Go Find Your Like-Minded, Weird, Lovely Friends

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So I have to tell you about a first-rate thing that happened last weekend. Consider it my own personal proof that life’s more fun when you get over your hangups and let yourself be who you are. For crying out loud, you guys, is anybody else tired of being concerned about what everybody might think of us, anyway?

Here’s the deal. I love thrift shops. I adore them so much I’ve devoted entire blog posts to celebrating good ones like Top Drawer of Austin, Texas. I’m also a huge fan of people who build community, which is what draws me to bloggers. So a few weeks ago I had an idea for putting these two together in a way that brought me so much joy it made my head want to explode.

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It wasn’t all that complicated, really: How about I reach out to the Twin Cities Blogger Collective and invite them along on a thrift-shop hop? We’d visit a local thrift store or two, take pics, then write about it. Yes! I was drawn to the idea and it was simple enough. But simplicity wasn’t my problem. No, my issue was much more diabolical. In order to follow through with the outing I envisioned, I’d have to get over my fear of not being liked.

First of all, I’d never met anyone from this collective of women bloggers. I’d recently joined their Facebook group, but that was my only point of contact. Okay, I had met one, but she hardly counted, as she’d told me about the group in the first place. That left 108 ladies I’d never seen face to face.

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Spolier alert, I pushed past my doubt and reached out to the bloggers. Here I am with Sarah, the Recreational Gardner herself. We explored two fine Minneapolis thrift shops, Junket: Tossed and Found and Time Bomb Vintage.  (Photo by Recreational Gardner.)

Second, I hadn’t entirely gotten over my shyness about taking photos in public. Sure, taking a quick phone snap is practically the norm. Even so, wearing a DSLR around your neck feels like an invite for unwanted attention, regardless of whether or not this is actually true.

Think about it. There’s no way to have a long-lensed camera suspended on your chest AND appear casual at the same time. You might as well hang a sign on that industrial Sony strap. It might boast something like, “HEL-LO, fellow shoppers! You may be here for a spontaneous afternoon jaunt, but I actually planned this. I really, really like this place, and I drove 18.8 miles one way just to come. (True story.) What’s more–and this may be the hardest part to admit–I genuinely care about what happens here today.”

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This is my favorite image from our trip. Yes, it’s a bin filled with typewriter keys. I was  drawn to their stark beauty, and it felt good to run my fingers through them.

I know. My dilemma may not sound like life and death, because of course it isn’t. But I believe there are too many of us walking around, holding back back the best parts of ourselves. What a damn shame! Not only does this habit require a great deal of personal energy, but the world is missing out because of it.

Since starting this blog just over a year ago, I’ve grown braver about reaching out. I’ve learned skills that have helped me feel more empowered. I’ve gained inspiration from creative women all over the world. So when the idea came along to connect with actual people in my own city, it was easier to push past my fear and just go for it. And thank God for that, because the afternoon was ridiculously fun.

Four bloggers responded to my Facebook invite to meet me at a local thrift store, and I was able to sync schedules with one right away: Sarah of the Recreational Gardener. She figured she could score some thrifty yard art for her garden. We agreed to meet along the Minnehaha Mile, a collection of hip neighborhood shops in Minneapolis. We’d head to Junket: Tossed and Found, then walk a block to Time Bomb Vintage.

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Truer words have never been spoken. This sign accompanied the rack of ties hanging on a  display at Junket.

Both shops are nothing short of delightful. The displays are arranged so lovingly they actually talk to you. That’s right. Within minutes of our arrival, a photo in a small green frame spoke to me. (Literally, assuming you count thought bubbles, which I clearly do. I mean, obviously.) It reassured me that I’m among friends and don’t have to be embarrassed.

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Here it is, the photo that reached through the cosmos and spoke what I needed to hear. Check out the kids! I snapped this shot without noticing them. Later, while cropping this image, I saw them for the first time and laughed out loud.

