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.
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.
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.
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.
Upcycled baseball shirts sell well on my Etsy shop—to girls like me who don’t like to wear boring and boxy tees to show support for the home team. So when I was given last-minute Dodgers tickets yesterday, I remembered I had set aside a thrift store Dodgers shirt for myself. I sewed on the denim braided neckline detail (denim from a discarded, recycled pair of jeans) in the passenger seat of the car, on the way to the game.
I love a bar that has a hook for a lady to hang her handbag. At the Venice Beach Ale House, they have recycled skateboard wheels. Here’s my vintage Coach hobo (a recent thrift store find).
Recycled skateboard truck and wheels used for an under-the-bar bag holder at Venice Beach Ale House.
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.
I’ve been in two wedding parties; Cori chose a navy crepe sheath for the bridesmaids, while Kristen chose a silky lavender halter dress. I was lucky to like both dresses; we’ve all seen horribly poofy and pastel bridesmaid dresses in movies (and it’s likely you’ve seen one or two monsters in real life, too). As a regular thrift shopper, I’ve also seen discarded dresses on the racks—if these dresses were living and breathing, I’d say they hang hopelessly. Which is why I liked reading today about a new site that recycles old bridesmaid dresses, Newlymaid.com. Now, if you’ve got a bridesmaid dress taking up space at the back of your closet, you can ship it to Newlymaid, where they’ll use the material to make upcycled creations or donate the dress to Clothes4Souls. Then you receive a discount on one of the site’s little black cocktail dresses made from recycled fabric. Voila: More closet space and less for the landfill… . Oh, and I cannot wait to see “Bridesmaids.”
Red Flower hair clip from Kocajo on Etsy
Red flower from Hot Pink and Sequins on Etsy
Flower headband from Rockstarlette on Etsy
Last week’s “Glee” featured a tango version of “Kiss,” with Matthew Morrison dancing with guest star Gwyneth Paltrow. Good song, good dance (and good show), and all I could think about was how I loved the red flower in Paltrow’s hair. Flower clenched between the teeth? Not practical in everyday life, but a flower in your hair can be either sweet (flower child) or sexy (tango dancer). A halter top or dress with a red flower in your hair and dainty earrings and you’re good to go. The flowers above come from Etsy sellers who use recycled materials for their handiwork; the real hibiscus flower on top was spotted in the neighborhood.
My goddaughter Mary, 9, is a girl who likes to have fun with fashion, often putting together outfits that are unexpected and bold (and not just when she’s playing dress-up). For this look, her equally stylish mom braided her hair before bedtime to give her soft, natural waves and then added a few braids to her ponytail, using hairbands I sent her that have pieces of recycled fabric scraps tied to the band (leopard, grey fleece, camouflage).
After crafting a recycled Christmas tree using pages from “Vogue” magazine, I decided to make a paper wreath for the front door. I used pages from an old paperback that was falling apart (“Brideshead Revisited” by Evelyn Waugh), and simply taped the cut leaves to a cardboard base. The idea for this was borrowed (and I cannot locate the blog I landed on that showed a wreath like this); my own personal detail was to add a bow made from an old T-shirt. Voila.