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giving away world vision kits for lent

A tradition during the season of Lent is to give something up, while also adding a new practice or doing something to help others, commonly called almsgiving. I love this tradition, and although I don't do something big every year, one of my favorite things to do during Lent is to raise money for World Vision.

It's been three years (I can't believe how fast time goes by!) since I did this, and I decided it's been too long. In the past, the fundraising as build Ebola and AIDS Caregiver Kits, and this time it will be all about International Hygiene Kits.

So here's how this works:

From now until Easter, I'm giving up 100% of the profits from my Etsy shop, as well as my Threadless shop.
All of that money goes to purchase supplies (via World Vision) for the kits.
The supplies come to my house, get assembled into kits, then sent back to World Vision who distributes them.

Here's what I need:

The minimum number of kits to assemble is 50. That's $800. In the past, that's not been a terribly difficult number to reach, but it's definitely more than I would typically sell during this time period. So I need your support through orders in my shop. I need you to help me spread the word. And I'd also love prayer that this goal gets met.

Of course, I'd be THRILLED if we could build more than 50 kits. I know it can happen!

For my part, I'll also be trying to get a few new items released. I'm currently working on a unicorn design, plus some sushi friends! And...I just added a new design to my Threadless shop.

Stitch Love Zipper Pouch

Don't you wish there was such a thing as a heart-shaped embroidery hoop? I certainly do. So I drew one. And I put it on zipper pouches, t-shirts, phone cases and mugs. Find this and more in my Threadless shop.

Full disclosure: My Helping Hearts design on Threadless always benefits Preemptive Love, and therefore doesn't contribute to the World Vision Kits project.

Want to see other designs on Threadless? Other items on Etsy? I'll do my best to add new items!

So what do you say? Are you up for lending a hand with this project? I hope so!

pattern // amethyst heart birthstone embroidery

February Amethyst Pattern

Get ready to stitch a heart-shaped gem with February's amethyst birthstone! Because it's time for another free stitching club embroidery pattern!

This year I'm giving myself permission to ramble a bit in posts, and so that's what you're about to encounter. Consider yourself warned.

If I were planning this better, I'd share these posts earlier in the month. Especially with a heart that you might want to stitch for Valentine's Day, which is the day after tomorrow. But I do what I can do.

In fact, I thought I would be posting this several days ago. I stitched the pattern in an evening, along with several other small patterns for another project. Then I prepared the EPP pieces and started stitching in another evening. And then I'm not sure what happened the next day. All I know is that yesterday afternoon I finally got back to trying to finish this hexagon block.

And I realized that a Sunday afternoon was a better time for reading, since I could finish off the stitching at night with Amazon Prime running. It was a great plan. Right up until an old episode of Survivor distracted me and I didn't stitch a thing. Oooops!

Not wanting to wait any longer, I snapped a picture of my not-quite-finished EPP so the pattern can finally come your way.

So here's the latest Birthstone Stitching Club pattern! I stitched mine with the new DMC color number 30.

In the PDF there's the small version that fits on a 1-inch hexagon, a larger version, plus the EPP templates.

Eventually, all of these birthstones will fit together in a project, which I'm still working out. If you want to use them individually, they'd be adorable coasters! Oh, and you can share your progress pics with the hashtag #WildOliveStitchingClub

That's the end of my rambling for today...happy stitching!

printable // kawaii floppy disk valentines and notes

Floppy Disk Valentines

Want to send a bit of retro love to your Valentine this year? Print out these floppy disks with sweet messages!

I recently saw a pad of sticky notes that was shaped like 3.5" floppy disks. Being a gal who has a fondness for vintage computer goodness (my first computer didn't have a hard drive but ran on DOS with two 5.25" floppy drives!), I wanted to make something similar. And Valentine's Day was a perfect chance to do so!

Right away I started thinking about phrases that had to do with saving files and romantic things, plus some fun file names. Each disk has one of those messages "written" on it, much like we scribbled labels on these old disks.

Floppy Disk Valentines

There's room to sign your Valentine at the bottom of each label. And maybe you could find some of these old floppy disk conversation "hearts" to give along with the card! Haha!

If you want to write your own note, either for Valentine's Day or any day, there's a page of the disks with blank labels. I think I might just keep a few of these around for using as everyday notes.

