Archive for the ‘recycled’ Category

The "Pittie in the City" bag with removable flower/bow

My latest — a one-of-a-kind tote bag, created for the upcoming auction to raise money for the outstanding pitbull rescue group, Even Chance. The San Diego-based group is devoted to re-educating the public about these exceptional dogs and helping temperamentally sound, abandoned pitties get a second chance at forever homes.

The “Pittie in the City” tote bag is an homage to the over-the-top style of “Sex and the City,” a show I rarely watched but wrote tons of ad copy for back in my copywriting days. The show was okay, but the clothes were so much fun!!! And if there’s one thing people should know about pitbulls it’s that they are FUN! Smudge, my pit-mix (looking unusually serious, below), is just as much of a puppy now, at age 9, as she was at nine months. Forget the nonsense about them all being dangerous. When they’re treated with love and respect, it’s just their nature to be little clowns.

My dog Smudge, part pit bull, part goof ball

Anyway, back to the tote bag …Not long ago, this bag was a pair of vintage velvet pants, just begging to be deconstructed. The front of the bag (shown up top) can be dressed up or down, with the removable flower and bow, all made of scrap fabric. It’s lined with recycled black fleece, so it’s pretty durable and easy to clean.

The other side (below) has a cell-phone (or dog treat) sized pocket with a hand-made “button” closure. I embroidered the pocket with cotton and metallic black and gold yarn, so it wouldn’t get lost in the black velvet surroundings.

Bag from the back showing pocket

At the last minute, just as I was about to mail the bag to the organizer, inspiration struck — how about a matching dog collar decoration? So I made one (below):

but wait, there's more ...a matching flower for your dog's collar!

The dog collar flower is equipped with a velvet cord loop on the back. You can slip it on (or off) easily, so you and your pupster can get some style on together.

And now the bag and decoration are in New York, where they’ll be photographed for the Even Chance auction. As soon as there’s a link, I’ll post it. Thirty-plus other artists have designed bags for the fund-raiser, so there are going to be  some fabulous pieces! In the meantime, you can check out all the contributors’ bios at artforpitties.

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If anything even approaching good is going to come from this disastrous economy it might be a new awareness about reusing stuff we already have. Reusing more means consuming less, and that translates into less going into landfills — not to mention more money in your pocket. Ka-ching!

If you like that idea but aren’t sure where to begin, check out this post on Zero Waste from Squidoo.  There are dozens of ideas on everything from turning tin cans into lanterns and toys to reusing dryer lint (it’s a great way to get logs going in the fireplace — who knew?).

If you’re into gardening, the Squidoo article shows how to make seedling starter pots from empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls, similar to the ones shown above, but those are made from newspaper. Even if you only find one useable idea, it’s a start!

One thing I love about creating new clothes from older pieces is that you never really know how they’ll turn out until they’re done. At least that’s been my experience. And here we have Exhibit A: a great little denim jacket that I appliqued with vintage denim, adding a flower and two leaves.

Kind of sad looking — not at all what I was hoping for. But that just meant it needed more work, right? The floppiness of the flower petals was fixed by stitching them into place, but it was still missing something. And then this arrived …

Yes, hand-spun art yarn from one of my major etsy faves, FromMyArtToYours. Pictures don’t do this yarn justice — it’s soft as a cloud and such a dreamy color. Originally, it was going to go on a pale blue camisole, but as soon as it arrived, it was obvious that it was destined for that denim jacket. Are these the perfect couple, or what?

Adding yarn vastly improved the little flower, too.

There’s a little more yarn on the front:

Plus, there’s enough left over to make something else. Or not. When yarn is this pretty, I just want to keep it in a bowl by my desk to look at. In this case, “art yarn” is an absolutely accurate description!

This little purse is kind of cute — at least in person. But for some reason, it’s not photographing very well.

It’s knit from recycled silk sari yarn, which I love to use, since it means income for women in remote areas of Nepal, who otherwise don’t have many options for earning money. Plus, it’s reversible!

The fuzzy pink material is from an old top I found at a thrift store.  It’s a nice little everyday purse, very eco-friendly and all.  But for some reason, it does not photograph well. I should probably fire my photographer, but since I am my photographer,  that’s not a really good solution. Halp!!

Well, maybe not better, but a heck of a lot less expensive. And no recovery time! That’s the idea behind the T-skirt, an oversized T-shirt with an attached short skirt. You can wear it over jeans,  shorts or another skirt — or by itself. It’s designed to be roomy and comfortable, even on days when you’re not feeling much like Kate Moss.

This one’s not finished, but you get the idea. It’s a combination of a Gap tank top with an embroidered silk panel in front and floral printed chiffon from another garment as the skirt, so everything is recycled, or upcycled, which is a nicer way to put it. There are a lot of skirted tees out this season, but how many of them can claim to be environmentally friendly? Hmmm, probably not many …

But in this case, the “we” is actually me. I’ve been so tempted to try combining various sweaters into a Frankensweater and finally just gave in and did it. The result (above) isn’t awful. In fact, I would wear it. Actually, I will wear it, because it’s not salable.  I don’t have a serger, so the seam edges are unfinished, and that’s not very professional looking.

But I like the little details you can do with sweaters that aren’t appropriate for lingerie. Like the funny pockets and the little felt heart on the sleeve.  


Yes, it’s a cliche. But remember, this is an experimental sweater. And then there’s the back, which could use a little more something or other, but what?

Meanwhile, I’m looking for advice on sergers. Suggestions are welcome!

I love love LOVE this pale green denim jacket. The cut, the fabric, the seam detailing — they’re all just perfect. But as nice as it was, it was still plain — and truthfully, around here plain doesn’t stand a chance.

So … meet the new, improved version, with appliqued embroidered silk panels in front and back, plus a detachable silk “flower.” The final element, which involves the addition of a beautiful cotton yarn outlining the seams on the right front, isn’t in place yet. Hopefully, I won’t screw it up and it’ll be done soon.

That’s not something I say very often — at least about my own images. But this one came out very nicely. Unfortunately, I have no idea why or what I did, so it may never happen again.

I’m not sure if it’s being constructed or deconstructed. Maybe a little of both. And clearly it’s not done. But I have to say, I like it a lot!!

Here’s the back view: