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this is what i love // spending time with dear friends

Katie & Mollie in the Snow

I love spending time with dear friends. Who doesn't? But specifically, I love spending time with this dear friend. Katie Green.

She lives in England, so seeing each other in person is a real treat (although this is now our fourth time meeting face to face!). We Skype regularly, but getting to spend an entire week together, especially a Thanksgiving and birthday week? Well that's just too wonderful for words. I treasure every moment we have. Including running through fresh snow (which is thicker than Katie's ever seen!).

In regards to my previous mention of short posts this week, it's because I'm taking as much time as possible to be with Katie. I'm sure you understand!

this is what i love // yetis


My birthday is coming up this week, and around this time, I like sharing some things I love. So let's start with yetis. I adore them, and I'm not entirely sure why. But I especially love that the yeti socks my sister gave me match the yeti ice pack from my book Stitch Love!

Side note: Posts are gonna be short and sweet this week because of another thing I love...coming up next!

in print // mollie makes coloring

Mollie Makes Coloring

It's a big thing these days for grown-ups to color. Or as they say in other parts of the world "coloring in". It's relaxing, peaceful, and everything that the world isn't.

Earlier this year I shared a free downloadable coloring page, and I'm working on another (or maybe two!). But I also had the privilege of creating two pages for the new coloring book from Mollie Makes.

Mollie Makes Coloring
Mollie Makes Coloring

My two pages are both nature themed, and they were so much fun to create. Even though I have two pages with similar themes, they're quite different, which was a good challenge to draw. (Also, thankfully my drawing tablet worked the whole time, and promptly decided to be difficult as soon as I was done!)

Mollie Makes Coloring

And how cute are the other designs in here? I love these snails so much! And check out this all-over pattern:

Mollie Makes Coloring
Mollie Makes Coloring

The back of each page is blank, other than a light gray print of the page title and the artist. That means you can pull these out and frame them without losing another design on the back, and you don't have to worry about markers bleeding through to another page. Of course colored pencils are recommended and a set is included!

Okay, a few more page peeks!

Mollie Makes Coloring
Mollie Makes Coloring

I went crazy when I saw that squirrel teacup. Crazy, I tell you! It was at this point when flipping through that I thought "I really need to try embroidering a few of these designs. Yes, everything comes back to embroidery for me. And you should keep that in mind too. People have been using coloring pictures as embroidery patterns for a while, and this new batch of designs should inspire your stitching in a big way.

In addition to the sections of coloring pictures in a few styles, there's also some pages at the back that allow you to add your own drawings and designs. Love!

Mollie Makes Coloring

I'm not sure about the availability of this in the US at this time, but you can order from the UK. So grab your pencils and start coloring in!

how to get wild olive patterns made into iron-on transfers

Custom Iron-On Transfers from Stitcharama

One of the questions that I'm often asked is "How do you use your PDF patterns?" There are several ways, and the most simple is tracing with a pencil or water-soluble pen. I also LOVE using water-soluble interfacing. These methods work, but they aren't the most traditional transfer that people think of with embroidery.

Iron-on transfers are a classic, going back decades. And of course, they are still very common. If you've ordered from Sublime Stitching, you probably ordered iron transfers. Aunt Martha's sells them, and Aimee Ray just released a new book of them! I've been asked if I'll ever offer my patterns this way, and while I've looked into it, it hasn't been something I could jump into. (By the way, this is different from using iron-transfer pens...something I'll talk about another time.)

But now, YOU can! Stitcharama is a Portland-based online shop that makes it possible to order small quantities of iron-on patterns.

They sent me a sample using my I Like Autumn pattern set, and I'll tell ya...they work great! The patterns transfer just like the kind you'd buy from a pattern company, and they show up so well on linen, which is usually my biggest tracing challenge. And while I haven't tried using my cup of apple cider more than once, these should be reusable...at least a couple times.

