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project // maz kanata star wars plush

Maz Kanata Plush


May the 4th be with you! I love Star Wars. I mean, I'm not quite the crazy fan my brother is (he knows so many details about so many things related to all of the storylines and so on), but I just love watching these movies and taking in these characters.

Since my brother is such a fan, I try to make him something Star Wars related each year for his birthday. After The Force Awakens came out, I knew that this year needed to be a new character and Maz Kanata won out. She's just so much fun!

Maz Kanata Plush

Plus, a while back I made Draw Pilgrim's Chewbacca plush and thought that the two would be a fun pair. You know...I like that wookiee!

Oh, and if you'd like to take a look at the other Star Wars posts I've done through the years, you can scroll through them all here.

Maz Kanata Plush
Maz Kanata Plush

The Maz plush is quite small. She nearly fits in the palm of my hand! There's no need to make yours this small; you can enlarge the pieces. The size of mine was guided by the Chewie doll, because I wanted them to look similar to the height proportion in the film.

Going back to the fact that I made this as a gift for my brother, my step-by-step photos for this are lacking. This is what happens when you are struggling to get something made in time for gifting and without the recipient seeing. Also since I made some tweaks to the pattern along the way, there's a chance that pieces may a little off.

Thankfully, the assembly is fairly simple, so I hope you'll forgive the minimal photos and any errors.

Now, here's what you need:

Felt - light & dark gray
Fabric - choose colors based on Maz (there's a good pic here)
Clear vinyl
12mm safety eyes
Embroidery floss - dark gray
Stuffing
Basic sewing tools

Maz Kanata Template PDF

Maz Kanata Plush

The pattern pieces have cutting instructions on them, so look at those and look at the photos in this post for a cutting guide. When pieces say to cut something reversed, flip the pattern piece over for cutting.

Okay, let's start sewing!

Sew the hands to the arms and the feet to the legs. There should be two arms facing one way and two facing the other way. The same for the legs. Press the seam allowance to one side (use your judgement based on your fabric).

Maz Kanata Plush

Pin and sew arm pieces with right sides together, and repeat with the other arm and legs. Turn them right side out and fill with stuffing. Set them aside.

Maz Kanata Plush

Place the felt "hood" on the fabric head and sew around the inside of the hood. You can do this by hand or machine. It's not necessary to sew the outside edge, as it will be sewn into the main seam.

Maz Kanata Plush

Now it's time for the face.

Cut out the goggle rings from felt, then cut out the vinyl pieces as a circle, not a ring. You may need to trim it down just a tiny bit, but start with it the same size as the outside of the ring.

Place the rings on the head to help with placement, then mark where you will install the safety eyes and go ahead and attach the eyes. (You can make the eyes from felt, but I love the dimension the safety eyes create.)

Embroider the nose and mouth in the middle of where the goggles will go.

Place a vinyl circle over an eye and a goggle ring over that. Stitch around the outside of the ring with a whip stitch. If you can, catch some vinyl with these stitches to secure it. But if you only catch the felt and fabric, the vinyl should still hold in place. Repeat with the other eye.

Place the "ear" pieces on the sides and sew around the curve. Embroider two lines connecting the ear pieces to the goggles. Sew the ear pieces to the back head piece, and take care that they are all positioned the same so they match up when the front and back go together.

Maz Kanata Plush

Sew the shirt to the belt and the belt to the pants. Sew a front vest piece to each side of the shirt, and sew the buckle to the middle of the belt.

Maz wears some awesome jewelry and has some great accessories hanging from her belt too. I wanted to add some of these with embroidery or even metal charms, but ran out of time. Consider adding these!

Sew the head to the body.

Repeat this for the back of Maz. Instead of two vest pieces, you'll have just the one and no buckle. But the rest is pretty much the same process.

Maz Kanata Plush

Place the arms and legs on the back as shown. You might want to baste these in place.

