Creative Thrift Shopping

One of my favorite thrift store in Philadelphia is Thrift for Aids.  With its creative and witty staff, shopping there is always entertaining even if I don’t find anything.  Case in point: their new trash receptacle outside the store.
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For me one of the best forms of therapy is retail therapy in a thrift shop. There is no thrill like finding an item like a pair of Talbot’s Silk pants for $4.00 or a an Ann Taylor sweater for $7.00. Unless you are shopping for new fashion trends, are a Wall Street Trader or work for Big Law, a good thrift shop can be your go-to store most of the clothes you’ll need, not to mention a source of fabric for quilts, a source of yarn for sweaters, and all kinds of household goodies.  But what to do  when you see a pair of Eileen Fisher pull-on pants in a soft and dreamy  Italian knit that you must have but they are much too large?  If you are like me, you buy them and keep them for a year before you get the courage to take scissors to them.  You search your sewing books and on line tutorials and then you come across a video on YouTube which is as simple as it can be watch it and get the courage to alter those pants so they fit!   I was so surprised at how well they turned out that I had to share the results and the video with you.

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I don’t have any “before” pictures, but these are the pants after I took in the legs and crotch, put in a new waist and  shortened them about 6 inches

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New hem

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New waist

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Here are another pair of Eileen Fisher pants made of linen which will be perfect for summer.  These don’t need a new waist so much as slimmer legs and a crotch that’s not in the middle of my thighs.   And now here’s the video to which I owe my new pants. 

Here are some links to instructions  for  altering waistlines and hemming pants.  Now get sewing!

My Bead Soup Arrived!!!

My partner is Marta Grabalowska who recently moved from Krakow to the US!
Her blogs are  http://galeriakota.blogspot.com/ (in Polish) and http://wilkmademe.tumblr.com/ (English version). Marta’s work is different from mine. For one thing, she makes  Soutache jewelry and I have never tried the technique. She sent me some pretty soutache cord and a lovely pair of soutach earrings along with lots of pretty beads.  I’m looking forward to digging in; here are some pictures  of what she sent me.  The first one is the focal and clasp.

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Here are a couple of pictures of what I sent Marta. I etched some copper for the focal and made the clasp too. I included some of my lamp worked beads and had a good time rooting around my stash for the rest of the beads.    I can’t wait to see what my partner makes with them.

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Nikola Tesla, Beads and Me

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-born inventor who made major contributions to the development of the AC electricity system that we use today.   His  experiments  to learn of the effect that lightning storms had on the earth revealed evidence of  terrestrial stationary waves which indicated that planet earth was an excellent conductor of electricity.  And this is the basis of wireless technology.   (The Internet is full of information on this topic if you care to read more about it.)

In 1899, Tesla conducted  an experiment  at his laboratory in Colorado Springs that was reported to have  produced  100 foot long lightning bolts before it blew a dynamo  at the El Paso Electric Company.  Not shabby.

What does that have to do with beads or me?  Well may you ask.  When I made the polymer clay beads, you see below,  some of them reminded me of lightning and electric waves.  And I took the pictures with an iPad which is a wonderful example of wireless technology.  Tesla is known in some quarters as the “Master of Lightning” so I call these “Tesla Beads”  despite the fact that my Italian American father was fond of reminding me that Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio-another example of wireless technology.

You’ll have to admit that the name “Marconi Beads”  does not evoke the same kind of image.  It just reminds  me of pasta and then I get hungry. 

Here are some pictures.  The round beads are hollow and I formed the cores on marbles up to 40mm.  I described the technique in this post.

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Jeri’s New Jewels

Not many words this week, just pictures of  new beaded baubles from Jeri Schatz.

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    The beauty of these little elements is that you can make a bunch of them in your favorite palette and then combine them with one another or other elements (beaded beads?  lampworked beads?) to make a one of a kind beaded creation.  

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And the possibilities for making clasps, closures and focal pieces are unending!

  Jerri  teaches beading and is currently offering classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology  in NYC and The Bead Garden in Havertown, PA.