Custom Iron-On Transfers from Stitcharama

When you buy a transfer pack, you get two pages of transfers. They can be the same two pages, or different. Because of how transfers work, you do need to reverse the images so they come out right. On their Etsy shop they show lower pricing if you're having more pages printed, so be sure to ask about that.

So what does this mean for Wild Olive patterns? Well, if you've purchased any of my PDF patterns, you can send the file to Stitcharama and ask them to print the reversed page in the file (it's in all of the patterns in my shop!). They'll make it into a iron-on pattern for you!

And guess what? I've got an extra page of I Like Autumn patterns that I'd like to give away to one lucky reader. Yay! Enter below through Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open to international readers too. Hooray!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and thanks to Stitcharama for making this option available, and for sending me samples! Oh, and be sure to watch for another transfer giveaway coming (hopefully!) in December!

playing with elongated hexagon designs

Cutting Elongated Hexagons

I've been in a season of starting projects and not finishing them. I know you know what I'm talking about.

To be fair, some of them are reaching completion, but it could be a while before they all are. Some may never get there because they are almost just for trying something out and it doesn't matter if they cross the finish line. I just worry that I might hit project overwhelm on all the things I'd like to make, but won't.

Of course, ignoring that worry (and contributing to it), I cut some elongated hexagons to play with. That's three possible projects there, and looking at what's left of November, I know for a fact that I won't get them all done before I hit the end of this shape-theme. I'm hope, hope, hoping that I get one of them done.

What I HAVE gotten done are a few more things in preparation for Thanksgiving, and you can see my free Give Thanks pattern and an easy way to make placemats over at About.com.

Oh, and if I go underground for a few days here, it's because I'm working hard behind the scenes...to clean up all the mess of those started-but-not-finished projects. YIKES!

pattern // you were made for this

You Were Made For This // embroidery pattern

For about a year and a half, although maybe longer, I've had something on my heart and mind. It keeps coming up, and those are the things you're really supposed to make and do, right?

It's been taped to the front of my computer, sketched in a journal, and the words just seem to show up in my life: You were made for this.

The first time this idea really stuck with me came with a little lesson on the Puritans. I learned that they had three ideas about God's calling on our lives.

1) Our highest calling is to have a relationship with Jesus.
2) All Christians have common callings that we're all meant to do (love others, show mercy, help the poor, etc.).
3) Each person has a specific calling to do something unique.

That last one is what this pattern is about. You and I are different, and we may have similar or very different things that we're supposed to do with our lives. We might do things that are flashy or mundane, but if they are serving some good purpose, then good. Do the thing you were made for.

I honestly could write on and on about this topic because it's been so clear and important to me lately, but I'll leave you with this:

No matter what your life is all about, there are times when it is hard. (I love my work so much, but it's still a struggle.) Look for why it is important, hold onto that, and keep on. Because you were made for this.

Related to this pattern and idea is one that I made last year. Check out There is a Design.

And if you don't know what your calling is and are looking for help in figuring that out, let me know and I'll help connect you with some resources!

project // elongated hexagon cord keeper

Elongated Hexagon Cord Keeper

Okay, first things first. I'm here to brag that I have the cutest earbuds on the planet. When I saw them in a gift shop, I HAD to have them. Never mind that I could have gotten them cheaper on Amazon. There was never any hesitation on my part.

But no matter if you have squirrel and acorn earbuds or plain old black or white, one thing we have in common is that the cords like to tangle. A lot. Cut down on the knots with a cord keeper!

This one is made from leather and is an elongated hexagon shape. Wrap that cord and keep it in its place!

Elongated Hexagon Cord Keeper

You will need:

A small piece of leather (or vinyl...maybe even felt)
Snap, snap setter, and hammer
A large needle

Elongated Hexagon Template PDF

Elongated Hexagon Cord Keeper

Cut out an elongated hexagon shape from the leather.

Elongated Hexagon Cord Keeper

Press the prong side of each snap piece into the point at each end of the elongated hexagon. If you have super strength, you might be able to press it through the leather.

For normal humans, pressing the prongs into the leather will just leave an indent. Use the needle to make holes through the leather. Then you'll be able to get the prongs all the way through.