I’ve come to believe this advice is is true of the world as well. There’s no need to feel ashamed. And who are the best reminders of this? Our very own like-minded, weird, lovely friends. So get over yourself and go find them, wherever they may be. Look online, head to a meetup in your city, invite that work acquaintance to coffee. Sure, not every lead will pan out. But that’s okay.

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I thought of my grandmother while taking this shot. She collected napkin rings and had two  displays of them hanging on her dining room wall. You could tell she treasured them, and each ring was different from the one next to it. Dosie was an artist who passed away when I was in middle school. Oh, how I’d love to have an adult conversation with her!

Know that it’ll take time, but seek your community. Surrounding yourself with your people is one of the best ways to draw you out of shyness and into your best self. Find those who are already doing what you want to do. Learn from them. Pay careful attention. Then over time, figure out which ones you can come to meet, online or in person. In fact, I’ll leave you with one final piece of thrift-shop wisdom: “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

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Find your community and you’ll be one step closer to living this out.

For the bloggers among you, do you have your own story of creating opportunities? Join my February linky party: Make, Mend, Change.

So what about you? Who are your like-minded friends? Let me know in the comments!

How I Found Hope Through Golden Girls Fashion

Every handmade item has a story to tell. Well, this shirt has two. The first is of a blogger who’s found her online people. The second is about her actual community–you know, the face-to-face kind. It all started last month, when I decided to take part in my very first linky party. You bloggers out there know what I’m talking about: Some enterprising soul announces a topic and asks others to explore it, too. Fellow bloggers publish their own posts, then the organizer collects their links and features them on a special page.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI Try My Very First Linky Party

Linky parties are a brilliant way to make connections. But to a new blogger like me, they can feel a tad daunting. In my case, inspiration overtook hesitation when I came across Sew the Show from Alida Makes. Each month, Alida (a.k.a., Miss Modern Sewing, Southern Twang) asked readers to “put that Netflix addition to good use” by sewing fashion inspired by her selected TV show. Alida’s Friends linky party turned out to be the one that hooked me in. As it happened, writing the post lit me up. Then as I watched the fellow entries roll in, I knew I’d found my tribe. So when Alida announced this month’s show as The Golden Girls, I felt a pang of disappointment. “How could I possibly find inspiration from clothing Sophia or Rose wore,” I wondered? Also, it sounded awfully close to Gilmore Girls, the show I’d been secretly rooting for. I loved the show, though, so I googled “Golden Girls fashion” anyway. (Are you trying to tell me you’ve never done this yourself? Okay, I’ll let it slide.) That’s when I saw this shot of Dorothy. I’d been considering making a wrap top, and something about the print indicated it could be modernized. Suddenly this linky party was starting to seem doable after all. dorothy

I Learn the Word Chemono (and Decide to Make One, Pronto)

Several days passed and I embarked on another internet search. This time, I sought ways to comfort a friend, my 30-something buddy who’d be having surgery soon. An elective double mastectomy, to be exact. In other words, she didn’t have cancer, but genetic testing had revealed a high risk. After losing her mother to the disease, then experiencing her 21-year-old sister’s bout with it, my friend chose a proactive path. A variety of sites shared tips for how to show support, such as this one featuring a chemo survival kit. Its kimono wrap caught my instant attention. Though chemo wasn’t part of my friend’s treatment plan, I figured a top like this could be handy for tending to wounds. Another site even named this kind of shirt, now on my to-make list, a chemono. (Well played, internet. Well played.) And so the search began. The first step was to scour Pinterest for patterns. This proved trickier than I thought, but eventually I found this: Maternity Top to Wrap Tee. As usual, I hit the thrift store next. I set out with a plan to find two coordinating t-shirts. They had to be soft and cozy, made of natural fibers, and large enough for room to breathe. My girlfriend’s partial to prints, and I scouted for her colors (teals, purples, other happy hues).

