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youtube // easy cross stitch ornament

Life Day Cross Stitch Ornament

Want to turn a bit of cross stitch into a Christmas ornament? There are lots of ways to do that, but this is a quick way that is cute and doesn't require any sewing or special techniques. And I'm showing it off in almost real-time video!

Cross stitch can take some time (although when you use the sewing method, it's a lot faster), but small designs are stitchable in an evening...some even faster than that! When you pair a small design with this ornament DIY, you can create some special gifts for friends and family or add some unique decor to your tree in no time at all.

The design I used for my ornament sample is the Star Wars Life Day pattern that I shared a few weeks ago. It's not Christmas, but it kinda is. And I love it. But this tutorial obviously works with all kinds of patterns. In fact, a lot of the patterns sets I have in my Etsy shop are a perfect size, as well as all of the little free Kawaii Crossing charts and virtually every cross stitch pattern I've shared here on my blog.

Here's the basic idea of how to make these: stitch, trim, stick, trim, add a hanger. Now, watch it all come together:

The adhesive that I use is permanent fabric tape and while it doesn't always immediately stick, once you press it down well, it holds. Which means you don't want to peel it off the back of your stitching because it could damage it. Only do this when you are committed to the cross stitch being an ornament!

When I've made some embroidered ornaments on felt, I use glue, which is also permanent, but I don't recommend that here because the glue will soak through the Aida cloth. I feel so much better about this tape. That said, I haven't had the many years needed to know how this holds up long term. If you want to make an heirloom, it's better to use another finishing technique, such as sewing.

But what's stopping you now? Start stitching and making some fun ornaments for Christmas, Life Day, or any time of the year!

calendar // mel the mouse wallpaper

December already? For me that usually means making decorations, buying or crafting gifts, and lots of baking! Kawaii Crossing resident Mel the Mouse is just the same...at least when it comes to baking. And the kitchen fun is starting with gingerbread cookies!

Now, Mel has an electric mixer, but for some reason prefers stirring the cookie dough by hand.

It works though, because all of the residents of Kawaii Crossing rave about Mel's sweet treats all season long. I mean, we're talking soft and chewy gingerbread that you don't want to stop eating. Yum!

Like Mel, I plan on making some tasty soft gingerbread cookies this year. I usually make them with a smaller cookie cutter, but I may go for some bigger ones this time around. We'll see. I like to use distinctive shapes that don't require a lot of decorating because that's my least favorite part. Maybe Mel will help though?

But before we start baking, how about some wallpapers to fit all your favorite screens?

Gingerbread Handwarmers

Speaking of gingerbread, a few years back I made these gingerbread handwarmers. Aren't they fun? I think Mel the Mouse would approve. I also designed some posable gingerbread people that are fun to play with.

Sweet Gingerbread Scene Playset Pattern // Wild Olive

And because apparently I really like felt gingerbread, you may also like this felt playset that lets your little one decorate a gingerbread house again and again! You can find it in my Etsy shop.

pattern // bea the badger embroidery

Bea The Badger Embroidery Pattern Who's ready to stitch Bea the Badger? Or maybe you just want to stitch a little book or a tiny cup of coffee? However you want to use this new free design is just fine. As long as you're cozy and comfortable while you get the stitching underway.

That's Bea's way of doing things, so it's only right that you follow suit. In fact, Bea likes it when she can just read and be be herself. She tried joining the Kawaii Crossing book club, but everyone there was talking and she got a little overwhelmed. Plus, by the time the group of friend met up, Bea had already ready 19 other books and it got confusing.

I get it. Sometimes quiet with a book and some good coffee is the best kind of social gathering!

True story: Bea was originally going to be a bear and she was going to be more about coffee than books. The change happened because I already featured a Panda and even though they aren't the same, they have the same shape. I also have some big coffee plans for next year and that's all I'll say. Except that it also relates to this:

Have you found my bonus patterns and other fun stuff on Ko-Fi? Each month this year there's been a mini plush pattern, plus a few other things from time to time, along with a border pattern that holds all of the Kawaii crossing residents from this year. All of those things unlock when you send me a Ko-Fi donation, and more good things are coming to those who subscribe!

pattern // star wars life day cross stitch and embroidery

Star Wars Life Day Pattern

Happy Life Day! Today is the day that Wookiees celebrate family, joy, and harmony, and I'm joining this Star Wars celebration with two free Life Day patterns.

