Good Luck Charm

20130517-100700.jpg

I have always loved the idea of a good luck charm, even if I have not always been inclined to believe in luck or fate or things that cannot be explained by science. Still, I love charms and trinkets with a history, and my mother has passed on many charms from the jewelry box I loved to open and explore when I was a kid. This typewriter charm was one she received when working her first job; engraved on the back is the message, “Good luck from accounting.” I wore it recently for a job interview–and got the job. For as long as I can remember, my mom has been a confidence-booster, so it might be that I reached for the charm that day seeking luck. I’m glad I did.

Zen Place on a Chain

My favorite vintage items are the ones that I’ve had before they were vintage. I’ve had this beach scene charm since I was a kid. Closing my eyes and picturing the beach is the trick I use to calm myself. This is like wearing my zen place around my neck.

Game Day Look: True Blue

My Super Bowl look: Something old, something new, something upcycled, something blue. I took a NY Giants shirt and recreated it by cutting off the sleeves and adding details to the neckline with a strip of denim from a thrift store pair of jeans and fabric from the cut-off sleeves. The necklace is was made with a string of glass beads from a broken chandelier purchased from a yard sale.

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.

Fashion Flashback: High School Rings

During a recent family visit, I found the high school ring of my cousin’s husband and suggested that my cousin wear it on a chain as a necklace. That’s when I wished I had my own high school ring. I wore rings in high school and had already developed a fondness for jewelry, but I had no interest back then in a high school ring. Then Mr. MVP told me he didn’t get one, either. So this sent me to Ebay and Etsy to search for castaway high school rings. I found this one on Etsy and chose it for its color (iridescent blue, so dreamy) and high school name (Pleasant Grove High, which sounds like the name of a school in a book that would be made into a dark indie movie with a really great soundtrack). The Etsy seller wrote that she purchased the ring with a lot of others from an estate sale; it was dirt-cheap and now I have it hanging on a black cotton string made from a recycled T-shirt, with two other childhood rings.

How to Look Punk (Or, Well, Almost)

I love this ’zine from the ’70s on “how to look punk” and its declaration that the symbol of punk is the safety pin (via Boing Boing, via threadbared). One of my favorite ’80s accessories was a watch with a band made entirely of safety pins (similar to this one). Lately I’ve been wearing a vintage gold-toned safety pin with faux pearls on a string (made of excess fabric from a recycled T-shirt). Not quite punk—but a nod in that direction.

Love on a String

I believe that handmade items are the best gifts. I was having a bad day when I found this in my desk: a beaded string necklace made by my niece Mary. I recognized her initials when she gave it to me, but I asked about the others: “That stands for Aunt Stef,” she told me. That’s a good memory to cancel the badness of the day.

Irish Pride: Upcycled Accessories

Showing my pride on St. Patrick’s Day today with these accessories, modeled on Buttons, my childhood teddy bear. The headband is a stip of fabric from a men’s necktie with shamrocks; the Claddagh charm is hanging on a strip of fabric from a recycled T-shirt. 

Grown Girls Dream of Unicorns, Too

Wise people say you should do what you love; for those in business, that translates to selling what you love. When I shipped this vintage unicorn locket/pendant to a buyer, I packed it up slowly, thinking a bit woefully about how I liked it enough to want to keep it. When I shop for my Etsy shop—for everything from vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories to T-shirts I then remake into upcycled styles—I choose what I love. In the beginning, I wanted to keep it all. Now, I will sometimes get to the point of photographing an item when I reconsider—just for a moment or two. I paused with the unicorn pendant. A unicorn pendant! Of course, I’m happy to make a sale and excited that someone out there will wear it and treasure it. But I’m going to be on the lookout for another unicorn pendant to call my own.

Wearing Heart(s) Around My Neck

This gold “knock at my heart” charm was a gift from my father to my mother—he gave it to her when they were teenagers. All these years later, they’re happily married. Because two hearts are better than one, I’m wearing it today, on Valentine’s Day, layered with a costume heart brooch necklace with faux pearls and rhinestones. The brooch was found on one of my treasure-hunting missions for my Etsy shop. I tied the heart pin to a black jersey necklace (recycled material from an old T-shirt) and photographed it to sell it in the shop, but then I changed my mind and decided to keep it for myself. Love rules.

NY, I Love You: Token Necklace

I pulled out a roll of black tulle from my craft box and began to play around with adding tulle details to some upcycled fabric necklaces I’ve been making for my Etsy shop. A little tulle goes a long way and two small pieces tied together make a pretty little poof, as seen here on a jersey necklace (made from a recycled T-shirt) with a New York City subway token. It’s the only token I have from this era (1995-2003, a period of time when I lived in NYC and rode the subway daily; see and read about the history of the tokens on the New York City Subway site), so I’m keeping it—wearing it today, in fact—but I will be on the lookout for other tokens and coins to incorporate into designs like this.