Friday, April 14, 2017

Thrift Store Jewelry Fix, 101: Simple Fixes for Used Jewelry

Thrift stores are a great way to get unique and inexpensive jewelry. But sometimes, the jewelry isn't quite right. Maybe it is broken, maybe it's missing a piece, maybe it isn't functional, or maybe it is just not snazzy enough...

Fix One: The Case of the Lackluster Charm Bracelet

I love charm bracelets. They are my favorite pieces of jewelry because the playful charms tell a story about the person who wears them. I have a charm bracelet that once belonged to my grandmother that I absolutely love. But with that bracelet, I sometimes fear wearing it because of the sentimental value behind it. But I found another charm bracelet at the thrift store that I am far less fearful to wear. The only problem is the bracelet as purchased at the thrift store is a bit bare of charms. 

Only four sad little charms. This is an easy fix though, as most craft and bead stores have silver plated charms that will easily add whimsy and character to a charm bracelet. 

With the right supplies a boring bracelet can easily be transformed. 
Supplies needed:
  • A fairly bare charm bracelet
  • Cute charms
  • Jewelry pliers

Use the pliers to pull apart the little 'o' ring on top of the charm. Arrange the charms on the bracelet however you want. Some people like simple bracelets with only a few charms and some prefer cluttered bracelets. I'm all about the cluttered bracelets. 

This fix doesn't have to be used for just charm bracelets. Maybe you have a necklace that is a little bland, or earrings with not enough bling. Craft stores offer a world of baubles to spruce up the boring piece of jewelry. 

Fix Two: The Case of the Missing Pin Backs

I have a couple of pins that I purchased from the thrift store that can no longer be worn, because they don't have the actual pin back used to clip the pin to clothing. 

What you need:
  • Scissors
  • jewelry pliers
  • Your pin-backless pins
  • Head pins

Head pins are often used to put beads on, but they are so malleable while still being sturdy enough, so this is why they are a good fix for pin backs. With help from the pliers, wrap the head pin around one side of the pin back frame on the back of the pin. The other side goes into the hook to close the pin. Head pins are thin enough that you can use scissors to cut it shorter if the length of the head pin is longer then the length of the pin. 

 Voila, your pins are wearable again.

Fix Three: The Case of the Uncomfortable Clip on Earrings

Clip on earrings are great if you don't have pierced ears and want to adorn you ears with some pizzazz, but if you have pierced ears, clip on earrings are an uncomfortable alternative to real earrings. I dislike the pressure of the clip on earrings on my ears. But transforming clip on earrings into normal earrings is an easy fix!

What you need:
  • Earring backs
  • Jewelry pliers
  • 'O' connectors
  • Your clip on earrings off choice

First, you need to take your earring charm off the clip on earring post. This is easy to do by using your pliers to pull apart the connector on the clip on earring. Now your charm is free! Use the connector 'O' to connect the earring back with the earring charm. Now your dowdy clip on earrings are transformed to sophisticated earrings...or at least your earrings have become more wearable if not more sophisticated.

Fix Four: The Case of the Broken Pin

With older, used jewelry, it is common for things to fall apart. Luckily, with a little glue, a once broken piece of jewelry is as good as new! The E600 glue is a good, sturdy glue to use although there are plenty of glues to choose from.

These are just a few simple methods to spruce up used jewelry. Easy fixes for used jewelry opens up a whole new world of possibilities when at the thrift store searching the jewelry section. Next time you are at the thrift store and see earrings or a pin that you would love if only......this that or the other....don't let that hold you back!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Charley Harper Dress

I made a new dress recently and it is definitely a dress that is prepared for spring!

The fabric is knit fabric which makes it easy to put on without zippers or the such. The print on the fabric reminds me of Charley Harper illustrations of birds.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Lady Bigfoot

Lady Bigfoot, classy wild woman.

This is lady bigfoot. She lives in the woods with the other members of the bigfoot community. She makes dresses out of butterfly wings and ferns. She uses wildberries as lipstick. She washes her hair with fresh river water and crushed wildflower petals.

Sometimes Lady Bigfoot sees hikers in the woods. She is fascinated by hikers. She falls a little bit in love with every hiker she sees. She follows them and observes them so she can go back home and make up songs about them. She sits around the fire with her bigfoot friends and sings the songs about the hikers and strums on the instruments only bigfeet know how to make or play.

Sometimes the hikers feel her presence though. They feel like someone or something is following them. Lady Bigfoot tries to dash behind trees before the hikers see her when she senses they are going to turn around. But sometimes they catch glimpses of her.

Lady Bigfoot is kind and beautiful. She is creative and smart and determined. But the hikers go back to the human communities and tell stories of mountain monsters roaming the woods. They say they saw a horrid hairy beast and it was stalking them, waiting to kill. They say it had evil in its eyes.

