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out in nature stitching club

Out in Nature Stitching Club

I'm so excited to announce my next big embroidery and EPP project, the Out in Nature Stitching Club! But before I get too far, let me share a little background story

Last summer I designed and ran the Around the House Stitching Club. From the very start I planned it to be part of a series of 8-week-long clubs known as the Exploring Your World Stitching Clubs. My intention was to have one run, take a few weeks off, then start the next.

The first club ended in September of last year, right as a dear family friend was losing his battle with cancer. And basically, my life was turned upside down. I could keep some things going, but I couldn't start a new club. I had sketches, but that was it, and it has taken me until now to get everything ready.

And it is ready!

Registration is now open for the Out in Nature Stitching Club, which will start on Tuesday, May 2. Now for the details...

Out in Nature Stitching Club
Out in Nature Stitching Club

This club is part embroidery and part English paper paper piecing (EPP). The result is an embroidered mini quilt (different from the Around the House mini) that is almost entirely stitched by hand.

We start with embroidery. This project features six embroidery patterns representing different elements in nature. And I've tried to choose things that will be fairly universal, so everyone around the world will feel some connection.

Each pattern fits on a 2-inch hexagon, and that's where the English paper piecing comes in.

Out in Nature Stitching Club

Along with the embroidered hexagons, you'll also make extra pieces and everything will fit together to make a mini quilt.

And because both embroidery and EPP are so portable, you'll actually be able to stitch out in nature!

Basic instructions for English paper piecing, quilting, and binding are included, though it's helpful to have some knowledge of embroidery. If you need assistance with this project along the way, I'm happy to help.

Plan to set aside a few hours a week for this, and you'll have a hand-embroidered, hand-pieced, and even hand-quilted mini quilt in eight weeks.

Out in Nature Stitching Club

The Out in Nature Stitching Club begins on May 2, and club members will receive an email with a new pattern or set of instructions each Tuesday for the 8 weeks. If you sign up after the club starts, you'll still have access to all of the emails and files that have already been sent.

As mentioned, this is part of a series. Which means that if you end up signing up for all four parts (two more parts will still be coming!), you can combine all of the Exploring Your World patterns into one large quilt using EPP templates.

Oh, and one of my favorite parts about these stitching clubs is the connections that form between club members as we all share our progress via social media, using the hashtag #OutInNatureStitchingClub

Out in Nature Stitching Club

Normally these clubs are $8.00, but you can sign up for the Out in Nature Stitching Club for just $5.00. So long as you sign up before the club ends! That's the total price, by the way, not a weekly price. We're calling it a long-term-introductory-price-because-Mollie-took-so-long-to-release-it deal

Out in Nature Stitching Club: $5.00

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NOTE: If you are outside of the US or Canada, please visit my Etsy shop to sign up.

When you sign up you will receive a PDF containing a list of supplies, templates, and some instructions to get you started.

If you have any questions, please ask them here and I'll answer right in the comments. Or, feel free to email me (molliejohanson at gmail) or reach out via social media.

Let's stitch out in nature!

printable // watercolor faith reminders

Printable Watercolor Reminders

I am a maker of lists. I live by them. And when I don't write down my lists, I try to keep them running in my head and risk the impending feeling of "oh my goodness what all am I supposed to do?". And why do I rely on lists? Because I'm forgetful. I need reminding.

In the same way, I doodle and draw patterns and printables with Scripture, song lyrics, and faith phrases. I stick them in places I'll see daily. I share them with others who do the same. Why? Because we're forgetful. We need reminding.

Occasionally I make these little printable reminders for the group of girls I lead at church. And when I showed them on Instagram, a few folks said they'd be interested in printing some for themselves or for groups they know. Because we're forgetful. We need reminding.

Some of these phrases have been patterns already (find them under the "faith" tag at the bottom of this post), and others are taken directly from the Bible.

My favorite, at Easter time and really, any time (because it's the rest of the time when I need the most reminding) is this one: All is well. Christ is risen. You can read more about it in a post from a while back, when I also made a bracelet to hold onto this reminder.

Friends, we're forgetful. But these things are worth remembering. Even if that means plastering reminders all over the place. We need this kind of reminding.

pattern // a guinea pig dressed as the easter bunny

Guinea Pig Easter Embroidery Pattern

Wheek! Here comes the Easter Piggy! I'm not sure which came first, me seeing a picture of a guinea pig wearing bunny ears (on Instagram, of course) or my little sister suggesting that we should dress our guinea pigs up as bunnies. Either way, I know that our actual piggies wouldn't have it.

So I drew a pattern of a guinea pig dressed as the Easter bunny and delivering some little jelly beans.

My intention was to stitch up the pattern and post it with plenty of time for you to stitch your own before Easter. And then it became clear that I could either stitch it or post it before Easter. So I'm sharing the pattern here for you, and if I'm lucky I might still get some Easter piggy stitching in this week.

