious, but it's one that I love:

Pizza Pal Felt Playset

Pineapple, (turkey) bacon, and onion pizza!

pattern // spongebob's indoors cross stitch chart

Indoors Cross Stitch

Okay, so right now everyone is encouraged to stay home. And some fine folks have started making free patterns to go along with this. Both to express the sentiment and to give you something to work on during your social distancing, sheltering in place, or full-on quarantine. And a song came to mind.

In one of my favorite episodes ever, Spongebob Squarepants sings a song that I've always related to and that is especially appropriate now. It goes like this:

I know of a place where you never get harmed
A magical place with magical charms

Since I like staying home AND since I've had to be careful in the sun, it's not unusual for me to sing this. So why wouldn't I make a cross stitch pattern of it?!? To give it a little Spongebob flair, I chose a color palette that feels reminiscent of the show. But you could change it up if you want.

Stay safe friends. Remember that staying home may be less about protecting yourself from COVID-19 and more about protecting those for whom it could be fatal. This is showing love to your neighbors near and far.

pattern // kawaii crossing pizzeria embroidery pattern

Pizzeria Embroidery Pattern

It's embroidery time! This little pizzeria is ready to serve up some stitching fun (and maybe a slice or two). Embroidering pizza is always fun, but I'd like to think it's even better when the pizza is also the pizza shop, right?

So, inside the PDF for this little free pattern, you'll find the small version of the pattern (perfect for making a Kawaii Crossing Mini Quilt) with a color guide and a larger version that you can use for stitching...well...larger things.

What you won't find is a stitch guide because I think you can have fun using the stitches you like. However, if you want some ideas, I usually outline things in back stitch. For thicker lines, I like chain stitch. The pepperoni and mushrooms, and maybe the crust too, would look great in satin stitch. And for the face I always use French knots and a scallop stitch.

When you stitch this, be sure to share your work! Tag me (@molliejohanson) and use the hashtag #wildolivestitchingclub or #kawaiicrossing so everyone can see.

I hope you're hungry because I'm still working on even more pizza goodness for this month. But for now, I'd love to hear what's your favorite pizza topping?

printable // philippians 4:6-7 coloring picture

Philippians 4:6-7 Coloring Picture

Feeling worried and anxious? Maybe you don't feel it as fear, but the fear all around you is still bringing you down. I have two suggestions! First, coloring is often found to help calm anxieties, so I have a free PDF coloring picture for you! But there's more, and it's right there on the coloring page.

Actually, this isn't my suggestion. This comes from the Bible, so personally, I believe it's even better than coloring. A lot better.

"Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

Philippians 4:6-7 (The Message)

The coloring picture is a shortened version of the verse, and I included the parts that especially spoke to my heart.

And here's the good news! You can color AND pray at the same time! So as you calm your worries with art you can also invite Jesus to carry your anxieties because he cares for you.

May the peace of Christ be with you, my friends!

pattern // kawaii crossing pizzeria cross stitch

Kawaii Crossing Cross Stitch Along Pizzeria

On a list of things that I'm grateful for, I recently included cross stitches because stitching this pizzeria pattern really just made me happy! And I hope that the Kawaii Crossing pizza-shaped restaurant makes you happy too!

I'm also excited to show off that I'm officially all caught up from my stitching last month. Woohoo! And just in time because I've been seeing pictures popping up on Instagram showing off progress and fun modifications like stitching on dark fabric to make it a nighttime scene, or changing out the flowers for benches. You all are amazing!

And now you can add to your little town as I have.

By the way, my dad would be very happy with the layout of this happy village. You see, every time he eats pizza, he always goes looking for chocolate as a treat afterward. If he visits the pizzeria, he can stop by the chocolatier next door!

Kawaii Crossing Cross Stitch Along Pizzeria

I can't wait to see your stitches! Be sure to tag me (@molliejohanson) on Instagram and/or use the tag #kawaiicrossing or #wildolivestitchingclub so all can see.

Sharing free patterns is one of my favorite things and I appreciate every kind of support. I'd love it if you tell your friends about my patterns, share my posts on social media, or buy me a coffee via the link below (because I pretty much run on coffee and Jesus!). Thanks, friends!

calendar // march's kawaii crossing pizzeria wallpaper

Are you ready for a new month, new wallpapers, and a new shop in the happy little town of Kawaii Crossing? For March, we're visiting the pizzeria. And as expected this restaurant is shaped like what it sells: pizza!

At first, you may think that a shop that looks like a slice of pizza might be far-fetched. But in an A-frame building, this could be a reality. While I have no plans to open a pizzeria of my own, if I did, I would make it look just like the one in Kawaii Crossing. Complete with the face. If you consider this for your own future business endeavor, I might be persuaded to let you use my idea. For the love of kawaii pizza, of course!

But before we start shopping for pizza ovens, how about some wallpapers to help inspire?

And soon I hope to bring you even more pizza fun. (If I get all my other deadlines done, there may even be a few extras this month...wish me luck!) Because can you think of a more perfect food than super cute pizza?

pattern // kawaii crossing chocolatier embroidery pattern

Chocolatier Embroidery Pattern

Even on leap year, February seems to speed by and before you know it you've nearly run out of month in which to release the newest Kawaii Crossing embroidery pattern. But it's here at last and you can now stitch your very own heart-shaped chocolatier.

We won't talk about Valentine's Day being over because you can always give a heart box of chocolates to someone special.

The pattern PDF includes two sizes. One is small for the EPP mini quilt I planned out (see my previous post for that) and one is large for making a Kawaii Crossing garland. Have I made a tutorial for that yet? NO! I may be running behind in more than one way these days.

I'll keep this post short and chocolatey sweet so I can get to work on things for next month. Because I have a fun design to get drawing!