Sewing Hawaiian Fabric

One of my goals this year is to start sewing Hawaiian fabric I’ve purchased. Here are my first projects this week:

Three years ago I wrote a tutorial on making potholders out of recycled fabric. Here is the link.

However, unlike the potholders I made back then, I am using Insul-Bright inside instead of towel. Towel works fine, but I had purchased some of this for another project and thought I’d use it up.

Again I’m using old jeans for the back side. Jean fabric works real well on these potholders. The ones I made back when I posted that tutorial are still working fine although a bit worn, but I wanted to make some new ones for our new kitchen.

The camera strap is also another update. This is the third one I’ve made Dave for his Canon Rebel. I’m still using the one I made back in 2011. It’s doesn’t look quite that nice anymore since it’s gotten lots of use. I need to make a new one for me too! It was inspired by a tutorial in Quilting Arts In Stitches emag. You can see my review of that emag and where I got my inspiration here.

My new camera strap inspired by this Institches issue.

I’ve made all three of Dave’s straps loosely based on the tutorial in that emag. Here is his new one.

My Icy Delights online class has reopened. If you are interested in taking this class, use this link for $10 off. If you’re not familiar with the class, click on the link and watch the promo video. The link will be good until Tuesday, February 6.

That’s all going on here except the kitchen construction. I can’t wait until it’s done!! Have a wonderful and colorful weekend!


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Cat Sanctuary

While in Maui, we took the ferry over to Lanai to visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary. Since we were missing our kitties, this was a great way to get our kitty fix.

Before telling you about the cat sanctuary, I wanted to show you a picture out the front of the van on the way. It really looked surreal to me.

This is a three-acre area on this small island that takes in feral and other abandoned cats, feeds them, takes care of their medical issues, and provides a safe place for them to live. Keeping the feral cats here also helps to save the endangered birds and reduces the cat overpopulation. They currently have 570 spayed/neutered cats. Cats with FIV or other illnesses have their own separate area. They are now building a new area just for the senior citizens.

After the tour, we were left to just hang out with the kitties. Some were real friendly; others left us alone. Dave was a cat magnet, especially this yellow tabby took to him immediately.

They were everywhere.

This sweet little girl didn’t want to leave my lap.

Giving out treats makes them all come running and jumping.

And a few of the pretties.

After visiting the cat sanctuary and getting our cat fix, we were taken to the downtown area to eat. We chose Pele’s, since they had wraps. The inside looked like a 50s diner.

After lunch, the tour guide picked us up to tour this small island. One of the places we stopped for pictures was the Garden of  the gods. It was so windy!

After the 3-hour tour, he dropped us off at the ferry just in time to make the 4:30 trip back to Maui. What a fun day.

Tuesday we will be starting our partial kitchen and bath renovation. We’ll be replacing the counter tops, back splash, fixing a couple of the cabinets and adding a new microwave. We also are removing the ceramic tile in both the kitchen and the bathroom. I’m sure not looking forward to the mess!!

The new microwave, the instapot, coffee pot and a hot plate are now in my dye studio (garage) where we’ll be cooking for the next couple of weeks. I know it will be nice when we’re done, but I sure am dreading it right now. But the sun is out today and even though it’s cold, it was a great day for a walk. Hope it’s sunny in your neck of the woods.





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Dyeing White-on-White

Even though I’ve been busy with re-entry from vacation, I took time to dye some strips of the white-on-white fabric. I was really happy with the results, and now to decide what colors I’m going to use on these. All of these are 100% cotton except the first piece. For some reason the fuchsia pieces in this photo turned out more purple than the actual fabric. See the individual pieces for the correct colors.

I wasn’t sure how this cotton/poly fabric would dye. I’m sure there is poly in the background since it didn’t dye as dark as the others, but I love it!

When I bought this pineapple print, I told the saleswoman I was dyeing it. She said the pineapples are stamped so they would stand out. Exactly what I wanted. Usually when I mention I’m going to dye the fabric, the salesperson gives me a funny look. It was nice that she acted like everyone came in and bought white-on-white to dye!

These dragonflies are so cute.

Here is the other Hawaiian print.

This is the black and white fabric I was drawn to. It was so pretty the way it was, but I wanted to see what color would look on it. I wasn’t sure how it would dye, but I’m really happy with it.

In addition to settling back in to the routine, the contractors are coming next week to tear out our flooring and countertops. This renovation involves moving a lot of stuff and setting up a temporary kitchen in our garage. Yesterday I called our handyman to come take a look at our roof due to the ceiling damage from all of the ice and snow that sat on our roof while we were gone. Our landline hasn’t been working so the internet service guy just came out and replace our modem. Oh, the driver side door of my car won’t open from the inside. To open it we roll down the window and open from the outside. I’m calling the garage today to see when they can get it in this week. Wow! What a crazy week before the renovation! But in a couple weeks all will be done.

So back to the fabric, do you have a favorite? Now to decide what to make with them. Thanks for dropping by.

Posted in dyeing, fabric, fiber reactive dyes, Hawaii | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Tags, Missiles, and Fabric

We have just spent the last two weeks in Hawaii. Dave was healthy and I didn’t fall this time! Just a little about tags, missiles, and fabric in Hawaii.


One of the things I’ve been doing since we started traveling years ago is to take fun, fast reads with me on our journeys. I always take tags used as bookmarks that I’ve stamped or painted and after finishing the books leave them in the condos. One of my favorite authors to read at the beach and leave is Harlan Coben. In fact, I started reading his novels when I found one in a condo where we were staying and decided to read it. After that, I’ve been hooked on his books.

Two of the books and tags I left in Hawaii.

I use these tags to test a new technique, or in the above cases, a new stencil I cut. I always grab a few and take them with me and the books. They aren’t fancy, just a little art. Well, this year I decided to put a message and then add my website to see if anyone would contact me. I couldn’t believe when I heard from Renee (Hi, Renee!!) who emailed me that she found it in the book I left in the condo.

Missile Alert

While we were in Hawaii, we received the following alerts on my iphone. There is no time on them but the top one telling us it was a false alarm was not sent until about 30 minutes after the bottom one.

I was sitting on the lanai finishing breakfast enjoying a group of teenagers singing on the beach. Dave had gone inside for a minute and came running back out telling me about the alert and saying we need to get indoors. This is my first smart phone so neither of us was aware of these emergency alert messages coming through our phones. He heard my phone making racket so he checked it out. We turned on the TV to see if we could find any info and couldn’t find anything.

So what was I thinking about at that moment? First of all, I thought it was a false alarm. It couldn’t be happening. But after looking out and seeing that everyone was off the beach, it started to sink in that this may be it. However, as scary as that was I realized nothing could be done if the missile was heading my way. If it hit near where we were, that would be the end. I thought that if this life had to end, what better way to end than with the love of my life and in the place we both love so much. I posted the alert on Facebook, but didn’t contact anyone to say goodbye. They’d know what happened if they didn’t hear from us again. We continued to monitor the news until they said it was a false alarm.

Several of the residents we met throughout that day were so friendly and commented on what a wonderful day it was. From the waitress at the taco shop to the baker at Whole Foods, they mentioned the confusion and the relief that it was false. It sure put a new light on the day for all of us. It also was a reminder that today is all we have.


Of course, wherever we go I have to check out fabric stores. Kapaia Stitchery is a store I’ve visited the last couple times we were in Kauai.

Dave waited outside while I looked at every (well, almost!) piece of fabric.

They have a great selection including lots of Hawaiian and Oriental prints. I’m on the quest for white-on-white to dye, but always find a couple commercial regular prints to take home. Here are just a few of the bolts of fabric at this shop.

Here is what I bought. It’s hard to see the patterns on the white fabric. The first one is pineapples. The other is dragonflies. I’m also curious how the black and white will dye.

On Maui I shopped at Sew Special, located in the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului. My salesperson, Lynda, was fun to talk to. She’s working on a textile art degree and we spent a little time talking about dyeing and of course, ice dyeing. Here is what I bought in that shop. Aren’t these patterns beautiful?

I really was in search of wool felt, but could not find much in Hawaii. Sew Special had a couple rolls of felt, but nothing special. The Kapaia Stitchery salesperson referred me to another shop just down the road. However, that shop said they had sold out of their wool felt and were waiting on their order.  I can get it online, but thought it would be nice to buy some in Hawaii.

