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calendar // old stars for a new december (plus free cross stitch patterns!)

Ah, December. Where did you come from? I'm still recovering from Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations, not to mention this whole year, and now it's time to prepare for Christmas and the end of the year. I'm not ready and also so very ready.

Speaking of birthdays, I wanted to share some of the Party Time cross-stitch patterns that didn't quite make it into the PDF package in my shop. The cupcake frame above is one of those patterns! I think it would be perfect with a short message in the center.

There are also a couple of border patterns packaged into a PDF. Two of them (pennants and candles) will make a repeating border...perhaps for stitching along a ribbon or as a top/bottom type of border?

Please note that the cupcake frame is just right here on my blog as a graphic, and not in the PDF. Feel free to save that image or just come visit me when you want to do some stitching!

Now, how about the last set of calendars for 2016? This one has stars that go back to a desktop from 2011. And I'm hoping to have a project that uses more of the artwork from that December too. Soon, soon...

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.

If you prefer having a printed version to hang or display, download the printable December calendar. Trim the calendar page and then color the stars in those moments when December gets extra crazy. So like, all of December. You may need to print several copies of this one.

At this point in the year, it's usually a good idea for me to ask...do you still want these for 2017? Are there different kinds of calendars that you'd prefer? Let me know in the comments. I'd especially love to hear what size or option you use the most. It will help me plan for the future!

pattern // we have a hope

We Have A Hope embroidery pattern

Yesterday was the first day of Advent and the first candle that you light is called the Hope candle. And I, ever running just a little behind, made a hope pattern. I can't promise patterns for each Sunday (or Monday, in this case) of Advent, but we'll see.

Actually this pattern has been on my mind and sketched out for a while now. The words "we have a hope" are from a song that one of the worship leaders at my church wrote, and it's been a song that I've needed during this season of my life. In September, a dear friend of my family passed away. He was more than just a friend though. He was family and we spent birthdays and holidays and ordinary days with him...for most of my life.

His death was not entirely unexpected, but the cancer took him far too fast. We're all heartbroken. It made Thanksgiving traditions difficult and we're now trying to figure out how we'll start some new Christmas traditions. And it has most definitely taken a toll on my ability to work and focus.

But in the midst of the mourning and sorrow, we have a hope. Our hope is Jesus.

And that's what the Hope candle of Advent is about. Hope in a Savior who has been here already, is coming again, and is God with us here and now. If I didn't have that, I'd be more than just broken...I'd be shattered beyond repair.

It's funny how hope and sadness and hope and anxiety and hope and brokenness can exist side by side and all together. But I think that's kind of the point of hope.

So now as I try to pull myself together and stitch through another day, maybe you'd like to stitch some hope too.

You can work this however you like, but I'm planning to stitch the wide part of the letters with some loose fill (maybe horizontal stripes?). And I'm also thinking of stitching the flower with a felt base, like with the flowers in this tutorial. Oh, and those circles in the pattern? They're meant to be worked as woven wheel stitch for some pretty roses.

There are a few people in my life who need this reminder, so I've got some Christmas stitching to do, and I had better get busy!

happy birthday to me, happy savings to you


It's that time of year...time for the Annual Mollie's Turning 29 Sale! This kind of Wild Olive sale only happens one time a year, and you don't want to miss it. Why? Because you save 29% on EVERYTHING. That includes patterns, printables, stitching clubs, and even the already discounted "choose 3" packs. Yep...everything.

This sale is only happening in my Etsy shop, so head over there to start your shopping. Then use coupon code MOLLIE29 to save 29% at checkout. And since we like to have "birthday week" at my house, this sale lasts a whole week for you!

Party Time Cross Stitch
Party Time Cross Stitch

And newly in the shop you'll find a set of Party Time cross-stitch patterns! It's more than a little different for me, except that I've been creating a few sets like this for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine over the last two years. And I've loved it. Now it's time to share some of those in my shop!

This set includes 30 charts (they range from 10x10 to 50x50), all for just $8.00. And that's before the discount! I also have a few more freebie charts that I'll be sharing here during the birthday week sale.