Pin and sew the front and back with right sides together and leave an opening for turning. Be sure to backstitch when you start and stop. I left the opening in the top of the head, and that worked well.

Maz Kanata Plush

Turn it right side out and fill her with stuffing. Sew up the opening with ladder stitch.

And then give Maz a hug, because she's all finished!

Maz Kanata Plush
Maz Kanata Plush

If you've done this right, the sides will match like the ear pieces here.

If your fabric doesn't cooperate, they might not match so well, like the belt here. I tell ya, my sewing machine decided it wasn't a fan of that linen, and it wasn't liking the Liberty from Maz's shirt either!

Maz Kanata Plush

Speaking of her shirt, I think we can all agree that Maz would choose to wear Liberty if she lived in our galaxy, right? I know she wears a sweater, but since I wasn't up for knitting a tiny garment, this is the next best thing.

Maz Kanata Plush

With any of these elements, go for as much accuracy as you want. I knew that I could have found fabrics that were a closer match, but I had all of these on hand, and they were close enough.

I think finding a fabric that is a good skin color is one of the most important elements, because that and her facial features are what really make her Maz.

Maz Kanata Plush
Maz Kanata Plush
Maz Kanata Plush

Ahh...a match made in Heaven! If you want to ruffle the Star Wars fan in your life, be sure to share theory with them: Rey is the love child of Maz and Chewie. She's just had a bit of laser hair removal.

Have a wonderful Star Wars Day, and May the 4th be with you!

calendar // old teacups for a new may

Stitched & Sewn Wall Hanging

My brother showed me a cartoon of someone expressing their dismay at how fast March flew by, before realizing that it's now May. Seriously, this is my life.

A third of April was taken up by a family vacation to Disney World, for which I'm so thankful. It's just hard to process that we've reached a new month already.

A new calendar desktop can be found at the end of this post, but just in case you missed them, here are a few I've made for other blogs around the web.

The wall hanging above is an easy way to display finished embroidery...that isn't in a hoop.

Stitching Tiny Flowers

I love tiny stitching, and if you're wanting to make some itty bitty flowers, I'll show you how over on About.com.

Embellishing Printed Fabric

And don't miss these ideas for embroidering over printed fabric.

DIY Felt Beads

Make felt beads, turn them into a necklace, and gift them to mom or your favorite teacher!

Perler Bead Smores Box

Even as an adult, I'm still addicted to Perler Beads. Which made this S'mores Treasure Box even more fun to create for Handmade Charlotte!

Nature Mobile

Over at Hello Bee you can find this Nature Mobile to make with your kids! Someone I know made one with a hoop made from craft sticks. So smart!

Wooden Toy Phone

And I don't have a smartphone (collective gasp!), but I do have a super cute DIY wooden phone now. With rainbow apps!



Finally, as promised, here's this month's calendars. They're based on the teacups that were part of the Alice in Wonderland set that I made waaaaayyyy back in 2011. Five years flies by almost as fast as these months do!

Add it to your computer or handheld device, or grab the printable version below.


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 and print an May calendar PDF. I recommend printing this on card stock, and then trimming it. You can color your calendar, or leave it black and white because that looks cool too!

Reduce Stress with the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

UHomB2016_Logo

When you think about homemaking, what comes to mind? I picture my mom. She stays at home, takes care of the family and house, and only occasionally has worked outside the home.

I don't picture myself. I am unmarried, have no children, live with my parents and younger siblings, and am self-employed.

But the truth is, no matter what your life situation is, you probably do some homemaking. You have a schedule, you need to eat, you have a budget (or want to have one!), and so on. And odds are you could stand to improve these things in your life.

It's for this reason that I'm excited to be part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and so happy to be presenting this special offer to you.

This bundle was created to give you a plethora of amazing, high-quality resources to take some of the stress, overwhelm and difficulty out of taking care of your home and family, even if that's just you.

