Quilts Galore

The hospital thrift shop I volunteer at has a donation of Hawaiian-style patchwork quilts. The hospital has a group of craft ladies that made up these patchwork quilts for use within the hospital. The hospital did not need the quilts, and the volunteer service group decided to sell them at the thrift shop. These quilts have become very popular with our clients. They are always asking for more.

It was my job to get the dimensions and price the quilts. I got to see them all and have taken a few pictures of my favorites.


Last week, as I sorted through another batch of quilts and asked the volunteer services manager about them and the group who made them. He told me it’s not a group but one lady that made all of the blankets. He said she would talk to him about how she would think about the placement of the prints and layout of the patterns for each quilt.


The volunteer service manager said she hasn’t brought in a quilt since covid started. I hope these aren’t the last of her quilts. They are so fun and inspiring to me. I want see more of her work.

Seams and Scraps

What do you make with jean seams and aloha shirt scrap? I made a trivet using hand-stitching. I also taught myself how to use a thimble. It helped a lot with all the stitching on denim.

I love the look of all the ends but decided against leaving it as is. It would probably get too dirty.


I lined the back with a large scrap from my whale project to hide the rough edges and give it a little more support. I tried out the blanket stitch technique from the Zen Stitching workshop from Mirjam Gielen .

In the end, there really isn’t a front or back. I guess whichever you prefer. This project took longer than I expected. Stitching through denim is tough. But I liked the finished product. More to come.

Three Whales

I’ve been working on several upcycling projects, and I’m proud to show you what I’ve done. I worked with a couple of jeans and a batik print dress. I started out with the jeans, one dark, and one light denim. I decided to try out the denim whale I’ve seen on Pinterest. I got the pattern from FourSixtyTwo.

The Denim

Mom’s capri jeans

I had two pairs of jeans, mom’s capri jeans and old pair of acid-washed ones. Yes, acid-washed, and it had a high waist and pleats. It was straight from the 80s. The first task is to take apart the clothing. I cut the legs off on the jeans, getting as much of it as possible. I’ll save the top of the jeans for later for another project. I then rotary cut the seams and put them aside to see if I could come up with a use for them. I also took off some buttons from the darker jeans.
I used the darker jeans for the top of the whale and the acid-wash for the belly. I started out machine sewing, starting with the tucks on the stomach. So far, so good. Then I started on the fins and tail. It was a no-go when turning it to the right side [for all the non-sewers, you sew the pieces together with the right sides facing together, stitching on the wrong side]. The pointy tips looked bulky and bumpy because of the thickness of the denim. Boo!
Instead of fighting with the seams, I ripped out the stitches and decided to hand-stitch the tail and fins [for the hand-stitching, it is sewed right side out]. Then I continued with the hand-stitching with the top-stitching on the tail and fins, and to be consistent, the body, once I attached it to the body.

Tah Dah! Whale #1: with pleats on the belly

Wow! I liked the look of the finished product. I decided to do another whale because I had enough fabric. I made a few adjustments to the pattern to help the points of the tail and fins lay better. I also decided to try eliminating the pleats on the belly and machine-stitched the underbody instead. And for Whale #2, I hand-stitched the entire whale except for the top-stitching on the underbody.

Closeup of the machine-stitched underbody

Batik Dress

batik dress from the 80s

I thought the whale would look great in a print, maybe an aloha print. I liked the gray and navy section of the dress for the whale and thought the bleached pattern looked like marks on the whale. The fabric was rayon; it was soft and flowy. I lined all the pieces with some lightweight material to give them stability.

The lined pieces were lighter than the denim, so I decided to use the machine on the larger sections of the whale. I added top-stitched the underbody where the pleats should be, then stitched the underbody together. I handstitched the fins and tail together to keep the points sharp, lay flat, and added top-stitching.

Hand-stitching

I took a stitching workshop in May through Zen Stitching to get inspired. It was five days of classes. I was able to take almost every session I wanted to. I loved that I found others who combined upcycling, boro, and hand-stitching.

I added a few techniques to the whale. I added groups of running stitch using a bleached print to inspire the pattern. I also added French knots. I like how it came out. Now, if I can only get these posted on my Etsy shop.

Remember when . . .

I was a crazy baking lady. I was going through some old pictures and found these pictures when I made 100+ cupcakes for my office event. I think I did it twice. I don’t think I could do it again, especially without any ac.

These days I’m not so much a crazy baking lady. I’m usually making something an occasion, birthdays, getting together with friends, or when I’m craving something. My last bake was for mom’s birthday, Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I liked the cake, should have added zest and juice from one more lemon. (my bad habit not reading the recipe through before I start). It still have a nice lemony taste and good crumb.

The frosting was too sweet for me. But no one else thought so. If I adjusted this recipe for my taste, I would take out 1/2 c of powder sugar, add a teaspoon of lemon juice and some lemon zest to up the lemon taste. Note to anyone making frosting in hot and humid climate, it will be very soft and needs to be chilled before frosting or after frosted.

Or if I had lemon curd available, I’d add it as a filling between the layers.

Fav Pics: Sketching

I’ve forgotten to post a Fav Pics. I have the time and should be posting; I guess I’m just distracted. But I found one for this month.

Lying upside down

I should be sketching more as I don’t want this skill to disappear. But picking up a pencil to draw doesn’t come naturally to me. But then I realize I do sketch without a pencil. I do this by laying out my fabric pieces to inspire new projects.

Here’s an example of my textile sketching. I found a bunch of vintage crocheted doilies at the thrift shop. They are stunning, and I couldn’t pass them up. I knew I could do some brilliant with them.

This piece needed the background to make the intricate pattern pop. I looked for a large enough scrap of fabric (in my evergrowing scrap pile), and after several fabric changes, I found this beautiful orange piece. And once I placed it under the doily, I knew I had found the perfect fabric for my beautifully antique doily.

Finding the perfect fabric leads me to what I will make with this doily. I’m turning it into a foldable clutch. I’ll probably add some trim to the solid crocheted edge. Oh no, now I need to find the trim. Haha.