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project // pentagon mouse pad

Pentagon Mouse Pad


For a family that has fair number of computers, we have a severe lack of mousepads. Seriously, we rarely use one. It used to be that a computer mouse NEEDED a mousepad to work. Now they aren't as necessary.

But when you have an optical mouse and a table mat that is uneven, you start getting frustrated.

I considered buying a mousepad, but then an idea struck and I decided to try making one. Actually, I've now made two of them!

Pentagon Mouse Pad

I've seen mousepads covered with fabric, but I just had this feeling that it would get FITHY in no time. And so I grabbed what has become one of my favorite magical supplies: Pellon Vinyl Fuse. This way you can choose your favorite fabric AND keep it looking pretty!

Ready to make your own? Here's what you need:

Fabric for front: 9 x 9 inches
Vinyl Fuse (or other fabric lamination): 9 x 9 inches
Fabric for back: 9 x 9 inches
Fabric for binding: 2.5 inches by width of fabric
Batting: 9 x 9 inches
Basting spray
Double-sided tape
Perle cotton

You'll also need basic sewing tools, including a sewing machine and iron.

Pentagon Mouse Pad PDF Template

Pentagon Mouse Pad

First, follow the manufacturer's instructions to laminate the fabric for the front of the mousepad.

Pentagon Mouse Pad
Pentagon Mouse Pad

Make a quilt sandwich with the front, batting and backing. Use spray baste to hold them together so that the right sides of the fabric are facing out.

Don't use pins, because they'll leave holes in the laminated fabric. Of course, the downside to not pinning is that you may end up with a mousepad that has a little bit of ripple. Working with Wonder Clips helps a ton.

Pentagon Mouse Pad

Use double-sided tape to hold the template onto the quilt sandwich (again...no pins!), then cut around the shape adding a seam allowance.

At this point, I'd like to say that you can make this any shape you want. Square? Sure. Rectangle? Yes. Hexagon? Definitely. Circle? Of course...just be sure to use binding cut on the bias. I made a pentagon because it's pentagon month!

Pentagon Mouse Pad
Pentagon Mouse Pad
Pentagon Mouse Pad
Pentagon Mouse Pad
Pentagon Mouse Pad

Take the strip of binding fabric and iron it in half the long way. At one end, press the short edge under about 1/2".

Attach the binding strip to the mousepad using your favorite binding method.

I sew my binding to the back, then wrap it to the front and sew it down with perle cotton and running stitch. I found that this worked well because even if I brought the needle through at not-quite-the-right-spot, any hole was hidden under the binding.

But if you attach it to the front and wrap it to the back, that will also work.

Pentagon Mouse Pad

And that's all there is to it! A simple mousepad that is very functional, completely customizable, and easy to wipe off!

Pentagon Mouse Pad
Pentagon Mouse Pad


They're so quick and easy to make, you can make one for every computer! Or every season! Or maybe make one for work and one for home. Or if you work from home, use one for when you're working and one for when you're playing.

I think the point here is that you can make a bunch of mousepads...just because you can!

made // patchwork death star

Patchwork Death Star


Happy Star Wars Day!

I'm a big fan of the original Star Wars trilogy, especially, and I love the opportunity to make projects that go with these films. If you look back in my archives, you'll find a few things I've made in the past.

This year for my brother's birthday, I made him a mini quilt featuring the Death Star made with English paper piecing. When I saw the pattern, I knew I HAD to make it. With life and other deadlines creeping in, the project took me a bit longer than I expected. Thankfully my brother waited (no so) patiently.

Also thankfully, some lovely folks on Instagram helped me gather the many gray fabrics I needed to put this thing together. It's all those fabric and the little details that make this special.

Patchwork Death Star
Patchwork Death Star
Patchwork Death Star

I had the mouse fabric in my stash, and I thought it would be fun to have that little guy on there. The embroidery on that section of the Death Star is all by hand, but then, pretty much everything on here is by hand.

Hand stitched piecing, hand embroidery, hand applique, and hand finishing on the binding. The only thing done on the sewing machine was attaching the binding strip to the mini quilt.

The "stars" were all done with metallic thread french knots. I'm not sure what the thread brand is (I got it on clearance and there was only a price sticker on it), but I'll tell ya...it was great thread! Instead of being twisted, it was woven, and I think that made all the difference.

My only regret is that I stitched them through the front and batting (but not the backing fabric). When I pulled the thread through, it pulled some of the batting fibers, and the fuzz will not go away. Still, I like the quilted look it has.

You'll also notice that I added a little face...it's sort of how I sign my work now.

Patchwork Death Star

The original pattern for this has you create an upper and lower background piece that gets joined to the Death Star itself so that the entire piece is English paper piecing. I opted to applique the Death Star onto my backing fabric. I'm not sure that it was any easier (I had to make sure all little flaps of fabric were tucked under), but I do like the look.