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 93 hand-picked eBooks, eCourses, and printables, on topics such as:
  • organization, routines & creating a cozy home
  • recipes, grocery shopping and meal planning
  • budgeting and saving money
  • motherhood (no matter what age your kids are)
  • cultivating a strong marriage
  • faith (for you & your kids)
  • and even self-care (like exercise, weight loss, life planning and coloring books!)
  • and much more…
I'm especially interested in the products that will help me to increase productivity (that includes meal planning and working at home) and decluttering and organizing (there are more than a few eBooks that I'll be diving into very soon).

TimeClutter

You have a full year to download the eBooks and printables and take the online eCourses, and everything you’ve downloaded becomes part of your permanent library, so you can go back to it whenever you need it.

This also means that you shouldn't feel the need to explore all of the items right away. Download a couple at a time or when something comes up that you need help with (like, YIKES! I really need to figure out a plan for _______). The idea here is less stress!

Plus, it comes with some bonus offers like a FREE Craftsy class and Kids Discovery Box from GreenKidCrafts.com. Oh, and you should also know that included in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle you'll find my Little Owls Meal Planning and Recipe Cards printables!


It’s available for just 6 days – from now until Monday, May 2nd, 2016 at 11:59pm EST. That’s why the Ultimate Bundles team can offer so much, because they only have permission to sell it for such a short period of time.

The total value is an astonishing $1000+ (plus over $300 in bonuses), but you get it for just $29.97. That’s 97% off what it would cost to buy everything individually!
Learn more or get your bundle now!


If you think getting all those homemaking helps for less than $30 sounds like a steal, then make sure to go HERE to see exactly what it includes and grab yours before this deal ends!

NOTE: As a contributor to this bundle, I'm also an affiliate. If you purchase a bundle, I'll receive a portion of the sale. Thank you for supporting Wild Olive in this way!

on theft, forgiveness, and the lovely people you meet

A Wild Olive needle minder...sort of

As a creator, you know it's bound to happen. You might even think that you've "made it" when it occurs. But when it does come along, your heart sinks. It might even break. What am I talking about?

Art theft.

Sometimes people use a photo without asking. That's different. Usually they're sharing a link and giving credit. Sometimes websites have used my images and/or text without asking or giving credit. While it's not cool, that's still a little different.

But when you find out that someone is selling items made with your artwork it feels unlike any of those other things. Those other things seem downright friendly.

I first spotted it on Instagram. Someone was showing off the enamel needle minder they ordered on Etsy and my but it looked familiar. It looked just like the printables I made back in 2009.

Thread Bobbins

My first response was "ugh...I can't believe it" followed by "argh...I can't believe it!!!". I tracked down the seller and kindly but firmly told them that they couldn't use my artwork to make and sell items like this. And then I waited to see how they replied. Things like this can go either way.

The seller sent me the sweetest message apologizing, telling me she would take them out of her shop immediately, and then directing me to the place she ordered the enamel piece that she made into a needle minder. This was better and worse that I wanted.

You see, this is a lovely person who was willing to lose the money she had spent on stock and that's far better than one could hope. But knowing that my art was actually stolen by a wholesaler in China is much worse than anything I want to deal with. Ever.

It also means that I've already found other people selling needle minders they've made with the same piece. This isn't an isolated case. This is bigger than I'll ever be able to track down.

And I'm moving on.

If I'm being honest, I tried to stop the wholesaler, but it's not gonna happen. So the better way forward is forgiveness.

I'll never hear an apology from the person who used my design, and it's even possible that they don't know that they did something wrong. But that doesn't mean that I need to bear a grudge. That will only make me angry and bitter, and that's not what I want.

Besides, I made the thread bobbin (and all my designs) to bring joy. I'm choosing to let them bring joy even if others are profiting, and I'm not.

So now what?

I've had conversations with a few people who are selling these needle minders and told them the situation, but that I want them to continue to sell through their stock. And they've told me that they won't order more.

You can find them at Delicious Threads or check outKristeen from Stitchinmad who sent me one so I could have my own!

