about shop patterns projects printables extras sponsorship wild olive twitter flickr pinterest subscribe

stitch love // making a hamster out of a guinea pig

Making a Hamster from Stitch Love
Making a Hamster from Stitch Love

When my mom was growing up she had pet guinea pigs (a family fact you'll find in my book, Stitch Love), but when I was growing up I always had pet hamsters.

A few of my hamsters met with untimely ends (there are some good stories here!), and once my dad even revived one of my little pets. There was no mouth-to-mouth, but he did do some compressions and held that little guy until he came back!

Making a Hamster from Stitch Love
Making a Hamster from Stitch Love
Making a Hamster from Stitch Love

Even with all my hamster tales, I decided to have a guinea pig, a Gleeful Guinea Pig, in Stitch Love. Not wanting to snub my tinier furry friends, I included a hamster embroidery pattern in embroidery gallery and right there on the cover. I also suggested that you could take the same pattern, shrink it down, and have a hamster.

The process is pretty much exactly the same as what is in the book, just smaller. When I made my little hamster, I printed the pattern at 50%. That's 50% of the full size download patterns (the link is in the back of Stitch Love under "Using Templates"). The circles for his head and bottom are 5 or 5-1/2 inches (a cereal bowl is perfect!).

I made the face, ears, and feet a little larger than 50%, tracing them directly from the book. In hindsight, I'd probably go smaller and make them a true 50% also.

And are you ready for this?

Making a Hamster from Stitch Love

I'm a little behind on the trend, but my hamster is a perfect size to play with Tsum Tsums! He's just a bit longer, but as you can see, he stacks just like the rest! Being a hamster (and squirrel!) fan, you know I had to have Chip and Dale. Chipmunks are like, right in-between.

I picked them up on a recent trip to Target. My little sister and I decided that we needed them in our lives, and undoubtedly she'll be swiping my hamster friend...just like my other sister took the guinea pig!

Making a Hamster from Stitch Love

Here's the fun part...after I made a mini guinea ham, I knew that I just HAD to make more. And the latest have a theme that I think you might just love. If you haven't picked up Stitch Love yet, this is a great time!

project // rainy day bean bag game

Rain Bean Bag Game

Rainy days got you a feeling a little crazed? This little project will keep you busy stitching for a day, then it will keep your little ones occupied as they toss raindrops at a happy little umbrella!

All it takes is a bit of felt, fabric, and some stitching, and you'll have plenty of rainy day fun! I seriously had so much fun making this. What can I say? It's a rainy April, and the simple things make me happy.

Rain Bean Bag Game

Here's what you need:

12x18 piece of felt (for the umbrella base)
Four bright colors of felt (for the umbrella panels)
Tan felt (for the handle)
Light blue fabrics
Embroidery floss in matching colors, plus black
Poly Pellets, rice, or small beans
Craft/fabric glue
Sewing Machine

Rainy Day Bean Bag Game Template PDF

Rain Bean Bag Game

Print and cut the template pieces. Cut the umbrella base on the large piece of felt, placing it on the fold as noted on the pattern. Cut the panel pieces from the four colors of felt. Go ahead and cut out the umbrella handle pieces too.

Rain Bean Bag Game

Arrange the umbrella panels so they fit. Pin the first one in place, then stitch around the edges with running stitch and matching embroidery floss. I used three strands of variegated floss for this. Repeat for each panel.

Just a note...you can pin all of the panels in place to start, but I find that having less pins to deal with as I'm hand sewing really helps. The thread just catches too much. If you're not up for hand stitching these down, you can very easily sew these on a sewing machine.

Rain Bean Bag Game

Embroider the face onto one of the handle pieces. I used three strands and made the face with colonial knots and a scallop stitch. After you embroider the face, stitch the two handle pieces together with three strands of matching floss and running stitch.

Rain Bean Bag Game

Glue the top of the handle to the back of the main umbrella piece, centering it and making sure that the face will be on the front. (You'd feel so silly if it ended up backwards!)

Fabri-Tac is great for this, because it holds really well and dries quickly.

Rain Bean Bag Game

Your finished umbrella should look something like this! Now it's time to tackle the raindrop bean bags...

Rain Bean Bag Game

There are different ways you can do the bean bags. I chose to make three bean bags that have two fabrics: a more basic for the front, and a metallic for the back. This is more of a one-player game.

You could also make two sets of bean bags and make each one its own fabric. This would be good for playing with two people. The choice is yours!

Either way, you'll need to cut two raindrop shapes for each bean bag. Stitch a face on the front piece of each bean bag. I used six strands, and kinda think I should have done only three.

Rain Bean Bag Game

Sew around each bean bag, leaving an opening for turning and back stitching at the start and stop. Trim the point and clip the curves as shown.