(Oh, and be sure to stitch the jelly beans in bright colors so they don't look like something else. Ahem.)

pattern // jelly bean mandala applique

Jelly Bean Mandala

While I may not love the taste and texture of jelly beans, I do love their shape and the fact that they come in so many wonderful colors. And that's why I had to make some colorful, stitchable jelly beans as Easter wall art.

The idea for this free pattern started as something that would be made entirely with felt. You can still do that. It's also a pattern that could be all embroidery...or all applique with quilting cotton! I decided to blend a few techniques and textures, resulting in crazy patterned beans and slightly fuzzy carrots.

And if you use fusible applique for parts, there's not tons of stitching, which means it's also a fast, finish it well before Easter, sort of project.

Jelly Bean Mandala

You will need:

Fabric scraps
Paper-backing fusible web (such as Wonder Under)
Freezer paper
Orange and pink felt
6in embroidery hoop
Embroidery floss or perle cotton (orange, pink, green, and black)

Jelly Bean Mandala Pattern PDF

Jelly Bean Mandala

Cut the fabric scraps down to about 1-3/8in x 2in. Cut pieces of fusible web to match and iron them to the back of the fabric.

Jelly Bean Mandala

Trace the jelly beans onto pieces of freezer paper and iron them to the fronts of the fabric pieces.

Peel away the paper from the fusible web, and cut out the jelly bean shapes. Now, peel away the freezer paper.

Jelly Bean Mandala

Trace the carrots and the heart onto freezer paper and iron them onto the appropriate colored felt. Cut out the shapes and then peel off the paper.

Jelly Bean Mandala

Lay the pieces out on the backing fabric. The spacing doesn't need to match the pattern page, but do try to have them even.

Tip: I discovered, via happy accident, that if you place your backing fabric in your embroidery hoop and then remove the hoop, you'll be left with a crease that acts as a guide. Working within that circle is helpful for spacing the beans!

Pull the carrots and heart off of the fabric and iron the jelly beans in place.

Jelly Bean Mandala

Stitch the jelly bean faces with french knots and scallop stitches. I did this freehand, giving each face a slightly different bit of character.

Jelly Bean Mandala

Stitch the carrots between the jelly beans, and the heart in the center, using two strands of matching thread for each.

Jelly Bean Mandala

Add the carrot tops with green thread and straight stitches.

Jelly Bean Mandala

Frame up your finished stitching in a painted hoop and you have some fun wall decor for Easter!

Although I'm showing this with instructions for the method I used, I hope you also see the possibilities for using this pattern in other ways. Use other techniques, add more rounds of Easter objects or stitching details, enlarge it to become a pillow, or more. Let it be a springboard for creativity!

Jelly Bean Mandala

Happy stitching!

flash sale!!! the genius blogger's toolkit

Today I want to tell you about a wonderful team I’ve been working with recently, namely Ryan and Stephanie from Ultimate Bundles. For several years now, they’ve been putting together some incredible eBook and eCourse bundles.

You’ve probably seen some bundles around from time to time, but they’re not all created equally. What I love about Ultimate Bundles is the quality and value of the resources included in each bundle, how easy it is to download and use, their amazing customer service team, and the bonus offers included with each one.

One of their latest bundle is called The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. The toolkit contains 62 brilliant eBooks, eCourses, audios, and printables designed to help you:
  • boost your traffic,
  • earn more money,
  • master social media,
  • skyrocket your SEO,
  • create and sell products,
  • work like a genius,
  • share inspired content, maximize your email list, and so much more.

The combined value of everything in the toolkit is over $3,600, but you get it all for a ridiculous 97% off! Worried about information overload? Don’t be: it comes with a Genius Blogging Essentials eCourse to help you take action right away.

calling cards

My Teeny Tiny Blog Buddies Planning Pages and Calling Cards collection is one of the downloadables in the toolkit! The folks at Ultimate Bundles are super-picky about the products and creators they accept, so I’m SO honored and excited to be part of such a valuable and genuinely helpful package.

AND, if you send me an email after you purchase a bundle, I'll send you EVERY Blog Buddies item, which includes an embroidery pattern, printable tags, and a digital kit (including 12 digital papers and 40 elements).

Because of their commitment to including only the best eBooks, eCourses, audios, and printables, over 180,000 people have purchased one of their bundles over the past five years. Whoa...that's a lot of happy people buying bundles!

The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is available to you now, but only for a few days. On Tuesday, April 4 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit will no longer be available.

Click here to find out more and get your Genius Blogger’s Toolkit!