I love all things Star Wars, even though I don't know ALL the things. I'm a big fan, but not a fanatic. And I'm not sure where you fall in that spectrum if you have never watched the entire Star Wars Holiday Special (some may say you're in the wise section!), but I'm there. It was only very recently that I learned about Life Day, but I like any kind of holiday to learn about, so here I am.

If this is as new to you as it is to me, I highly recommend that you check it out. The idea is beautiful. I especially like this quote from Princess Leia when talking about Life Day:

"This holiday is yours, but we all share with you the hope that this day brings us closer to freedom, and to harmony, and to peace. No matter how different we appear, we're all the same in our struggle against the powers of evil and darkness."

And isn't that what we all want and need?

Star Wars Life Day Pattern

So let me just share about these patterns for a moment. Wookiees like Chewbacca often wear long red robes for the Life Day ceremonies and Life Day orbs are a traditional decoration. I don't know that I'd say that this is actually Chewie in these patterns, but it is a Wookiee wearing a robe and holding a Life Day orb.

Even though Life Day is celebrated on November 17 (this is based on when this holiday was introduced to our galaxy!), I thought that it would also make a nice Christmas ornament. The cross stitch version is a little over 2 inches when stitched on 14-count Aida and the embroidery version is a bit larger. If you want your embroidered Wookiee to have rosy cheeks like the cross stitch one, you can add that with a soft colored pencil!

I'll be back at the beginning of December with a little tutorial for how to make these or other little designs into ornaments. Today, I am just here to share the quick-to-stitch patterns, along with hopeful wishes of family, joy, and harmony to you and yours.

Please note, these patterns are based on characters I didn't create and are intended only as fan art. Please do not sell anything you make with any of my Star Wars patterns.

project // pumpkin pie slice magnets

Pumpkin Pie Magnet

It's pumpkin pie season! I love desserts of all kinds, but this is still one of my favorites, and one reason is that I love Thanksgiving. And what could be more Thanksgiving than pumpkin pie? Maybe a slice of pie with a happy little face that's also a magnet?

This simple little project came out of me wanting to make a craft that middle school students could make in a few minutes, but it's really something that all ages can enjoy. It's a fun idea to have out at the "kids table" on Thanksgiving, and it's also something that people of all ages and abilities can make.

It's a little bit of cutting out shapes, a little bit of glueing, and a bit of playing with the soft texture of cotton balls! You end up with a magnet to hold notes on your fridge or stick in your locker.

Pumpkin Pie Magnet

In fact, instead of using this to hold up a Happy Thanksgiving note, you could use this to hold an ongoing list of things that you're grateful for. You know...see a slice of pie, think about something you're thankful for, and then write it down!

Okay, are you ready to get baking...er...crafting?

Here's what you need:

Orange and Tan Card Stock (see notes at the end for other materials to use!)
Glue Stick
Cotton Ball
Black Marker
Magnet Strip


Pumpkin Pie Magnet

Use the template in the PDF to cut out an orange wedge and a tan crust.

Pumpkin Pie Magnet

Use a glue stick to attach the crust to the pie.

Pumpkin Pie Magnet

Pull off a small piece of the cotton ball and roll it into a ball.

Pumpkin Pie Magnet
Pumpkin Pie Magnet

Put a dab of glue on the slice of pie and then stick the cotton ball whipped cream down.

TIP: Sometimes kids or others who don't do a lot of crafting try to stick the glue on the cotton ball. That doesn't work out so well, so be sure to show how to put the glue on the paper.

Pumpkin Pie Magnet

Draw a happy little face on the pie. This is, of course, optional, but I think it's super cute this way. I could have added one of my Wild Olive faces on the template, but this way there's unlimited creativity!

Pumpkin Pie Magnet

Cut a piece of magnet strip and attach it to the back of the pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie Magnet

Now your magnet is all ready for Thanksgiving celebrations!

Because I designed this as something a bunch of students could do, I made it with cardstock. This is the least expensive material, especially when it comes to possible waste and kids starting their project several times. Not that they would do that! Ha!

You can absolutely make this out of craft foam or felt instead of cardstock. Just be sure to use glue that will hold whatever material you're using. And if you're using felt, you may need to either stitch or paint the face. You could also use wiggle eyes on your pie instead of just drawing.

I hope you enjoy making your magnetic pumpkin pie and eating the real deal!

pattern // bea the badger cross stitch

Bea the Badger Cross Stitch

If you have ever wanted to cross stitch a badger who loved to read books and drink coffee, I have the perfect free pattern for you! Bea the Badger is a bit of a book worm (which is awkward because badgers also like to eat worms) and that means she always has that snout of hers burried between the pages of a new story.