Elongated Hexagon Cord Keeper
Elongated Hexagon Cord Keeper

Use the snap setter to secure the rest of the snap pieces. Seriously hammer them in place.

Elongated Hexagon Cord Keeper

Coil up your earbuds and snap your new cord keeper around them. Now when you toss them in your bag they'll stay more organized and less knotted and frustrating.

Elongated Hexagon Cord Keeper

And with gold leather wrapped around them, your earbuds will also look a lot snazzier. Yes, I said snazzier. I just can't promise that they'll ever look as adorable as my squirrel and acorn headphones.

the importance of keeping doodles and ideas

Idea Journals Through the Years

For better or worse, I tend to hang on to things for a long time. Most of the time they're things that I don't really need, and I've been making my way through them. You wouldn't believe the amount of recycling, junk, and bags of donations going out.

Some things, however, I'm so glad to find. Like my stack of composition books filled with notes, sketches, ideas, doodles, and plans. While I rarely am able to keep up a diary-like journal, I'm constantly adding to sketch journals.

Idea Journals Through the Years

These go back to 2008, I think (not all are dated), and it's always helpful and interesting to look back. I can see how my abilities have changed, how my style has evolved, and how my tastes have shifted.

Seeing what I've done in the past is also good for coming up with new ideas. Sometimes I'll find ideas that I drew up or wrote down, but never did anything with, or I'll be reminded of things that might work for a new project. Plus it's fun to go back.

Idea Journals Through the Years
Idea Journals Through the Years
Idea Journals Through the Years

What I noticed the most as I flipped through years of journals was that the last year or so has looked different. Instead of pages and pages of drawings I see a lot more lists and post-its.

Idea Journals Through the Years

My work and time have shifted and in a way that makes me sad. I miss the days of releasing several pattern sets a month and having so many ideas ready to go. But I also know that it was the work I've done in the past that got me here.

And I love here.

eight days a week epp block // joining the pieces

Eight Days a Week EPP Block // joining

The joining of the Eight Days a Week pieces has begun!

My favorite trick for laying out the pieces is to find the arrangement I like, and then snap a pic on my iPad. Otherwise I forget. Even if I stack my pieces in the order they go, I manage to forget which side to attach to, or it ends up off in some other way.

Sometimes I still change my mind (I think I've made three big changes so far on this one!), but then I just take a new picture. Easy peasy!

I'm joining these with whip stitch. I actually really like the way it looks when I use running stitch, but this way is faster, and as it is, I'm fairly certain it's gonna take me months to make my pillow.

Because in my excitement to start this, I let a few other things go. So this project goes on hold for a bit. As my piecing gets a little larger, I'll do more updates.

If you decide to use this block, I'd love to see! Tag me on Instagram (I'm @molliejohanson) and tag your pics #EightDaysAWeekEPP. Find the template here!

calendar // print and post elongated hexagons for november

Okay, so October is fine and good and actually, this October was a fine and good one. But November is my favorite. It's my birthday month, it's Thanksgiving, and it's jeans and sweaters, tights and scarves.

Before I get too far, here are a few posts that I shared over on About.com this month...

Okay, and now it's November time! A friend of mine and I have talked about how we're not always fans of the "elongated hexagon" shape that is used in some English paper piecing. I'm not exactly sure why, but my best guess is that I see it looking very traditional, and I like modern (or super vintage) better.

That said, I chose the elongated hexagon for this month. Why? well, I wanted to see if I could make it more modern. I've seen some quilters do it successfully, and then there's this. When I saw Sufjan Stevens' concert stage in Chicago with these beautiful shapes, I knew that I needed to explore the shape more.

I can't wait to see where they lead me!

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.

2015 November Print Calendar

To PRINT a calendar page (with a place for notes), download the October 2015 calendar page PDF. The dates are lighter print so you can write over them if you want, or let your little ones trace over the numbers for practice!

Let's have a wonderful November, filled with gratitude and great days!