This is really important: All of the shops I've talked with have been lovely people. They didn't take my art and this incident has only resulted in new friends. I'm sharing the shops with you so that, if you want an unofficial Wild Olive needle minder, you can order one from these kind ladies!

If you find other places selling these designs, you're welcome to tell me (send an email to molliejohanson [at] gmail.com). If you encounter these on a wholesale website, please, please, please don't order them!

But above all, whether someone steals something from you, says something horrible, or hurts you in the worst way possible, consider forgiveness. It's not easy, but when you get there, it's so much better.

Note: For the record, folks can make and sell embroidered and other handmade items they've made with my patterns. That's totally cool and I encourage that! This relates only to printables and illustrations. Just be sure to check with other makers on their policies before you start selling.

***updated to add*** Thank you all so much for your kindness and support! It's God's grace that has made my own response possible.

pattern // for the beauty of the earth

For The Beauty Of The Earth


I wish I could say that I made this embroidery pattern for Earth Day. I mean, I sort of did, but it's more accurate to say that I made and am sharing this on Earth Day. The design itself is suitable for any time.

It really came to be because all day long I've had the words of this hymn stuck in my head. Which I really don't mind, especially because I think it's quite an appropriate song for today.

And there's a story about this song. I heard about a little boy who loves this song sooooo much, and he sings it "for the booty of the earth". Doesn't that just make you love the song even more?

Oh, and if you have no idea what song I'm talking about, or if you do know and would like to listen to my favorite version, check it out here.

a trip to the sewing studio in florida

A Trip to The Sewing Studio

There's a chance that I might have a fabric addiction. But as I recently saw on an awesome t-shirt, I might be a fabric addict, but I can quilt whenever I want. Anyway, my love of this delightful supply recently led me to The Sewing Studio.

When planning the family road trip to Disney World, I may have looked up a few quilt shops along the way. I just wanted to be prepared in case we had a few minutes to spare. We got all the way to Florida without stopping (even though I saw a billboard for a fabric outlet, which I'm choosing to believe was not going to have what I would be looking for).

Once in the Orlando area, I did an intensive search. The shop near my relatives in FL wasn't open on the day I was free. And a few others didn't appear promising from their websites. But I thought that the one about an hour north of where we were staying looked good. My aunt confirmed that I should check it out.

After five days of Walt Disney World parks, we began heading north for home and routing ourselves past The Sewing Studio. From the outside, it looks like many older buildings in Florida, but the inside holds many treasures.

A Trip to The Sewing Studio

Walking in the front door, I was greeted by samples made with fabrics I love and in patterns I've been admiring. Then a moment later, a very helpful employee welcomed me (and my parents and sister, who were excited to check out the store as well). She must have noted the mildly overwhelmed look on my face, because she offered to give me a tour. Of course, I accepted!

What you see in this photo is just a piece of this store. The room in the photo is nearly double what you see, and there's more than one room. Our tour took us past the sewing machine section, through a variety of quilting fabrics and an enormous selection of buttons.

A Trip to The Sewing Studio

Again, this shows maybe a third of the buttons. And we were still only in that first room!

We continued into the next room, holding more quilting cottons, gorgeous linen, denims, apparel fabrics, and a HUGE section of bridal fabrics. A smaller room contained some trims and rolls of heavier fabrics, as well as a peek into the workshop where someone seemed to be handling sewing machine repairs.

At last, we reached the Bargain Annex (which connects to their classroom).

A Trip to The Sewing Studio

I liked this room from the time I heard the name of it. But I formed a true attachment when they told me everything in here was 50% off. I immediately found some Christmas fabrics from Cotton + Steel, plus a few others.

By the way, each room had a cutting counter, and one room had two. The woman working in the Bargain Annex let me know that their regular Cotton + Steel was 20% off, so I knew where I would be visiting next.

A Trip to The Sewing Studio

If I told you that I headed straight to these shelves of C+S fabrics, I'd be lying. But I did get there and was pleased with their selection. They had some from the latest collections, plus some older collections, and a few basics too. I tried to limit myself, but only because of the goodness I had found before I actually reached this area.