Floppy Disk Valentines

I do love my computer (which doesn't even have a CD/DVD drive in it now!), but I get a little nostalgic for the days of changing disks to load a single simple program, crazy modem noises, and file sizes that were downright puny. Adding in some pastel colors and happy faces make those things even better!

calendar // a happy amethyst heart for february

Welcome to February! I love an excuse for hearts and flowers and pinks and reds. Not that I need an excuse to work those things into my life and art, but it's in high gear this time of year. Which kind of makes it weird to have this month's birthstone be amethyst. I like purple, but it's not my typical February color scheme!

The good news is, I can still work in a heart with a pretty gemstone cut. Can you imagine a giant heart-shaped amethyst like this one? It would be pretty stunning!

Download the amethyst calendars below. Save them to your devices and then set them as your background wallpapers or lock screens.

Stand Mixer Cover

Speaking of my love for hearts, here's a recent project I created for The Spruce. It's a stand mixer cover, but you can make it a little shorter and it works for a sewing machine cover too.

Now, let's see all that February holds!

pattern // january birthstone embroidery & stitching club

January Garnet Embroidery Pattern

Want to celebrate a January birthday with some embroidery? This free gemstone embroidery pattern is just for you!

When I decided to make birthstone-themed calendars for this year, I also knew that I wanted to make embroidery patterns to match. As I started thinking about what that would look like, I came up with an idea.

Each month I'll have a new pattern to share and it will look like the gemstone shape for the matching calendar. That's not really new. But I thought it might be fun to make this into something a bit like one of my stitching clubs, but here on the blog.

This year I don't have plans to do a regular email-based stitching club so this will fill in that gap, both for you and for me! It will be lower pressure because it's just one mini pattern each month. And I won't be giving all the extra information in this...just a rough guide, which helps me a bit. Of course, one big benefit for you is that it's FREE!

Like with my regular stitching clubs, this has some EPP worked into it. Each of the 12 birthstone patterns goes on a 1-inch hexagon, surrounded by half-hexagons. Those 12 pieces will fit together with a few other pieces to make a small project.

I actually haven't decided what that project will be. Certainly, a mini quilt is an option, but I might come up with an alternate project too. Possibly a tote bag? Or a table runner or placemat that could come out on birthdays? If you have suggestions for what you would like to see, let me know in the comments!

If you aren't up for doing this as a big yearlong project, you can just use the individual pattern. The download has the mini pattern, plus a larger version. It also has the EPP pieces for you to print and cut.

And since I love seeing people stitching their way through projects like this, I hope you'll tag your pictures on Instagram and Twitter (or Facebook too, although I can't see those) with #WildOliveStitchingClub so we can all follow each other's work! You can also leave comments here with links to your posts.

What do you think? Fun? I hope so!

I stitched mine with DMC 304, but you can use your favorite garnet-shade of floss. I'd also like to point out that while this is intended to be birthstones, you can make these any colors you want because each pattern will essentially be a gemstone shape. Get creative with it!

Happy birthstone stitching!

calendar // welcoming 2018

Are you ready to welcome the new year with Wild Olive? This year's calendar wallpapers (and a bit of a running theme overall) will feature birthstones, starting with a garnet for January.

After just a small amount of researching garnets, I learned so many interesting things. First, I didn't know that garnets come in a variety of colors, and they're all so pretty! But I also learned that the Latin word for garnet refers to pomegranate seeds. Which makes sense, given the most common garnet color. And it's also why I drew this month's gem as a teardrop shape...or a seed shape!

A truth about me: I geek out about weird facts, something my stitching club members probably already know. I usually blame my homeschool upbringing!

Anyway, you can download the garnet calendars below. Save them to your devices and then set them as your background wallpapers or lock screens.

Now, let's talk New Year.

I had a rough 2016. You might read that and think it's a typo that should have said 2017. But no, 2016 was hard. Last year I was ready for a fresh start and a better 2017. But you know what? 2017 was also hard, on both global and personal levels. I'm ready for a fresh start and a better 2018.

But I keep remembering that while life is hard, God is good.

Although I struggled with a few things in the last year, there were so many blessings. In fact, one of the most exciting things of the year (it's still a secret!) started the same week as I was heading into the most difficult few months. It was a source of hope, joy, and distraction when I needed it most.

As I head into 2018, I'm doing so with open hands. I'm trying not to hold onto my plans too tightly. I'm also trying not to stress about blogging "the right way", so expect more slightly rambling posts like this one. 2018 is going to be what it's going to be and I'm good with that. But I do hope to draw plenty of kawaii cuteness!

