Burlap Gingham Girl

MK3B5749 To care for Mother Earth, one must learn from thy mother.

My mom is the most resourceful person I know, maybe to the point of being extreme. She will find use for things I didn’t know could be repurposed, and growing up, I did the same. As a kid, I collected pretty juice bottles to store my knick knacks instead of buying fancy ones at the craft store. I remember using my mom’s leftover fabric scraps and hand sewed tiny quilts that were too small to be used for anything. In 5th grade, I made Valentines cards for everyone in my class using the blank sides of old flyers collected from school – everyone loved them. Part crafty and part growing up with limited resources, I guess it just helped fuel my imagination.

And so, when I received a quaint bouquet a while back, I not only saw artistry in the blooming arrangement, but also in the way the flowers were wrapped together. There is a beauty in burlap, and this wasn’t just my imagination.

repurposed burlap headband (similar) / thrifted blouse (similar) / thrifted skirt (similar) / thrifted purse (similar) / Urban Outfitters heels (similar) / vintage cuff (similar) / Urban Outfitters sunglasses (similar)

Together, with my gingham blouse and white midi skirt, I’ve created the perfect springtime outfit. Although I’ve had this shirt for years, gingham is having a moment right now. Characterized by a two toned pattern in even stripes (white + another color), it is reminiscent of picnic blankets. The only difference is, you should be eating in it instead of on it. The burlap is just the rustic touch this girly preppy outfit needed. If I had more time, I would’ve fashioned it into a rosette or big bow, but repurposing it into a quick headband will do. Sans the fab shoes, and some accessories, my head to ankle outfit is thrifted and cost just under $20, flowers included.

MK3B5762I’d like to think of my thrifty habits as my contribution for not just Earth Day, but for every day of the year. So whether you’re picking up waste at the local park, or reusing waste in new ways, I am sure that Mother Earth, like most mothers, will love you no matter what.


Holla at a Colla: a DIY

Collar Necklaces

Pop your collar.

Fashion retailers these days have more collars than your local Petco store. Never has one’s neck and clavicles received so much attention since choker necklaces were in style. I first started seeing this trend many months ago, when a friend wore a cute metal collar necklace to a wedding. Since then, the stylized collar has really taken off. In fashion magazines, stores, and TV – you can’t escape the allure of the fancy bejeweled collar. And no, this isn’t your average Bedazzled job. From collar necklaces to actual collar embellishment on shirts, blouses, and dresses, this is one trend that keeps getting bigger and sparklier. Your dog will want an upgrade from her flea collar soon. Woof.

This inspired me to get DIYing for once. You will need: collared shirt, needle, thread, pliers, scissors and ball chain (purchased at a hardware store). Not to quote Brian McKnight, but here are the steps (no, you do not start back at one):

Step 1: Cut collar from dress shirt (this is optional). Lay the collar flat face up. Pull threaded needle from the underside to the top near the front facing edge of the collar.

Step 2: Lay the ball chain on top of the collar, with the space between the balls next to the thread. Pull threaded needle back down to the underside of the collar, ensuring that the thread is wrapped around the chain. Secure by pulling tightly.

Step 3: Bring thread from the underside to the top of the collar on the next space between the two balls. Repeat step 2.

Step 4: Clip the desired length of the chain with pliers before securing the end down.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 for the desired amount of rows. Option: stagger each row so that the ball chain will tessellate, resulting in no gaps or overlapping.

I originally wanted to cover the entire collar with the chain except that: A) I miscalculated (by a lot) and didn’t buy enough chain, and B) sewing down 3/4 inch of the collar took me 1 hour – way longer than I anticipated. Total time spent: 2 hours. In actuality, it probably is cheaper to buy from H&M, but I wouldn’t have the bragging rights of saying that I made it myself.

I feared that a low neckline shirt worn with the crisp white collar would start to look Chippendales-esque, so I paired the collar with a crew neck sweater and added a vintage sweater clip. And then a librarian look emerged. Which book should I check out next?