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project // easy butterfly button notebook

Butterfly Button Notebook

Sometimes you need a simple project, and this notebook is one of those projects. In fact, it only takes a basic softcover blank book, a fancy button, and a couple minutes.

I used to do a lot more quick and easy project like this. Like, all the time. But somewhere along the way I thought they were just too simple, so I cut back in favor of having more involved projects more often. Well, based on the frequency of my posting lately, I think simple is good.

So let's get making!

Butterfly Button Notebook

You will need:

A blank book with a soft cover
Decorative button (without a shank back)
Sewing thread or embroidery floss - I'm using Aurifil wool thread
Needles - one large and one medium

Butterfly Button Notebook

Hold the button in place wherever you want on the cover of the book. Use the large needle to make holes through the button and the cover.

Butterfly Button Notebook

Thread the medium needle. Mine is doubled with wool thread that adds a cool texture to this project.

Start stitching through the button and cover, leaving a tail on the back of a few inches. Stitch through the holes several times.

Butterfly Button Notebook

Bring the needle to the back and tie off the thread with the starter tail. Double knot it and trim the ends.

Butterfly Button Notebook

You can add more buttons if you want, or leave at this. Which means, this notebook is done!

Butterfly Button Notebook

The small notebook with the elastic strape was on clearance at IKEA, but any blank book with a soft cover will work. Moleskin journals are perfect.

And of course, nearly any decorative button will work. The butterflies are from JoAnn, and the anchor and unicorn were made by Beadeux.

So grab your supplies and take a few minutes to decorate a notebook for yourself or a friend!

color and encouragement for your tuesday

Colorful Supplies

This week I'll be heading to a conference which, I'm quite sure, will encourage and inspire me. I need it. I think we all do from time to time. How about you?

Are you tired out? Weary of the way things are going? Do you need some lightness and brightness and maybe a bit of twinkle? I want to offer you two things today...

The first is a bit of color. Beautiful supplies are always inspirational to me. If you need that extra spark (or sparkle), reach for the rainbow sequins.

The second is a hug and a knowing look. You know in books when a character is described as giving a knowing look, as if to say, I understand and know what you are thinking or feeling? Yep, you get a hug and knowing look from me.

Keep going, friends. We've got beautiful things around us and in us!

printable // root beer float straw charms

Printable Root Beer Float Straw Charms

I just learned that August 6 is Root Beer Float Day, and that deserves a printable! I'm all for celebrating the everyday holidays. And I'm calling these straw charms because they add just some happy decoration to your root beer float straw.

Of course, you don't have to only use them on Root Beer Float day, because really, any day could stand to have a kawaii root beer float in it, do you think?

Printable Root Beer Float Straw Charms
Printable Root Beer Float Straw Charms

The root beer float on this printable is based on the one in my Soda Shop embroidery pattern. I had actually hoped to make something cute with my embroidery. A root beer mug rug was on my mind. But time is not on my side these days, and so I let that idea go. It's probably for the best, because I'm really happy with the straw charms.

To use them, just print on card stock, cut around the background, punch the dots with a standard 1/4in hole punch, and slide a straw through the holes. You can bend the top and bottom down a little, but you don't have to.

Printable Root Beer Float Straw Charms
Printable Root Beer Float Straw Charms

Pick up some root beer and vanilla ice cream, and then make a yummy and cute treat for yourself!

calendar // old buttons for august

Okay, who turned the calendar page over early? Hmmm? Seriously, can we flip it back to July? (Read to the end of this post to see a little look back at July while we're at it...) There are some good things that are happening in August that I'm excited about, so I'll keep looking forward.

One thing that makes me happy is that when I was looking through old desktop calendar artwork, I found the year of crafty designs I made. They eventually became what is now the Crafty Characters embroidery pattern in my shop. The item I focused on that August was buttons, and I think I'll have to see how I can use that again this month.

To start, grab a calendar!

Download the 2560x1440 Wallpaper.
Download the 1920x1280 Wallpaper.
Download the 1280x800 Wallpaper.
Download the iPhone Wallpaper.
Download the iPad Wallpaper.

For your home screen, these have the buttons, but no calendar. That makes them good as a background behind your apps, or for those of you who don't want to say goodbye to the buttons too soon.

Download the iPhone Button Wallpaper.
Download the iPad Button Wallpaper.

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.

Printable Coloring Calendar Page

As usual, there is also a printable August calendar. It is designed to be trimmed so that the lines go right off the edge of the calendar, and it's also perfect for coloring. I think there's probably just enough room to customize the buttons some too.

Now, here are some of the things I was working on around the rest of the internet during the month of July!

Felt & Floral Checkers

The folks at Hamilton Beach invited me to create a project for their Everyday Good Thinking blog, and I made this checkers set that uses felt and your favorite fabric. It's entirely no-sew and fun for taking a break from the screen.

Giant Stitching
Fruit Border Embroidery Pattern
Embroidered Felt Flowers

This month at About.com, I shared my tips for stitching at larger sizes and working with larger materials (such as yarn). There's also a free fruity border pattern, and a method for embroidering flowers with felt elements.

