Archive for the ‘recycling’ Category

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!

Because I found a not-too-bad denim jacket that’s already got the embellishment process underway. Here’s the front:

And the back:

Now to figure out what to do with the rest of it. My first impulse was to add something right below the fabric that’s already there, like a lace ruffle. But I’m afraid that’s going to make the person wearing it look like a linebacker, since that’s already the biggest part of the jacket.

So most likely the front panels, collar and cuffs will be where new stuff ends up. Heading for the red, blue and purple fabric stash boxes right now …

Beautiful, yes? And my camera isn’t even doing justice to the colors. Unfortunately, it was also missing the pin thing on the back.

I checked with my IO (Insignificant Other) to find out if it could be soldered. He suggested throwing it away, because it was not fixable. Of course, he thinks the world would be a better place if all costume jewelry completely vanished, so naturally, I ignored him and started thinking about how to repair it.

Step One: Clean it

Toothpaste,  an old toothbrush and a tiny bit of water are the best. Just scrub gently to avoid loosening any of the stones and pat dry. I wanted to do this first because my fix involved a piece of felt, and I didn’t want that to get wet. After the cleaning, the piece was allowed to completely dry overnight.

Step Two: Make a Backing

Very simple! Just cut a piece of felt the size you’d like on the back of the piece. Done!

Step Three: Hot Glue

This is actually two steps, but let’s not drag it out. First, hot glue or sew a new brooch pin to one side of the felt. Then hot glue the other side of the felt (duh!) to the brooch.

You’re done! Go do something else and let it dry for 24 hours or so. Not so bad, huh? This little brooch is going to go on a new top I’m altering. This is what it looked like before I got my mitts on it.

Those things that look like white blobs are actually sweet little pale pink crocheted flowers.

Other than sticking with the pink/black theme,  the “after” shot is going to be quite a lot different than this “before.” But that’s the whole point of altered couture, right?

Very cool little bracelet created by designer Tara St. James. You can make your own with nothing more than a broken zipper (who doesn’t have one or two of those around?) and a needle and thread. The complete tutorial is at Ecouterre, a fabulous online resource for anyone interested in sustainable fashion design. Enjoy!

I was so excited to find this great dark red corduroy Juicy Couture jacket at an estate sale a while back. It’s such a beautiful color and the corduroy is so soft … yum! Plus, I had a gorgeous piece of embroidered cotton that looked pretty good with it. The fabric was hideously expensive — something like $112 a yard!!! But there was a small section that was being sold as a remnant for a significant discount, so I bit the bullet and brought it home.

Here’s how the embroidered cotton looks on the jacket from the back …

And here’s the front …

Not too bad, huh? But here’s the problem. Hand-stitching the fabric in place like I usually do wasn’t working, because the edges of the cotton were just not looking very good. So now the whole deal is being restitched around the edges with recycled silk sari yarn to cover the edges. In other words, I’m going to have about 300 hours of work (okay, maybe not that much, but a lot!) into this jacket by the time it’s done. And I don’t think anyone is going to pay what it’s really worth, from a labor standpoint.

On the other hand, some projects have turned out to be much easier than I expected, so maybe it all comes out even in the end. Who knows? Anyway, back to work … it’s too nice not to finish, even if it is a labor of love at this point.

Isn’t this sweet? So much interesting detail on the top — even the little spaghetti straps are great. Maybe because it’s already got a lot going on, I don’t have a clue what to do with it.

Then there’s this one:

Love those little posies or pansies or whatever they are. But they’re so one dimensional. They just don’t have that “ZOMG, that’s so great!!!” thing going on. Unlike the blue one above, though, I know exactly what I’m going to do with this one. Stay tuned …

I couldn’t resist adding a bright blue “love monkey” applique to this green hoodie.

Next, it’s going to get outlined with this gorgeous blue/green yarn.

The yarn, from mymixmix, came already felted, so the hoodie can be washed without any problems. Brilliant!

Question: Is anyone really going to wear a partially see-through top?

Answer: I guess we have to wait and see.

This one’s nearly done, so it should debut at etsy in a day or two. It’ll be interesting to see the reaction. This fabric is so sheer it’s almost invisible. Perfect for anyone who doesn’t mind having the whole  world seeing their “bidness.” But that’s the beauty part of living in LA — there are people here who have built entire careers on letting it all hang out, as we used to say.

I bought the little shell top at an estate sale, and am adding the beaded flower fabric. This particular combination seemed to work best, out of the eighteen or so different possibilities I tried. Seriously! Upcycling isn’t as easy as it looks. Or maybe I’m  doing it wrong. But who cares? When you finally get all the elements in place it’s so gratifying that all those “Ewwww, that’s not working” steps along the way are forgotten. Sort of.

Two felted sweaters, getting ready to become the front and back of a new messenger bag. This is trickier than I thought it would be, because the bag will have a gusset (see below) and fitting it all together is a job that requires precision and patience, two things in notoriously short supply around here. Wish me luck!