A Special Sofa for my Castle


When I purchased a home in Mexico, I didn’t just purchase a home. Nope! True to my overly vivid imagination, I bought myself a castle. And, of course, not just any old sofa belongs in the living room of a castle –– only a very special sofa will do!


When the hotel in our compound changed hands last year, I decided that I wanted a piece of the old “QQ” — the way I remembered it — before the new owners took over. This sofa was in the owner’s apartment. It was a piece she didn’t ship home to Australia.

The upholstery was done in huipiles (traditional blouses) from Guatemala or southern Mexico. Clearly, they had seen their better days and the entire piece needed to be rebuilt. But, the the “bones” of the sofa were great, and I knew it could be transformed into a Very Special Sofa.

Huipiles from Chichicastenango

During my trip to Guatemala at the beginning of this year, I purchased a number of vintage huipiles from the Chichicastenango area. I just loved the vibrant tones and the geometric patterns.

Neck hole filled with part of a vintage sash

In a previous post, I told you about my adventure filling the (neck) holes in three of the huipiles. You can read that post here.

A Very Special Sofa!


As you can see, the “new” sofa has a totally new look. The back is covered with three huipiles. The seat is covered in Corte, which was worn as a skirt. For the rest of the sofa, I chose a vibrant pink that would make the Guatemalan ladies proud. Isn’t she beautiful!

A closer look

After three years of make-do furniture in our living room, I finally have a special sofa that is fit for a castle. And why not? It’s so much better than buying textiles on a trip and then having sit in the closet for the new few decades. (And I hate to admit that has happened to earlier purchases!)

To compliment the sofa, I pulled out a long runner of Otomi Embroidery that I purchased at the annual Chapala art fair. (You can read about that style of embroidery here.)

Yes, that’s a whole lot of pattern and color in a small space, but the Guatemalan women would be totally content. For them, there is no such thing as “moderation” in textiles!

Thanks for reading

Thanks for reading. Your attention is the greatest gift you can give to a writer. I appreciate the invitation to be a small part of your creative world and hope you enjoy this little story.

If you’d like to join the conversation, leave a comment below.


  1. Anita McTighe on September 10, 2020 at 9:23 am

    The sofa is just beautiful.

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 11:01 am

      Yup, she’s quite a beauty!

  2. Leanne on September 10, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Beautiful! And SO you! =)

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

      Oh yes, you know my tastes well, Leanne. It turned into quite the process given all the shut-down craziness, but we finally got it done. Happy me!

  3. Rebecca Muir MacKellar on September 10, 2020 at 9:26 am

    Your “new” sofa is magnificent! Congrats on a job well done!

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 11:05 am

      Thanks, Rebecca. It makes me happy every time I walk into the room.

  4. Sharon Phelps on September 10, 2020 at 10:17 am

    You did an amazing job on your selection of materials for your sofa, it is so exciting and inspiring!! I love color so needless to say I think it is beautiful. Although my passion as an artist is painting in various mediums I am also draw to beads and fabrics which often go folded and stacked in smaller pieces to end up in a glass front cabinet to be enjoyed but mostly not used, so I could relate to your comment regarding so many fabric purchases. It made me chuckle!!! Love, love, love the sofa!!!

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 11:07 am

      Thanks, Sharon. I have sooooo many beautiful treasures tucked away, and it’s just silly. I’m happy to see these every day instead of “visiting” them once in a blue moon when I pull out the baskets in my sewing room.

  5. Barbara Kahn on September 10, 2020 at 10:30 am

    The Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach, Florida built a school and more in Chichicastenago several years ago!

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 11:09 am

      That is marvelous, Barbara. The people of Guatemala, particularly the Maya people are amazing. I’m sure they appreciate the school and other projects your church has done in the area.

  6. Elaine Dawson on September 10, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Such a great and innovative way to redo a sofa. Love your imagination and use of color!!!!

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 11:35 am

      Thanks, Elaine. This is the first time I’ve allowed my imagination run wild on an upholstery project — and I love it! It’s a good thing I found a shop that can take my ideas and make them happen. Heaven knows I can’t do this stuff myself!

  7. Norma Book on September 10, 2020 at 1:18 pm

    Thank God for your imagination. I love your choice of colors.And doing a couch that way…Keep the great work and let your imagination run free. Love it all…Norma

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks, Norma. I need to figure out how to liven up my gray leather chair. It looks pretty dowdy in a room full of bright furniture. But… that’s for another day. 🙂

  8. Jane Lillestol on September 10, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Absolutely stunning ! You know it’s my kind of “look!” And a super job of reupholstering. Fresh, fun, one of a kind!

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      Yes, Jane! This sofa would be right at home with you! My upholstery guy is a keeper. He did a super job.

  9. Lynnita on September 10, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    The dogs is spectacular!! Love all the color and how you finished the neck holes if the blouses!! The table runner is perfect wirh the couch!! I agree with the Guatemalan ladies – you can’t have enough color!! Thanks for sharing this!!

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 3:51 pm

      You’re most welcome, Lynnita.

  10. Sara Buchwald on September 10, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Love the colors. Where is your castle and the classes? Must have missed the details in an earlier blog.

    • ShellyStokes on September 10, 2020 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Sara, I bought a home in Chapala, Jalisco (Mexico) at the beginning of 2017. I wrote a post about it at the end of 2016. If you go to my Blog page and search on Castle, you’ll find a number of references.

      The Paint•Stitch•Bead classes are online. (Of course, EVERYTHING is on line these days!) The program will open for new folks again in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

  11. Elizabeth on September 10, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Wow! I am now going to pull out textiles I have from other countries and see what I can create.

  12. BarbarA williams on September 10, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    I love the colors on your great “ new “ sofa! Wow! What more can be said?
    So glad that you believe old can be new again.

  13. Angela on September 10, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    The “new” sofa is SO beautiful and so vibrant and displays the local colors and designs. I’m forwarding to my textile friends so they will see what a talented and artistic person you are! XO

    • ShellyStokes on September 11, 2020 at 9:48 am

      Gracias, Angela!

  14. Elizabeth A Franck on September 11, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Magnifico! Love the richness of the colors and the embroidery, too!
    You sound so excited….. wonderful that everything is coming together
    in both your home and your art.
    Happy 60th Birthday on the 14th! XXX OOO

    • ShellyStokes on September 11, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      Thank you, Elizabeth. You are right. Everything really is coming together for me right now. I am truly blessed. 🙂