I'm not sure if she's ever tried cross stitch, but I'd like to think that if we were ever to pull her away from her reading, she would be excited to stitch a mini book design. Right? That's also your hint that you could very easily stitch only the book or the cup of coffee if you prefer. These are grouped charts, but they're also a collection of mini patterns.

Okay, time for a pattern!


There's also a ribbon border chart that's designed to hold all 12 of the Kawaii Crossing residents I'm sharing this year. You can find it on Ko-Fi!

If you like embroidery instead of cross stitch (I do both!), the embroidery version will be coming soon!

3 top tips for cutting felt with freezer paper

Top Tips for Cutting Felt With Freezer Paper

I don't know about you, but I love crafting with felt. And when I need to cut out pieces with any kind of precision, I use freezer paper as the templates. This simple product you can buy at a grocery store is a game changer. If you've never tried it, you're in for a treat! And if you've used freezer paper for cutting felt (or other fabrics!) before, I have a few tips that might just make things even easier.

First, let me tell you about freezer paper if you've never used it. 

This is paper that has a plastic backing. Its original purpose was wrapping meats and things to—surprise, surprise—go in the freezer! Somewhere along the line crafters figured out that it's so much more than that. Now the packaging even lists crafts in the list of uses. Instead of only finding it at the grocery store near things like plastic wrap or aluminum foil, you can often find it at craft stores.

Because it has a plastic coating on the back, when you place the shiny plastic side down on your felt or fabric and iron the paper side, it sticks to the material. That means you can trace a pattern on the paper, iron it down, cut out your shapes, and then the freezer paper peels off without leaving any residue. Magic!

I first learned about this trick as a kid from an introductory sewing book and I've never been the same. In a good way!

Now, let's talk about felt.

When it comes to making almost any kind of felt project, I recommend wool or wool blend felt. It is much more pleasant to work with and it makes for a nicer finished item. Using freezer paper on wool or wool blend has never let me down.

I DO NOT recommend using freezer paper on acrylic felt. I have tried it and while it can be done, you risk melting the felt and it also doesn't peel off as easily.

Now, are you ready for my 3 top tips for cutting felt with freezer paper?

Stick Freezer Paper Onto Standard Paper for Printing

1. Print the patterns instead of tracing them.

I honestly can't believe I didn't try this one sooner. Folks have probably been doing this for a while because you can actually buy sheets of freezer paper that are cut to standard paper size. I am a recent adopter of this and I won't be going back.

You don't need to buy the pre-cut kind though because the stuff on the roll works just great! Simply cut a piece that's the same size as a piece of printer paper. Next, use doubled sided tape to tack it down to a regular piece of paper. Doing this really helps make it easier for your printer to grab it and pull it through.

Once you print the templates, they're ready to use as you typically would.

One important thing to remember. This is only for inkjet printers. Laser printers use heat and that would just melt the plastic on the paper!

Move the Felt, Not the Scissors

2. Move the Felt, Not the Scissors. 

 My grandma taught me this one and I know a lot of folks learned this in early elementary school, but it bears repeating.

When cutting out a shape, guide the felt with your non-dominant hand and keep your cutting hand steady. Your cuts will be so much more accurate this way! This is also a huge benefit to using freezer paper because the pattern doesn't shift around as you move the felt.

Bonus tip: Find a pair of scissors that cuts your felt with the paper easily and keep it as your felt scissors. You don't want to use expensive sewing scissors because the paper will dull them. I like using inexpensive student scissors that still do the job...if they get dull, I don't feel bad and just use them for paper going forward!

Use Simple Freezer Paper Shapes More Than Once

3. Use simple freezer paper shapes more than once. 

For a long time I assumed that this was a single-use product, but I was wrong! After you cut out a shape and peel the freezer paper away, you can iron it down and use it again...and again...and still again.

This tip is best suited to simple shapes that allow you to cut around the already cut template, but that's still helpful in my book. Of course, you could also use reuse larger templates by tracing smaller pieces on them.

When I recently made a set of 34 felt ornaments, I reused the same few circle templates (like you see above!) over and over and they still held!

Speaking of ornaments, I have made a lot of felt ornaments and other felt-focused patterns over the years. You can find some in my Etsy shop, and lots more here on my blog. Pretty much any time I have to cut small pieces of felt or anything that has details, I use freezer paper.

If you haven't tried it yet, now is the time!

calendar // bea the badger wallpaper

It's November! That means it's my favorite month of the year and Bea the Badger is here to help celebrate! Do you know how to best celebrate November? With a cup of coffee and a good book. Because in the Northern Hemisphere, this is cozy time.