Rain Bean Bag Game

Turn the bean bags right side out, smooth the curves, and poke the top point into shape. I used a semi-sharp chopstick for that.

Fill the bean bags with your filling, then stitch the openings closed with ladder stitch.

Rain Bean Bag Game

You're all ready to play!

Rain Bean Bag Game

Grab the raindrops...

Rain Bean Bag Game

...and toss them at the umbrella!

Rain Bean Bag Game
Rain Bean Bag Game

Before you start, assign point values to the different colors. Or play a round where you're only aiming for one color. You could also decide that you get bonus points if all the raindrops land face up!

There's no right or wrong for how to play this, so mix it up each time you play!

my favorite part of the making


Do you have a favorite part of every project? Maybe it's choosing materials, crossing over into being more than halfway done, or adding the finishing details. Maybe it's different with every project you make.

For me, it's the same...and different depending on the type of thing I'm making.

The planning process is always so enjoyable. I love sketching ideas and selecting colors, and getting ready to get started. After the planning is done, it looks different depending on the type of creative work I'm doing.

I thought I might share what parts of the projects I like, from least to most favorites. Ready?


4. Cutting pieces
3. Piecing
2. Quilting
1. Binding


3. Soaking/pressing/framing
2. Transferring patterns
1. Stitching

English Paper Piecing:

3. Joining the pieces
2. Making the EPP into something
1. Basting the pieces

Just a few examples, and only in general terms. Some projects can have elements that switch these around.

Now, how about you? What is your favorite (or least favorite!) part of making something new?

waiting to become something


Confession: Like these strips of fabric, waiting to become something, there are a bunch of blog posts in my head, waiting to be written or stitched or photographed or what not.

I mentally write them, or start to write them. Sometimes they become an actual post, and sometimes I edit them away until they are gone and never reach the screen.

Just know that when I'm not sharing anything here, I'm at least thinking about sharing something here.

That counts, right?

color combo // fresh cut

Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette

This fabric. I saw it and was head over heels. It was one of those fabric lines where I said, if I ever find a deal on that, I WILL buy it. So when it was up as one of Missouri Star Quilt Company's Daily Deals a few weeks back, I snatched up a charm pack.

Fresh Cut is a recent line from Moda, and the colors are so fresh...and...colorful. Okay, so I'm not feeling the words today. But the fabrics have a slightly vintage feeling to them, and I can't wait to make something with these prints. I'm considering a quilt of some kind.

But since the colors are so, ahem, fresh and colorful, I thought they would make a nice DMC floss palette. Take a look...

Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette
Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette

There are actually more colors in this fabric line than I selected. Some are variations on these colors, and some are more like neutrals (navy, gray, etc.). I went with the ones that I really loved.

So you can see more of why I love this fabric line, and because once I start taking pictures of fabric and floss, it's hard to stop, here are a few more beauty shots!

Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette
Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette
Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette
Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette

That last one is a color that doesn't really fit for me. At least, not with the dominant colors that you see in the rest of the line. And yet, when you take it all as a whole, it completely works. I love fabric lines for this very reason. So often there are things that you might not match up on your own, but they really are perfect together!

Fresh Cut Fabric and DMC Floss Palette

And finally, some neutral. Here you really see the colors pop, and I think that stitching something with these floss hues on a gray would really be stunning.

I hope these colors inspire some freshly cut stitching!

printable // rainbow raindrop card

Rainbow Card

I love and collect stationery items, rarely use them, and then can never seem to find them when I need them. Printables are a great solution for that, right? Let's hope that I remember that I can print these rainbow cards the next time I need one.

If you're like me, this handy little PDF may be just what you need. You can fold them and write inside, or cut it to use as a flat (because there's plenty of room to write on the front!). They'll fit in A4 "invitation" envelopes.

Plus, who doesn't need more rainbow order in their life?

Speaking of rainbows, these brightly colored Ink Joy pens are awesome. I bought them as an Amazon add-on once, and now I'm hooked on them! They come in several styles, so go get some pens. You won't regret it. (I'm not compensated for this...not even an affiliate link...I just love them!)

Blank Card Inside

This is what the inside of the cards look like. Blank. Coming up, my family will be assembling the 120 Caregiver Kits that the Wild Olive community helped purchase. Each one gets a handwritten note.

That got me thinking. Would you like to send a message of encouragement or blessing in one of these Caregiver Kits? Blank cards wouldn't be so blank any more.

I'm happy to transfer the message from a comment here or an email (send to molliejohanson at gmail dot com) onto a card (I haven't decided if I'll be using the rainbows or not), and then send it along. If you weren't able to participate in the fundraising, this is also a great way to still be involved. I know that each one of these notes is going to mean a lot to the recipients.

If you would like to actually send a handwritten note for me to drop into one of the kits, again, just send me an email and we'll work that out. Hopefully kits will be going together the first week of May!