Today also happens to be Small Business Saturday, and I'd like to take this moment to thank everyone who has supported and continues to support my small business. You really have no idea how your small purchases, clicks, and comments have shaped my life. Thank you.

printable // thanksgiving turkey cracker table favors

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

When you want to add a bit of extra flair to your Thanksgiving place settings, whether it's the kids' table or the "grown up" table (whatever that is), these turkey crackers are fun to make and use. Print, cut, and fold the pieces, then fill them and place them at each plate. Let each of your guests pull the ends to pop them open and find a treat!

As I write this, it's less than two days before Thanksgiving, which isn't the ideal time to share a Thanksgiving craft project. What can I say? I run late most of the time. If you're like me, perhaps you're still looking for a little something to make for Thursday. These go together pretty quickly, so you still have time. I'll be making ten more in the next 36 hours.

If you're one to plan ahead, pin this post and come back to it earlier in November next time. And please don't judge my last-minuteness.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

You will need:

Ruler & knife
Double-sided tape or a glue stick
Small treats, trinkets or large confetti
Thin ribbon


Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Print the PDF onto cardstock and cut them out.

You really only need one set of tail feathers per turkey cracker, but you can use both of them if you want the back to be pretty too. Otherwise, print two body piece pages for every one tail feather page.

When you cut out the body pieces, cut the notches at the sides and leave everything else for now.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Use a ruler and knife to score every place that will fold. A craft knife is great, but even a steak knife works. Only press hard enough to score the cardstock and NOT cut through it.

Score all of the horizontal lines where the brown and yellow meet, as well as across the yellow where the white diamond shapes are. Score all of the vertical lines, including where the brown meets the white.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Fold the cracker on the vertical lines and cut out the diamond shapes on the fold.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Fold the cracker on the horizontal lines so that the yellow section has right sides facing themselves.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Roll the cracker into a square tube. Use double-sided tape or glue stick on the white section (on the ends and the center section) to secure the shape.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Tie ribbon around the bottom yellow section and secure it with a knot. You can tie a bow, but it's a little fiddly to get your fingers in there. Trim the ends.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker
Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Now it's time to stuff your turkey. Because of how this ties together, there will be a bit of a hole still in each end. That means you'll need to choose items that are large enough that they won't fall out.

Small confetti won't work, but larger confetti or metallic table scatter will. Individually wrapped candies are good. Small plastic toys are fun for at the kids table. You could even include a card and crayons to write down what you're thankful for!

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Tie up the end with ribbon, then attach the tail feathers with double-sided tape or glue stick. If you want the tail feathers to be double-sided, attach to the two pieces together before sticking them to the back of the turkey.

Printable Thanksgiving Turkey Cracker

Now, make a bunch of them for your Thanksgiving guests! Happy Thanksgiving!

in print // christmas stitching in international magazines

in print // christmas stitching

It's always an honor to contribute patterns and projects to publications around the world. And while I work on these kinds of projects at different times throughout the year, right now I happen to have things in three UK-based magazines at the same time. And all are Christmas themed!

That means that in the spring I started on Christmas embroidery, but you know what? It's actually a lot of fun to turn on the Christmas music in May and get some holiday crafting in! I may never do that without the push of a deadline, but I like it when it happens.

The first magazine project that I started on was for Love Patchwork & Quilting, a favorite of mine.

in print // christmas stitching

It doesn't matter how many times I get something published, it's always exciting. And it might be a little vain, but yes, I was quite proud to see my photo within the first couple pages. And next to Sedef of Down Grapevine Lane, whose work I respect so much.

in print // christmas stitching

My project in Love Patchwork & Quilting might look a little familiar if you've been following Wild Olive a little while. It's based on some ornaments that I made last Christmas, but with all new patterns. And while you can't see it here, it gave me a chance to use some really cute Christmas fabrics for the backs of these.

in print // christmas stitching

Being a Mollie, any opportunity to create for Mollie Makes is pretty perfect. And their Christmas issues are always amazing. I mean, just look at that pom pom wreath!

in print // christmas stitching

For this issue, I made an embroidered sweatshirt that looks a bit like a Christmas sweater. I worked with DMC's Matte Cotton, and it worked so well for this. If you look closely, you'll see that the trees even have little faces. They're subtle, but they're there!

in print // christmas stitching

And for something completely different, I also had the pleasure and challenge of designing cross stitch charts for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine. See them there at the upper right corner?

in print // christmas stitching

For this I designed 35 patterns...it was so much fun! Especially because I don't usually work on patterns or artwork like this. But I did some a couple years ago, and since I made these Christmas designs, I've had the opportunity to make a few more for future issues. Can't wait to share more soon!

