Are We There Yet?

I "finished" my repurposed jacket project. Or did I?


I essentially fired my lace gun at it. I also replaced the dated buttons with new ones. They're hand-covered in Scott tartan.


I love the way the lace adds texture. It continues all the way around the back of the neck.

I added extra buttons to the cuffs, and trimmed them with more lace.

So it's so far, so good. But my question is, Am I done? Should I (for once) err on the side of restraint, or is something missing?

Originally, I wanted to add some elements of deconstruction, but the truth is, I lost my nerve. I loved the original jacket too much to tear it up. Especially since it was basically new when I found it.

I have a nagging feeling this is still a little too safe for me. It fails to conform to my "Nothing in Moderation" credo.  But what's missing? More texture? More colors? Something sparkly?

What say you, Gentle Readers? Please post a comment to share your advice!

Finding a (Re)Purpose

It all started last week when a sweater I designed beat me up and took my lunch money. I felt so betrayed. If this sweater were human, it would be the teenager who steals your car keys and takes a joyride. You love and nurture a design, and then it stomps all over your heart by being the wrong size and having a crooked collar that you have to take off and re-sew four (4!) times. Ungrateful brat.

But rather than let it get me down, I decided a change of pace is in order. I'm going to sew something. When I was in San Francisco this spring, I saw incredible work by Ghetto Goldilocks, who makes all of her pieces from repurposed clothes. My particular favorites are her jackets and vests, made from deconstructed menswear:


I haven't been able to get these pieces out of my mind. So much so that I started curating a Pinterest board on the subject. That's where I discovered Bella Sisters, a company located in my very own town. Also one-of-a-kind, and also up-cycled, the Bella pieces have a completely different aesthetic:

I'm so taken with the idea of repurposing a jacket that I did a little e-baying. For the low, low price of $7, I scored this adorable, possibly unworn (pockets still basted closed) Pendleton piece, and it fits me perfectly. 

Isn't it so deliciously 1990's? Lindsay saw me try it on and said "Hey Mom, Dana Scully called. She wants her jacket back":


She's not wrong (also, I should be so lucky).

I think I know what direction I'm headed with my makeover, but I thought it would be fun to poll the blog: What would you do to upcycle/repurpose this jacket? New buttons, to start with. Applique? Embroidery? Lace? Share your visions with me in the comments, Gentle Readers. Or even better, hit up the thrift store, grab your own buried treasure, and  repurpose-along with me!

Lightening Up

It all started when I fell in love with a beat-up old window. My inner magpie just couldn't resist the wavy glass, and the crackled paint was just as compelling. But resist, I did, because the window was wearing a $35 price tag. I resisted for a whole week. Until I found myself in a schmancy boutique of oddments and curiosities, where a substantially less-beautiful window was priced at (I am not making this up) $350.

I may have left skid marks on my way back to the first window.

I brought it home and scraped off the loose flakes of paint, cleaned the glass until it was sparkly, and then commenced the execution of my Cunning Plan. See, my kitchen is unbearably dark. But my Cunning Plan was to steal light from the room's only window by placing a mirror on the opposite wall. Now, my new old window was a window, not a mirror, but I never let a thing like reality get in my way at a time like this.

I painted the backside of my swell new old window with mirror paint! And my Cunning Plan was complete.

I was so smug about the sparkly new old window in the kitchen that I turned my mad skills to another dark corner that has been taunting me: the living room. The corner where our TV lives was previously illuminated by a recessed fixture that could only be described as a giant eyeball. It was supposed to swivel around so you could direct the light, but being only one sad little bulb, it made no difference to move it. It either glared directly at us, or directly on the TV screen. So for almost 9 years, our solution was not to turn it on.

I hadn't tried to change the fixture because recessed lights can only be changed to traditional ones with the aid of a pricey electrician.  Or so I thought!  Flush with my light-problem-diagnosing sucess, I hit the Interwebs for a solution. And sure enough, some clever beastie has invented the cure for the common eyeball light:

Thanks, Interwebs! With Campbell's help (he threw the breakers, retrieved dropped screws, and closed his ears to my bad language while I balanced on the ladder), I installed this beauty. See you never, Eyeball! Now these are some lights you can direct. I pointed one at the wall behind my knitting chair, one at the opposite corner of the room, and two at the coffee table.

Which was fantastic. So bright you could land a plane in my living room. Maybe a little too fantastic. Turns out some of the people in my house want to watch the TV, not just listen to it while knitting (weirdos).

So I got them this, which Campbell also helped me install (lad is getting good with a screwdriver):


And now we have choices, not only about where the light is directed, but also about its brightness.

Yeah, I know: I'm fabulous. Somebody stop me before I light again.