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project // felt valentine mitten garland

Valentine Heart Mitten Garland

In winter, I'm typically thinking about snow, penguins, snowmen, ice skates, and mittens. Rarely do I think about pink and hearts in January. But since it's time to take down the advent garland that's hanging over my bed, I thought that I may as well replace it with something pretty. Something handmade. Enter the felt heart mitten garland!

Originally, I planned to make this garland with bright colors (maybe a rainbow, because I always love a rainbow). But then I found some really cute DIY kits in the Dollar Spot at Target, and they were metallic pink. So I found my matching pink felt (I had to choose from five pinks that I have from Benzie!), and went all in for Valentine's Day.

Sort of.

I love pink any time. I also love hearts any time. So is this a Valentine's Day garland? If you want it to be. Otherwise, it's just a heart mitten garland that you can hang throughout the winter and in your favorite colors. Okay?

It's really easy and you can make it in an hour or two.

You will need:

Felt in at least two colors
Black embroidery floss
Mini clothespins
Fabric glue

Heart Mitten Garland Pattern PDF

Valentine Heart Mitten Garland

Use the template to cut out the mittens. Cut as many as you want on your garland. Mine is only as wide as a twin-size bed, so I made four pairs of mittens.

Fold over the top edge of each mitten and glue it down with fabric glue. It helps to press and crease the fold with an iron before you glue it, but it's not absolutely necessary. As you fold these, make sure you are making pairs of mittens, with some of the pieces flipped.

Valentine Heart Mitten Garland

For each mitten, cut felt a felt heart from contrasting felt. Embroider the faces with french knots and a scallop stitch.

Valentine Heart Mitten Garland

Glue the hearts onto the mittens.

Valentine Heart Mitten Garland

Make all of the mittens and let everything dry. It doesn't take too long, but it especially helps on the folded over part of the mittens so they don't start to pull up.

Valentine Heart Mitten Garland

Use the mini clothespins to attach the mittens onto the string. Put them as pairs or mix 'em up!

Valentine Heart Mitten Garland
Valentine Heart Mitten Garland

Now I have a new string of mittens to hang along with my metallic paper flags and faux leather chevrons. Yay!

What color will your mittens be?

calendar // guinea pigs playing in the snow

With each new month, I make a new set of calendar wallpapers for computers, phones, and tablets. With each new year, I choose a theme or general design for those wallpapers. This year, my sweet guinea pigs agreed to grace the Wild Olive calendars. Yes, I'm turning into a crazy guinea pig lady, but I'm totally okay with it.

Currently there's not much snow around here, so Captain Cuddles and Lieutenant Nibbles are gonna have to be content dreaming of playing outside and building a snowpiggy. That works out well, because they love to sleep and dream. Nibbles' ears twitch ever so slightly when she dreams!

In their dream they found some leaves for the snowpiggy's ears, twigs for it's little paws and nails, buttons for eyes, and a bit of carrot for the nose. Of course, they ate the carrot shortly after the snowpiggy was finished.

For this year, I decided to simplify the number of calendars I'm making each month. So, choose from the sizes below. Each one should be able to fit or fill the area on your particular screen.

pausing as 2016 ends and a new year begins

a party in an embroidery hoop

The week between Christmas and New Years is always a good time to reflect a bit on the past year and the one to come. For me, that often involves the patterns, projects, and printables I've made and those that I'm planning on in the days ahead. Sometimes that's good, and other times it's difficult.

One thing that I kept noticing throughout 2016 was that I was posting less here on my blog. Each month I would look at my post count and get really sad. Only 5 or 6 posts in some months when I've had times where I posted almost every day? I also barely added anything new to my shop this year. And yet, I still felt like I hardly had time to get anything done.

This sort of thing gets me down because it's easy for me to fall into the lie of measuring my worth by my productivity. I wondered why I wasn't accomplishing more and questioned myself in so many ways. I don't recommend this, but it's something I do despite my best efforts to live differently.

What I forget about when I look at those blog posts and items in my shop is that I do more than just create for Wild Olive.

I create for other blogs, books, and magazines. I also started volunteering in the jr. high ministry at my church, plus I help others with a few extra things along the way. Oh, and then there's just life stuff (which included some rough times this year).

So when my friend Jess shared some stats on the things that she made this year, I thought maybe I should look at my year by the numbers...just to get an idea for where 2016 went, crafty wise.