Although we love getting away, it’s always nice to get home even if it’s to the cold! I’ll be posting a little more about our trip later, but hope to play with my new fabrics shortly. I promised myself that I would do something this year with this and some of the other Hawaiian prints I’ve purchased over the years. Dave ordered a new camera strap cover, since the one I made quite a while back is pretty worn so that may be my first project. Stay tuned.

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2018: Some Intentions

Now that 2017 is a memory, I’m looking at setting some intentions for this year. I gave up resolutions quite awhile ago!

After all of the political turmoil, mass shootings, and the other ugly in the world, I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness and a kindness army.

Kindness QuoteThis kindness army doesn’t involve any tests to pass, or uniforms to wear (except maybe a smile), or rules to follow. All you have to do to join this army is be kind.

CBS Sunday Morning on Christmas Eve had a wonderful segment on the power of kindness. Here’s the link. Just think if everyone would do one random act of kindness, even just one per week, how much better the world would be.

Little acts of kindness really count.  I remember when I was having an awful time at work and a friend surprised me with a piece of cake from a local bakery. That was such a small action, but it was so special. It really made my day. So whether it’s greeting someone with a smile, or baking up some cookies and taking them down to the local garage, I want to make a difference and introduce more kindness into my little piece of the world.

But as important kindness is to others, we also have to be kind to ourselves.

Another intention is to read more focusing on more non-white writers.  A month ago I finished Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue, a native of Limbe, Cameroon. Her novel is about a fictional family from her country who are looking to make a better life in the US. It was a wonderful read and I look forward to more books from her.

I’ve been reading  Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between The World And Me. It’s a difficult read for me so I’ve had to read it in small pieces.

Here are a few on my book stack waiting their turn. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior I read 15 years or so, and I thought now would be a good time to revisit it. We rented the movie and watched it last week on my birthday. I love Harlan Coben’s mysteries. They are just fun, and fast vacation and summer reads. When we go on vacation, I’ll take them with me, read them, and then leave them in the lodging for the next visitors to read or not. The bottom three I’m really looking forward to reading. I think I’ll start with the Book of Joy which is a conversation between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu.

As for my art, my word this year is Show Up. I’m not sure what that means right now, but it just seems to be the right word(s) for me.

Right after Christmas I dyed some bibs and a onesie for my hairdresser. I thought she might like little ice dyed pieces. I did have to tell her that they are not tie dyed!

And I continue to play with wool felt. I’m not really sure where this will end up, but I’m having fun stretching a bit.

I’ll be teaching a new online class, Easy Silk Dyeing, which is essentially my local class, but now anyone can take it online. It’s been so much fun teaching it locally, that I thought it would be nice to share it outside my neck of the woods. There will also be a teacher’s module for those who might want help and my tips setting up their own silk dyeing classes.  It should go live in early March. If you’d like me to email you a reminder when registration opens, email me at

I think these intentions can all be accomplished this year. If you’d like to share your intentions or what you are thinking about doing this year, please feel free to comment below. As always, thanks for dropping by.









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How to: Felt Bookmarks

Happy New Year!

I thought I’d start out the year with a tutorial on how to make these felt bookmarks.

For the Girls Night Out group Christmas party I made everyone a felt bookmark. My goal was to highlight my ice dyed fabrics (and a piece of stamped fabric).

I used my Scan N Cut to cut out the felt. However, you could easily cut out these with scissors.

You will need the following:

  • Felt (I’m using wool felt, but you could use acrylic felt.)
  • Fabric you want to showcase
  • Fusible batting
  • Mistyfuse or light fusible web
  • Light fusible interfacing
  • Glue stick
  • Sewing machine
  • Cutting machine or scissors/rotary cutter
  • Charms

I’ve made two different bookmarks, but the directions are the same for both.

Here are the measurements:

Front felt: 7.5  x 2 inches

Back felt: 8 x 2.5 inches

Fabric: 7 x 1.75 inches

Fusible batting and interfacing: 7 x 1.5 inches

Cut out the front and back pieces of felt. For the front, the less you cut out, the more stable the felt is when you sew all of this together. However, you see less fabric.

