Month: October 2015

Gifted Beautiful Button Jewelry! Awesome Upcycling!

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These beautiful button earrings were gifted to me by an amazing co-worker, Melanie who is not only an excellent and talented photographer and photo designer, she also makes cool jewelry from buttons.  She gave me these five pairs as a gift.  I work evening shift in the Anatomical Pathology lab and so once a week, I bake treats for the Pathology residents, and the evening staff in Histology and Pathology.  I make sure Melanie gets a share as she has a huge sweet tooth.  So far she has loved my baking, so she gave me these cool earrings last night as a thank you.

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Here is a close up of the buttons.

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These are black Bakelite-like buttons.

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These are the male part of a metal snap.

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These are the dismantled exterior of the snap with the spikes straightened out.  Very cool I think.

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These black oval buttons have a cool pearlescence in the diamond-shaped middle which is quite beautiful.

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These are old vintage buttons that still have the metal loop shank attached.   These are my favourite, with the silver chain detail.  This was a wonderful gift to receive considering I bake for my co-workers because the evening shift and residents are awesome.  Thank you so much Melanie, it is a gift that is greatly appreciated.

As you can see, with a little creativity, you can upcycling and refashion old things, like buttons and snaps into cool, and interesting conversation pieces.

Thank you again Melanie.  Cheers, Michele

Horrifyingly Thrifty! Or how to be a scarily good Refashionista!

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Halloween is creeping up quickly and it is time for all good people to come out as your alter ego, wished for character or what ever else you want to be.  As I can’t afford and don’t wish to pay retail prices for Halloween costumes, these are just two examples of costumes I have made myself from thrifted items.  And I bet you can see a recurring theme here, (Zombie freak, maybe?)

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This first refashion was one I made about 7 years ago.  I went as a zombie beauty pageant winner.  I purchased a “beautiful” pink ball gown which I splattered in fake blood, and bought a length of ribbon (which was my only retail purchase for this refashion).  I painted the lettering for ‘Mrs Walking Dead’ myself because of course I must have won the competition.  The prosthetic bite mark I made myself from white glue and tissues.  I painted on my teeth to show that my cheek had been bitten away. I also made a big bite mark on my neck.   As you can see, I am quickly decomposing around the bites.  I love this costume!

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With this costume, I was attending Comic-con, so I decided to be a zombie version of myself.  I purchased hospital scrubs at Value Village and used a plastic apron, globes and arm shields that I got from work.  I did ask before taking them, just I case you were wondering.  The scrubs got slashed and spattered with fake blood.  Again I did my own prosthetics of a gun shot entry and exit wound to the face, unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of a close up of the exit wound.  So sad.  This is my favourite zombie costume so far, I had tons of people ask to take a picture with me pretending to bite them.  My picture made it on to several people’s Facebook pages.  I’m a star!  No autographs please, I am rather aggressive about that!

Please feel free to show me or tell me about your favourite Halloween costumes, I would love to see or hear about them. Cheers, Michele

It’s in the bag! Or in this case the vintage or thrifted bags.

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I have a collection of bags that have been thrifted or gifted, and these are just a few.  This is the newest addition to my handbag collection.

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This little red beauty is a patent leather clam shell bag that will be well used and well-loved.

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I love red purses and I got this one at a garage sale for $2.00.

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I have had this burgundy purse since university 30 years ago and have loved it that long.

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This turquoise purse came from a garage sale for $2.00.  I love it.

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The beautiful turquoise clasp on this white embroidered bag is so gorgeous.

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My husband bought me this beautiful patent leather bag with the gold hardware at a garage sale.

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I love little black bags, and so here is another one, thrifted for $4.99 at Value Village.

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This is my favourite black bag, faux patent leather, crocodile pattern with real bamboo clasp and hardware.

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This bag is a hard Bakelite type material in a beautiful ivory colour.

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This gold and silver evening bag is so beautiful, I  just don’t know when I will ever have the chance to wear it.image

Another evening bag in black fabric with gold hardware.image

And the final bag I will bore you with, a woven leather bag that is not that old, but I love it and wear it all the time.

These are just a sample of my thrifted bags, but these are my favourites.  They make me happy to use and wear.  Old or vintage bags and clothing shouldn’t gather dust on a shelf, they should be used and loved.