The following weekend, the real work began. The cutting. The measuring. The pattern interpreting. The belief. The uncertainty. The learning. Oh, the learning! Wow, there’s a lot about sewing you must do before you know. Listen up, amateur sewists: Making bias tape from jersey is not a good idea. Yes, I did it here, but I won’t try it again. To get it right, I had to add apparel interfacing.

Fast forward two days and about ten hours, and I’d created a shirt I could be proud of. At least it matched the vision in my mind. It was soft and pretty-like, and most of all, it’d provide access to places my friend would need as she healed.

Yes, I’d made a shirt that allowed me to say the things I might not be able to, out loud.

  • If I could use my own two hands to make it all better, I would. But here’s something they can do instead, and I hope it might suffice.
  • You, yes you, are a reason I made it through my divorce. Do you know I still cry a little each time I think of that day? You know the one. I couldn’t get out of bed. But there you were, with that giant paper bag of soup. And bread. And sandwiches. And hope.
  • I hate that you have to go through this. Lord knows I’ve seen your strength before, but I’d be okay if you didn’t have to use it for a while, you know?
  • God, I can’t replace your mom. I searched for something soft to the touch, something that might comfort you when it hurts. And she’s still a part of you–I know you know–breathing through your love of culture, your devotion to church, your joy in education.
  • Feel better, my friend. By all means, feel better.
  • Last of all–dare I say it?–thank you for being a friend.

Thrift-Shop Hop Minneapolis: Junket

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Playfulness. Inspiration. Community. When these things combine, they make a powerful combination, a triple threat of goodness. If I can find them all in one place, you can bet I’ll try to get there. And so explains my hankering for thrift stores. Maybe you share the same infatuation. (Is yours enduring, too? Oh thrift stores, I’ll always love you.) Or maybe you just need a break from whatever stress is on your mind.

Either way, welcome to my new series: Thrift-Shop Hop. When I’m in a different city or exploring my own, I’ll seek out second-hand stores. I’ll invite you along as I discover stories they have to tell. I’ll find items that may spark an upcycling project or two. Or else the treks will simply be amusing, which is just as good, I say.

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See? I hope you’re amused already. Junket intersperses works from local artists throughout. Here’s one such cheeky surprise.

The shop from my first installment, Top Drawer Thrift of Austin, Texas, was exceptional. It inspired me to define what makes a thrift shop great. Let’s see how the checklist stacks up as I visit one closer to my home: Minneapolis’ own Junket: Tossed and Found. (Spoiler alert: Thumbs way up.)

Five Signs You’re in the Presence of Thrift-Shop Greatness

Sign #1: Displays are Artfully Prepared

When I stepped into Junket, I could tell it was set up by somebody who cares. It was just a feeling I got, but evidence quickly followed. Arrangements featured handmade signs, many which suggested ideas for DIY types like me. Thread arranged by color made me want to reach out and grab spools by the rowful.

Before long one of the displays taught me a new word, a move that earned Junket some bonus points. (How, may I ask, have all of you been describing those protective ornamental plates in your life? Excuse me for a movement while I arrange my collection of escutcheons.)

Sign #2: Wandering Brings Out Your Playfulness

As I ambled through Junket, playfulness surrounded me. Sure, anyone can toss a bunch of beads in a cabinet, but those wily Junket arrangers knew better. You’ll have to ask my man to know for sure, but it’s entirely possible I laughed out loud when I saw the drawer labeled, “Holy beads, Batman!”

Dont get me started on the medley of snarky teacups. You’ll have to visit Junket yourself to see them in all their spiteful glory–yes, coffee mugs are included, too–but I’ve provided my favorite here. I’m snickering even as I type about it.