Stablize the fabric with a light fusible interfacing.

Add glue to felt. I chose a glue stick. You could probably use any glue that works with fabric.

Add fabric piece on top of glued felt and press.

Here is how it looks so far.

Now add fusible batting to the back of piece.

And press.

Turn over and press.

The next step is to sew around the fabric opening. Then sew on the charm.

Add lightweight fusible (I’m using Mistyfuse) to the back piece of felt and press using a pressing sheet.

Add front felt on top of back piece and press.

Take this sandwich to the sewing machine and sew 1/8 inch from front piece edge.

Once sewn, cut the back piece even with the front piece. And you are finished.

That’s it.  I really enjoyed showing off my ice dyed fabric while playing with the felt I’ve come to love.

Again, Happy New Year! I hope 2018 brings you peace, joy, love, and lots of color.




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Looking Back 2017

This year I’ve been saying I didn’t get much accomplished so looking back will show me if I was right.

Both falls this year (January and September) brought me to almost a standstill. I quit my thrift shop volunteering and local teaching. After quitting physical therapy, I realized I needed more help, so I signed up with Lisa, a trainer at the local gym. Since May I’ve been working with her twice a week. I still have pain in my back from time to time, but am doing much better and I’m so much stronger than I’ve ever been. I did have my glasses checked and I believe they are what caused me to fall. So far so good! And I’m so thankful that I’ve not broken anything in those falls.

My word for this year was Expand. My goal this year was to not restrict myself to fabric as I have in the past. I wanted to try some different art.

One of the neat things this year was drawing my mandalas on rocks. I’ve always loved rocks and adding mandalas to them was so exciting. It was also something I could sit in my recliner here in the studio and do. Here are just a few of them. Many of them left my studio to new homes. Here is a link to my first post on these rocks.

Before drawing on rocks, I drew on wood discs!

I did a little studio redo, moving stuff around and again going through my stash.

Dave and I made our every other year cherry picking at the local orchard.

Yep, that’s me.

So we ended up with lots of cherries for the freezer.

Dave and I got away in July and went on a Berea Getaway where we both took classes. We’ve wanted to do this for years and it was so much fun. I stretched with both classes, but especially the Embossed and Punched Jewelry class where I made this bracelet.

I spent time stencil making. Something I’ve wanted to do is make a stencil from one of my mandala drawings. I finally did that here.

I also shared with you some of what I’ve been reading this year here.

I also played a bit with resin, something I’ve wanted to experiment with for years.

I shared my art again with viewers on WEHT Local Lifestyles with my friend and the host of the show Ange Humphrey.

One of my biggest accomplishments this year was sewing these purses. I have this thing about perfect when it especially comes to sewing, and I was so happy with these even though they still weren’t perfect, but almost!!

In October I spoke to a local group of artists at StaC Gallery about teaching online.

In November I taught the one and only Easy and Fun Scarf Dyeing class for the year. I’ve missed teaching it, and look forward to teaching it more in 2018.

Then this month I’ve gotten involved in wool applique which I love!!

Wow!! Now that I look at the year this way, I did expand my creative path, but also got a lot done. Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2018 is your best year ever!!

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2017 Six Favorite Things

Looking back, I wanted to blog about what were my six favorite things in 2017. I originally wanted this to be five, but couldn’t stop there! These are six things I couldn’t or wouldn’t be without in my studio.

The first is one I’ve had for years. I use this padded portable desk when I’m sitting in my recliner working on stitching, painting, or drawing. I did a lot of that this past year. I have no idea how long I’ve had it or where I bought it, but it’s always next to my chair ready for me to use.

Since I’ve been stitching quite a bit, this set of Thread Art Perle Cotton #8 threads I bought several years ago have really come in handy. I remember buying them on sale and I wasn’t sure how much I’d use them, but I have really enjoyed sewing with them since I got into the wool applique.

Something I’ve not used since I was a kid is a needle threader. After changing thread colors frequently, I realized that I needed help threading. I bought this online through Amazon and it has two different size threaders. I’ve only used the small one so far. I’m amazed how strong it is even though it looks pretty flimsy. While looking for something else in my sewing supplies the other day, I came across one from years ago. So now I have a backup to this one!