I'm so thankful to these fantastic publications for inviting me to contribute. And thank you for letting me share these with you! All of these should be on US shelves by now, or if not yet, definitely as digital copies.

printable // crafty characters needle book

Printable Matchbook Style Needle Books

Over two years ago, I shared a printable for making matchbook-style needle books. Along with that, I showed a little teaser for a version that went out to my mailing list. Well, I think it's about time that I make that printable available for everyone. Because keeping your needles in a simple case covered with cute craft supplies is a must, right?

I love making needle books, and I'm more than willing to spend a chunk of time embroidering and sewing something special. But there's something to be said for fast and easy too. You may even find that these are perfect for putting together little stitching kits for gifts or classes. (I do ask that you not sell these or use them for profit, but I'm totally fine with you giving away the finished needle books!)

Print the PDF below and then head to the original post to see how easy it is to make your own printable needle books!

calendar // old birch logs for a new november

I love November. I really do. It's the month of Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie, and fall is in full force. Plus it's my birthday month! There are bittersweet things too, but the weather in November seems to support a bit of melancholy. And I'm okay with that.

A little melancholy can be good for the soul.

My challenge is always to not stay there too long. So I'm setting some goals and I'm going to try and reach them, while not beating myself up if I don't. They are goals about getting items in my shop and stitching some gifts. And a goal about reaching an ongoing goal.

Speaking of goals, you may have heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a challenge to write a novel in November. My friend Heather is co-opting that idea and doing NaBiStiProMo (National Big Stitching Project Month). She has a large cross stitch project that she is focusing all of her stitching energy on, and attempting to do the whole thing, start to finish, in November.

I'm sharing that because we're only 3 days into the month and this might be something you want to try too!

But now, November calendars. This month I have some birch logs from the Woodlanders set I made back in 2010. There are embroidery patterns for a year's worth of Woodlanders, and if you search my blog, you'll find them!

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.

You can also download a printable November calendar. The idea with all of the printable calendars this year was that you could also color them. Birch logs are white, but you can color the negative space around them! Maybe in a nice gradient of colors? Or hey...make some pastel logs!

Have a very happy November, friends!

project & blog hop // stitchable mesh candle wrap

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

It's always exciting when a new embroidery supply comes along, and when two come out at the same time, it's even better. That's why I'm so happy to be part of a blog hop showing some fun ways to use DMC's new Stitchable Mesh and Stitchable Cork. I've worked with screening mesh and regular cork in the past, and I love the idea of having the same or similar materials that are actually designed for embroidery.

The mesh has a beautiful metallic finish and liked the idea of making something that was a little formal and a little rustic too. Something you might put on your Thanksgiving table. A candle wrap is pretty way to adorn a candle, or in this case, the battery-powered version, and the light shines through this mesh so well.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

DMC sent me some of each of these stitchable fabrics to try, and so far I've only used the mesh. But I hope to get to the cork soon! The mesh is doubled-sided with gold on one side and silver on the other. The weave is small enough to work designs with some precision, but large enough to have plenty of room for stitches (I used three strands and went through the same hole eight times without much trouble). The weave has some give, which is good. For the most part.

The one downside I found was that it frays fairly easily. As you'll see in the project below, I stitched the edges to prevent fraying, but sometimes that was a challenge. I've also heard that if you place it in a hoop, the hoop shape will stay, so play accordingly. That said, it wasn't difficult to stitch without a hoop.

Now, let's make some candle wraps!

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

You will need:

DMC Stitchable Mesh (one sheet per one to two candles)
Embroidery Thread (I used Color Variations)
Battery-powered Candle

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Wrap the mesh around your candle and decide how tall you want the wrap to be. You can make it the same height as your candle, shorter, or taller. For mine, I used the full sheet of mesh so that the wrap is much taller than the candle.