Sign #3: The Shop Supports the Community

Okay, y’all, let’s just put it out there: Junket’s a community-supporting superstar. First of all, free coffee and donuts greeted me at the door. This made sense given its pedestrian-friendly, local-business-championing neighborhood, but still. This show of openness was a nice touch.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, I was impressed by the sizable stream of customers, many who clearly seemed to know the place. Mugs at the door were available for use, as well as for purchase.  (I had to venture deeper inside to get to the irreverent ones.)

Another example of local support was the mosaic artist positioned by the door. (I was too shy to take pictures.) Working on one of his creations, he chatted with those who stopped by. A few of his pieces appeared in the store. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, there’s an empty wall in my craft room that really should have this beauty hanging on it. Oh, man. I wonder if it’s still there.

I was also delighted to discover some books designated for Little Free Libraries. Do you have these in your neighborhood? (I’m pretty sure the movement began in Wisconsin, and these cute boxes are definitely a thing in the Twin Cities.)

The official site describes them as boxes “full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another” to share. Each is a standard size, but all are different and reflect the style of whoever put it up. I’ve seen them in residences and at businesses.

Sign #4: You Find an Affordable Discovery You Can’t Live Without

Of course I grabbed a basket of my own. For months I’ve had a project in mind that requires transforming Altoid tins, so I snapped up a couple. Four projects on my list will likely come first, but I’ll get to it. Really, I will! If I can achieve what’s in my head, those tins’ll give me a good way to encourage friends going through a tough time.

Sign #5: The Shop Inspires A New Project

Those of us who sew are notorious for having stashes of fabric. I’m no exception, though I make a strong effort to buy fabric only for each project at hand. That said, when I came across a basket of remnant bundles, I saw a silky scrap that caught my eye.

It featured diamonds of sage and mustard, two of my must-have colors. It would make the perfect lining for a hat or bag. (Within the month, I’d already found a use for it: Making a decorative accent to the pocket on my bottomless bag made from men’s suits.)

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So. . . what treasures are you finding at thrift stores? Leave a comment and let me know.

From Savers Suit to Bottomless Bag

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When’s the last time you had a conversation with an inanimate object? For me, such talks often involve cursing, but not this time. No, this is a story of a happy chat, one where the thing spoke to me, not the other way around. I was browsing men’s suits at my local Savers when one decided it had something to say. It knew who I was, clearly, and it didn’t waste any time.

The second I slid its hanger along the rack, the suit got my attention and began. “I MUST become a bag one day,” it shouted up at me. “Look at my funky pockets,” it continued. “They’re not meant for a suit. They neeeeed to be part of a bag. It’ll be cross-body. Slouchy and so cool. C’mon, I know you see my ’70s vibe. Come ON. Did I mention my funky pockets? The POCKETS, I say!”

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Yes, that’s one of THE pockets, right there in the center, all giant and cool. Only now, it features custom embellishments involving a sweet button and an upholstery scrap from my stash.

As you most certainly know by now, I found myself unable to dispute such claims. I may have been searching for fabric for a cap, but these were some well-articulated points! Whew. I bought the suit and continued my initial search. (For documentation of this fateful trip, check out my post, From Thrift-Shop Jacket to Newsboy Cap.)

You know how this story ends: I did make a bag, and I love it. Getting from vision to bag, though, was harder than I thought it’d be. I knew what I wanted to do, but first I had to figure out how. I searched for a pattern that fit my vision, one that would let me feature two contrasting suits and a belt for the strap. After finding a series of near misses, I admitted what I’d known all along: I would have to wing it.

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And so it began. Through the weeks that followed, I spent mornings, evenings, and weekends tinkering. I cut into the jackets. I reshaped their fabric into rectangles and strips. I pieced them together to suit the bag living in my mind (ha, ha). I tested interior fabric (called interfacing) to influence structure.

I sewed pieces together. I ironed their seams. Then, when something wasn’t right, I got out my seam ripper and took them apart. I bought a second one while making this bag, as I needed it nearby at all times. Seriously. I used those darned seam rippers at every step. Every. Single. Step.

