Author Archives: NoelleOlpin

About NoelleOlpin

I sew, craft, build, bike, ski, travel, garden and raise 4 kids with my filmmaking husband in the mountains of Utah--and blog about it all.

Repurposed vintage towels

vintage towels DIYDuring a major cleaning phase, a friend passed along a whole stack of very stylish vintage towels she had been collecting over the years. I thought long and hard about what could be done with these towels, to maximum effect.  The size of vintage towels is a tricky business. Too small to wrap around most people and comfortably cover all after a bath or shower. Too big to be used as a hand towel. They could be individually spread out throughout the bathrooms in the house for display only, hung up or stacked on shelves.

Then, it hit me- the easiest upcycle job ever- they would make perfect oversized beach towels!
repurposed vintage towelsBasically the easiest project ever- after you’ve collected the materials. Line the towels up in the color and pattern combos you prefer. Look closely before you sew them together, there is definitely a front and a back on most towels.

Most of the towels lined up to be close enough in size to sew right together. Trim and hem the vintage towels that are too long to fit next to the other towels.

repurposed vintage towels
The repurposed vintage towels have definitely become a family favorite. Excellent for laying on  in the sun. Perfect for covering up when you’ve had enough sun for the day.
repurposed vintage towelsSo now you’ve got a great reason to go thrifting! Stand out in all the right ways at the beach, lake, concert in the park or picnic with your up-cycle savvy vintage towel brilliance. And it’s absolutely the easiest DIY sewing project you’ll ever tackle.

Experimental quilting- work in progress

Noelle Olpin

An experiment in every way.

I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head and in my dreams for a while now. With a bit of stolen time each day, I started dyeing fabric with coffee and tea, cutting without a straight edge, stitching blocks and washing fabrics and then arranging blocks.

Noelle Olpin

Then, making up the design and mapping all the blocks together.

No Rules Quilting, as I’ve come to think of it, is harder than you might think. It’s experimental quilting and you can’t do anything wrong, ever. Which is a relief and also a burden.

When there isn’t any one telling you what to do, no rules or steps to follow, the process can be exhausting. A constant mental battle on what you’ve been taught and know to be accepted (no exposed edges or uncut thread ends) within in the quilting/sewing communities and the beauty of irregularity, imperfection and what some might think of as a big mess.

Noelle Olpin

I like the result so much, I’m willing to toss all the rules aside and see what shakes down.

noelle olpin

At this point, the project slows down. The piecing work has been done on a sewing machine so far. I have plans for slow stitching- hand stitching the finish work. I love the look of Kantha quilting, so a lot of that look will be involved.

Noelle Olpin Noelle Olpin Noelle OlpinI’ve been attempting to let the ideas flow for finishing the edges on this experimental quilt. The project isn’t very big, a wall hanging size in fact (22″ x24″).

Perhaps a traditional binding, maybe not? A frame with the quilt stretched across the inside like an animal skin? Hung from a stick with loops? Stapled to the wall?  We shall see…

Now, I carry this project with me wherever I go. Because the beauty of hand stitching is that you can do it anywhere and everywhere. And that’s what audiobooks are for…

Have a wonderful day!


wool felt shamrock garland

wool felt shamrock garlandA fun and easy DIY- a wool felt shamrock garland can cozy up your house for March and the anticipation of spring and summer to follow!
wool felt shamrock garland


  • Shamrock pattern- whatever size you like best, with 3 or 4 leaves.
  • Wool or wool felt
  • Embroidery floss.
  • Sequins
  • Beads
  • Wool felt balls or flowers
  • Ribbon
  • Tinsel trim
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle
    wool felt shamrock garland
    wool felt shamrock garlandCut out the shamrock shapes (as many as you prefer) with a smaller shamrock cut for both sides. With the embroidery floss, sew the shamrocks 3 layers together with a running stitch.
    wool felt shamrock garlandSew the sequins onto both sides at the same time with a bead in the center of each detail to hold it in place. I stacked 2, 3 or 4 sequins of different shapes and colors to add plenty of texture and color.
    wool felt shamrock garlandAdd flowers, felt balls or anything else that you prefer in between the shamrocks. I also added various ribbons (in short 3 inch lengths) in between the shamrocks.
    wool felt shamrock garlandI needed some gold in the mix so I added the gold tinsel trim when stringing them together.
    wool felt shamrock garland
    wool felt shamrock garland
    wool felt shamrock garland
    wool felt shamrock garland
    wool felt shamrock garland
    wool felt shamrock garland
  • As you can see, I sewed the string to attach all of the shamrocks together just to the outside of the shamrocks. This worked fine but the string could have been threaded between the layers of wool and hidden a bit better.  Thanks for following along, enjoy your springtime season and Happy St. Patricks Day!