crafts · jewelry making

Thrift shop finds and Sunshine

Izze enjoying the sunshine.

Finally some sunshine!  The pups and I managed to get outside both Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the nippy yet bright great outdoors.  We spent two hours on Sunday following rabbit and pheasant trails in the fresh snow.  What a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon.  I found a wayward egg in the chicken coop which leads me to believe the hens are pretty confident that spring is on the way soon – or at least they’ve noticed the days are lengthening.

Thrift shop belts

In my winter restlessness I spent my lunch hour on Friday wandering the aisles of a local thrift shop.  I was delighted to realize that all clothing items, including belts were 50 cents.  I scored a handful of pretty belts, a couple of nice, soft, fashionable flannel shirts and a handful of brass bangle bracelets.  I love thrift shops even though I’m not really a shopper by nature.  When I do find a fashion idea wandering through my brain I do tend to seek out the thrift shops first.  Not only because I’m frugal, but because I also enjoy the thrill of the hunt a bit.  You can’t just walk into a thrift shop with a solid picture in your head and expect to come out in five minutes with your purchase.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.  I also love the fact that by shopping thrift you are helping the environment.  Reuse, repair and repurpose is a mantra I live by.

Upcycled thrift shop belts.

In this case the belts are what I intended to reuse, repair and repurpose. Belts are especially thrifty as you can usually get three solid cuff bracelets out of each belt plus leftovers to use as embellishments in other projects.  I totally intended only to prep the belts on Saturday, by cutting them down to size.

Somehow I fell down the creative rabbit hole and didn’t surface for air until it was time for supper.  A big faux pas as I had my mom and dad coming over for dinner and I had promised stew and fresh bread.  I scrambled but managed to produce the promised fare albeit minus a delectable dessert.  Pudding to the rescue!

These bracelets are so fun to make.  Simply find a thrift shop belt, and cut it down to size.  Add a closure.  Here I used snaps on the white belt and the leather one above.  I used a lobster clasp on the floral one.  Then add a few creative embellishments and boom you’ve got a one of a kind treasure that looks great with jeans and other casual outfits.

I left the leather belt plain as I love the cut outs.  My mom suggested adding a few seed beads and later I entertained adding some embroidery or leather thread…that bracelet may be revisited later today.  The skinny floral one has the lobster clasp.  That is the one that actually caused my trip down the rabbit hole.  I had a simple embellishment I intended to add from my little metal scrap pile.  The original idea was to simply use E6000 to glue a tiny piece of metal that had the word “be” on it.  Yeah…that didn’t pan out.  Due to the curve of the belt as a bracelet, the glue was taxed and the embellishment fell off.  At that point I didn’t have a second piece of metal scrap handy so I fabricated one!  I took a metal disc cutter and cut out a piece of copper.  I drew a simple little mandala type design with a sharpie and then popped it into a bath of ferric chloride to etch the design.  While  I had the tools out I also improvised another copper cut out with a simple floral design.  You can see that one on the white bracelet.  Once the pieces were etched I simply popped a couple holes in the metal and attached them with eyelets to the leather bracelet.

If you’ve never etched before Rings and Things has a great little tutorial where you can check out the simple process.  Don’t be afraid it really is easy!

Now that white bracelet looks more involved doesn’t it?  It isn’t.  I cheated.  That belt came with the edging, the brass rivets and the crystal embellishment.  And it really isn’t a complete bracelet cut out of one piece of belt either.  It’s a leftover piece from a belt that I cut three other bracelets from.  I layered the left over piece over a simple, plain brown suede belt.  I used eyelets and jump rings to attach the two pieces.  Finally adding my copper piece again with a brass eyelet.

They look great layered with the brass bangles I found at the thrift shop,  a hand forged copper bracelet I made earlier and stretchy natural gem stone bracelets I also made.

Fun stuff right?

Have you upcycled anything recently?

Oliver found his own rabbit hole to fall down……img_4683I better go help him find that ball which is directly behind him….not in the hole he’s buried in!



2 thoughts on “Thrift shop finds and Sunshine

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