Along the way I wondered, more than once, why I was spending so much time on just one bag. Cursing at inanimate objects became a regular occurrence. But here’s the thing: Every hour I spent was an hour that got me closer to making something new. This was a chance to put something on this earth that wasn’t there before.

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My new seam ripper in all its glory. The experience of using it is more palatable now that I have an artisan version. It’s handmade from acrylic and feels substantial in your hand. At the local sewing shop where I got it, each was different. This one’s hand-labeled tag read, “Italian Sunset.”

Making something new is an urge that compels me greatly, persistently, but I was equally drawn to the process of transformation. I also got to give new life to something that’s been discarded. I got to pluck a suit from its industrial rack and turn it into a bag unlike any other. I got to play with color and surround myself with possibility, all while working with my hands. When viewed from eye of the maker, my question then became, “How can I not spend time on this?”

If you’re a maker, you know the feeling of getting lost in your craft. You’ve lived the journey of getting inspired, starting, slogging, reworking, walking away, coming back, toiling, seeing, believing, then finally–sometimes, anyway–finishing.

Now here’s the part where I get to play fangirl to another of my favorite podcasts. Do you want to hear a description of the making process that’s so eloquent you just may cry? Of course you do. Get yourself immediately to Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project. There you’ll find his beautifully crafted installment, “How Working with Your Hands Changes You.” If I had a glass, I’d raise it to all you creators out there. Instead I have a laptop and a cat on my lap.

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P.S.: Are you a crafty blogger looking for a link-up? Try The Casual CraftleteMerry Monday. or Coastal Charm.

 

 

The One with the Upcycled Tee

You’ve probably got a project or two (or three or four?) on your wish list. Well, I’m happy to report I just finished one of mine. For awhile I’d been wanting to upcycle a tee, evidenced by the post I’d pinned from Oh EverythiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAng Handmade, “DIY: Two Into One T-shirt.”  The project looked adorable and alluringly simple. I didn’t take action, though, till I saw this month’s Sew the Show prompt from Alida Makes.

Inspiration Strikes

girls_teeFirst, let me introduce you to Sew the Show. Each month, sewing blogger Alida selects a TV show. She encourages readers to “put that Netflix addiction to good use” by re-imagining fashion inspired by it. What fun!

I’ve been following along all year, enjoying the entries from other sewists. So when Alida announced April’s pick as Friends, I thought this could be my shot. (I don’t typically sew clothes. I’m intimidated by the precision of making them fit.)

What fashion comes to your mind when you think of Friends? Floral dresses with cropped jean jackets? OverallsTank dresses? Funny, the first thing I thought of was t-shirts. Seriously. Everybody on that show knew how to rock a simple tee.

So I set out on my mission. If you’d like to try this at home, here are the steps I followed.

Make Your Own Upcycled Tee

Step One: Find Your Muse

friends_red_stripeWhen looking for inspiration, I zoned in on Monica. Her style strikes me as clean, tailored, and sporty. (I’d like to think that describes my aesthetic, too.) I wanted to incorporate stripes, so when I found this red top of Monica’s, a vision for my project took shape.

Step Two: Find Your Tees

Off to the thrift shops I went. My plan was simple: Look for 3 or 4 shirts of the same size and weight that matched the colors in Monica’s top: red, grey, black, and maybe white. Execution turned out to be way harder than that, as I couldn’t find what I wanted. By the third shop I visited, I admitted it was time to let go of the strict color palette. (Fortunately, I live within a few minutes’ drive of several second-hand stores.) I’d stick to size, but I’d open the search to any colors I liked that would work together.

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Step Three: Cut Them Up

Even though my colors wouldn’t match Monica’s red top, I still wanted to emulate the position of the stripes. Thanks to Oh Everything Handmade, I knew to cut just below the armpit. (Thank goodness for rotary cutters, am I right?)