And just as a quick end of December sort of thing, I intended to share one last pattern to go with my Advent Candle Garland project, and it didn't happen in time. But here's the link so you can make it for next year if you're so inclined!

Final thoughts...

Since I'm drawing birthstones this year, I want to wish all my friends and followers with January birthdays a very happy birthday month! Say hello in the comments so we can all greet you!

And may you all have a peaceful, joy-filled, and blessed 2018.

pattern // embroidered advent candles - weeks 3 & 4

Advent Candle Garland - Joy Candle

This Sunday is the third Sunday in Advent, and traditionally you light the "joy" candle. There are other versions of this one, but I like joy.

We sing Joy to the World at Christmas, but it's not really about Jesus being born. It's about Jesus coming. And He's the true source of joy. Back in Bethlehem, today in the midst of difficulties, and forever in eternity. And I actively seek that.

Anyway, here are the patterns for "joy" and "love", which is the fourth candle. These go with the Advent Candle Garland project I shared.

On Christmas Day, one last candle is lit, and it's the Christ Candle. This one is white, and for my pattern, I chose to use the name Jesus. It has a crown image to welcome the King of Kings.

Side note: Can I just tell you how much it bugs me that the joy candle is pink? I either want them all to be the same, all be different, or at least make the love candle pink. Honestly...this has always been a pet peeve of mine, but nobody asked me when they were planning this whole Advent thing...

project // embroidered advent candle garland

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

Advent wreaths come in many shapes and sizes, and this one isn't even a wreath at all, but rather, an Advent candle garland. It's stitched with words and icons (Wild Olive style!) that represent each week, and it's an easy project to make through this season.

We love to celebrate Advent at my house. Celebrate may not always be the right word, actually. Observe might be closer, because sometimes there's some sadness and longing that comes with Advent. But all of that helps make Christmas more of a celebration.

And I don't know about you, but even when I'm thinking that I'm ready for Advent, I'm rarely actually ready. Case in point: I started this project on the first Sunday of Advent. Ideally, I would have had this whole thing ready to go and display each week. Instead, I'm making it along the way. And you know what? I like that. It's part of the process of waiting well.

The idea I had was to make an embroidery for each week. (Last year I made some larger patterns) Then I thought about the candles, and tried to come up with a way to include them, and then...what if the candles were a garland! It's abstract, with a yellow tab for the flame, but if you squint, you'll see candles. Maybe at some point, I'll add some greens in between, but for now, I have green sparkle string.

If you'd like to work on this along with me, please do. Below you'll find the first two patterns for weeks 1 & 2. They are hope (with an anchor...see Hebrews 6:19) and peace (with a dove). Both are on purple candles.

In the next few weeks, I'll share the patterns for the joy, love, and Christ candles.

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

You will need:

Purple, pink, and white felt (I use Benzie Design felt!)
Embroidery floss
Tracing paper
Yellow fabric scraps


Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

To make each candle, trace a pattern onto thin tracing paper. Baste the paper onto the felt. I used to always use pins for this, but basting the paper is a little easier for me because there's nothing for the embroidery thread to catch on.

Stitch through the felt and the paper as you embroider the design. I used all six strands for this. On the eyes for the anchor, I wrapped the needle just one time for the french knots so they were tiny.

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

Tear away the paper and trim the felt down to 2"x5". You may find that it's simpler to cut the felt to size before you stitch from the previous step.

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

Cut a small rectangle of yellow fabric and fold it in half. Hold it behind the top of the felt piece and stitch it in place. I stitched with running stitch, then went back and filled in the gaps with running stitch, which, by the way, is called holbein stitch.

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

Thread a hanging string through the candle tab/flame. Tie a loop in each end and add candles each Sunday in Advent!

Embroidered Felt Advent Candle Garland

I'm working on this project week by week, but this gives you an idea of where we're going. Normally I'd feel bad about not having a finished project to show, or even having all the patterns ready! But Advent is about waiting, so this is probably okay!

You can find the patterns for weeks 3 & 4, plus the Christmas Day calendar here.

get ready for a super bundle that's handmade with love

Have you launched into the gift-making season? I looooovvveeee making gifts for people whenever I can. And even once Christmas is over, there's something about winter that feels especially perfect for crafting. Right? It's so cozy to curl up by the fire with a quilt, some stitching, and a fresh cup of coffee (or perhaps tea...I have a new favorite cinnamon berry tea that I drink every night!).

I'm definitely looking forward to it.