Lady Bigfoot is gentle though. She saves bunnies from hunter's traps. She rescues birds with broken wings. The woodland animals follow her and know she will keep them safe. But the humans run away, back to civilization where they are safe from nothing anymore.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Short Guide to Pen Paling

Pen Paling can be a very rewarding, calming and educational hobby. It can also bring you closer to friends and loved ones. There is something special about a hand written letter. I feel closer to the people I hand write letters to opposed to just communicate through texts or emails. There is something more intimate about the art of hand writing letters and mailing them the old fashioned way with a stamp!

Because of my experiences pen paling, I have both a collection of cards sent to me and a collection of blank cards ready to be filled up by me and sent out.

Here are some beautiful cards I have received over the years. This is just the tip of the iceberg of my collection, but these are definitely some favorites.

Here are some blank cards ready to be filled with letters:

I like going to independent card shops or stationary boutiques to find some of my cards, but here is an insiders tip: look for cards, stationary and postcards at your local thrift store. You can find some real gems!

If you want to have your own adventure with pen paling, here is a simple guide.

Step One: The first step to pen paling is deciding who your pen pal should be. A pen pal can be a friend who shares your enthusiasm for snail mail. I have had friend pen pals both across a couple of states and within my own city. It is always a thrill to receive something in the mail no matter how far the letter came. But if none of your friends are interested in the diminishing art of old fashioned letter writing, there are other ways to find pen pals! Here are a couple of internet resources:
  • League of Extroindainry Penpals: An online pen pal club where you can find your very own pen pal!
  • Postcrossing: Postcrossing doesn't give you a single pen pal that you correspond with, instead, every time you request an address, you get a different person to write to! You also never know who is going to write to you. It is a fun way to collect postcards from around the world and to connect with people you otherwise would have never encountered. Another great thing about postcrossing is if you feel you do not have the time to commit to a full time pen pal,  you can instead the noncommittal nature of postcrossing pen pals. 
  • PenPal World: When I was more active in pen paling, I found my two awesome pen pals from PenPal World. One of my pen pals was from the Netherlands and one was from Australia. I have since fell out of contact with them, but while I was writing to them, I formed friendships and learned a lot. It was always exciting to find a letter from another country waiting in my mail box. 
  • Post Pals: I have never tried this, but it is on my life 'to do' list. It is a charity that organizes people to write letters to sick children in order to bring added joy to their lives. With this, you would not be getting any responses, but you would know your letter was helping to make someone else feel special. 
As with any online way of connecting with other people, use common sense and don't give your inheritance to a potential pen pal claiming to be a prince.

Step Two: Make sure you have all the proper supplies needed for pen paling.

You will need:
  • An awesome card that you feel will the recipient will connect with. When I was deep into my pen paling hobby, I loved pursuing the card sections of any shop. Sometimes, I'd see a card that would call out a name and I would have to buy it for that person.
  • A high quality writing pen. I am very opinionated about what pen I decide to use.
  • Stamps. If you are sending your letter internationally, you'll need different postage stamps than within the states.
  • Envelope. Unless you are sending a postcard.
Step Three: Set up the right environment to write. In this world of hustle bustle, it is sometimes beneficial to set up an environment that is conducive to focusing on the world of your thoughts. Everyone has their own individual way of doing this. For me, I like to start with picking the right music. Not all music works for contemplative activities such as letter writing. One musician that I recommend is Josephine Foster:

Her music is like modern old' timey music. I love it! It really is great for setting the letter writing mood. Other musicians that set the mood for letter writing are:
  • Iron and Wine
  • The Boswell Sisters
  • Great Lake Swimmers
  • Billie Holiday
Besides music, all I usually need is a mug of tea and a dependable writing surface.

Step Four: Write! Sometimes it can be hard to start a letter, but "Hello" is always a good place to start. If you are having a difficult time figuring out what to say, here are some topics.

  • Write about something strange or interesting you encountered recently. For me, I fall back on bus stories or animal stories. I can tell about the time a man started screaming at another man on the bus, or I can tell about the time I saw a beaver crossing the road in Seattle.
  • Write about a book or movie or other piece of pop culture your experienced recently.
  • Write about something you experienced that made you happy. It is always good to spread cheer.
  • Ask them about there favorite: movie, book, tv show, band, animal, experience from childhood, place to visit, food to eat. 
  • Tell them about your favorite: movie, book, tv show, band, animal, experience from childhood, place to visit, food to eat.
  • Tell a joke.
  • Write about your passions and hobbies.
Step Five: Send your letter. Address the envelope, lick the back, stick on a stamp and drop into the mail box. 

Step Six: Eagerly await a response! However, one thing with pen paling is that you also have to be prepared to not get a response. Someone might be an avid letter writer one day, but then their life becomes more busy and chaotic, and the letters may start to dwindle. Although getting mail is always super exciting, part of the joy is the process itself.