Bea is all about that cozy life. She reads more books in a month that some people read in five years! And it's always with a nice cup of coffee to sip on while reading. Okay, so sometimes she goes for tea and that's perfectly fine. No need to limit your hot beverage choices.

Okay, let's get this new friend up on some wallpapers. Because Bea also wants you to always have a quick calendar reference for your month. Grab whatever size you need for your screen!

I can't believe that there is just one more month of these Kawaii Crossing residents! It's gonna be a good one too. (Think holiday fun!)

Have a wonderful November filled with good books and alllllll the coffee!

printable // leaf stitching cards

Leaf Stitching Cards

What's better than walking through crunchy autumn leaves? Stitching them! Okay, so this isn't about stitching real leaves (but you can do that). It's about practicing some stitches on printable kawaii leaves. This is a fun project for nearly all ages.

A while back I made some printable autumn leaf lacing cards, which are similar in basic idea, but better suited for younger kids. These new stitching cards are ideal for kids who are learning embroidery, teens who like to make easy projects while hanging out with friends, and adults who just want to make something cute!

Leaf Stitching Cards

I made mine with running stitch, which is what I always suggest as a first stitch for anyone to learn. But you could also stitch on this with back stitch or holbein stitch for solid lines, and other stitches too if you know how to work it (tips on that at the end of this post!)

Stitching cards are such a fun way to try out a new craft. Before you know it, you'll FALL for embroidery!

Leaf Stitching Cards

Here's what you need:

Embroidery floss (I used fun colors!)
Large embroidery needle


Leaf Stitching Cards

Print the PDF on cardstock. Don't use regular paper because it will be too flimsy. Cut out the leaf shapes.

Leaf Stitching Cards

Use the needle to poke a hole on each dot. It can be helpful to set the leaf on a piece of corrugated cardboard when poking the holes.

Leaf Stitching Cards

Thread the needle with a piece of embroidery floss using all six strands. You can also use yarn if your needle is large enough. Tie a knot at the other end.

Leaf Stitching Cards

Start on the center stem (or midrib!), no matter which leaf shape you're using. Come up through the first hole and go back down through the next.

TIP: Don't pull the thread too hard or the knot will pop through the stitching card. If you're having trouble, you can tape the knot on the back.

After you stitch the center stem/midrib, end off the thread with a knot and then start again to stitch each vein from the outside edge to the middle and then out to the opposite edge.

Leaf Stitching Cards

On the back you can see how the thread travels and this is how each leaf is designed. There's also exactly the right number of dots/holes to it comes out even for running stitch or back stitch.

Leaf Stitching Cards

And there's your happy little leaf!

You can punch a hole and add a hanging loop to turn it into an ornament, attach it to the front of a card, use it as a bookmark, or just let it be a stitched leaf.

If you want to use other stitches, you just need to consider how you might need to prepunch the holes. For example, if you want to do chain stitch, you can use the dots as a guide and simply add an extra hole a the end as the tacking stitch. To do stem stitch, you probably want to add an extra hole between each dot.

Leaf Stitching Cards

Try out different stitches, unexpected embroidery floss colors, and just have fun making your leaves!

Want to make these with your classroom, library, church, or scout group? I'm very happy for you to do that! I also have a one-page printable instruction page for this project, available on my Ko-Fi page.

pattern // pia the pig cross stitch

Pia The Pig Cross Stitch Pattern

Would you like to cross stitch our Kawaii Crossing friend, Pia the Pig? She's here and ready for you along with her dress form and some colored pencils!

Now, something that I really noticed with this pattern in particular. It's been true for most of these Kawaii Crossing motif groupings, but this one feels really in your face. And that's scale. I just want to acknowlege that the scale is not accuate for any or all of these. The dress form is not the correct size for Pia. And the colored pencils would look ginormous compared to the dress form and even a little for Pia.

I debated about how much this might bother me, but you know what? It's just fine!

However, one thing that I really wanted to be sure of for those colored pencils is how the points were going to work. I drew up the pattern but I was worried that it would look funny. And while sometimes these free patterns come to you just as a chart, I didn't want to risk it on the pencils.

Tiny Cross Stitch Colored Pencil

So here is a pencil stitching test!

I haven't stitched Pia yet, and even my sparkle border is unfinished, but I stitched that pencil. And I like how the point came out! These are just three back stitches, with each one going over two squares (both straight and on an angle). This isn't typical back stitch, but I like these longer stitches and they work well for making these pencil points. Now let's get to this pattern!