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: Sometimes I think that there's no way that I'll be able to keep coming up with ideas for the About.com Embroidery site. And then I add a dozen more items to my list of things to write and create. It would seem that there's

Perler Bead Fruit Bracelets

Over at Handmade Charlotte, you can make my Perler Bead bracelets that are inspired by favorite fruits. They're a perfect end-of-summer project!

Felt Ice Cream Cone Playset

And finally, if you have little ones who like to do some imaginative play (of if you just want some happy felt treats!), visit Hello Bee to make your own ice cream cone playset. Naturally, I added a face to mine, because things are better with faces.

Have a wonderful and creative August, my friends!

pattern // stitching love on international embroidery day

Stitching Love Embroidery Pattern

Happy International Embroidery Day, stitching friends! (Or World Embroidery Day, depending on who you talk to...)

I hear about these special days, and then I forget, and then they pop up and surprise me. And since I was happily surprised with a day devoted to one of my favorite things, I thought I would surprise you with a free pattern.

Five years ago, and a year before I ever started talking about creating my book, Stitch Love, I made this pattern. It was created as a bonus for one of my online classes, and I didn't even think about it when titling my book. In fact, my editor was the one who suggested Stitch Love, and it wasn't until today that I realized how this has been a theme in my work for so long.

On International Embroidery Day, a Stitching Love pattern was too perfect to leave in the past. And since I've tried to pull a few things from the archives this year (something I call "making old new", it was doubly right.

If you love stitching, I hope you have a chance to stitch love today and everyday!

project // guinea pig book bands

Guinea Pig Book Bands

If you follow me on Instagram, you're probably aware of my guinea pig obsession. And the pics I share are just a small glimpse into my crazy. Naturally, I had to make some felt piggies! And they're actually more helpful that the real ones because they wrap around my notebook to keep it from flopping all over the place.

They're already watching over my original sketch for this project!

The felt piggies, or cavies as they're also called, are inspired by my two pet guinea pigs, Lt. Nibbles and Capt. Cuddles. For me, it'll be like having them come with me wherever I go! You can make your book bands to look like my furry friends or customize them to make them like your own.

Guinea Pig Book Bands

You will need:

Felt in guinea pig colors
Embroidery floss
Craft or fabric glue


Guinea Pig Book Bands

Use the templates to cut out the pieces. The PDF tells which pieces you need to cut multiples of. You can choose colors to make the guinea pigs you like. Mine are inspired by my two piggies. You can also adjust the fur shapes if you want.

Guinea Pig Book Bands

Cut two slits in the body pieces. To do this, hold the template in front of the felt piece and fold it in half so you can cut on the line. Just don't cut so far that you cut to the edge.

Guinea Pig Book Bands

Embroider the faces. I used six strands and french knots for the eyes and three strands with back stitch and scallop stitches for the noses and mouths.

Guinea Pig Book Bands

Use craft or fabric glue to attach the pieces to the front body piece (the one without the slits). Glue one ear to the front and the second ear to the back of the body piece.

Guinea Pig Book Bands

Cut a piece of elastic that is long enough to fit around your book, plus a bit extra. This can vary depending on the book size and how much stretch there is in the elastic, but it's better to cut it a little too long than too short.

For fold-over elastic that goes around a standard composition book, I used a 17-inch piece of elastic.

Slide the elastic through the slits in the back body piece.

Guinea Pig Book Bands

Tie a knot in the two ends of the elastic. This is where you can adjust the size a bit if you find that it's a little too long.

Guinea Pig Book Bands

Glue around the edge of the back piece. Don't let the glue get near the elastic because it's best to let that have some movement.

Guinea Pig Book Bands

Attach the front piece to the back and let it all dry. Then it's ready to slide around your book and hold everything together! You could even use this as a headband for a child. (I'm not quite so obsessed that I'll be wearing one...yet)

Guinea Pig Book Bands

Are those the cutest little helpers? The truth is, even if these don't hold a single thing in my notebook, I'm happy to have them hanging around. I'd keep my real piggies around me all the time too, but the felt version poops a LOT less.

Yes, that's gross, but it's how guinea pig life goes!

on following your dreams and avoiding having them trampled


I'm not usually big on inspirational sayings and empowering each other and such. Don't get me wrong. I want to inspire and be inspired. And I want to feel confident and help others feel the same. But sometimes it can get a little cliche for me.

However, I had an encounter that I can't shake off. And it has led me to writing a you-can-do-it-if-you-work-hard-and-follow-your-dreams post. Sort of. Let me share...

I was casually chatting with someone whom I had met only one time before, and the topic of my work came up.

Now, I have a unique sort of job. Mainly because it doesn't fit neatly in a job title. I write, design, draw, take photos, and more, and those things are part of blogs, a shop, and books and magazines. It's not uncommon for me to stumble through telling someone what I do.

On this occasion, I made the mistake of saying that I'm a blogger (which currently is the largest percentage of my work). And the person went on a rant about how that isn't a real job. He was practically yelling!

Thankfully, I kept my composure and was able to explain my work, and he started to understand. Admittedly, this can be an unusual field, and there are many people who blog as a hobby. But the reaction bothered me. Not because blogging wasn't recognized as legitimate work, but because of how he responded.