A Trip to The Sewing Studio

The Bargain Annex isn't the only place where they have 50% off fabric! This bin held Allison Glass, lots of Moda, Tula Pink, and some delicious scented strawberry fabric.

I went a little crazy, and as you can see from the beginning of this post, I had a lot of fabric cut. Since I was on vacation, I'm calling this a souvenir trip.

But even with my stacks of fabric to cut and pages of cuttings to ring up, everyone was so kind and helpful. I'm not sure if I was more impressed with the selection, prices, or service! Even better, when I managed to leave a piece of fabric behind, they mailed it to me super fast.

If you are ever in the Orlando area, it's worth the trip to visit The Sewing Studio. And even if you don't have plans to visit, almost all of their fabrics are online, and they are continuing to add more.

I can't say enough nice things about these folks. The next time I'm in Florida, I know I'll be back!

Oh, and mega thanks to my family for waiting patiently as I enjoyed the last bit of vacation surrounded by fabric!

printable // kawaii fruit tea bag notes

Printable Tea Bag Notes


Do you enjoy tea? A giant cup of hot tea is part of my nearly every evening ritual. I love trying new flavors, and fruity teas are a favorite. I also like cute stationery. If these things sound familiar, you'll love these printable fruit tea bag notes!

Printable Tea Bag Notes

I was inspired to make these after a trip to Japan. Well, the Japan pavilion at Disney's EPCOT. They had some mini stationery similar to this, but I knew that I could make my own that would better reflect my own personal style. That definitely means fruit with faces.

Ready to make some super cute fruit tea notes? Here we go!

Printable Tea Bag Notes

You will need:

Paper for printing
Scissors
Craft knife
Ruler
Cutting mat
Glue stick
Small hole punch (1/8" is perfect!)
String

PRINTABLE TEA BAG NOTES PDF

Printable Tea Bag Notes

Print the PDF on regular paper. I used 20lb. copy paper, but slightly heavier paper (even just 24lb.) would be nice. Card stock would make it a little too bulky.

Cut out the pieces.

Printable Tea Bag Notes

Use a craft knife to cut a slit on the line near the indent on the tea envelope. If you want to skip the knife, you can tape the flap down later instead of sliding in the envelope slit.

Printable Tea Bag Notes

Fold the angled flap down, and crease, then unfold it. Fold the indented end up to the crease.

Printable Tea Bag Notes

Run a small line of glue stick down each side of the envelope and fold it into the envelope shape. Don't let the glue get too far in from the edges or you won't be able to slide the tea bag in!

Printable Tea Bag Notes

Fold the tea bag and tag pieces in half. If you don't want your tea bag to be double sided, you can cut these pieces in half and make two bags with one print.

Printable Tea Bag Notes

Punch a hole on the non-folded side of the bag and tag.

Printable Tea Bag Notes

Cut a 6-inch piece of string and tie the tea bag and tag together. Trim the ends.

Printable Tea Bag Notes

Now you can add a note to your tea bag. They are fun as little cards, adding a tag to a gift, or even as miniature invites to a tea party!

Printable Tea Bag Notes
Printable Tea Bag Notes

With the tea bag safely tucked inside, slide the flap into the slit to hold it closed and write the recipient's name on the oval.

I love that it really does look like a tea bag!

Printable Tea Bag Notes

And of course, when you make a whole fruity flavor rainbow of notes, it just gets better. Oh, and don't feel like you have to match the colors up on the bags and envelopes. Make your notes colorful!

Oh, and if you wanted to include a longer note, try this: Punch a hole and tie the string through only one side of the folded tea bag. Or, cut through the fold after both sides are tied. Then you can open the note and have more room for writing!

Printable Tea Bag Notes

And one last tip: these are so much fun when you include fruity puns in your notes. Orange you glad I reminded you of that?