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thread bits // vintage supplies that bring joy

Thread Bits // Vintage Supplies

This is an odd Thread Bits, since there's no sewing/thread officially involved, but that's more because of the photo that I just HAD to share. I hope you'll indulge me!

I keep seeing talk online about the KonMari method of clearing out the clutter. And anytime I hear talk of clearing out the clutter I become hopeful, because I have a lot of clutter. Seriously, a lot. If you're not familiar with the KonMari method, I've gathered that the heart of it is to keep only what truly brings you joy.

This is a great idea. Except for this...

Thread Bits // Vintage Supplies

I find joy in vintage boxes of gummed stars. And buttons. And bias tape. And tiny scraps of fabric. And an old sewing basket filled with random bits that belonged to my grandmother's cousin and came to me intact.

These things lead to much clutter, and yet they truly bring me joy. How could I possibly get rid of any of them?

The unfortunate part in all of this is that I have a lot of other things that easily fall into this category too. Not vintage, but cute and fun, and I become far too attached to them all.

What are the things that you could never part with?

printable // star spangled napkin wraps

Star Napkin Wraps


You're busy making sure that you have everything ready for the big BBQ, and there's not really time to craft anything else. But! There is time to print out some simple napkin wraps to add something special to your table.

Just print these strips, trim them (either right on the printed edge, or with some white border like I did), then tape them around your napkins and utensils. It's easy, and a fun way to print your kawaii Wild Olive tastes to a summer picnic.

The PDF includes navy, red, and yellow wraps, so you can use them for patriotic or everyday celebrations.

calendar // print & post stars for july



July already? I'm pretty much stunned (and sorta sad) that that year is half gone.

For this month I'm thinking about stars, and look forward to making some fun things with five (and six and maybe more) points. I'm also looking forward to posting a little less frequently this month. June with it's daily posting of patterns and more left me a little tired.

But let's get started with some calendars to add to your computer, tablet, phone, or even your bulletin board!


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.

To PRINT a calendar page (with a place for notes), download the July 2015 calendar page PDF.

Are you ready for July? Or would you like a do-over of the last month...or six?

pattern // making is the point of making

Making Quote Pattern


My mom taught me something very important as I was growing up: process, not product. Essentially, she wanted me to enjoy the process and hold onto that experience more than I cared about and held onto a finished product. It took awhile, but I've started to get it.

Okay, so sometimes I still have a hard time parting with finished items, but I have learned that not finishing something is not the end of the world. And that's an idea that jumped out at me in a post that Diane Gilleland wrote.

She writes: "I think many of us put pressure on ourselves to finish every project we start, as if finishing were the whole point of making. It isn’t! Making is the point of making."

And with that, I knew that I had a new favorite expression. Making is the point of making. I need these words close at hand and I think we need to share these words with each other to encourage each other as we make.

Diane gave me permission to make it into a pattern, and I've just started my stitching. Will it ever become a finished something? I don't know. But I'll stitch it and enjoy the process.


And since it's June 30, it's time for the last of the Hexagon Tinies. This one is also part of the pattern above, because it felt like a perfect connection...especially for Diane and her newest book on EPP!


I hope you've enjoyed the Hexagon Tinies, and as you stitch and them online, be sure to tag me! I'm @molliejohanson on Twitter and Instagram, or you can use #HexagonTinies.

thread bits // trimming threads

ThreadBits_TrimmingThreads

As I was sewing and piecing and quilting and sewing some more, I finally found myself trying to get into a good habit. When I reached the end of a seam and cut the threads from the sewing machine, I went back. I went back to the start of the seam and I trimmed the threads. Both cuts were using the built in thread-trimmer on the sewing machine.

Getting into that rhythm saved me so much time, and I don't know why I didn't start doing it sooner. It's these little things that make the difference when sewing. And this one produced a very happy pile of thread bits.