Cut the mesh to size (or leave it), following the weave of the mesh.

Stitch around the edges with whip stitch to bind the material and stop it from fraying. Stitch evenly so it doesn't get too messy. I actually went so far as to count squares and form a pattern with the binding stitches.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Embroider a simple, freestyle design on the wrap. Lines of running stitch in varying lengths are a great start, and then top off a few of them with star stitches.

Remember that the back of your stitches will show on the front, so don't jump from one area to another (which is also good practice for any stitching!). The running stitch does show through, but it's a nice effect here...sort of two-tone. Of course, you can choose whatever you want to use. Chain stitch would look pretty amazing on this too!

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Add as much or as little embroidery as you want. You should have something like this. Or something completely different! Make this your own. In fact, if you're making this for a special occasion, you could even embroider a word or short phrase (think "give thanks" or "be merry!")

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Roll the mesh into a tube and stitch the bound edges together, then tie it off. You only need to stitch it together every inch or two.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Slip the finished candle wrap over your candle, and it's ready to use.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Switch on the candle and watch it glow through your stitching!

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap
Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

I love how even the most basic stitches shine on this metallic material. Silver is usually my thing, but the gold was too good to resist, especially with the autumn tones of the floss I chose.

Stitchable Mesh Candle Wrap

Stitch one candle wrap, or a cluster of them for a tablescape!

Then, be sure to check in with DMC Commonthread to see all of the posts and projects in the blog hop. (While you're at it, follow them on Instagram!) Bev from Flamingo Toes coordinated all of this, and she has updates too! Thanks so much to Beverly and DMC for bringing so many projects together and for the great product!

the genius blogger’s toolkit

This post is for all the bloggers. Let me ask you...do you ever feel overwhelmed by blogging?

You’re not alone.

Believe me. Most of the time I'm just trying to keep up with the basics of content creation and maintaining something of a schedule.

Over the years, blogging has been one of those “how can this be?” parts of my life. I never expected that I'd get to do something I love so much, earn money from home, and be part of such a special community. I'm incredibly grateful that God has blessed me with this work.

But with the fast-changing nature of the blogosphere, there are always new things to learn. The more that I blog at other sites, the more this becomes a struggle and working to become a better blogger easily ends up falling to the bottom of my neverending lists.

Thankfully, there are very wise people who are good at helping people like me...people like us...who can't quite figure it all out. In fact, there are TONS of resources available, and it can be difficult to choose which to buy.

May I suggest the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit?

It’s a digital package crammed full of brilliant tools to help you grow your blog, work smarter & make more money. (But for way less than you’d normally spend!) If you're a blogger, you need this. I need this!

The team at Ultimate Bundles has put together the best resources on ALL the topics that matter to bloggers, like mastering social media, monetization, creating and selling products, time management and productivity, nurturing an email list, and so much more.

Here’s what you get:
24 eBooks
33 eCourses & audio files
5 printable packs

Blog Buddies Planner Pages

One of the printable packs contains my Blog Buddies planner and calling cards, designed to make it easy and cute to work out what you're posting when, plus share your blog with others. And if you order the toolkit and send me your order/confirmation number, I'll send you some matching embroidery patterns, printable gift tags/cards, and a digital kit (bonus value total: $12).

In total, the toolkit includes over $3,500 of blogging tips, strategies, tutorials and amazingly practical information and ideas. Plus you get free bonus offers worth $1,447, with 17 tools and services to help you run your blog.

I'm very excited about the bonus Board Booster credits (I've heard amazing things about them, and this bonus is the perfect chance for me to test it in a big way). Plus there are free fonts, trial memberships, and an iBlog magazine subscription!

But the truly amazing part? They’re selling it for a crazy 98% off of regular price!

I know, it sounds too good to be true, but I promise it’s not. Ultimate Bundles has been around a long time and creating these packages is really their thing (they’ve sold over 180,000 of them on all sorts of topics), so you can trust this is the real deal. I've worked with them before, and I truly respect them.

And they’re all about making sure you LOVE this toolkit. There’s a full 30-day happiness guarantee, so there’s really no risk in trying it out to make sure it’s right for you

The most important detail, though, is that this toolkit is available for seven days only. After Tuesday night, November 1st, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

Get what you need to work smarter instead of harder, grow your platform, and earn more. Learn more or get your bundle HERE.