Blog posts written: over 200 (for Wild Olive, About, Handmade Charlotte, and Hello Bee)

Printables created: nearly 30

Cross-stitch patterns charted: over 50 (some are very small...but they count!)

Embroidery patterns/pattern sets designed: at least 30

Projects made: over 70

These are the conservative numbers, and don't count some of the extra writing I did too. Many of the patterns and projects are part of the blog posts, but they still count for actually making those things. And when I look at these, I realize that this really is a full-time job I have.

Again, I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking that I'm only as good as the amount of work I churn out, and I wouldn't want to lead you into that too. But I think if we all really knew how many things we make, how many loads of laundry we do, meals we prepare, and errands we drive around doing, we'd see that we're doing more than we know. For good or bad.

And I don't want the numbers I shared to be me boasting. They aren't. Nor should they be something you compare yourself to. This is just taking stock of things and recognizing that it was a full year.

Now tell me...what was your favorite thing that you made this year or what was a favorite thing you saw that I made this year?

PS: The embroidery above is a project I shared, and it just reminded me of a party. So...Happy New Year!

printable // peppermint candy ornament gift tags

Printable Starlight Mint Gift Tags

I love the show Adventure Time and one of the reasons is that the extra characters often resemble the things that I've been drawing for years. So when I was playing around with some designs and started to see this little peppermint starlight mint emerge, and that it reminded me of the mints in Adventure Time, I knew it had to become a thing. And so I made some printable gift tags that also double as ornaments.

If you or your gift recipient love Wild Olive or the quirkiness of Adventure Time, these are the gift tags for you. And while the wrappers aren't essential, they do make the tags extra special and more like an ornament.


Card stock
Glue stick or double-sided tape
Clear cellophane
Hole punch (1/8in is best for this)

Starlight Mint Gift Tag PDF

Printable Starlight Mint Gift Tags

Print the PDF on card stock and cut out the circles. Use a dab of glue stick or a piece of double-sided tape to hold a front and back piece together. Make sure that the tops are aligned as best as you can.

Printable Starlight Mint Gift Tags

Write the "to" and "from" on a mint, because once it's wrapped, you can't do that anymore! Cut a 6in high x 8in wide piece of clear cellophane, and center the mint face down on the wrapping.

Wrap the top and bottom over the mint and hold them in place.

Printable Starlight Mint Gift Tags

Tie the ends with pieces of string. It's helpful to tie a knot first, then add the bow. You don't get a photo of this process because it requires all the hands. In fact, three hands would be helpful, but using your teeth to pull strings works too!

Printable Starlight Mint Gift Tags

Punch a hole through the top of the mint, going through the wrapper too.

Printable Starlight Mint Gift Tags

Thread a string through the hole and tie the ends together to make it both a tag and an ornament.

Printable Starlight Mint Gift Tags

The last step is to trim the ends of the wrapper. You might not need to do this on both sides, but it looks nice to even them out or make them a little shorter.

Printable Starlight Mint Gift Tags

Tie them on your gifts and then let the recipients know that they can hang them on their tree too! Or, if you don't want them to be gift tags, leave off the back piece or double up on the faces so it becomes a double-sided mint.

Happy crafting!

pattern // comfort & joy

Comfort & Joy // embroidery pattern

Dear friends, 2016 has been quite a year. Am I wrong? And I'm guessing that "joy" isn't a word that most would associate with this year (even if there have been joyful moments that you've experienced). But "joy" is the fourth candle on the advent wreath, so regardless of how I, how we, feel, I needed to make a joy-themed embroidery pattern to share.

That idea of choosing joy regardless of how we're feeling is one that I made into a pattern and pillow this summer. And I do believe that we can choose to look for joy no matter how horrible we feel (because joy is NOT the same thing as happiness). But as I'd done that phrase already, I wanted another. I also made a set of patterns to go with the song "Joy to the World" a few years back, so that was out.

Then I heard the song "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" play on the internet radio station we like to listen to around here.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy

These lyrics pass by me so quickly sometimes that I don't think on them, but they're too good to miss. Especially in days, months, and years that are difficult, we need a reminder to find rest in the One who loves us. We don't need to be anxious because Jesus arrived on earth to save us. No matter what's going on in and around us, these things should give us comfort and joy.

I could use some comfort and joy, how about you?

Now, let me take this one step further. Who do you know that could use some comfort and joy? Who are some people you don't know who also need comfort and joy? Maybe it's a friend who is mourning, a homeless family near you, or refugees on the other side of the world.