This was a big project, but it was also so much fun. And I'll tell you what...I'd make it again in a heartbeat. Is there a bigger compliment for a pattern? Oh, and my brother like the gift! Even better!

Find the free pattern for the Patchwork Death Star on Quirky Granola Girl's Blog.

Patchwork Death Star

May the Force be with you!

calendar // print or post purple pentagons for may



The fifth month calls for a shape with five sides...a pentagon!

In the 50 States Stitching Club, the center of the stars (which is where the embroidery goes) is a pentagon, and I'm eager to try working with pentagons for more English paper piecing this month. I've also started on a few other five-sided projects. Hooray!

But we can't get the month started without a new calendar, so here we have May for your desktop and mobile devices.


For iPhone 6+, choose the iPad version. To use the iPhone and iPad versions, click the link for the wallpaper you want. When it opens, touch and hold the image until it pops up with the option to save. After you've saved the image, go to your settings, choose wallpaper, then find the image you've just saved.

2015 May Printable Calendar Page

To PRINT a calendar page (with a place for notes), download the May 2015 calendar page PDF. Even when the wallpaper calendars have a color background and white shapes/dates, I always make the printable one so it will use less ink. And I gotta tell you, I really like this month's page! Reversing the color scheme turned into purple pentagons that remind me of rock candy!

project // simply bound blanket

Simply Bound Blanket

I love finding a new supply, tool, or material to work with, as those items often inspire a new project to try, or a new way to do something I've tried before. This was the case with the double knit interlock that I found at JoAnn.

Simply Bound Blanket
Simply Bound Blanket

It was during a sale on their nursery fabrics, and although I don't usually even look in that area, their ad showed some prints that were perfect for something I was working on. And then I spotted the knit. It was thick and heavy and 57" wide, and while one of the prints was little elephants, the others did not scream "baby fabric" to me.

Still...what would I do with it? I went home.

And then went back. After a bit of thought I realized that because of its thickness and the fact that it is print on one side and solid on the other, it would be a perfect lightweight blanket just as it is. All I needed to do was add regular quilt binding along the edge.

Simply Bound Blanket

Even more wonderful was that the chevron print was a near-perfect color match for our living room. It would be just the thing for having on hand on cool spring and summer evenings.

I chose a solid green fabric for the binding, and bound it using the same method as I did with my whole cloth quilt. Done.

This really is very simple, and because it's a small lap quilt size (mine is about 46 x 56 inches), it's fast. All you are doing is adding binding! That's my favorite part!

Simply Bound Blanket

And just look how nice it looks on the back of our big IKEA chair? I mean, yes, you can make this for a baby, but may I even suggest that this would make a nice gift for your mom? Or as a little housewarming gift?

I suppose it does look a little sad setting unused on the chair. Let's get a prop.

Simply Bound Blanket

Good kitty. Now, snuggle with the blanket like you always try to do. And look cute!

Simply Bound Blanket

I guess she's done with pictures. But she nailed it on the cute part!

Simply Bound Blanket

A quick word on this fabric, and thoughts I had while working with it.

First, this has a higher price tag that most of JoAnn's fabrics. Look for a sale, and/or use a coupon.

When they are cutting it, check for any flaws, as you should with any fabric. I found one that we could avoid while cutting (and one afterward...boo). They aren't anything major, but if you're making a gift, you want it to as nice as possible!

Even if you trim the edges as straight as you've ever cut anything in your life, because you're adding woven binding to a knit fabric, there will probably be a bit of ripple to the edges. It's minor and gives it character. Go with it!

Oh, and if you make this for a gift, be prepared to want one for yourself. I already have binding cut and prepared for a second one!

star wars mini guinea hams

Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams


Last week I showed off the little hamster that I made using the Gleeful Guinea Pig project from my book Stitch Love. As I was writing the post, the name "mini guinea ham" came to mind, and I think it's gonna stick. For me at least. Especially as I've found that you can take this design and modify it to make other characters.

Like characters from Star Wars.

Now you may have never thought about taking a beloved movie character and transforming it into a hamster, but apparently that's just where my head goes. If Disney can do it with Tsum Tsum, so can I.

The basics are that you take the Gleeful Guinea Pig templates in Stitch Love and shrink them down 50%. Then, you customize a little!

Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams

Wicket the Ewok is pretty close to the original style. I used wool blend felt for the middle section so I could get a color I liked, but I was really happy with how the felt worked on here. Since there's no stretch, I made the section a little longer just in case I needed the length.

His ears are also a little smaller, and the nose is rounded. I left off the mouth on all of these.

Oh, and I found that a regular hole punch make great little eyes!

Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams

For Chewbacca, I wanted his fur to stick out a little more than the fur on the standard mini guinea ham. Instead of whip stitch I used running stitch so that the zig zag fur remained free. I also made a little bandoleer that you'll see below.

Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams
Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams

For Yoda, a green face and big ears were all that I needed to convey who this was, right? I just free-handed the ear shape.