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Step 4: Pin Like Crazy and Sew

With right sides facing each other, pin the edges together all around the shirt. (In other words, make sure the outsides of both shirts are facing each other as you pin.) In the shots below, I’d already sewn the yellow stripe to the blue, and now I was pinning orange to yellow.

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Note that my pins have a tiny button decoration on them. (No, there are not actual buttons on the shirt.) Also, if you look closely you’ll see that perfect sewing wasn’t my goal here. I wanted a fun project I could start and finish in a weekend. Go ahead, try it yourself!

Step 5: Enjoy Your Newest T-Shirt (Or, In My Case, Shirts)

This turned out to be a quick project, and I was having fun with it. So I went ahead and made three versions. What I liked most was the sheer number of possibilities! Combining solids was as simple as attaching stripes of different sizes. Next time, I may try mixing prints or graphics for a funkier look. Or letting the shirts I discover dictate the direction. How would you adapt your own tees?

Thanks for the inspiration, fellow bloggers!

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Why, yes, that is an oversized coffee mug. Surely the Friends themselves would appreciate it.

Thrift-Shop Hop: Austin

If you love thrift shops, be forewarned: I’m about to make you strikingly jealous. First, close your eyes and picture the sassiest one you’ve ever seen. In what city was it located? I’m happy to report I have a new answer: Austin, Texas, baby.top_drawer

Last week I attended a conference in Austin, which happens to be my former hometown. I took a few days afterward to visit friends I rarely get to see. After enjoying tacos with my fave gals from the high school days, I ventured across the street to Top Drawer Thrift. It turned out to be wondrous, and I’d like you to have a similar encounter soon. To make sure you’re prepared, I’ll share my Five Signs You’re in the Presence of Thrift-Shop Greatness.

Sign #1: Displays are Artfully Prepared

Not everyone knows how to pair a silver vintage dress with a colorful ceramic mask. Or that the same silver dress would benefit from a paisley silk scarf being swooped around its waist. Fortunately, somebody at Top Drawer’s got a keen artistic eye. Artful displays in the aisles impressed me even before I discovered the shop hosts college-level interns in visual merchandising. (Loving your sparkle-antlers, Anna!)

Sign #2: Wandering Brings Out Your Playfulness

unicornI get that some people don’t understand the allure of shopping for discarded items. For me, though, it’s hard to beat the experience of making old things new. Seeing possibility requires a certain level of playfulness.

This shop clearly understands the the importance of a joyful shopping experience. Um, yeah . . . if your display contains a tutu-sporting, boa-wearing, equality-touting unicorn, then I say, “Playfulness? Check!”

Sign #3: You Find an Affordable Discovery You Can’t Live Without

For my friend, this meant finding a pair of pink-and-purple boots. The second she came across them, she exclaimed, “I’ve been looking for a cowboy rainboot!” They fit her perfectly and it was a done deal. I, on the other hand, had never heard of cowboy rainboots. This did not stop me from immediately wishing those fabulous things were mine. How, oh, how, had I lived through four decades without knowing I had an urgent need for plastic boots?

The item I couldn’t live without turned out to be vintage upholstery fabric. Labeled Covington Fabric Corp., the sample pack showcased an address of Fifth Avenue in New York. The 1940 company has since moved away from this textile-row address, but it remains one of the largest manufacturers of printed home-decor fabrics.

 Sign #4: The Shop Supports the Community

Thrift shops and community go hand in hand. In this case, the store is part of a nonprofit that provides hospice and housing. In also supports the local economy, evidenced by a hand-drawn map of other second-hand stores in the area.

Sign #5: The Shop Inspires a New Craft Project

As soon as I saw the Covington samples, I sensed they’d become a sewing project. Their colors were vibrantly retro. Their linen-cotton blend would be easy to work with, but provide substantial heft. And I couldn’t resist the way the samples coordinated with each other. The only question was, “What to make?”

Vote: What Should I Make from Fabric Samples?