Think of ways that you can provide these people with comfort and joy, and then make a plan to do those things. Because this is a message we need to share both in words and tangible deeds.

May you find comfort and joy this Christmas and beyond.

pattern // love everyone always

Love Everyone Always embroidery pattern

The third Sunday in Advent represents love. When I started thinking about what kind of pattern I should make for this, I didn't have to think for long. "Love everyone, always" is a big idea that my church shared this fall, and it needs to be stitched and shared.

When asked, Jesus said that the heart of it all is this: Love the Lord...and love your neighbor as yourself. And when asked who your neighbor really is, Jesus told a story that made it clear that even the person you might think of as your enemy, is your neighbor. Another time He flat out said to love your enemies, do good for them, bless them and pray for them.

So basically, love everyone. Always.

Love your literal neighbor who is never happy with how you keep your lawn. Love the people who always seem to be perfect and who look down on your frazzledness. (I made that word up.) Love the family member who disagrees with your political views. And yes, love the politician that makes your skin crawl and the people who threaten your safety and security.

None of these things mean that you have to like what a person does, nor does it mean that you should go along with whatever they say or do. There are ideas and actions that we need to stand up to. But it does mean that at a minimum you should treat those people the way you would want to be treated. As a human being.

I don't always like this idea. Sometimes I can't even wrap my head around how to do it. But if God loves the world and everyone in it enough to send His Son Jesus to live on earth and give His life for us, I think I can try.

Having an embroidered reminder is a good start. Hang it somewhere that you'll see on a regular basis. And then speak and act in love to everyone you encounter.


now available // wild olive transfer patterns

Wild Olive Transfer Patterns

Back in 2008 I released my first sets of PDF embroidery patterns. I love PDF patterns because they arrive nearly instantly, you can adjust the sizing, and print as many as you want. Over the years, many people have asked how to work with them (I have a whole list of ways!), and many want to know if there will ever be Wild Olive transfer patterns.

And transfer patterns are here at last!

This is (obviously) new for me, so I'm trying it out and seeing how it goes. Starting with a few pattern packs and growing from there.

Having transfer patterns made, especially when you have a library of over 100 pattern sets, is a big deal. And I'm a small, very small, one-person business. The logistics were more than I could handle on my own. But then, Jenn from Stitcharama contacted me about working together. What an answer to this long-thought-on question of transfers!

Wild Olive Transfer Patterns

I had previously tried out Stitcharama's iron-transfer patterns, and was really pleased with the results. So I feel so good about having them create these patterns for you.

Wild Olive transfer patterns are packaged a little differently than most patterns like this. Instead of buying a single pattern set, they come in packs that are combined by theme. Why did I make the decision to do it this way? Well, it's so that you can ultimately get the best price per page of patterns.

As PDFs, these patterns cost $4.00 per set. By grouping them into sets, I can bring you the sets at a similar cost. Selling them separately would have been significantly higher. I know that might sound strange, but it's how these things go.

Wild Olive Transfer Patterns
Wild Olive Transfer Patterns

To start, there are three packages of patterns: Teeny Tiny Transfers, Christmas Transfers, and Fun Foods Transfers, each with 7-8 pages. AND, the patterns are reusable a few times!

I'm hoping to add collections of animal patterns and creative crafty patterns soon. If you have any requests for collections, feel free to let me know!

And since we're getting close to Christmas, you should know that if you order right away, pattern orders should arrive in time for the holiday. If you want, you can even have them shipped directly to your recipient with a note from you!

Now head over to Stitcharama to take a closer look. Yaaaaayyyy for transfer patterns!

project // the stable felt playset

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

The stable. It's where a gift of love was born. And it's an event that I'll never get tired of, which is why I keep making projects that feature a tiny baby in a feed trough. Like this Nativity felt playset.

But let me go back. A few years ago, I shared a tutorial for an ornament I called "The Stable." It remains one of the top posts on my blog. Twelve months ago, I decided that this would be a year of "making old new", by way of taking previous or vintage projects and updating them in some way (and I've sort of followed through). A few weeks ago, I mentioned the idea of using my ornament pattern as a playset. And here we are.

So I took the old ornament pieces, enlarged them, and added a few more patterns. The figures work great on a felt board, or you can let children play and arrange them flat on a table. Or if you don't want a playset, try using the pieces to make a wall hanging!