Here's the thing. I know that I work hard at what I do. I know that I've found success in what I do. I know that I have friends and family who support what I do. I know that I'm pursuing something of value. At least, most of the time I know these things.

Sometimes, however, I feel like a plant trying desperately to grow between rock and brick. It feels impossible. It hurts. It's more work that I think I can bear. Withering feels like the most likely outcome.

Being told that the thing I have poured so much of my life into isn't "real" could have been a foot stomping all over my dreams and purpose. And I don't think he even knew.

So what is this really all about? Two things.

First, and I'm not even sure if I need to say this here to the people who read this blog, but don't stomp on the thing that someone is trying so hard to do. Watch for ways that you may inadvertently undermine their work. Encourage them. Let them know that they're brave for following their dream and see how you might help them.

Next, if you are trying to start something, build something, create something, be it a creative venture, a career path, a philanthropic endeavor, or whatever...press on. If you believe in what you're doing, keep going. Don't let the folks who don't understand stomp on your hopes. And if it feels like no one else supports you or cares, I'll be here cheering you on. Seriously.

If a petunia can plant itself between the bricks on my front port and then bloom, we can do the hard work of traveling a life and work path that others don't understand. Maybe we can even help them understand.

Oh, and one last thing. For me, above all else, I know that who I am is not tied to the approval of the person who denied my work. Nor is it tied to anything else. My identity is in Jesus. That's enough.

embroider around the house with my newest stitching club

Around the House Stitching Club

Every time I get read to launch a new stitching club, I get all kinds of nervous & excited. And it's launch time! Cue the butterflies in my stomach! I've been working on plans for what will be nearly a year of smaller clubs, and they start with the Around the House Stitching Club.

Like my previous stitching clubs, Around the House is part embroidery and part English paper piecing. And it's all patterns that have to do with rooms in your home. You could even stitch each week's pattern in the room it goes with! (Warning: that might involve embroidery in the bathroom)

The club will have six weeks of patterns and two weeks of putting them together to make a mini quilt. And it starts on Tuesday, July 26!

Around the House Stitching Club
Around the House Stitching Club

The colors I chose for this are brights, but I'm throwing in some low-volume fabrics to balance it out. You can do the same, or you can change it up. The nice thing is that you can use the scraps you have for the EPP, and adjust the embroidery colors to fit.

Around the House Stitching Club

This is just a little taste of what this is about, but full information is available on the registration page. Sign-ups are officially open now, and they'll remain open throughout the club so you can join anytime. However, the introductory price of $5.00 is only available for one week! Once July 26 comes, the price will go up to $8.00.

So now's the time to jump in! And then tell your stitching friends, because this is so much fun to do as a group. Don't have friends who stitch? This is also a great way to meet people from around the world who are stitching along! You can do that by sharing your progress online with the hashtag #AroundTheHouseStitchingClub (and then interact with others doing the same!).

But first, you'll want to stop by the club page for more info, or sign up now!

Around the House Stitching Club: $5.00
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NOTE: If you are outside of the US or Canada, please visit my Etsy shop to sign up.

in print // handmade from the heart

Handmade from the Heart

In May of 2015, I stood on my front porch to send a thank you to all of those who made a purchase from my shop or blog during a very special fundraising campaign. The effort collected $3600 for World Vision's Caregiver Kits, and I still get emotional thinking about it.

Soon after, I received an email from someone at World Vision, asking if they could talk with me about the project. And now, just over a year later, they published an article in their magazine about it. (I might have put some makeup on if I had known the pic would be published and sent to 500,000 people!)

You guys. I don't know what to say.

Another thank you is in order. And also, I have to say that God does amazing things when you say yes to Him. Even in this broken world, He brings healing through us.

My part in this was so small and it was so easy. If you have a shop, consider how a month or even just a week of profits could help change the world. I know that I'm already thinking about the next time I'll be doing this. Because our hurting world needs a bit more love and generosity.

color combo // little miss sunshine

Little Miss Sunshine DMC floss color combo

I LOVE playing with color, and it's most exciting to me when I get to play with color in the form of skeins of embroidery floss. From time to time I put together palettes of floss colors to share, and my latest is based on the colors in a fabric line called Little Miss Sunshine.

This charm pack of fabric called to me with its cheery colors, sweet florals, and some stripes. Oh, and there are a few fabrics with hexagons. I love hexagons.

Little Miss Sunshine DMC floss color combo

Not every fabric line makes a good embroidery color combination, but this one was just right. Seven main colors (you could add white in there too), and they work well all together (I think they'd look great on this pattern) or in smaller groupings. Here are a few of those based on specific fabrics from this pack...

Little Miss Sunshine DMC floss color combo
Little Miss Sunshine DMC floss color combo
Little Miss Sunshine DMC floss color combo

Aren't these beautiful fabrics? You can see why I had to pull colors to go with them!

I hope that this palette is helpful to you, and if you're a fabric hoarder collector like me, you may even want to see about adding some of this Moda fabric to your stash!

Little Miss Sunshine DMC floss color combo

Do you enjoy choosing colors? What's your favorite source of color inspiration?