Whether you have your crafting plans all lined up for gifts and beyond or if you're not quite sure what you want to make or learn next, you should check out the Handmade With Love Super Bundle.

Every so often I share a bundle like this here, but this one is a little different. Because it's 100% crafting. And I know you and I probably share the crafting bug!

Okay, let’s talk about what’s inside!

With over 200 patterns, projects, and step-by-step tutorials, you’ll find dreamy projects to create, new ways to sharpen your skills, or even a whole new technique to play with (quilting! fabric dyeing! rug making! weaving!).

This bundle covers: quilting, sewing, crochet, knitting, applique, embroidery, cross-stitch, dyeing, fiber arts, and crafting in general.

It’s basically a crafter’s dream collection!

And even better? You’ll get all these projects and fresh patterns – created by hip, modern designers like Allison Glass, Elise Blaha-Cripe, Anne Weil, Rebecca Langford, and Liat Gat (plus 47 others...including me!)...

...for just $29.97. (They’re worth over $1,000!)

Curious how it’s possible to get all of this so inexpensively?

The creators of these patterns, tutorials, courses and more joined forces to offer this incredibly special bundle, but just for a super short period of time. Once the sale’s over, we’ll go back to selling our products and patterns at full price.

All In The Details

By the way, my own contribution to the Handmade with Love Super Bundle is The Embroidery Project: All in the Details. If you've never seen it before, it's a PDF course focusing on adding fun elements to your embroidery. You'll find tips and techniques, plus 15 projects, including accessories, a baby blanket, home items, and a growth chart.

The cost of The Embroidery Project: All in the Details on its own is normally $35, so buying the bundle is like getting a deal, AND all those other patterns and courses for free!

Want to check it out and get your own Handmade with Love Super Bundle? This is how it works:
  1. Visit the website, take a quick look at all the delightful projects you’ll be able to create with this package, then click the pink “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
  2. You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks and patterns, signing up for your online courses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
  3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the project or technique you want to try your hand at first and start creating!
The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available for just 8 days! After Monday night, December 4th, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

It’s even backed by a 30-day full money-back happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

Create one-of-a-kind items to wear, gift, decorate with, and simply enjoy, with this curated, convenient, and super affordable library of patterns and projects.

Seriously, you don't want to miss out on this!

Plus, through Thursday at midnight, get a free Craftsy class when you purchase a bundle!

FREE Craftsy Class

I'd hate for you to miss out on such a great free gift. I know that I'm always thrilled with the content in Craftsy classes, so to have it as a bonus alongside such a huge bundle is something special.

Note: As a contributor to the Handmade With Love Super Bundle, I'm also an affiliate. Your purchase of the bundle helps support this blog and my ongoing work. Thanks!

printable // give thanks bookmarks

Give Thanks Printable Bookmarks

I've got plenty to be thankful for...

These are words from a song in the film "Holiday Inn", one of few true Thanksgiving songs. As in, it's not just about being thankful, but it's directed tied to the holiday. And I love it.

Because I do have plenty to be thankful for. We all do. And not just at Thanksgiving.

The bookmarks pictured above are a free printable I made to share as a reminder for us all. You'll find the download link at the end of the post if you prefer to skip ahead. But before I get to that, here are some thankful, grateful thoughts.

In September I had a spot on my face checked and found that it was melanoma. It wasn't deep, but it was creeping wider and removing it was ugly. Repairing the area was the biggest medical procedure I've ever had, and the recovery was much slower than I expected or would have liked.

In the middle of it all, I was grateful for doctors who took excellent care of me, and of course, I was thankful that we found it early. I was and still am thankful for family and friends who supported me and stepped in when I couldn't do certain things.

Of course, the skin cancer is gone and that's something HUGE to be grateful for. I've also been learning that it's okay to let some things go because I don't need to do everything (pausing the posts on my blog is an example of this), a lesson that I'm very thankful for. And these are a just a few things I'm thankful for. Seriously, there are tons of things. A few that are pretty amazing (but that I can't share just yet...)

And throughout all of this, in the middle of a crazy world and life that isn't always fun, God is good.

Right now, I really don't even need a reminder to be thankful. But since I don't think it's possible to express gratitude enough, a bookmark to keep handy isn't a bad idea.

If you'd like to color a give thanks bookmark for your everyday use, or perhaps to have as a Thanksgiving day activity for the little ones at your house, grab the PDF below and enjoy!

So tell me, what are you thankful for today? I'd love to hear about the gifts of grace in your life, big or small!