Cheers, Michele

50 by 50. Completed bucket list items. (Part 1)

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I have been seeing all over the Internet the whole 30 by 30 craze which are the things you should have figured out by 30.  I am not sure about having things figured out, as who the heck has anything figured out, I mean really!  But for me a lot of them seem to be about things completed on a bucket list.  Unfortunately, my bucket list always seems to be continually growing and changing.  But I have been blessed to have the opportunities to be able to check off tons of things on my bucket list so far.  So in a mindlessly random order, here goes the first 15:

  1. Climb the Eifel tower.  I have done this twice with my daughter Katie as my other daughter Madeline doesn’t like heights so my husband Will stayed to Keep her company half way up.image
  2. Eat wood fire grilled octopus and drink Retsina in Greece.  Unfortunately I didn’t snap a picture of the actual consumption of said items, but this picture was taken in Corfu just down the road from an open air bar/grill by the sea just down the road.  But I will say this, the octopus was delicious and slightly wood smoke flavoured with delicious grill taste and the Retsina was an unusual taste experience of wine with piney resin added in.  Not everyone’s potent potable of choice but I glad I tried it.image
  3. Overcome my fear of camels.  A select few of you know the story behind this one.  Damn that camel Dundas, he has ruined me for all other encounters with the blasted andromedaries!image
  4. Go to Comic-Con in full costume and here I am as a Zombie autopsy technician which is one of my jobs, the technician part not the Zombie.  Although without enough coffee in the morning this could be true.  Thank goodness for large iced cold press coffees.image
  5. Have a wonderful family to love.  These are my dad and mom and my child hood dog, Scamp.image  This picture was taken years ago on our Mediterranean Sea cruise in 2007.image
  6. Have amazing children who have grown up to be absolutely fabulous adults who I couldn’t be more proud of to know let alone have as my own offspring.  Love you awesome nerds.imageimage
  7. Marry my best friend and soul mate.  This picture is from output wedding day, January 9th 1988 when we eloped and got married in our apartment in Victoria BC with five close friends and the justice of the peace.  I am wearing the dress I wore when I graduated from the University of Victoria in 1986.  We look so young!image
  8. See The Police live in concert.  For my 42nd birthday my husband bought tickets to see The Police in concert at the Olympic stadium in Munich Germany.  A totally awesome concert and gift.  And all those years of subjecting my children to “that horrible 80’s music” finally paid off when my girls could sing along to all their songs.image
  9. Go to Oktoberfest and dance on the tables and drink beer.  Yep that’s me in a dirndl holding a Maas of beer with a big sprig of beer hops ticked in my top.  I sang and danced on the tables for hours.  It’s thirsty work I can tell you.  The Germans have a drinking song for every occasion.  So civilized!  And a hell of a lot of fun!image
  10. Have the love of wonderful dogs.  The first dog is Maggie, a chocolate lab and golden retriever cross who is 5 years old and is our present dog,  she is lying in her chair checking out the neighbourhood.  The second dog is Sammy, a pure bred golden retriever that we had from 1992 to 2007.  Such an amazing girl with a gentle kind heart.  I miss her so much.  The final dog was the first dog I ever owned, Scamp. she was a Beagle cross with a mutt who made my childhood all the richer.  She was an absolutely fantastic dog.  She taught me the joys and sorrows of loving a dog and having them go to doggie heaven.  When she died I was devastated, as I was when Sammy died too.  Losing a dog is a terrible thing, but loving one and being loved back is the best.  Hopefully heaven is full of dogs, as I truly believe it is, now if they only let us humans in!image

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  11. Drive a Vespa.  I don’t have a picture of this, but it was so much fun..image
  12. Climb the Spanish steps.  This day was a blistering 50 degrees Celsius as we made our way across Rome from gelato shop to gelato shop.  All that dairy made me so bloated that I looked 6 months pregnant, a fact, luckily, not shown in this photo.  This trip was part of our week long Tuscany vacation in 2007.image
  13. Climb the Arc du Triumph.  There are a lot of steps in a very tight spiralling staircase which was hell for the claustrophobic me.image
  14. Graduate University.  Here I am with my future husband after graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Victoria in 1987..image
  15. Learn to play guitar.  I learned mostly from a book, but also took some lessons from a friend.  I still pick it up now and again and play, but I need proper lessons.  I do love it through.  My mediocre playing covers up my even more mediocre singing.image

What are your bucket list items, either completed or not?  I would love to hear about them. Stay tuned for the next instalment of 50 by 50.

Cheers, Michele

She’s a Doll! (Part 3) The tiny house is finished!

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Well here is the final open house on the tiny doll house build!  Maybe I should go into the business of doll house “flipping”?