The robe (which I realized too late that I did have a better color I could have used) is cut with a wavy edge instead of the zig zag of the pattern. I also made it a little wider so I could fold it back like you see. At the front end, I used the running stitch method about 1/2 from the edge, then folded it. At the back end, it's whip stitch.

Princess Leia has the same folded back front, and Han Solo is all whip stitch, but with that wavy edge. They also got some free-hand cut hair.

For all of these, I looked for ways to show the essence of the character in the simplest way possible. Sometimes my family would tell me that I was missing some detail, or that a color wasn't quite right. But that wasn't the point. I wanted these to have just enough of that character so you could tell. Han Solo is the hardest, but when he's hangin' with Chewie, it's all good.

Honestly, I think the only reason I chose some of these characters was so that I could do this:

Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams
Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams
Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams

What can I say? It's the simple things in life that bring me joy!

These are so easy to customize like this. I hope you give it a go and make a few for Star Wars Day next week. They come together quickly enough that you won't even have to go into hyperdrive!

Star Wars Mini Guinea Hams

more raindrop fun (and a free pattern!)

Water Bottle Holder

This has been a month of raindrop projects, but in a few days, it will be over. So I thought I had better squeeze in a few more rainy day ideas.

First, on Pinterest, you can find my board of Lovely Raindrop Crafts. It's still small, but like my other themed boards, will be ever-growing.

Water Bottle Holder

In my Etsy shop, you can find a project pattern to make a Keep Your Cool Water Bottle Holder with a sort of reverse applique. The pattern is $4, but you, my dear blog reader, can have it for FREE with any purchase. Just mention that you would like it when you place your order.

8 a Day

Speaking of water, to go along with a water bottle holder, how about a water checklist? It's not exactly raindrops, but play along. It's still one of the most popular pages here on Wild Olive. I guess we all need a reminder to drink more water (even if it's not 8 a day!).

Despite the fact that I made the checklist, I'm more likely to be successful with a coffee checklist. Maybe I should work on that.

Water Bottle Holder

Have a happy Monday, and enjoy some water! Or raindrops! Or at least use some water to make a cup of coffee. Yeah, I think I'll go do that now...

netflixing // gilmore girls

Netflixing Gilmore Girls

Making while watching is a very fine thing, and finding the good stuff to watch while you're making is important. And I love when people share what they're watching while they work. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get through a whole show and all its seasons, but as I make my way through Netflix, I'll be sharing my recommendations (even when they're embarrassing!).

Speaking of embarrassing, can you believe that I've never watched Gilmore Girls until now? Seriously, other than a few clips here and there, this is my first time. And I'm loving it.

As I'm watching, I've been stitching down quilt binding and working towards the big wrap up of 50 States Stitching Club, which will be here before we know it.

What are you Netflixing and stitching right now?

stitch love // making a hamster out of a guinea pig

Making a Hamster from Stitch Love
Making a Hamster from Stitch Love

When my mom was growing up she had pet guinea pigs (a family fact you'll find in my book, Stitch Love), but when I was growing up I always had pet hamsters.

A few of my hamsters met with untimely ends (there are some good stories here!), and once my dad even revived one of my little pets. There was no mouth-to-mouth, but he did do some compressions and held that little guy until he came back!

Making a Hamster from Stitch Love
Making a Hamster from Stitch Love
Making a Hamster from Stitch Love

Even with all my hamster tales, I decided to have a guinea pig, a Gleeful Guinea Pig, in Stitch Love. Not wanting to snub my tinier furry friends, I included a hamster embroidery pattern in embroidery gallery and right there on the cover. I also suggested that you could take the same pattern, shrink it down, and have a hamster.

The process is pretty much exactly the same as what is in the book, just smaller. When I made my little hamster, I printed the pattern at 50%. That's 50% of the full size download patterns (the link is in the back of Stitch Love under "Using Templates"). The circles for his head and bottom are 5 or 5-1/2 inches (a cereal bowl is perfect!).

I made the face, ears, and feet a little larger than 50%, tracing them directly from the book. In hindsight, I'd probably go smaller and make them a true 50% also.

And are you ready for this?

Making a Hamster from Stitch Love

I'm a little behind on the trend, but my hamster is a perfect size to play with Tsum Tsums! He's just a bit longer, but as you can see, he stacks just like the rest! Being a hamster (and squirrel!) fan, you know I had to have Chip and Dale. Chipmunks are like, right in-between.

I picked them up on a recent trip to Target. My little sister and I decided that we needed them in our lives, and undoubtedly she'll be swiping my hamster friend...just like my other sister took the guinea pig!

Untitled
Making a Hamster from Stitch Love

Here's the fun part...after I made a mini guinea ham, I knew that I just HAD to make more. And the latest have a theme that I think you might just love. If you haven't picked up Stitch Love yet, this is a great time!