Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zippy upcycling

I must apologize for all the commercialism on this site lately. I guess I got caught up in all the excitement of gift guides and shopping. I just wanted to share some of my favorite things.

But, not all of my favorite things require buying new to stay in fashion this season. For example, you may recall the upcycled jewelry I made for my mom and sisters for Christmas a couple years ago. I took pieces of old jewelry (like the picture charms my mom had from when we were kids, and an old belly chain, as if anyone wears those anymore), beads and ribbon I had lying around the house to create new pieces custom-made just for them.

Just the other day, I received an e-mail from Ecouterre with ideas for homemade and upcycled gifts. The accessories really caught my eye, such as an acorn necklace (made with a real acorn) and a braided beaded necklace. My favorite idea was for a cuff bracelet made from an old zipper, designed by Tara St. James.

I couldn't wait to make the zipper bracelet, so I immediately pulled out this old jacket from the back of my closet (it must have been sentimental to me, because it looks rather dated; no wonder I haven't worn it in years), grabbed a pair of scissors and got to work removing the zipper.

Yes, I should have used my trusty seam ripper or perhaps a pair of sewing shears, but I ended up cutting the attaching threads with some hair-cutting scissors, as those were the most convenient at the time. Then, I pretty much ripped the zipper out.

What a rush! I felt like one of the designers on "Project Accessory," one of my favorite shows at the moment (I'm hoping Nina Cortes wins, but if not, I also like Christina Caruso, whose designs had been worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in "Sex and the City"). Just like on "Project Runway," the contestants have to complete their challenges in a very short amount of time, but instead of designing clothes, they make jewelry, handbags, hats and shoes. Love it!

Their first challenge was to make three items using whatever they could get their hands on in a limited amount of time from a storage unit. The winner of the challenge made a simple, but amazing necklace, belt and ring out of matchsticks (you'll have to click to page 10 out of 12 to see her designs in the link) ... Goes to prove how chic upcycling can be.

Now, back to the bracelet, which I sewed together to fit me perfectly. Here's my finished accessory, thanks to following Tara's instructions. What do you think? Let me know if you make one, too, and if you have any other fun DIY projects to share :-)

This post also made me think of the edible necklace I blogged about a while back. I made it out of grapes. Anyone else have any ideas for making raw vegan jewelry?