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I took the box and using fasteners that were originally tufting buttons on the top of the box and glue, attached one side of the lid to the box to create a hinge.  I used a left over fastener to create a button on the side and using a hair elastic attached it to the lid for a simple closure fastening for the lid.  I had some left over navy satin ribbon from a refashioning and glued it along three sides to make a strap for carrying as this is meant to be a totally portable doll house.

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Then I worked on the inside and lined the box with fabric for wall paper and flooring.  I created a small carpet for the floor by taking a rectangle of flannelette and fraying the two ends for carpet fringe.  I glued on ricrac for decoration and to make it more carpet like.  I built the furniture so it would fit perfectly on the floor of the tiny house with the carpeted area left free.

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I created a tiny bathroom area using pieces from a thrifted silver metallic shoe for the plumbing of the sink and claw foot bathtub and shower as well as a small vanity mirror.  I used a small piece of lace for the shower curtain which I stitched to a piece of shoe strap before gluing it into the box.

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The furniture glued to the wall of the house is all made from cut outs from felt that I free hand drew.  I made a small dining area with a table and chairs, and a small shelf to hold a pretty bowl and some books finish the dining room decor.  If the box had been bigger I would have been able to create more rooms.  Oh well, maybe in the next one.

I absolutely loved doing this little house up.  I still have a little more sewing to complete the doll’s wardrobe, but it is for all intents and purposes, done.  What do you think?

Cheers, Michele

She’s a Doll! Part 2. Or Furnishing the tiny house.

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The whole tiny house movement has become huge in recent years, but I think I am taking it to extremes.  And the doll house project continues apace!

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I have made a little bed for my little doll which I created from stuffing and plastic cross stitch craft mesh sheets folded over and stuffed to create a mattress.  I stitched all of it by hand and covered it in flannelette.   Then I stitched a little pillow and comforter which I sewed to the mattress leaving one side of the comforter to allow the dol to be put to bed with ease.   I stitched it all down to keep the parts of the bed from being lost.  Everything was stitched by hand except for the comforter.  Lots of little stitches and sore eyes and fingers, I can tell you!

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I have also also created a little sofa which is made the same as the bed from plastic mesh and stuffing.  I sewed tiny pillows and sewed them to the sofa.

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I have also made a brightly coloured bath robe for the doll from soft flanelette.

I need to get some spray glue to attach the wall paper to the inside of the box but that is still to come.  A quick trip to Micheal’s craft store is in order I think.

What do you think of this fun little project?  Not a difficult one, just very labour and time intensive.  But I have been watching Tintin cartoons that I had recorded years ago when my girls were little so it makes the time go faster.  That is why I have a TV, DVD player and VHS machine in my sewing room.  Then I can watch old movies when I am ironing or hand stitching.  I am up to “Red Rackam’s Treasure” so who knows how far I will get before this project is done.

I sure hope Gracie likes it.  I know it will be hard to let my little creation go, but I know it will go to someone who will love it.  Cheers, Michele

She’s a real doll! Or re-living my childhood at 51.

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I posted recently about creating a travelling doll house as a new project.  And so I have been quite busy with it.  I have already purchased a suitable box to use as the travelling house, as well as a small wooden box with a latch to make a wardrobe.

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I have yet to refit the box for the doll house as I have been quite busy making the doll first to make sure that the fittings of the house will fit her.

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I made her from unbleached sturdy cotton fabric and made her an extremely abundant head of hair by stitching thread on her head and knotting lengths of embroidery floss for the hair. My doll now has a full weave.  I stitched on her face with embroidery floss as well.  I have trimmed her hair to give her a fringe.

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I hand stitched a white and purple dress from some scrap fabric and ribbon from a previous refashioning project and some warm teal flannelette pyjamas from a bundle of fat quarters.

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I also made a skirt from some left over sleeves from a purple gingham shirt and sewed in a layered petticoat from some cotton lining from an additional refashion of my own.

I will continue to flesh out her wardrobe before lining the thrifted case with fabric, hinging the lid to the box and creating some furniture from fabric and plastic mesh.  I am really enjoying this project and think I will make another travelling doll house when this one is complete.  I have some silver fabric to create a mirror, I am going to make a bed and a sofa with pillows.  The lid will become the floor of the little house. The lid has high sides to create a tray to keep the doll and her clothes from rolling off while the child plays with it on her lap at home, or while travelling.  I hope that Gracie, the niece of a good friend, will enjoy this little project as much as I have enjoyed making it.  I will keep you posted as to the final results.  Let me know about your refashioning, DIY and upcycling projects, I would love to see them. Cheers, Michele