Questions? I'll do my best to answer in the comments!

book review // sweetly stitched handmades

Sweetly Stitched Handmades
Sweetly Stitched Handmades

Are you familiar with this phrase? "Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then, be a unicorn." That's how I feel about Amy Sinibaldi of nanaCompany.

Always find your own stitching style. Unless you can emulate Amy. Then, be Amy.

I've loved reading nanaCompany for years, and I've always been smitten by her style. She makes you want to climb into her photos...into her world. And that's not even counting the lovely things that she makes!

Amy excels at making even the supplies look beautiful, and of course choosing delightful fabrics. Her photo styling truly adds to the charm (my photo up there is my best try at being Amy!), but I've found that she is sweetness itself.

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

I'm not gonna lie. The first time Amy and I interacted on Instagram I got a little giddy. So when she offered to send me a copy of her book, and it came to me with a little message inside, I nearly died.

To say that this "review" is going to be a little biased is a bit of an understatement. I've been hoping that Amy would write a book for a while, and I was expecting to love Sweetly Stitched Handmades. And I did.

Often nanaCompany posts show finished items without a how-to. That alone is inspiring, but I always get a little excited when a tutorial pops up. With a book full of this inspiration AND instructions to try it yourself, how could I not love this book?

Sweetly Stitched Handmades
Sweetly Stitched Handmades

This bear billow is our favorite. And by our, I mean everyone in my family. Oh my, this is sweet! The fabrics! The trims! The hand quilting! Even that slouchiness.

Not all of the projects have how-to illustrations like this one, but where there are steps that benefit from some visual assistance, they are there. And they're cute too!

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

Charming pockets? Check! You have no idea how much I wish I had a wall to hang this. (I'm crazy short on wall space these days...)

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

This trivet is so very nanaCompany. Actually, everything in here is, but some projects feel especially like what I would expect to see on her blog. And it's things like her fabrics, crochet trim, and that little embroidered tag in the corner.

Even the book design has those kinds of details.

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

In fact, Amy has a two-page spread talking about those little embroidered tags and how to make them. I'm telling you...this is the "how to be Amy" guide that I've been looking for!

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

This interactive doll quilt is adorable, especially because there are little stitched mice under the doors! There's also a baby quilt in the book that I think I need to make.

Who am I kidding? I want to make everything in here!

Sweetly Stitched Handmades

Maybe starting with this jam jar pincushion? A goal for this year is that I want Sunday afternoons to be about stitching things just for me and my family, and Sweetly Stitched Handmades is going to be my go-to resource for those projects.

Amy, thank you for being as sweet as the things you make!

Find Sweetly Stitched Handmades on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through your local bookseller.

(By the way, I joke about wanting to become Amy (maybe only half joking?), but even if you make these a little different from how she does, these are simply wonderful projects. Check it out...you won't regret it!)

giving and receiving the studio ghibli swap

Ghibli Swap

Have you ever participated in an online craft swap? There are always tons of them going on Instagram, and I always think they look like so much fun! I rarely do them though, because in order to make something special takes time that I don't always have.

But when the Studio Ghibli Swap was announce, I knew that I HAD to be part of it. I love My Neighbor Totoro, and lots of other Studio Ghibli films, so this swap had the potential to be amazing.

My partner Julia liked Howl's Moving Castle (especially Calcifer!) and Totoro and Soot Sprites, so I focused on those things. The little stuffed Calcifer was made using a tutorial I found, but changing it up a little to make it a "Wild Olive" Calcifer.

For "extras" I made a triangle zip pouch, and included some socks and nail polish in colors to match the main project. Oh, and some caramel lip balm! I lucked out, because Julia likes caramel, and I didn't even know that!

Ghibli Swap

The main project I sent was a mini quilt that I designed to look like Totoro, but only give the essence of him. My partner said she like hexagons, and that played to my strengths! I drew the design, and HOPED it would work as I thought it would. The results aren't perfect, but thankfully those curves didn't drive me too crazy!

Ghibli Swap
Ghibli Swap

Totoro's spots are embroidered, and some Soot Sprites are on there too. Magic. If you look closely at the whole quilt, you'll see that I "signed" it with a little face, too.

Ghibli Swap

And then, this is what came my way! This swap was set up so you were making for someone different than you were receiving from. Amy made this fantastic mini quilt for me, and sent along some delightful extras. Just look at that Totoro! And Cat Bus socks! And lots of other goodies too.

Yes, I did go a little crazy as I was trying to finish my project in the midst of other things I was working on, but I'm so glad that I participated in the swap. Not only was it fun to design something and receive something, but thinking about another person and seeing what everyone was working on made this a really great experience!

You can see pictures from everyone in the swap on Instagram. Just search #studioghibliswap