Okay, and I started this post talking about being overwhelmed, and if I'm honest, this kind of bundle can certainly be overwhelming. My advice is to go slow. Choose one or two things you want to work on and look at the resources for those challenges. There's no need to download every single item right away, and you definitely shouldn't try to tackle everything at once.

When you visit the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit info page, you'll find that the resources are organized by topics, so look and see what is going to be the best place for YOU to start, and then ease into it. For me, I'll be looking at improving my SEO strategies, being more intentional about a mailing list, and even picking up a few more photo editing skills.

Again, if you are a blogger and want to grow your blog and all that goes with it, I highly recommend that you check it out.

As a contributor to this bundle, I'm also an affiliate, so I earn a portion of each sale. Am I a little biased? Yes. But I also really trust the folks at Ultimate Bundles and the people they partner with to make their bundles happen. Thank you for supporting Wild Olive in this way!

blog hop // modern folk embroidery book

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

I'm so happy to be a stop in the Modern Folk Embroidery blog hop! From the moment I saw this book, I was eager to take in all of the stitching, and very thankful to receive a digital copy for review. Folk-style artwork is so charming to me, but not always my thing. So making it a little more modern and doing it with embroidery? Perfect!

One of the things that appeals to me the most about this book is the projects create opportunities to use stitches that I don't use too often. Most of the patterns I design work best with back stitch, french knots, and a few other basics. Modern Folk Embroidery, however, uses all the stitches that you've wanted to try, but haven't quite found a good use for yet.

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

Truth be told, I didn't venture too far into new stitches for my first project, but I did find a new favorite. More on that soon. First, let's take a look inside...

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

The photos are beautiful. Everything feels modern and colorful, filled with the busy details often found in folk styling, but simple at the same time. And who can resist a gorgeous photo of scrumptious supplies?

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

And then there are the projects. Honestly, I want to make so many things in this book. The circle pillow above is one of my favorites, but there are very few that I would pass by. Which is what you want to see in a book, right?

One thing I do want to note is that the book cover says there are 30 projects, but it's really more like 15 plus variations. That shouldn't make you think that this has half the content, however, because there's still so much treasure coming.

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

I mentioned that Modern Folk Embroidery presents ways to use fun and unique stitches, and it also gives illustrated instructions and variations for those stitches. This is where it starts to get interesting, because the author, Nancy Nicholson, shows so many ways to change up the stitches you already know.

For all of the embroidery I've done through the years, I've never seen so many ways to customize running stitch, and that's just one example.

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review
Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

And then there's the ways that you can combine all those stitches. Throughout the book, there are illustrations of stitch designs. Sometimes they are connected with a specific project, but other times they are just there to introduce a section. And they are a priceless component of Modern Folk Embroidery. Use them as a guide for the projects in this book, or to get your creative juices flowing on other things.

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

There are plenty of photos of each project, usually with good detail shots, but the step-by-steps are shown with illustration, which I love. That said, they aren't a substitute for the written instructions.

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review
Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

This tote and the floral brooches were a few more of my favorite projects, but I went with a flower brooch to start.

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

I made the large round flower, but dropped the leaf. I also adapted the stitches slightly, and again, this is one of the great things about the projects. You can easily adjust the stitches and colors to suit your needs.

One thing I wasn't going to change was the use of the stitch around the edge: Eskimo Laced Running Stitch. It's new to me and I heart it so much!

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

The garland and ornaments use a similar construction method to the brooches, and I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that they use a basic craft supply in a super smart way. They are next on my list, and sure to show up around my house this Christmas.

Modern Folk Embroidery // Book Review

For a peek at a few more pages in Modern Folk Embroidery, take a look right here. You can also find it on Amazon to take a look inside and pre-order. Then be sure to visit the rest of the stops on the #ModernFolkEmbroidery Blog Hop!

Monday, October 17th - SewandSo
Wednesday, October 19th – Wild Olive (you're here!)
Thursday, October 20th – Kate & Rose
Friday, October 21st - Lilipopo
Monday, October 24th – Anna Scott Embroidery
Wednesday, October 26th – Carina Crafts