One of the biggest help with working in my recliner is this flexible Ottlite. It comes with a clamp which I attached to a leg of my sewing table. I bought it at Tuesday Morning, but I’ve seen them also sold online. I like that I can direct the light where I want it to go. I love it so much I’ve thought about buying another one to use with my sewing machines.

Another great buy this past year is Karen Buckley’s 6-inch adjustable ruler.When I’m working small, which is most of the time, it’s nice that I don’t have to get out my long ruler to cut. I just make the ruler as long as I want it. It comes with a nice case to store when not in use.

Lastly is Superior So Fine #30 thread. I bought a set of their #50 Sew Complete thread and it works great. However, when I want to see those beautiful stitches, this thread is the one to use. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why my top stitching wasn’t “perfect.” It was because I wasn’t using the right thread. I only bought a few to get started. However, if I continue to sew I will definitely buy more of it.

Well, that’s my roundup of my six favorite things for 2017. I’d love to hear what some of your favorites are.

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Best of 2017 Tutorials

As we end another year, I am again looking back on my best of 2017 tutorials. If you missed them, the links are at the top of each picture.

I really have enjoyed making those cord bowls, but instead of covering the cord with fabric, I dyed it. Check out the tutorial here.

I’ve always loved the look of reverse applique, so this year I tried it with some of my ice dyed fabric. Here is my tutorial.

I’ve tried carving stamps and I really have not enjoyed that. However, making stamps out of foam is really fun. Here is my tutorial on making foam stamps.

Dry brush dyeing was another fun technique I tried this year. Check out the tutorial on it here.

I love to sun print. However, this year I decided to over sunprint to fix a piece and/or to add another layer. You can find my post here.

Over sun printing

Lastly, this new ornament this year made from my fabric stash was so easy and so much fun. Here is the tutorial for my fabric scrappy ornament.

If you’d like to see other “Best of  2017” check out Meadow Mist Designs the Best of Linky Party.

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2017 Christmas Ornaments

If you’ve been following my blog you know that Dave and I make each other ornaments for Christmas every year. It started back in 2005 when we were dating when he gave me the first ornament. If you’d like to see what we’ve made over the years, just google Christmas ornaments in the search box.

Since I’ve been into wool felt, I made this ornament for Dave. Originally it was going to be designed from one of my mandalas, but I had trouble with such small pieces. If I made it a normal size it would be too big. I settled for this one which is a take on my mandalas. Most of the felt I used is the felt I dyed earlier.

Dave made me this snowman from several different kinds of woods. Isn’t he cute? That snowman in the background was another one he made me for another Christmas.

We also make cards. Since I’m into wool, I added this poinsettia to his card.

It’s really a wonderful tradition. Only our homemade ornaments to each other are hung on our little tree.

Something that always reminds me of Christmas and grandma are springerles. I never liked them as a kid. I guess I just didn’t appreciate them, and after all she made other cookies I liked better. As I’ve gotten older I really appreciate these German anise-flavored cookies. I picked up a dozen yesterday at the Donut Bank. These are good, but not as good as the ones made by the sisters in Ferdinand, Indiana. We used to make a trip up there for their Christmas craft show where they also have springerles and other German cookies for sale. We need to put that on our calendar for next year.

We had a couple of our bluebirds visit one of the feeders on Christmas Eve. Dave caught one of them sharing the feed with this beautiful red-bellied woodpecker. We always love seeing our bluebirds staying close to their home.

And before I go, we bought a new kitchen gadget. Since we will be going through a kitchen renovation in late January, we’ve been thinking about how we’ll cook when the kitchen is torn up for a month. We have the grill, a hot plate, and our microwave/convection that they’ll remove and relocate to the dye studio. However, Dave uses the pressure cooker a lot for a variety of meals especially beans. So we now are the proud owners of an Instant Pot. He’s been using it quite a bit these last couple of weeks. He made vegetable beef soup the other night. He started with pressure cooking the beef bones. Once the broth was done, after removing the bone and skimming any fat, he added all of the rest of the ingredients and slow cooked the soup. Now that it’s my turn to cook I’m looking forward to learning how to use it.

It’s been a wonderful Christmas. I hope all of you are safe and warm and enjoying your holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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