P.S. Also included in the toolkit is over $1,200 worth of incredible (and brilliant) bonus offers from blogging companies, like Board Booster, ViralTag, The Hungry JPEG, and Convertkit. That brings the actual value of the toolkit to over $5,000!

calendar // easter guinea pigs

I'm not exactly sure why, but I'm currently mega-inspired by jelly beans. You may be thinking that it's normal to be thinking about jelly beans around Easter, and you're right. But I don't exactly like this particular candy. For me, they fall somewhere between meh and ick.

But apparently Capt. Cuddles and Lt. Nibbles like them.* Maybe it's because they look a little like rainbow guinea pig poop. Maybe it's because large jelly beans look like correctly proportioned Easter eggs to them, and they can pretend that they're the Easter bunny. Maybe they were just fun to draw.

So anyway, my little piggies and I are planning some jelly bean patterns and projects this month. For a start, you can go back a few years and download a little jelly bean embroidery pattern. You'll see that my disdain for eating jelly beans is a longstanding one.

But before we jump into April, we need calendar wallpapers. Download them and add them to your device. There's just one size for computers, because it should be large enough to accommodate most screens.

*Please note: I do not actually feed my guinea pigs jelly beans.

project // rainbow-stitched cuff bracelet

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

When DMC released their stitchable cuff bracelets not too long ago, I was excited to try them. I don't wear cuffs very often, but you know...this is just too fun, right? I mean, who can resist embroidered jewelry?

These faux-leather cuffs come pre-punched and ready to stitch. They come in four colors (black, white, pink, and blue) and they have two snaps. Technically, those snaps make the size adjustable, though I think it's really intended to be one-size using both snaps.

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

The sample photos and other patterns I've seen for these cuffs show them with cross stitch. But I wanted to see how I might use the bracelets with simple embroidery. And what could be simpler than stripes of back stitch? But not just any stripes...rainbow stripes!

DMC sent me one of each color to try, and I went with black to show off my nearly neon rainbow palette. It feels a bit like a video game to me, and definitely like my childhood.

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

To make a rainbow cuff bracelet, you will need a DMC Stitchable Cuff and 10 embroidery floss colors (There are ten long rows of holes). I used DMC 350, 3340, 741, 743, 3819, 993, 806, 156, 3607, and 3832.

For some rainbow inspiration, check out my collection of rainbow floss palettes. You'll need to add a few extra colors in there, but they'll get you started!

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

For each color, stitch a line of back stitch, working through the pre-punched holes.

One of the things I love about this is that it doesn't require much thought as you work. It's just straight lines! Mind you, I did stitch half a row before realizing that it was the wrong color. Oops! Just pay attention that you have the colors in rainbow order.

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

I'm not opposed to knots on the back of embroidery, but in this case, I didn't trust them to not pop through the holes in the bracelet. To start each line I held a tail on the back and stitched over the tail to secure it and to end each line, I wove the thread through the back of the stitches.

Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet
Rainbow-Stitched DMC Cuff Bracelet

You can stitch this entire bracelet in an afternoon or evening (maybe two), and I'm quite sure you'll find it to be super relaxing. I already have plans for my next cuff!

Many thanks to DMC for sending me these to try, and for making such fun products and great floss!

how to frame embroidery with lacing

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

A few years ago I showed how you can easily frame embroidery in an IKEA picture frame. Today I'm going to show you almost the exact same thing, but using a different technique for getting the embroidery stretched and held taut. In fact, this lacing method is more traditional, but I'm often slow to conform.

That might be a little sad and silly, because in this case, after just one go at it I'm extremely pleased and most likely hooked. I'll explain why later.

I decided to try this method out on a whim, hoping that it would hold my stitching nicely. Plus I like to learn different ways of doing the same thing. When I started trying it out, I didn't immediately take any photos, and then when I was nearly halfway through, I realized I should share this process.

Bear in mind that this is my first time doing this. If you want more information or other tutorials for comparison, you'll find them with a quick online search.

So let's dive in and we'll walk through the steps that aren't in the photos. I'm using an inexpensive IKEA frame. This one is 8.5 x 11 inches. But this will work with most frames.

Step 1

Remove the back of the frame as well as the clear plastic. Lay the clear plastic on the back of your embroidery (it should be in a state that's ready to frame...no big wrinkles!).

It's best to have at least an inch of extra fabric that will wrap around to the back of the plastic, so plan accordingly when you're starting your embroidery and cutting your fabric. The extra fabric doesn't have to be trimmed to perfection, but semi-even is helpful.

If your frame has glass instead of plastic (because you have a nicer frame than I do!), you should probably cut a piece of strong cardboard or mat board to replace it. You can try using the glass, but do be careful!

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Step 2

Thread a needle with a long piece of perle cotton. Mine was about a yard and a half long and I used size 12, but size 8 or even size 5 should work (maybe even better). Tie a large knot in the other end.