You will need:

Felt - tan, brown, white, and a bunch of colors (I prefer Benzie Design felt)
Black embroidery floss
Craft or fabric glue

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Print the pattern pieces and start cutting out the shapes. All of the people use the same body and face pieces (except for the tiny baby Jesus). Use tan and brown felt for the face shapes and various colors for the body pieces.

Cut angel wings and sheep bodies from white (or perhaps you may want a dark sheep too!), and cut the extra pieces using the image above as suggestions for colors.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Cut out the large stable shape from tan and cut the stable frame from brown. And of course, you'll need the manger and star!

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset
The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

To assemble the stable background, run a wave of glue around the edge of the large stable piece where the frame will go. Then, lay the frame over the glue. Set this aside to dry.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Stitch the eyes on all of the face pieces. For the large pieces, use french knots and for the tiny baby Jesus, use scallop stitches so He is sleeping.

Of course, you can add a nose and mouth to these, but I love this simplicity. Oh, and if you need help with these stitches, check out my making faces tutorial.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Use glue to attach each face to a body.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Here's the Holy Family all gathered close. I like that Jesus can lay in the manger, but I love how it looks when Mary is holding Him.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

For the angel, attach the wings to the back. Or keep them separate so you can change out which body piece is the angel. You could even make a bunch of angels so they can fill the sky. Maybe shrink the pattern a bit so you can have some that are smaller?

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

And some shepherds! I decided to glue the shepherds' crooks to them, but again, leaving them loose will up the play value and customization.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Baaaaaaaaahhhh! Embroider faces on the sheep and consider making some look in different directions. They're pretty easy to stitch freehand. Just two french knots and a bit of back stitch for the nose.

Glue one ear behind the sheep body and one ear in front.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

At my house, we prefer to keep the kings or wise men away from the stable, because seriously...how did they travel so fast if the star appeared when Jesus was born?

But, I do love tradition, so I made some kings with crowns that can either be glued on or left separate. I didn't make gifts in the pattern, but you could definitely make some!

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Now it's time to tell the story! Place the felt pieces in the stable and set the scene.

...And while they were there, the time came for Mary's baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

You guys, I love this story. I love this truth. And I love when children get to experience these things and touch them with their little fingers. Because, like Mary, I'm pretty sure this happens:

"Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often."

When kids have their own Nativity sets to play with and retell the story, it helps them keep these things and think about them often. And that gives them the opportunity to talk and ask questions.

Of course, the reality is that as an adult, making projects like this does the exact same thing for me. I ponder these things in my heart.

The Stable - Felt Nativity Playset

Enjoy making this playset, and especially making this a time for celebrating Jesus.

pattern // peace on earth

Peace On Earth

Yesterday's Advent candle was the peace candle. Some days that almost feels laughable, because it seems like we're getting farther and farther away from peace on earth. Most days, it's the kind of thing that could make you just cry. Like so many of the big thoughts and ideas that make a home in my brain, I turn once again to stitching. Or at least a pattern for stitching.

Oftentimes I'm one to avoid conflict. I like things to be nice. Happy. Peaceful.

I try to follow mostly happy crafty people on social media, because I like seeing pretty pictures of things that aren't likely to get me upset or cause an argument. Maybe that's burying my head in the sand, but I see and hear more than enough negativity even with this arrangement. Can't we all just get along?

But that's just it. We can't.

There will always be disagreements about things. We will always think that we're right and they're wrong. But what if our response wasn't to demonize the other, but to respect them for the simple fact that they are a human being?

It's easier said than done, and that's where some help comes in handy.

Last night I heard Jerusalem Greer say that if we didn't have a great need, longing, and ache (for hope, for peace, for love, for joy), we wouldn't need Christmas. Because we wouldn't need Jesus. And you know what? I need Jesus. I need the one who offers true peace and who calls us to live peacefully with each other.

Do we get that wrong? Obviously. But that's why we need to keep turning to Him for the example and for the peace that only He gives.

Now let me circle back to stitching. Because other than grabbing a few moments of peaceful stitching, how does embroidery have anything to do with peace on earth? Maybe it doesn't. But maybe sharing this message as you work on this pattern would help others. Maybe stitching creates a space for you to pray for peace or think about how you might be an agent of peace.

Maybe the peace that Jesus offers to every single person, no matter what, could actually spread with a few stitches. And may you experience this peace today, if only for a moment.

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!