Can you believe that the 4th of July is less than a week away? I thought you might like to stitch a little firecracker for the holiday. You could stitch a festive necklace to wear for the holiday!

pattern // hexagon tinies lemonade pitcher


Have you been enjoying a good weekend? I went to a parade this afternoon with my family, and it was really a great day. Perfect for sipping or stitching some lemonade. And that's what I'm going to leave you with for today! Some stitchable, sippable lemonade!

lovely hexagons

More hexagons in the wild. #EllisIsland #latergram

It has been a great month of hexagons around here. Of course, it's not over yet and this delightful shape cannot be contained to a single month. But I've been collecting some fun extra hexagon projects over on a new-ish Pinterest board. I'm especially looking for things that aren't just English paper piecing. You can find the board right over here.


If you've been collecting the Hexagon Tinies all month, you may have noticed that along the way there are some designs that go together. Like this flashlight that kinda goes along with the canteen and the marshmallows...it's a camping theme!

Have a great Saturday, friends!

pattern // hexagon tinies balloon animal dog


I'm getting later and later on these daily posts with the Hexagon Tinies! Yikes! But so far every day in June has had a new little pattern...and I'm NOT gonna mess it up.

Today you get a little balloon dog. I've never really been a big fan of balloons, but I always thought it was so cool when someone was twisting balloon animals and they did that thing where the little puff appears on the dog's tail. That was pure magic to me as a child! Of course, I had to add that to my embroidery pattern.

Also, I realize that the face on this doggy might seem strange to some. I wrestled with it, and in the end, I went with the face on the dog's belly. If it just isn't your thing, leave it off...or put a face on his head. The choice is up to you!

epp template // happy cactus english paper piecing

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing


I love using English paper piecing to make large panels of piecing, but also for smaller designs that can be appliquéd. Last year I made some fruity placemats using this technique, and now I've got a little cactus design for you!

This happy little gal (yes, I've decided that she's a she) is made up primarily from hexagons, and goes together pretty quickly. You can stitch the finished cactus onto a placemat like the fruit, add it to a tote bag, or even make a mini quilt. Mine is becoming a mini table runner.

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

My cactus is a sort of minty green color, with terra cotta for it's pot base, and a pink for the flower. I can imagine this looking great in all sorts of colors. Grab a mix that you like, and mix up the sections as much or as little as you like.

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

Download the Happy Cactus PDF

Print the template on card stock and cut the pieces apart. Attach the templates to your fabric, then trim and baste the pieces using your favorite method.

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

Join the cactus in two sections, following the layout shown here, which is also in the PDF.

The diamonds and half-hexagons will have little flags that poke out. You can see them showing at the top of the flower. You can tack them down at the back as you stitch.

If you want a face on your cactus (why wouldn't you?), remove the paper hexagon and embroider the face with two knot stitches (french or colonial) and a scallop stitch.

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

Center the bottom of the cactus on the top of the pot with right sides together. The edges and seams won't line up; the cactus will just be in the middle of the wide part of the half-hexagon. Join these two sections together.

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

Give the cactus a pressing with your iron, then remove the paper templates. Now you can appliqué.

To help hold the cactus as you stitch it down...and to hold it some after, cut some strips of paper-backed fusible interfacing. Iron them along the seam allowance on the back of the cactus.

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

Peel off the paper on the interfacing, then iron the cactus to your backing fabric.

I still hadn't tacked down those flower flaps yet, so I took care of that in the next step: stitching around the appliqué.

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

Stitch around the flower and the pot with running stitch (or use a blind appliqué or machine stitch). Any bits of fabric or threads that are sticking out should be tucked under as you stitch.

To give the cactus a bit of spikiness, use straight stitches running perpendicular to the edges of the green cactus. You could also use blanket stitch!

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

Now your cactus is ready for whatever else you might want to make it into!

Happy Cactus English Paper Piecing

I'm adding some strips to the ends of this lightweight denim to make a mini table runner. I've been sharing my progress on Instagram (come follow me!), and tagging my pics #CactusEPP

If you make one, I hope you share your work!


And let's not forget today's free Hexagon Tinies pattern! Why a pickle, you ask? Well, I already shared a cactus, and without the needles stitched on today's project...I fear it might look like a mutant pickle!

pattern // hexagon tinies wagon


You're a girl, or maybe a wagon...filled up with pancakes.

If you can tell me what that song lyric is from, we could be best friends. This little wagon isn't filled up with pancakes, but is is something that I love to see bumping up and down on the sidewalk in front of my house. Red is traditional, but you can stitch this little design with whatever color you like!