So, what should I make, y’all? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Upcycling Mittens to Help Save February

heart_closeupI’d worn mittens for 120 days in a row. Well, close to it, anyway. This was late February, y’all, and it was time for a bright new pair. I’d also been dying to make them again. I’d only sewn mittens once and that was last winter.

So I set out to try again. I’d lost track of the pattern I’d used, so the web search began. I found a handful of tutorials and set to work. Guess what I discovered? Making mittens is a snap, but only after you’re done and know what you’re doing.

Unless you have YouTube Sandy, that is. If you want to upcycle a pair of mittens, let me save you some time: You need Sandy in your life. Here she is, dutifully showing each step in her video, “Make Mittens from Old Sweaters – Fast and Easy.”

As usual, my journey began with a trip to the thrift shop. Never underestimate the fun of this step! If you want to join me, here’s your mission: Find three sweaters that combine in a way that makes you smile. In the end, I rejected my “blue on blue on blue” idea and chose three bright heathers. They were practically made for each other, I determined.

So, what do you think: Did I make the right choice? If you were crafting mittens, what colors would make you happy on (yet another) subzero day?

From Thrift-Shop Jacket To Newsboy Cap

jacket3You thrifters out there know the feeling. The love of the hunt, that unexplained glee. Spontaneity and bargains, with possibility thrown on top. It’s a combination that’s tough to resist.

I’ve long been a lover of consignment stores; just ask me to list the good ones in every place I’ve lived. Indeed, most of my wardrobe came from one resale shop or another. It wasn’t till recently, though, that I started seeing thrift stores–the Goodwills and Value Villages this time–as an inspiration for my sewing.

I was happy to come across Butterfly Tree’s superb pattern for a newsboy cap. Not only did it have 14 pages with 43 how-to photos, but it began with tips on reusing thrifted clothes. And so, I embarked to my local Savers.

Armed with instructions to find the largest items I could (more fabric, you know), I sauntered to the men’s aisles. Feeling only slightly like an interloper–funny, I usually stick to a certain section of the store–I found myself surrounded by a wonderland of tweeds.

After a mild internal debate, I selected a suit coat that seemed perfectly hat-like. Along the way, I also picked up a greenish polyester jacket that was practically begging to be made into a bag. “Look at my funky pockets,” it screamed up at me, “I positively MUST become a slouchy cross-body bag one day!”

But that’s a project for another day. For now, I’ll leave you with pics of the newsboy cap.

Upcycled Infinity Scarf

This scarf became a Christmas present.

This is the story of a minor miracle on a wintry night, and it happened because of Pinterest. Five weeks ago, after a long day at work, I was enjoying some well-earned couch time, jammies and all. Sure, it may have been only 8:15, but this was Minnesota in December, and it’d been dark out for hours already.

I was doing one of my favorite things: browsing for upcycling projects. It’s hard not to feel uplifted when seeing examples of people making pretty things out of discarded sweaters. And it’s common for me to get inspired, hit the pin button, and think, “I can’t wait to make that!” But on this particular evening, after seeing a cute infinity-scarf tutorial from Stuff Steph Does, I actually couldn’t wait.

I checked my local Savers and discovered it was–glory be–still open. “If I get there by 8:30, I’ll still have a whole half hour,” I may have said out loud. And here’s where things got supernatural. I actually got up, put on regular clothes, jumped in the car, and went. Did you hear that? I changed back out of my cozy pjs, people!

I’d never made an infinity scarf, but that didn’t stop me from finding way too many sweater candidates. Within 15 minutes of arriving, I’d gathered so many possible combinations I had to hold myself back. (I love thrift stores and all, but I don’t want to build one of my own in the sewing-room closet.)

Turns out the tutorial was a success and my purchases were wise ones. I chose six, and I’ve since turned them into three scarves: two gifts and a third for myself.

I’d be curious to hear about your moments of inspiration. Feel free to comment and tell me about it. Till then, happy crafting!