Key Charms: New Etsy Necklaces

New to my Etsy shop [editor’s note: the shop has closed]: Keys covered in words from a recycled old book (a paperback copy of “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin with yellowed pages and a missing cover). Here are two out of a dozen recently added to Miss Stefanie’s House of Crafts & Collectibles.

DIY: Wine Cork Necklace Holder

I’ve collected quite a lot of wine corks, with vague notions of getting crafty with them one day. My need for a better necklace holder was just the incentive I needed to upcycle a bunch. This was very simple: all you need are wine corks, a piece of cardboard, a glue gun, small nails, and a sawtooth hanger.

Cut a piece of cardboard from a cereal box, about 1-inch wide. Use glue gun to evenly apply glue to the back of a wine cork and place it on the cardboard to stick. Then glue a small amount to the side of the wine cork before applying the next, so the wine corks are glued to the cardboard and to each other. Continue until the cardboard strip is filled. When glue has solidified, gently push in a small nail into each wine cork. On the back of the cardboard strip, attach the wall hanger in the center. I applied my corks a bit unevenly so each side curves down a bit, but you could also make it straight. Voila.

DIY: Key to NY

I found an old key to a NY apartment and was inspired to make it a necklace. Simple DIY decoupage job: I tore words from the yellowed pages of a thrift store paperback copy of a favorite book (“The Awakening” by Kate Chopin) and glued them on one side of the key. The key is hanging from a chord made of a strip of black jersey from an old T-shirt.

DIY Before & After: Denim Chair Cushions

Another upcycling project for old pairs of jeans: covering seat cushions on antique chairs. I was given two of these from a friend with a love of chairs who was cleaning house (after finding another couple of antique chairs…). I simply sanded and oiled the wood and recovered the cushions with strips of denim from a recycled pairs of jeans.

Kitchen Sources for Beauty: Baking Soda

I have already phased out cosmetics and personal care products that contain harmful chemical toxins in favor of safer alternatives. Recently, my green beauty experiments have led me to the kitchen, to use pantry ingredients that are actually good enough to eat (see previous post on olive oil). For a facial exfoliator, I’ve begun to use baking soda weekly or as needed, simply blending about a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda with water and gently rubbing the paste on my face using a circular motion. It’s safe, easy, effective—and a lot less expensive than other facial washes and scrubs. I’ve also filled an empty shampoo bottle with distilled water (DIY distilled water: boil filtered water, let cool, use) and a tablespoon of baking soda and use it instead of traditional shampoo a few times a week.

(Public service footnote: Learn more about this from the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics and find out what’s in your products from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website).