Category Archives: projects

Repurposed vintage towels

up cycled vintage towelsvintage 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!

 

easy felt Christmas ornaments DIY

christmas ornaments fabric scraps

Making felt Christmas ornaments as gifts for friends or for your own tree is fun and can be a great family activity. Be prepared to make a big mess and glue your fingers together in the name of Christmas fun.

felt ornaments

Here is how to make felt covered styrofoam ball Christmas ornaments:

felt christmas ornamentTo make felt Christmas ornaments you will need a hot glue gun, styrofoam balls and 2 pieces of felt cut into circles.

felt christmas ornamentFirst put a thin, small amount of glue in the center of the felt. The hot glue tends to melt the styrofoam so use as little as possible throughout the entire process.
felt christmas ornamentPlace the styrofoam ball in the center of the glue area on the felt.
felt christmas ornament

Pick up the ball, holding the glued center area and snip with sharp scissors at 1 to 1.5 inch intervals around the felt, about 1 inch long snips.

felt christmas ornament

Put a thin layer of glue on the first felt section.

felt christmas ornamentsPress the glue covered section down against the styrofoam.
felt christmas ornamentsCover the second section with glue, covering the whole section but especially the corners.
felt christmas ornamentsPress the second section down, overlapping the first section so it lays flat against the styrofoam.
felt christmas ornamentsRepeat the process of gluing and pressing down the felt sections working your way around the ball.
felt christmas ornamentsMake sure to put glue on all corners to flatten down the felt so you still have a round ball shape.
felt christmas ornaments

felt christmas ornamentsKeep gluing until one whole side is finished.
felt christmas ornamentFinish the other side the same way- begin with a bit of glue in the center if the felt.
felt christmas ornamentsPlace the ball right in the center of the felt circle, in the glue area.
felt christmas ornamentsPick up the ball and the felt circle, holding over the glued area. With scissors, cut slits around the felt about 1 to 1.5 inches apart.
felt christmas ornamentsBegin by putting a thin layer of hot glue on the first section, especially on the edges and corners.
felt christmas ornamentsThen follow gluing the first with the second section overlapping the edges as you go along, until you finish gluing all of the sections down.

felt christmas ornamentsYour styrofoam ball should be completely covered with felt now and ready to embellish.

felt christmas ornamentsIdeas for trimming your ornaments: ribbon, rick rack, sequins, sequined trims, sequins (and straight pins for attaching), colorful felt shapes, beads.
felt christmas ornaments
I added the beads and small felt circles (about the size of coins) to the top and bottom of the ornaments when I hung them. I ran I long needle with a thin ribbon through the center of the styrofoam ball so the ornament is held from the bottom with a ribbon going all the way up through. Good luck, and have a very -handmade- Merry Christmas!
felt christmas ornaments