Starting on one of the long sides, wrap the fabric around the plastic and bring the needle up through the fabric. Be sure to come through at least 1/2in from the edge at around the center. This will hold the embroidery evenly and prevent the lacing stitches from pulling the fabric apart.

Cross over to the opposite side and bring the needle through the fabric from bottom to top. Work this way from side to side, pulling the fabric tight as you go.

Once you've worked from the center to one end, start at the center again and work toward the other end. Secure the end of each lacing thread with a large knot, keeping the lacing taut.

I found that it was best to have each lacing stitch be about 1/2in to 3/4in apart. Any wider than that and it starts to pull funny. Also, take a peek at the front every so often to make sure things are staying straight.

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Step 3

Fold the two ends in and repeat the same lacing process. Start at the center and work toward the edges.

Stitch through both layers where those extra folds are, and try to keep them as tidy as possible.

Also, when you're working with plastic or cardboard that has some flex to it, it's easy to end up pulling the lacing a little tighter than you need to. This will cause the board to curve and pull toward the back. If it's only a little, it will work out and just stretch your embroidery to a good tightness. If there's a huge flex, you should redo the lacing.

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Step 4

Place the laced embroidery in the back of the frame. There won't be any glass covering the embroidery, but that's okay.

Most frames don't have enough thickness to accommodate the glass or plastic, the embroidery, and the backing. Or if they do, the embroidery ends up pressed up tight against the glass, which doesn't look great and isn't good for your embroidery. If you want your embroidery to be covered with glass, check with a professional framer.

In this case, we're framing it, not preserving it.

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Step 5

Set the frame backing in place (make sure it's going in the right direction!) and tuck in any fabric bits that might be showing. Secure it with the little tabs, and admire your freshly framed embroidery!

Framing Embroidery in an IKEA Frame

Doesn't it look so nice in a frame like this? I love framing my stitching in an embroidery hoop, but it's good to have options, especially for square or rectangular embroideries.

My original post showing how to frame embroidery in an IKEA frame used tape to hold the fabric. It was fast and easy, and once it's all in the frame, it doesn't go anywhere. But it doesn't pull the embroidery as taut as this does. And really, lacing doesn't take all that long.

I love that frames like this come in different colors/styles and are inexpensive, often no different than the price of a cheap hoop. But they give the embroidery a finished look that is often nicer than a hoop finish. Plus, the back is totally covered so you save time on that part!

At Home in This Life

Now, about this embroidery you see! You get an early peek at a pattern that I designed for Jerusalem Greer. Her new book, At Home in This Life, is coming out this spring and my pattern is a free gift for anyone who pre-orders! Check out her site for more info on that and then watch for another pattern I'm collaborating on with Jerusalem.

project // pi day felt pie pin

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

I love pie. I have a so-so relationship with pi, because math. But if pi day is March 14 (3.14) and that means pie, then I'm all for it. So I made a kawaii pi pie pin. And you can too!

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY
3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

I'm a little late in posting a Pi Day project, but I don't want to skip sharing this one year and risk forgetting it next year. Right? Plus, you don't have to make this with the symbol for pi on the top. Change that to a heart or some little vents in the crust, or any other design you like. It's fast and easy and a great way to show your love of pie, pi, or both!

You will need:
Tan felt (for crust)
Colored felt (for filling...choose your favorite flavor!)
Freezer paper
Pinking or scallop shears (optional)
Embroidery floss
Craft or fabric glue
Sew-on pin back

Pi Day Pin Pattern PDF

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Trace the pattern pieces onto the freezer paper. Iron the crust pieces onto the tan felt and the filling piece onto the colored felt.

Note that on the pattern page there are two versions of the bottom crust, depending on what kind of scissors you're using. If you're using pinking or scallop shears it's helpful to cut the crust piece right on the line before ironing it to the felt.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY
3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY
3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Cut out the three pieces. Cut around the filling and top crust with regular scissors. If you're using pinking or scallop shears, cut around the outside of the pattern piece. Carefully cut out the pi symbol from the top crust.

If the idea of cutting out that pi symbol terrifies you, first, don't worry. It's not so difficult. If you still don't believe me, consider embroidering the symbol instead!

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Embroider the face on the top crust with three strands of black embroidery floss.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY
3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Run a small line of glue around the cut out edge of the pi symbol. Attach it to the filling circle.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

While the glue is drying, sew the pin back onto the back of the bottom pie crust. For this, I used thread that matches the pie filling. Just because it's cute. But you can use floss that matches the crust if you want.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Now, stitch the top crust to the bottom crust with running stitch. Because the filling circle is a little smaller than the top crust, it gives the top just a bit of puff. Again, I went with filling-colored embroidery floss here.

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY

Your happy pi pin is ready to wear...on Pi Day or every day!

(by the way, the pattern for that sleepy kitty is free right here...)

3.14 Pi Day Felt Pin DIY